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Islam and the modern world

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  • Islam and the modern world

    This thread is to address the problems of Islam in the modern world, and the relationship with other religions. Siam post will be the basis for beginning this thread, since the other thread has been corrupted and plagued with OFF TOPIC posts. Robrecht is banned from posting in this thread.

    I fully acknowledge Mohammad as a prophet of God as I likewise believe that Judaism and Christianity represent Revelations from God, and do not consider Islam a religion of violence in its fundamental nature. Like Judaism and Christianity I consider Islam a religion of the past and not meeting the needs to provide adequate spiritual guidance to the modern world. It is naïve to believe that Judaism and Christianity accepts Islam as a Revelation from God now or at anytime in the past.

    I believe that the Baha'i Faith does provide better guidance for the modern world then ancient religions. That is one of the primary reasons for believing in the Baha'i Faith. In reality it is one of the reasons that anyone believes in any one religion over other possible choices. It is not boosterism nor triumphalism to believe this and debate the issues that support this belief.

    This will be my response to siam.

    Originally posted by siam

    If we assume "Reciprocity" as the basic foundation of human decency and we allow for the same respect and dignity to other paradigms as our own---then on what basis should we criticize or call for improvement?
    Assumption of "Reciprocity" in what form? First it is an illusion to believe that there is an sincere "Reciprocity" in the foundation Doctrines and Dogmas of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. There may be naïve appeals for 'tolerance' and understanding between these religions, but this is temporal and transitory in the reality of relationships. In reality tolerance is a variation of intolerance when you consider others fundamentally different. To call for the need of a new Revelation for spiritual evolution of humanity does not negate "Reciprocity" between religions. In the claims of Christianity and Islam, they also claim to be evolved 'improvements' over previous Revelations to meet the spiritual needs of humanity.

    Some may decide on an arbitrary criteria that any new paradigm is better than any old one simply because it is newer...or...
    one might decide using a value such as "Universalism" and say that those paradigms that are more universal in degree are commensurately better than those that are less universal....or.
    The claims of the Baha'i Faith as a new more universal paradigm over previous ones is not arbitrary nor just something newer, but based on specific spiritual principles and teachings that meet the New Age such as.

    (1) The mandatory education of all children male and female.
    (2) The Harmony of Science and Religion which unconditionally requires that all scripture including Baha'i scripture be interpreted in the advancing evolving knowledge of science.
    (3) The forbidding of religious wars and conflict of any kind in the defense of religion.

    I will add others as the thread progresses. Nonetheless Judaism, Christianity and Islam do not have these principles at the foundation of their beliefs in scripture.


    one might use a set of values such as paradigms that contribute to framing principles such that of--- justice balanced with compassion and mercy, equality balanced with reciprocity, freedom balanced with responsibility...etc in a consistent and wholistic fashion are of more benefit.....or....
    maybe some other measure/analysis.....
    The basic principles of the Baha'i offer specific teachings and spiritual guidance not provided in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

    The Quran gives some pragmatic advice

    Surah 5:48 partial
    "...To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;"
    Surah 45:22
    "God created the heavens and the earth for just ends, and in order that each soul may find the recompense of what it has earned, and none of them shall be wronged"
    Surah 3:104
    "Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity."
    Pragmatism does not offer spiritual guidance that is specific and uniform for the believers to follow for the modern world, and avoids the reality of what scripture actually supports in any universal and uniform matter. Judaism is dominated by Pragmatism and Midrash to smooth over ancient scripture in today's world.

    The paradigm of most benefit is one that guides and encourages humanity to DO good both individually and as a group (community/nation) so that its intentions and conduct safeguard all of God's creations and restrict harm to them. Tangible changes for good brought about by the actions of that group of humans is one measure of determining the "success" of a paradigm....
    True, the Baha'i Faith offers this in more specific principles and spiritual teachings that cannot be interpreted in various ways as the ancient religions of the world.

    . . . and perhaps more pragmatic than theoretical discussions . . .
    Pragmatic and theoretical discussions are more for philosophers, and theologians that work things out to their own comfort when the spiritual guidance is lacking to deal with the modern world. That is why there are so many churches and division in ancient paradigms.


    A focus on action rather than quibbling over theory would also contribute more beneficially to building our future together---since "building" implies action and actions for good are less divisive, more "pluriversal". Thus, all of us can come together with our different paradigms but still make essential contributions to the good (of all of God's creations....)
    When the different paradigms (religions, sects, divisions and churches) are fundamentally separated by entrenched Doctrine, Dogma and Theology based on ancient scripture that will not change coming together in either ecumenism or unity of purpose between religions is naïve illusion. This is well supported by the real history of religion now and in the past.

    If you propose the above, how is remotely possible that Shia and Sunni could remotely 'come together' to make essential contributions to the good'?

    So we cannot be passive survivors on this earth, but must become active stakeholders and teach this to the next generation also...improvement will only come about with human actions.
    Careful, you are advocating humanism as the solution here an atheist and agnostic belief system. Not highlighted in your statement.

    For Muslims---this means to revive and restore the Tawhidic paradigm so that our intentions and actions conforms to "God's will" in a wholistic, balanced and harmonious way...
    (God's will=Right belief that promotes right intentions that lead to right actions for the benefit of all of God's creations.")...to implement this (to day and in future) will require much critical reflections and pragmatic solutions to problems facing us/humanity----but this should not be a onetime process rather an ongoing one that every generation must actively participate in. . .
    This may be the goal of Muslims, but first it is not a unified goal in any form, and involves significant conflicts between the divisions within Islam. The unresolvable conflict between Shia and Sunni, and the conflicts as to what Shiria consists of, and how it is applied to the modern world are significant barriers for Islam to provide a unified, coherent, and realistic guidance for the modern world.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 06-22-2015, 05:07 PM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  • #2
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

    Comment


    • #3
      There is a lot of ground to cover...all of it interesting but it may be easier if we break it down into subsections...?...
      A) (some) Islamic values---
      1)Universal education
      2)Pursuit of knowledge--of both the seen (physical) and unseen (metaphysical)
      3)Freedom of conscience/freedom of religion

      B) Reciprocity
      Reciprocity based on the principle of Tawheed.

      C) Nature of conflicts (concept of shirk)

      D) Modernity
      Pros and cons

      I apologize for not answering your post directly---but you have framed it based on some misconceptions (of Islam) and this makes direct answers difficult....

      Also to clarify....
      Your stand is that Islamic paradigm (Tawheed) is not suited to "Modernity"
      Mine is that---There are some things that are in error in "Modernity" and Tawhidic paradigm will stand in opposition to it...I acknowledge this. There are aspects of "Modernity" that are right and these will align with a Tawhidic paradigm.

      I do not know much about Bahai but if you say it has better principles, or better spirituality, or better adaptability to the future...I have no problems with that. As a believer you should have such a conviction. If you were saying that the Bahai faith should be the ONLY religion of today and the future because it is superior...then I would have a problem......

      Modernity----I would like to have your definition of "Modernity" (or rather what is the paradigm "Modernity" is based on---personal opinion is fine)

      Some Islamic values---Point 2 has already been discussed in "Islam and evolution" so would prefer not to go over the same thing again here....
      point 1---Education.
      Quran: The Quran gives certain rights to children.(of both genders) The responsibility of protecting these rights lies with the parents (both genders) and with society. One such right is the right to the pursuit of knowledge.
      The first "school" was established during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) called the madrassa of suffa. During the pre-Islamic period, there were educated women in this region and the practice continued after Islam. (Cordoba alone had 800 public schools in which muslim an non-muslim students studied together) Today more girls attend Universities than boys in some Muslim-Majority countries.

      point 3---Freedom of conscience/religion
      Quran: There are many places in the Quran that advocate for freedom of religion by explaining a) there is no compulsion in religion 2) that diversity is part of God's plan
      In premodern times---freedom of conscience meant that one was also free to practice the traditions and ethico-moral principles that one believed in---that is, "Law". Thus law---which are/were rules of conduct based on ethico-moral principles of a particular religious tradition---was allowed and each religion was able to follow their laws. There was a plurality of laws. This was true freedom of conscience.


