Why Not Islam?: R. C. ZAEHNER

Religious Studies 11 (2):167-179 (1975)
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As everyone knows, since the end of the Second World War there has been a sensational revival of interest in the non-Christian religions particularly in the United States and in this country. The revival has taken two forms, the one popular, the other academic. The first of these has turned almost exclusively to Hindu and Buddhist mysticism and can be seen as an energetic reaction against the dogmatic and until very recently rigid structure of institutionalised Christianity and a search for a lived experience of the freedom of the spirit which is held to be the true content of mysticism, obscured in Christianity by the basic dogma of a transcendent God, the ‘wholly Other’ of Rudolf Otto and his numerous followers, but wholly untrammelled by any such concept in the higher reaches of Vedanta and Buddhism, particularly in its Zen manifestation. On the academic side the picture is less clear. There is, of course, the claim that the study of religion, like any other academic study, must be subjected to and controlled by the same principles of ‘scientific’ objectivity to which the other ‘arts’ subjects have been subjected, to their own undoing. But even here there would seem to be a bias in favour of the religions of India and the Far East as against Islam, largely, one supposes, in response to popular demand



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