2004-08-06

Religion and Evolution

Kat in Missouri posted some thoughts on religion that I think are worth picking up on. (Thanks Pat!) All religions have to evolve, and that's always been the case. In fact, if religion is understood as a means for people to improve their moral and spiritual state through the accumulated wisdom of generations, then it seems that evolution is an essential element of religion.

Do Muslim fundamentalists and jihadis outnumber the moderates and progressives? I don't know. As big and diverse as the Muslim world is, I think it's pretty hard to answer that question one way or the other. I'd guess that a great many Muslims - perhaps the largest number - aren't really sure where to stand. They are probably just trying to get through life in a dangerous, confusing, and rapidly changing world.

I am encouraged by what I read on Iraq the Model and Free Iran. It appears that the peoples of these nations have, for the most part, had their fill of Arab nationalism and Islamist theocracy. But other places - Egypt, Palestine, Syria - may be another matter: generations of propaganda have had their effect.

We don't know how this will turn out. We've had some important victories and gained some important friends, but our enemies in the Mideast, Europe, and South Asia are powerful and determined. So we have to keep going, fighting with compassion, wisdom, and courage.