Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bahraini Reformist: "In the Beginning There Was Man, Not Religion"

This comes from the Middle East Media Research Institute, which always jumps up to the top any article in Middle Eastern media having a pro-reform message.

Almost any reform in the Middle East would be welcome. But I have a problem with sentiments of this sort:

Personally, I am not against religion as such, as long as it is presented as one of the sources of truth and knowledge. But I strongly object to it if it is presented as the only source of truth and knowledge. In the former case, religion constitutes a natural partner in building a culture of tolerance and modernity – whereas in the latter case, it is the source of everything that is absolute [i.e. cannot be questioned]. In the former case, religion is a source of spiritual enrichment and of brotherhood among human beings – and in the latter, it is a source of rigidity and fanaticism, leading to wars and conflicts. In the former case, religion is one of the foundations for building human civilization, and plays a role in its prosperity – but in the latter it is the adversary and rival of civilization.
I can just see the Beast of Revelation propounding just that sort of message. Indeed, I hear that message now, in American media, from people who think that conservative evangelical Christians are a problem in American politics.

I have always maintained that the war that ushers in the Beast will be a three-cornered war, among Christians, Muslims, and secularists. This, unhappily, is a secularistic voice. Note carefully: "Personally, I am not against religion as such...but."

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