A thoughtful post on Christian/Muslim reconciliation

The writer of this is Quaker (I used to be) and a visiting scholar at Yale Divinity School. My personal take on any religion is “no, thanks,” but I am a firm supporter of freedom of religion. And of tolerance, defined as follows: I will tolerate you, your quirks, and your beliefs, if you will tolerate me, my quirks, and my beliefs, and if nothing you do imposes on the rights of others to life, liberty, and the pursuit of lawful happiness. I, in my part, will not impose on your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of lawful happiness.

I will not pretend to be someone I’m not in order to have you like me under false pretenses. I ask that you return the favor.

And I don’t tolerate child molesters, rapists, murderers, or factions of religions whose only happiness can be achieved if I am subsumed into their religion, or killed for not joining.

This is, I think, a reasonable definition of tolerance. It may not be perfect, but neither am I.

And with that thought, I give you Sarah Ruden writing for the Wall Street Journal on Yale’s Christian/Muslim Reconciliation Conference.

Some of what she had to say made me think of Talyn. Some of it made me think of Hawkspar.

Thanks to Jim for the link.

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4 responses to “A thoughtful post on Christian/Muslim reconciliation”

  1. Marc McDermott Avatar
    Marc McDermott

    Great post. It really gets your thinking. My personal philosophy on tolerance and various religions kind of boils down to something my dad always used to say: eat, drink, and be merry.

    Why spend time getting worked up over the differences between us; there are so many other things to live for. Don’t lose sleep over meaningless things, remember, eat drink and be merry!

    cheers all,

    marc mcdermott

  2. joela Avatar

    Happy holiday, Holly!

  3. RobertB Avatar

    It sounds as though the basic requirements for reconciliation were ignored here. The only thing I can think of is that the organiser probably knew nothing about Islam, and judged it by the sort of extreme position that would never be represented at a meetime like that. The sort of Muslim who thinks it’s wrong to have a long conversation with someone of the opposite sex would be about as likely to turn up as a fundamantalist Christian who thinks that everyone who disagrees with them goes straight to hell.

    I’m a Methodist, and I’ve been married to a devout Muslim for 14 years. We’ve argued about everything else, but never about religion, since the two have so much in common. Inevitably, I know loads of Muslim women. Some are stricter than others, some wear the hijab, others don’t. Not one of them has any inhibitions about talking to men. that’s not in the Qur’an, or the Hadith, or the Sunna.

    Obviously, we don’t grab each other physically, or display large areas of bare flesh. If they asked people attending the conference to observe that much, that would be reasonable. To impose it on people who have nothing to do with it, isn’t. To put restrictions on who they talk to is absurd.

  4. unxplaindfires Avatar

    Hey Holly

    Very interesting read. I agree with your sense of tolerance, though I tend (and this is a trait I willingly admit) to reject anything religious out of hand. It is a bit of closeminedess that I am working on, but I am not one for moral or ethical equivlance. Wrong is wrong no matter the culture of the criminal. I do not subscribe to the “scaredness of scared” either- that something can not be discussed simply because it is reflective of someone’s belief system.
    Sarah R. made a very intelligent arguement against the idea of such ambiguous equality in regards to schools of thought.
    Thanks for the post and for your refreshing honesty in who you are and what you believe.


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