Islam and Christianity: One Divine and Human Language or Many Human Languages
Thérèse-Anne Druart, The Catholic University of America [ Lecture PDF ]
Teacher-education students attending a state university in the Southeastern United States responded to measures of Christian conservatism (theological fundamentalism and political evangelicalism) and sociopolitical values (e.g., nationalism, internationalism, patriotism, respect for civil liberties, and tolerance of dissent). Most of the measures demonstrated adequate internal consistency. Although both Christian conservatism measures correlated significantly with all sociopolitical measures except internationalism, political evangelicalism was more strongly related to the comparison sociopolitical perspectives than was theological fundamentalism. The Christian conservatism measures correlated most strongly with (a) respect for civil liberties and (b) tolerance of dissent. In both cases, the relationships were negative.
The Christian faith of President George W. Bush has been a topic of ongoing discussion and concern since the beginning of his first term, particularly in regard to the manner in which his spiritual values inform his public policies. Nowhere is this concern more pronounced than in regard to his approach to environmental policy. This paper evaluates President Bush’s spiritual development and discusses the ways in which the theological themes of “duty,” “call,” and his vision of the United States as the “shining city on a hill,” influence and inform his environmental policies. The paper will assert that, given his theological and environmental values, President Bush is a “conservationist” and not an “environmentalist.” The distinction between these two philosophical orientations is discussed as well as how the President’s conservationist values are reinforced by his Christian faith and reflected in his policy initiatives.
The focus of the article is interviews with ten religious gay men in Havana. Interviews were conducted in 1999 and 2000. The men were from Catholic, Santeria, Protestant, and Pentecostal backgrounds. Common perceptions were that Santeria was the most welcoming religion to gays and that Pentecostalism was the least welcoming to gays. While many non-Catholics viewed the Catholic Church as welcoming, the gay Catholics in the study did not see the Church as welcoming, but they did tend to see it as more welcoming than Pentecostalism. Almost all the men in the study had come to reconcile their sexuality and their spirituality, but they did so through private reflection and prayer rather than through a gay religious community, or through a religious community that was welcoming to gays, or through a gay community that was interested in religion. Overall, the experience of being gay and religious involved a great deal of solitary reflection for the subjects.
An Orlando based ministry called Zion’s Hope seeks to shape Christian identity in a two-prong approach. The first prong is the creation of an American Christian pilgrimage site. During a trip to this theme park cum pilgrimage center, visitors are exposed to two central aspects of a desired Christian identity - a love of Christ and a love for Israel. The second phase or prong of this identity construction effort is a magazine that reinforces the first two points and adds anti-Arab, anti-Islam sentiments. This paper explores these efforts and their role in promoting the “clash of civilizations.”
This paper addresses the current debate in public higher education regarding the proper goals of ethical education. On one side are those who espouse the classical aim of moral character formation, and on the other, those who emphasize the liberal aim of self-determination and autonomy. The paper attempts to analyze this debate in light of the context of Christian moral education and puts forth the argument that moral formation can only be rightly addressed by reintroducing theology as a discipline within the secular academy in a manner that forces us to rethink the place of religion in the public sphere and the relation between moral education in the private academy and the public one. In so doing, the secular and sacred dichotomy is transcended, if not entirely dissolved.
This paper argues that Hizbullah’s jihad concept essentially derives from the underprivileged status of the Lebanese Shiite community at the time of the appearance of the party in the early 1980s. Although the ideology of Hizbullah and the articulation of its jihad concept borrowed heavily from ayatollah Khomeini’s doctrinal contributions to Shiism, Hizbullah has readily adapted itself to the needs of Lebanese Shiites, but at the expense of the requirements of sectarian participation in Lebanese politics. This study examines the meaning of jihad for Hizbullah, as well as its political and religious foundations. It also discusses the four components of the party’s jihad concept, namely: (1) military jihad, (2) personal jihad, (3) societal jihad, and (4) political jihad. The study shows that Hizbullah has successfully developed a flexible and highly workable jihad concept that won it unrivalled acclaim from Lebanese Shiites whom it empowered after many years of political marginalization. The paper concludes that Hizbullah has the institutional mechanism and the ideological flexibility to adapt its jihad concept in response to a rapidly changing regional and domestic political environment.
From 1865-1920, Methodists took aim at the “danger” of fiction in American society, believing it to be at the root of social problems affecting American society like urban crime, rising divorce rates, mental illness, and the corruption of the American character. Methodists strove to help readers realize the danger that literature posed and to turn readers’ attention to pious literature. Some ministers argued that it was more useful to serve as literary guides, steering readers toward the virtuous. At the same time, Methodism itself emerged in American fiction with such authors as Edward Eggleston, Harold Frederic, and Stephen Crane. Finally, the “threat” of fiction seemed to pass when the Church’s attention was drawn to the new “threats” of cinema and radio in the course of the early twentieth-century.
