Wednesday, August 17, 2005

There is an excellent op-ed in today's Guardian by...

There is an excellent op-ed in today's Guardian by the Anglican priest, Giles Fraser.  Fraser is a high church liberal, political leftie  and also a professional philosopher.  When he gets stuff wrong it is usually because he has mixed up his leftiness with his orthodoxy.  He is often not helped by Guardian sub-editors putting silly headlines on his articles.  Fraser is a short and powerful looking man with little hair and lots of brain.  He delivered an excellent sermon one Christmas when he described the birth of one of his children (a messy business as I know from recent experience) to hammer home the humanity of Jesus.  It is unlikely His birth was any quieter and sanitised than any other, especially given it happened in a stable and not a hospital.

Fraser's point in today's article is that Islam is already 'reformed' in the historical sense.  When people say Islam needs a 'Reformation', what they really mean is that Islam needs an 'Enlightenment' to render it quiet and harmless (and probably useless).  While we are right to worry about Islamic fanatics (and wrong to pretend that they are somehow not really Islamic), I am not sure Christians are wise to be calling for the neutering of Islam as a whole.  In many ways, it might be out best ally against the even more dangerous threat of extremist secularisation.  As for which of the two religions is the theologically correct, I am pretty confident that we can win that one using argument rather than violence.

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