Friday, 11 July 2014

Islam: Reformation or Enlightenment?

An excellent piece in the Guardian today from Simon Jenkins, a man who would make a first rate new Chairman for the BBC. In suggesting that Islam is in desperate need of a Reformation, Jenkins quotes both Malise Ruthven and the theologian Hans Kung;
"while most religions tend to mature out of textual literalism, the idea of the Qur'an as a handbook of pluralism and democracy is fanciful. It is permeated with the language of struggle (jihad) and victory over unbelievers. It insists on the oneness of the political and the religious realm" (Ruthven)

Another writer in the same vein, Hans K√ľng, points out that jihad was never just a defensive concept but "a struggle to advance God's cause among the unbelievers". To make it accord with western pluralism would require a theological upheaval, a "total paradigm shift". Yet even to suggest this "can still be as dangerous for a Muslim as a heterodox view was for a Catholic at the height of the Inquisition or for a liberal Protestant in Calvin's Geneva".
Post-reformation Christian Europe didn't produce a smaller role for religion in the State but a greater one; never before had the identities of State and Church been so congruent. It took the bloodshed and destruction of the Thirty Years War to prepare the ground for the transformation that really advanced European civilisation; the Enlightenment. Pluralism, and the separation of church from state, only developed when faith was tempered with science, rationality and humanism. Sadly, the prospects of an endogenous Enlightenment for the Islamic world are slight, and it remains condemned to a future of barbarism, blood and fratricide. And Jenkins' conclusion, that we must leave them to it, is undoubtedly correct;
The people of the Muslim world clearly need the west's humanitarian aid and sanctuary in distress. Britain must accept that there will be echoes of their conflicts in its domestic communities. But the glint in the eye of Washington and London that Islam's tribal tribulations might be relieved with more guns, more missiles and more soldiers is cynical warmongering. We have done more damage to the Muslim world than it has ever done to us. We should leave it alone. We have weed enough in our own garden.


Anonymous said...

Jenks, is right but it's getting a bit late in the day for fine words, the hyenas are through the gates and eating at the under belly.

"We have done more damage to the Muslim world than it has ever done to us. We should leave it alone. We have weed enough in our own garden."

Aye, we've imported our own Jihad, thanks mainly to Tony Bliar and Jack Straw et al - with open borders and mass birth rate [thanks to the taxpayer "have as many kids as you like...] and it goes on with mass immigration -still!

What hope, what chance has white Britain?

Not much.

G. Tingey said...

faith was tempered with science, rationality and humanism
Oh really?
When was this supposed to happen?
The supersttition & credulity of (especially RC) christians is still ridiculous.

There are still quite large numbers, even in this country of christians who do not accept that Evolution is factual & true.
Never mind the USSA ... let's not go there, shall we?

Also, agreed that: "There is no questioning the Recital" ... but, the "Unity" of islam is a complete fake, given the Sunni/Shia split, right back to the year 680 CE a mere 20 years after islam was founded.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully I climbed off the Abrahamic bus some while ago - born CofE, Sunday School from age 3, Army church parades, etc.

About a decade ago I came across an essay written by the Reverend John Lovejoy, called the Deculturalization of the English People. This line in particular got me thinking:

'The English, insofar as they recognise their origin, identity and cultural roots, are not 'Westerners', but an ancient northern people.'

Finding the ancient I also found my (Angelcynn) pre-Christian belief system. Seems heathenry isn't the word I was brought up with, quite the opposite infact:

“The heathen were able, by the light of reason, to conclude that a usurer is a double-dyed thief and murderer. We Christians, however, hold them in such honour, that we fairly worship them for the sake of their money…

“Whoever eats up, robs and steals the nourishment of another, that man commits as great a murder (so far as in him lies) as he who starves a man or utterly undoes him. Such does a usurer, and sits the while safe on his stool, when he ought rather to be hanging on the gallows.” - Martin Luther

So its back to the future for me and my kin. What a relief!


G. Tingey said...

The same M Luther who wrote "the Jews & their lies" I presume ....
How nice!

Ps John Waller said...

The Reformation was a return to biblical literalism not a retreat from it - and all of our lives are immeasurably the better for it.

As for an Islamic Reformation I fear that we are looking at it right now.

Brightside Bob said...

"We have weed enough in our own garden."

On first reading I thought this comment was of the "tent" & "pissing" variety.

A Freudian slip perhaps?

Anonymous said...

G. Tingey said @ 17:43

The same M Luther who wrote "the Jews & their lies" I presume ....
How nice!'

I've read my history Mr Tingey - and I've lived enough to know who and what runs this world.


G. Tingey said...

Anon @ 21.35
Ah - are you suggesting that "the Protocols" might be true?
I do hope not .....

PsJohn Walter.
Ah "biblical literalism" has mad our lives better has it?

The planet is 4.5*19^6 years old - FACT
We evolved for other cretires, as did all currently-living things - FACT
Biblical literalism also gave us witch-burning, how nice.

Time to grow up & realise that there isn't any BigSkyFairy, christian, muslim or any variety, at all.