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Islam is stuck in the Middle Ages, says leading interfaith expert
Timesonline.co.uk ^ | June 16, 2008 | Ruth Gledhill

Posted on 06/16/2008 3:53:43 PM PDT by forkinsocket

Islam is stuck in its own version of the “Middle Ages” which is contributing to a global crisis, one of the leading experts on Islam, Judaism and Christianity argues today.

Professor Hans Kung, a leading Roman Catholic and theologian from Germany, warns in a lecture of a “deadly threat” to all humankind unless new efforts are made to build bridges with Islam. He says in London that Islam has “special problems” with modernity because, unike Christianity and Judaism, it has never undergone a “serious religious reformation”. He questions whether Islam is even capable of adapting to a post-modern world in the way that Christianity and Judaism have done. But he also outlines why he is hopeful that the present problems around radicalisation within Islam can be resolved, and how the other two Abrahamic faiths are subject to some of the same problems on their extremist edges. Violence has been practicised in the sign of the crescent, but also in the sign of the cross, he warns. In his lecture, seen by The Times, Professor Kung says: “The options have become clear: either rivalry of the religions, clash of civilizations, war of the nations - or dialogue of civilizations and peace between the nations as a presupposition for peace between the nations.

“In the face of the deadly threat to all humankind, instead of building new dams of hatred, revenge and enmity, we should tear down the walls of prejudice stone by stone and thus build bridges of dialogue, bridges particularly towards Islam.” Professor Kung, author of Islam: Past, Present and Future, published last year and one of the most authoritative works on the subject, is speaking on “Challenges to Islam, Christianity and Judaism” in a lecture organised by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust and Sky Arts. It will be broadcast on Sky Arts later this month. He describes how liberal Jews, Christians and Muslims often get on better with each other than they do with fellow Jews, Christians and Muslims from the traditionalist wings of those religions. A Roman Catholic “imprisoned in the Middle Ages” will find himself closer to the “medieval element” of Islam and Judaism than with liberal Catholic believers. Professor Kung says that one of the main causes of conflicts between religions is the persistence of out-dated ways of thinking. Islam and Christianity regard the actual Middle Ages as the “great time” for their religions. But modernity has forced all three religions of the book onto the “defensive”, and they all face challenges over how they react to their own “Middle Ages”. He argues today that Christianity and Judaism have moved on, but not Islam. “It remains an open question if the ecumenical paradigm of post-modernity will develop also in Islam.”

Professor Kung, who aged 80 is a contemporary of the Pope and worked with him as a theological adviser to the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960’s, was influential at the council in persuading the Roman Catholic Church to adopt a more positive attitude to Judaism and religious freedom. He has also spoken out constantly in favour of the official recognition of the State of Israel by the Vatican and for a two-state-solution for Israelis and Palestinians.

Professor Kung, whose own liberal views cost him his official Catholic teaching licence in the last century, says that the essence of all three religions must be preserved, but those who want peace and reconciliation will not be able to avoid criticism. They must engage in self-criticism to enable their faiths to adapt to modernity. Referring to Christianity, for example, he says: “Jesus Christ as a basic model is a constant, but the law of celibacy is a variable.” He argues: “After the Reformation Christianity had to undergo another paradigm shift, that of the Enlightenment. Judaism after the French Revolution and Napoleon experienced the Enlightenment first, and as a consequence, at least in Reform Judaism, it experienced also a religious reformation. Islam, however, has not undergone a serious religious reformation and so to the present day has quite special problems also with modernity and its core components, freedom of conscience and religion, human rights, tolerance, democracy.”

He also sets out what the three religions have in common, such as injunctions against murder, respect for life, and he will explain how must Muslims do not take the extremist view. “They do not recognize themselves in our picture of Islam, because they want to be loyal citizens of the Islamic religion,” says, calling for fairness in the condemnations by the West. “Those who make Islam responsible for kidnappings, suicide attacks, car bombs and beheadings carried out by a few blind extremists ought at the same time to condemn Christianity or Judaism for the barbarous maltreatment of prisoners, the air strikes and tank attacks carried out by the US Army - several 10,000 civilians have been murdered in Iraq alone - and the terrorism of the Israeli army of occupation in Palestine.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: crushislam; interfaith; islam
.
1 posted on 06/16/2008 3:53:43 PM PDT by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

Accurate info in the article, but someone is late to the party.


2 posted on 06/16/2008 3:57:27 PM PDT by ZX12R
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To: forkinsocket
Islam is stuck in the Middle Ages, says leading interfaith expert


3 posted on 06/16/2008 4:01:20 PM PDT by Spirochete
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To: forkinsocket

4 posted on 06/16/2008 4:02:16 PM PDT by PROCON (No more politics, I promise!)
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To: Spirochete

Islam is stuck in the Middle Ages and the last paragraph of this article is stuck on liberal stupidity.


