Religion

College Suspends Professor for Urging Solidarity Between Christians and Muslims

Wheaton College wants professors to explain differences between Christianity, Islam.

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Hawkins
Hawkins / Facebook

Wheaton College administrators suspended a professor for affirming that Muslims worship the same deity as Christians and urging greater friendship between practitioners of the two religions.

Wheaton is an evangelical Christian college in Illinois; the professor who got herself in trouble, Larycia Alaine Hawkins, identifies as a Christian but is concerned about anti-Muslim bigotry. A week ago, she posted on Facebook that she would be wearing a hijab to class in order to show solidarity with her "Muslim neighbors." She wrote:

I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay, descendants of the same cradle of humankind–a cave in Sterkfontein, South Africa that I had the privilege to descend into to plumb the depths of our common humanity in 2014.

I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.

Wheaton's administration was displeased by the statement, which falsely suggested that Christianity and Islam are compatible, according to the college's response:

While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God's revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation, and the life of prayer. …

Some recent faculty statements have generated confusion about complex theological matters, and could be interpreted as failing to reflect the distinctively Christian theological identity of Wheaton College. We will be in dialogue with our faculty, staff and students in the days ahead to ensure that we articulate our love for our Muslim neighbors in ways that are consistent with our distinctive theological convictions.

Wheaton placed Hawkins on leave, "pending the full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member."

The college stressed that it is an evangelical Protestant institution, and staff members are required to conduct themselves in accordance with Wheaton's Statement of Faith. As a private school, Wheaton is within its rights to punish a professor for a breach of dogma—to put adherence to specific religious believe first, and free speech second.

I don't think Wheaton is correct to do so, however. I imagine the climate for intellectual discussion on campus must be quite toxic if professors are punished for imperfectly representing the faith. And when faculty members are afraid to speak their minds, students are deprived of a rewarding educational experience.

In the specific case of Professor Hawkins, the college seems particularly misguided. Different Christian sects believe different things about whether Muslims, Christians, and Jews worship the same God; I attended Catholic school for 12 years, and my teachers always stressed the commonalities of the faiths. Wheaton College, it seems, takes the view that professors must emphasize the distinctions between Christianity and other religions when they speak on matters of faith. Still, Hawkins' statement hardly seems like an egregious breach of doctrine, considering the spirit in which it was written.

I would note also that Hawkins was a tenured professor—the only tenured black professor at the college. Tenure obviously means very little at Wheaton. 

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  1. You know who else tried to leave the Jews out?

    1. Many US county clubs in the fifties and sixties?

      1. “country”

    2. Yasser Arafat?

    3. Well it certainly WAS NOT Mr. Hilter. He wanted them in…the oven.

  2. Life sounds more fun under the Norse gods.

    1. I cannot imagine how they ever got Norsemen to convert. Bernard Cornwell’s books make it seem so much more fun.

      1. I cannot imagine how they ever got Norsemen to convert.

        The threat of never ending war coupled with the promise a powerful new priestly class to preserve one’s rule. Carrot and stick basically.

      2. They led with stories like taking down the walls of Jericho with a trumpet blast, the destruction rained on enemies by the Ark, and the like.

        Basically, “you think your gods are badass? Check out ours!”

        They left the austerity stuff until after conversion.

        One of my favorites is King Raedwald of East Anglia who had shrines to both Jesus and Thor, just to hedge his bets.

        1. One of my favorites is King Raedwald of East Anglia who had shrines to both Jesus and Thor, just to hedge his bets.

          That was actually very common at the time. These pagans had no concept of “no other gods before me”, which ultimately was a large part of why it was so easy to win converts from the ancient Indo-European religion of the Norse and German et al.

          1. It’s still fairly common today. One of my favorite accounts has a missionary go down to India, to be received enthusiastically by the people there — only to find that Jesus’ statue was put in a shrine with all the rest of the Hindu gods.

            Though in the case of Christianity, think it had more to do with Christians going around knocking down sacred trees and such while having nothing happen to them — the early, more genteel missionary work in the Norse lands didn’t exactly end well for the Christians there.

          2. Yeah, it was a lot of “Oh you want to tell us about your God?? He sounds cool, I guess we can worship him too!!”

          3. I need-monotheism encroaches on poly in much the way that authoritarianism encroaches on liberty

            1. That was supposed to be “indeed”

            2. My government is a jealous government. I can take none before them.

      3. They got one Norse king to convert and he made the rest convert or die. (True story.)

      4. Spoiler alert: Norse Gods lose Ragnarok.

      5. Evidently not everyone prefers an eternity of drunken brawling, or the necessity of dying violently in order to attain entry to the drunken brawl

      6. “I cannot imagine how they ever got Norsemen to convert.”

        My family come over from Norway right before the second war and maintained close ties for the first couple generations, and still with norvegophonic colonies in the midwest. Almost everyone was member of the Church of Norway and later regular Lutherans. From my experience with these people, I’d say the answer to your question is that they did not. With them, it’s like membership in some kind of social club required of any h?gstaaende borger, but as far as matters of belief or adherence to anything legitimately termed Christian, these people are not Christian. Furthermore, studying the history of the conversion, as I had to in school in some depth, it was extremely difficult and one is left with the impression that the saints of Scandinavia were the only true Christians to be found there. We also find Norway providing much of the most enthusiastic Crusaders, and again closer examination shows people exhibitting little or no Christian influence.

