This may well be one of the best arguments a muslim may have against Christians. How could God allow His society to lose God, while the muslims society continues to keep God in everyday life, politics, culture,…
The muslim world has lots of secularization. Syria, Turkey, Egypt - all are highly secularized.
Egypt is going to execute some muslims for killing non-muslims… which is actually against sharia.
The problem is that radical sects of Muslims go on rampages… and give the appearance of non-secularized states.
Ever heard the saying that 90% of the problem are caused by 10% of the population? As Aramis pointed out, there are actually Muslim countries which are pretty much secularized. The problem is that the media is focusing (sometimes unnecessarily so IMHO) on radical Muslim organizations and areas where they pretty much run the show.
Secularization in my opinion doesn’t have anything to do with which religion is dominant in a given country. Japan is not a historically Christian country and does not have a sizable Christian population, but this place is about as secularized as America, if even more so. So it’s not like secularization is just a thing going on in traditionally ‘Christian’ areas.
I don’t want to come off as sounding preachy or anything, but I’d just like to remind you folks that the world is not just made up of Europe and America.
And yet for some reason the non-religious nation of Japan has ensured abortion be illegal and but here in the west…
Are you kidding me? Lots of the Muslim world is secularized. I’d argue that most of the Muslim population of the Middle East IS secular, especially in the more opulent, oil-rich parts, and that saying you’re Muslim is the default cultural response, like “Irish Catholic” or “Israeli Jewish”.
I believe it’s partly due to changes in family structures in Western (hence largely Christian) societies. Muslims are more likely to hold tight to the extended family and so children have many adult family members around them, instilling values and cultural norms - including instruction in their faith.
For years I worked and lived in a part of the UK where Pakistani Muslims are the majority ethnic and religious group, and I saw this first-hand. Many people could learn a lot from the way they look after their older family members and care for their children.
The high suicide rate makes up for it. Abortion may be illegal in Japan, but it does allow it in certain cases by approved doctors, and the public perception is pretty much okay with it. And there’s also the contraceptive issue. It ain’t exactly paradise here either.
Why did the Jews start worshiping pagan gods? Why did God cast them out of Israel? This is nothing new.
The Muslim World is secularized, but the OP is right in that this is mostly a secularization from the top-down, rather than more from the bottom-up, as is the case in the West. The Muslim World is still a far more religious place than Europe and North America.
There was no Reformation in the Muslim world. Their religion stayed (comparatively) status quo compared to Christianity. Once authority, mysticism, and sacramental theology started to weaken in Europe, it provided a more ideal social & intellectual climate for other ideas to start developing as well. Also, a trend which is eternally echoed in history from the Old Testament, is that prosperity, although not evil in itself, generally makes society more susceptible to complacency and to become more secular. It shouldn’t be surprising that religious life became incrementally more strained as Christian lands gained empire & security. I have tea, chocolate, fine clothing, exotic fruits, guns, and real estate. Who is the Lord, that I should kneel before him?
I have a theory about this but I don’t have sufficient empirical data to prove it, it’s just interesting.
It basically comes down to Aristotle and the fact that Christianity and Judaism both embraced their Aristotlean midwives (Aquinas and Maimonides, respectively) while Islam rejected its midwife (Averroes).
These make for some interesting factoids because both Aquinas and Maimonides where influenced by Averroes. Aquinas differed with Averroes because he believed the insights of philosophy where universal while Averroes believed them to be only accessible to an elite. Either way though, we can say that Christianity and Judaism both absorbed more from the Islamic midwife of Aristotle than Islam did.
Unlike Christianity and Judaism, Islam had a neo-Platonism that fought back with its most notable scholar being Al-Ghazali. I think when historians, theologians and philosophers look back on this pivotal era most agree Islam went with Al-Ghazali while Christianity went with Aquinas and Judaism went with Maimonides.
In other words: modern Christianity and Judaism are both Aristotlean while Islam is more Neoplatonic.
How does this matter? It’s huge.
When the crusades re-introduced Aristotle to the west the elite who became familiar with him understood that his ideas were a powerful challenge to the prevailing medieval attitudes and modes of thinking which were highly superstitious. They understood one or the other would win out. Christianity had co-existed with superstition for so long it had taken on many characteristics in practice that did not cope well with Aristotle’s comparatively scientific ideas.
