I'm in the UK, in my 50s (though I still can't quite believe that). Born and raised in Yorkshire, lived in Scotland for 30 years and pretty much naturalised. As Pascal said: If I saw no signs of a divinity, I would fix myself in denial. If I saw everywhere the marks of a Creator, I would repose peacefully in faith. But seeing too much to deny Him, and too little to assure me, I am in a pitiful state, and I would wish a hundred times that if a God sustains nature it would reveal Him without ambiguity
For those who don't know it, it's Fred Donner's book on Islamic Origins. He argues, largely from the Quran, that 'the Believers' of the first decades (the time of Muhammad and the Companions) were an ecumenical movement of Christians, Jews and early Muslims. Donner is a widely published western scholar of early Islam, and he seems to be offering a view which moderate Muslims and ecumenically-inclined Christians could share. A platform for dialogue, perhaps, with a view to recovering a more tolerant Islam?
I find much of Donner's argument weak; all the same, you can't help wishing there were something in it. I'm curious to know if anyone else has read it - Christian or Muslim - and if so what you think of it.
Here's the book's page on US amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Muhammad-Believers-At-Origin...1 AnswerReligion & Spirituality10 years ago
Particularly in relation to passing the death sentence on people convicted primarily on the strength of their own confession, and particularly in relation to the case of Sakineh Ashtiani in Iran.
Deuteronomy says: 'On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no-one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.'
Sakineh's case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakineh_Mohammadi_Ash...3 AnswersReligion & Spirituality10 years ago
Does anyone else out there find that the process whereby people come to believe one or the other of these theories is actually more interesting than the science on which some claim their beliefs to be based? What is the dynamic that drives the aggressive, dogmatic, rhetorical war between them? Why do both sides seem so dependent on authority figures and an array of societal credibility structures? Most religions and most secular ideologies seem capable of accommodating either theory. Anyone for a game of sociology of knowledge?28 AnswersReligion & Spirituality10 years ago
Is it ...
1. Your ability to articulate the case FOR what you believe?
2. Your ability to articulate the case AGAINST what you believe?
There's never going to be a shortage of straw men in R&S, I guess. But how can you ever be really comfortable with your beliefs if you haven't seriously considered the case against them?4 AnswersReligion & Spirituality10 years ago
Editing a poem
is like making a sauce;
there's no end of things you might add
for liquid, from water to wine, cream
or fruit juice, all over and above
whatever, shallots to chicken
scraps, butter, coriander,
but if you want flavour
you have to reduce.
Remember the sonorous
beat, and check the diction
for salt. The mind, that lazy
bastard, always waiting
to betray you. Eliminate
everything redundant. Concentrate.1 AnswerPoetry10 years ago
Anyone happen to know if any reports exist about this observatory - beyond basic reports of its existence and the fact of Khayyam's Jalali calendar being produced? Would be intereseted in any accounts, contemporary or modern, of the observatory's likely construction / structure, and of any details of instruments or methodology used. If not specifically about Isfahan, would also be interested in any material on methods of astronomic observation / recording predating the telescope.1 AnswerAstronomy & Space10 years ago