Author cites need for understanding [Excerpts]
Local interfaith dialogues urged
Wake Forest University professor and author Charles Kimball [spoke] during the 2007 Community Prayer Breakfast at Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers. Kimball, who wrote the book "When Religion Becomes Evil," spoke about understanding and appreciating different religious views.
The world’s religions are at a crossroads, forced to choose between paths of suspicion and violence or mutual cooperation and peace, an expert on comparative religion told those attending a prayer breakfast in Fort Myers.
The sectarian violence that has divided much of the Middle East is an example of religious belief turned to evil purpose, said Charles Kimball, a professor at Wake Forest University with a background in Middle Eastern affairs.
Local interfaith dialogues can increase understanding and have a global reach, he said.
Kimball cited a chapter of the Koran, Islam’s holy scripture, that speaks of religious diversity as part of God’s plan.
"We must accept that some of our traditional ways of thinking are no longer adequate," Kimball told the gathering of 1,200 people at the Harborside Event Center. “Narrow views are becoming increasingly dangerous in a world where terrorists have access to weapons of mass destruction.
"Christians, Muslims and Jews are all talking about the same God, but they don’t perceive him in the same way."
[TBC: Kimball "cited a chapter of the Koran...that speaks of religious diversity..." Of necessity he must willfully ignore the entirety of Islam to make his point. As another writer pointed out, "During the Meccan period, Muhammad claimed that his role was to warn people. Later, it seems that all those who don’t believe what he taught and forbade, are not simply warned but are to be fought, cursed and commanded to embrace Islam. Nevertheless, since it is logical (due to the nature of belief formation) that ’there is no compulsion in religion’ (Sura 2:257), those who choose not to embrace Islam have the alternative to live in submission, paying a tax to be allowed to believe what they had believed before but in such a way that they ’feel themselves subdued.’
Compared with the concept of tolerance defined at the beginning of this paper, Qur’anic ’tolerance’ is nothing less than religious persecution."