The difference between a rationale and a justification

The following is the opening snippet of a guest post I contributed to Religion at the Margins.


This week I listened to an excellent discussion between Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Al-Hussaini and Patrick Sookhdeo, a former Muslim. I came away with immense respect for both men.

The Sheikh made some great points about religious violence having a tribal, racial, and otherwise sociological basis rather than any sort of profound theological grounding in Islam’s scriptures. The former Muslim in the conversation, now a Christian, was in complete agreement: there are passages that seem to justify violence upon those outside the faith, and others that no more or less vaguely discourage it.

Dr. Al-Hussaini’s observation applies to so many aspects of how we live out our religion: we think we’re basing the way we live on the truth, when so often it’s the other way around. We often say we’re being “biblical” when we find what we’re already conditioned to believe somewhere in the pages of the Bible.


Click here to read the rest of this post.

The Official Medallion of the British Anti-Slavery Society

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  • AMW

    Interesting post.  Whenever someone brings up the topic of submission in
    marriage based on biblical passages, I typically (silently) ask about
    the topic of slavery.  Almost every admonition of wives to submit to
    their husbands is followed a few verses later by an admonition of slaves
    to submit to their masters.  Most of my fellow Christians seem to skip
    over those verses.

    • Excellent point. Slaves, submit to your masters; wives submit to your husbands. The first is a concession to unfortunate societal norms; the second is…well, still the societal norm, so obviously a timeless divine mandate for the structure of the family.