The Rev. Jerry Falwell’s comments about Muhammad and Islam on the CBS program 60 Minutes Oct. 6 were dangerous and inflammatory, says internationally known Islam expert and author Charles Kimball.
Calling Muhammad a terrorist and a violent man, Falwell told CBS correspondent Bob Simon that Jesus and Moses set the example for love, while Muhammad did the opposite. Kimball, author of “When Religion Becomes Evil” (HarperSanFranciso, 2002), says that sort of claim is based on fear and ignorance.
“I strongly oppose the caricature of Muhammad that Falwell creates,” says Kimball, professor and chair of religion at Wake Forest University. “Falwell reflects the very extremism that many of us find troubling when voiced by Muslims.”
In “When Religion Becomes Evil,” Kimball says when particular conceptualizations lead to rigid doctrine and cocksure certainty about God, the likelihood of major problems increases rapidly. He calls absolute truth claims, like those pronounced by Falwell, one of the five warning signs of corrupted religion. Kimball, an ordained Baptist minister, says no religion is free from the possibility of corruption, but all have the ability and means to overcome it.
Kimball is available for interviews at 336-971-5625 or through the News Service at 336-758-5237.
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