Sunday, February 12, 2006
  Happy Darwin Day!
Happy Birthday Charles Darwin! Across the world people are celebrating the life of this scientist who changed the way we view the world, humanity, and how things came to be. I have to admit, I find it astonishing that vast numbers of people don't accept evolution, but cling to the idea that the Heaven and Earth were created in seven days (or some other variation thereof). I can only assume that this is due to an irrational fear that accepting evolution will somehow destroy their faith.

On the one hand, as a writer and avid reader of poetry and fiction, I believe that the power of stories lies not in their empirical truth, but in their ability to speak to the human condition. Whether it be in myths or in fables, novels or fairy tales, the essence of the story is the insight it gives into being human. Whether Adam and Eve ever existed in flesh or not, their story speaks to us of what it means to be human, the nature of forgiveness, the nature of consciousness, and conscience.

On the other hand, to me at least, scientific knowledge only deepens faith. It is only when you try to reject what is empirically evident in order to cling to an explanation that is clearly untrue that faith wavers. For obvious reasons! But when you learn about the incredible complexity of the world as demonstrated by physics and biology and chemistry, your sense of awe and delight in this incredible universe only increases.

This, of course, accords with the Qur'an, which repeatedly tells us to study the world, for it deepens faith, and which tells us that it teaches us through parables and metaphor. (One of the very important things for me in my faith journey was that the Qur'an accorded with what I already believed with the exception of there actually being a God.)

It seems to me that right now many believers (Muslim and non-Muslim) are in a crisis of rationality that includes the Creationism/Evolution dichotmony, but also extends far beyond into morality and ethics, and personal responsibility. That is, the notion that true faith can only be expressed by blind following has become a norm in many circles. This has a devastating effect on moral behavior (which I'll have to go into on another post cause this one is already getting too long!)

Suffice it to say that when blind obedience becomes the standard, there is no room left for human authenticity and agency. I do not believe God wants humankind coming to Her/Him/It like carbon copies, cookie cutter identi-robots without independent thought, understanding or commitment, but rather God made us each as individuals with our own personalities and motivations so that we could come to Him/Her/It as individuals, with the sweet uniqueness of our our soul. I believe firmly that God wants each person to naviagate her/his relationship with the Divine on his/her own terms. It/She/He offerrs guidance if we need and/or want it, but is looking for that devotion from each one of us that is particular to our individuality and which expresses the essence of who we are as individuals. That to me, is truer devotion, truer taqwa (faith and righteousness rolled into one) than blind obedience.
I'm a Christian, and I've always kind of grinned at the "Seven Days" concept. Some people take things so LITERALLY. It's kind of like how they say "40 days and 40 nights" in the Bible. It only means that it lasted a Big A** long time! I think I read somewhere that a day to God is a thousand years to us, etc.
It sure would explain a lot, wouldn't it? Just because God called his labors "The first day" and the "second day" etc. doesn't mean it took 24 hours for each phase! It could have been millions of years!
Like I always say, we'll all find out when we die!
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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