Author Topic: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?  (Read 10186 times)

Pasgolf

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ****
  • Posts: 259
    • View Profile
A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« on: February 22, 2017, 11:26:52 AM »
 I just finished reading a fascinating book by Mustafa Akyol. entitled The Islamic Jesus:  How the King of the Jews became a Prophet of the Muslims St Martins Press 2017.

     I have not found a better apologetic for moderate Islam, nor a better description of how a meaningful and productive dialog can be had with it.  The astonishing center of such an invitation is the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Alkyl writes from an orthodox Islamic position , which he acknowledges clearly differs dogmatically from Christian Trinitarianism, but makes a case that at least some of the older variants of early Christian thinking can be seen as forming one substrate of Islam.  His work is engagingly written, well documented, and followable as to his logic and purpose. 

     Akyol readily admits that his is a currently minority position in world Islam, but insists that such a position is essential if the Islamic world is to move beyond the fundamentalist stuck point in which much of it is currently locked.  I think he may well be onto some solid insight here. 
Mark (retired pastor, golfs the pastures) Renner

Michael_Rothaar

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ****
  • Posts: 428
  • Married to Linda in 1970. Ordained in TALC in 1971
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 01:01:12 PM »
      Akyol readily admits that his is a currently minority position in world Islam, but insists that such a position is essential if the Islamic world is to move beyond the fundamentalist stuck point in which much of it is currently locked.  I think he may well be onto some solid insight here. 

This morning's Chicago Tribune carried an opinion piece that gave me a perspective on which I've never or seldom reflected.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-muslims-islam-trump-religion-culture-perspec-0223-20170221-story.html

Loubna El Amine is an assistant professor in the department of political science at Northwestern University. She says, "I am a Muslim. I do not pray. I do not fast during Ramadan. I drink alcohol and eat pork. I do not believe in God. But I identify as a Muslim. Islam is a large part of the world I grew up in; it is inseparable from home." By all means, read the rest to catch the nostalgia with which she empathizes and identifies.

OK, so I know about Lutherans (or whatever) in Name Only. Cafeteria Catholics. Secular Jews. Jack Mormons. Cultural Christians.
And I've known there are more secularized forms of Islam when it comes to social organization and more diverse populations (e.g. Turkey).
But now I wonder -- how big is the class of people to whom "orthodox" or "actual" Muslims would say, "No, you're not," in response to their self-identification without belief.

And might interreligious groups have something to discuss about this -- like whether people are more prone to distort and misuse a faith system when it is, for them, merely "a memory, a ritual or a culture."
 
Mike Rothaar
Retired from roster of active ELCA pastors 01 Jul 2012.
Mind and Spirit still working.

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12370
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 01:45:59 PM »
Call me racist, prejudiced, xenophobic, Islamophobic, even bigoted if that is what floats your boat, but I at least, and many, many other Christians just are not willing to abandon Trinitarian Christianity and go back and adopt one of the "older variants of early Christian thinking" in order to make dialog easier with Islam and not offend Islamic sensibilities.

It is good and useful to recognize common roots and common themes among the three great monotheistic religions extant in the world today.  We are related to each other and can and should find things that we can agree on.  But in so doing we also need to recognize where we differ.  We are not the same religion and cannot be easily shoehorned into each other.  Noting commonalities of history and development can be very useful in dialog, but ultimately it is dialog among the religions as they are today, not as another of the religions wishes the religions would have developed or kept from earlier variants.  Usually there were reasons why the early variants were rejected.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 03:07:41 PM by Dan Fienen »
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13256
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2017, 03:30:12 PM »
Pastor Fienen writes:
Call me racist, prejudiced, xenophobic, Islamophobic, even bigoted if that is what floats your boat, but I at least, and many, many other Christians just are not willing to abandon Trinitarian Christianity and go back and adopt one of the "older variants of early Christian thinking" in order to make dialog easier with Islam and not offend Islamic sensibilities.

 I comment
 And there you go again, thinking people will see you as a bad guy. I don't think anyone is asking us to give up Trinitarian Christianity.   But dialogue is Enhanced when participants can find some sort of common ground even if it was long ago, even if it was something later retracted.
 Your immediate response was to shout fearfully that somebody is asking you to give up something and to pounce on "differences." That's not how dialogue is supposed to work.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
😉

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12370
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2017, 03:36:55 PM »
Christians have their own dark secrets, groups and offshoots that are disavowed and embarrassing to acknowledge.  In America's Christian history, Christians have been involved in and sought basis for some of the brightest and some of the darkest pages of our history.  The Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s was nurtured in and supported by mainly Christians and churches.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Christian minister, named for a Christian reformer.  Christians and church people provided many of the people who went on freedom rides, marches and sit ins, often at great risk and sometimes with that risk realized.

Before the Civil Rights movement, the abolitionist movement of the 19th century was similarly nurtured by Christians among churches.

Self-identified Christians were and are on the other side of the street also.  The KKK has identified itself as a Christian movement and some of the white supremacist groups claim to be and represent Christianity.  Some of these have truly been terrorists over the years.

Does that make Christianity a terrorist movement?  No, nor does it mean that devout Christians are all proto-terrorists.  But like every other grouping of people, vigilance is needed lest opportunists hijack the faith for their own nefarious purposes.

