Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: There is only one EIA :-)

Expand Messages
  • j_vdboogert
    ... Dear Vnr, 1. In order for an EIA to exist in a human community there is the need for some (intelligent) entity to stand outside of the cosmos (i.e.
    Message 1 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, vnr1995
      <vnr1995@y...> wrote:
      > On de-islamizing: wont it be possible to loosen the
      > notion of "God" as a variable?
      >

      Dear Vnr,

      1. In order for an EIA to exist in a human community there is
      the need for some (intelligent) entity to stand outside of the
      cosmos (i.e. everything that was, is and shall be). Human knowledge
      is per definition limited and tentative, it cannot account for
      everything that was, is and shall be. That's why an EIA cannot be a
      human story, but must be an account of divine origin.
      2. So, we humans need some supernatural being or force to give
      us this story, this EIA. And that is exactly what God does. He
      reveals His intentions to man. He has revealed it to the Jews, to
      the Christians, and to the Muslims. (At least this is what the Jews,
      Christians and Muslims claim. Don't get me wrong on this one: I am
      still a non-believer).
      3. According to the Jews there is a covenant between God and
      His people. We should ask Sarah for more details –see her post #194-
      concerning to whom or in whom God revealed Himself there. According
      to the Christians God revealed himself in Christ/ Jesus of Nazareth.
      According to the Muslims God revealed Himself to Mohammed who penned
      down His revelation in a text the Qur'an –see post #189.
      4. So, you see, there is always the need for God to have an
      EIA. You can give God different names, call it a supernatural force,
      or whatever, but its characteristics remain the same. By which means
      this EIA is revealed to mankind can be different from religion to
      religion. Covenant, Christ, Qur'an: these are the revelations and if
      Balu's hypothesis holds, then in each of these religions we should
      be able to detect a double thrust of expansion: one of
      proselytisation and one of secularization.

      Did I in some way answer your question?

      Kind regards,

      Jochem
    • vnr1995
      ... I have not noticed any translations of Quran into vernacular languages for muslims. Why haven t this happened? __________________________________ Do you
      Message 2 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        --- j_vdboogert <j_vdboogert@...> wrote:

        > Qur'an: these are the revelations and if
        > Balu's hypothesis holds, then in each of these
        > religions we should be able to detect a double
        > thrust of expansion: one of proselytisation and one
        > of secularization.

        I have not noticed any translations of Quran into
        vernacular languages for muslims.

        Why haven't this happened?


        __________________________________
        Do you Yahoo!?
        Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software
        http://sitebuilder.yahoo.com
      • gktk_us
        ... Frankly, I did not know I was touching upon this point in my post at IC: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndianCivilization/message/41607 Criticisms/comments
        Message 3 of 24 , Aug 1, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, vnr1995 <vnr1995@y...> wrote:
          > --- j_vdboogert <j_vdboogert@y...> wrote:
          >
          > > Qur'an: these are the revelations and if
          > > Balu's hypothesis holds, then in each of these
          > > religions we should be able to detect a double
          > > thrust of expansion: one of proselytisation and one
          > > of secularization.
          >
          > I have not noticed any translations of Quran into
          > vernacular languages for muslims.
          >
          > Why haven't this happened?

          Frankly, I did not know I was touching upon this point in my post at IC:

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndianCivilization/message/41607

          Criticisms/comments appreciated.

          Regards,

          PS: Apologies if one reads a political undertone in the mail.
        • Sandeepak Kaushik
          Dear Sarah, I have a very little knowledge of christianity .Hence the following questions: 1. What is revealation?.How is revealation related to salvation(You
          Message 4 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear Sarah,

            I have a very little knowledge of christianity .Hence
            the following questions:

            1. What is revealation?.How is revealation related to
            salvation(You seem to substitute revealation with
            salvation.Are they one and the same?)

            2. If revealation is outcome of an encounter between
            God and human I guess one cannot consider Jesus as an
            'avatar' in the same lines as we speak of Rama,Krishna
            as avatars of Vishnu right?(For ex we never say
            "Vishnu who revealed himself in Ram"!)


            3.If I understand your posting you are saying that for
            xtanity to be universal the revealation *cannot* be
            unique. Why is it so?


            Regards
            Sandeepak


            --- sarahclaerhout <sarah_claerhout@...>
            wrote:
            > In post # 192 , Jochem wrote: " On the one hand the
            > Christological
            > dilemma has allowed Christianity as a religion to
            > secularise itself
            > (am I correct here?)"
            >
            > Jochem,
            >
            > I think what you say here is correct. As I
            > understand it, the
            > Christological dilemma, a dilemma inherent in
            > Christianity, is the
            > driving force behind both secularisation and
            > proselytisation. A short
            > elaboration on this might not be out of place here.
            >
            > Christians believe in the unique revelation of God
            > in Christ. In
            > Jesus Christ, God became human. In this godly act of
            > salvation, God
            > has made a second covenant with humankind (after the
            > first covenant
            > in the Old Testament). Important is that God's act
            > of salvation is
            > not restricted to one particular group of people.
            > The whole of
            > humankind is part of His act of salvation in Christ.
            > This way, God
            > has revealed himself in human history and thus gave
            > sense to it.
            >
            > Balu has identified an important dilemma in this
            > theology: the
            > christological dilemma. On the one hand, God
            > revealed himself to
            > humankind: this act is universal and accessible to
            > everybody. On the
            > other hand, God revealed himself in Jesus of
            > Nazareth, a Jew: this
            > act of salvation is through Jesus and thus
            > particular. During
            > Christian history, emphasis has shifted between the
            > two sides of the
            > dilemma, universality of salvation and particularity
            > of salvation.
            > But we have to remember that, at all times, both
            > sides are necessary
            > for Christianity as a religion! One cannot
            > exclusively put the weight
            > on the universality of salvation and at the same
            > time neglect the
            > particularity of salvation through Christ. Nor the
            > other way around.
            >
            > This way the Christological dilemma feeds both the
            > dynamics of
            > secularisation of Christianity and its
            > proselytisation. Both help in
            > the expansion of this religion.
            >
            > Regards,
            > Sarah.
            >
            >
            >


            __________________________________
            Do you Yahoo!?
            Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software
            http://sitebuilder.yahoo.com
          • j_vdboogert
            My guess is that a translation of the Qur an into any vernacular language supposedly undermines the uniqueness of the revelation. The guarantee that this
            Message 5 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
            • 0 Attachment
              My guess is that a translation of the Qur'an into any vernacular
              language supposedly undermines the uniqueness of the revelation. The
              guarantee that this particular revelation is true is that text.
              After all that text is the word of God/ Allah. If one starts
              tinkering with the word of Allah, by translating it for example, one
              corrupts the revelation. Even though a translation would widen the
              scope of the religion of Islam –i.e. universalisation- it would also
              corrupt the uniqueness of the revelation, the guarantee of its truth.

