[lit-ideas] Re: More on Bigoted Muslim Cab Drivers

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2010 20:22:29 -0800

Ah . . . well . . . We probably have different experiences here.  In my case
my contacts were mostly pastors and seminary students.  We argued theology.
I had occasion to study the history of Christian Fundamentalism, for
example, during our debates.  Christian Fundamentalism isn't closer to early
Christianity.  It was, as we know it today, founded by John Darby, an
Anglo-Irish evangelist who lived from 1800 to 1882.  He had more of a
lasting influence on the U.S. than on Ireland or England.  He influenced
Louis Chafer who wrote a Fundamentalist Systematic Theology and also founded
Dallas Theological Seminary.  Actually it is anachronistic to call it
Fundamentalism before about 1900 when a series of books called "The
Fundamentals" were written.  They called themselves "Dispensationalists."
The Fundamentals were written as a response to Liberal Theology which was
influenced by Germanic Theology.   They claimed to want to get back to "The
Fundamentals" of Christianity.  A number of Conservative Christian churches
were with them for a while, but the Dispensationalists ended up with the
Pentecostalism and the Charismatics grew out of or were heavily influenced
by Dispensationalism.  The difference is that Dispensationalists, say
Baptist Dispensationalists, do not believe the "gifts" are for today, but
Pentecostals and Charismatics do.
In the case of Islamic Fundamentalism, Youssef M. Choueiri has an excellent
study in his book Islamic Fundamentalism.  There is a claim that they have
gone back to the original teachings of the Quran and Hadiths, but this is a
modern attempt to approximate that history.  They do not have continuity
with the traditional teachers.  Still, it is a weighty argument to say they
are taking the Quran "literally."  Christian Fundamentalists make much of
that claim as well.  Literality is equated with truthfulness.  Those who
won't take the Quran or Bible "literally" are accused of "spiritualizing its
truths away."   In the case of the Christian Fundamentalists, they want to
take prophecy "literally" in order to support the eschatological scheme John
Darby originated.
In the case of Islamic Fundamentalists they want to take teachings literally
that were ameliorated over the years by Islamic imams.  You do not find the
harshness in the traditionalists that you do in modern Islamic
Fundamentalists.  It is hard to argue against the Islamic Fundamentalists
because the Quran really does say what they say it does.  
Islamic Fundamentalism was solidified in the Arab world by Sayyid Qutb of
the Muslim Brothers who was put to death, if memory serves, in about 1965.
The Iranian form of Islamic Fundamentalism was formalized by Ruhollah
Khomeini, and the Pakistan and Afghanistan version by Maududi who influenced
the Deobandi School which in turn created the Taliban.  Back behind Sayyid
Qutb are the Muslim Brothers who were influenced by the Wahhabis.  The
teachings of Sayyid Qutb most concern us in the West because he taught that
Mohammad's Jihad had been interrupted after the Righteous Imams died off.
There was a great falling away, an apostasy.  But the followers of Qutb's
teachings have returned to the fundamentals of Mohammad's teachings.  They
have resumed the Jihad which involves killing infidels and those Muslims who
have apostatized.  
Saudi Arabian money has been behind Islamic schools in a huge number of
places.  Saudi Arabian money has been behind several madrassas here in the
U.S.  They claim not to be terroristic, but their adherence to Sharia Law is
Fundamentalist in form and it is but a short step from that to Sayyid Qutb's
Jihad.  Many have taken that step.  So yes, the Wahhabi Fundamentalists
don't advocate blowing anything up, but they are incompatible with
Westernism.  The cabby who refused to let a dog into his cab would be
practicing Sharia Law that consistent with Wahhabism.  Just because you
practice Sharia Law doesn't mean you want to blow anything up.  But the
earlier cabby who reported to a Guardian reporter that he worked part of a
year as a cabby in East London and the rest as a fighter against NATO forces
in Afghanistan is more an activist of the Sayyid Qutb stripe.
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of John Wager
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2010 7:05 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: More on Bigoted Muslim Cab Drivers
Reading Lawrence's response, it occurs to me that I'm not making as much
sense as I hope to here.  There is a fundamental difference between
fundamentalism and generic "radicalism." A "fundamentalist" is someone who
takes all truths to be historical, material truths based on a literal
reading of some particular scriptural sources.  Muslim terrorists don't seem
to me to be particularly "fundamentalist" in this sense, at least based on
cursory reading of the Qu'ran. Neither do Christian survivalists.  Both seem
to be warped reactions to a felt lack of power couched in religious terms
rather than a genuine religious movement. 
I was thinking about Islamic "fundamentalists" as those Muslims who would
like to make the Qu'ran the foundation of law, not those Muslims who were
trying to blow up innocent civilians.  I could understand that a Muslim
fundamentalist might think it reasonable (even if I see it as misguided) to
try to institute Sharia as the foundation of law; I can't understand how a
suicide bomber can justify their actions under any rational conception of
Islam, and I see those who try to do so as rejected by Muslim
"fundamentalists."  Both fundamentalists and terrorists may be dangers to
society, but they are different dangers.
Lawrence Helm wrote: 
A small number of CF whackos kill abortionists without the blessings of the
Church.  As to McVeigh, I don't recall that he was a CF.  He was politically
paranoid.  In the case of the MF the religions commands its followers to:
kill the infidel if you really want to go to paradise.  You've got to
differentiate between actions the CF condemns and actions the MF approves.
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Veronica Caley
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2010 5:17 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: More on Bigoted Muslim Cab Drivers
Regarding CF and Lawrence's preference for them over Muslim extremists:
Or, they will set off bombs at the Olympics in Atlanta.  Or, kill
gynecologists who perform abortions, legally, and sometimes on ten year
olds.  Or blow up the abortion clinics and kill and maim employees.  Or they
will blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City.  Or, verbally attack and
incite against a moderate Protestant fundamentalist who urges caring for the
unfortunate among us.  On TV, of course, for maximum impact.  Or the
Catholic Conference of Bishops inserting themselves into government policy
re reproductive rights of non-Catholic women.  I am not sure weighing
degrees of evil is a good way to think about these things.  Which of course
is best judged by the victims.
Veronica Caley

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