      Reciprocity---
      One could say there are two types of Reciprocity.
      a) Between God and man---which is essentially unequal. The power is all with God and limited power is with man. This means that in any exchange, what man can give (to God) is limited--- what God can give is not.
      b) Between humanity---Under the Tawhidic paradigm, this is in essence based on equality (Equal worth). Thus Tawhidic Reciprocity cannot occur in a society that is structured as a system of hierarchy in which some are more superior to others. In hierarchical societies, such an exchange would be one based on condescension of the superior and coercion of the inferior...this is not (Tawhidic) Reciprocity.

      Nature of conflicts---
      Language, in essence" is about defining a thing. This is done by limiting what it is and is not. (Which is why "God" cannot be defined). We use language "to know" and to identify things so that they can be differentiated. Without this we would not be able to communicate....
      Our identity/identities are an important aspect of how we "know" our "self". Our self-identities can be based on an individual position (such as co-worker, parent, sibling...etc) or it can be based on group positions (such as club membership, religious organization, citizenship...etc). There are 2 ways that we can construct our identities a) Negative construction---is based on what we are not in opposition to some "other". b) Positive construction--is based on what values and principles we hold that define us.

      Excessive attachment to negative identity constructs in a hierarchical paradigm (superiority/inferiority) will lead to conflicts. Hierarchical paradigm is based on divisions and this is the essence of Shirk. Division is about excluding---to exclude the "other". When a war is fought---this is the primary narrative... "us, the good" vs "enemy, the bad". We could not fight wars as easily if the "other" were considered our brother.....

      Modernity---
      Modernity has brought us much good---I think this is so obvious that we need not go into it...but....
      There may be areas where "Modernity" may be failing us....
      Nation-State---an Identity construct based on arbitrary geographic boundaries meant to exclude some.... which may not be flexible enough for a globalized future.
      Law---Modern law codes are allegedly based on reason---but are prone to manipulation and corruption.
      Science---While it has provided much benefit to humanity---a paradigm based on science alone cannot provide meaning and humanity are meaning-seeking creatures.
      Secularism---It was a necessary development for the West considering their history...but...It does not allow for a plurality of paradigms but imposes on a whole region a single paradigm based largely on "Modernity".
      Values---Modernity places value on materialism (philosophy and economics) and measures success based on this criteria. (...as opposed to spirituality)
      Government---for the elites, by the elites.....At present our systems are hijacked by the elites...in particular by multinational corporations that operate on greed rather than on ethical principles.....(because Modernity values greed)
      Economics---a system based on exploitation rather than co-operation and sharing....

      When looking at the many areas that "Modernity" fails us....I am not sure this is the best paradigm for our globalized future.....We may need plurality of paradigms based on equality, cooperation, mutual respect, and the shared brotherhood of all humanity.....
      Theories are nice...but essentially useless unless they are implemented because only the implementation of values and princples can create change. A degree of pragmatism is essential if real change and progress (non-material) is to be expected....


      by the way....I am uncomfortable with exclusion...I hope everyone is welcome to contribute whatever they see fit.....

      Comment


      • #4
        There are some things that are in error in "Modernity" and Tawhidic paradigm will stand in opposition to it...I acknowledge this. There are aspects of "Modernity" that are right and these will align with a Tawhidic paradigm.

        If we understand the paradigm of "Modernity" based on 2 broad ideas-----a) Putting the Human being at the center, so that the individual, the rights of the individual, and the rationalism that characterize the human being are highly valued. b) Putting Nature at the center---which brings forth ideas such as the clockwork universe, empiricism, "Natural Law"...etc

        These are "correct" insofar as The Tawhidic paradigm also places importance on the individual as well as nature---but they are in error because One God is not the center of the paradigm. This creates an imbalance and maybe an inconsistency in the formulation of ethico-moral principles.
        Another deficiency of the paradigm of Modernity is its binary vision. Morality is often thought of in terms of right or wrong. The Islamic paradigm sees morality in gradation from right to wrong. It has 5 gradations/categories.

        Why should Tawhidic paradigm matter?...because the resultant ethico-moral principles emphasize a very different aspect/are formulated differently.....for example---

        Tawheed(Unity)=One God
        => a) All things/creation come from God b) all things/creation will return to God
        => a) All things/creation belong to God, b) All things/creation are temporary
        => Humanity (group and individual) are given (temporary) Trusteeship

        The relationship = The "Owner" (God) entrusts a "Trustee" (Humanity) with a fiduciary duty (Obligation) for the beneficiary (All of God's creation, now and future).
        The Trustee is the holder of "property" ON BEHALF of the beneficiary. In order to accomplish their fiduciary duties, some rights are given (by God) to the Trustees (humanity)---such as the right to (halal) profit, the right to use resources created by God, the right to acquire and use knowledge...etc.

        some examples of formulation of principles from the Tawhidic paradigm....

        Wealth belongs to God and is from God. Human beings have a right to use this wealth for their comfort and the comfort of their dependents..but with this wealth comes the obligation/duty by those who have been given excess wealth, to redistribute it to those who have less....because the right to use wealth is God-given to all humanity. Therefore, those who have been given more must protect the right to use of wealth of those who have been given less. This obligation of redistribution of wealth can be done through Charity. Charity is not coerced or forcibly enforced and so is more free/less oppressive system of redistribution. Another way is to choose a leader (Trustee/Khalifa) who will collect a portion of the wealth (Tax) for the protection of rights and the discharge of obligation for the benefit of all of God's creations.

        Knowledge belongs to God and is from God. Human beings have the right to acquire and use this knowledge but with it comes the responsibility of the dissemination of knowledge. Those who have acquired knowledge have the obligation to disseminate/teach to those who have not because the right to knowledge is a God-given right to all humanity. Those who have knowledge can profit from the production/acquisition of knowledge but since the wealth created is from God, the poor have some rights to it. The way this principle was accomplished was by the Waqf (Trust) system that ensured the sharing of wealth and knowledge for that time and the future. Many schools, universities, hospitals were created and maintained through the Waqf system. This is a non-coercive system that allows for freedom and avoids oppression.

        Moral categories---
        1) Mubah/Halal = permissible
        2) Mustabah = commendable
        3) Wajib/Fard = Rights and obligations (Protection of rights and discharge of obligations)
        4) Makrooh = dissapproved but not unlawful
        5) Haram = Unlawful

        A general rule of thumb is that all things are permissible unless they are made unlawful.
        Also, there are exceptions within these categories because the value of things is not always equal---for example, It is Haram to eat pork...but if you were stranded and starving and had no option then you could eat pork because human life has more value than dietary restrictions....


        This is an extremely simplified glance at the formulation of the Islamic ethico-moral principles and their applications (Sharia). The whole system is actually very complex because it has a thousand year history, discourse, diversity, refining, and application.
        (Modernity on the other hand has a very short history)
        Last edited by siam; 06-27-2015, 04:35 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by siam View Post
          There is a lot of ground to cover...all of it interesting but it may be easier if we break it down into subsections...?...
          A) (some) Islamic values---
          1)Universal education
          2)Pursuit of knowledge--of both the seen (physical) and unseen (metaphysical)
          3)Freedom of conscience/freedom of religion

          B) Reciprocity
          Reciprocity based on the principle of Tawheed.