              Jochem

              --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, vnr1995
              <vnr1995@y...> wrote:
              > --- j_vdboogert <j_vdboogert@y...> wrote:
              >
              > > Qur'an: these are the revelations and if
              > > Balu's hypothesis holds, then in each of these
              > > religions we should be able to detect a double
              > > thrust of expansion: one of proselytisation and one
              > > of secularization.
              >
              > I have not noticed any translations of Quran into
              > vernacular languages for muslims.
              >
              > Why haven't this happened?
              >
              >
              > __________________________________
              > Do you Yahoo!?
              > Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software
              > http://sitebuilder.yahoo.com
            • j_vdboogert
              ... GTK s post read: On some day, Dharma will be appropriated, defined, de/re-etymolized ... IMHO, this is quite unconceivable! Reason? the moment religion
              Message 6 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "gktk_us"
                <tkgk9@h...> wrote:

                > Frankly, I did not know I was touching upon this point in my post
                at IC:
                >
                > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndianCivilization/message/41607
                >
                > Criticisms/comments appreciated.
                >
                > Regards,
                >
                > PS: Apologies if one reads a political undertone in the mail.


                GTK's post read:
                "On some day, Dharma will be appropriated, defined, de/re-etymolized
                > for their needs.

                IMHO, this is quite unconceivable!
                Reason? the moment religion starts "appropriating"
                dharma, "religion's" nature
                will undergo a dramatic change. Unless...unless, one is talking about
                appropriating only the dharmic terminologies (which in any case is
                already
                happening).


                > And we will be using their connotation and
                > denotation. Another property of a religion.

                Much depends upon the medium of communication. Unfortunately, this
                is not
                appreciated enough.

                English, as such, evolved in its present form for
                propogating/sustaining
                "religious" ideas...hence the necessisity for re-defining/re-
                etymolizing dharma
                to suit English and its ends. This is true of Sanskrit too, which
                developed as
                a language for communicating dharmic idea/philosophy, although it is
                much
                broader in scope and purpose than that. Any ideas on why Arabic
                becomes
                "mother-tongue" of any muslim and Hebrew for a Jew??

                So long as the primary medium of communication remains English, the
                connotation/denotation will tend to be "religious". It is an
                outright fallacy
                to see English as a "secular" language. Is it any wonder that most
                of the p-sec
                writers are "English educated"??"


                If I am getting it right you're saying that Dhamma is untranslatable
                in English because English is a religious language and Sanskrit
                isn't (what about Pali, BTW?)
                On the one hand I think you're 100 percent right. On the other hand,
                things go deeper than just language. It is a matter of concepts and
                not so much of words. How does one render a concept like Dhamma
                intelligible to people from a culture where this concept is missing?
                Similarly, how does one explain the concept "religion" to people
                from a culture where this phenomenon (and thus the concept) does not
                exist?

                Regards,

                Jochem
              • macgupta123
                ... It has. Ibn Warraq, in the introduction to the collection of essays What the Koran Really Says , points out that the majority of Muslims are not Arabs or
                Message 7 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, vnr1995 <vnr1995@y...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > I have not noticed any translations of Quran into
                  > vernacular languages for muslims.
                  >
                  > Why haven't this happened?
                  >

                  It has. Ibn Warraq, in the introduction to the collection of essays "What the Koran
                  Really Says", points out that the majority of Muslims are not Arabs or Arabic-speaking
                  peoples, and writes :

                  "In other words, the majority of Muslims have to read the Koran in translation in order
                  to understand it. Contrary to what one might think, there have been translations of
                  the Koran into, for instance, Persian, since the tenth or eleventh century, and there
                  are translations into Turkish and Urdu. The Koran has now been translated into over
                  a hundred languages, many of them by Muslims themselves, despite some sort of
                  disapproval from the religious authorities."

                  and he gives the footnote :

                  See appendix, "Bibliography of Translations", in "Arabic Literature to the End of the
                  Umayyad Period", ed. Beeston, Johnstone, et. al. (Cambridge Univ Press 1983) pp.
                  502-520.

                  Ibn Warraq also says that "For an average middle-class Arab it would take
                  considerable effort to construct even the simplest sentence, let alone talk, in Classical
                  Arabic" and so "the Koran would be incomprehensible without glossaries, indeed
                  entire commentaries....even the most educated of Arabs will need some sort of
                  translation".
                • j_vdboogert
                  If these translations are available and even necessary for understanding, why does one learn (by heart) to recite the Koran in classical Arab ? Jochem ...
                  Message 8 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    If these translations are available and even necessary for
                    understanding, why does one learn (by heart) to recite the Koran
                    in "classical Arab"?

                    Jochem

                    --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "macgupta123"
                    <macgupta123@y...> wrote:
                    > --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, vnr1995
                    <vnr1995@y...>
                    > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > I have not noticed any translations of Quran into
                    > > vernacular languages for muslims.
                    > >
                    > > Why haven't this happened?
                    > >
                    >
                    > It has. Ibn Warraq, in the introduction to the collection of
                    essays "What the Koran
                    > Really Says", points out that the majority of Muslims are not
                    Arabs or Arabic-speaking
                    > peoples, and writes :
                    >
                    > "In other words, the majority of Muslims have to read the Koran in
                    translation in order
                    > to understand it. Contrary to what one might think, there have
                    been translations of
                    > the Koran into, for instance, Persian, since the tenth or eleventh
                    century, and there
                    > are translations into Turkish and Urdu. The Koran has now been
                    translated into over
                    > a hundred languages, many of them by Muslims themselves, despite
                    some sort of
                    > disapproval from the religious authorities."
                    >
                    > and he gives the footnote :
                    >
                    > See appendix, "Bibliography of Translations", in "Arabic
                    Literature to the End of the
                    > Umayyad Period", ed. Beeston, Johnstone, et. al. (Cambridge Univ
                    Press 1983) pp.
                    > 502-520.
                    >
                    > Ibn Warraq also says that "For an average middle-class Arab it
                    would take
                    > considerable effort to construct even the simplest sentence, let
                    alone talk, in Classical
                    > Arabic" and so "the Koran would be incomprehensible without
                    glossaries, indeed
                    > entire commentaries....even the most educated of Arabs will need
                    some sort of
                    > translation".
                  • vnr1995
                    Persian, Urdu for Indians, Arabic are not considered vernacular unless it is translted to lingos such as Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Tamil for local muslims and
                    Message 9 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Persian, Urdu for Indians, Arabic are not considered
                      vernacular unless it is translted to lingos such as
                      Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Tamil for local muslims and
                      prayers in these lingos as christians do.

                      Old appropriation: Christianity considered itself as
                      True religion. What do modern hindoos think when
                      Christianty claims itself as True-Dharma.





                      __________________________________
                      Do you Yahoo!?
                      Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software
                      http://sitebuilder.yahoo.com
                    • gktk_us
                      ... Hmm...not exactly the way I wished to convey that idea. I not saying they (dharma and English, in the example you presented) are mutually exclusive, but I
                      Message 10 of 24 , Aug 3, 2003
                      • 0 Attachment
                        --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "j_vdboogert" <j_vdboogert@y...> wrote:

                        > If I am getting it right you're saying that Dhamma is untranslatable
                        > in English because English is a religious language and Sanskrit
                        > isn't (what about Pali, BTW?)

                        Hmm...not exactly the way I wished to convey that idea.

                        I not saying they (dharma and English, in the example you presented) are mutually exclusive, but I wished to point out a very important limitation which needs to be circumvented conciously to prevent misunderstanding.


                        > On the one hand I think you're 100 percent right. On the other hand,
                        > things go deeper than just language. It is a matter of concepts and
                        > not so much of words.

