The head of the Turkish Diyanet, which is the central office for religious affairs for Turkey and is one of the most important in the Muslim world, just stood up to Turkish President Erdogan and said that Islam cannot be reformed or updated:
Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş has said the words Islam and reform should not appear in the same sentence, but that the interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence, referred to as “fiqh,” could be updated.
“It is not correct to put the words of Islam and reform next to each other in any way. But Fıqh is always subject to update and needs to be updated,” he said on March 12 during a program broadcasted by CNN Türk.
“There are constants in Islam and there are also variables. With time, judgements may also change. We indicate that judgements may sometimes change because there is a need for that,” Erbaş said, emphasizing that time required updates in “fiqh,” but not in “Islam.”
Indicating that the most important two sources of Islam were the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammed, referred to as “Sunnah,” he said these two sources would preserve their “universality,” “inalterability” and “stability.”
Erbaş’s comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments on the necessity for an “update” of Islamic regulations.
“You cannot implement provisions dating back 14 or 15 centuries … Carrying out the regulations and traditions of a specific society at a specific date can only spoil them,” Erdoğan said on March 8. But one day later, on March 9, the president said that it was not “reform that was sought” in Islam, but rather he had tried to underline the importance of “adapting” religious practices to current historical and social conditions.
Both Erdoğan’s and Erbaş’s comments came amid criticisms of specific Islamic preachers, who recently made the headlines about their controversial remarks prompting violence against women.
“We, as the Directorate of Religious Affairs, reject every kind of interpretation and thought that condones violence against women. A woman is a mother and she is the most important creature, someone who stands by a human in every point [in their lives] and helps them. There is not one single source in either our Prophet’s teachings or in Islam that condones violence against women,” he said. (source)
Meanwhile across the Atlantic Ocean, the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts has decided to drop it’s knight mascot because of its ties to “violence” and “the Crusades”:
A month after college leadership decided to keep the college’s “Crusader” nickname, Holy Cross President Rev. Philip L. Boroughs announced in a message this week the school will drop its knight mascot.
In a letter to alumni, students, faculty and staff, the Rev. Boroughs said the Crusader knight, which adorns much of the college’s paraphernalia, “inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and the violence of the Crusades.”
“This imagery stands in contrast to our stated values,” he said. “Over the coming months, the college will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery.”
In its place, Holy Cross will adopt an interlocking HC on a purple shield as its primary logo. The college will also retire its costumed knight mascot, according to the president.
“I understand these decisions will be a disappointment to some of you but I trust our community’s support for Holy Cross and for our athletic teams will continue unwaveringly,” Rev. Boroughs said.
The phase-out of the knight mascot is the latest chapter in the college’s internal debate over its controversial nickname. Earlier this year, the student newspaper decided to change its name from the Crusader to the Spire; last fall, college leadership embarked on a campaign to reassess the Crusader name for the entire school as well.
In early February, however, Rev. Boroughs and the college’s trustees announced they had decided to keep the name, pointing out the distinction that Holy Cross’s identity as crusaders is different from the historical depiction of them as religious invaders.
In his latest message to the Holy Cross community, Rev. Boroughs said the college’s current and former students have given a more positive meaning to the nickname.
“Our students spend their spring breaks working with the poor and marginalized in Haiti, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Appalachia and recent grads generously join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Teach for America and the Peace Corps,” he said. “Our alumni become teachers, doctors, researchers, government officials, religious and priests, and advocates for the transformation of society through education, social service and business. These are just a few examples of what it means to be a Crusader today.”
Some on campus, however, were not happy with the decision to keep the nickname, and worried that remaining Crusaders would make the college seem unwelcoming to non-Christians. Last month dozens of students and faculty members signed a letter to Rev. Boroughs criticizing the move and suggesting, among other steps, that Holy Cross drop the knight mascot.
“He is a symbol of religious intolerance directly tied to the violent medieval Crusades, not a person pursuing peace and justice,” the letter said. “Far from distancing ourselves from our Catholic and Jesuit roots, changing the mascot would allow the community to more appropriately and accurately reflect the values, ideals and call of that faith tradition.”
Through its public spokesman, the college on Thursday said it would not have any further comment about the decision to move on from the knight mascot. (source)
The evils of Islam are well-known and documented, and the truth of Christianity is even better proven. Why then, would Christians choose to abandon their school mascot over fears it “might” offend somebody, while the Muslims will stand up for and defend their religion in its entirety?
The answer is because of faith and integrity, because the majority of common Muslims actually believe in Islam, while the majority of common Christians do not believe in Christ.
What does it mean to be a Christian? It means to be a follower of Christ and of His teachings.
What does it mean to be a Muslim? It means to be a follower of Mohammed and of his teachings.
Regardless of what religion a person believes in, what matters most is that a person lives the faith he believes in a tangible way. Some people will live what they believe better than others do, and some will simply not care at all, choosing the name of religion but without subscribing to their demands. What matters in any religion are the people who believe, because if a person practices a religion yet does not believe in it, there is no point in continuing to practice it. It would be similar to holding on to something one does not use but takes up space.
