Thursday, 1 July 2010

Tebbit on Islam

Lord Tebbit writes:
The tragedy of Islam is that it is still stuck back where Christianity was when Galileo was under threat for saying that the Earth orbits the Sun. It has lacked a reformation. From being at the forefront of science, medicine, mathematics, art, and literature, the Islamic world has simply failed to innovate or discover for centuries.
I imagine Muslims face the same dilemma as many Christians: fundamentalism has a certain logical coherence (modulo internal contradictions in the holy books), but it is patently absurd and morally abhorrent. On the other hand, a moderate stance (cherry picking from the holy books) puts you on a slippery slope: if that bit wasn't meant to be interpreted literally (or wasn't meant to apply to me), how can I be sure that this bit was?

I suspect Tebbit is right that 'innovation' is required for a religion to adapt to modernity, but it's hard to reconcile this flexibility with the authoritative commandments of an omniscient and timeless god.

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