Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Inanity of the current "Islam" Debate

It is rather difficult to believe the inanity of the "conversation" going around about Islam right now.  It is fueled by a number of currents, some political and some cultural and some religious.   You have this huge disconnect about the President's faith -- he's a CHRISTIAN folks, not a Muslim.  It is fueled in part by at best misinformed people like Franklin Graham who go on CNN and say that Obama was born a Muslim because his father was a Muslim, and then when asked whether Obama is a Christian, gives this tepid answer -- when he knows the truth.  Then you have the hullabaloo surrounding the Cordoba House (now Parc51) Islamic Center (today I got an email declaring that she had been told by someone that Osama Bin Laden is funding it).  You have Newt Gingrich comparing Islam to the Nazi's.

Right now, we're in the midst of this "debate" where facts no longer seem to matter.  And so, I think Stephen Prothero, Professor of Religion at Harvard, is exactly correct when he responded to a question from CNN's John King as to whether the current conversation about Islam is helpful.  Prothero, who has a new book out (which I've not yet read) entitled God is not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World -- and Why Their Differences Matter, responded by saying that it's not helpful because the conversation about Islam is taking place at a "below kindergarten level."  

One of the reasons why the debate is so skewed is that Americans suffer from an intense form of religious illiteracy, and that is dangerous.  As Prothero demonstrates in his earlier book  Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't, is that most Americans don't even know the tenets of their own faith.  And if we're going to put an end to the misinformation, it's going to take those of us who are Christians to step up and say no to it. 

I think that Prothero's presentation on CNN is something that needs to be heard.  It's straightforward, pulls no punches, and gets to the bottom of the issue.  So, take a look:



H/T Media Matters

See my review of Prothero's book Religious Literacy. 

4 comments:

Ron Krumpos said...

Franklin Graham has been known to be critical of other religions. He is still upset that his invitation to National Prayer Day was revoked in May. See http://www.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2010/05/franklin-graham-prayer-pentagon-national-day-of-prayer/1

Gary said...

Do you liberals consider the Iranian President to be a Muslim? He is in the process of developing nuclear weapons to use against Israel and the USA.

With the start of fueling the reactor by the Russians, the clock has begun to tick down toward war in the middle east as Israel defends itself against Muslims.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Ron, yes there may be some sour grapes there -- and this is the very reason why his invitation was resdinded.

Gary, yes the President of Iran is a Muslim, but he doesn't represent all Muslims, ore even all Iranian Muslims! In fact, many Iranians like him about as much as you like President Obama!! And they are Muslims just like their president!

But you know Gary -- time after time, you prove my point.

Anonymous said...

Obama born a Muslim?.....But F. Graham was also born a Muslim!!!!!....According to the Quran, the word "Muslim" is not a label for a group of people but a state of being---as in "one who submits to God"----therefore, according to Islamic tradition, all human beings are born in a state of submission to God---or "muslim"---including F. Graham. We then grow into the traditions of our parents or community......