Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Perils of Not Thinking

The Arab News has an interesting article today: (hat tip: Solomon)

Newspapers recently carried the story of a famous religious scholar — a sheikh — who gave a lecture in a mosque. During the lecture, he was interrupted by a group of young men who shouted at him and expressed their contemptuous rejection of his opinion. Though in a mosque, one of the young men angrily waved a small knife at the sheikh who was forced to stop his lecture. He was then escorted by security from the mosque in order to avoid a worsening of the situation. The reason for the young men’s inexcusable reaction was, as far as most people are concerned, inconsequential. The sheikh was speaking about his belief that drums are not forbidden. To say such a thing to people who have always been told — and have always been taught — that music is completely haram (not allowed) was a genuine shock.

The story tells us a number of things. First, there is only one opinion in Saudi Arabia and no such thing as a difference of opinion can exist. Second, to reject an opposing opinion in a violent way is becoming a trend. Third and last: the intolerance we have taught and propagated has now developed and seeks to dominate.

Should we be surprised that those young men reacted in so mistaken a way? Should we be surprised that those young men reacted in a way totally outside Islam’s spirit of tolerance? Should we condemn them as fanatics?

It may already be too late for the culture spawned by Islam--where thinking has been punished for some time by religious leaders who demand obedience, not thought from their followers. However, it is a good sign that someone still possesses enough rational thought to be concerned at the direction the societies of Islam are headed.

Humans cannot survive without rational thought. A culture, religon, or a person who abandons thinking is at an enormously high risk for eventual extinction--but unfortunately not before they wreak a considerable amount of death and destruction on the rest of humanity.

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