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Very revealing view on Islam and homosexuality

01 Nov

Via Daniel’s blog comes iMuslim, discussion of current affairs from the perspective of a young Muslim woman. She strikes me as being a very intelligent, quite delightful person, and I would have thought (despite Daniel’s initial doubts) quite obviously genuine. Yet she encapsulates the dilemma of all those, Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, who take a high view of scriptural inspiration. I am not mocking or belittling her, by the way, because the conclusions she comes to are framed generously and in a spirit of sharing rather than evangelising. But as soon as we find ourselves believing that God has written (or dictated) texts which have eternal validity we find ourselves trapped in a situation which I frankly believe blocks what God may be telling this generation — even allowing for the many levels of exegesis according to the variety of traditions out there, which range from the just plain dumb to the very articulate and intelligent. Our passion for certainty drives us into the comforting bosom of fundamentalism of one kind or another. The trouble is once we are safe in that bosom the eyes take on a beatific gaze and fresh thought tends to be filtered out. (Atheists, paradoxically, are not immune from their own variety of fundamentalism.)

That is such a big and to some outrageous statement that all I can do is commend a careful reading of the sites on the right under “faith and philosophy”. No, I am not a Quaker or a Buddhist, but believe they are on the right track in many respects. All our knowledge is relative, provisional and conditional, and all generalisations beginning with “all” are very suspect.

Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout our entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

See also

  • Gay Muslims (Wikipedia).
  • Eye on Gay Muslims.
  • We all need to be just a bit pomo, because that really is the way the world is.

    Update

    See Compass on ABC tonight: Gay Muslims (26 November 2006).

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    3 responses to “Very revealing view on Islam and homosexuality

    1. AV

      November 1, 2006 at 1:40 pm

      I am not mocking or belittling her, by the way, because the conclusions she comes to are framed generously and in a spirit of sharing rather than evangelising.

      I thought so too, Ninglun.

      All our knowledge is relative, provisional and conditional, and all generalisations beginning with “all” are very suspect.

      You know, it strikes me that in some ways fundamentalists can be quite “postmodern,” particularly in their keen sense of how one’s ideas about the world are shaped by one’s belief system, and also in their suspicion towards modernist claims of objectivity and the possibility of what we might call the Habermasian public sphere.

      I’m not calling iMuslim a fundamentalist, by the way. As I remarked on her blog, I was struck by her observation that atheists and secular humanists are dominating the debate at Seeking Utopia–seemingly because most commenters there cited mundane (as opposed to religious) justifications for their position on homosexuality. Just as iMuslim’s own views on homosexuality are–as she openly admits–entirely a product of her Islamic beliefs, she seemed to infer from the lack of religious references on behalf of other commenters that they must be atheist/secular humanist.

      You see the same kind of inferences made by evangelical or fundamentalist Christians regarding evolution or science in general–these are “atheistic” because they don’t mention God. They view the world through the filter of their religious convictions, and they assume everyone else does, too.

       
    2. ninglun

      November 2, 2006 at 12:57 pm

      iMuslim’s willingness to listen and courtesy become even more apparent in her comments on your site, AV.

       
    3. Nick Mallory

      November 7, 2007 at 5:11 pm

      The Australian Government is thinking about setting up a consultation blog/forum to give the public a chance to debate public policy.

      If you want to help shape the form this blog will take then have your say here:

      http://www.openforum.com.au/Survey

      It only takes a couple of minutes and could help lead to something really worthwhile. Thanks.

       
     
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