        Of course, these days this is the case with many or most modern “Christians”, but the Scandinavians have been doing it this way from the beginning.

        Consider even the national efforts to Christianise the Lapps and the fact that forcing alcohol on them was considered an essential part of the process. It wasn’t really about Christianising them. It was about making them act more like civilised Nordfolk.

        1. Further, I remember growing up that there was always bits and pieces of heathen folktro coming through here and there. I ended up, for instance, with a healthy concern about trolls and an assortment of techniques for avoiding conflict with them till I got into adolescency.

        2. My people are Icelanders, and I’ve had the same experience.

          “You want to get sit in that building on Sundays and call ourselves Christians and then you’ll leave us alone? OK.”

          Iceland: last to accept Christianity, first to throw it off.

      1. That is truly awesome.

    2. I wouldn’t mind being ruled by Lagertha.

    3. I’ll have a beer on Thor’s Day for you.

  3. I attended Catholic school for 12 years, and my teachers always stressed the commonalities of the faiths.

    Can u even say the rosary backwards, bro?

    1. YOU BETTER RESPECT MY JEDI BELIEFS.

        1. I got chills when Han emerged from the refrigerator unscathed from the nuclear blast.

          1. It was the midochlorians!

    2. I heard that if you say the rosary backwards it comes out like Mr Ed’s theme song.

  4. “Tenure obviously means very little at Wheaton.”

    I’ve wondered for years why tenure should mean anything, anywhere.

    1. I thought it was to prevent stuff like this from happening.

      1. College professors should have just as much right to be fired as an accountant or barista. It would help them understand a little more about the real world the rest of us have to live in.

        1. Fair enough but that is the stated reason. Guess it makes more sense at a so-called public institution (given the blurring that exists).

          In this case I actually agree with the college.

        2. It’s that whole free speech thing. Here’s one of those perfect examples of despising what someone is saying (99.9999% of college professors), but if we want freedom of speech it has to extend to everyone.

  5. Different Christian sects believe different things about whether Muslims, Christians, and Jews worship the same God; I attended Catholic school for 12 years, and my teachers always stressed the commonalities of the faiths.

    While I’m not surprised that you accepted an egalitarian premise hook-line-and-sinker, you sort of just rebutted your own argument. Clearly this particular sect (evangelical protestant) does not comport with the view of the sect (Catholic) you were indoctrinated by, thus the University was not just within their rights but also correct in doing so insofar as their religious tenets are concerned.

    1. Seems a bit difficult to reconcile “thou shalt not murder” with “kill the infidel wherever you meet them”

      1. You must have skipped Joshua and Judges when you read the Bible then, mr burns.

        Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

        But apparently the Israelites were able to reconcile that with “thou shalt not murder:”

        1. It’s okay because Amalekites don’t have any feelings.

    2. I don’t know. The points of community between Christianity and another religion are in fact the most important points of difference. It’s where they are the same that the distinctions of Christianity come forth sharpest. To just bludgeonly deny there’s any common points and to relegate the whole of human existence outside the church as godless Chaos flies in the face of the fundamental universalism pon which Christianity was based and by which distinguished itself from all other religions.

  6. Wow. That was a completely non-libertarian view of a situation concerning a private college. The article should have ended with “they are completely within their rights to act as they did.” It is clear that the problem was not in her showing support for Muslims, it is in the fact that she took a doctrinal position contrary to the school’s and contrary to the one she signed as affirming to be her own belief. It was not that she was black. It was not that she was a woman. It was not about free speech or open conversation or the learning environment. This read like a piece on MSNBC not Reason.

    1. Reading comprehension, how does that work?

      “As a private school, Wheaton is within its rights to punish a professor for a breach of dogma?to put adherence to specific religious believe first, and free speech second.”

      1. Reading is for ladies and homos.

      2. I don’t know you tell me? My point was that everything he said after he made the statement was unnecessary, thus the article should have ended with that statement.

    2. The article should have ended with “they are completely within their rights to act as they did.”

      He actually did say that somewhere in the middle of the article. Here it is:

      As a private school, Wheaton is within its rights to punish a professor for a breach of dogma?to put adherence to specific religious believe first, and free speech second.

      1. So the story is “private school acts within its rights and upholds its purpose and mission “.

        Sure but what is the point? Either the author doesn’t have a point or he has a problem with the school acting within its rights to uphold its values and mission.

        Why wouldn’t the school fire this person? If one of reason staff became an avowed communist and refused to hold the party line, wouldn’t reason be right to fire them?

        1. Sure but what is the point?

          Kultur War signaling. Apparently it’s what the Reason Foundation wants the jacket to stress. Wrap some tissue-paper thin “free market” pandering around it and call it “libertarian”.

          1. And anyone who points that out is just butt hurt.

        2. If one of reason staff became an avowed communist and refused to hold the party line, wouldn’t reason be right to fire them?

          DON’T TALK ABOUT LUCY

        3. I don’t think Wheaton is correct to do so, however. I imagine the climate for intellectual discussion on campus must be quite toxic if professors are punished for imperfectly representing the faith. And when faculty members are afraid to speak their minds, students are deprived of a rewarding educational experience.

