Medina Muslims, Mecca Muslims, Reformist Muslims and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has published a very helpful Op-Ed piece in the Boston Globe taken from her new book coming out. She distinguishes between Mecca Muslims and Medina Muslims, a most helpful approach. Mecca Muslims identify with Mohammad’s first years when Islam was without political and military power, a more spiritual message, as it were. Medina Islam comes after Mohammad moved to Medina and became a political leader with the force of arms. If you read the Qur’an, these are clearly two distinct phases and messages. Of course, there is a third group, Reformist Muslims who insist that Islam has to come into the modern age.

I teach another class in World Religions beginning next week. This article will prove helpful.

“Protective Strategies and the Prestige of the ‘Academic’: A Religious Studies and Practice Theory Redescription of Evangelical Inerrantist Scholarship

Peter Enns just blogged about this article authored by Stephen L. Young (ABD doctoral student, Brown University, Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean. I have read portions and mean to go back and engage it more carefully.

Essentially the argument is that when it comes to conservative Evangelical scholarship they (we) want to have our cake and eat it, too. In responding to historical criticism inerrantists have a significant task – to prove that all historical assertions and meanings are true and using the discipline of historical criticism to do so. But Yong’s assertion is that the game is rigged in their favor. Here is a portion of Young’s Abstract of his article.

This article examines how Evangelical Christian inerrantist scholars theorize their biblical scholarship and its relation to the broader academy, highlighting (1) their self-representation as true academics, and (2) the ways they modulate historical methods to prefer interpretive options that keep the Bible inerrant. Using these characteristics of inerrantist theorizing, the article redescribes their scholarship in terms of the religious studies rubrics of “protective strategies” and “privileging” insider claims.

Enns thinks “the scholarly world may be beginning to look more carefully at inerrantist biblical scholarship.”

I have never fixated on inerrancy though I have a high confidence in the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. For me it has always been an invitation to bogus scholarship to make a name for itself even while saner and more intelligent Evangelical minds get left in the dust. Intellectually I am of the inerrantist mindset but emotionally I withdraw from a large part of the inerrantist crowd who whip up crowds into a frenzy at conferences and in books.

In the midst of it all the Bible lives because its Jesus lives. The Book cannot be buried.

Winsome Words 3/21/15

Exclusiveness and temperamental dislike are responsible for a great many sins against brotherly love, and must be fought down by every true follower of our Lord. When men are left to themselves, they gravitate into mutually exclusive groups composed of congenial classes or of congenial types. But Christianity steps in and breaks up these little sets, in order to blend them into one varied and splendid whole. Charles H. Brent (1862-1929)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s New Book Coming Out Later This March

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a new book coming out later this month that I recommend to you. “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.” Ali is no longer a Muslim but fully a secularist, but she has the inside story on the dynamics of Islamic culture, particularly its treatment of women. Her style is deliberate, reasoned, calm when contrasted to Brigitte Gabriel. I play a video of Ali’s for my World Religions class. Recently she was disinvited from Brandeis University as a speaker when some students protested her as a racist and religious bigot. Caused quite a firestorm. One would think a woman who speaks for religious freedom and against oppression of women would be most welcome. It was not to be. She handled it all with class.

Here is a NYT’s interview with Ali.