Islam stuck in the Middle Ages behind current global crisis

June 17th, 2008 - 3:51 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 17 (ANI): Islam is stuck in its own version of the Middle Ages which is contributing to a global crisis, one of the religions leading experts has said.

Professor Hans Kung, a leading Roman Catholic and theologian from Germany, warned in a lecture of a deadly threat to all humankind unless new efforts are made to build bridges with Islam.

He said in London that Islam has special problems with modernity because, unlike Christianity and Judaism, in which he also specialises, it has never undergone a serious religious reformation.

Professor Kung questioned whether Islam is even capable of adapting to a post-modern world in the way that Christianity and Judaism have done, The Times reported.

But he also outlined why he is hopeful that the present problems around radicalisation within Islam can be resolved, and how the other two Abrahamic faiths are subject to some of the same problems on their extremist edges.

The options have become clear: either rivalry of the religions, clash of civilizations, war of the nations or dialogue of civilizations and peace between the nations as a presupposition for peace between the nations, Professor Kung said.

In the face of the deadly threat to all humankind, instead of building new dams of hatred, revenge and enmity, we should tear down the walls of prejudice stone by stone and thus build bridges of dialogue, bridges particularly towards Islam, he added.

Professor Kung, author of Islam: Past, Present and Future, published last year and one of the most authoritative works on the subject, was speaking on Challenges to Islam, Christianity and Judaism in a lecture organised by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust and Sky Arts.

Professor Kung said that one of the main causes of conflicts between religions is the persistence of outdated ways of thinking.

Islam and Christianity regard the actual Middle Ages as the great time for their religions. But modernity has forced all three religions of the book onto the defensive, and they all face challenges over how they react to their own Middle Ages.

He argued that Christianity and Judaism have moved on, but not Islam, adding: It remains an open question if the ecumenical paradigm of post-modernity will develop also in Islam.

Professor Kung, 80, is a contemporary of the Pope and worked with him as a theological adviser to the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s, was influential at the council in persuading the Roman Catholic Church to adopt a more positive attitude to Judaism and religious freedom.

He has also spoken out constantly in favour of the official recognition of the State of Israel by the Vatican and for a two-state-solution for Israelis and Palestinians. (ANI)

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