Evil often best operates in concealment, and often the best hiding place is “standard operating procedures”, that are habits, and go unquestioned.
From an extracted e-mail exchange with Neil Remington Abramson, October 26, 2011 (reproduced with permission):
Neil: I don’t know Islam, but I can relate what I heard from another religion to what I know about mine. The parallels are often remarkable.
And of course I am interested in Christian philosophy. Scheler was a German Catholic philosopher. Kierkegaard was a Danish, Lutheran-based one. Even Heidegger was raised religious, and there are some interesting Asian threads in his work. It’s an interesting hobby, if nothing else.
Nonetheless, I don’t know if I have read all the Bible. And is a single, often cursory reading, enough to say I know? Kierkegaard writes whole lectures and even books on a single phrase. I have published 3 articles on the Abraham story, but may not be done. I took a course once – 5 three hour sessions on the 1st half of Gospel of Mark – about 10pp. We didn’t cover nearly all. There is so much interpretation; you cannot know all.
I don’t know why people feel so conflicted about Islam. It’s like Christianity – the implementation is often unrecognizable, if you judge it from reading The Gospels. Islam surely would profit if people were to write how they believe Islam should be implemented in a particular context, rather than simply being critical as to how it was applied. That’s why I said that Islam must have touched their hearts. Islam taught people the ideal, but then looking at the real world implementation, people feel disappointed. That’s how it seems.
There are so many parallels between Christianity and Islam. I am firmly convinced Islam is a powerful force for good in the world, but also powerfully capable of being abused. The only way to combat evil is by bringing it out in the open, and reminding people there is the good instead. Evil often best operates in concealment, and often the best hiding place is “standard operating procedures”, that are habits and go unquestioned. I sincerely believe that if non-Muslims questioned and brought out the good alternatives, that could not alienate their Muslim friends, if they are sensitive to their feelings and not condemning with too wide a brush.
Bruce: Is there a source for this, or is it out of your head? “The only way to combat evil is by bringing it out in the open and reminding people there is the good instead. Evil often best operates in concealment, and often the best hiding place is ‘standard operating procedures’, that are habits, and go unquestioned.”
Neil: It’s me, though the influences of Kierkegaard and Heidegger are evident.