Jul 18, 2001
When 25 Muslims walked out of a meeting at the White House last month, the Bush administration had an embarrassing but correctable public relations problem on its hands. Of more long-range significance is what the action said about the political consciousness and activity of the millions of Muslims—the figure may be as high as 6 million—living in the U.S.
"Do we really need these leaders?” a recent article in the Jakarta Post asked, referring to Indonesia’s four top figures: Abdurrahman Wahid, the president; Megawati Sukarnoputri, vice president; Amien Rais, leader of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR); and Akbar Tanjung, speaker of the House of Representatives.
Postliberal theology has affirmed the decisive significance and the integrity of the biblical narrative. But in what way do postliberals affirm the truth of Christianity? Are they merely saying that the Bible is true in the way that a work of fiction is true? Is it sufficient for the church to claim that biblical truth lies in the capacity of the scriptural text to draw readers into a new framework of meaning that makes sense of one’s life and world?
Many critics say that A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is marred by a clash between the sensibilities of its two directors, the late Stanley Kubrick, who developed the concept, and Steven Spielberg, who completed the project. Whereas Kubrick produced cool, intellectual films, Spielberg has specialized in warmhearted pictures. But these critics are wrong.
No doubt it is a peculiar vantage point from which to survey the religious habits of the current generation, but my vantage point is that of a religion teacher at a liberal arts college. Most of the young people I meet have turned away from Christianity, not in the muscular manner of atheisms past, but in a languorous way, as one might graduate from the familiar counsels of the Berenstain Bears to more bracing sources of spiritual advice.