I love the book of Genesis. Since my conversion to Christianity I have appreciated aspects of the image of God portrayed there. The Christian creation stories display the magnificence of a god that I enthusiastically claimed; It’s quite the feeling to recognize that god as “my God”, as if you are now on the winning team.
Religious belief is often thought to evince a precarious kind of commitment, in which the degree of conviction is inversely proportional to correspondence with the facts. Exhibit A for this common characterisation of religious belief is the maxim of the third-century Christian writer Tertullian, who is credited with the saying ‘I believe because it is absurd.
“I believe in science. I believe in evolution. I believe in Nate Silver and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Christopher Hitchens. Although I do admit he could be a kind of an asshole.
President Barack Obama insists that the United States defines itself by civic principles rather than by religious affiliation. In an otherwise unremarkable press conference in Turkey in 2009, he said: ‘[A]lthough… we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.
I have a confession. I am still a fundamentalist. I am still a fundamentalist on one issue: the resurrection. The resurrection was my last tenuous grasp on faith. I guarded it against attack as if it were … well, a pearl of great price.
If you were asked to name the most important philosopher of 10th-century Baghdad, you would presumably not hesitate to say ‘al-Farabi’. He’s one of the few thinkers of the Islamic world known to non-specialists, deservedly so given his ambitious reworking of Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysics and political philosophy.