Sunday, April 15, 2007


I have substantially redrafted and added to an earlier review article about Kenneth Cragg, including two of his more recent books, in the culture and review section of Ekklesia: Muslims, Christians and the global human challenge.

In addition to developing a fascinating Christian interpretation of Islam which he then offers back in friendship to Muslims, recognising both points of contact and significant differences, so Cragg has also tried to forge a new kind of relationship betwen 'the religious' and 'the secular' (to use two masively overgeneralised current categories).

"Just as he illustrates so tellingly how ideological secularism is (quite literally) incomprehensible from the perspective of Islam, so many secularists will want simply to reverse [the] sub-title [of one of his books] so as to render it ‘divine meaning in human question’, and thus dispose of God. The author is well aware of this challenge. What we do with the divine Name is crucial for him. His response, however, is not some unfeasible pan-religious apologetic. Nor is it over-accommodation to populist critiques of religion which have failed to take it seriously. Instead he concentrates on exposition of 'the good' (starting from particular traditions) on the one hand, and the allocation of different (but shared) ethical responsibilities, on the other. In the same way that Cragg has humbly walked with other religions and cultures in order to discover both common hope and divergence among them, so he courteously invites those to whom faith is anathema to reconsider how human beings and the world might be positively reconstrued by what they reject."

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