                        You are right, but only so long as the concept is chewed upon by the individual who generated it. Language is indispensible tool when he/she tries to communicate that idea/concept. Try explaining Schrodinger's equation in words (without using math) and you'll soon see the difficulty.


                        > How does one render a concept like Dhamma
                        > intelligible to people from a culture where this concept is missing?
                        > Similarly, how does one explain the concept "religion" to people
                        > from a culture where this phenomenon (and thus the concept) does not
                        > exist?

                        How does one communicate the concept of Schrodinger's equation - by building a math/physics foundation out of which the equation would grow naturally as a logical process.

                        It requires an able teacher and a very "willing" student. Obviously both are available, since we have so many mature practioners of dharma in "West", and vice-versa.

                        So it is not an impossible idea as it might seem at first. The limitation, however, is in communication with the "masses".
                        Exactly the reason why the "street-preacher" found the going so difficult in India. And the reason, why those "westerner" who practice dharma almost always have a "personal" guru?

                        So, what is it that I want to convey? Simply that, writing erudite essays or books is NOT going to solve the problems of misunderstanding of dharma in "West" *among the masses* (it does help those who are "very willing student" and the academia is a different issue altogether!) nor is "free" distribution of the Bible going to get the masses converted in India. The issue is same in both cases - wrong usage of language!

                        Regards,
                      • sarahclaerhout
                        ... Dear Sandeepak and the others, The questions you raise are not unimportant. Indeed, to understand what a religion like Christianity is all about, one needs
                        Message 11 of 24 , Aug 5, 2003
                        • 0 Attachment
                          --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, Sandeepak Kaushik
                          <sandeepak_k@y...> wrote:
                          > Dear Sarah,
                          >
                          > I have a very little knowledge of christianity .Hence
                          > the following questions:
                          >
                          > 1. What is revealation?.How is revealation related to
                          > salvation(You seem to substitute revealation with
                          > salvation.Are they one and the same?)
                          >
                          > 2. If revealation is outcome of an encounter between
                          > God and human I guess one cannot consider Jesus as an
                          > 'avatar' in the same lines as we speak of Rama,Krishna
                          > as avatars of Vishnu right?(For ex we never say
                          > "Vishnu who revealed himself in Ram"!)
                          >
                          >
                          > 3.If I understand your posting you are saying that for
                          > xtanity to be universal the revealation *cannot* be
                          > unique. Why is it so?
                          >
                          >
                          > Regards
                          > Sandeepak
                          >


                          Dear Sandeepak and the others,

                          The questions you raise are not unimportant. Indeed, to understand
                          what a religion like Christianity is all about, one needs to know
                          what revelation and salvation are. Not only that. In order to grasp
                          some of the insights of `The Heathen...', a couple of words about
                          these concepts are not out of place here.

                          However, your questions are not easy to answer briefly. They touch
                          upon the essential aspects of Christianity. During the two thousand
                          years of Christendom, countless number of books has been written
                          about revelation and salvation. Innumerable theologians and other
                          people have been trying to understand and interpret them. It is not
                          in my capacity nor is it my wish to go deeper into all the different
                          interpretations. For a more nuanced overview more specialised
                          literature is certainly available. But it is important for all of us
                          to have a notion about revelation and salvation. Therefore, I'll try
                          to say a few things about these concepts as they are generally
                          understood in the Christian religion.

                          1. Your first question: "What is revelation? How is revelation
                          related to salvation? (You seem to substitute revelation with
                          salvation. Are they one and the same?)"

                          First of all, revelation and salvation are not the same. In
                          Christianity it is an essential belief that God reveals Himself to
                          humanity. This means that, one way or another, God intervenes in
                          human history to communicate the truth about Himself and His Will.
                          God discloses Himself to us and gives us a part of His knowledge.
                          This is what Christian revelation is all about. Revelation is part of
                          Gods work of salvation and redemption. In fact, revelation tells us
                          humans of God's greatness, His immense grace, His Will to save us...
                          The God of the Christians is believed to be a good God who wants to
                          save the people from the burden of sin. This is why he intervenes in
                          history.

                          The Bible, as the Word of God, contains the revelations of God. In
                          fact, it bears witness to the godly acts of salvation. Christians
                          believe that the God of the Old and the New Testament is the same. In
                          this perspective, the Old Testament contains the first covenant that
                          God made with the people of Israel. Christians interpret the New
                          Testament as the second covenant that God made with the world. Here
                          God didn't address only a single nation, but the whole of humankind.
                          The revelation of God in Christ, the way He disclosed Himself in
                          becoming human, reveals His will to salvation in an unsurpassable
                          way. This revelation in Christ, thus the Christians believe, is true,
                          unique and unprecedented. God became human in Jesus Christ. The death
                          of Christ on the cross meant the deliverance of mankind from sin.
                          So, to come back to your question, God reveals Himself in human
                          history and in the Bible we can read about it. These revelations make
                          it possible for us humans to get to know God's will and His plan of
                          salvation for humankind. His revelation in Christ is unique because
                          God revealed Himself in an unprecedented way: as a suffering human.

                          2. Second question: "If revelation is the outcome of an encounter
                          between God and human I guess one cannot consider Jesus as
                          an `avatar' in the same lines as we speak of Rama, Krishna as avatars
                          of Vishnu right? (For ex we never say "Vishnu who revealed himself in
                          Ram")"

                          Revelation has to do with God, it is not the outcome of an encounter.
                          God always takes the initiative.
                          The notion `Jesus as God incarnate' in Christianity is completely
                          different from what Rama as an avatar of Vishnu is. To understand
                          what the first means, all the above (about revelation and salvation)
                          and a lot more have to be presupposed. To understand what an avatar
                          is, different things have to be presupposed. (Much more could be said
                          about this, maybe later we can take this up again.)

                          Third: "If I understand your posting you are saying that for
                          Christianity to be universal the revelation cannot be unique. Why is
                          this so?"

                          I'm not quite saying what you think. In Christianity the revelation
                          of God in Christ (and His earlier revelations to the people of
                          Israel) IS unique and particular. But, at the same time it is also a
                          revelation that is addressed to the whole of humankind and thus
                          universal. This is what causes a dilemma. The revelation of God in
                          Christ is both universal (directed to all humans, with the aim of the
                          deliverance of all humankind from sin) and particular (the revelation
                          is in Christ, He is the way to knowledge about God). But it is
                          impossible to be both at the same time, hence the dilemma. Both are
                          necessary for Christianity to be Christianity, but it cannot be both
                          at the same time. During its history, Christianity has tried to work
                          out many different solutions for the dilemma. But to be truly itself,
                          it can never chose one side and neglect the other.

                          Regards,
                          Sarah
                        • Raf
                          Dear Jochem, In post # 194, Sarah eloquently explained the Christological dilemma within Christian thought. As she wrote it, Christianity s claims for
                          Message 12 of 24 , Aug 16, 2003
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Dear Jochem,

                            In post # 194, Sarah eloquently explained the Christological dilemma
                            within Christian thought. As she wrote it, Christianity's claims for
                            universality, on the one hand, and God's particular revelation in
                            Jesus Christ on the other, have created a serious predicament within
                            Christian thought. In its response to this predicament, Christianity
                            has taken recourse to a so-called double dynamic: proselytization and
                            secularization. As previous posts made it clear, the latter means the
                            spread of saliently Christian-theological notions in de-Christianized
                            formats.

