Catholic-Muslim Studies Expert to Discuss Religious 'Triumphalism' in Talk Here Nov. 4

An expert on the topic of Christian-Muslim relations will discuss issues related to religious “triumphalism” in a 7:30 to 9 p.m. lecture Monday, Nov. 4, in Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

Dr. Scott Alexander, director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, will speak on “‘Which Religion Will Win?’ An End to Triumphalism in Muslim-Christian Relations.”

Dr. Scott Alexander

Dr. Scott Alexander

The talk, free and open to the public, is sponsored by St. Thomas’ Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center.

The phrase, “Which Religion Will Win?” comes from the cover story of a much-discussed cover story in the March 2008 issue of Atlantic Monthly magazine.

“Christianity and Islam share certain similar features,” Alexander said. “One is that they have both been characterized as ‘predatory religions’ that set their adherents at odds, not only with one another, but with people of a variety of different faiths, or no particular faith at all.

“Some theologians have argued that this common feature stems from the universal truth claims of both traditions – claims which logically impel Christians and Muslims to seek local and even global domination. The way out of this problem, they say, is for both Christians and Muslims to engage in a radical revision of these claims.

“My presentation asks whether this is the only way out, or whether reframing the problem allows for a different approach and a different solution,” he said.

Alexander is a consultant on Catholic-Muslim relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The author of a number of articles on Islamic history and religion and Christian-Muslim relations, his most recent book is The Race to Goodness: An End to Triumphalism in Christian-Muslim Relations.

He is a member of the advisory board of AKDİM (Antalya Kültürlerarası Diyalog Merkezi, which is translated Antalya Center for Intercultural Dialogue) in Antalya, Turkey, as well as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture.

In March 2007, Alexander was one of five U.S. scholars awarded an Association of Theological Schools Lilly Faculty Fellowship in support of his research and writing. Beyond his work with the Muslim community in Chicago and the United States, Alexander also has firsthand experience with Muslim communities in the traditional Muslim world and is currently working to expand the outreach of Catholic Theological Union’s Catholic-Muslim Studies Program to similar programs in Nigeria, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.