- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Timothy Gorringe"The author of this fresh, well researched, and beautifully written book is a lay Sri Lankan theologian. Do we need to know that? Well, yes, we do, because the decisive difference it makes is in terms of perspective—for example on Islam, on Buddhism, on colonialism, and, even more decisively, on post-colonialism.
"Rather than subverting global myths, Ramachandra challenges liberal pieties. He takes issue with Western critics of Christianity such as Richard Dawkins, and with Third World émigrés who sneer at Christianity from their Western university chairs. Formidably well read and well informed, Ramachandra looks at six key areas—terrorism, religious violence, human rights, multiculturalism, science and technology, and post-colonialism. In each, he reviews the case against Christianity, and shows, with a good deal of humour, that it simply does not stand up.
"Towards the end of the book he notes that Christianity is now a 'global hermeneutical community,' in which the majority of Christians live in the South. Thank heavens for that. For years we have heard that voice only through liberation theology, or through theologians attempting local theologies of one kind or another. Ramachandra's take is different. He has read as much Western philosophy and social science as any Westerner, if not more; he takes for granted the universal nature of the Church; but his perspective is unmistakeably different.
"It is this that accounts for the freshness of voice. If you come from Sri Lanka, your view of Islam is not dictated by 9/11 and all that has followed, nor by Huntingdon and his cronies, nor by scurrilously badly misinformed ideas about the Crusades, but by a quite different history. His account of current Islamic militancy is—while based on scholarship with which many of us will be familiar—profoundly illuminating.
"When discussing religious violence, he turns to Sri Lanka and to Indonesia, where we end up with a very different account of that issue from that which derives from the Enlightenment and its reaction to the European 'wars of religion.'
"His discussion of multi-culturalism is rich and nuanced, and among the most helpful I have come across—perhaps a reflection of a kind of plural culture different from that with which we are coming to terms in Europe. Post-colonial himself, he is immune to the guilt-tripping of much post-colonial theory, and deeply critical of the industry, as he is also of colonialism and its impact.
"Throughout, he commends a Christianity that is radical precisely because it is 'orthodox.' No 'poor little talkative Christianity' here, but a profound engagement with what furthers our humanity, which finds the most helpful responses in the story of cross and resurrection.
"If you are depressed by Lambeth, and by the constant sniping of the secular critics, this book is a tonic. An educative, stimulating, and faith-affirming read."