                            In subsequent postings, the question has been raised pertaining to a
                            similar process of secularization within Islam. In post # 197, you
                            wrote that if Balu's hypothesis concerning the double dynamic of
                            religion holds, such a movement of secularization has to be
                            discernable within Islam as well.

                            Whilst having a pretty limited knowledge of Islamic thought, I will
                            fire from the hip and formulate a few questions that, I think, have
                            to be taken into account here.

                            1. If the double dynamic of religion (proselytization and
                            secularization) implies a tension between a claim for universality
                            and a revelation that is particular, then, this or a similar tension
                            has to be discernable in other religious developments besides the
                            Christian one - i.e. the Judaic and the Islamic.

                            1.1. However, as macgupta already noted in post # 189, the figure of
                            Jesus Christ does not play the same role within Islam as it plays
                            within Christian thought. With the risk of stating the obvious: Islam
                            does not know of the Christological dilemma that sets up a tension
                            between universality and particularity in Christian thought.
                            Therefore, the impetus for this double dynamic would have to be found
                            elsewhere. Could it be found in the figure of Muhammad?

                            1.2. In Islam the figure of Muhammad does not play a role that is
                            equivalent to the role of Christ within Christianity. Being the last
                            of an array of prophets, Muhammad is said to have merely received and
                            disseminated God's Word. Allah is not said to have revealed himself
                            within Muhammad's own flesh and blood – such as the Christians claim
                            about God's revelation in Jesus Christ, a member of the Jewish
                            community. The function of Muhammad is different in Islamic thought
                            from the role that Christ plays in Christian thought.

                            1.3. Therefore, if a problem between universality and particularity
                            exists at all in Islam, it has to be found, not within the figure of
                            Muhammad as such but elsewhere. Can it be found in the Quran? If so,
                            how exactly does the Quran perform the equivalent role of Christ in
                            Christian thought?

                            1.4. Or could such a double dynamic in Islam, and hence, also the
                            movement of secularization we were looking for, be the result of
                            factors other than a tension between universality and particularity?


                            2. Or could it be the case that Balu's hypothesis concerning the
                            double dynamic of religion would still stand even if we were not able
                            to find such a specific movement of secularization within Islam,
                            separated from such a movement within Christianity – regardless of
                            whether the Quran is translated into vernaculars?

                            2.1. Would it make sense to soften the historical and theological
                            divide between Islam, Judaism and Christianity and to conceptualise
                            their particular theologies not as inter-religious differences but as
                            intra-religious differences - as specific developments within that
                            which Balu theorized, i.e. "religion"?

                            After all, religion has generated a specific learning-configuration
                            (of which the geographical space is the Christian and Arabic world)
                            whilst ritual generated another configuration of learning (in what we
                            call "the East"). This seems to suggest that the so-called inter-
                            cultural differences between the Arabic and Christian world are
                            actually intra-cultural differences. If we conceptualise the specific
                            Christian and Islamic theologies similarly, i.e. as specific
                            developments within that which religion is, the Christological
                            dilemma only (and hence, the tension between universality and
                            particularity within Christianity only) suffices "to save" the double
                            dynamic of religion.

                            2.2. In other words, an EI account of the cosmos and of itself
                            spreads via the movement of both proselytization and secularization.
                            Historically, Judaism was the particular embodiment of the EI
                            account. In those early days, the EI account did not spread on the
                            world map besides the fact that the Jews grew as a specific
                            community – i.e. they made many children. Christianity came to be a
                            specific development within this EI account. Christianity
                            proselytizes but also secularizes notions that Christians, Jews and
                            Muslims agree upon (such as the universality of religion). The EI
                            account also spread with the advent of Islam: Islam does try to make
                            converts. Within that which is religion (the EI account of the cosmos
                            and of itself) Islam (as a particular development) does not need to
                            secularize itself in order to argue for the double dynamic of
                            religion.

                            Come to think of it, Islam, then, would not have to know of a
                            specific movement of secularization in much the same way as Judaism
                            wouldn't have to answer to a movement of proselytization – which it
                            does not.

                            What do you think? I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

                            Friendly greetings,
                            Raf
                          • j_vdboogert
                            Dear Raf, I think you made an interesting point, which offers plenty of food for speculation. Your suggestion of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as
                            Message 13 of 24 , Aug 19, 2003
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Dear Raf,

                              I think you made an interesting point, which offers plenty of food
                              for speculation. Your suggestion of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
                              as developments of one specific EIA is still sinking in. I would
                              enjoy pondering on this suggestion and the questions it raises.
                              The first question that came to mind is the following. If
                              secularisation is something that exists within religion, where does
                              it fit in the proces of universalisation. I am of course thinking of
                              the references to Markus in " The Heathen" were the spreading of
                              religion explained as a contraction of the pagan realm and a
                              concommitant expanion of the religious realm. In the latter movement
                              we find the secular as a part of the religious. Is this double
                              headed spreading of religion something typical for Christianity? I
                              am asking this because this kind of secularisation is not entirely
                              the same as the secularisation of, say, the Enlightenment -i.e. the
                              secularisation we are used to think of when speaking about it.

                              Kind regards,

                              Jochem
                            • Raf
                              Dear Jochem, First of all, I would like to note that this (partial) answer (?) to your question might be repetitive - maybe because I m not that sure myself
                              Message 14 of 24 , Aug 24, 2003
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Dear Jochem,

                                First of all, I would like to note that this (partial) answer (?) to
                                your question might be repetitive - maybe because I'm not that sure
                                myself yet about the value of the argument put forward in my former
                                post. It could also be because I had difficulties in grasping the
                                question you subsequently asked. Anyway, I'll give it a shot...

                                1. The impetus for my suggestion to conseptualize Christianity,
                                Judaism as well as Islam as specific developments within religion -
                                i.e. within the EI account of the cosmos and of itself we know of -
                                was the search for a process of secularization within Islam. It was
                                argued that in order to save Balu's hypothesis of the double dynamic
                                of religion (proselytization and secularization) such a process, by
                                definition, has to be discernable within Islamic thought, history,
                                and society. In the first point of my former post I reformulated some
                                formerly mentioned problems that were thought to be relevant: Whether
                                or not there is a tension between particularity and universality in
                                Islam, since such a tension constituted the Christological dilemma
                                within Christianity? Whether or not we can find such a tension within
                                the role Muhammad or the Quran play in Islam? Anyway, as far as I
                                know (!), there is no such process of secularization within Islam
                                such as the one we've noticed in Christian post-Reformation thought.
                                As I see it now, these questions, therefore, do not really need an
                                answer at all.