          John how do you push yourself past the hesitation about making an argument that has already been addressed? Like you read the post, saw that the objection you wanted to make to FS is answered right there in the post, and then said “No, I want to go ahead and make the point anyway, even though it makes me look like I don’t know how to read, because my only joy in life is to blindly whip contrarian barbs at people I think are on the wrong side of the Kultur War.”

          The cognitive dissonance required to do that kind of thing is truly remarkable.

          1. You are an idiot Hugh. I don’t know any way to put it. The author’s point is he doesn’t like a strictly Christian college and thinks they have some obligation to intellectual diversity to not be strictly Christian. And that is absurd. Only someone as narrow minded and think headed as you could find that argument compelling.

            1. You’ll notice that the author (His name is Robby Soave by the way, you can read that in the byline) never actually uses the word ‘obligation,’ nor does he imply that anybody has an obligation to do anything.

              The point he specifically makes in the passage that I specifically quoted above is that punishing a professor for speaking her mind does not promote a culture of academic honesty or open inquiry, and that negatively impacts the students experience and the takeaway from their education.

              You can follow the trail of implications from there back to the ultimate question of what is the purpose of an institution of higher learning without ever once tripping over an obligation.

          2. Hugh how do you ask that as if you are surprised John would make this kind of post?

            1. So if some Islamic school fired a teacher for saying Islam isn’t the one true religion, they would be assholes too?

              Yeah I am sure you posers would be all over that story.

              1. She didn’t say that Christianity was not the one true religion.

              2. I doubt we’d be able to get a word in over the howling from you, Papaya and Suthenboy.

                1. We never “howl,” we just make points that are hard to refute.

        4. People have the right to be idiots.

          That doesn’t mean you can’t call them idiots.

          You can respect the rights of someone to be idiotic while still drawing attention to their idiocy.

          Not every statement of “This is bad” is meant to imply “This should be illegal”.

          I’ll confess, we live in an age where most people who make the statement “this is bad” actually DO mean to imply that “this should be illegal”, but that doesn’t mean we should treat all cases as such.

          1. See my post below. They were not wrong to fire her. If they are not right to fire her, then they are wrong to have a place that affirms their values.

            You don’t like their values, don’t go there. But don’t say they are wrong for enforcing them at their college.

        5. If one of reason staff became an avowed communist and refused to hold the party line, wouldn’t reason be right to fire them?

          Sure. Reason would even be within its rights to fire a staffer who wrote about how both communists and libertarians are products of the Enlightenment and that libertarians might be able to try to win commies over by appealing to the points they have in common. But unless the article was completely devoid of any thought-provoking points, it would be dick move for Reason actually to fire the staffer.

        6. I like that you said “became”.

      2. Free society

        That still leaves the question of what is the author’s point here? Christian college upholds Christianity as the one true religion. Well I would hope so.

        1. I doubt the professor said that Islam is the correct religion, just that Christians and Muslims should work together and not fight.

          1. Maybe but so what? The college owns its mission and values not her. She did say Muslims worship the same God. And the college is not down with that opinion and there is nothing wrong with that. If you disagree, don’t work there.

            1. The college owns its mission and values not her.

              Maybe but so what? Are we not allowed to think that they’re assholes and hypocrites? Would Jesus (who didn’t actually exist, but whatever) have suspended this professor?

              She did say Muslims worship the same God.

              Which is a historical fact.

              1. If you don’t like their values fine. But criticize that not there pursuit of them.

                Why were they from their perspective wrong to fire her? Aren’t they letting their students who came there expecting a Christian education if they don’t?

                1. Why were they from their perspective wrong to fire her?

                  They didn’t fire her. They suspended her.

                  Would Jesus suspend her? Is it the Christian thing to do?

                  1. They didn’t fire her. They suspended her.

                    Would Jesus suspend her? Is it the Christian thing to do?

                    Well presumably Jesus didn’t take on any ole asshole to be one of his apostles.

                    1. Well presumably Jesus didn’t take on any ole asshole to be one of his apostles.

                      I mean…Judas…

            2. The college owns its mission and values not her. She did say Muslims worship the same God. And the college is not down with that opinion and there is nothing wrong with that.

              It’s not at all clear that the college is “not down with that opinion”; they have not actually said what part of what the professor said was wrong.

              1. Maybe she got fired for other reasons. If so, then the post is wrong.

                1. They haven’t fired her; they have only suspended her. And they’ve been extremely vague about why.

        2. Free society

          That still leaves the question of what is the author’s point here? Christian college upholds Christianity as the one true religion. Well I would hope so.

          Please look one post above TALL’s post. We’re on the same page here, John.

      3. Sorry if I was not clear. My point was the article should have ended at the period at the end of that statement.

    3. FTFA: As a private school, Wheaton is within its rights to punish a professor for a breach of dogma?to put adherence to specific religious believe first, and free speech second.

      If tenure is part of her contract, or their own rules, they totally violated that.

      I just read the statement of belief – it does not specifically address the question of whether the christians’ chief god (the father, not the son or the other one) is the same as the jews’ god or the muslims’ god.

      How’s that whiny butt-hurt working out for you?

      1. Yeah, I can’t find anything in their statement of belief that seems to contradict anything the professor has been quoted as saying.

