Wednesday, February 22, 2006

M. Cartoons : Refining the Christian Response

It seems that every thing that happens, everything that someone says, just fans this thing and this controversy just refuses to go away.

I think most people (including me) just wish it would.

Yet paradoxically, it's clear that I have hardly blogged about anything else since the 3rd of February.

But talk tends to generate talk and the blogosphere just magnifies it, I guess.

The radical Muslims, of course, have been noticeable for their absence from discussion.

Rather, they have been the source of those activities which has been grist for the mill of discussion.

Activities which have drawn the loudest response from : atheists, general freethinkers, and political liberals (which would also include secularists).

We know what the chief arguments against the Islamic reaction have been : "the freedom of the press is in jeopardy", "don't push your religions down our throats", "we hate your stinking religion".

What should the Christian response be ?

I am glad that no Christian in my circle has expressed any words of approval for the actions of the Danish newspaper.

And now articulated responses from the evangelical Christian community are beginning to emerge.

One is from Patrick Sookhdeo who had written "7/7 ... A Response" after the London bombings.

He is now being reported HERE as giving his assessment of the current situation.

Let's look at what he has to say:

Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law. "It is already starting to happen - and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue."

We'll have the opportunity to see how this particular agenda is implemented in Canada. Or maybe the political will for its implementation will have evaporated as a result of the cartoon controversy. Or even if it is implemented it may simply be an unwise thing to do from the point of view of Muslims.

Time will tell.

"The whole approach towards Muslim militants was based on appeasement. 7/7 proved that that approach does not work - yet it is still being followed. For example, there is a book, The Noble Koran: a New Rendering of its Meaning in English, which is openly available in Muslim bookshops.

"It calls for the killing of Jews and Christians, and it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them. The Government has done nothing whatever to interfere with the sale of that book.

"Why not? Government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred, to criminalise the glorification of terrorism, yet they do nothing about this book, which blatantly does both."

A blog search to this site reveals that this book is simply a translation of the Koran.

And the solution is ? :

"Finally, the Government should make it absolutely clear: we welcome diversity, we welcome different religions - but all of them have to accept the secular basis of British law and society. That is a non-negotiable condition of being here."

"the secular basis of British law and society" ? That has precisely been the very thing that evangelical Christians have bewailed since the term "post-Christian" was coined !

How can you say something is a "bad thing" insofar as it concerns you but a "good thing" insofar as it concerns someone else?

There's a reason for this dichotomy : the Christian basis for all the rights and freedoms that have historically accrued to us citizens of the West has been rejected and all that is left us is "the secular basis of British law and society" which means nothing.

Re-thinking of the political landscape is now required so that we can find a firm foundation for BOTH the keeping our liberal freedoms AND allowing space for both Christians and Muslims to co-exist in such a free state.

I think it is possible despite the current weakness in western governments' response to Islamic excesses. That very weakness and hesitancy, in my opinion, is evidence that Western Civilisation has strayed from it's Christian roots.

Finally a question for Mr.Sookhdeo:

"We know WHAT and WHO you are against;
but, WHO are you for ?
What is HIS NAME ? JESUS ?"

I just would like to hear you say it now and then is all.

UPDATE : Here is more on the work Sookhdeo was singling out above for special 'anti-terrorism treatment'. By not being evangelical and fighting the wrong battles Mr. Sookhdeo finds himself in a deeper hole .

1 comment:

Owlb said...

Celal - The reformational Christian movement, tho a tiny minority of the world population and even Christendom, makes a strong distinction between secular and secularistic. I wish that practice were more widespread within Christianity. It's just that the latter term with its "-istic" ending has become lengthy and, for many, too cumbersome. In between is the term for designation of motive, what motivates a particular person, group, or institution - namely, in this case, "secularism" for the overall religious movement of "no religion;" and then "secularist [motive]" or "secularist" for a person so motivated ... as in "she is a self-acknowleged secularist who won't come to our house for dinner simply because we pray before meals." Dr Hendrik Hart used to speak of a "biblical secularity." One needn't have a confession of faith or prozelytizing "witness" at the forefront of one's discourse and conversation on all occasions. Perhaps this is the basic reason why crosses were worn originally as pieces of jewellry, a silent symbol that needed no direct backup with faith-profession words, most of the time. But, as a consistent Christian, one can't always hold back from direct statements idicating who one's Lord is either. Even when the interlocutor/s know one is a sinner too. Sometimes the time is ripe; sometimes not; sometimes drastically inappropriate. Over the centuries, we've figured out in North America at least, how to negotiate the secularist suppression of all Christ-talk, often all God-talk, without a full surrender and without always allowing the secularist religion/s to have the uncontested hegemony (much of the communities of discourse of which is populated by secularist atheist Jews (not "observants" or "Judaic believers"), ex-Catholics, nominal Protestants, and ex-Fundamentalists all trying to outdo one another in their zealotry for their new religion of secularism, atheism, or, more philsophically designated, Humanism (as Dooyeweerd defines it absolutizing nature and freedom in dualistic tension with one another in various ways ... and hence the hi-falutin' elite denominations of secularism like Freudianism, Jungianism, Marxism, Austrian Capitalism, and a host of others). But now we Christians of reformational, Old Reformed, and Evangelical bent must learn new manners of inter-religious discourse on a personal level (say, if you're a teacher of Christian confession in a classroom with several Muslim girls who are sensitive to and bewildered by some by their 'difference' in contrast to the little secularistos/as and christos/as around them ... you can as a Christian in that schoolroom put the youngsters at ease by occasional gentle references to "Allah" and even "the Prophet" (you needn't absolutuely add the "Blessed Be His Name"). Secularism, on the other hand, and Christian teachers who receive their training in secularistic educational colleges, blank out all reference to God by any name, it would seem. This silence in all the classrooms and courses creates a divide between home and its extended culture, and school where Islamotalk need be whispered only, in the halls and on the playground. I have used just one humble example, and its sphere-specific particularities to try to suggest a metaphor for new manners in all realms where Christians are called to be good neighbours and to participate in a gentle person-to-person inter-religious dialogue that puts the other at ease, off the defensive, and able to contribute, even perhaps share an inter-religious friendship. There's so much stereotyping going around about "Muslims," when the world's 1.3 billion people are reduced to the mere 13 million who sympathize worldwide with Islamofascism. I noticed just today another case of stereotyping that included Jews designated as rich and inveterately capitalistic on Joe Carter's blog Evangelical Outpost (he's a very educated man, but the piece swarms with stereotypes of the broadest kind). The cartoon crisis is throwing lite as much on the anomalies of Christians as on anyone else; we are a confused lot.