Religion in the Modern Era

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1 year ago

Perhaps the discussion of religion in the modern era has been touched upon by many religious scholars, scientists, and people who are interested in this field. This article may be of less value than the articles discussed by religious scholars, scientists, and people who are interested in this field, who certainly have a much broader and higher level of insight and intellectual level than me.

This article is my anxiety to see the very diverse phenomena of religious people today. There are quite a lot of divisions of religious sects in this modern era which I generally categorize into three streams, namely liberal, moderate, and fundamental.

Liberal is a religious style that relies heavily on rationality in interpreting holy verses which sometimes gets rid of myths or things that cannot be proven by empirical research. While fundamentalism is a religious style that interprets the holy verses by understanding the literal texts only, not a few of the fundamentalists ignore contextual which is difficult to separate from the cause of the revelation of the holy verses. Meanwhile, moderate is a religious style that is not too liberal and not too fundamental. Moderate religious style can be said to be quite rational but it does not get rid of the myths contained in almost all religions.

There are many adherents of the three schools which in my opinion are quite sectarian. It is this sectarian passion that makes the debate in matters of religion a debate that never expires for debate. Not infrequently, the extreme sectarian passion in the debate gave birth to fights that should not have happened.

Since thousands of years ago, not a few wars if not all, wars were born because of this sectarian nature. It is this sectarian nature that gives rise to symptoms of extreme fanaticism that blinds the eyes of objectivity in viewing a problem. In this discussion, I may focus more on the religion of Islam, although I only have very little insight into Islam, it is more than my insight on other religions.

In this modern era, science is developing very rapidly, it is not uncommon for science to even pinch religious values. Far from this modern era, around the European Renaissance era of the 16th century, science hit hard on religion, especially Catholicism because of the discovery of the Heliocentric theory by Galileo Galilei. At that time, the authority of the church was highly recognized and very powerful. The church at that time believed by the text in its Holy Scriptures that the earth was the centre of the solar system, but Gallileo flicked it with the discovery of his Heliocentric theory. The church feels this discovery is very disturbing, because if the theory is true then the authority and public trust in the church will be reduced. Galileo Galilei was sentenced to life imprisonment for the discovery of his theory, only about 100 years after his death, Gallileo's Heliocentric theory was proven true and in the end, the church recognized it.

In my opinion, if we believe that religion, especially the holy book, was revealed by the Almighty God, then religion should not contradict scientific discoveries that can be explained empirically. Quoting an opinion from an Egyptian thinker who is also the Mufassir and Grand Mufti of Egypt, Muhammad Abduh more or less said that "the Qur'an is never and will not be wrong. "The Quran is not the Quran." This does not mean that religious teachings should submit to the majesty of science as extreme fundamentalists commonly interpret.

Ibn Rushd, the Andalusian philosopher who was very instrumental in the revival of European thought who also tried to reconcile religion with the philosophy that people considered as a science that led to error because it produced radical and wild interpretations. Ibn Rushd once said more or less “We know very well that logical (or philosophical) thinking will not oppose religion, because the truth will not oppose the truth. In fact, the truth will strengthen other truths”, I think that opinion is very true because reason is also a representative of God that is attached to all humans even though not many use it.

In my opinion, the purpose of religious teachings is not to teach the truths of the world but to teach good values ​​that contain morality for the benefit of many people. Does not according to the Qur'an the main task of the Prophet Muhammad was sent to the world is to teach goodness and improve human character? Even the Prophet Muhammad SAW once said "You know better about your worldly affairs" to one of his companions. In my opinion, the hadith indicates that we need to explore our world which of course must be by religious teachings, namely for the benefit of the people.

So there should be no need for a dispute between modern science and religion, instead, the two should work hand in hand to complement each other. As Albert Einstein said, "Science without religion is blind, and religion without science is lame".

Liberalists who glorify rationality in interpreting verses have weaknesses. They are very fixated on empirical discoveries which are of course very limited and strongly believe in the discoveries of their time which will certainly develop much larger in the future. The great Egyptian thinker who was also a student of Muhammad Abduh, Rashid Rida rejected the hadith which more or less called for "If a fly gets into the drink, then dip its wings" because he feels it is unacceptable by reason. Along with the development of science, it was found that the hadith is true because on both wings of flies there is poison and the antidote and if the two wings are dipped, the poison will be neutralized by the antidote so that it will not cause the disease that flies often carry.