      2. I think the whole “trinity” thing is taken rather seriously by Christians. It’s perfectly vague and inconsequential from where I’m sitting, but the mere fact that evangelical Protestantism is trinitarian sort of precludes the notion that Islam and Christianity are dealing with the same god. That said I’m completely ambivalent about this doctrinal distinction, just pointing out that it might be reasonable for the university to claim that the statement of faith was violated since the prof is more or less in conflict with the core of evangelical protestant belief, even though that particular aspect of the faith wasn’t spelled out word for word in the statement.

  7. From WIkipedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_in_Islam

    Isa Ibn Maryam (Arabic: ???? ?? ?????, translit. ??s? ibn Mary?m; English: Jesus, son of Mary), or Jesus in the New Testament, is considered to be a Messenger of God and al-Masih (the Messiah) in Islam[1][2]:30 who was sent to guide the Children of Israel (ban? isr?’?l) with a new scripture, al-Inj?l (the Gospel).[3] The belief that Jesus is a prophet is required in Islam. This is reflected in the fact that he is clearly a significant figure in the Quran, appearing in 93 ayaat (or verses) with various titles attached, with Moses appearing 136 times and Abraham 69 times.

    …and…

    Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered a Muslim (i.e., one who submits to the will of God), as he preached that his followers should adopt the “straight path” as commanded by God. Traditionally, Islam teaches the rejection of the Trinitarian Christian view that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God.

    It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if Islam started off as an attempt to convert Arabs by adding Arabic elements (like the Celts) or it’s just an offshoot of the original church.

    1. No. It started off ironically enough as an attempt by Arabs to be Jews. The first Christian accounts of Muslims describe them as a strange offshoot of Judism.

    2. It is an offshoot of Christianity that arose out of frustration over the ridiculously politicized theological debates of the 6th century.

      1. Not true. It is closer to judiaism than Christianity. It holds man totally separate from God like Judaism. Christianity is different and much stranger.

        1. I’m talking about historical and theological context. It is a return to something closer to Judaism in its monotheistic purism, but I know of no evidence that Muhammad was inspired by Judaism in particular, which was at something of a low ebb at the time. Orthodox Christianity, however, was the dominant, state-mandated religion. Islam arose in a space outside the Empire precisely as a force of theological dissent against Orthodoxy, appropriating and refining elements and then projecting them backwards historically to frame it as the One True Eternal Religion.

          1. I dunno about that. Arabia wasn’t quite that Christian or monotheistic by Muhammad’s time (the Jews, Christians and Sabaeans combined probably weren’t more than a plurality), and there were already anti-Byzantine forms of Christianity which had indigenous patrons and followers (the Lakhmids, for example). I don’t think Islam is the most straightforward path to an anti-Byzantine form of Christianity, personally. It seems more like what Islam’s story suggests: a charismatic expositor spreading a mix of Judaism, Christianity and Sabaean religion through the region as a unifying force, which collapses once he dies (which is sort of what happened when Abu Bakr picked up the pieces).

            1. But Muhammed really hated the Christians, whom he regarded as polytheists and the worst kind of hypocrites.

        2. Islam is closer to Arian pre-Nicene Christianity than it is to Judaism or post-Nicene and pre-Latter Day Christianity.

          But if you are counting only the Trinitarian Christians who forced their doctrinal views on everyone post Nicene then yes, Islam is closer to Judaism than that specific branch of Christianity.

          1. Not so sure about that. Arian Christianity was largely the result of Greek logic, Jewish monotheism, and Christian praxis running headlong into one another. It’s about trying to reconcile strict monotheism with the fact that worshiping Christ as a God was clearly happening and implied by Christian praxis. It was never terribly popular anywhere outside of the Roman Empire, particularly the eastern half, until the Goths ended up converting to Arianism (though there were a shitload of moderates now known as Semi-Arians who held out for something better than either Jesus as a quasi-god/angel or the Trinity). Insofar as anyone tended to impose their views in Arabia, it was the Arians against the Trinitarians. The result was that in Arabia, there was a successful revolt by a particularly powerful Orthodox Christian tribe against the Arian Eastern Empire for trying to compel them to accept Arianism.

            In the context of Islam, I’m not sure its either here nor there — some Arian and even gnostic ideas about Jesus clearly snuck into the Qu’ran, but they’re a pretty marginal influence compared to, say, halal (clearly Sabaean or Judaic in origin) or Islamic beliefs on monotheism and means of obtaining afterlife/divine favor (which are closer to Judaism).

          2. According to the research presented in Did Muhammad Exist? by Robert Spencer, Islam is indeed an offshoot of early Christianity. There’s a good deal of evidence, including early Islamic coins that show both a cross and a crescent moon.

      2. Also it’s quite obviously the work a great charlatan and not the result of any sort of everyday mystical struggle or abstruse theological argument like is the case for most religions. It’s also why he felt free to so carelessly borrow elements from the other dominant religions of the fucking day. Compare Muhammad’s approach with Joseph Smith Jr’s, for instance, and you’ll find in many ways they were startlingly similar. Elron’s religion is a bit different, as its inventor had a lively imagination, a rampant case of pseudol?gia fant?stica, and a total disregard for any components of basic human decency to draw on; as a result he needn’t stoop to the same level as Smith or Muhammad.

    3. Hard to tell. Origin of Islam isn’t as well-studied as origins of Christianity; IIRC Muhammad was influenced by a quasi-heretical sect of Christianity by way of an uncle, and both Christianity and Judaism were well-represented in the Arabian peninsula prior to Muhammad so you may not be far off.

