Rev Dr Gordon Moyes The Superintendent Writes
A weekly column by Rev Dr Gordon Moyes, Superintendent of Wesley Mission.
July 28th, 2002

My friend Charles Colson, in his radio broadcast raises an interesting point about the Muslim world. We read of the difference with the Islamic community but probably not this fact. Osama Bin Laden gave us a reason for his jihad against the West "the tragedy of Andalusia." He was referring to the re-conquest of Southern Spain in 1492. For nearly seven centuries, Moorish Spain embodied Islam's cultural superiority over Europe. Medieval Europe lived in squalor but Muslim Cordoba boasted street lighting, hundreds of public baths, and at least seventy libraries. A thousand years ago, only China approached the achievements of the Islamic civilization. Islamic civilization was at its height when it showed the most tolerance toward religious minorities including Christianity.

Ever since the Islamic world has lagged behind the Christian West: politically, culturally, and economically. The Islamic civilization has become backward looking, aggressive and tribal compared to the Christian West. In the West we have seen freedom, scientific invention, education, progressive social life and democracy. The Islamic world has moved backward into fundamentalism, sexism and religious oppression. Overlaying all has been the race-based hatreds we have seen in our recent raced-based gang rapes of Western girls. No wonder some Muslims say such things are not true to either their faith or the Koran.

A major reason for this reversal is the Islamic world chooses to blame its decline on the Christian West. It was the defeated victim. Islam did not seek to reform itself. Christianity's ascent began with the Reformation. The Reformation ideal of the Church always reforming provided the dynamism and freedom that characterizes the West. Christianity's reforming itself meant a moving forward: culturally, scientifically, educationally and politically. When Muslim countries reform, they move back to the legal and social arrangements of Muhammad's day. While it's important to understand the historical reasons for the decline that outrages the Bin Ladens of the world, there's an even more important lesson for Christians. The ascendancy of the West is the story of the difference that Christianity makes. It's a story we can't let our culture forget. We should have this discussion about the impact of race without being charged with racism - that's a sign of the old thinking!