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7.23.2007    |    Hope for Islam
There is an essay in Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section that gives some hope for a better, more tolerant future for Islam. It is "Losing My Jihadism" by Mansour al-Nogaidan, a Saudi native.

The essence of his charge to his co-religionists? Reinterpret the Koran; learn to live in peace with others. From the essay:
Muslims are too rigid in our adherence to old, literal interpretations of the Koran. It's time for many verses -- especially those having to do with relations between Islam and other religions -- to be reinterpreted in favor of a more modern Islam. It's time to accept that God loves the faithful of all religions. It's time for Muslims to question our leaders and their strict teachings, to reach our own understanding of the prophet's words and to call for a bold renewal of our faith as a faith of goodwill, of peace and of light.
The author is looking for an Islamic Martin Luther, which perhaps shows he hasn't truly thought this through. Luther's central theme wasn't that the Roman Catholic Church was theologically wrong, but that it was corrupt. Perhaps a better analogy would be for Islam to seek its own John Calvin, perhaps the single most influential Protestant theologian in history.

In a very few words, the true reformation wasn't merely denying the Pope's authority as the "first among equals" Bishop of Rome. The true reformation was in redefining salvation in terms of sola fide. This is what was radical, and it was based on a thorough reconsideration of Scripture. This is what Islam appears to need.

Regardless, kudos to Mr. al-Nogaidan. He is a brave man, and while his hope for an Islamic reformation may be faint and wan in its chances for success, there is hope. And that's always a good thing.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.