Mark Durie is a pastor and academic. He writes and speaks on a wide range of topics which include the connection between faith and culture, freedom of religion, the persecution of religious minorities, particularly non-Muslims living under the Islamic sharia, the origin and history of Islam, and discipling new Christians.
Mark has a life-long passion for freedom and to see people claim their spiritual freedom and walk in it. He is fascinated by the ways in which people’s experiences, including what has been spoken into their lives by others, can bind and limit them, and likes to reflect on ways to help people overcome their limitations. He is particularly interested in how people construct their personal worldviews, and in the factors that can cause people to question their worldviews and revise them, including how people respond to cognitive dissonance (mismatches between their inner worldview and their outer reality or between clashing worldviews). In an increasingly secular western cultural milieu, he is interested in the way secular-minded people process spiritual phenomenon, and likes to help people reflect on the spiritual dimensions of living well. He enjoys helping people understand the way faith shapes the worldview of individuals, and, over time, how it can profoundly transform the social structures people of faith participate in.
In his writings, Mark combines a love for the truth with a gracious, pastoral heart for others. He is troubled at the damage that can result when people pursue truth at the expense of grace, or when they pursue love without a solid grounding in truth.
Mark’s initial interest in Islam came about through doing fieldwork among the Acehnese people of Sumatra, and living in an Acehnese coastal village during the 1980’s. Then, when Islam began to come more into public focus in the West after 9/11, he became active in researching and teaching about this influential resurgent global faith. He has combined this with work as an Anglican pastor in Melbourne. He has assisted many people to change their religion, from a wide variety of spiritual backgrounds, including atheism, Hinduism, the New Age and Islam.
Mark is a Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Senior Research Fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam. His publications on religious topics include The Qur’an and its Biblical Reflexes, Which God?, The Third Choice, and Liberty to the Captives. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.
A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, and Stanford and also held a variety of positions during the 1980’s and 1990’s at Melbourne University. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992 for his work in linguistics.