Similarly with Islam.  If Christianity has had its Crusades, Islam has had its Jihads that sought to conquer as far and as wide as possible.  If a few Christians have perverted their religion to support terrorist activities, a few Muslims have likewise. 

And just as we Christians emphatically repudiate those few who have turned our faith into an occasion for hate and violence, so do most Muslims.  (And contrary to popular thought, moderate Muslims are not shy to repudiate Jihadist terrorists.)  As we carefully distinguish violent Christian extremists from mainstream Christianity - so we need to do the same concerning Muslims.  I would be all for Federal laws and rules that would ban Christian terrorist extremists from entering the United States.  Alas, our Christian extremists are homegrown. 

Banning all Muslims is at best foolish.  Somehow acting to strain out those who would bring terrorism to the US (and there are some such out there, we have seen their handiwork) is a good goal.  Not easy.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12370
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2017, 03:40:23 PM »
Pastor Fienen writes:
Call me racist, prejudiced, xenophobic, Islamophobic, even bigoted if that is what floats your boat, but I at least, and many, many other Christians just are not willing to abandon Trinitarian Christianity and go back and adopt one of the "older variants of early Christian thinking" in order to make dialog easier with Islam and not offend Islamic sensibilities.

 I comment
 And there you go again, thinking people will see you as a bad guy. I don't think anyone is asking us to give up Trinitarian Christianity.   But dialogue is Enhanced when participants can find some sort of common ground even if it was long ago, even if it was something later retracted.
 Your immediate response was to shout fearfully that somebody is asking you to give up something and to pounce on "differences." That's not how dialogue is supposed to work.

Did you even read past the first sentence or first paragraph of my post?  Your immediate response is to shout fearfully about how I only look at the negative.  Dialog doesn't work well when you only cherry pick what you find wrong so to denounce it.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13256
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2017, 05:05:57 PM »
 As usual, Pastor Fienen will have the last word. I think I'll get the book mentioned upstream.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 05:31:16 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
😉

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12370
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2017, 05:22:30 PM »
As usual, Pastor Freeman will have the last word. I think I'll get the book mentioned upstream.
I suppose  that I should be happy for Pastor Freeman, whoever he is, that he gets the last word. 
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13256
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2017, 05:32:20 PM »
 Voice recognition technology ain't perfect. Do you want the last word now Pastor FIENEN?
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
😉

Keith Falk

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1648
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2017, 05:53:29 PM »
Voice recognition technology ain't perfect. Do you want the last word now Pastor FIENEN?


Would you actually give it to him if he wanted it?  ::)
Rev. Keith Falk, STS

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13256
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2017, 06:09:39 PM »
Yes.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
😉

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3941
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2017, 06:21:07 PM »
The Confession of Augsburg
Article I: Of God.


1] Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; 2] that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and 3] yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term "person" 4] they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

5] They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article, as the Manichaeans, who assumed two principles, one Good and the other Evil: also the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Mohammedans, and all such. 6] They condemn also the Samosatenes, old and new, who, contending that there is but one Person, sophistically and impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Ghost are not distinct Persons, but that "Word" signifies a spoken word, and "Spirit" signifies motion created in things.
 
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 42854
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2017, 06:44:41 PM »
The Confession of Augsburg
Article I: Of God.


1] Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; 2] that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and 3] yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term "person" 4] they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

5] They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article, as the Manichaeans, who assumed two principles, one Good and the other Evil: also the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Mohammedans, and all such. 6] They condemn also the Samosatenes, old and new, who, contending that there is but one Person, sophistically and impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Ghost are not distinct Persons, but that "Word" signifies a spoken word, and "Spirit" signifies motion created in things.
 


Does this mean that we can't respectfully talk and listen to them? Is it impossible for us to learn something from someone who isn't Christian?
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4496
    • View Profile
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2017, 10:14:42 PM »
The Confession of Augsburg
Article I: Of God.


1] Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; 2] that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and 3] yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term "person" 4] they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

5] They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article, as the Manichaeans, who assumed two principles, one Good and the other Evil: also the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Mohammedans, and all such. 6] They condemn also the Samosatenes, old and new, who, contending that there is but one Person, sophistically and impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Ghost are not distinct Persons, but that "Word" signifies a spoken word, and "Spirit" signifies motion created in things.
 


Does this mean that we can't respectfully talk and listen to them? Is it impossible for us to learn something from someone who isn't Christian?

Yes, I believe we should always talk and listen respectfully.  And yes, it is always possible to learn something.  But it seems from information in the earlier posts the idea is to work toward finding common ground.  Theologically I just can't see where that can happen. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13256
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: A potential way forward for interfaith dialog with Islam?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2017, 10:49:47 PM »
Everything isn't "theological" in the way that we Lutherans use that term.
How about the "common ground" of us all living on the same planet, all wanting to rear our children in peace, all wanting to develop our lives in healthful ways?
How about the "common ground" of our humanity?
How about the "common ground" of our involvement in the civic and religious life of our communities?
How about the "common ground" of worry about political or economic collapse that could ruin our lives?
And I dare to say: How about the "common ground" of our searches for God and God's will and our understanding of who God is? We may think we do not have much of a "common ground" in what we have found and know so far; but do we not have a "common ground" in our search? And who knows what we might find if we tried?
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
😉