          C) Nature of conflicts (concept of shirk)

          D) Modernity
          Pros and cons

          I apologize for not answering your post directly---but you have framed it based on some misconceptions (of Islam) and this makes direct answers difficult....
          Failure to respond specifically gives you NO basis for saying my responses represent misconceptions. You need to be specific with citations. In fact my posts represent closer to reality of Islam in the modern world than what you have presented.


          Also to clarify....
          Your stand is that Islamic paradigm (Tawheed) is not suited to "Modernity"
          Mine is that---There are some things that are in error in "Modernity" and Tawhidic paradigm will stand in opposition to it...I acknowledge this. There are aspects of "Modernity" that are right and these will align with a Tawhidic paradigm.
          It is wrong to classify "Modernity" as something right or wrong nor good and bad. The Modern world is not a manifestation of some artificial concept from one religious perspective nor another. It is not something that needs to selectively evaluated form a Tawhidic paradigm. It is simply the 'Modern World' around us we live in.

          I do not know much about Bahai but if you say it has better principles, or better spirituality, or better adaptability to the future...I have no problems with that. As a believer you should have such a conviction. If you were saying that the Bahai faith should be the ONLY religion of today and the future because it is superior...then I would have a problem...
          It is a matter of fact that when one believes in a religion, one believes it is the ONE that they believe is the religion for today. You believe Islam is, and I believe it is the Baha'i Faith. Abstruse statements like above do not contribute to the dialogue.

          Knowledge is the important part of the dialogue, and understanding 'What and How others believe.' Why do you not have any basic knowledge of the Baha'i Faith?

          Modernity----I would like to have your definition of "Modernity" (or rather what is the paradigm "Modernity" is based on---personal opinion is fine)
          Far to simplistic a definition to be meaningful.

          Some Islamic values---Point 2 has already been discussed in "Islam and evolution" so would prefer not to go over the same thing again here...
          Not really concluded concerning evolution. It is a problem that belief among Christians and Muslims is inconsistent and, reflecting the problem that the guidance from scripture is ambiguous. The Baha'i Faith makes if specifically clear in the writings that all scripture that Religious scripture, including the Baha'i writings must be understood by the knowledge of science.

          point 1---Education.
          Quran: The Quran gives certain rights to children.(of both genders) The responsibility of protecting these rights lies with the parents (both genders) and with society. One such right is the right to the pursuit of knowledge.
          The first "school" was established during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) called the madrassa of suffa. During the pre-Islamic period, there were educated women in this region and the practice continued after Islam. (Cordoba alone had 800 public schools in which muslim an non-muslim students studied together) Today more girls attend Universities than boys in some Muslim-Majority countries.
          First, 'some' Islamic countries is only a few. Second, no, the guidance in scripture, and Shiria is conflicting, inconsistent and ambiguous. The result is the education of girls in most Islamic countries simply does not happen except in rare cases.

          point 3---Freedom of conscience/religion
          Quran: There are many places in the Quran that advocate for freedom of religion by explaining a) there is no compulsion in religion 2) that diversity is part of God's plan
          In premodern times---freedom of conscience meant that one was also free to practice the traditions and ethico-moral principles that one believed in---that is, "Law". Thus law---which are/were rules of conduct based on ethico-moral principles of a particular religious tradition---was allowed and each religion was able to follow their laws. There was a plurality of laws. This was true freedom of conscience.
          This view is a delusion big time. You need to get in touch with the reality of the 'modern world' of Islam, and not view Islam through rose colored glasses. The laws of Shiria in the modern world is inconsistent and conflicting in this regard. The reality is that other religions are restricted and often persecuted in MOST Islamic countries, and it is punishable by death sentence to convert to another religion in most Islamic countries, if not by the government they will be executed by the Islamic authorities.

          The only countries that are somewhat the exception, maybe, are Turkey, Egypt, and possibly the South Pacific countries, which have 'modern' secular leaning governments, but these governments are on shaky grounds.

          The populations of Jews and Christians in Islamic countries is decreasing due to persecution by Islam.

          Reciprocity---
          One could say there are two types of Reciprocity.
          a) Between God and man---which is essentially unequal. The power is all with God and limited power is with man. This means that in any exchange, what man can give (to God) is limited--- what God can give is not.
          This is no problem, let's go one. You have repeated this several times.


          b) Between humanity---Under the Tawhidic paradigm, this is in essence based on equality (Equal worth). Thus Tawhidic Reciprocity cannot occur in a society that is structured as a system of hierarchy in which some are more superior to others. In hierarchical societies, such an exchange would be one based on condescension of the superior and coercion of the inferior...this is not (Tawhidic) Reciprocity.
          Not sure what your point here is, but coercion of religious minorities is common in Islamic countries.


          Nature of conflicts---
          Language, in essence" is about defining a thing. This is done by limiting what it is and is not. (Which is why "God" cannot be defined). We use language "to know" and to identify things so that they can be differentiated. Without this we would not be able to communicate....
          Our identity/identities are an important aspect of how we "know" our "self". Our self-identities can be based on an individual position (such as co-worker, parent, sibling...etc) or it can be based on group positions (such as club membership, religious organization, citizenship...etc). There are 2 ways that we can construct our identities a) Negative construction---is based on what we are not in opposition to some "other". b) Positive construction--is based on what values and principles we hold that define us.
          This vague and does not address the problems of Islam and the modern world

          Excessive attachment to negative identity constructs in a hierarchical paradigm (superiority/inferiority) will lead to conflicts. Hierarchical paradigm is based on divisions and this is the essence of Shirk. Division is about excluding---to exclude the "other". When a war is fought---this is the primary narrative... "us, the good" vs "enemy, the bad". We could not fight wars as easily if the "other" were considered our brother. . .
          The problem is in the modern world and how Islam addresses the modern world. In the modern world. The bottom line is the Baha'is are not considered brothers in the Islamic world.


          Modernity---
          Modernity has brought us much good---I think this is so obvious that we need not go into it...but....
          There may be areas where "Modernity" may be failing us....
          Nation-State---an Identity construct based on arbitrary geographic boundaries meant to exclude some. . . which may not be flexible enough for a globalized future.
          The only saving grace for the Baha'i Faith, Judaism and Christianity in the moderate Islamic countries is the fact that thy have to some extent modern secular governments.

          Law---Modern law codes are allegedly based on reason---but are prone to manipulation and corruption.
          At present the Islamic countries are prown to manipulation and corruption as much if not more so than secular countries.

          Science---While it has provided much benefit to humanity---a paradigm based on science alone cannot provide meaning and humanity are meaning-seeking creatures.
          Repeating this does not make it relevant. The problem is the consistency of the view of science in the modern world. The forbidding of Muslims to travel to Mars, and the inconsistency in regards to evolution, and of course the forbidding of vaccinations by many Islamic sects are examples of the problematic relationship of Islam in the modern world.

          Secularism---It was a necessary development for the West considering their history...but...It does not allow for a plurality of paradigms but imposes on a whole region a single paradigm based largely on "Modernity".
          This totally false and misrepresents the Western world. The Western countries are far more tolerant of plurality and diversity than Islamic countries. The Baha'i Faith is only entirely free to function as a religion in Western Countries.

          "Modernity" is not a single paradigm.