                                2. Since I find it rather difficult to imagine this secularized
                                Islam we were looking for - i.e. Islamic notions stripped of their
                                saliently Islamic features - I proposed that this quest was
                                conflating two different conceptual levels of religion: (a) religion
                                as an EI account of the cosmos and of itself, and (b) religion as
                                manifested in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I proposed that
                                Balu's hypothesis of the double dynamic of religion is situated on
                                the first level (a) of that which is religion. After all, I thought
                                it to be rather useful to conceptualize Judaism, Christianity, and
                                Islam from an historical point of view - as specific products from,
                                or developments within, one and the same (the only one?) EI account
                                of both the cosmos and of itself. If religion is such an EI account
                                and if religion both proselytizes and secularizes itself in its
                                movement of universalization, then, this dynamic could be
                                conceptualized on the level of the EI account. In short, the search
                                for such a process of secularization within Islam (and even within
                                Christianity as such (!), or the search for a proselytization-drive
                                within Judaism) might well be situated at a level that is too low -
                                i.e. on the level (b) on which these specific developments within the
                                EI account find themselves.

                                3. In other words, in some way (!), I think that there is a
                                difference between this process of the EI account that becomes
                                secularized (within the universalization of religion) and the
                                secularization we saw in the Enlightenment – in which Christian
                                notions came to be secularized and translated as non-religious truth
                                claims about the world. However (!), certain notions that these three
                                historical developments within the EI account agree upon have been
                                stripped of their saliently religious features and, therefore,
                                religion - both (a) the EI account and thus, (b) Christianity, Islam,
                                and Judaism - does know of a process of secularization: Christians,
                                Muslims and Jews agree upon the religious story that God gave
                                religion to mankind, which came to be translated into the universal
                                presence of religion. They agree as well upon the belief that rituals
                                have meaning, that idolatry embodies religion (whether it is a false
                                one or not), that your life and my life have a meaning, etc. These
                                notions primarily belong to the EI account and not to Islam,
                                Christianity, or Judaism as such. They have been translated
                                into "commonsensical" truth claims about the world. I'm sure that
                                there are other notions as well that they all agree upon, such as the
                                intelligibility of rights, of the sovereign, the nation, flying to
                                the moon, etc. When the EI account spread in its Christian and Muslim
                                (and Judaic?) manifestations over the non-religious, pagan world,
                                these notions (or perhaps their less developed variants) also spread.

                                4. And then there is this process of secularization which is
                                specifically Christian - within the Enlightenment, as you referred
                                to, in which specific Christian notions came to be projected as non-
                                religious truth claims about the world. Again, from my limited
                                understanding, I know that certain Muslim scholars have argued for
                                the impossibility of such a process occurring within Islam. It is
                                said, for instance, that there is no difference between the spiritual
                                and the temporal world within Islam - both the religious and the
                                secular, therefore, cannot be separated. The opposite notion does
                                exist in Christian thought though, and emerged during the religious,
                                political and social processes that came to be called the
                                Reformation. If all this makes some sense, a good question would be
                                to ask for the difference between the process of secularization
                                referred to in (3) and that what emerged and developed during and
                                after the Protestant Reformation. Or is the latter a particular,
                                Christian manifestation of the former?

                                5. A possible answer and just to recap: There has been a process of
                                secularization of religion, of the EI account, in notions that all
                                three developments agree upon. This is part of the double dynamic of
                                religion with which the EI account spreads itself. There also has
                                been a particular process of secularization, not within Islam, but
                                within the specific development that is Christianity, emerging from
                                the Christological dilemma and the peculiar, theological-historical
                                vicissitudes of the Protestant Reformation. However, that would not
                                mean to say that Islamic notions have not been secularized, because
                                the EI account, of which Islam is a development, did secularize
                                itself. Could we conceptualize this Christian-secularization as a sub-
                                process of the process that we call the secularization of religion?
                                Moreover, since certain notions of the EI account, upon which all
                                three developments agree, also have come to be continuously
                                secularized within the Christian-secularization, this Christian-
                                secularization seems to be, in some way, a mirror process of the
                                secularization of religion (in much the same way as "Christianity" is
                                a sub-class of "religion"). In that sense, it also could be argued
                                that Christianity, though it is a specific development within
                                religion, is also the proto-type (?) (or the best example?) of
                                religion.

                                Best Regards,
                                Raf
                              • Balagangadhara
                                Dear Raf, I face many difficulties in understanding what you are getting at, or, indeed, what you are saying. 1. First of all, I do not claim (or suggest) that
                                Message 15 of 24 , Aug 24, 2003
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Dear Raf,

                                  I face many difficulties in understanding what you are getting at, or,
                                  indeed, what you are saying.

                                  1. First of all, I do not claim (or suggest) that secularisation
                                  of Christianity occurred during the period of Enlightenment. It is my
                                  explicit argument that the processes of proselytisation and
                                  secularisation have accompanied Christianity since its birth. (After
                                  all, the Christological Dilemma did not emerge during the
                                  Enlightenment. This dilemma provides the dynamic to Christianity.)

                                  2. As I view it, both these processes constitute the
                                  universalisation of religion. That is to say, in every religion both
                                  these processes are present. This means that this claim is true not
                                  only of Islam or Judaism but also of the `Timbuktu-religion', if there
                                  is religion in Timbuktu.

                                  3. That is so because of the inherent tension between what
                                  religion is (viz. an explanatorily intelligible account of both itself
                                  and the Cosmos) and the kind of beings we humans are. (If there are
                                  sentient beings in the Alpha Centauri and their constitution is
                                  analogous to ours and they have religion, then the same is also
                                  applicable to them.)

                                  4. If Islam (or the Timbuktu-religion) does not exhibit the double
                                  dynamic of religion (which expresses itself in the Christological
                                  Dilemma within Christianity), then my theory is false. It is as simple
                                  as that.


                                  Friendly greetings

                                  Balu
                                • macgupta123
                                  Perhaps some speculation may be forgiven : A religion perhaps is to be conceived as ( orthodoxy + heresies ), each illuminating the other. In Christianity, the
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Aug 24, 2003
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Perhaps some speculation may be forgiven :

                                    A religion perhaps is to be conceived as ( orthodoxy + heresies ), each illuminating
                                    the other.

                                    In Christianity, the particularity of Christ seems to be part of the orthodoxy. Quoting
                                    Harold Brown - "The Apostles' Creed tells us that Jesus Christ suffered and died
                                    "under Pontius Pilate", a rather mediocre, middle-level Roman bureaucrat. ...The Word
                                    of God is not an ineffable, timeless, spaceless Principle, but lived in human flesh and
                                    blood at a particular time, in a particular place, and under a rather undistinguished
                                    Roman governor".

                                    or

                                    "Irenaeus did not try to evade the scandal of particularity that attaches to any effort to
                                    make an "accidental" historical event, even the event of Jesus Christ, part of eternal
                                    truth; by remaining in firm contact with the historic Jesus, Irenaeus offered an
                                    invaluable counterweight to the tendency of many Christians, even relatively orthodox
                                    ones, to see in Christ only the cosmic Mediator, not the human Jesus."

                                    On the other hand, according to Brown, it was "the gnostic impulse" that "sought to
                                    preserve several Christian ideas and terms while giving up the specific dependence of
                                    Christianity on the history of the Jews and, in the New Testament, of Jesus and his
                                    disciples".

                                    or

                                    "Pilate and most of his contemporaries would have fully sympathized with the protest
                                    that Lessing would make seventeen centuries later: accidental truths of history cannot
                                    be the foundation for universal truths of reason."

                                    etc., etc.

                                    If the orthodox see no problem with historical particularity then the universalisation
                                    impulse lies in the heretics, or shall we say, in the peripheries of the religion?