Human reason is very limited, therefore it is wrong to think that something that does not yet exist is something that will not exist. It would be wrong to think that something that has not been proven is something that will never exist. Science will always develop and I believe that the things that religion conveys and have not been touched by science are not myths (as some scientists believe), they just cannot be called by our minds today. The intellectual arrogance of scientists and some liberals in my opinion is very unwise, therefore I reject the views of some scientists if they say that religion is irrational, I call religious teachings that have not been touched by science as something supra-rational and do not rule out the possibility that one-day science will touch it.

Fundamentalists are no better than liberals because many of these fundamentalists do not maximize the function of their minds. They are immersed in the texts of the holy verses that should need to be studied more deeply, even worse they ignore the contextuality of the verse. They do not think that these verses came down in a very distant time from us and surely the culture of the people is very much different from ours in this modern era.

I think that in this modern era that highly exalts reason, then we too must use reason in religion even though the purpose of religion is to fix our souls. Maybe I will write about my hypotheses regarding spirituality, rationality, morality, and physiological satisfaction in another article. At the moment I only emphasize the rationality aspect because humans at this time need rationality in understanding religion.

If indeed Islam believes in itself as a guide for every human being since the Prophet Muhammad until the end of time, then in my opinion Islam must be able to adapt itself to the times. One of them is to meet the growing needs of his time. For example, at the time of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, the Arabs greatly glorified and respected the value of literature or the beauty of language in a poem or verse, that's why the Al-Quran was revealed with literary value and extraordinary language beauty. never expired.

One of the reasons for the revelation of the Qur'an with the beauty of its extraordinary language was so that people at that time who respected literary values ​​could easily be attracted to follow its teachings. It was proven by the conversion of one of the great Quraysh figures who strongly opposed Islam at that time who also became the second caliph of Muslims, Umar bin Khattab because of the beauty of the language of the Qur'an.

I believe that the Qur'an was revealed to meet human needs until the end of time, so surely the Qur'an also contains all human needs until the end of time. In this modern era, humans no longer need the beauty of literature to be satisfied, but what humans need today is a rational-empirical explanation. Although I have only read a little bit of Islamic literature, I am very amazed by the rational explanations contained in the Quran and many have been proven empirically.

There are so many Islamic literatures that discuss Islam rationally and in Islamic literature, I refer to the work of Prof. Dr Quraish Shihab, who explained the holy verses very rationally even though he also rejected everything that was contained in the Qur'an, could be rationalized.

In understanding the myths in religion, I do not believe that the historicity of these stories ever happened in fact like the story of the Prophet Adam who is believed by many to be the first human in the world. I think that the stories contained in the Qur'an are not all historically factual, but what we need to learn is the moral message contained in the stories. Perhaps for this reason many commentators write under the title "Acts of the Prophets" instead of "History of the Prophets".

The theory of evolution has become something that is very patent in science and it is difficult to break this theory because empirical evidence supports this theory. Then does this theory prove that the religious explanation of the creation of man is wrong? Not really, because the Qur'an does not explain in detail the process of human creation. Notice the verse 38:72, which describes the creation of man

"So when I have perfected the event and I breathed into it My spirit; then you should fall in prostration to him.” (Q.S. 38:72).

It is possible that the blowing of the spirit occurred when primates had evolved into Homo Sapiens because the Qur'an does not explain events from the beginning to perfection, it could be that when humans were not yet perfect they would still be the same species as the ancestors of apes, then after being perfected or become Homo Sapiens (fully human) the new spirit of God is breathed into humans. Wa Allahu A'lam.

I think here that there is no need for a dispute between the latest discoveries of science and religion because I quote Muhammad Abduh's opinion that "The interpretation of the Qur'an is not the Qur'an itself" so if there is an interpretation of the verse that contradicts the newly discovered truth, it is necessary to interpret repeat the verse.

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1 year ago


i think this moments of this modern age are the best for persons with a free perspective of religion because in old times, the conservative people where to obsesive and dont accept others point of view.

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1 year ago

Sometimes modern people also have unwise thoughts about religion.

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1 year ago

I don't agree with every word here, but it is a well written (and well thought), consistent text - and it is a pleasure to read it.

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1 year ago

I already know there will be people who disagree with my thought. because I'm just an ordinary person who must still have many mistakes. thank you for reading

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1 year ago

Whatever you write, there will always be people who do not agree or who do agree only partly. It has nothing to do with mistakes or you being "just an ordinary person"; it is just that people are different. That is good, without differences we would not have anything to discuss - not to mention how boring the world would be. Your article is good, it well explains your point.

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1 year ago

yes i agree. thank you very much sir

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1 year ago