Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Christian Ramadan

Hat tip:Mark Steyn. The Telegraph reports how Lent is being re-marketed as the Christian "Ramadan".

Dutch Catholics have re-branded the Lent fast as the "Christian Ramadan" in an attempt to appeal to young people who are more likely to know about Islam than Christianity. ... "The image of the Catholic Lent must be polished. The fact that we use a Muslim term is related to the fact that Ramadan is a better-known concept among young people than Lent," said Vastenaktie Director, Martin Van der Kuil.

After years of being branded as the "White Man's Religion", a "colonial" and "imperialist" faith, Christianity is finally being re-branded as Islam-lite.

One wonders what Nietzche's Madman would think if he returned in the 21st century. I can just imagine his face, running into the market place with a lighted lantern at midmorning, hoping to announce the Death of God, only to find people celebrating Lent as the "Christian Ramadan". He might wander up to a stall marked the "Belmont Club" and ask how this unexpected transformation came about. For an answer I would hand him a copy of a newspaper describing the Archbishop of Canterbury's proposal to adopt sharia law in Britain. "You have not come too early," I would say, "your time will never come. This tremendous event you expected never happened. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you will get." It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several closed houses of parliament and there struck up his requiem aeternam libertas. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these parliaments now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of Man?" The madman had it coming.


Blogger Zenster said...

After years of being branded as the "White Man's Religion", a "colonial" and "imperialist" faith, Christianity is finally being re-branded as Islam-lite.

Big mistake.

In other news, seeking to tap the preadolescent boys market, Mattel rebrands Barbie as Chucky.

2/12/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

Hmmm...are we going to wind up seeing Islam lite, or the Church Militant ?

2/12/2008 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger clarkjacker - Ben Clark said...

They used to call Ramadan 'le careme,' which is French for 'Lent,' in Algeria. I can't decide if that's an innocent translation and this is more sinister, or if turnabout is fair play.

2/12/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I object to the use of the word "Christian" and the word "Ramadan" in the same phrase.

2/12/2008 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger newscaper said...

Good God,

It's a bit of a stretch anyway, but to at least grant historical precedence, Ramadan is the Islamic Lent.

It's a strecth becasue the nighttime Ramadan gorging after the daily fast is more like a lot of Mardi Gras (albeit alchohol free) *during* Lent.

Just like the marketing rocket scientists who alienate/confuse the customers they already have for the sake of going after ones they'll likely never get.

2/12/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cousin Fatso goes for those gorgings:
I Married Cousin Fatso

I was forced to marry my cousin -
it's normal in my culture, but SO WRONG.

Forced to marry her cousin who spoke no English and who her own brothers dubbed Fatso, one woman knew there was no choice but to run away. As a storm breaks over Muslims marrying their own cousins, she tells her traumatic story.
"My brothers nicknamed him Fatso because he was so overweight. As he spoke no English and had always lived in Pakistan, his life was a world away from mine and I couldn't imagine how my father could have matched me with him.

Four weeks later, the whole family flew to Pakistan for the ceremony. "My parents had a house there but once I was married, it was expected that I would go to live with his family," she says.

"Haram had a large family of eight crammed into a tiny two-bedroom house, so there would be no privacy. I felt as if my whole life was ending."

2/12/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

On the ironic bright side:
According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, the southern hemisphere is taking the lead in growth figures for worshipers. Africa is leading the charge with 390 million Christians, more than three times than 35 years ago. The Head of the South African bishops shared recently shared his visions with the London Telegraph.

The research center is part of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Bishop Michael Coleman, the vice-president of the Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of Southern Africa said to the London Telegraph, "We are seeing a shift from a Eurocentric base for the Christian churches to a more worldwide base, including Africa and South America."

"Already, there's a small movement sending African clergy to Europe to re-evangelise people there. The centre of gravity of Christianity is shifting to the south," he continued.

Further statistics show that according to the projection of the current trend, Africa's congregation is likely to grow by another 200 million by 2025. Europe’s Christians is expected to shrink by 17 million over the next two decades due to the aging congregations and the declining church service attendances.

Only 10 percent of Europe's 531 million worshipers regularly attend services and in Britain, the figure falls to a shocking seven percent.

Bishop Coleman tried to analyse the reason behind this drastic transformation. He gave credit to the foreign missionaries, and a majority of Britons, who brought Christianity to Africa. However, he commented that compared to places that are abundant in physical wealth, the unprivileged countries are usually "fertile ground for the spread of Christianity".

"There's no doubt about that," he said to the London Telegraph. "If you look elsewhere in the world, you find that people in the flush of newly acquired wealth find their existence through this wealth and they no longer turn to God."

Despite Roman Catholics and Anglicans being the pioneers of Christianity in African countries and being the oldest established denominations in the world, Bishop Coleman observed that the evangelical movement in Africa is very active and has accounted for the overall development of Christianity in the continent.


2/12/2008 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I am repulsed by this absurd marketing of a Christian custom that predates that cult of savages by several hundred years. Lent is a Christian's way of participating in the suffering and death of Jesus who is the Christ. It is also supposed to be a time where we focus our attention on the poor, who should be the ones who benefit from our penitence and fasting.

Perhaps the Netherlands needs to reconnect with its Christian past more than find ways to define itself by reference to that barbarous ideology sprung from the mind of The Deceiver.

2/12/2008 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

"There's no doubt about that," he said to the London Telegraph. "If you look elsewhere in the world, you find that people in the flush of newly acquired wealth find their existence through this wealth and they no longer turn to God."

I am a successful and comfortable (not wealthy)working professional. I still have time to turn to God. In fact, even if I could imagine myself as wealthy as Georgy Soros (but without the scurrilous way he earned his payola)I still would see myself as in need of grace and redemption. The Telegraph may speak for Britain and the E.U., but not for North American Catholics. We may be "cafeteria Catholics," but at least we haven't succumbed to the blandishments of atheism.

2/12/2008 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But look how much more open-minded and accepting they are Fred:
You probably wouldn't recognize that non-consensual arranged marriage.
Depriving that poor young woman the opportunity to have her life ruined in the same way they have been for Centuries.
Where's your respect for tradition?

2/12/2008 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Actually, it's an old Christian tradition, from before Beowulf. The European evangelists explained Christianity to the barbarians in terms that they could understand. Customs were borrowed and made to symbolize something other. Christmas trees have become places to display angels rather than places to sacrifice children. Easter eggs are symbols of rebirth rather than fertility.

If Dutch children are connected to Christianity better by allusions to coffeeshops and tulips, then that's how it's going to happen. Hippies were connected by English liturgy and guitar playing priests. Christianity is a very flexible religion.

2/12/2008 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

jj mollo is exactly right.

If recasting Lent as the Christian Ramadan (however much it offends the pious Christian) wins one convert from a devil-worshiping cult or nihilistic atheism, then it is worth it.

2/13/2008 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger Fen said...

I wonder if Islam's militancy will rub off on the Christians. Instead of condemning the "sinners", they'll stone them to death.

2/13/2008 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Beyond The Rim... said...

Actually I would argue that Mohammad adapted Ramadan from Christian Lent in the first place and far from Lent being Ramadan "light", Ramadan was actually "Lent light" compared to how Christians at time observed lent. Everything in his made-up religion is taken from somewhere else.

2/13/2008 05:26:00 PM  

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