TO THE EDITOR:
From a press release dated Jan. 13, Duke University announced “Muslim Students at Duke to Begin Weekly Call-to-Prayer. Members of the Duke Muslim Students Association will chant a weekly call-to-prayer from the Duke Chapel bell tower.”
Public and private reaction was swift and non-supportive of this formerly Methodist school allowing one religion to broadcast their prayers atop the bell tower. National media covered this policy change minutes after its release. National religious leaders such as the Rev. Franklin Graham came out quickly, strongly and vocally in opposition of the decision.
Just as quick as Duke decided to let Muslim students broadcast their prayers live atop the bell tower did it reverse its decision and cancel what was scheduled to be a weekly event. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8).
What was most disturbing about the Duke debacle at the bell tower can be found in the press release. It reveals the underlying problem at Duke University and explains how it could have thought that having a Muslim call to prayer on top of the bell tower would be accepted in a Christian society. Duke is out of touch with God.
“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” said Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”
Princeton University defines “religious pluralism” as, “The worldview according to which one’s religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions,” and “As acceptance of the concept that two or more religions with mutually exclusive truth claims are equally valid.”
You cannot be a Christian and believe in religious pluralism. It breaks the first commandment of God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” (Exodus 20:3-5).
Religious pluralism was one of the biggest issues that had to be confronted in both the Old and New Testament. Neither God nor Jesus will have any part in it.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5).
For Duke University to allow, advocate and even instigate another religion to broadcast its call to a strange God atop the bell tower, a religion that has proven itself for the past 1,400 years to be polar opposite of Christianity, is just simply inconceivable. Particularly when you consider that according to the Muslim bible the Quran, Jesus is not the son of God, the Holy Trinity does not exist, Jesus wasn’t crucified so therefore was not resurrected. This was the religion Duke University was going to allow to broadcast from the bell tower each week. The home of the Blue Devils didn’t see any problem with that happening in a Christian society.
Equally disturbing is Ms. Sapp’s comment, “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”
This is a “Keeping up with the Joneses” mindset. It runs counter to the Christian religion. It’s letting national “trends” dictate religious practice? Doesn’t Duke University or Ms. Sapp understand that national trends are in a constant state of change? You hold no religious belief if it is constantly in flux. You just have a social group attempting to gain popularity. It is the only reason why you would concern yourself with national trends.
The quote above from James of a “doubled minded man” is better translated as a two souled man. This is a reference of trying to play both sides of the fence and describes the plurality of Duke. The university is trying to grasp at things divine while keeping its butt seated comfortably in the world. Jesus said we are to take up our cross and follow him. In essence bare and expose ourselves and our religion to the world. Follow the straight and narrow path of righteousness and pay no mind to the world. “Saying, the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:22-25)
Duke, with its attempt at allowing Muslims to broadcast their prayer live from the bell tower and their concern with “national trends” is an attempt to “gain the whole world.” As Jesus said, “what is a man advantaged” if you lose yourself and be “cast away”?
Refining Truth Ministries