It was quite a new experience for me, as an Anglican Christian, to be interviewed by a thoughtful and inquisitive leader from the LDS (Mormon) Church about my research in religious conversion from Islam to Christianity.
I was very pleased to write a guest post for Chad Bird’s blog. Previously I published a guest post at Gladys Ganiel’s blog, and I’m glad to follow that up with this one.
Chad asked me about conversion from Islam to Christianity. What did I think was at the core of the movements we are seeing today?
Here is the intro:
The first time I heard the Breeders was during an episode of Beavis and Butthead, that pinnacle of American civilization and culture. It was the video for their song Cannonball. I loved the austere, lo-fi, sparse production. I loved Kim Deal’s raspy but powerful voice. And, especially, the bass line implanted itself deep in my brain. While I don’t remember the insightful sociological analysis presented by Beavis and Butthead anymore, a love for the Breeders has stuck with me, and over the years as they have come out with new albums I have picked them up (or more recently, downloaded them). Cannonball is from their 1993 album, Last Splash. Their next full-length album was Title TK (2002), followed up by the 2008’s Mountain Battles.
The title track of Mountain Battles is about dealing with an aging parent’s decline in vitality and mental health. But the peppiest track on the album is the irresistible It’s the Love.
And as I thought about this blog post and years of researching converts from Islam to Christianity, the name of the song just wouldn’t leave my brain. Why? Because, in a nutshell, what is the principal draw of Christianity to Muslims? It’s the love. But let me tell you how I learned this.
I was running errands in the large Arab city where I was studying Arabic, when I ran into a friend of mine. We had had several spiritual conversations by that time. So there on the sidewalk I asked him if he would like to pray with me. He said he didn’t have time to go to church with me, so I explained that we could pray right there, and he agreed.
I was recently interviewed by David Virtue, of VirtueOnline fame, on the state of Anglicanism in the Middle East, the Islamic State, the future or Christianity in MENA, and, of course, my new book, Living among the Breakage.
Here is my answer to his question on the Islamic State:
VOL: Is the West finally winning the war against ISIS?
MILLER: It depends on what you mean by winning. If you mean that they are losing land, then I would say that Iraq, supported by the West and Iran, is winning the war. But over the long term, I’m not very optimistic. The loss of territory for the Islamic State will result in enormous flows of migrants into Europe. Inevitably, a substantial number of those refugees will want to Islamize the countries that receive them as refugees. And among those, a certain number will utilize strategic violence in order to try and effectuate what they understand to be a divine mission. So if by winning you mean eradicating the religious convictions that animate movements like the IS, my answer is resounding no.