Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Westernization of Islam

As Muslim nations are exposed to Western culture Islam is diminished. Muslim clerics and scholars know this. Thus, for them, the great threat to Islam is not Christianity but Western culture. Or, it is Christianity-as-equivalent-to-Western culture. This is what we see happening in Istanbul. And by “Islam” I do not mean “nominal Islam” but the real thing, which in religion always includes passion, devotion, and belief. This places the world in the weird situation of Europe becoming Islamified and some Muslim countries becoming westernized. The advance of Islamic culture in Western Europe is real and, unless Europeans start becoming fruitful and seriously multiplying, this advance seems inexorable. On the other hand the advance of Western culture in certain Islamic nations is real and, unless these nations tighten their grip on this and begin banning the artifacts and music and trinkets of Western values, this advance seems inexorable. What does this mean for serious Christians (as opposed to nominal ones)? I think it means these two things: 1) Serious European Christians have an opportunity to reach immigrant Muslims for Christ by their love and witness; and 2) the doors are opening in those Muslim nations that allow Western stuff to get in. The basic problem will be dis-identifying Christianity with Western culture.