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I Did Not Procrastinate This Paper

Bryce Carmichael
Christ, Culture & Nature
5-11-14
Garrett Paul
Considering everything that each author says in their writings, each of them
demands some steep requests in order to accomplish their goals. With Abes steep
demands on Christianity, and Raufs demands on the American Government, both of
them have very ambitious intentions.
Abes proposal asks Christians and Buddhists to find a common ground in which
they will both be able to understand the other religion, and learn from them. He even
gives a list of things that each religion could do in order to have more functional beliefs.
Abe wishes to create a one world history (Abe 3), or a common community that can
coexist harmoniously and learn from each other. In order to do this, he states that a
dialogue is necessary between the religions in order to obtain that mutual understanding.
Abes purpose here is very valiant in that hes trying to bridge a gap between two groups
that dont agree on very many things, though are both usually civil towards one another.
Abe states that through three topics of discussion, the two groups will be able to come to
these conclusions and become better for it.
The three topics he wants them to discuss are the thought of a monotheistic God
contrasted with the belief of absolute nothingness, or Sunyata. From this he wants
Buddhists to take away the thought of addressing God. Not the way that Christians do,
addressing him as a subject, but rather as a predicate. The god who faces me is God as
subject. But the God within whom I address God and within whom God meets me is not
God as subject; rather, it is God as universal predicate (Abe 9). The issue here is that
Abe goes on to explain that not only will they address him as a universal predicate, but
rather as Nichts, or nothing. This thought of nothing is extremely similar to that which
the Buddhists already believe. Although it is similar, it does give Buddhists a different
view of the world, and helps to include human personality into their emptiness. The next
topic is the thought of oneness. It is my contention that only non-dualistic oneness or
unity, not monistic oneness or unity, may provide a real common basis for the
contemporary pluralistic situation of world relations (Abe 11). Basically what hes
saying is that Christians oneness with God is too exclusive. Because they think that their
God is the only correct God, they persecute others for believing in the wrong God.
Rather, Abe proposes that a non-dualist God would fit better. Rather than have an oneness
with something, as Christians desire an oneness through God, he rather wants an oneness
through something. With this, Christians would have to change their entire thought of
their God, as discussed in the first topic. Rather than one God, or many gods, he is
proposing a zero God: a self negating God that needs people to exist. Hes asking
Christians to basically embrace the thought of antman, and giving it a name similar to
that which they already have, however completely changing the beliefs behind the name.
The last topic he wants to address is the main virtues of each religion: justice and love for

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Christians, and wisdom and compassion for Buddhists. Abe believes the Buddhists are
correct in their combination, however does not agree with the Christians. He sees love
and justice as two things that do not combine well. The notion of the Elect of God
often overshadows the universal equality of Gods love. If I am not mistaken, this is
largely related to the over-emphasis on justice or righteousness (Abe 15). He is saying
that because Christians are so concrete in their judgments, how are they supposed to love
all of Gods children if some are excluded by God himself? Abe proposes that Buddhists
could learn justice from Christians, so that they can have a fairer world, however he
agrees with the Buddhist approach here overall. He thinks that Christians need to
emphasize compassion more than love, and that wisdom does trump justice, even though
justice is still important.
In Abes approach, I believe he does a good job of finding the important topics
that need to be discussed, however there is a reason that these are important: theyre very
large differences between the two religions, and he demands a lot from Christians here.
He is basically asking Christians to change their entire view of God, while he merely asks
Buddhists to take justice and peoples personality into account more. The burden he puts
on Christians is extreme and too heavy for them to carry.
In Abes descriptions of self-centeredness, he addresses four forms of selfcenteredness, why theyre a problem, and how to stay clear of them. The four forms of
self-centeredness are: individual, national, anthropocentric, and religious. He finds this
important to address because he sees self-centeredness as the cause of all human
suffering. His problem with individual self-centeredness is that it puts the self into terms
of emotional, cognitive and physical values, therefore creating a subject-object
dichotomy. Being a Buddhist, the way he believes we can escape from this is the
realization of antman. This self that we identify with is relative. It wouldnt exist
without others around us; therefore it isnt a real thing. His problem with national selfcenteredness is very similar to that of the individual. Without others to help define it, it
wouldnt be absolute. He says that people need to realize that we should not seek to
comprehend the world in terms of the nation, but, rather, the nation in terms of the world
(Rauf 68). The nation is not what defines the world anymore- one must look at the world
in order to fully comprehend it. He is wishing here to forget the notion of states or
nations, and to allow more power to the individual. His goal is to achieve a global
community created by us as individuals. As for anthropocentric self-centeredness,
In Raufs essay, after giving the basics of the beliefs of Islam and how they
formed, he goes on to explain how this ties into the United States. Instead of relating to
Christians specifically, Rauf related to Americans, and tells how our country makes it
very easy to be a Muslim, and how it would be even better with a few of his changes. He
states that Muslims find the fact that we try to separate our church and state as extremely
strange. This is because in most Islamic countries, the government is tied very closely,
usually having their laws based off of their beliefs. They view our statements of a
separated church and state odd, because they see being an American as being part of a
religion almost. Being an American comes with such close ties to the country and a
certain set of beliefs in itself, it might as well be a religion, and thats how they

