Tag Archives: Islam

Theological Conversations


Professor Christian Troll, a Jesuit priest, has engaged in the studies of Islam since 1961. He is an influential scholar and a very well respected participant and Muslim-Christian conversation for decades. His books and numerous articles are a quest for mutual understanding. His website, Muslims Ask, Christians Answer is invaluable for both Christians and Muslims who want to come to a deeper respect and understanding of their respective faith traditions. 

Muslims Ask, Christians Answer http://aam.s1205.t3isp.de/?L=1

The same material is available in paperback,
http://www.amazon.com/Muslims-Christians-Answer-Christian-Troll/dp/1565484304

Article: “Muhammad – Prophet for Christians also?”
http://www.con-spiration.de/texte/english/2007/troll-e.html

Towards common ground between Christians and Muslims? Professor Troll writes a response to “138 Muslim religious leaders call for reconciliation and cooperation with Christians.” His response is here:
http://www.acommonword.com/response-from-prof-dr-christian-troll-s-j/

Professor Troll’s main website: http://www.sankt-georgen.de/lehrende/troll.html (in German)

ISIS’ Apocalyptic Endgame

In an article by Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds, he says…

What motivates them is neither insanity nor political radicalism. They are driven by a powerful religious impulse — and a craving for a bloody, apocalyptic showdown with the West….

ISIS will wage war, and wage it constantly, in the hope of luring the United States into a massive invasion, in the hope of provoking a final battle that will usher in the end of the world….

This does not mean that the United States should rule out ground forces unconditionally. There may come a time, and it may come soon, when ISIS’ brutality will reach the level of genocide, and it would be a crime not to intervene.

Nevertheless, any decision to intervene should be taken with the knowledge that we will be giving ISIS the very battle for which they are yearning.

Another article worth reading is by Peggy Noonan, An Administration Adrift on Denial .

Enlightening: What ISIS Really Wants

UPDATED: Iraq Patriarch Protests New Iraqi Law Targeting Children

UPDATE to this post: in a positive development, that part of the law has been retracted. More details here: http://dzehnle.blogspot.com/2015/11/iraq-will-not-require-christian.html .

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad said that the legislation, part of a new national identity card law approved by the Iraqi parliament on Oct. 27, would “oblige children under 18 to automatically embrace the Muslim religion,” even if only one parent decides to convert to Islam.

Please read the rest at Aleteia.

Theological Conversations

In light of all the political instability in the Middle East, Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds of Notre Dame gives us some good theological understanding of ISIS as an apocalyptic vision of Islam. The following articles by Professor Reynolds can help us understand more about this turmoil in the Middle East.

Recommended articles and resources:

“My research is focused on the study of the Quran in general and the relationship of the Quran to the Bible in particular…. A secondary area of research is the relationship between Muslims and Christians through the centuries, including theology, culture and politics.”
http://news.nd.edu/news/59856-three-questions-with-gabriel-said-reynolds-quran-scholar/

ISIS’ apocalyptic vision of Islam
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/gabriel-reynolds-isis-apocalyptic-endgame-article-1.2132307

Why ISIS enslaves: It’s a religious thing
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/gabriel-reynolds-isis-enslaves-religious-article-1.1977179

Jesus the Muslim Hippie
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/12/jesus-the-muslim-hippie

“I Am A Christian, And I Will Remain A Christian”: What We Can Learn From Meriam Ibrahim
http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/06/i-am-a-christian-and-i-will-remain-a-christian

Evangelizing Islam
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2011/01/evangelizing-islam

 

Articles on this blog

https://thewonderoftruth.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/theological-conversations-2/

https://thewonderoftruth.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/theological-conversations/ : Good videos in this blog post.