5 posted on 06/16/2008 4:03:30 PM PDT by peeps36 (Politician = Corrupt Degenerate Loser = Ted, Nancy, Barry, Jack and Many More)
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To: ZX12R
Are you kidding?

“Those who make Islam responsible for kidnappings, suicide attacks, car bombs and beheadings carried out by a few blind extremists ought at the same time to condemn Christianity or Judaism for the barbarous maltreatment of prisoners, the air strikes and tank attacks carried out by the US Army - several 10,000 civilians have been murdered in Iraq alone - and the terrorism of the Israeli army of occupation in Palestine.”

More of Kung's outmoded moral equivalency at its most rancid. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6 posted on 06/16/2008 4:05:18 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: forkinsocket

The ideas of Sufism represent a possible evolutionary path for Islam, but they seem unlikely to catch on as a mass movement, and might not be that compatible with the modern world either.

But then, no religion with any real intellectual content is entirely compatible with the modern world.


7 posted on 06/16/2008 4:09:28 PM PDT by proxy_user
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To: forkinsocket

I’m always amused to see two pages of ink wasted to make an argument that could be won with a bumper sticker.


8 posted on 06/16/2008 4:11:27 PM PDT by RavenATB
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To: forkinsocket

I’m always amused to see two pages of ink wasted to make an argument that could be won with a bumper sticker.


9 posted on 06/16/2008 4:11:31 PM PDT by RavenATB
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To: forkinsocket

“But he also outlines why he is hopeful that the present problems around radicalisation within Islam can be resolved”

solution: whack & stack


10 posted on 06/16/2008 4:13:01 PM PDT by 4buttons
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To: hinckley buzzard
Are you kidding?

No, I wasn't kidding. There are some profound admissions in this article. It's only the last part that gets silly and far from reality. We are not at war with a billion Muslims, are we?
11 posted on 06/16/2008 4:16:39 PM PDT by ZX12R
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To: forkinsocket

They actually had to get an expert to state the obvious.


12 posted on 06/16/2008 4:18:31 PM PDT by puppypusher (The world is going to the dogs.)
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To: forkinsocket

Islam is stuck on stupid!


13 posted on 06/16/2008 4:22:02 PM PDT by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all.....)
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To: forkinsocket
"Islam is stuck in the Middle Ages, says leading interfaith expert..."

Nailed It

14 posted on 06/16/2008 4:22:48 PM PDT by musicman
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To: proxy_user

Through history Sufis have made Jihad. In Kashmir the Jihad and killing is done by Sufi Muslims.


15 posted on 06/16/2008 4:30:21 PM PDT by dennisw (We have an idiocracy not a democracy)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: forkinsocket

How about if, instead of building bridges to islime, we just spend our energy eradicating it? We’re not trying to build bridges to cancer and syphillis, are we? We don’t try to mind-meld with cockroaches or rabid dogs, do we? So why would we waste our time with a murderous cult that endorses behavior so barbaric it fell out of favor among civilized people half a millennium ago?


17 posted on 06/16/2008 5:03:53 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: forkinsocket

Somebody is going to be receiving death threats from the Religion of Peace.


18 posted on 06/16/2008 5:07:59 PM PDT by wastedyears (Like a bat outta Hell.)
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To: forkinsocket

Prof. Kung misplaces the problem. Orthodox Christianity has not undergone any ‘reformation’, but is hardly laying about trying to demolish modernity.
(Much though we would like to resist forcible imposition of secular humanism a la George Soros’s “Open Society”.)

The potentially inerradicable problems with Islam stem from its adoption of a particular hermeneutics—the notion of abbrogation, in which later ‘revealed’ suras of the Quran (always the warlike ones) abbrogate the earler peaceable suras, and from its adoption of occasionalist ontology, in which every event (even, now that they know about such things, subatomic reactions) occurs by the direct will of Allah. The former justifies violent reaction against any critique or contradiction of the version of Islamic doctrine held by the particular Muslim, the later destroys any basis for science, any motivation for effort in commerce, or any other domain other than pursuit of Muslim piety, and leads to the fatalistically shrugged ‘Inshallah’.


19 posted on 06/16/2008 5:18:26 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: IronJack

I second IronJack’s motion!

All those in favor say AYE!


20 posted on 06/16/2008 5:20:14 PM PDT by 2111USMC
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To: 2111USMC
[disguised high-pitched voice]: "Aye!"

[lower voice]: "Aye!"

[murmur of general approval]: "Aye! Aye! Aye! ..."

Then it's settled. Reserve your parking place in what used to be Riyadh.

21 posted on 06/16/2008 6:03:40 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: forkinsocket

>>Professor Hans Kung, a leading Roman Catholic and theologian from Germany

Who was excommunicated by JPII.


22 posted on 06/17/2008 4:47:52 AM PDT by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners.)
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To: PROCON

I haven’t seen that one before, it’s good. LOL.


23 posted on 06/17/2008 6:05:19 PM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (Elected Republicans don't have even the survival instincts of an amoeba.)
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