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Response to Razib

Preface by Razib: My friend Aziz Poonawalla responded to my previous post with a long missive, which you can read below. To the left is a photo of the both of us in late 2004 when I visited him in Houston. I’ve lost some weight since that time. In general despite our different religious outlooks there are core basic liberal democratic values we both adhere to. In general I’ve had a difficult time over the past few years talking about the subject of religion and Islam because my own views have become very “gnarly.” Hopefully this exchange with Aziz will clarify some issues for both us.

I’m going to preface this with the observation that Razib is a dear friend, someone I genuinely trust. So anyone with an agenda who looks at this debate as an avenue to try and foment fitnat between him and myself is quite simply wasting their time. And mine. The truth is that friendship is a heavy responsibility and in a sense I abused it by leaving an intemperate (for me) comment, because (dispensing with false modesty) I am one of the few people that can trigger Razib to spend 1.5 hours writing a post in response to something I jotted out of irritation in 30 seconds. So I am suitably contrite.


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On Judeo-Christian

I’ve recently triggered a round of discussion on several weblogs around the interwebs relating to the term “Judeo-Christianity,” especially when it comes to definiting the civilization of the West (as in, “our Judeo-Christian culture”).   I started the discussion here, to which Ross Douthat responded with his disagreement (also, my response to Ross, of a sort, here). Noah Millman and Sam Goldman lean toward my side, though with reservations.  James Poulos stayed neutral.  At Taki’s Mag I tried to show that the debate might have the faintest of relation with current events, while Richard Spencer responds with, Is Christianity Western?, where he considers some of the arguments in The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity.  A quick answer to Richard’s query would be that though I would not say Christianity is necessarily Western, I do believe that the West as we understand it is necessarily Christian or post-Christian.  Even if we are not religious, I would say that Christianity is the religion we are not if we are Western.  Similarly, if one is Japanese, and not religious, Buddhism is the religion one is not, if you get my drift….

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