Thursday, March 10, 2011

Islam Just Like Other Religions—For Good and Ill

3/10/2011—In light of the hearings today by Rep. Peter King’s House Homeland Security Committee concerning “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community’s Response” comes new evidence that Islam is just like other religions, this time just as uncomfortable with science.

Here is the story, reported in the Guardian online that Imam Usama Hasan has been intimidated and threatened into retracting his statements that Islam must accept evolutionary theory. Hasan had pointed out that Muslim scholars in earlier periods, “including the 10th-century Persian philosopher Ibn Miskawayh who had supported a very similar theory to that of Darwin.” (quoting the article). But religion is not what it used to be apparently.

The problem is very simple. The Qur’an, like the Bible, teaches about Adam as the first human being. If Adam, that is the first human, had parents, that is descended from earlier hominids, these accounts are not literally true. If these accounts are not literally true, what in the Bible or the Qur’an is literally true? Evolution really is a threat to revealed religion. That is why many Americans reject it. I’m not sure that believers who accept evolution have really come to terms with its implications.

Now for the good part. Islam is like other religions in another way. Muslims oppose violence and criminal activity but they don’t want to be spies on their own community for the FBI. When they hear about real threats they contact the authorities. Otherwise, they tell the FBI to take a hike. Good for them.

I hope that is what some Muslims tell Peter King.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. So if it can be shown that one thing in any sacred text can be shown to not be literally true, then nothing in that sacred text can be taken as the literal truth? Really? Aren't believers a little smarter and hard working than that? Can we not tolerate even the slightest inconsistency in a sacred text?
    Interestingly, I think you will find some enlightenment in an essay by Borges in a collection called "Seven Nights," specifically the lecture "The Kabbalah."