Since writing the article that appeared in last month's Ethical Spectacle , some related information has come to my attention. An article appeared in the Los Angeles Times of 10/13/2007, entitled "Christianity's image taking a turn for the worse -- Most young non-Christians have a negative perception of the religion, and even some Christians agree, study says." In part, the article stated:
"As part of the monthlong [Ramadan] observance, some imams in Southern California preached on nonviolence. Some based their remarks on talking points shared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. One example:
"All Muslims around the world need to challenge not just those committing atrocities, but also the philosophy and political doctrine used by these cowards to justify their murderous deeds; because invoking Islam to commit violence, or harming/killing of any innocent people is reprehensible; and those who showcase this terror as an act of protest are equally complicit in these crimes."
"Also, on Thursday more than 130 Muslim clerics and scholars from around the world called on Christian leaders to recognize similarities between Islam and Christianity as a way of fostering mutual understanding and respect between the two faiths."
I found this encouraging and visited the web site of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (www.cair.com) in hopes of getting more information. There are a number of thought-provoking articles on the site, well worth reading. The general tenor was of disassociation of mainstream Islam from the extremists. However, there is still a great lack of specifics that non-Muslims can examine and make up their own minds.
I still look forward to discovering exactly how both the extremists and the mainstream Muslims who deplore the extremists can both rely on the same holy book and see the world so differently. Just saying "We're different from them" isn't enough. I don't say this out of any accusation of insincerity, but being of a scientific bent, I'd like to see the evidence.
Bruce A. Clark
Wonderful piece on lying.
Linked to it on my blog.
The Dead is one of my favorite short stories. We could have a longer discussion about why it resonates. The author of the essay in the Spectacle (you?) makes a nice comparison to Proust's evocation of memory, and the way Joyce accomplishes a similar effect so succinctly. I especially like:
When one passes a certain age--thirty-five or forty at a minimum-- and is able to talk about things which happened twenty years ago when one was an adult or almost, a different mood sets in. If a person or thing was important enough to you at a certain time, it will always form a part of your surroundings.
Kudos on your literate site and mission. Persevere.