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Nuance is a Good Thing … Sort of

This last week I spent a week in a class called “Muslim People’s and Missions.” The class was at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. Since there are 1.8 Billion Muslims in the world right now, I thought it would be incredibly valuable to understand Islam from their own sources.


The class had a great intersection of topics to cover including Theology, History, Modernity, Colonialism and more. This of course made the class a very fruitful ground for discussion and debating ideas. Debating is something that I absolutely love because it challenges me and others to think critically and test out their ideas.


There was one particular point where the Professor allowed me and another student to ‘duke it out’ for an extended period of time on the subject of international politics in relation to Islamic countries. The other student thought my position was 100% wrong, and claimed that his position was the superior because it was more ‘nuanced’.

Nuancing is basically seeing something for all that it is. In other words, not just letting subjects collapse into easy forms of black and white that do not account for the whole of the subject. I highly approve of nuancing and think the world needs to do more of it, but the other student made one big mistake in charging my position to be in the wrong.   


He claimed that his position was the correct one because he was advocating for “nuance” while at the same time not allowing nuance for the “pro” side of the subject under debate. One can claim nuance all they want and make their side look sophisticated, but if they allow no nuance for the other position, then they have in effect given to the black and white thinking they were trying to avoid.


Either way the class rocked, and having the opportunity to debate and discuss ideas is in fact, all the rage.   

Pastor Isaac – January 10, 2017

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