Recommended books:

Ishmael Instructs Isaac: An Introduction to the Qur’an for Bible Readers (Connections)
http://www.amazon.com/Ishmael-Instructs-Isaac-Introduction-Connections/dp/0814658822

The Bible and the Qur’an
http://www.amazon.com/The-Bible-Quran-Jacques-Jomier/dp/0898709288

111 Questions on Islam: Samir Khalil Samir on Islam and the West
http://www.amazon.com/111-Questions-Islam-Samir-Khalil/dp/1586171550

Muslims Ask, Christians Answer
http://www.amazon.com/Muslims-Christians-Answer-Christian-Troll/dp/1565484304

Dialogue and Difference: Clarity in Christian-Muslim Relations (Faith Meets Faith Series)
http://www.amazon.com/Dialogue-Difference-Clarity-Christian-Muslim-Relations/dp/1570758565

The Story of Christianity
http://www.amazon.com/Story-Christianity-David-Bentley-Hart/dp/1623654165

The Emergence of Islam: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective | Fortress Press
http://fortresspress.com/product/emergence-islam-classical-traditions-contemporary-perspective

Finally, please see this video:

Syrian Archbishop: A Tsunami Has Hit His Country

‘Calling the war in Syria, and its resultant refugee crisis “a tsunami that has hit the country” a grieved and frustrated-sounding Archbishop Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Syriac Catholic Church, had some hard words for the West during a pastoral visit to Ottawa, Canada.’ Read the rest from the Syrian patriarch at Aleteia, and do read the linked article from Ottawa (in the Vancouver archdiocesan newspaper), where the archbishop was visiting.

Theological Conversations

Please join us each Wednesday evening for daily Mass at 5:30 p.m. and then at 6 p.m. for the ongoing theological presentations in the church commons area.

Three Religions of Abraham, Or Only One?
Professor Remi Brague, a professor of Arabic and religious philosophy at the Sorbonne, in his book On the God of the Christians (and on one or two others) points out that the “Abraham” that the three religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) would have in common is a vague abstraction. For Islam, “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but a true believer, and Muslim” Quran III, 67.

Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds of Notre Dame offers a short reflection on Abraham.
Abraham in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Professor Samir Khalil Samir is a Jesuit who is an author and professor at Saint Joseph University in Lebanon. He wrote a short book that I highly recommend, 111 Questions on Islam.

There also are two videos that I highly recommend:
The Radicalization of Islam and
Pope Benedict’s Regensburg talk.

Nebeel Qureshi offers several video lectures that can be beneficial in our ongoing theological conversation to try to understand the growing number of Muslims in the United States. First of all, Islam is more than simply the Quran, it is a way of life. Qureshi gives us in this lecture an insight into how the practice of Islam shaped his life until his conversion to Christianity as a young adult. Apologetics of the Quran.

At the beginning of the video he quotes from why Islam website devoted to bringing westerners to Islam. Their mission statement sums up our discussion last night of how Muslims understand their faith.

And I would recommend his lecture on the text of the Quran. The Text of the Quran.

This website, Why Islam, is a way the Muslims spread their mission to call people to their faith. The site gives a clear understanding of what they believe, as well as how they understand the Christian faith in relationship to Islam.

Theological Conversations

Join us at Sacred Heart Parish, Norfolk, Virginia, each Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. for our ongoing theological conversations, which begin immediately after the 5:30 p.m. Wednesday Mass each week.

The ancient legacy of the Christian faith in southern Turkey, Syria, and Iraq brings a richness to our understanding of Jesus. Although this ancient legacy may be hidden from our western eyes, it is a treasure to be discovered: a pearl of great price. This is a documentary movie, 197 minutes, “The Hidden Pearl.”

Learn about the Aramean people before and after Christianity, about their language, their culture, their religion and traditions. This documentary will also give you an insight into the culture into which Islam emerged in the 7th Century.
Click here to view: The Hidden Pearl

Our first three conversations on Christian-Islamic dialogue set forth the need to appreciate the world of the 7th Century in which Islam emerged.

Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds gives us a short introductory lecture provided here: Lecture by Prof. Gabriel Said Reynolds.

You may also enjoy exploring Professor Reynold’s webpage, which gives access to other well-informed resources: website for Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds.

When Islam emerged into what is today Iraq, Syria and Southern Turkey, the Muslims encountered a Syriac Christianity. Professor Sydney Griffith at Catholic University of America presents a very good lecture that helps us to gain access to the 7th Century world. Click here to listen (YouTube, but audio only) to the lecture: History of Muslim-Christian relations:

The purpose of our ongoing theological conversations is to gain an understanding of Islamic and Christian theological positions: where we agree and where we differ.

Dr. Nebeel Qureshi, who recently completed his doctorate at Oxford University in England, delivered a lecture on the Biblical witness of Jesus in conversation with the Quranic Jesus. 

