The Problem, Writ Small

Since I am, perhaps annoyingly, currently fixated on the problem of religious fundamentalism and its larger impact on our world, I couldn’t help posting this.

The situation in Saudi Arabia, and the Arab world generally, is, in my view, the natural end point for religious fundamentalism. To use Fr. Walsh’s concept, the Saudi elites understand (believe me, they are desperate to get their hands on foreign investment, I recently had to draft a memo on Saudi securities law for the bankers in my firm) that there is a conversation going on and that unless they are equipped to enter that conversation they and their people will be left on the dustbin of history. However, their inability to update their religious “metaphors” to address contemporary concerns is a constant barrier to them entering the conversation fully. Their commitement to a way of life which they think is “how it has always been” or “how the Prophet taught us” (without any critical understanding of the history of Islam (scientific sense)) remains a millstone around their necks.

As an aside, query whether Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs would be happy with the clerical ally he has in Saudi Arabia, mentioned in the last paragraph of the article. A lesson in being careful what you wish for, no?

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