2 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Meaning of Words

Reader comment on item: What Antidote to Radical Islam?

Submitted by Sigmund Derman (United States), Mar 4, 2015 at 10:06

I think you are right to discuss the different meanings of "secularism." I've noticed that among Jews secular can simply be a less confrontational way of saying "atheist" or "agnostic." It also can mean what I think it should mean, favoring separation of church and state. To some, secular means "sort of religious, believing in G_d but not really caring that much about the whole thing." When you have advocated for "moderate Islam" I interpreted that as a call for secular Islam in the sense of separation of church and state. After reading what you just wrote above, I think I may have misunderstood you somewhat but I am not sure there is much practical difference. It's hard to believe that a "moderate" Muslim, as you present it, really would want "moderate Islam" to be enforced by the political system of a country. To the extent that he or she would want "moderate Islam" to rule, I wonder how moderate that person would really be.

The other side of the coin is the distance between a very strong religious view and atheism (or agosticism). I think that a Jew can be a Reform or Reconstructionist Jew and still have a strong belief in G_d (I know that some Jews will dispute this). Likewise, there are many very moderate Christian sects which still offer the possibility of a strong bond between their adherents and G_d. Is something like that available to Muslims? I don't just mean being a "lapsed Muslim", I mean having an actual organized congregation of faith that is establish along "moderate" lines. It would seem that such a version of Islam might be attractive to many.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Meaning of Words by Sigmund Derman

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)