      More interesting are the things the Qu’ran says about Jesus, which make him out to be a bigger deal as a prophet than Muhammad (saying that he never sinned, for example — Muhammad is held to have committed minor sins which he repented of).

      1. quasi-heretical sect of Christianity

        An Arian monk, IIRC, and Arianism was a ‘UUUGE heresy.

        1. And, interestingly, had only recently been found to be heretical. Islam doesn’t have a whole lot in common with Arianism, though.

          1. “And, interestingly, had only recently been found to be heretical. Islam doesn’t have a whole lot in common with Arianism, though.”

            Not exactly. It was already condemned by those few bishops who held fast to tradition. A few others simply refused to make an official pronouncement. Everybody that actually approved it either remained defiantly heretical to the end or else confessed. Read the letters of the day, and it’s clear that it was unquestionably heresy in the eyes of any unheretical bishops, well before it was officially condemned by the council. The significance may only be clear if one bears in mind that bishops were recognised as infallible in matters of faith. So it would have been impossible for a bishop to be unsure about the question at any point, if it was ever honestly put before him.

        2. Man. Of all the shit to get worked up over, Trinty vs No-Trinity always seemed like the biggest fucking waste of time.

          Whatever you believe about that, I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU. I completely believe in the Trinity and don’t believe in at the same time. I’m that much more mystical than you. It’s called hexatarianism.

          1. Yeah, I agree with you somewhat there. People took the trinitarian question WAY too seriously. Frickin’ Santa Clause beat down Arius over the question.

          2. “Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are five. And sometimes they are all of them at once.”

          3. The reason the Catholic Church got so fixated on the Trinity was exactly that it was one of the only points of theology they could find on which they disagreed with Islamic theology.

            1. Umm, there are a lot more than that.

            2. Also, your argument is as anachronistic as the war in heaven.

            3. Ha, learn some history. People fought over the subject of trinitarianism before Muhammad was even born. Google “the Arian Heresy” for starting points.

      2. I could just trying to out think myself. What with Jerusalem being the economic and intellectual center of the Middle East it could just be some crossover in ideas.

      3. Medina had its own Hymie-town.

      4. “More interesting are the things the Qu’ran says about Jesus, which make him out to be a bigger deal as a prophet than Muhammad”

        Which is something said subjectively by non-Muslims.

        A big part of the Qu’ran is the whole “no prophet is any better than another” thing which hasn’t really been wholly embraced by any religious sect, to my knowledge. The good stuff about the prophets in Islam is supposed to be (in theory) attributed to God, and not the specific prophet in question.

        And the Shia don’t hold with the idea that Muhammad ever sinned, with the doctrine of Ismah stating that God prevents all prophets from committing sins.

    4. It was mostly an attempt to unite the warring tribes of Arabia under one warring banner. And boy oh boy did it succeed.

    5. muslims dont beleive that Jesus died on the cross, and prophet or not and they certainly don’t accept many of Jesus’s teachings such as “turn the other cheek” or “love thy neighbor” . Like most objects non-muslims revere conquering mohammedans stole them, such as the taj mahal, the sophia “mosque” , the al-asqua mosque , the jewish prophets as well as jesus and mary. Note that they rejected the 10 commandments .

      1. The Taj Mahal was built at the order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who was a Muslim leading an Islamic empire.

      2. “Note that they rejected the 10 commandments .”

        Bro, have you even read the New Testament??

    6. I just read the Quran. It contains a whole lot of complaints about what hypocrites the “people of the book” (Christians and Jews) are because Christians are polytheists and Jews commit usury. It also alludes in a few places to the inheritance of religion from one’s parents, and to being disallowed entry into the holy places. I was left with the impression that the Prophet felt othered by the Christians and Jews because he didn’t inherit those traditions, so he brooded and perseverated (i.e., “had revelations”) on his resentment and then went out to create a religious identity to empower the othered Arabs and put down the Christians and Jews. He also had a lot to say about the ethical treatment of orphans, which puzzled me until I found out that he was on orphan. His major gripe really did seem to be polytheism.

      He believed Jesus was real and a very fine fellow.

      Just my impressions based on my reading of the book, and a minuscule amount of web surfing about Mohammed. I know nearly nothing of Middle Eastern history. Seems like it would be especially difficult to separate fact from fiction given that three major religions developed there and you can’t trust the histories of the true believers.

      1. I’ve always thought the mention of Jews and Christians in the Qu’ran was a reflection on the New Testament. Jesus in the New Testament, much like Muhammad in the Qu’ran, gives existing religious sects (in Jesus’ case Pharisees and Sadducees) as examples of people “doing the religion wrong”. It seems like an intrinsic characteristic of religions to compare their way to the way of their neighbors. For instance, compare the numerous works of Taoist and Confucian scriptures seeking to explain why the other religion is wrong in its approach. Or Martin Luther’s 95 theses, outlining 95 reasons the Catholics were doing their religion the wrong way.

        It is an interesting trend that appears in almost every religion with a written scripture, to my knowledge.

  8. Evangelicalism supposes that a person can only receive salvation if they place themselves at the mercy of Jesus Christ and his redemptive act — that no amount of good works or upbringing can earn mercy, and that Christ is the only way to salvation. If its donors take the university’s religious affiliation seriously in considering who to donate to, it is appropriate to ask the professor to undertake her Muslim/universalist advocacy on her own dime outside of class time.

