The real battle in America is likewise not a military battle but one of ideas.‑ The relativistic post-modern mushiness that has swallowed up large swathes of Europe is seeping into the American mind from every point.‑‑ Without a strong, informed moral and spiritual core in America the power of Islam will make inroads in places undreamed of just a few years ago, including places that fall within the so-called “red states.”
The average Muslim is usually a decent, hospitable, family-oriented person.‑ They are usually respectful and respectable.‑ But the power of shame with the Muslim society doesn’t work from the bottom up, from society’s grassroots.‑ It works from the top down, starting with the traditions of the prophet Muhammad, passed down to the religious teachers, elders, preachers.‑ The pressure comes from above; it is there that the push comes for absolute control over everything.‑ The average Muslim man or woman whether they like it or not, does not really have real freedom to dissent; legal freedom to dissent, maybe, not living freedom. ‑To preserve the honor of the family, of the community, of the tribe, each individual must uphold the unchanging, traditional, absolutism of Islam.‑‑ Winning the hearts and minds of the masses is nearly impossible, because they take their directives from the religious authorities.
This is why no predominately Muslim society has ever become pluralistic in politics or religion.‑ The power remains concentrated in the hands of a few.‑ Even if the power changes hands, the mindset of the oftentimes uneducated and illiterate masses is still subject to their control.‑ Nor has any Muslim society remained static for very long.‑ Its biological and ideological impulses require growth.‑ In just fifty years the global Muslim population has grown from 300 million to 1.2 billion.‑ It has put pressure on non-Muslim neighbors in the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East, Kashmir, China, and Southeast Asia.
Politics and military are not the ultimate answer to this reality, though certainly there must be some kind of civil protection against violence.‑ Nor can a vacuous Enlightenment philosophy resist it.‑ What is needed, rather, is the idea that all men, women, boys and girls are absolutely created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, an idea grounded firmly in a Judeo-Christian tradition, an idea stemming from a Judeo-Christian view of Divine Love.‑ Dialogue will play a part in seeing this idea pursue its goal through to its end, but just as important will be a consistent, non-hypocritical application of these values in the face of detractors, skeptics, and opponents.‑ In time the balance between these two worldviews will be tipped in favor of the one whose adherents have the greater depth of conviction as proved by their commitment to live them out to the fullest.
Understanding the vast and complex Muslim world has held Ron and Jean Coody’s attention for fifteen years. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gave them an unprecedented open door to move into the newly formed Central Asian country of Kazakstan. For the first half of the decade they worked alongside Kazaks seeking to address the many problems left behind by Soviet rule. After serving five years in Kazakstan, the Coody’s relocated to Cyprus. There they studied the Muslim context and helped produce media materials in the Arabic language. In 2002 they began working in Istanbul, Turkey.
After leaving Kazakstan in 1998 Ron wrote a book about their years among the Kazaks to help Westerners better understand the Muslim world. Even in the age of electronic communication Ron considers written material to be one of the most powerful means of communication. While in Turkey Ron will continue to write with the purpose of providing glimpses into the Muslim world.
Ron and Jean have four boys, John, Elliot, Judah Paul, and Isaiah. Ron grew up in north Louisiana and Jean near Taylor University-Fort Wayne. Ron is currently studying for a Ph.D. from Concordia Theological Seminary and Jean graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in nursing. They belong to Avalon Missionary Church and consider the Waynedale area one of their home communities.
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