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Do civilizations "progress"

Reader comment on item: The Middle East Forum Debates Moderate Islam

Submitted by MARTIN KESSLER (United States), Mar 30, 2014 at 13:12

Ibrahim's article was a delight to read, but only in the same way one is momentarily delighted to see a video of Wafa Sultan berating an Islamic diehard. And they do diehard!

But on refection, of course you are correct: religion is as malleable as change in civilization requires. To confirm your view, I wonder if anyone has made a study of the "turning points", the "tipping points"--you know what I mean -- that has occasioned a change in thought or meaning of critical theological concepts or commands. And if it goes one way, I now catch myself saying, why not another? That is, will the Quakers , or the "Society of Friends", ever undergo reformation leading to a rather unfriendly group of fanatics making life miserable for the rest of us as? And why not! Is the trend of human progress one of ever diminishing interpersonal physical violence even as periodic divergence about the trend can show periods of (say) Radical Muslim-like behavior.

I wonder if such research has already been done. If not, there's a book for a scholar.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Good questions. I do not have the answers.

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