    That said, simply wearing a hijab to class seems to fall short of the mark. If she has tenure, I think it will be difficult for the university to do much of anything besides ask her not to engage in advocacy in class.

    1. They can fire her. Specific performance is not usually a remedy in labor cases. They might have to pay her though I doubt it. That tenure contract likely includes a clause requiring her to adhere to university values while teaching.

    2. That said, simply wearing a hijab to class seems to fall short of the mark.

      You sure it’s not a habit?

      Anyway, the Bible tells women to cover their heads.

    3. “Evangelicalism supposes that a person can only receive salvation if they place themselves at the mercy of Jesus Christ and his redemptive act — that no amount of good works or upbringing can earn mercy, and that Christ is the only way to salvation.”

      I don’t know for evangelism specificly, whatever in hell that means, but in traditional Christianity, it was God’s character of being alljust that blocked good works from staving off perdition, whereas his character as allmerciful meant that one could avoid punishment by means of good works, if he somehow satisfied the insurmountable justice requirement. It was one of the great mystical paradoxes.

      1. There’s also the problem that faith is something that the almighty just one day up and decides to inflict upon unwary souls. Though one may be able to fend it off, there’s nothing a person can do to generate faith. If we can tell anything of his character, it is certain that unimaginable extravagance and uncontrolled exuberance are big parts of it. It’s like, build an insanely complex system of rules, throw in a huge mix of variable ingredients, each of which interacts with the rules in ways somewhat different than the others, and then try to get back before it goes off on everybody.

        1. Are you thinking of grace? The Bible is pretty clear about faith being a choice

  9. I attended Catholic school for 12 years, and my teachers always stressed the commonalities of the faiths.

    I attended Catholic School for 12 years and my teachers stressed the exact opposite. The commonalities were taught, but the differences – what makes one Catholic – were stressed.

    But I was taught by actual nuns and brothers and deacons and priests, the occasional teacher who never took holy orders was usually not invited back the next year if they stressed the commonalities of the faiths.

    Times change, and parochial schools have had to take more unordained teachers and also took more students of different faiths. But historically that is an anomaly, so Robby’s anecdote is immaterial other than Kultur War signaling.

    1. Nuns, brothers and deacons don’t receive “Holy Orders”. Only priests.

      1. Deacons absolutely do receive holy orders. This is basic like first day of intiation level stuff. You shouldn’t be discussing the issue if you don’t know basic facts.

    2. I was taught the points of community as the main focusses of difference. It’s like, they all see part of the truth (which is all a person really can see, since there is only one truth), but there views are imperfect and distorted in this or that way, whilst the Christian truth is, as much of it as they’ve condescended to reveal to us, unperverted and unmaimed. Going back to Athanasius, even lies must be constructed out of truth, and Christianity lays claim to the universal truth of the cosmic order, in so far as it has to do with the lives of men. So it’s like all other religions are clumsy, distorted shadows of Christianity. As such, the best study of difference lies where things are in the greatest accord. Even a small child can understand this.

  10. I imagine the climate for intellectual discussion on campus must be quite toxic if professors are punished for imperfectly representing the faith.

    Unlike at, say, a madrassa.

  11. While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic

    Well, Christianity is sort of monotheistic.

    1. It’s a Unitarian! Get him, boys!

      1. It’s true. I have a unit.

    2. Father, Son, and Wholey Ghost!

    3. I’ve had arguments about this. It’s only monotheistic if one really rapes the sense out of the definition. Furthermore, any definition that permits Christianity to be monotheistic would also allow Hindooism in there, which no one will allow. It’s like there’s some cultural attachment to labelling Xtians as monotheistic, regardless whether it means anything.

  12. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

    Namely, Vishnu.

    1. i am pretty sure the people at this college do not consider the Pope an authority on this issue

      1. Well, in a sense they may find his input useful, since any pronouncements of the Antichrist are likely to be a decent guide of what is not true.

    2. One of my favorite jokes involves the pope getting an urgent phone call, and telling the college of cardinals he has good news and bad news. The good news is that it was ol’ JC himself on the phone and that he’s back, baby. The bad news is that he was calling from Salt Lake City.

  13. GO BACK TO SOMALIA, “PROFESSOR”!

  14. GO BACK TO SOMALIA, “PROFESSOR”!

  15. A commonality of faiths, huh?

    What would happen to Hawkins if she had done this at a Muslim school?

    1. What if she had said it a public university, or at a non-religious private university?

    2. At an American Muslim school??

      At the nearest one to where I live, she’d be invited to speak more often. That school hosts like half of all interfaith gatherings in my local community.

      1. That’s great, but a professorship and a temporary speaking role are completely different. It’s unlikely those interfaith speakers are paid by student tuition, for one

  16. Apparently the actions of private universities are only above reproach if they’re Christian-based schools.

    1. What is your reproach? Are they required to think Muslims worship the same God? It is not like they make a secret of their beliefs. You certainly are free to disagree and think less of them for it. But I can’t see how you can criticize them for upholding their values at their own school.

      1. “Are they required to think Muslims worship the same God?”

        I don’t really see how you can argue otherwise.