          [
          Values---Modernity places value on materialism (philosophy and economics) and measures success based on this criteria. (...as opposed to spirituality)
          You are generalizing a concept you have poorly defined and misrepresented. Modernity you are correlating with the extreme Philosophical Naturalism, and generalizing to western countries. Western countries in general does not, and cannot be generalized in this light. Only a minority of those in the west believe in materialism or philosophical naturalism. Your vague false generalizations are not constructive in the discussion.

          Government---for the elites, by the elites.....At present our systems are hijacked by the elites...in particular by multinational corporations that operate on greed rather than on ethical principles.....(because Modernity values greed)
          The government by elites is more predominant in the Islamic world. Your generalizations here again raise their ugly head ignoring the problems with Islam in the modern world.


          Economics---a system based on exploitation rather than co-operation and sharing. . .
          Far to vague a generalization to be meaningful. You constantly drift back to the false generalization depicting the Western world as evil, ignoring the fact that materialism and exploitation are common in the Islamic world, particularly in the oil rich nations..

          When looking at the many areas that "Modernity" fails us....I am not sure this is the best paradigm for our globalized future.....We may need plurality of paradigms based on equality, cooperation, mutual respect, and the shared brotherhood of all humanity.....
          Theories are nice...but essentially useless unless they are implemented because only the implementation of values and princples can create change. A degree of pragmatism is essential if real change and progress (non-material) is to be expected. . .
          Again, you need to reassess your use of "Modernity" because it fails to describe anything relevant to the reality of the modern world and the problems Islam faces. As you use it, it represents an accusation that the Western world is evil and atheistic.


          by the way....I am uncomfortable with exclusion...I hope everyone is welcome to contribute whatever they see fit.....
          Your generalization of a vague concept of "Modernity" describing of the modern western world invites exclusion on your part.

          You have failed to address the BIG ISSUES of the Islamic world today: (1) The division of Islam between Shia and Sunni, which is bloody and irreconcilable. (2) The inconsistency of different views, and within different interpretations, of what is Sharia, which causes numerous conflicts within Islam and between Islam and the modern world.
          Last edited by shunyadragon; 07-01-2015, 01:27 PM.
          Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
          Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
          But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

          go with the flow the river knows . . .

          Frank

          I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by siam View Post
            There are some things that are in error in "Modernity" and Tawhidic paradigm will stand in opposition to it...I acknowledge this. There are aspects of "Modernity" that are right and these will align with a Tawhidic paradigm.

            If we understand the paradigm of "Modernity" based on 2 broad ideas-----a) Putting the Human being at the center, so that the individual, the rights of the individual, and the rationalism that characterize the human being are highly valued. b) Putting Nature at the center---which brings forth ideas such as the clockwork universe, empiricism, "Natural Law"...etc
            You are again equating a vague "Modernity" as a false generalization. First there is no possible generalization of 'Humanism' (Modernity?), because most westerners are theists not humanists, atheist, and agnostics. Neither do they put nature at the center.

            Science does not consider the universe 'clockwork.' Methodological Naturalism is the rule in the west, which has at its foundation that it is incapable of falsifying question concerning religion and the spiritual truths and claims. Science by its nature is neutral to religious questions.

            [quote] These are "correct" insofar as The Tawhidic paradigm also places importance on the individual as well as nature---but they are in error because One God is not the center of the paradigm. This creates an imbalance and maybe an inconsistency in the formulation of ethico-moral principles. [quote]

            The modern western world does not make any such conclusion. This is an unwarranted generalization.

            Another deficiency of the paradigm of Modernity is its binary vision. Morality is often thought of in terms of right or wrong. The Islamic paradigm sees morality in gradation from right to wrong. It has 5 gradations/categories.
            This is a false generalization concerning western thinking.

            Why should Tawhidic paradigm matter?...because the resultant ethico-moral principles emphasize a very different aspect/are formulated differently.....for example---

            Tawheed(Unity)=One God
            => a) All things/creation come from God b) all things/creation will return to God
            => a) All things/creation belong to God, b) All things/creation are temporary
            => Humanity (group and individual) are given (temporary) Trusteeship
            True in the Baha'i Faith also, but does not address the problem of the relationship of the Islamic world and the modern world. Your generalization of a vague concept of "Modernity" bears no relationship to the thinking in the modern world.

            The relationship = The "Owner" (God) entrusts a "Trustee" (Humanity) with a fiduciary duty (Obligation) for the beneficiary (All of God's creation, now and future).
            The Trustee is the holder of "property" ON BEHALF of the beneficiary. In order to accomplish their fiduciary duties, some rights are given (by God) to the Trustees (humanity)---such as the right to (halal) profit, the right to use resources created by God, the right to acquire and use knowledge...etc.

            some examples of formulation of principles from the Tawhidic paradigm....

            Wealth belongs to God and is from God. Human beings have a right to use this wealth for their comfort and the comfort of their dependents..but with this wealth comes the obligation/duty by those who have been given excess wealth, to redistribute it to those who have less....because the right to use wealth is God-given to all humanity. Therefore, those who have been given more must protect the right to use of wealth of those who have been given less. This obligation of redistribution of wealth can be done through Charity. Charity is not coerced or forcibly enforced and so is more free/less oppressive system of redistribution. Another way is to choose a leader (Trustee/Khalifa) who will collect a portion of the wealth (Tax) for the protection of rights and the discharge of obligation for the benefit of all of God's creations.

            Knowledge belongs to God and is from God. Human beings have the right to acquire and use this knowledge but with it comes the responsibility of the dissemination of knowledge. Those who have acquired knowledge have the obligation to disseminate/teach to those who have not because the right to knowledge is a God-given right to all humanity. Those who have knowledge can profit from the production/acquisition of knowledge but since the wealth created is from God, the poor have some rights to it. The way this principle was accomplished was by the Waqf (Trust) system that ensured the sharing of wealth and knowledge for that time and the future. Many schools, universities, hospitals were created and maintained through the Waqf system. This is a non-coercive system that allows for freedom and avoids oppression.
            Again, repeating this does not address the problems of the issues at hand

            Moral categories---
            1) Mubah/Halal = permissible
            2) Mustabah = commendable
            3) Wajib/Fard = Rights and obligations (Protection of rights and discharge of obligations)
            4) Makrooh = dissapproved but not unlawful
            5) Haram = Unlawful

            A general rule of thumb is that all things are permissible unless they are made unlawful.
            Also, there are exceptions within these categories because the value of things is not always equal---for example, It is Haram to eat pork...but if you were stranded and starving and had no option then you could eat pork because human life has more value than dietary restrictions....
            Again and again, repeating this does not address the issues.

            This is an extremely simplified glance at the formulation of the Islamic ethico-moral principles and their applications (Sharia). The whole system is actually very complex because it has a thousand year history, discourse, diversity, refining, and application.
            (Modernity on the other hand has a very short history)
            Too simplified and adds nothing new.
            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

            go with the flow the river knows . . .

            Frank

            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thankyou for such a detailed response. I agree that we do need to clarify terms if we are to understand each other....

              I have chosen the term "Modernity" instead of Westernization (which is often used interchangeably with Modernity) because I am an Easterner who is also Modern--and so the term "Modernity" fits better in reflecting the global nature of this paradigm.

              Definition from Wiki....
              Modernity is a term of art used in the humanities and social sciences to designate both a historical period (the modern era), as well as the ensemble of particular socio-cultural norms, attitudes and practices that arose in post-medieval Europe and have developed since, in various ways and at various times, around the world. While it includes a wide range of interrelated historical processes and cultural phenomena (from fashion to modern warfare), it can also refer to the subjective or existential experience of the conditions they produce, and their ongoing impact on human culture, institutions, and politics (Berman 2010, 15–36).

