Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership

Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership

Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership

Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership

Synopsis

"This book seeks to give form to a theology that hyphenates two traditions that have not only been in constant conflict during most of their historical encounters but are also presented as opposite blocks in the threatening 'clash of civilizations' at the beginning of the third millennium: Islam and Christianity. Based on experiences of dialogue between the three Abrahamic faiths, this book analyzes historical and contemporary processes of interreligious dialogue between Christians and Muslims in order to arrive at a concept of dialogue as 'mutual emulation'. It shows how, in their theologies of religious others, Judaism, Christianity and Islam have based their images of others on their self-images. This characteristic makes traditional theologies of religion quite unsuitable for interreligious dialogue. Consequently, the author of this book develops a model in which comparative theology and interreligious dialogue are connected by studying - as a Christian theologian - the theological and spiritual sources of his Muslim partners. These exercises in comparative Muslim-Christian theology comprise both the medieval (Aquinas, al-Ghazali, Rumi) and the modern periods (Said Nursi, Fethullah Gulen, Tariq Ramadan). An interlude on Teresa of Avila's poem Nada te turbe shows how Christians may recover important insights from their own tradition by reading these Muslim theological and spiritual sources."

Excerpt

Many books on the relation between the world of Islam and the West have been written since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Christians of all sorts seem to be embarrassed by the apparent enmity of small but vociferous groups of Muslims, and respond by expressing their feelings of estrangement. While I was writing this book on a sabbatical leave in the United States, my home country seemed to lose its fame for tolerance in an avalanche of religiously motivated murders and burning of mosques and schools. Muslims feel threatened while right-wing politicians try to restrict their freedom of religious expression in the name of the Western values of Enlightenment. Meanwhile, two out of three Dutch persons are afraid of Muslims, according to the most recent statistics in January 2005.

This book does not pretend to solve this problem directly, but it intends to indicate one of the possible ways toward a friture, more fundamental solution. Since Christianity and Islam are sister religions together with Judaism as their elder sister, they are part of the same history initiated by God in his call to Abraham. Therefore, they may be brought together in a comparative reading of some of their sources to enlighten the path of those Christians and Muslims who want to continue the tradition of honoring God by promoting human values.

Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology

The subtitle of this book, ‘Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology’, might seem to be quite pretentious indeed. Is it really possible to shape a form of theology that may hyphenate two theological traditions that have not only been in constant conflict during most of their historical encounters, but feature as opposite blocks as well in the threatening ‘clash of civilizations’ at the beginning of the third millennium? Indeed, I must say that I am often overwhelmed by the atmosphere of enmity that surrounds us in the Western world when talking about Islam and Muslims, even among theologians. But at the same time I am convinced that this enmity is orchestrated by mass media . . .

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