        I mean, the Qu’ran directly specifies the object of worship to be “the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus”. You can argue that they worship that God the wrong way or that they argue that they believe the wrong things about that God, but it’s hard to argue that it is not the “same” God, I think, unless you are positing that both the Christian God and Allah exist independently of one another, and that Allah siphons prayers away from Christian God by pretending to be that God.

        1. the Qu’ran directly specifies the object of worship to be “the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus”.

          Well, yeah, but that looks like hijacking to me. I can invent the Religion of Papaya, claim that it’s about the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, and then produce a holy book that greatly contradicts everything said in earlier holy books.

          1. “produce a holy book that greatly contradicts everything said in earlier holy books.”

            not quite everything. in fact they accept the vast bulk of the old testament. its just that they think its interpretation and the practice of the abrahamic faiths was “corrupted”.

            “The Qur’an ? the revelation Muslims believe was given to the prophet Muhammad as a remedy ? identifies three sets of books from the Bible as genuine divine revelation given to trusted messengers: the Tawrat (Torah) given to Musa (Moses), the Zabur (Psalms) given to Daud (David) and the Injil (Gospel) given to Isa (Jesus). Together, the Qur’an, these books and the now-lost Suhuf Ibrahim (“Scrolls of Abraham”) constitute Islam’s scripture. Belief that this scripture is divinely inspired is one of Islam’s fundamental tenets, but, since all scripture before the Qur’an is also held to have become corrupted, Muslims are directed to take guidance from the Qur’an alone”

            The koran is not technically ‘exclusionary’ or ‘contradictory’. Its just saying that it has updated the ‘interpretation’ of the same materials.

            1. Granted, not quite everything, but the Koran contradicts the Bible in many areas. And I think it does count as “exclusionary”: Muhammad is “the seal of the prophets,” meaning he’s the last one.

              1. “And I think it does count as “exclusionary”: Muhammad is “the seal of the prophets,” meaning he’s the last one.”

                So…. all you’re saying is that they don’t dig on mormons? Just because Mo’ was the “last” doesn’t mean they disagree with anything jesus said.

              2. “Muhammad is “the seal of the prophets,” meaning he’s the last one.”

                Which doesn’t mean that if you talk to an Ahmadiyya Muslim, Babi, or Baha’i…

                1. All of whom are considered heretics by mainstream Muslims, in part for that reason.

              3. Also “last prophet” does not necessarily mean “last messenger from God”. There’s still the prophecy of a coming Mahdi and Jesus’ Second Coming in Islam, which leaves the religion technically open for expansion upon.

          2. Yeah, but if your book says “Worship the God of Muhammad” I’d have a hard time arguing that the people following it were not worshiping the Muslim God, even if they were doing it in a very un-Islamic way.

            Hijacking maybe (though Jesus can be said to have hijacked Ezekiel who hijacked Moses who hijacked Abraham in that case), but I’d still think it’s the same God.

            Say we have a tribe that worships the local Volcano. Each day they turn to the volcano and offer prayers to it. For whatever reason, they develop the belief that the Volcano is male, and named “Bob”.

            However, some members of this tribe defect. They create a new religion, and demand their followers worship the volcano. But they believe the volcano is a hermaphrodite named “Magic Steve”.

            Are they still worshiping the same volcano??

            That is an admittedly interesting question with multiple possible answers. If you get really philosophical, you can argue that they both worship different volcanos, even if they both turn each day to pray in the direction of exact same hunk of rock.

            But on a physical, literal level, Yes, they worship the same volcano.

            1. So, two tribes claim to worship “Bob”.

              Tribe 1 says that Bob is loving and kind, and wants to help those in need. He teaches you to take care of one another and see your common humanity.

              Tribe 2 says that Bob hates all men and demands children be sacrificed to turn his wrath away from those who remain. He teaches that non-believers are mere cattle and can be mistreated.

              Are those two tribes worshiping the same person? Does it matter that they both claim to worship Bob when their concepts of Bob are so far removed from one another? What is in a name?

              1. Since no one has ever seen or heard or talked to Bob,then we can deduce that both tribes are projecting their own wishes and ideas onto the same guy, namely Bob.

              2. Compare to people’s real life perspectives on real people.

                Two groups of people believe in “Obama”.

                One group believes he is a loving man, selflessly doing the best he can to fix the country and economy, both of which were destroyed by some guy named “Bush”.

                The other group believes he is a hateful secret-Muslim communist who wants to rule as a tyrant and who has personally destroyed the economy and run the country into the ground.

                Both groups are PROJECTING what they WANT to see on to this real person, Obama. But Obama is still the same person, even when both groups concepts of Obama are so far removed from one another.

                Even if it turns out Obama isn’t even real, they are still projecting what they want to see upon the same thing.

        2. My thoughts exactly, Eternal Blue. But logic is hardly the strong suit of evangelicals. The more absurd, the more they believe they have “faith”.

        3. especially since all the religions–at least currently formulated–in question deny that there are any other gods about. A basic premise of the Abrahamians is that the other gods don’t actually exist (or, if they do, they are just intelligences possessed of greater technology that are pulling our leg).

      2. “What is your reproach? Are they required to think Muslims worship the same God?”

        If they are Christians, they are required to think that there is only one god, you fucking moron. To believe that there are several gods is going against the school’s principles far more than anything this woman said.

