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GIK - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all

Reader comment on item: Islamist Turkey vs. Secular Iran?
in response to reader comment: thoughts on Christmas eve

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), Dec 29, 2010 at 12:49

Great post indeed -

I do think you understood my drift, when I used some examples out of our own religion and superstition to point out that ancient books and documents are to be subject to translation and interpretation.

A few years back only, while I was waiting to log on to the internet via dial up, achieving at best 52kb/s, if someone told me that I would be able in 10 years to download a full feature movie in 2 minutes with 32MB/s broadband speed over a TV cable, I would never have believed it. Only 1893 there was a race to get land in Oklahoma and people were concerned about indians, guns, horses and farms. They would have believed to be in a land of magic, if we could teleport one of those pioneers to the 21st century. That is only two lifetimes ago - almost crazy, if we think about it.

It does not matter, which one of the old books we use, the Talmud, Quran or the Bible...every one of them was written by people living in an utterly different world. Taking any notion out of anyone of those books verbatim (at least those which do not uniquely concern timeless matters, such as for instance the Ten Commandments), is ludicrous at best.

The Dilemma lays within the interpretation, which is, why the muslim world, where no such interpretation really occurs and the word is taken verbatim, debate and dissent is not allowed or built in, we find stagnation in all matters societal. Religion in the western world, while having a fixed core set of beliefs, is still in a state of flux, everevolving, developping and thus continuously adapting to changing frame parameters. It does therefore not come as a surprise, that our more rigid Christian denomination, the Roman Catholic Church (to which I actually belong) is losing followers at an alarming rate. In Germany for instance 120k people per year leave the RCC to join more liberal (reformed) denominations.

Sadly that trend does not occur in muslim nations. If anything, they seem to become increasingly more fundamentalistic or orthodox. I attribute this to some extent to a prevalent repression of other religions in most muslim countries. Thus they simply do not have a choice or outlet for their spiritual need, other than Islam.

This leads me once again to my own conclusion, that "Moderate" Islam, call it reformed, enlightened, modernized, updated, moderated etc., can only stem from outside of the confines of muslim nations. Where Islam must freely "compete" and people have a choice to practice their faith, where Islam will be incubated and maybe merged with some western values and moral principles, maybe there some form of New Muslim Testament can sprout off.

I leave this debate for now in this spirit of hope and wish you all (even DnM) well.


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