              As an analytical concept and normative ideal, modernity is closely linked to the ethos of philosophical and aesthetic modernism; political and intellectual currents that intersect with the Enlightenment; and subsequent developments as diverse as Marxism, existentialism, modern art and the formal establishment of social science. It also encompasses the social relations associated with the rise of capitalism, and shifts in attitudes associated with secularisation and post-industrial life (Berman 2010, 15–36).

              Modernity has been associated with cultural and intellectual movements of 1436–1789 and extending to the 1970s or later (Toulmin 1992, 3–5).

              According to one of Marshall Berman (1982, 16–17), modernity is periodized into three conventional phases (dubbed "Early," "Classical," and "Late," respectively, by Peter Osborne (1992, 25)):

              Early modernity: 1500–1789 (or 1453–1789 in traditional historiography)
              Classical modernity: 1789–1900 (corresponding to the long 19th century (1789–1914) in Hobsbawm's scheme)
              Late modernity: 1900–1989

              Enlightenment---
              The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment, or Age of Reason) is an era from the 1620s to the 1780s in which cultural and intellectual forces in Western Europe emphasized reason, analysis, and individualism rather than traditional lines of authority.

              Philosophers including Francis Bacon (1562–1626), René Descartes (1596–1650), John Locke (1632–1704), Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), Giambattista Vico (1668–1744), Voltaire (1694–1778), David Hume (1711–1776), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794), Francesco Mario Pagano (1748–1799) and Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727)[1] influenced society by publishing widely read works. Upon learning about enlightened views, some rulers met with intellectuals and tried to apply their reforms, such as allowing for toleration, or accepting multiple religions, in what became known as enlightened absolutism. Coinciding with the Age of Enlightenment was the Scientific revolution, spearheaded by Newton.

              Today---
              Some authors, such as Lyotard and Baudrillard,[citation needed] believe that modernity ended in the mid- or late 20th century and thus have defined a period subsequent to modernity, namely Postmodernity (1930s/1950s/1990s–present). Other theorists, however, regard the period from the late 20th century to the present as merely another phase of modernity; Zygmunt Bauman (1989)[page needed] calls this phase "Liquid" modernity, Giddens (1998)[page needed] labels it "High" modernity (see High modernism).

              ....in short---"Modernity" emphasizes reason and science and the foundational philosophers (Enlightenment) formulated their principles and paradigm on the supremacy of the Individual and his rights, on human reason and on "Nature" and its laws....

              IMO, this was a good effort and we (us, Moderns) have much to be thankful for.....but insofar as some of these formulations were based not on Tawheed but on hierarchy and shirk...this paradigm also has problems.

              I will elaborate on this point later.....

              Atheists---I admit I do not have much respect for New Atheists---their discourse and thoughts seem juvenile---but I think (old) Atheists are valuable to the Theistic community. Without their input...we would all be in danger of falling into blind belief...which could lead us into the way of superstitions.....something the Quran warns against.....
              Bahai (and others)---I regret I do not know much about Bahai, Sikhs, Nation of Islam, Ahmadiyya, Druze, and other religions/movements that claim some influence from the Quran or Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). My interest lies with understanding and exploring Islam and its philosophies....The religions of Judaism and (Eastern) Christianity have left their mark on Islamic discourse and philosophy as well as the ancient civilizations of Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese and Indians.....so....there is already a lot to look into......
              However, I am willing to explore if you could elaborate what systems of government, economics, social constructs, rights, responsibilities, laws etc---that can be formed using Bahai ethico-moral principles that can be of benefit to all of humanity (and all of God's creations)......

              Shia/Sunni---There is an artificial division between Shia and Sunni that is fueled by politics......but then, the split was political---not doctrinal---to begin with....
              The initial split began with the question of succession---the Shia insisting on dynastic/family succession the Sunni going for consultative/Shura (proto-democracy?). The consultative method was in line with the Prophetic tradition so the First 4 Caliphs were chosen/elected. Two candidates were put forth and the people who supported the candidacy of the Son-in Law of the Prophet were called the Shiatali (party of Ali). But in the end Dynastic rule prevailed first with the Ummayads...then Abbasids and so forth.....

              The Fatimids were a Shia (Ismaili) dynasty and they did much to advance learning/knowledge....one of which was the founding of Al-Azhar University (970 CE)...which today is the premier institute of learning for Sunni Islam!!! ....Persia/Iran used to be the center of Sunni learning and knowledge and it had many universities but around the 1500's it converted to Shia (Twelvers) under the Safavids (who were themselves Sufi's) in order to counter the Ottoman influence (political reasons).....today those institutes are important centers of Shia learning!!....
              Today's power struggles are probably about the global political influence of Iran vs Saudi Arabia----and S.Arabia (Wahabi) seems the more hysterical party.....but then, I am biased...,.Wahabism is not my favourite....

              Diversity of Sharia/Law---From the time of the Prophet in Medina, it was recognized that Jewish law was God's law (Sharia) for the Jews and they were free to follow their laws. This was how freedom of Conscience/religion was understood---that all peoples were free to fully follow their own ethico-moral codes upon which their laws were based. Thus, there were a plurality of laws---unlike in Modernity were everyone must follow a single law made by the government whether you agree with it or not---and even if it violates your ethico-moral codes....(and this is also the case for "Modern" Islamic countries---where only a single law prevails for all)

              This diversity/pluralism is important if one is to have freedom of conscience within Islam. As the Quran says...there should be no coercion in religion(way of life) and this applies within Islam as well as to non-Islamic paradigms/way of life. (or...should ideally....but we are stuck in "Modernity" with its insistence on "universality"....)
              The independence of Law from government power also means that there is less coercion in the implementation and enforcement of law.....(Which is not the case in all Modern governments Islamic or otherwise)

              IMO, Humanity needs a paradigm shift...not one in which a singular paradigm is forced onto everyone...but a plurality of ideas where each paradigm competes with the other for best results (in terms of tangible benefits to humanity and all of God's creation). Interfaith dialogue here in the East is grappling with such ideas for the future....a vision of a world where humanity can come together to offer, try out, and share --- different solutions to the problems of today and the future...

              Comment


              • #8
                "Modernity" emphasizes reason and science and the foundational philosophers (Enlightenment) formulated their principles and paradigm on the supremacy of the Individual and his rights, on human reason and on "Nature" and its laws....

                IMO, this was a good effort and we (us, Moderns) have much to be thankful for.....but insofar as some of these formulations were based not on Tawheed but on hierarchy and shirk...this paradigm also has problems.

                Natural law--(Definition from Wiki)
                Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a philosophy of law that is supposedly determined by nature, and so is universal.[1] Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature — both social and personal — and deduce binding rules of moral behavior from it. Natural law is often contrasted with the positive law of a given political community, society, or state.[2] In legal theory, on the other hand, the interpretation of positive law requires some reference to natural law.

                The American declaration also uses the concept---
                When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

                ...and these ideas/concepts of Natural law and reason are reflected in Locke and assumptions of its universalism is made by Kant...etc....

                For scholars, historians and/or philosophers of Islam---there are striking similarities between some Enlightenment/Modern thoughts/paradigm and Tawheed...some have suggested an Islamic influence....some works of Islamic philosophy and sciences may have been translated.....the list of latinized names of Islamic scholars...http://www.muslimheritage.com/articl...uslim-scholars.

