religion and faith…

Some more book based inspiration…this time from a book I’m reading to deepen my knowledge of Islam for my new vocation:

Religion, it must be understood, is not faith. Religion is the story of faith. It is an institutionalised 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 concerned not with genuine history, but with sacred history, which does not course through time like a river. Rather, sacred history is like a hallowed tree whose roots dig deep into primordial time and whose branches weave in and out of genuine history with little concern For the boundaries of space and time. Indeed, it is precisely at those moments when sacred and genuine history connect that religions are born.

Another later quote:

Still, we must never forget that as indispensable and historically valuable as the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet may be, they are nevertheless grounded in mythology. It is a shame that this word myth, which originally signified nothing more than stories of the supernatural, has come to be regarded as synonymous with falsehood when in fact myths are always true. By their very nature, myths inhere both legitimacy and credibility. Whatever truths they convey has little to do with historical fact…the only question that matters wit regard to a religion and it’s mythology is “What do these strokes mean?”
Reza Aslan, ‘No God but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam’ prologue xxiii-xxiv; London: Arrow 2011

Two fantastic explorations of the nature and purpose of religion/faith and how designating something as ‘myth’ doesn’t make something any less truthful than provable ‘fact’.


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