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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Islam - The Question that has to be Asked

One of the key characteristics of the Emerging Church is a move away from a reliance upon a propositional approach to evangelism. This move has been prompted by a perception that contemporary culture (post-modern/post-Christian) has reached a place where claims of absolutism are no longer accepted and personal experience and tolerance are the prevailing attitude when it comes to religious beliefs. It is characterised by the postmodern cliche "there's no such thing as absolute truth".

While thinking about this I was prompted to ask the question - if propositional Christianity is failing to win interest in Jesus Christ from our culture, why does Islam, a religion which uses an overtly propositional apologetic to win converts, seem to be growing in popularity among westerners around the world?

This is particularly interesting given the amount of bad press Islam has received post 9/11.

While I was researching this (I found it difficult to find much in the way of objective facts and figures on the web) I did come across an article, reprinted from a Western Australian weekend paper, posted on an Islamic website which raised some interesting points.

The report featured interviews with a number of western converts, asking what attracted them to Islam in the first place. The responses were similar in content - all said they were attracted to the sense of community that exists within Islam and all said they had rejected Christianity because of Islam's own propositional apologetic - railing against the historical accuracy of the Bible - and all said Islam's provision of a clear set of rules for life was attractive. One convert is reported as saying "In Islam, there's a rule for absolutely everything – how I eat my food, how I go to the toilet, how I get married, how I lend money".

Most of the interviewed converts seemed to have come from a Roman Catholic background. One found the lack of a heirarchy in Islam particularly attractive. He said "...with Islam ... there is no hierarchy above me, no priests, no bishops, no Vatican. Imams (holy men) lead you in prayer. But beyond that it's just you and Allah. You're talking directly to God, that simplifies things.".

There are some obvious points of interest for the emerging church in the comments made by the converts - not the least of which is the interviewees perception of a lack of authentic community in other religions (particularly Catholicism) and their otherwise unmet personal search for existential meaning in life.

But the one question that remains for me is: If contemporary Christianity is failing to reach the world because of its tendency to revert to a propisitional, truth based apologetical approach, why is Islam seemingly having so much success using very similar methods?

1 comment:

a very radical muslim said...

Insightful post. Please contribute to a debate taking place on my blog. Question: 'Is the world becoming increasing secular?'


Radical Muslim