                Another influence on "Modernity" may be the Magna Carta http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/article...sh-translation ...which influenced many other formulations and ideas of "rights".
                This document is based on a hierarchical paradigm in which some people are more entitled than others. The Magna Carta expands the group of the privileged from the Monarchy to the Barons and the "free men" referred to are the Barons/landed property owners---and excludes everyone else. This Hierarchical paradigm has never been seriously contested (IMO) in "Modernity". A hierarchical paradigm does not align with Tawheed.
                In Modernity rights have been expanded to include more groups---but the underlying assumption of inequality has been intact. for example---
                In the U.S. ----the right to vote has included more groups over the years...but....
                In some states criminals are stripped of their voting rights---and other restrictions are/were placed on minority voters....and some Americans cannot vote...such as those in the American territories....
                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/0...n_6833310.html

                This idea that some are more entitled to than others---might also carry over to policies that protect big companies and financial institutions and neglect the ordinary taxpayers.....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by siam View Post
                  Thankyou for such a detailed response. I agree that we do need to clarify terms if we are to understand each other....

                  I have chosen the term "Modernity" instead of Westernization (which is often used interchangeably with Modernity) because I am an Easterner who is also Modern--and so the term "Modernity" fits better in reflecting the global nature of this paradigm.

                  Definition from Wiki....
                  Modernity is a term of art used in the humanities and social sciences to designate both a historical period (the modern era), as well as the ensemble of particular socio-cultural norms, attitudes and practices that arose in post-medieval Europe and have developed since, in various ways and at various times, around the world. While it includes a wide range of interrelated historical processes and cultural phenomena (from fashion to modern warfare), it can also refer to the subjective or existential experience of the conditions they produce, and their ongoing impact on human culture, institutions, and politics (Berman 2010, 15–36).

                  As an analytical concept and normative ideal, modernity is closely linked to the ethos of philosophical and aesthetic modernism; political and intellectual currents that intersect with the Enlightenment; and subsequent developments as diverse as Marxism, existentialism, modern art and the formal establishment of social science. It also encompasses the social relations associated with the rise of capitalism, and shifts in attitudes associated with secularisation and post-industrial life (Berman 2010, 15–36).

                  Modernity has been associated with cultural and intellectual movements of 1436–1789 and extending to the 1970s or later (Toulmin 1992, 3–5).

                  According to one of Marshall Berman (1982, 16–17), modernity is periodized into three conventional phases (dubbed "Early," "Classical," and "Late," respectively, by Peter Osborne (1992, 25)):

                  Early modernity: 1500–1789 (or 1453–1789 in traditional historiography)
                  Classical modernity: 1789–1900 (corresponding to the long 19th century (1789–1914) in Hobsbawm's scheme)
                  Late modernity: 1900–1989

                  Enlightenment---
                  The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment, or Age of Reason) is an era from the 1620s to the 1780s in which cultural and intellectual forces in Western Europe emphasized reason, analysis, and individualism rather than traditional lines of authority.

                  Philosophers including Francis Bacon (1562–1626), René Descartes (1596–1650), John Locke (1632–1704), Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), Giambattista Vico (1668–1744), Voltaire (1694–1778), David Hume (1711–1776), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794), Francesco Mario Pagano (1748–1799) and Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727)[1] influenced society by publishing widely read works. Upon learning about enlightened views, some rulers met with intellectuals and tried to apply their reforms, such as allowing for toleration, or accepting multiple religions, in what became known as enlightened absolutism. Coinciding with the Age of Enlightenment was the Scientific revolution, spearheaded by Newton.
                  Neither your use of "Modernity" nor Westernization is appropriate.

                  The definitions are not helpful at all. I graduated from college almost 45 years ago. The bottom line is the concept of science in the west ONLY deals with the physical world.

                  The 'Modernity' you describe only exists in the outdated novel 1984


                  Today---
                  Some authors, such as Lyotard and Baudrillard,[citation needed] believe that modernity ended in the mid- or late 20th century and thus have defined a period subsequent to modernity, namely Postmodernity (1930s/1950s/1990s–present). Other theorists, however, regard the period from the late 20th century to the present as merely another phase of modernity; Zygmunt Bauman (1989)[page needed] calls this phase "Liquid" modernity, Giddens (1998)[page needed] labels it "High" modernity (see High modernism).

                  ....in short---"Modernity" emphasizes reason and science and the foundational philosophers (Enlightenment) formulated their principles and paradigm on the supremacy of the Individual and his rights, on human reason and on "Nature" and its laws....

                  IMO, this was a good effort and we (us, Moderns) have much to be thankful for.....but insofar as some of these formulations were based not on Tawheed but on hierarchy and shirk...this paradigm also has problems.

                  ---unlike in Modernity were everyone must follow a single law made by the government whether you agree with it or not---
                  You need to rethink your warped concept of 'Modernity,' because it is not only a distorted generalization about the west, but it represents a condemnation of the west that is prevalent in radical Islam. note highlighted.

                  Atheists---I admit I do not have much respect for New Atheists---their discourse and thoughts seem juvenile---but I think (old) Atheists are valuable to the Theistic community. Without their input...we would all be in danger of falling into blind belief...which could lead us into the way of superstitions.....something the Quran warns against.....
                  Bahai (and others)---I regret I do not know much about Bahai, Sikhs, Nation of Islam, Ahmadiyya, Druze, and other religions/movements that claim some influence from the Quran or Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). My interest lies with understanding and exploring Islam and its philosophies....The religions of Judaism and (Eastern) Christianity have left their mark on Islamic discourse and philosophy as well as the ancient civilizations of Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese and Indians.....so....there is already a lot to look into . .
                  Problem here on atheism, which is off topic. Your differentiation between New and Old atheism is confusing, and the problem of atheism and agnosticism is not superstition. That problem is a major issue in ancient religions.

                  However, I am willing to explore if you could elaborate what systems of government, economics, social constructs, rights, responsibilities, laws etc---that can be formed using Bahai ethico-moral principles that can be of benefit to all of humanity (and all of God's creations). . .
                  I fully understand the history and context of what you are describing as 'Modernity,' but you are missing some very important distinctions in the west concerning what you are calling 'Modernity' and science, philosophical naturalism (materialism and atheism).

                  ---unlike in Modernity were everyone must follow a single law made by the government whether you agree with it or not---

                  You directly made the generalization that 'Modernity' is equated with materialism and atheism, and this is false big time. Again, this generalization is the same as radical Islam, and not appropriate.

                  Again and again and again, Methodological Naturalism, and primacy of science in the West ONLY applies to the physical world, especially in all the references you have made. IT DOES NOT in anyway exclude Theism and the belief in God. As far as the issue of atheism and materialism, it is OFF TOPIC for our discussion, because our discussion is centered on how different religious beliefs, NOT atheism and materialism function in the 'Modern World,' which is a different subject all together. I included the above highlighted
                  , because it represents, AGAIN, your persistent mischaracterization of 'Modernity' and the west. AGAIN the reality in the west is that diversity/plurality is embraced far more widely than in the ANY country in the modern world.


                  Shia/Sunni---There is an artificial division between Shia and Sunni that is fueled by politics......but then, the split was political---not doctrinal---to begin with....
                  The initial split began with the question of succession---the Shia insisting on dynastic/family succession the Sunni going for consultative/Shura (proto-democracy?). The consultative method was in line with the Prophetic tradition so the First 4 Caliphs were chosen/elected. Two candidates were put forth and the people who supported the candidacy of the Son-in Law of the Prophet were called the Shiatali (party of Ali). But in the end Dynastic rule prevailed first with the Ummayads...then Abbasids and so forth.....

