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February 29, 2008

Christian Ramadan -- good or bad marketing?

Thanks to this church marketing blog, I came across this article from the Telegraph. Apparently some Dutch Catholics have rebranded the Lenten season as the "Christian Ramadan" in hopes to appeal and encourage young people to go back to church. The Catholic charity Vastenaktie, which initiated this new twist on Lent, said, "The image of the Catholic Lent must be polished. The fact that we use a Muslim term is related to the fact that Ramadan is a better-known concept among young people than Lent."

I've heard a friend say that Lent, especially Easter, should be described as the “Christian Superbowl” because Christians should be celebrating the resurrection of Christ at a big, Super Bowl-type level. But this is the first time I've heard of a Christian event being expressed or branded in Muslim terms (although maybe this is similar). Their intentions may be good but their execution is poor. Is this the sign of the times or what?

What’s your take on this story?

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In this context it's worth nothing that this season already has another example interfaith appropriation/rebranding - the word "Easter" derives from a pagan fertility goddess and spring is a common time to fete fertility goddesses. Beyond the name, great deal of Easter tradition is intensely pagan, rabbits and eggs, I'm sure you can see, fertility symbols.

In other words, it isn't the first time it's happened.

Jason Taylor

Annoying. Most Annoying.

Michael Buckingham

Ummm...what? Why would this be a good idea?

Granted, it's all religion and that certainly can mean people getting in the way of the truth of Christ and the scripture...but still...


Dutch youth are more familiar with Ramadan than Lent? That's sad. We as Christians really need to do a better job of reaching out.

Doris Stanford

I'm not sure that I like the comparison. The observance of Ramadan is one of the so-called Five Pillars of Islam, an enforced month-long fast during daylight hours (and all too often a pig-out after the sun goes down) that's obligatory if one is to call himself a Muslim. That's not what the observance of Lent (either Catholic or Protestant) should be. First of all, it should be from the believer's heart, not from the official church telling him that he must do this to be considered a Christian or to be saved. After all, salvation is by faith in the finished work of Christ alone, not by the observance of any ritual. And second, it should be without hypocrisy, unlike the Muslim habit of digging into the refrigerator once it's dark. If one freely chooses to make a sacrifice for Lent, it should be done privately as well, not as a public show.

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