The lecture is very spirited in that his purpose is apologetic, that is to give a reasoned defense of the Christian faith he professes. 
BBC interview with Dr. Nebeel Qureshi

Lecture by Dr. Nebeel Qureshi

And finally, here is the first three chapters from Professor Christian Troll of Munich, in which he offers a clear and simple presentation of getting a handle on the theological issues that are at stake in Islamic Christian dialogue.

Muslim Questions, Christian Responses (PDF file)

Understanding Islam from a Christian Perspective

At Sacred Heart parish in Norfolk, Virginia, we have started an ongoing theological discussion on the relationship between Islam and Christianity. If you are in the Tidewater area of Virginia, please join us at Sacred Heart on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 following daily Mass which begins at 5:30 p.m., for the next video presentation and discussion. All are welcome!

I encourage all readers to read/view the following links.

Linked below is a website titled “Christian Responses to Muslim Questions” from Professor Christian Troll of the University of Munich. Please review the first chapter, which will give you some insights into the subtext underlying the positions of the respective Muslim and Christian debaters.

Christian Response to Muslim Questions. The whole document is here in PDF form:
http://files.ctctcdn.com/05b06db0201/474db0fe-d25c-42d1-8aac-2ca9b74a1921.pdf

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? Christian vs Muslim Thinking. (William Lane Craig vs Shabir Ally)  A lengthy but worthwhile debate from McGill University, on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-9-vWtTcU8

We may begin to investigate some rich insights from Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds, Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame.  Here is a sampling of some of his essays.

Why ISIS enslaves:  It’s a religious thing
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/gabriel-reynolds-isis-enslaves-religious-article-1.1977179

Jesus The Muslim Hippie
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/12/jesus-the-muslim-hippie

Reading the Qur’an Through the Bible
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/11/reading-the-quran-through-the-bible

Back to Uzbekistan

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Before leaving Khujand I visited the modern mosque built during Soviet times.
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To the left of the Soviet mosque is a mosque and a mausoleum from 1394. Then there is a new mosque.
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During the Soviet era Islam was suppressed however since independence 1380 mosques have been built through private donations. My guide said it is expected wealthy people build mosques and so they have. This outpouring of construction is a sign of the rapid rebirth of Islam.

The early morning was spent in the Panchshanbe Bazaar which was by far the most animated thus far. Lots of smiles and welcome inviting me to sample food. And sample I did!
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The question: where you from? was like a litany. And when I said: “America” it was meet with a thumbs up and a smile. There were no shy folks but eager to have photos taken. You are made to feel so welcomed.

On out way out of the city to the border we stopped by three monuments.

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The warrior Timur Malik who battled against the Mongol invasion. This monument replaced that of Lenin which was relocated.

Then a monument that was dedicated to those Tajiks who lost their lives in the 10 year war from 1979 to 1989 when the pro-Soviet Afghan republic was threatened by the rebels. My guide pointed out that the US supported the rebel Mujahideen which after the war became the Taliban who were taught in the Saudi-backed madrassas. He said the Tajiks did not want to be involved in this Afghan civil war. Then they had to years later fight these same Islamic extremists who wanted to establish an Islamic republic.
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Then we saw the statue of Lenin that was relegated from prominence.
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After the border crossing, I went to Tashkent. This city was a major intersection of the caravan routes.

When imperial Russia arrived on the scene in the late 19th century they laid out a new city when they drained a swamp and established a new city they hoped would rival Saint Petersburg.

The new city is impressive. The boulevards are wide and treelined.

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My guide also took me on the subway. A travel companion remarked we were on TV to which the guide remarked the security is high. I noticed there are police all around in the metro. Ever since 1999 Islamic terrorists exploded car bombs. My tour guide said that they fear Islamic extremists so security is heavy.

The day concluded with a tour of the synagogue, a Russian church, and the Catholic church.
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Walking around the city you get the feel of a modern European city. ALthough it is predominately Muslim everyone dresses in western dress. Tomorrow I will explore the old city. When people heard I was going to central Asia there was concern for my safety since I would be so close to the Afghan border. I have felt perfectly safe and have been made to feel at home by the warm welcome I received wherever I have been so far.