What if all music was ‘Christian’ music?

I think this sort of rhetorical question is a good way to understand the role of religion in much of the Islamic world: there is no distinction between pop culture and religiously inflected culture. I thought of that when noticing this segment on To the Best of Our Knowledge‘s episode Superheroes:

Naif Al-Mutawa lives in his native Kuwait and is the Creator of “The 99,” a comic book series featuring a group of superheroes each of whom derives a power from one of the 99 attributes of Allah. Al-Mutawa tells Steve Paulson that his Islamic superheroes are a response to President Obama’s Cairo speech, and that they may soon engage with the traditional Western superheroes.

I’ve vaguely aware of superheroes who are explicitly Christian in the evangelical Protestant subculture. But in ‘the West’ this is a subculture and this sort of naked connection between a sectarian religion and righteousness is often sniffed at as classless and retrograde (in that it was not uncommon in the past). In the Islamic world though this is normative.

Whether that’s good or bad is up to you. But it is an observation on how analogies between the self-defined ‘Islamic world’ and ‘the West’ fail when attempting to communicate the role religion plays in society. As I’ve said over and over again, ‘moderate Muslims’ resemble American evangelical Protestants in the way they view the relationship between faith and society. What the Left terms the ‘American Taliban’ would actually represent the center in much of the Middle East.

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