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sometimes see it. Rauf goes off of this and says that the relationship between church and
state should not be existent, but that we should be focused on the relationship between
religion and the state. He says this because in order to build a country moral in character
and that founds its morals on a religious ethic (Rauf 108), the relationship between
church and religion needs to be balanced, and evenly dispersed for all religions to have an
influence.
Because the US is such a good nation for Muslims to thrive in, Rauf decides to
find ways to make it even more so. In order that no religion has more say in the
government than another, he states that we need to allow all religions to take part in the
construction of our everyday practical life as Americans. His second point is that in order
for America to be truly Shariah-compliant, we also need to allow there to be separate
religious courts that are backed up by the federal government. This would allow each
religion to have a set boundary of standards to officially define their religion as separate
from American values. His first point is very sound, in that in order to create a truly just
nation; we need to invite people of all religions to know their stance on all subjects. His
second proposal is a bit far-fetched. The probability of that ever happening is very slim,
and if it were, many citizens would have a problem with some of the outcomes.
Americans are a very vocal population and there are quite a few people who would have
problems with specifically Jewish or Muslim courts.
As for Raufs discussion of Jihad, he clearly labels what is okay in Islam, and
what is not deemed justifiable. Muslims use the term lesser jihad to refer to what
Christians call a just war, (Rauf 135). This term is what radical Muslims use to justify
acts of terrorism, saying that theyre waging a holy war. The greater jihad that Rauf
also discusses is the battle within ones self in the struggle to find God in our lives and
selves. In order to try to bridge this gap of misunderstanding, Rauf obviously focuses
most on the lesser jihad, so that Americans and Christians as a group can more easily
understand the reasons by which these radicals are giving their lives for God. Many of
these acts by which Americans prosecute Muslims are highly impermissible by the
majority of Muslims, however. Rauf succeeds in explaining this in a way that most
Americans should be able to understand and get rid of their prejudices. He goes into great
detail so that nothing will be left unturned, and he admits the truth in all situations, even
when its not what the reader would like to hear. An example is the fact that some Muslim
jurists now approve of suicide bombing under the new name of martyrdom operations.
Though some may be enraged about these groups allowing this, Rauf explains that if
these people are willing to give up their lives for a greater cause, they have no need for
judgment. He addresses that which needed addressing and explains it in an easy to
understand fashion.
Each of these authors demand something of his readers, and each tend to present
too many problems with their proposals. Abe demands that Christians transform their
faith more than is probable that theyd be able to, and Rauf declares that things would be
better if the US government changed in ways that would not seem just to many people.
Though these proposals are steep, each explains the basis of their religion with great
clarity.

Honor code upheld.