“No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam” Reza Aslan by boo
March 6, 2010, 3:57 pm
Filed under: non-fiction, religion | Tags:

Religion, it must be understood, is not faith. Religion is the story of faith. It is an institutionalized system of symbols and metaphors (read rituals and myths) that provides a common language with which a community of faith can share with each other their numinous encounter with the Divine Presence. Religion is not concerned with genuine history, but with sacred history, which does not course through time like a river. (xxv-xxvi)

“What is your point of origin?” the agent asks wearily.
“The United States,” I reply.
He stiffens and looks up at my face. I can tell we are the same age, though his tired eyes and his unshaven jowl make him appear much older. He is a child of the revolution; I am a fugitive – an apostate. He has spent his life surviving a history that I have spent my life studying from afar. All at once I feel overwhelmed. I can barely look at him when he asks,” “Where have you been?” as all passport agents are required to do. I cannot help but sense the accusation in his question. (250-251)

The principal lesson to be learned from the failure of Europe’s “civilizing mission” is that democracy, if it is to be viable and enduring, can never be imported. It must be nurtured from within, founded upon familiar ideologies, and presented in a language that is both comprehensible and appealing to the indigenous population. (254)

…there can be no a priori moral framework in a modern democracy; that the foundation of a genuinely democractic society must be secularism. The problem with this argument, however, is that it not only fails to recognize the inherently moral foundation upon which large numbers of modern democracies are built, it more importantly fails to appreciate the difference between secularism and secularization. (261)