                  The Fatimids were a Shia (Ismaili) dynasty and they did much to advance learning/knowledge....one of which was the founding of Al-Azhar University (970 CE)...which today is the premier institute of learning for Sunni Islam!!! ....Persia/Iran used to be the center of Sunni learning and knowledge and it had many universities but around the 1500's it converted to Shia (Twelvers) under the Safavids (who were themselves Sufi's) in order to counter the Ottoman influence (political reasons).....today those institutes are important centers of Shia learning!!....
                  Today's power struggles are probably about the global political influence of Iran vs Saudi Arabia----and S.Arabia (Wahabi) seems the more hysterical party.....but then, I am biased...,.Wahabism is not my favourite. . .
                  I do not need a history lesson on the what is Shia and Sunni and their role in history. The problem is 'How Islam can function today with this unresolved violent conflict?

                  Diversity of Sharia/Law---From the time of the Prophet in Medina, it was recognized that Jewish law was God's law (Sharia) for the Jews and they were free to follow their laws. This was how freedom of Conscience/religion was understood---that all peoples were free to fully follow their own ethico-moral codes upon which their laws were based. Thus, there were a plurality of lawsand even if it violates your ethico-moral codes....(and this is also the case for "Modern" Islamic countries---where only a single law prevails for all)

                  This diversity/pluralism is important if one is to have freedom of conscience within Islam. As the Quran says...there should be no coercion in religion(way of life) and this applies within Islam as well as to non-Islamic paradigms/way of life. (or...should ideally....but we are stuck in "Modernity" with its insistence on "universality"....)
                  The independence of Law from government power also means that there is less coercion in the implementation and enforcement of law.....(Which is not the case in all Modern governments Islamic or otherwise)

                  ---unlike in Modernity were everyone must follow a single law made by the government whether you agree with it or not---
                  The problem persists in MOST Islamic countries that diversity and pluralism is prohibited if not severely discouraged.

                  We are not stuck with "Modernity" This represents a misunderstanding and your generalization concerning what is 'Modernity,' and your mistaken notion about the problems with modernity, note your false generalization highlighted above. See below.


                  IMO, Humanity needs a paradigm shift...not one in which a singular paradigm is forced onto everyone...but a plurality of ideas where each paradigm competes with the other for best results (in terms of tangible benefits to humanity and all of God's creation). Interfaith dialogue here in the East is grappling with such ideas for the future....a vision of a world where humanity can come together to offer, try out, and share --- different solutions to the problems of today and the future...
                  This is the reality of the Baha'i vision of the future.
                  Last edited by shunyadragon; 07-03-2015, 07:50 PM.
                  Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                  Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                  But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                  go with the flow the river knows . . .

                  Frank

                  I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by siam View Post
                    "Modernity" emphasizes reason and science and the foundational philosophers (Enlightenment) formulated their principles and paradigm on the supremacy of the Individual and his rights, on human reason and on "Nature" and its laws....

                    IMO, this was a good effort and we (us, Moderns) have much to be thankful for.....but insofar as some of these formulations were based not on Tawheed but on hierarchy and shirk...this paradigm also has problems.

                    Natural law--(Definition from Wiki)
                    Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a philosophy of law that is supposedly determined by nature, and so is universal.[1] Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature — both social and personal — and deduce binding rules of moral behavior from it. Natural law is often contrasted with the positive law of a given political community, society, or state.[2] In legal theory, on the other hand, the interpretation of positive law requires some reference to natural law.

                    The American declaration also uses the concept---
                    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

                    ...and these ideas/concepts of Natural law and reason are reflected in Locke and assumptions of its universalism is made by Kant...etc....

                    For scholars, historians and/or philosophers of Islam---there are striking similarities between some Enlightenment/Modern thoughts/paradigm and Tawheed...some have suggested an Islamic influence....some works of Islamic philosophy and sciences may have been translated.....the list of latinized names of Islamic scholars...http://www.muslimheritage.com/articl...uslim-scholars.

                    Another influence on "Modernity" may be the Magna Carta http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/article...sh-translation ...which influenced many other formulations and ideas of "rights".
                    This document is based on a hierarchical paradigm in which some people are more entitled than others. The Magna Carta expands the group of the privileged from the Monarchy to the Barons and the "free men" referred to are the Barons/landed property owners---and excludes everyone else. This Hierarchical paradigm has never been seriously contested (IMO) in "Modernity". A hierarchical paradigm does not align with Tawheed.
                    In Modernity rights have been expanded to include more groups---but the underlying assumption of inequality has been intact. for example---
                    In the U.S. ----the right to vote has included more groups over the years...but....
                    In some states criminals are stripped of their voting rights---and other restrictions are/were placed on minority voters....and some Americans cannot vote...such as those in the American territories....
                    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/0...n_6833310.html

                    This idea that some are more entitled to than others---might also carry over to policies that protect big companies and financial institutions and neglect the ordinary taxpayers.....
                    Again and again your definitions do not help, I graduated from college ore than 40 years ago. You tend to complement the west and then generalize condemning the west with your warped concept of "Modernity" as cited in the previous post.

                    [quote] ---unlike in Modernity were everyone must follow a single law made by the government whether you agree with it or not---[quote]
                    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                    go with the flow the river knows . . .

                    Frank

                    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      IMO, Humanity needs a paradigm shift...not one in which a singular paradigm is forced onto everyone...but a plurality of ideas where each paradigm competes with the other for best results (in terms of tangible benefits to humanity and all of God's creation). Interfaith dialogue here in the East is grappling with such ideas for the future....a vision of a world where humanity can come together to offer, try out, and share --- different solutions to the problems of today and the future...

                      so we both agree.....
                      ....good.....

                      How do Bahai propose to implement this vision?
                      what is are the ethico-moral principles, what are their categories, how will they be implemented in formulating ethical systems of politics, economics, societies...?....
                      what is the Bahai conception of Justice and related methodologies of arriving at (ethical/moral) laws.....
                      are there any proposals among Bahai scholars or members for correcting some of the excesses of modernity?---and what are those excesses?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by siam View Post
                        IMO, Humanity needs a paradigm shift...not one in which a singular paradigm is forced onto everyone...but a plurality of ideas where each paradigm competes with the other for best results (in terms of tangible benefits to humanity and all of God's creation). Interfaith dialogue here in the East is grappling with such ideas for the future....a vision of a world where humanity can come together to offer, try out, and share --- different solutions to the problems of today and the future...

                        so we both agree.....
                        ....good.....

                        How do Bahai propose to implement this vision?
                        what is are the ethico-moral principles, what are their categories, how will they be implemented in formulating ethical systems of politics, economics, societies...?....
                        what is the Bahai conception of Justice and related methodologies of arriving at (ethical/moral) laws.....
                        are there any proposals among Bahai scholars or members for correcting some of the excesses of modernity?---and what are those excesses?
                        Perhaps not everyone has a vision of the greatest good for the world all the time. To achieve such a happy state, what must humanity do or become? But let's assume argendo that everyone has such a vision. Let's go on to ask, how is Shunyadragon to determine whose vision is the best? I say it's impossible. For one thing, siam would have to question 7 billion souls in say one day. Anyway, God is the being that knows . . . not anyone of us.
                        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                        [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for joining in......
                          I think individual vision of the future can be powerful---Great people have inspired others when they have voiced their visions---such as Martin L. King, Malcolm X and others....In religions, there are those who have a vision---for example in Judaism...Maimonides articulated a vision of the future (Olam Haba) which says...."It will be a time when the number of wise men shall increase...war shall not exist, and nation shall no longer lift up sword against nation." Today there are people in the Jewish community thinking about Jewish identity, modernity and pluralism---examples are in some of the articles in Tikkun Daily Magazine....

