Mecca and Amsterdam: Christian Ethics between Islam and Liberalism

Publication Date



"Mecca and Amsterdam" is a work of Christian theological ethics. It is, in essence, a theological response to the public issue of religious freedom and tolerance in a globalizing world. Rather than respond to the issue in the abstract, this dissertation develops its theology of religious freedom in direct conversation with the current conflict over Islamic immigration in Europe, more specifically the Netherlands. The study begins with an in-depth historical and sociological analysis of how Dutch liberalism has responded to Islam. Critical of the liberal response, the study seeks to develop an alternative response called "Christian pluralism." This theory of "Christian pluralism" is initially developed in conversation with the work of Abraham Kuyper and his 19th century movement for religious freedom in the Netherlands. Kuyper's arguments for inter-faith justice are explored, appropriated, and evaluated in light of the current conflict between Islam and the West. While deeply valuable, the study concludes that Kuyper's arguments stand in need of further development in three principle areas: Christology, character, and vocation. The final three chapters address these areas in turn. The first explores how the Christological virtues of inter-faith hospitality and grace can supplement and strengthen Abraham Kuyper's call for inter-faith justice. The second explores how participation in Christian worship can provide the habits, virtues, and character a Christian will need for life amidst Mecca and Amsterdam. And the third explores how the "micro-practices" of Christian hospitality, justice, and grace are currently being lived out by Dutch Christians with their Muslim neighbors.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology (PhD in Theology)

First Advisor

Mouw, Richard

Document Type





Abraham Kuyper, Cultural pluralism, Freedom of religion, Netherlands, Christian ethics


Missions and World Christianity


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