Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

Islam and Christianity Their Respective Roles in Civilizational Clashes

Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

Islam and Christianity Their Respective Roles in Civilizational Clashes

Article excerpt

Introductory Points

* Historically there are many conflicting points between Eastern and Western civilization. These conflicting points lasted after Islam between the Western and Islamic Civilizations (Crusade Wars and Colonialism and so forth). At first glance, it seems this historical conflict constituted and made essential conflict between Islam and the West so that there are no way to release from civilizational clashes. On the face of it, it seems impossible to go beyond determined history and to escape from an historically inevitable fate, the destiny of war and slaughter.

* On the other hand, there are a few connecting and maybe constructive points between the West and Muslim communities. Considering these points might open new perspectives in the relationship between Islam and the West (for instance, Age of Translation 750 to about 900 AC).

The Question

* What is the main origin of Islam-West clashes over history?

* And what about contemporary possible clashes between Iran-US (as a sample of Islam and the West)? Is it a religious cause, a cultural cause, or a political cause?

Historical Origins of Clashes

* Fundamental difference in the history of Western Civilization and Islamic civilization, and also some significant difference between the history of Islam and history of Christianity. Different place of religion in each civilization (centrality of Islam in Islamic civilization and marginality of Christianity in the Western Civilization.) This is a theological hole between Islam and the West

* The identity of every civilization arises from the central component of civilization. In order to see what separates Islamic civilization from the Western one, it is a very key point to take the central factors of civilizations into account. This is very decisive matter in tracing the causes of clashes between the Islamic civilization and Western civilizations over history.

* Historical differences such as these could push each civilization to essential conflict and clash.

* In addition, there are some hate-points between Muslims and Western politicians that put psychological and emotional distance between two respective civilizations and between Iran and the US.

* Nevertheless, I think the centrality of Islam and marginality of Christianity in civilization arises from theology and culture simultaneously. Secular culture pushes Christianity (and Islam in the West) into the margin, and the mystical and spiritual culture in the East keeps Islam (and Christianity in Muslim world) in the Center. The clash is between secular and spiritual cultures.

* Another very important point is that Islam is not recognized by Christians as a divine religion, while Islam (and the Quran) recognizes Christianity as a divine religion and Jesus as a divine and fully respected prophet.

* From the Islamic view, there is no essential and fundamental gap between Islam and Christianity. so by considering this religious and Abrahamic foundations it is possible to decrease tensions and frictions.

* Therefore, I think the clash is not between religion (Islam) and religion (Christianity), but between spiritual religion (Islam) and secular culture.

Contemporary Clashes (Iran and the US)

* There are some suggestions in the Quran to make theological and social connection with Ahlul-Kitab (including Jewish and Christian people)

* At the same time there are some verses in the Quran and also some principles in contemporary Iranian constitution that insist on resistance against foreign non-Muslim domination of Muslim communities.

* The Islamic logic behind this constitution is rejection of domination (Nafye Sabil) when the Quran says: " And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way (to triumph) over the believers." 4: 141

* The same point is insisted by Imam Khomeiny and also supreme leader Imam Khamanei when they consider the Iran-US relationship as a wolf and wheep relationship that continued over many years. …

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