                          The Catholic Church is also making efforts, It is contemplating ethical-moral economics, coexistence, our responsibilities to the environment and Earth....etc...and for Muslims...there are ideas in the Quran and by Prophet Muhammed(pbuh)....

                          Such diversity is a good thing...every person/groups vision is valuable. There is no need to have a single vision....as Ramon Grosfuguel explained about "Pluriversal" in a previous video I posted. As the Quran suggests...we can all compete for the good of God's creations and see who does best in actions....this will be better for our souls and better for earth and all her creatures.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by siam View Post
                            IMO, Humanity needs a paradigm shift...not one in which a singular paradigm is forced onto everyone...but a plurality of ideas where each paradigm competes with the other for best results (in terms of tangible benefits to humanity and all of God's creation). Interfaith dialogue here in the East is grappling with such ideas for the future....a vision of a world where humanity can come together to offer, try out, and share --- different solutions to the problems of today and the future...

                            so we both agree.....
                            ....good..... [
                            The problem in reality is that Islam does not encourage and in some cases even allow diversity.

                            How do Bahai propose to implement this vision?
                            what is are the ethico-moral principles, what are their categories, how will they be implemented in formulating ethical systems of politics, economics, societies...?....
                            what is the Bahai conception of Justice and related methodologies of arriving at (ethical/moral) laws.....
                            The foundation of the Baha'i Faith is its scripture and principles and spiritual laws it teaches that in reality influence the evolving changing world that has radically changed since the middle of the 19th century.

                            The Baha'i Faith was the first to reveal the spiritual law that 'all children, male and female must receive education and equal education.' This has become the standard in all western countries and in the Orient. In the Islamic world many countries have not endorsed this principle, and in some girls are denied education.

                            The Baha'i Faith is the first religion to absolutely forbid ALL forms of slavery and indentured servitude. There were efforts in some countries to make slavery against the law, but forms of slavery persisted in colonies. This has become the international standard for the world.

                            The Baha'i Faith proposed the need for International Standards for the future of a world with an international character.

                            The relative nature of human knowledge that evolves and changes over time is an important principle that the evolving human knowledge of truth is relative with time.

                            Many of the other principles and teachings have become the international standard over the past 160 years.

                            The teachings of the Baha'i Faith have spread throughout the world in the past ~160 years, and the world has changed.

                            The Baha'i Faith proposes an elected structure based on bodies of nine believers beginning at the local level, and extending to the international level, and not hierarchal structures based on clergy.

                            are there any proposals among Bahai scholars or members for correcting some of the excesses of modernity?---and what are those excesses?
                            What you call 'Modernity' is puzzling. Most of the characteristics of what you call 'Modernity' such as; corruption, materialism, hedonism, and cruel hierarchies are the some negative dark aspects of human nature ever since humanity became human. There is a modern world that is evolving and adopting Universal Baha'i teachings, which actually necessary for the spiritual advancement of humanity.

                            The problem you have failed to address is the 'modern' principles proposed by the Baha'i Faith, such as universal education, have been endorsed by the Western world and not the Islamic world.

                            The elected structure of the Baha'i Faith reduces the possibility of the negative aspects of human nature from corrupting the religion.
                            Last edited by shunyadragon; 07-07-2015, 08:18 AM.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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                            • #15
                              It is nice that Bahai thinking is making positive contributions to humanity.

                              If I understand you correctly...you are making an interesting claim....That "Modernity" is based on Bahai principles, one of which is universal education....and by "universal" you mean that both genders are educated. Right or wrong...let us accept this premise for the moment....

                              What is the Bahai concept of "equality"?
                              The right to "equal" education is based upon what you refer to as "first spiritual law" (is this a Bahai term?) so, what is the purpose/goal of education in Bahai philosophy/"Spiritual law"?
                              Are there any proposals in Bahai about overcoming the "dark aspects" of human nature as it concerns education....?.....

                              Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                              The problem in reality is that Islam does not encourage and in some cases even allow diversity.

                              What you call 'Modernity' is puzzling. Most of the characteristics of what you call 'Modernity' such as; corruption, materialism, hedonism, and cruel hierarchies are the some negative dark aspects of human nature ever since humanity became human. There is a modern world that is evolving and adopting Universal Baha'i teachings, which actually necessary for the spiritual advancement of humanity.

                              The problem you have failed to address is the 'modern' principles proposed by the Baha'i Faith, such as universal education, have been endorsed by the Western world and not the Islamic world.

                              The elected structure of the Baha'i Faith reduces the possibility of the negative aspects of human nature from corrupting the religion.
                              Dark aspects of human nature---I agree with what you have said---humanity has the potential for good and the potential for bad---religions/philosophies throughout time have striven (Jihad) to encourage humanity towards the good and discourage it from bad. This has been done by encouraging good conduct at the individual level (manners, ettiquette, decorum...) and through rules and laws at a social/community level....

                              Different world religions/paradigms have articulated this problem and its answer/s in different ways---and all are uniquely interesting perspectives. Islam also has its own articulation. As explained previously---it is encapsulated in the concept of Shirk (Division) = Many Gods. There is a Quranic story that explains this concept----It is about Adam and Iblis (Iblis is a previous creation to Adam). To summarize, When God created Adam, he taught Adam knowledge. Then Adam was asked to display the knowledge taught to him, and after that display, the other entities/creations were asked to bow to Adam. Iblis refused claiming that Adam was made of clay, while he (Iblis) was made of smokeless fire---a superior material.----This claim of superiority was an arbitrary claim without substance. God has created all---and none is inferior/superior to the other. This type of reasoning was called "Iblisi Logic" by the philosopher Al Ghazali.

                              Iblisi Logic creates divisions between humanity by proposing some are more entitled than others---this assumption can be seen in the Magna Carta, in the thinking and writing of many enlightenment philosophers and even today, in many statements and attitudes of peoples and scholars.......It enables toxic ideas such as White Man's Burden (U.K.), Civilizing Mission (France, Portugal etc) and Manifest Destiny (U.S.) ---(All used to justify colonization---the act of stealing resources and exploiting other peoples) which today is called "American Exceptionalism" and U.S. Presidents still use it in their speeches.....

                              That is why "Equality" in Modernity has been defined in terms of equality of opportunity or equality of outcome---which means that "equal" education means that everyone can have the "opportunity" to go to school and/or to graduate from school. BUT---it does not address the inherent INEQUALITY in the quality of the schools (infrastructure) or the quality of the education nor does it address the unjust laws that have enabled such systemic inequality to occur nor the economic inequalities that cause and perpetuate the cycle....

                              This can be seen in how "desegregation" of schools in the U.S. was handled---it was about giving black children the "opportunity" to go to white schools---but the underlying structural problems that caused the injustice and inequality in education have never been addressed.....

                              This mismatch between the Islamic concept of equality (equivalent worth) and the "Modern" definition was understood by some Muslim women's rights activists/scholars---they recognized this discrepancy early on and thus declined "Western feminism" as inadequate.....To limit the understanding of equality to opportunities and/or outcomes fails to understand the reality of (non-gendered) systems of power structures that cause injustice and oppression through exclusive entitlements and privileges.
                              (---see works of scholars such as Dr Amina Wadud, Aziza Al Hibri and others....)

                              This analyses some U.S. data...
                              http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/dat...te-and-unequal

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