Anglican Samizdat

September 14, 2009

Please appease me

Filed under: Islam — David Jenkins @ 1:42 pm

Do you have to behave like someone else in order to understand them and what they believe? If I want to understand Freemasonry, do I need to roll up one trouser leg and call someone “worshipful master” or if I am trying to decide whether to become an extreme Pentecostal, should I handle some poisonous snakes to see how it feels?

The answer is no, because I don’t have to try something to conclude that I don’t agree with it; this concept seems be beyond the grasp of liberal Christians bent on “understanding” Muslims:

Ramadan can be a time of great spiritual renewal for Muslims. Non-Muslims can also have a ‘taste’ of fasting if they follow the recommendation of London mayor Boris Johnson, as I did last Friday, for this report.

Contrary to a twisted existentialist view of belief, engaging in a Muslim ritual will not make you a Muslim nor will it help you understand Islam; it won’t even help you understand Muslims unless you take the condescending view that a hungry Muslim during Ramadan feels different from a hungry non-Muslim any other time of the year.

The intent in all this appears to be to conciliate Muslims by convincing them that, as Christians, we are sufficiently insecure in our beliefs that we are willing to set them aside for a while and try theirs – to prove we can get along.

All it really proves is that Western liberal Christianity no longer deserves the name derived from its founder.


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