                                    So perhaps, the universalization and secularization tendencies of Islam are to be
                                    sought among Muslim heretics; and we don't see these to the extent that Islam has
                                    been successful in suppressing its heretics.

                                    Just Sunday morning speculation,
                                    -Arun
                                  • jakobderoover
                                    Dear Raf, You write: It is said, for instance, that there is no difference between the spiritual and the temporal world within Islam - both the religious and
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Aug 24, 2003
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Dear Raf,


                                      You write: "It is said, for instance, that there is no difference
                                      between the spiritual and the temporal world within Islam - both the
                                      religious and the secular, therefore, cannot be separated. The
                                      opposite notion does exist in Christian thought though, and emerged
                                      during the religious, political and social processes that came to be
                                      called the Reformation. If all this makes some sense, a good question
                                      would be to ask for the difference between the process of
                                      secularization referred to in (3) and that what emerged and developed
                                      during and after the Protestant Reformation."

                                      There are a number of problems in this claim apart from the ones Balu
                                      has pointed out in his last post.

                                      1. First of all, there is a huge difference between what either
                                      Christianity or Islam have referred to as "religious/spiritual"
                                      or "secular/temporal", and the relation between the religious world
                                      and the secular world as it is theorized in Balu's account. The
                                      distinction between temporal and spiritual made in Christian doctrine
                                      is *a theological distinction*, it is not the distinction a
                                      scientific theory of religion makes. And if some Muslim thinker says
                                      that Islam does not have this distinction as opposed to Christianity,
                                      he is again making a theological point that is to show the
                                      superiority of his religion. Of course, the theological claims about
                                      the spiritual/temporal distinction may be interesting for our
                                      research, but at present we do not really know how and why.

                                      2. If we accepted the Christian (or Islamic) notions about the
                                      religious and the secular in a scientific study of religion, we would
                                      simply be continuing the work of generations of western
                                      intellectuals. We would then *smuggle in theology as the science of
                                      religion*. This would be bit tragic, since Balu's work so far has
                                      been to demonstrate that this is precisely what the western social
                                      sciences have done and that this is why they can never be
                                      scientific.

                                      3. The notion that the spiritual was a sphere distinct from the
                                      temporal did not at all emerge during the Reformation. It had been
                                      part and parcel of Christian theology from much earlier times. For
                                      instance, the entire Investiture contest that was so crucial to the
                                      development of medieval Christendom revolved around the question of
                                      the relation between the spiritual and the temporal.

                                      4. More generally, I think the kind of questions you ask about the
                                      process of secularization and the form it took in the Protestant
                                      Reformation are *research questions*. Even though Balu has given us a
                                      theoretical framework to study the development of the Western
                                      culture, this does not mean we can understand this development
                                      without studying it. At present, we do not really know what the
                                      mechanisms are of the universalization of the Christian religion, we
                                      have a but a vague hypothesis as to the place the Reformation has in
                                      this development, and we have only a few clues about the things that
                                      happened in the Enlightenment.

                                      5. The same goes for the speculative discussion that has been going
                                      on about Islam on this board. Of course, we do not know the shape the
                                      dynamic of universalization has taken in Islam, as we have never
                                      examined it. This is a question that will take *years of research*
                                      before we can even come to a hypothetical answer. We do know that
                                      both the poles of proselytization and secularization have to be
                                      present in Islam, since it is a religion and therefore it has the
                                      necessary properties of religion. But that's about it. To look for an
                                      equivalent of Jesus Christ in the figure of Mohammed is to make the
                                      mistake of thinking that the propelling force behind the dynamic of
                                      the Islamic religion should take the same form as the Christological
                                      dilemma. To say that Islam does not know of secularization since it
                                      has not stripped its doctrine from its saliently Islamic features is
                                      to make the same kind of mistake.

                                      6. The conclusion that Islam does not know of a dynamic of
                                      secularization, therefore, is scientifically vacuous. But there's
                                      another disquieting side to this conclusion. It seems to fit
                                      perfectly into the orientalist clichés about Islam and the Muslim
                                      world. Perhaps the best known of these clichés is that Islam is a
                                      religion that is all-encompassing and that necessarily dominates
                                      politics - since 'it is not even aware of the distinction between the
                                      religious and the secular'. This story leads to the conclusion that
                                      the Islamic world is doomed to live under the reign of intolerant
                                      theocracy, as it has not discovered that religion and politics are
                                      separate domains. And that is nothing but *an old Protestant
                                      theological critique of Islam*, which is still popular among the
                                      western scholars and politicians who think within the framework of
                                      orientalism.


                                      Sincerely,


                                      Jakob
                                    • Raf
                                      Dear Jakob, ... doctrine ... says ... Christianity, ... This is obviously true, if and only if some Muslim was merely continuing Islamic theology - which is,
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Aug 25, 2003
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        Dear Jakob,

                                        You write:


                                        > 1. First of all, there is a huge difference between what either
                                        > Christianity or Islam have referred to as "religious/spiritual"
                                        > or "secular/temporal", and the relation between the religious world
                                        > and the secular world as it is theorized in Balu's account. The
                                        > distinction between temporal and spiritual made in Christian
                                        doctrine
                                        > is *a theological distinction*, it is not the distinction a
                                        > scientific theory of religion makes. And if some Muslim thinker
                                        says
                                        > that Islam does not have this distinction as opposed to
                                        Christianity,
                                        > he is again making a theological point that is to show the
                                        > superiority of his religion.


                                        This is obviously true, if and only if "some Muslim" was merely
                                        continuing Islamic theology - which is, "a research question."



                                        > 2. If we accepted the Christian (or Islamic) notions about the
                                        > religious and the secular in a scientific study of religion, we
                                        would
                                        > simply be continuing the work of generations of western
                                        > intellectuals. We would then *smuggle in theology as the science of
                                        > religion*. This would be bit tragic, since Balu's work so far has
                                        > been to demonstrate that this is precisely what the western social
                                        > sciences have done and that this is why they can never be
                                        > scientific.


                                        To argue that this means the acceptance of Islamic notions of the
                                        secular and the religious inside our scientific theories implies an
                                        understanding of what these notions are - which is "a research
                                        question."

                                        In order to understand this notion of secularization within Islam we
                                        might well not presuppose it.


                                        > 5. The same goes for the speculative discussion that has been going
                                        > on about Islam on this board. Of course, we do not know the shape
                                        the
                                        > dynamic of universalization has taken in Islam, as we have never
                                        > examined it. This is a question that will take *years of research*
                                        > before we can even come to a hypothetical answer. We do know that
                                        > both the poles of proselytization and secularization have to be
                                        > present in Islam, since it is a religion and therefore it has the
                                        > necessary properties of religion. But that's about it. To look for
                                        an
                                        > equivalent of Jesus Christ in the figure of Mohammed is to make the
                                        > mistake of thinking that the propelling force behind the dynamic of
                                        > the Islamic religion should take the same form as the
                                        Christological
                                        > dilemma. To say that Islam does not know of secularization since it
                                        > has not stripped its doctrine from its saliently Islamic features
                                        is
                                        > to make the same kind of mistake.
                                        >
                                        > 6. The conclusion that Islam does not know of a dynamic of
                                        > secularization, therefore, is scientifically vacuous. But there's
                                        > another disquieting side to this conclusion. It seems to fit
                                        > perfectly into the orientalist clichés about Islam and the Muslim
                                        > world. Perhaps the best known of these clichés is that Islam is a
                                        > religion that is all-encompassing and that necessarily dominates
                                        > politics - since 'it is not even aware of the distinction between
                                        the
                                        > religious and the secular'. This story leads to the conclusion that
                                        > the Islamic world is doomed to live under the reign of intolerant
                                        > theocracy, as it has not discovered that religion and politics are
                                        > separate domains. And that is nothing but *an old Protestant
                                        > theological critique of Islam*, which is still popular among the
                                        > western scholars and politicians who think within the framework of
                                        > orientalism.