Beliefs and customs surrounding death, funeral rites, and mourning provide a window into a society’s most deeply held values. In the monotheistic faith of Islam, eschatology – belief in the Day of Judgment (Yawm al-din) and resurrection (al-qiyama) – underlies many practices. Public mourning rituals that commemorate the deaths of saints and martyrs are closely linked to the concept of salvation in Islam. The gendered discourse of Islam is particularly relevant to practices surrounding death, burial, mourning, and commemoration of the deaths of martyrs. This study attempts to provide a broad historical context against which to analyze the moral, spiritual, religious, aesthetic, and political factors affecting women’s participation in or exclusion from funeral rites and mourning practices, from antiquity to contemporary times.
College students in a South-Korean University responded to measures of Christian fundamentalism and sociopolitical perspectives related to nationalism, internationalism, patriotism, respect for civil liberties, and tolerance of dissent. Religious diversity in the sample permitted subgroup comparisons between Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists, and Atheists on all measures. These subgroups differed significantly only on Christian fundamentalism, with Protestants scoring significantly higher than all other subgroups on the fundamentalism measure. Although most subgroup correlations were small, the Protestant subgroup tended to have stronger correlations between Christian fundamentalism and the sociopolitical variables than the other subgroups.
In April 2003, the researchers conducted a survey of undergraduate students living in residence halls at Loyola University Chicago. The majority of Catholic students in the study expressed disagreement with the statement, “Women shouldnotbe allowed to be clergy (priests, pastors, imams, rabbis, etc.),” and the majority of them expressed agreement with the statement, “Sexism is wrong.” This was not a surprise to the researchers. What was surprising was the fact that the correlation of the responses by Catholics between these two statements was insignificant (r = -.089). The researches explored this question with focus groups made up of Loyola University Chicago campus ministers and Catholic undergraduates. Catholic college students see a relationship between Church authority and issues that touch their lives most directly, especially in the area of sexuality. They see Church authority in contrast to “the wisdom of the world” on these issues, and the majority are more likely to trust “the world.” While the majority of young Catholics in the study disagreed with the exclusion of women from the priesthood and agreed that sexism is wrong, they saw no relationship between the two. One was a Church matter, with which they disagreed (as they did on many of the “Church matters”), and one was a discrimination matter, on which they followed the common trends of the larger culture, indistinctly from non-Catholics.
We examine the religious aspects of the Clinton presidency by exploring two general themes. The first is the extent to which President Bill Clinton’s own theology was used as a source for mobilizing his supporters and bolstering his public policy positions. The President’s ability to adopt the tone and substance of moderate Baptist preachers is critical to understanding why, even in light of his famous “Sista Soldier” comment during the 1992 campaign, as well as his willingness to support public policies not popular among leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, Clinton was nonetheless extraordinarily well regarded among African-American voters – a key constituency of the Democratic Party. In the immediate aftermath of the impeachment crisis, the President used his address at a national prayer breakfast to ask for forgiveness and to seek redemption from the nation’s religious figures. The second theme illuminates the extent to which Mr. Clinton became a symbol in the nation’s ongoing “culture war.” The level of animus expressed by conservative ministers and leaders toward the Clinton presidency has no contemporary equivalent and this is at least partially explained by his becoming such a symbol. President Clinton was routinely cited as a specific example of the nation’s moral decline by leading fundamentalist clergymen, conservative pundits, and lawmakers. We contend that many of the political battles fought during the Clinton years had their genesis in the theological and religious struggles pre-dating his presidency; these battles are still being waged even after the turn of the twenty-first century in a post-Clinton era.
During his life, the Prophet Muhammad (570-632) married 12 different wives among whom were two Jewish women: Rayhana bint Zayd and Safiya bint Huyayy. These two women were widows whose husbands had been killed in wars with Muslims in Arabia. While Rayhana refused to convert to Islam at first and did so only after massive pressure, Safiya converted to Islam immediately after being asked. Rayhana died a few years before Muhammad, but Safiya lived on after his death. Classic Islamic sources claim that the Muslims did not like Rayhana because of her beauty and so made an issue of her Jewish origin, with Muhammad being the only one to treat her well. After Muhammad’s death, Safiya lived among his other wives in Mecca, but did not take part in the political intrigues at the beginning of Islam, in contrast to the other wives, especially the most dominant and favorite wife, Aisha.
Adults from four religious/ethnic groupings: Arab Muslim, Arab Christian, Non-Arab Muslim, and North American Christian were administered measures of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment to determine if the concepts were related. Correlation strength was r=.61, and anti-Semitism remained even when the effects of anti-Israeli sentiment were parceled out. The reasons for such differences are the basis of discussion and further inquiry.