ADVERTISING
 
Monday, April 23   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Easter
What we read in the Gospels about the life, death and ressurrection of Jesus Christ is...





SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Pier Francesco Abortivi
 

The real clash - Islam, relativism and absolutism

It’s interesting to see how our western culture, totally permeated with relativism and tolerance, is now quickly moving towards absolutist positions of rejection and even racism, generally known as populism.

PIER FRANCESCO ABORTIVI 22 FEBRUARY 2017 13:37 h GMT+1
Photo: Osman Rana (Unsplash, CC)

The last twenty-five years have seen what has been called a clash of cultures between the Islamic and the western world. Some have tried to present it as a clash between religions, but the truth is that in our post-modern/post-Christian societies, Christianity can face even more opposition than Islam, although in a subtler way.



Islam extremists and terrorism were like an earthquake in a otherwise fairly stable environment - a wake-up call for a world that takes for granted principles like democracy, open-mindedness, and a “live and let live” attitude that still permeates every aspect of our relationships. The real big clash our societies is facing today is actually between relativism and absolutism, not between Christianity and Islam.



It’s interesting to see how our western culture, totally permeated with relativism and (theoretically) tolerance, after a period filled with different attempts to integrate immigrants of different religions, is now quickly moving towards absolutist positions of rejection and even racism, generally known as populism. Since relativism can exist only in a society where no one has absolute ideas or agendas, once it became clear that most of the newcomers wouldn’t have accepted this live and let live dogma, the citizens of our tolerant and open countries discovered themselves full of absolutism.  America first (or whatever your European country is, first) is just the outcry of a huge identity crisis that affects our western world. Challenged by an invasion of “we-know-who-we-are-and-what-we-want” kind of people, Europeans are desperate to find fixed points they can hold on to so desperate that politicians without any strong moral values are heard invoking our Christian heritage, as if it were a cultural sign, rather than a faith identity.



Truth is, we are now facing a very old problem. This world continually swings between extremes and the church too often follows those extremes instead of presenting an actual viable and original alternative. We therefore find Christians who choose the “law and order party” and others who prefer the “peace and love tolerance party”.



The first approach uses fear to reject cultures that we feel to be alien and dangerous. The problem with this approach is that it is defending something that no longer exists on grounds that it doesn’t really acknowledge. You cannot defend some Christian values while neglecting others. You can’t denounce terrorism because it doesn’t respect the sacredness of life and kill millions of children in their mothers’ womb, you can’t protect the right to be wealthy when you have done a lot to keep other countries poor, you can’t defend women’s rights while you are promoting a billion dollar porn industry. The notorious “European Christian roots” have too often become an excuse for rejecting foreigners rather than an actual declaration of identity. When Christianity becomes cultural instead of personal and based on heritage rather than faith, it becomes no more than another ideology.



The second, more liberal and tolerant approach, struggled from the beginning to harmonize a welcoming attitude for anything that is “different” or poorer with the reality of people who didn’t always have good intentions or didn’t want to integrate. How do you manage that? The result is often denial. According to this view, Islamic terrorists are only a small minority and the immigration problem doesn’t have anything to do with religion. This clearly avoids facing the facts that although terrorists are a small minority, they are also the fruit of a silent majority that does consider non-Muslims as inferior, Islam as having the right to expand itself in other territories and even supports practices that we would consider barbaric, like physical punishment for crimes.  But why do so many men and women deny the factual faults of Islamic culture? I believe the answer is once again fear. Every psychology will tell you that denial (like anger) is just one of the many ways we can respond to situations that we perceive as negative or dangerous. “I don’t like it, therefore it doesn’t exist” is an attitude that is more common than we would think and that can transform intelligent and otherwise objective people, into nonsense proclaimers.



Deception and fear are some of our enemy’s weapons against the truth. We, as Christians, are called not to be “unaware of his schemes”.  Instead, we too often listen to the voices that bring fear into our houses and join factions of men who propose earthly solutions. The answer cannot be one of anger and rejection, because we are called to love even our enemies, and it cannot be one of denial because we are children of the light, called to spread the truth of Jesus Christ.



Let’s stop following earthly ideologies and limited human beings. As “shrewd snakes and innocent doves” let’s practice discernment and love for our neighbors, whatever their religion, as we present them our Lord Jesus Christ, remembering that our fight is against spiritual realms, not people.



Pier Francesco Abortivi lives in Italy and is EU director for ACCI and president of Progetto Archippo.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - The real clash - Islam, relativism and absolutism
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation? Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation?

“The reasons why somebody might have sex with a prostitute are very different from the reasons why somebody might want to have an affair with a member of their congregation”. An analysis by John Stevens, National Director of FIEC (UK).

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.