                                        In (5) you suggest that the universalization of Islam might have
                                        taken a different form from the universalization of Christianity.

                                        However, your denial of the Orientalist trope in (6) (that denies the
                                        division between the spiritual/temporal within Islam) suggests that
                                        secularization in Islam did happen or should happen along similar
                                        lines as it happened in Christianity: as the division between the
                                        temporal/spiritual, which is a Christian-theological idea.

                                        This suggestion might well be a reproduction of the Orientalist
                                        method itself.

                                        Friendly greetings,
                                        Raf
                                      • elnewbigin
                                        Dear Balu, Jakob and Raf, I have to say I am getting a bit confused about the double dynamic of religion, so I would like to just ask some questions which
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Aug 25, 2003
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Dear Balu, Jakob and Raf,

                                          I have to say I am getting a bit confused about the double dynamic of
                                          religion, so I would like to just ask some questions which might
                                          straighten things out, for me at least.

                                          First of all proselytization:
                                          As far as I know, and this is based simply on conversations with
                                          friends who are practicing Jews, there is no conversion movement in
                                          Judaism. Jewish heritage is passed on matrilinealy. There are some
                                          conversions within the religion, for example by people wishing to
                                          marry a Jew but whose mother is not Jewish, but this is a relatively
                                          new and extremely lengthy phenomenon which is not accepted as true
                                          conversion by some Jews. As I say though, this is based on
                                          conversations and not academic research but if it is the case, where
                                          can the dynamic of proselytization in the Jewish religion be found?

                                          Secondly secularization:
                                          It is this that I am having a huge problem in getting to the bottom
                                          of.
                                          As I understand it secularization is used in common parlence to refer
                                          to a process which draws a distinction between a religious and non-
                                          religious world. As I understand the group's arguments, the framework
                                          that has become dominant in conceptualising this division is in fact
                                          one that evolved from a theological framework and distinction, one
                                          which creates the idea that there is:
                                          the Church and the state,
                                          The private and the public. etc.

                                          I am not trying to defend this distinction as a scientific theory, I
                                          can very much understand that this is the process by which
                                          Christianity has 'secularzed', i.e. conceptualised a non-religious
                                          domain. However, Islam, according to at least one twentieth century
                                          Muslim thinker whom I have read, does not share the theological
                                          conception through which a distinction can be drawn in this way. He
                                          argues that THEOLOGY prevents Islam from dividing its outlook on
                                          life. He therefore claims that Islam lacks the religious tools to
                                          secularize, to distinguish between the religious and non-religious. I
                                          am not trying to argue that this therefore means that, scientifically
                                          speaking, Islam can not secularise, rather, that its theology creates
                                          difficulties for it to see a non-religious domain.

                                          There is of course no need for the secularization process to be the
                                          same in Islam as it is in Christianity, to be located in Mohammad as
                                          a Jesus figure, but IF secularisation means a distinction between a
                                          religious and non-religious world then I do not see how Islam can,
                                          and, indeed has, managed that, albeit within a non-scientific
                                          framework.
                                          Secularisation as, I would say, it is most commonly understood,
                                          appears to me to be a result of process founded in Christianity and
                                          not in Islam, and maybe not in Judaism.

                                          I am not sure how clearly I have managed to express myself and maybe
                                          I am failing to move beyond this religious secularism and this is why
                                          I am struggling. If so can you please explain to me the view of
                                          secularism to which Balu refers in his theory about RELIGION and not
                                          Christianity, how is the religious view of the secular different to
                                          this understanding?

                                          Many thanks

                                          Eleanor
                                        • Balagangadhara
                                          Dear Eleanor, On the surface, the issues you raise look simple, but they are far from being that. Instead of focussing on what makes these issues troublesome,
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Aug 25, 2003
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            Dear Eleanor,

                                            On the surface, the issues you raise look simple, but they are far
                                            from being that. Instead of focussing on what makes these issues
                                            troublesome, let me talk instead of those I am able to tackle today.

                                            1. Let us begin with the idea that religion is some kind of a
                                            system (or structure or whatever you feel like using) that maintains
                                            itself. That is to say, it is able to reproduce itself, and sustain
                                            itself. I call this the `simple reproduction' of religion. This
                                            dynamic enables not only the reproduction of the community of
                                            believers but also the experiential intelligibility that the Cosmos
                                            has for them. (Worship, for instance, is one such means for the
                                            reproduction of religion.)

                                            2. There is, in addition, the dynamic of religion that allows it
                                            to expand. I call this the `extended reproduction of religion'. Here,
                                            we need to ascertain (through research) what exactly this `expansion'
                                            entails. At the moment, there are several candidates that partially
                                            fill in the meaning of the word: increasing number of people being
                                            converted to a specific religion; religion penetrating the daily life
                                            ever deeper; the expansion of some religion beyond the spatial borders
                                            that it finds itself, etc.

                                            3. Our common-sense notions of `expansion' include the above
                                            elements. Mostly, that is all what is meant when one speaks of the
                                            expansion of religion. Because of this, the opposite processes are
                                            called the processes of secularisation. When, for instance, religion
                                            (basically the religious figures) starts losing out, i.e., wins less
                                            converts (or even none at all); when religion begins to `withdraw'
                                            from daily life (and becomes a `private matter', say); or it fails to
                                            spread, etc. people speak of the process of secularisation.
                                            Reformulating the common-sense notion, we could say that `the
                                            withdrawal' of religion from spheres where it was explicitly present
                                            before indicates that secularisation is occurring.

                                            4. My story does not deny the manifest fact that this process has
                                            either occurred or that it continues to do so. But I do claim that
                                            this is another way of how religion expands. That is, I suggest that
                                            secularisation is one of the moments in the expanding dynamic of
                                            religion. Secularisation and proselytization constitute two moments in
                                            the expansion of religion or, as I call it, they represent the double
                                            dynamic of religion.

                                            5. What does this dynamic do? It creates a religious world and a
                                            secularised religious world. The previous sentence must be understood
                                            literally: two worlds are created within religion. It is not a
                                            question of whether this or that theologian draws the distinction
                                            between the `sacred' and the `profane' or between `the spiritual' and
                                            `the temporal', but about the coming-into-being of two worlds: the
                                            world of religion and the world of human beings. The latter includes
                                            Law, State, cemeteries, child-rearing practices, working as a computer
                                            engineer, building cars, setting up factories, designing and building
                                            cities … The world of religion is, of course, the world of God's Will,
                                            His creations, His creatures. That means, it necessarily includes the
                                            `secular world'. That is to say, the `secular' world of ours is how
                                            the religious world brings it forth, as a secularised religious world.

