Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I'm starting my final term here at school, so I need to buckle down and write my mini-thesis on Shaping Radical Islam. This provided a good excuse to read Peter Leithart's article, Mirror of Christendom; the rest of this post is a loose quote of that article.

According to Pastor Leithart, God raised up Islam to be a mirror of modern Christianity. We need to take a good look at the face in the mirror, and not ignore the warts.

Islam has always understood itself not merely as a religion but as a civilization.

Islamic universities seek to understand the whole of human knowledge from the perspective of Islam, political and legal practices are shaped by the shari’a, everything that surrounds a Muslim reinforces his faith.

Islam’s all-embracing vision is a rebuke to modern Christianity.

Once upon a time, Christians saw their faith as equally all-embracing. Theologians attempted to make sense of the latest scientific and philosophical findings from the viewpoint of Christian faith; kings and leaders recognized there was a King to whom they were accountable; even monks were adventurers and builders of cities. That vision has all but evaporated in modern Christianity.

Until Islam's grip on culture is damaged or destroyed, it seems unlikely that the Church will be able to make much progress among Islamic peoples.

However, several trends suggest that there is some hope for progress. The fact that millions of Muslims are now living in the West gives Christians an unprecedented opportunity for mission, since we now deal with Muslims outside the reinforcing cultural and political apparatus of Islam. And for all the evils of Western pop culture, perhaps the Lord will use its global spread in a similar way. We may someday have to deal with cheerful Arab nihilists rather than grim Arab terrorists, in other words, with Arabs who are more like our unbelieving neighbors.

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