Too often we are so immersed in the tacit standards of our own discipline that we don’t stand back and try to reimagine them in radically Christian ways. Not jettison them and start over, but just notice how our standards and expectations embody and reinforce our sinful nature, and imagine how those particular sinful patterns and blind spots might be redeemed, right here in the specific department or conference or library where we find ourselves. It’s exhilarating, really, if we let our imaginations run wild a bit.
David Vishanoff’s paper is a fascinating challenge to both Christian and secular academics to rethink the attitudes we have towards studying other cultures and worldviews. His model of ‘sacrificial listening’ has arisen from his study of Islam – as well as other world religions – and essentially consists in pursuing relationship rather than objectivity as an epistemological value.