17 November 2006

When worldviews collide

This is rich. The Dutch have recently passed a law prohibiting the wearing of burqas in public. Dutch Muslim groups are complaining that a burqa ban would make the country's 1 million Muslims feel “victimized and alienated.”

I have not yet had the pleasure of traveling to a country in which Muslims dominate, but I strongly suspect that Muslims in those countries don’t give much thought to whether non-Muslims feel “victimized and alienated.”

Converting to Islam is not punishable by death in the Netherlands, as converting to Christianity is in some Muslim countries.

I’m a fairly nice guy, I think. I try to sympathize as much as I can. But Christians around the world, mostly in Muslim countries, live in fear of their lives because they are Christians. I have difficulty summoning up compassion for “victimized and alienated” burqa-less women in Holland.

More important than my feelings, however, is the truth. And the truth is that Dutch Muslims live in a secular nation and adhere to a (non-secular) worldview which does indeed make them aliens and strangers. Secularism and Islam are discrete worldviews, having greatly differing ultimate authorities, epistemologically and ethically, even metaphysically. It would be no exaggeration to say that Muslims and Secularists live in different universes.

Muslims live in a universe created by Allah. Their ultimate epistemological norm is the Quran, from which they also derive their ultimate ethical norms.

Secularists live in a universe which just happens to exist. They claim reason as their ultimate epistemological norm, but since the decision to do so is pre-logical their desires, whatever they may be, are their epistemological norms. This is true also with respect to ethics.

The two can get along well if they try hard enough. But in the end in some conflicts one of them will win and one of them will lose.


About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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