What would the world look like if the primary solidarities that ordered it were religious rather than national? This is not the world we live in, though there are signs that it’s the one we’re moving toward. Among those signs, ambiguous and interesting, is the public letter sent last May by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, to George W. Bush.
Ahmadinejad’s letter received rather little sensible comment in the American media, and almost none that paid attention to the fact that it is framed as an address by one believer in God to another, and that it appeals to Bush to treat the faith he shares with Ahmadinejad as more important than what divides them.
Paul J. Griffiths, whose books include Christianity Through Non-Christian Eyes; Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity and Intellectual Appetite: A Theological Grammar, teaches at Duke Divinity School.