No, says Philip Jenkins, one of the world’s most serious and best respected students of Christian history. Jenkins has chronicled as few others the story of Middle Eastern persecution and suppression of Christianity; his analysis of the relationship of modern religious life to ‘difficult’ texts in their scriptures — like just about everything he writes — strikes me as useful and profound.
Such an assumption itself is based on the crude fundamentalist formulation that everything in a given religion must somehow be authorized in scripture — or, conversely, that the mere existence of a scriptural text means that its doctrines must shape later history. When Christians or Jews point to violent parts of the Qur’an (or the Hadith) and suggest that those elements taint the whole religion, they open themselves to the obvious question: what about their own faiths? If the founding text shapes the whole religion, then Judaism and Christianity deserve the utmost condemnation as religions of savagery. Of course, they are no such thing; nor is Islam.
Read the whole thing for a frank and serious take on one of the vital questions of our time.
(And thanks to Mustafa Akyol for the tip!)