    2. How were they wrong to fire her? Their values may be wrong in your view but they have every right to adhere to them. And they can’t do that without insisting their profs do so.

      If you want to say these guys are kooks and only a kook would go there, fine. But I don’t see how you can say they are wrong for expecting their employees to affirm their values

  17. Question:

    Is there a “Reform” branch of Islam that doesn’t hold that apostasy is a punishable crime? (death and/or imprisonment until you recant seem like the popular choices)

    1. No. There is not.

      1. Maybe apostasy is OK in some Sufi sects, but I’m not sure.

        1. It’s never “OK” in any sect of Islam, or most religions for that matter, but the debate over whether it is punishable by Law has gone back and forth between Islamic Scholars for a long time. Scholars on the pro-punishment side using Hadith justifications and scholars on the anti-punishment side arguing that the Hadith the pro side uses are invalid due to contradicting the Qu’ran.

    2. Yes. There are.

      Easy answer, have some Ahmadiyya: https://alislam.org/books/apostacy/8.html

      To my knowledge, all justifications for apostasy punishments are derived from the Quranic verses 3:90-91, 9:66, and 16:106, which state that apostates go to hell. It doesn’t specify earthly punishments, however, those punishments being derived from Hadith.

      Which has led to the subject of “the punishment of apostates” being a topic of debate among Islamic scholars since the religion’s inception. Some scholars argue the Hadiths mandating punishment are valid, while other Islamic scholars have argued they are invalid for contradicting the Qu’ran in Surah 2:256. “There shall be no compulsion in acceptance of the religion.”

      So it ultimately boils down to which scholars the individual Muslim chooses to believe. The debate is near 1400 years old.

  18. that’s weird.

    I have a friend who went to Wheaton. and he described it as a “poor man’s Bard/Oberlin/Antioch”. as in, super-liberal, very much run by hippies, despite the fact the school was as established as an ostensible ‘evangelical Protestant institution’. When we were both in school in the 90s, it seemed like i had far more daily contact with actual evangelical teachers and students in Tennessee than he did in Illinois.

  19. I attended Catholic school for 12 years, and my teachers always stressed the commonalities of the faiths.

    Well, yes?

    One of the acts of Vatican II specified that Catholics should not reject that which is true in other faiths.

    On the other hand, evangelical Protestantism has a long history of teaching that Catholics (never mind Jews and Muslims) are doomed to Hell because they aren’t actually Christian.

    1. “One of the acts of Vatican II specified that Catholics should not reject that which is true in other faiths.”

      That’s a pretty fucked up backwards way of looking at their religion.

      1. I mean the view put forth in the second Vatican council, not your description of it.

  20. was it due to her showing solidarity or for espousing heretical view?

  21. There doesn’t seem to be any contradiction between the statement of the college and that of Professor Hawkins. She stated that they worship the same god and they that there are significant differences between them on the nature of the god.

    It seems rather odd that a monotheistic religion would take the view that another religion is worshiping the wrong god. Surely it must simply be worshiping the right god wrongly?

    1. Or, as many “Christian” sects I’ve seen, in effect worshipping the devil while pretending to worship God.

  22. LEts roll that beautiful beam footage.

    http://www.GoneAnon.tk

  23. . . . she posted on Facebook that she would be wearing a hijab to class in order to show solidarity with her “Muslim neighbors.”

    What, I don’t think she knows what the hijab *means*. Its not a religious garment, women don’t wear it to show their devotion to God. They wear it because their culture says that women are to submit, the men can’t control their sexual urges, and that all that is the woman’s fault. Its not just in the ME either – pretty much *anywhere* that demands a ‘woman’s modesty’ has the same views.

  24. This headline is patently misleading. I don’t recall that Reason Magazine has turned into Salon.com or The Huffington Post. What’s with the inflammatory headline. The article explains exactly why the Professor was suspended and it wasn’t because she was urging solidarity between Christians and Muslims. I expect a lot better than that from Reason Magazine.

    I would like to be able to go on Facebook, for example, and tell my friends that one of the reasons I read Reason Magazine is because they have enough self-respect to not use inflammatory headlines like all the partisan, two-bit rags out there. This is embarrassing to me and all other Reason Readers that brag about Reason to their friends.

    Who do I have to contact to get this corrected?

  25. If she identifies as Christian shouldn’t she go to a Muslim school to attempt this solidarity thing? Otherwise she is really just trying to unite her fellow Christians with her assumptions and abstract ideas of what Islam and Muslims are like.

  26. I really love these “I believe all that libertarian crap, BUT…..” articles that seem to be the reward for a quarter million in donations.

  27. If you believe that Muslims correctly worship the one true God, then it would follow that you should be Muslim.

    To be a Christian, it necessitates a belief that Muslims are doing it wrong.

    Quoting the Old Testament seems dumb. It was superseded by the New Testament. God has conducted multiple reboots beginning with creating the universe, shortly followed by booting Adam and Eve from Eden and then the flood.

    If you accept Mohammed, it follows that you reject Christ as divine.

    So, no Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God in any meaningful way. Christ did not lead an army.

    If you want to argue that Mohammed was more in the mold of the conquering Jews, that is logical.

    In other words, I find it logical for Christians and Muslims to both claim to be heirs of the Abraham, but it can’t be both.

    Unless God is a prick. I decline that interpretation.

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