On June 9, 2016, this Blog posted “Don’t Even Think of Reforming Islam !” In its July 4, 2016 edition (post-dated as usual) TIME magazine published today the two final paragraphs of my post. Which means that what you read here a few weeks ago is being read by millions of people all over the world ! Obviously the fact that the post was the fifth of (only) five Letters to the Editor in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) edition – with a readership of 1.7 million – does not mean that all the editions around the globe carried the same letter, nor that everyone who reads the magazine this week will read the Letters to the Editor. But a lot will. (That’s about as humble an understatement as I can make . . .).
As you can see in the original post, my text was provoked by Shadi Hamid’s article in TIME, June 13, 2016, “How Islam is Different from Other Religions”. This week’s TIME published a second response which disagrees with Hamid’s article by optimistically speaking of Islam today as “struggling through its own puberty”, and predicting that it will “eventually … catch up” with other religions. On the contrary, I am afraid that Hamid is right in insisting that “Islam has been – and will continue to be – resistant to secularization.”
The following is my text as it appeared in TIME :
“Atheists dismiss out of hand claims that any ‘sacred’ writing is literally the word of God, or worse, ‘God’s direct and literal speech.’ But how do Christians react to all this ? The church has spent 2,000 years interpreting the Bible, and has recognized its use of fable and myth to express “divine truth”. Islam and Christianity cannot both be right. No amount of goodwill, tolerance and ecumenism can ignore the clear contradictions between the Quran and the Bible, which both claim that God is their author. Shadi Hamid has told the world that it is a waste of time to expect Islam to review and reform its doctrine. Its hallmark will remain blind and immutable dogmatism. But Christians should be careful not to smash their own stained-glass windows by stoning the competition.
Frank O’Meara, L’Isle-Adam, France”