Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Abrahamic Fallacy: Why Abraham Is Not a Point of Unity for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity

Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors hosted Dr. Mark Durie on January 21, 2014, in Los Angeles, California, at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel.

Over the past fifty years the expression 'Abrahamic' has become widely used to refer collectively to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The key idea is that the three religions 'share' Abraham and find in him a point of unity.

The phrase 'Abrahamic religion' or 'faith of Abraham' was first promoted in ecumenical circles during the 1950's and 1960's by Lebanese Maronite priest, Youakim Moubarak, whose theological vision was political, of an 'egalitarian Palestine in which Jews, Christians and Muslims demonstrate together its abrahamic and ecumenical vocation'.

In reality, however, Abraham is a divisive figure: in Judaism he is the Torah-observant father of the Jewish nation; for Christians he is the apostle of salvation by faith alone; for Muslims he is the proto-typical Muslim, a forerunner and validator of Muhammad.

Moubarak took the phrase 'religion of Abraham' from the Koran and his promotion of it is a manifestation of dhimmi theology, a worldview constrained by existential fear, psychological accommodation and denial. In fact the 'Abrahamic vocation' inspired by the Koran leads to Islamization and sharia implementation. The current state of the Middle East offers eloquent testimony to the hollowness of this vision.

Dr. Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.

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