Saturday, June 4, 2011

Attitudes of Faith

The following is from a chain of posts with the subject: why atheists are so disliked
Question: I wonder if either person would be offended if I compared their faith in divine revelation which they exhibit toward their chosen scriptures, the Bible of Mr R C and the Quran of Samiya Illias. I find it easier to respect Samiya's entrenched faith, but is that because the material of the Quran is mostly unknown to me? Is it because I see all Muslims, unfairly I'm sure, as Islamic fundies? I know the Bible well and have deep-seated feelings regarding its contents; I've considered my feelings about it, the available scholarship regarding it, the internal conflicts I went through trying to make sense of it, trying to resolve its bipolar deity into a realistic image of something I can call God. I think my personal difference in attitude owes very much to my difference in understanding of the two books, and I think Samiya and R's attitudes of faith in those books is really quite similar.
I would, of course, care not only for Mr M's response but also for what Samiya and R think about attitudes of faith. I know my wife's attitude of faith in the Bible is very different from R's, more critical and with a different focus. Brother M will have yet another interesting attitude of faith, one I believe, that is deep and profound while yet being critical in a scholarly manner, but that's for him to say.
Response:I'll begin by commenting on the subject of this post: I respect atheists because I feel that they have the courage to put faith to test and the honesty to reject what they find untruthful. Having said that, I feel they are half-way in their journey towards truth. They have scrutinized, found wanting and left the belief-systems they grew up with or explored in their journey.
Neither do I not take my religion blindly, nor does the Quran require it. My faith is based upon critical evaluation of the text I consider holy.
It is after many years of questioning and exploring Islam and other religions, as well as putting them all to tests of morality, science, etc that I've come to believe that only the Arabic Quran is divine and
unadulterated. All other texts are human compilations and thus cannot be articles of faith. Since I'm convinced about the veracity of the Quran, I do not question it, but I do question my understanding of it. As I believe it to be the ultimate source of wisdom, if something seems contradictory or conflicting with what I know to be the good and stated position, I try to explore by compiling related verses from other chapters, discussing my understanding with scholars, etc.
I know that Islam and almost all other religions are mostly misunderstood and mispracticed by many. Yet, I believe that almost all religions emanate from the same source, have been coloured by human modifications, and contain some gems of the original message. Hence, we all have certain bits of the puzzle, and we all stand to benefit by sharing our perceptions and understanding of them.

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