07 Jul Are religion and rationality incompatible?
Are religion and rationality incompatible?
Do you think religion and rationality are ultimately incompatible? Sometimes I fear that, if I question and think things through too often, I’ll end talking myself out of my faith. Because faith entails that sometimes you just have to put all that questioning aside. But then if I were to do that, I’d be dishonest with myself & I’d embody the stereotype of the anti-intellectual ‘religious nut’ and that isn’t who I am. I need some balance but I’m afraid it’s not possible. It’s a tough dilemma.
I would argue that the dichotomy between rationality and religion is a paradigm that is primarily the concern of the Western discourse.
Even the most literalist strains of Islamic thought are couched in rationalistic terms. Granted, that might be predicated on justifying their literalism through rationalizing, but it underlines the centrality of logic and reason towards understanding God.
Personally, my faith is not defined by “belief,” by which, I am taking a “leap of faith.” The Qur’an does not ask me to do that, it commands me to seek out proof of my belief, and I attempt to follow this to the best of my ability.
My teacher, and I have mentioned this many times, was once asked if he believed in everything in The Qur’an, and he responded: “No.”
We were all shocked, and we asked for clarification and he responded: “How can I believe in something if I do not understand it? In order to believe something you must understand it.”
So that is how I approach my faith, and I don’t agree that faith requires a suspension of questioning, quite the opposite actually, I think without questioning your faith is predicated on shaky foundations, and you are the one who suffers.
I would suggest you take a look at the Mutazila School of Aqidah, especially if you are inclined towards rational thought. I might not agree with all their points, but, they are quite impressive.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me privately, insha Allah.
I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.