                                            6. This is a hypothesis formulated in the most general of terms.
                                            Through research, we need to give more precise content to this story:
                                            is it possible, for instance, to look at our modern-day cities as
                                            parts of a secularised religious world? How can we show that
                                            child-rearing practices of Europe (today) are expressions of the
                                            secularisation of some religion or another? And so on. In other words,
                                            we need to know what the hypothesis about universalisation of religion
                                            entails and what it does not. All I can say at the current moment is
                                            this: my hypothesis is proving extraordinarily productive in that it
                                            has enabled some of us to formulate very surprising questions for
                                            scientific research. Does it prove that my hypothesis is true? It does
                                            not; it merely indicates that my hypothesis appears heuristically
                                            productive.

                                            7. With these preliminaries out of the way, let me now take up some
                                            of the issues you raise. About Judaism. Your questions arise from the
                                            fact that, for all practical purposes, one can only be born a Jew
                                            today (from mother's side). This indeed appears to be true. But what
                                            does this fact signify? That the proselytizing tendency in Judaism is
                                            muted or non-existent today? We could answer this question in the
                                            affirmative only if we say that proselytization can only mean that it
                                            wins new converts. If we do that, what do we do with every new
                                            generation born of Jewish mothers? Further, we would be looking a
                                            proselytization in numerical terms, whose limits are given beforehand:
                                            the total number of human beings existing at any given moment. In that
                                            case, the proselytizing dynamic would cease once this limit is
                                            reached. Not only would that mean that proselytization means some
                                            initiation ceremony (baptism or circumcision or whatever else), it can
                                            also mean no more than that. Should this be the case, our claims would
                                            be historically inaccurate and wrong: (a) the Jews have always looked
                                            at themselves as `the chosen' people, suggesting that there would
                                            always be `gentiles' (or non-Jews) in the world. The God of Abraham,
                                            Isaac and Jacob was the Lord of Israel, and there were other nations
                                            (people) and other `gods' besides Him. (b) Even in Christianity,
                                            `conversion' was a process that primarily monks and secondarily
                                            Christians underwent. To undergo `conversio', one had to be a
                                            Christian first.

                                            All of these considerations tell us this: we need to understand what
                                            the process of proselytization entails. To do this, we need to do
                                            research. My hypothesis enables us to formulate questions for a
                                            scientific enquiry and search for answers. It is itself not an answer
                                            to these questions.

                                            There are other kinds of questions as well. Assume for a moment that
                                            there is a simple reproduction of religion. Would a deepening of the
                                            religiosity of its believers constitute the extended reproduction of
                                            religion as well? Could the extended dynamic be muted, dulled, or even
                                            rendered non-existent by other things? Could a religion reproduce
                                            itself indefinitely only in the form of a simple reproduction? How
                                            would we then look at the issue synchronically, i.e. when a new
                                            generation is inducted? So on and so forth.

                                            In other words, to your question, "where can the dynamic of
                                            proselytization in the Jewish religion be found?" there is but one
                                            answer: through a study of the history of the growth, spread and the
                                            reproduction of Judaism, one can find out where it can be found and
                                            what proselytization of Judiasm entails. This will help us understand
                                            the notion of proselytization itself better.

                                            8. About the issues regarding Islam. You can, I suppose, already
                                            anticipate one answer. One needs to study Islam before your question
                                            can be answered. But there are other things to consider as well. The
                                            creation of a religious world and a secularised religious world occurs
                                            within a culture. So, if we have to understand this process (or even
                                            find out whether such a process is possible) we need to develop an
                                            empirical theory of a culture brought forth by Islam. Our newspaper
                                            conception of `countries in the Middle East' does not constitute a
                                            configuration of learning, which is how I see cultures. We need to
                                            look at the Mogul period (in India, for instance) and ask ourselves
                                            whether it was (or was not) in some way a part of the configuration of
                                            learning that Islam brought forth. How about Indonesia today? And so
                                            on. Only if we have some idea of this configuration of learning (which
                                            will not come without serious research) could we then see whether or
                                            not there is secularisation of Islam (as I use the term).
                                            My story cannot and does not answer these questions. But it does say
                                            that this process must exist in Islam (and Judaism) too and helps you
                                            in looking for answers. If this process does not exist, there are only
                                            two possibilities: either Islam (or Judaism) is not a religion or that
                                            my theory is false.

                                            9. You further refer to some thinker who seems to suggest that the
                                            Islamic theology does not (or is unable) to make a distinction between
                                            `the religious' and the `non-religious'. That is, Islamic theology
                                            creates difficulties for the secularisation of Islam. I am not sure I
                                            understand what exactly this claim means.
                                            Consider the strictures against money-lending in Islam. Let us call
                                            them `the religious' aspect of Islamic theology. However, there are
                                            banks everywhere in the Islamic countries and these banks participate
                                            in the international money-markets elsewhere in the world as well.
                                            Whatever the variations in the national banking practices, they are
                                            subject to international banking practices as well, which include
                                            charging interest on money. Do these banks belong to `the religious'
                                            or to `the `non-religious' domain? Islam does not have anything to say
                                            about electricity, aeroplanes and petroleum. Do these objects and
                                            phenomenon belong to the `religious' domain or to something different
                                            from it? Once you start along these lines, you have sciences,
                                            engineering, etc. about which Islamic theology will have nothing to
                                            say. To which domain do these things belong?

                                            In other words, it is not clear to me what this thinker wants to say.
                                            If, as you paraphrase him, Islam lacks the religious (?) tools to
                                            distinguish between the religious and non-religious, does it mean to
                                            say that it does not distinguish between the `holy stone' in Mecca and
                                            some other arbitrary piece of rock as a `non holy stone'? If such a
                                            distinction is made in Islam, it is automatically distinguishing
                                            between the `religious' and the `non-religious'.

                                            He was probably waxing eloquent (was he?) about the `unified' look on
                                            Life in Islam as against the `western' or `Christian' outlook that
                                            divides life into the `secular' and the `sacred'. If this is the case,
                                            or if he was denigrating Islam because it is not yet `enlightened', I
                                            would not bother reading such stuff.

                                            10. I do realise that these are not the kind of answers that you
                                            were probably expecting. But this is the best I can do for some time
                                            to come. Questions like those you raise require decades of study and
                                            research before answers are found.



                                            Friendly greetings

                                            Balu
                                          • vnr
                                            Re: secularization of Islam IMO, it is not logical to extend double dynamic within Christianity, say of, Christological dilemma, to Islam. In other words,
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Aug 25, 2003
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              Re: secularization of Islam

                                              IMO, it is not logical to extend double dynamic within Christianity,
                                              say of, Christological dilemma, to Islam. In other words, looking for
                                              similar things in Islam is futile.
                                            • Raf
                                              Dear Jakob, Just for the sake of chronological order: my reply # 271 was posted much before Balu s post # 270 made things much clearer to me. Best regards, Raf
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Aug 25, 2003
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                Dear Jakob,

                                                Just for the sake of chronological order: my reply # 271 was posted
                                                much before Balu's post # 270 made things much clearer to me.

                                                Best regards,
                                                Raf
                                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.