To say that we live a time of extremes would be a monumental understatement. It is no coincidence that extreme forms of political ideology have emerged in the last 50-plus years, equally able to gobble up followers on the Left as well as the Right. Traditional theological movements have found themselves scrambling to find dry ground as the deluge of liberalism and conservatism threatens to wash them away. As a result we see before our very eyes the evolution, or dare I say de-evolution of religious and theological thought. An example is the above image outside of a church located near Culver City, boasting a sign inviting the skeptical with the words, “NO JUDGEMENT Only Love”.
That most of Christianity has capitulated to the demands of western secularism—few have chosen to take Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option—is undebatable. What is worthy of interrogation is whether or not Muslims will have the courage to chart their own course, navigate and negotiate the demands of American secularism, and have the requisite literacy to understand that there can be no community without sound judgment and morality and the insight to understand there is a fine line between judgment and condemnation.
The following article by Sarah Imhoff articulates a seldom-heard critique of secularism, namely that not all secular law is good and even further, it cannot ultimately deliver justice. Only relief.
“…in August 2018, one of the 301 priests named in the Pennsylvania grand jury report pleaded guilty, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, “Two of Poulson’s victims received justice today, but because of outdated statute of limitations laws in Pennsylvania, other victims may never have their day in court.” But let us be clear: These victims did not “receive justice.” Perhaps they felt relief or solace that their abuser was convicted, but that is not justice. The courts cannot provide anything that would qualify as justice for an abuse victim. Only not suffering abuse in the first place would be just, and that is not something the courts can provide.”https://tif.ssrc.org/2019/02/12/the-myth-of-secular-law-as-savior/
We just wrapped up the 2nd Annual Defining Islamic Psychology Conference here in SoCal and I took a few moments this morning to comment on my thoughts and experiences with the conference on Facebook Live. Here’s the link.
There was some conversation at the 2nd Annual Defining Islamic Psychology conference this weekend about the de-colonization of knowledge and producing Islamic knowledge (psychology), versus merely Islamicizing knowledge (psychology) and again, the solution lies more in regaining confidence in Islam itself for it is this—our confidence in what we believe to be right and true that colonialism successfully undermined—that will give us the most bang for our buck in terms of what we “spend” of our various resources in the quest to produce a genuine Islamic psychology. Without dealing with the elephant in the room (our lack of confidence in Islam) virtually all other gestures and efforts will be nothing other than maintaining the position over us colonial mindsets and epistemologies hold by either confirming they are our masters in that we must focus exclusively on fighting the specters of colonialism or deeming them our masters to which we must capitulate lock, stock, and barrel.