Medieval Beliefs (RELS 348)

In the article “The Christian Example for Modernizing Islam” by Kevin Madigan, The Wall Street Journal, published on January 29, 2015, the writer speaks about a recent massacre that took place in Paris. Since the Murderous event, not just the Jihadists are being called violent, illiberal, intolerant, and anti-Semitic but so is Islam. The writer goes on to speak about Medieval Christianity and compared it to current Islam. In the 16th and 17th century, reformers believed that dissidents deserved to be severely punished and even killed. It wasn’t until recently that the Roman Catholic Church in the 1960s began to reject medieval worldviews. It is now that it has finally begun to accept the idea that a modern citizen is free to be non-religious, instead of being persecuted for his different opinion on religion. Pope Francis was the first pope to say that individuals are free, or with association with others, to openly express his or her religious convictions, free from intimidation. According to this article the church has changed more from 1960-2000 than in the previous millennium. The publisher states that the changes that have taken place in Western churches over the past several centuries can suggest that similar changes may occur in the world of Islam. The article goes on to speak about how, many Muslims have started to reinterpret ancient traditions in light of modernity and begun quiet reformations. The author also believes that the West will have to be patient with Islam while it goes through these changes.

I agree with this Madigan’s opinion. Islam is not the first religion to have performed acts that have resulted in the death of innocents. All religions have done their fair share of harm, not that it is the right act, but it is part of medieval customs and beliefs that may eventually fade with time. Islam most likely will reform its extremist views and look beyond medieval ideas that it might be still carrying. As mentioned in the article already, many quite reformations have already begun to take place in Muslim societies.

In the text “the lust of knowing: the orientalists and their enemies”, Irwin mentions a story about Robinson Crusoe and Dracula in which he concludes that Christianity paid rather little attention to Islam, just as Islam paid rather little attention to Christian civilization. In comparison to the article and the story told by Irwin, we can see that religion was not a central issue and either civilization didn’t pay attention to one another. But in this article we can see that other religions have begun to target Islam and represent it as ‘violent, illiberal, intolerant, and anti-Semitic’ in comparison to other religions. Here we can see that as Western Christianity is transforming it is starting to pay attention to Islam, in order to bring changes to it.

Identifier: #sr



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