The Pew Research Forum found in 2013 that when asked about major social issues- abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, alcohol consumption, fornication, and prostitution- all of them were a majority opposed in the entire Muslim world. The least opposed item was abortion among Central Asian Muslims at 61%. For homosexuality, the least opposition to homosexuality was in south Asia at 79%:
The Muslim world has many problems and there is much immorality among the people. However, the study reflects a trend that there is at least accepted among the people an idea of a morality based in Islam that needs to be adhered to because if one is a Muslim, these are the things that a person must believe. Contrast this with the Christian in the USA, who even back in 2013 had a majority supporting homosexuality that has continued to grow steadily over the last five years:
Homosexuality is the polarizing issue of the day. Islam, euthanasia, and even abortion are not as polarizing as the LGBT are, and this is determined by simply looking at what people get most upset over. If a man criticizes the LGBT, there is a strong chance he will incur the wrath of people online and offline, he will lose friends, and he could face prospects of unemployment or even prosecution for “hate speech.”
So, what has been the result between Christians and Muslims worldwide?
In the Western world, the trend for Christians has been to make “excuses” for the LGBT. With the notable exception of most sub-saharan Africans and groups within the Slavic world as well as Spanish-speaking world, it is completely accepted. Western Europe and the entire Anglosphere is a complete loss, as Christians there overwhelming support the LGBT.
The Muslim world on the other hand is not so. While there is a lot of homosexuality in Islam that happens, and as we have noted, Islam is incredibly homosexual-friendly, a majority of the people there are still opposed to it. There is no formal embrace of sin and Islamic apostasy in the Muslim world as in the formerly Christian world.
But moving beyond homosexuality, the pattern is clear, because on each major social issue there is far more division among “Christians” than unity, while the opposite can be said about Islam.
Am I saying that Christianity is going to “disappear”? No.
Am I saying that Islam is “right”? No.
I am saying that the crisis of faith that has overtaken the Western world and the areas under its influence that began a century ago, whose roots go back centuries before but became apparent around the time of the First World War, is being progressively realized closer to its natural end. This end is the complete destruction of what little remains of Christian civilization and the weakening of the Church through heresy, apostasy, and outright persecution to such a point that God Himself will have to intervene to stop it from being completely destroyed.
No one knows when Christ will return, but it is not man’s job to try and “hasten” it by encouraging vice. Man’s job as a Christian is to live righteously and follow the Faith in pursuit of the eternal life promised in Christ.
That said, a return to “tradition”- the belief in following the wisdom of those who came before and building upon this instead of acting on one’s own impulses, is necessary. There are many people who want to do this, and it is good.
At the same time, Christians need to take a lesson from the Muslims, and to be as loud, bold, stubborn, and devoted to their beliefs as the Muslims are. To this, Christians need to ignore the cultural ethos of the times and choose to stand for their Faith in the way their ancestors would have if they are going to survive in society.
This means saying and doing things that people will not like.
This means being “as crafty as a serpent and as innocent as a dove” as Jesus advised in the Gospels.
This means taking the economic and intellectual preparations necessary to survive potential forms of harassment that will be used against anybody who speaks out in today’s society.
There are many people of good will who do not speak up because they are afraid of losing not friends, but their jobs and being unable to pay their bills or care for their families.
The people who hate the Church and want to see the destruction of Christianity know this, and they do not hesitate to use it against Christians.
Why else would debt be promoted to such a large percentage of society, if not just to make money, but to control people so that out of fear of losing the ability to provide for themselves they submit passively?
Why else would there be such ridiculous “Human Resources” departments and regulations in businesses, if not to serve as conduits of behavior modification?
Many Muslims in the world are poor people, and poor people who have little do not have much to lose.
The Western world has been blessed with material goods, but those material goods have become a curse for many as the fear of losing them has become more important than telling the truth.
It is already clear that many Christians will side with immoral causes against their own faith if it is politically or socially expedient. What matters is if you are going to be one of such people, and if not, how to protect yourself at least on some basic level as best as one can.
It is true that the Muslims are “favored” in society today, as well as the LGBT. However, this situation happened because of the apathy of Christians to practice what their religion preaches regardless of what anybody else thinks.
People can criticize the Muslims for their actions, but to the credit of the Muslims, much of the dysfunction one sees from is on account of their belief in Islam. To the contrary, much of the dysfunction today in the Western world is a result of the apathy of Christians seeking the approval of men before pursuing truth. The result is that the Muslims will stand up for the heresy of Islam while Christians will exchange the truth of the Faith for a false social approbation.
It is true that one cannot save the world, but helping one’s neighbor starts with helping oneself, and the way one helps oneself is to seek God and His truth completely, and to speak it boldly, intelligently, and skillfully about that which none dare speak.