Imagining Democracy in the Middle East

In a previous blog (Dialogue, Politics, and the Muslim World) I pointed out that the kinds of societies that will arise in the Muslim world will be determined by the Muslim “social imaginary.” They will depend on who Muslims imagine themselves to be personally, in relation to other people (both Muslim and non-Muslim), and in [Read More...]

Dialogue, Politics, and the Muslim World

The wisest possible ordering of society is revealed not in sacred books, but in free and open dialogue of committed citizens. The Muslim world has historically been subject to movements of both reform and renewal. Only the most shallow reading of its history could maintain that social, economic, and political structures haven’t changed, and along [Read More...]

Establishing Religion?

Should private companies be able to establish the religious beliefs of their owners as the norm for their employees? We need an ongoing, public, exploration of our differing religious ethics. We need inter religious dialogue so that we begin to understand what is really at stake when we talk about the establishment of religion, or [Read More...]

Science and Religion – an Interfaith Encounter.

Yesterday I was one of three speakers at a forum on science and religion. Speaking as unelected representative of all Christians I basically made a single point: that the orthodox Christian tradition teaches that God reveals God’s self in two ways: through the created order (natural revelation) and through particular moments in which God speaks [Read More...]

Time to Exclude, and Invite, and be True

Recently my friend Mike Ghouse wrote an article promoting a kind of interfaith Christmas. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/interfaith-christmas-making-god-boundless_b_2347856.ht) Well intentioned, but also deeply problematic. Mike wants to reinforce Christmas as a civil religious holiday for a religiously plural society. I think we’d all be better off if it returned to being the cult celebration exclusively for Christians. I [Read More...]

Finally Getting It.

The Arab Spring is already becoming a bloodbath in Egypt because the Muslim Brotherhood cannot see that its political vision of an Islamic state was a failure from the beginning. And finally major US Muslim organizations seem to get it. The Cpuncil on American Islamic Relations, CAIR, has urged the Egyptian government to not uphold [Read More...]

No compulsion in religion . . . .

The Qur’an, in Chapter 2, verse 256, states “There is no compulsion in religion” or in some translations “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” This is very different from the Western concept of freedom of religion. The verse from the Qur’an, often cited, raises several questions. First – to whom does it apply? Classically [Read More...]

Religion is the Problem

“I also want to say that Islam, beyond the exaggerations, points the finger at something real: under the guise of freedom, in the West we tend to ridicule religion. In the days of his visit in Lebanon, the Pope spoke of violence in words and in deeds. If we want to free the world from [Read More...]

The Pastor is Out (of it)

So lets review the recent news. A man with neo-Nazi sympathies goes to a Sikh Gurdwara and kills six people. He may have thought they were Muslims, or he may not have cared. Hatred is a blunt instrument. Recent reports shows 88 attacks on US mosques since 2010, with burnings and vandalism increasing across the [Read More...]

Divine Mandate, Dialogue Disaster?

How do we enter into respectful dialogue with another religious viewpoint when that religious viewpoint won’t let us speak for ourselves? When it insists that it comprehensively understands our reality without reference to us? What do I mean? Let’s start with something interesting: “After the banned ‘Holy Islamic Sex’ (Seks Suci Islam) guide’s sizzling debut, [Read More...]


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