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An Example of a “moderate Muslim”?

March 23rd, 2007 · Posted by Who Knows? · 3 Comments

I pondered my biased perspectives on the Islamic faith in this comment, and I wonder what my views of the Christian Bible would be if my only exposure to it was from the same sources I received my “biased” impressions of the Qur’an. I was wondering whether there are also “Muslim moderates” and “Muslim fundamentalists” in similar fashion to what is found in Christianity. Of course, I still do wonder, and at some point I would like to research this more. I think the Christian Bible has a lot more diversity in it, being a collection of books, whereas I am under the impression the Qur’an really is just one book, penned by one person? (Carefully chosen words to avoid the issue of “inspiration” and “authorship”, not relevant right now.) As an easy first step, I should read the Wikipedia article on the Qur’an for a better overview.

Anyway, a friend, Francois sent me a link to an interview with Bahraini intellectual Dhiyaa Al-Musawi. For some highlights and an excellent (short) commentary, please look at this post on “Last Free Voice”.

What I noticed was how incredibly similar the “problems” are in Islam as in Christianity. For example, the focus on Hell, Fire and Brimstone. Very similar “scare tactics” are employed in Christianity, despite the fact that Jesus hardly ever spoke of heaven or hell, the “after-life” per se. He was much more concerned with the “here and now”. More on that on another day.

A quote Francois sent me, attributed to Albert Einstein: “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” Too true.

Categories: Religion and Science
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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 stefan // Mar 23, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Inspiring words! I wish more Christians and Muslims were as tolerant.

  • 2 Johan Swarts // Mar 28, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Die ooreenkomste met Islam en die Christendom is tog vanselfsprekend, dan nie? Beide fokus op ‘n theistiese, Abrahamietese God. Die problematiek sal noodwendig ooreenstem. Jy kan for that matter Jode ook hierby insluit.

  • 3 Hugo // Mar 28, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Afrikaans is of course welcome, I’m sticking to English since I also have English readers.

    You do have me wondering why I was surprised, and what exactly I was surprised at, because you’re correct, the Abrahamic religions are of course similar and of course would therefore have some of the same “problems”.

    Dispensationalism (and the rapture) is a rather new idea (19th century), I wonder if I might have thought (hoped?) that more of the “heaven and hell” thing is “newish”, but of course, it is as old as the mountains. (Duh. What the hell was I thinking?)

    Consider Egyptian mythology, for example… (Say, how much Egyptian mythology is taught in South Africa? I was out of the country for primary school, and found what we learned of Egyptian mythology very fascinating.) To borrow from Wikipedia:
    The idea of a “divine judgement” was prevalent among all nations in pre-Christian times.

    I’ll end off with some references to Christianity. I’m sure “we all know” (in our “Christian country”) of the arguments between the Pharisees and the Sadducees about the “afterlife” (whether there is a resurrection or not, for example). And so they wasted their time debating. And Jesus didn’t correct them either way, being concerned more about the “Kingdom of God”, whic is “at hand”, and “within you”. And yet, modern Christians are often mostly concerned with the afterlife, heaven and hell… pity.

    A quick reference to purity codes – it is of course obvious why Abrahamic religions are so often concerned about “purity codes”. However, I think it might be rather prevalent in all religions, or in all human culture, rather? Jesus challenged the purity codes, and yet, many Christians are excessively concerned about modern versions of such codes. Without that kind of challenge, it’s rather obvious that the other Abrahamic religions are so concerned about such codes, the surprise (if there is any) should rather be that Christianity is still so much the same as the other two? (I suppose they might argue there are more important things than their purity code, but that doesn’t make their purity code “unimportant”?)

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