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November 30th

Filed under: Uncategorized — natashag22 at 2:09 pm on Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chapter 46: The Christian Revolution” by Philip Jenkins

                Philip Jenkins begins by describing the common notion of what Christianity is. Jenkins focuses particular attention to its followers. It is known to be the religion of “the haves”. Most Christians are imagined to be white, of an older age, and wealthy. Honestly, when I think of Christians this is what I picture. Christianity is frequently associated with white nations or Western imperialism. In reality it has declined in these places, and has taken a turn southward. In countries such as: Asia, Africa, and Latin America, “Christianity is not only surviving, but expanding” (Jenkins). One third to the world’s population identify as Christian, and it is predicted that by 2050 one fifth of them will be non-white Hispanic. I was shocked at the idea. Jenkins states knowing this should cause us to think before saying, “What Christians believe.” This didn’t make sense to me. It is the people who believe in the religion that are changing, not the religion itself. There is a trend in these Southern Christians to be more conservative. These people, “will develop a powerful Christian identity in culture and politics” (Jenkins). There is a question posed about what this means globally. Will there be a global unity that takes place? Jenkins hypothesizes Africa and Latin America will share common issues and have the ability to identify with one another.  

Audio (stream): “Inside American Islam,” On Point, NPR, 9/14/2010. Top Islam expert Akbar Ahmed just visited one hundred mosques in America. This is his report.

The Muslim scholar Akbar Ahmed who holds chairs in Islamic studies visited one hundred mosques in seventy five American cities and towns. He published his finding s in “Journey into America: Challenge of Islam”. His main point was to study how it feels to be Muslim American in the current state our society is in and the challenges in forming a new American identity. Akbar Ahmed found that we are currently living in a time of dramatic change and crisis. With all the pressure everyone is feeling it was only a matter of needing a spark to light the fire. The spark was the recent New York mosque incident and the pastor in Florida. It was interesting to hear that people never admitted to feeling at unease to Ahmed, but due to his education and training he was able to still detect it. He sees a large part of the problem caused by poor Muslim community leadership. He describes a lack of collectiveness, and cohesiveness coupled with so much diversity and variance producing a weak and unstable community. Ahmed believes this only makes it easier for few to spark a crisis and overwhelming problems to occur. He concludes his book with a debate of what kind of America our country wants. The scholar also goes out of his area to study history and how it relates to our current situation. Much of the issues are credited to post September 11th attacks. I was surprised to hear him put most of the blame on Muslims for being unorganized and not educating Americans who “want to understand Islam”. If Americans really wanted to understand Islam they would work to be conscious people. Just because someone or a society doesn’t understand a group of people doesn’t justify their prejudice or acts of discrimination. A journalist from Los Angeles speaks on the show. He has valid points and is precise in most of his statements. Though he lacks the critical analysis, courage, or consciousness needed to find the underlying truth, controversial opinion, or meaningful statement.

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