Aquinas and Maimonides are to be credited with distilling their monotheisms from their Neoplatonic cultural context and re-interpreting their faith systems in the light of Aristotlean philosophy.
This didn’t just change religion - it seems to have changed our entire culture.
What does the differene mean?
To give a simple example: prior to Aristotle/Aquinas/Maimonides we might be walking with our friend and our friend is struck by lightening and we exclaim or otherwise believe ththat an evil spirit or God himself has struck our friend down (i.e.: “God willed it!”).
Today the same thing happens and we attribute it to natural causes. Even believers feel no need to seek a supernatural or superstitious explanation.
This is good because it means we can look for the divine in the right place and on that Aristotle provides some clues. It means the world is different because it carves out a space for naturalism where many will and do insist their is no need for the divine. This is a freedom of mind we can thank Aristotle for and arguably too: it is a freedom of faith.
I take two things from it. One: Christianity and Judaism both are better for Aristotle than they were before. Two: we don’t have enough Aristotle in our educations. I am a humanist, but I think there is a strand of monistic materialists in our culture, “the new atheism” and they take their case too far.
Their case isn’t as strong as they make it out to be. Being poorly informed of our common Aristotlean foundation we find too few people who are able to call these folks to account.
There is no separation of church and state. The law there is based on religion. Breaking this tradition is all but impossible.
Most of these societies live a very traditional life style. Family structures are intact. The senior male member of the family makes decisions for the rest.
Economic conditions in most places force people to remain within that family structure. A young person can’t get married without having sufficient funds to get an apartment, furnish it, etc. Most of them can’t.
A college grad that is able to find a job gets a salary that barely pays for transportation to and from work. They rely on family for support.
There is no independence. A young person can’t just move out and live on their own. Only the very rich can do this and they are gradually becoming secularized.
The “street” watches you. Everyone knows who you are and what you. Even in large cities.
Apostasy is punished. Often by death.
There are lots of other reasons.
Illiteracy and general poverty. People living in cardboard shacks, in cemeteries, sleeping on floors.
There is practically no education in out western sense. The madrasa at the mosque teaches the kids to memorize the Koran. Government schools don’t teach at all. Teachers are paid so little and the classrooms are so overcrowded that private schools are the only way to succeed. And these are extremely expensive.
What country are you talking about? Contrary to western perception, every middle eastern nation is different, and some are quite secular.
Turkey, for example, is a predominantly Muslim nation but is very secular. Saudi Arabia is not at all secular (the Qur’an is their constitution), but it provides a very nice standard of living (in general, the global economic recession hit them too), and their citizens are very well educated, women included, for free.
When evaluating secularism, standard of living, social mores, etc, you have to specify a country, because they are all so different.
Turkey is reverting back to the old ways. See current news of the last two years or so.
The Gulf states are awash with cash, so my example does not apply to those who have that much money.
My examples are from Egypt, but they apply to most of North Africa. It gets worse in more “traditional countries” in sub-Saharan Africa. India, Afganistan, Pakista, Iraq, Bangladesh, etc. fall into this category to various degrees.
Throughout the Old Testament there are various episodes where it was apparent that the Children of Israel had forgotten the ways of the Lord. God ‘allows’ us to distance from Himself when it is because of our free decision which derives from our perverted nature as victims of Original Sin. This has nothing to do with God, but is rather man’s rejection of Him which has often occurred throughout history since the Fall.
Thankfully, even in a world that has forgotten Christianity, we can rely on the saving power of Christ to save us from this wretched world and all its sin.
That’s fascinating, and from what little I know about Aristotle and Maimonedes, it seems to make sense. I’m going to start researching these people.
A better question may be why does the secular world look down upon Christianity, and attack it with any means necessary, Judaism too for that matter…yet saying anything negative about Islam, the ‘prophet’ Mohammed, or any Muslim basically, is considered tabboo?
Perhaps this is one of many forms of the persecution we were warned would come our way. Islam is embraced and defended despite the evil it permits/promotes. Our President still can’t recognize the first Ft Hood shooting as anything but ‘workplace violence,’ even when the shooter himself declared it jihad. An American embassy is subject to an obvious terrorist attack, yet the average American hasn’t heard the first thing about it?!?
Islam is the world’s religion…Satan’s great lie.