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"Christianity's unwillingness to assert the limits of behavior..."

"... -- a loss of confidence, if you will -- has given Islam the upper hand with women who are suggestible and vulnerable to propaganda."

That's from Herbert London who's attempting to understand why women would convert to Islam (though I'd not limit his thesis to women):

Very recently Tony Blair's sister-in-law, journalist Lauren Booth, embraced the faith after what she described as a "holy experience" in Iran. Based on what Ayaan Hirsi Ali has described as the brutal, totalistic character of Islam, one is obliged to ask why any modern career woman would opt for conversion to the Muslim religion.

After all, as so many autobiographies of Muslim women note, the religion bans anything that is fun ("haram," or forbidden). No chewing of gum, no bicycle riding, no make-up, no eating in public, no painting of nails, no pets, no questions, and of course, no answering back. For many Muslim women, there is an eagerness to assert independence as soon as adulthood is reached.

How then does one explain Lauren Booth? She notes that in the city of Qom "I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy." What precisely was Ms. Booth seeking, and why did she find it in Islam? Although it is difficult to generalize, I suspect that the convert is in a search for meaning in societies where the "anything goes," permissive attitude of the moment proves to be a superficial void. Islam is totalistic; modernity, with all its freedom, is often vacuous.

...

Of course, the question that remains is why Christianity doesn't provide the moral guidelines so many women are seeking. As I see it, Christianity's unwillingness to assert the limits of behavior -- a loss of confidence, if you will -- has given Islam the upper hand with women who are suggestible and vulnerable to propaganda. Some might contend these converts have gone from the frying pan into the fire, but as they see it, Islam has offered meaning in lives without it and has provided strictures for lives that have only known license.

A kite will not fly unless it's restrained.  Man cannot be free unless he's moored morally to a grounding set of beliefs.  London has put forth a most interesting theory.  Christianity's failure to provide moral boundaries might be leading many to embrace the constricting beliefs of Islam. 

Read the whole thing and add this to your list of things to ponder this Advent season.


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Comments (10)

Interesting theory, though ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Interesting theory, though I am dubious. Once someone rejects the truth, they are open and inclined to embrace anything but. It is one thing to be steeped in darkness from the outset: to be exposed to the light yet flee it for the darkness is quite another.

"Of course, the question th... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Of course, the question that remains is why Christianity doesn't provide the moral guidelines so many women are seeking."

I suppose if you consider the Christianity is only limited to the mainstream denominations that would be true (Episcopal/Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Church of Christ...). However, when you get into evangelical Christianity this is not the case. When you look at the segment of Christianity that is expanding at the greatest rate we see that Biblical morality is not lacking.

The state of the Christian church in Europe is far different from that in the US. In fact Europe has become a large missionary field for evangelical denominations. Even Catholic churches from Africa have sent missionaries back into Europe.

It isn't Christianity that is lacking. It is Europe.

You advocate return to the ... (Below threshold)
voirdire:

You advocate return to the Mosaic Law, not Christianity. True Christians are already aware of the limits of behavior based upon principle. They're spelled out clearly enough.

What do you mean no moral b... (Below threshold)
G.:

What do you mean no moral boundaries? What part of Thou shalt not(you shall not)don't you understand? In fact there are 365 negative commandments.The "10" are the basic ones that sum them up,in fact Christ summed them up in two. Love the Lord your God with all your heart all your soul and all your might,the second Love your neighbor as your self. Those sum up the 10 as the first 4 of the 10 deal with our relationship to God the other six relate to how we are to relate to each other.

Sorry meant the first 3 to ... (Below threshold)
G.:

Sorry meant the first 3 to God and last seven to each other.

We're Roman Catholics and b... (Below threshold)

We're Roman Catholics and believe me, our good German Shepherd, Pope Benedict, is drawing the lines right back on the road for Catholics to stay between. No premarital sex. No abortion. No homosexuality. Church every Sunday and no meat on Fridays during Lent.

I love your example of a kite and string, Rick. Without the string of morality and decency, children are raised in a moral free-for-all that does nothing but send them off to crash. Our children are being raised as Roman Catholics. Europe has abandoned the faith and they are dying because of it.

voirdire,If you we... (Below threshold)
jim m:

voirdire,

If you were referring to me you are incorrect. But yes, Christians do understand the limits of behavior. The issue I was trying to point out is that many mainstream denominations have lost sight of those basic teachings and have abandoned them.

Several years ago a Swedish Lutheran Pastor got up before his church and declared that Christ was not real and the Bible was just a story. He was promptly removed from office. The mainstream denominations have been failing their flock for years.

The people want something that teaches right from wrong. The old line churches have lost that. They have succumbed to the fear of media disapprobation. The churches want to be loved by the world. That is not the teaching of Christ. The tightrope to walk is to be in the world but not of it.

That's about half right. Th... (Below threshold)

That's about half right. The other half of the problem is the failure of masculinity. Women, whether they admit it or not, find men most attractive when they are in control. Men in Western cultures are taught to *always* defer to the wishes of women, just because they are women. Whatever else might be said about Muslim men, they are not hen-pecked, and no woman can stand a hen-pecked husband--even if she's the hen.

"I suppose if..Christianity... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

"I suppose if..Christianity is..limited to the mainstream denominations..Episcopal/Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Church of Christ..."

then the membership is in freefall. I have a great deal of experience with M, L & U.

If what one believes isn't important to the club, one doesn't get joiners, duh. Why bother?

On the other hand, if the club hunts down and decapitates those who leave, one doesn't get leavers, duuhhh.

...the question th... (Below threshold)
res:
...the question that remains is why Christianity doesn't provide the moral guidelines so many women are seeking.

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled."

"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness--with good works."

"Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."

There are plenty of 'moral guidelines' for men and women in the Bible, and particularly in the New Testament... Unfortunately, they are not being taught in most churches (even those that consider themselves 'fundamentalist' - i.e. holding only to the fundamentals taught in scripture).

We've gotten so PC as a society that even believers won't touch certain areas of scripture because they're afraid to offend some group of people. Or alternately, they rewrite scripture in their own image (gender-neutral, etc.)... Christendom has thus been left with a "form of religion" which has no power.

No wonder people are looking elsewhere for moral guidance.




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