Natural evolution of faith – ‘Change necessary’

5 January 2017


All the religions of the world, without exception are subjected to change which has been imposed by the circumstances of life, and the proportion of this change varies from one area to another and from one people to another. These changes have lasted for periods longer or shorter, depending on the type of change or development.
Some considered the change or evolution, or part of it, a reform in one area, while others departure took it as drifting away from true religion, but the change has been happening over the decades, slowly but surely this came in the form of ignoring the text in the holy books or not applying them.

The changes in the teachings of the Church are the most noticeable, either because of the global role of the church and the weight of civilization represented by the Christians or because of the transparency and freedom of information they enjoyed, compared to others, especially when it comes to evolution or change of rituals or religious practices.

The world has known, for example, through various media that men and women in the United States or in Europe or in the West have the right for same sex marriage and the state recognizes all the consequences of such marriages. On the other hand, for example we find amputation of the hand of a thief, has almost been abandoned, if not limited to. This has been done quietly and without fuss after it was proven to be impractical in the modern era since thefts can occur in several ways and committed using different methods even if the theft itself was insignificant amount of money, but in all cases it should have ended in the amputation of the hand.

The process of reform in the Christian church, Protestantism in particular, happened more than 400 years ago, it began with the Lutheran movement (Martin Luther 1483, 1546) and the Calvin reform movement (John Calvin in 1509 in 1564), and did not stop until today.

As is now the Catholic Church, which is the most historically fanatic of all, thinks and discusses seriously issues of religious reform, such as tolerating abortion, ordination of women as priests and their appointment in religious orders, allowing the use of oral contraceptives in family planning, and other things were considered over a thousand years ago a taboo that cannot even be touched upon, let alone recognize its existence.

A friend of mine says Muslims have carried out the great religious reform such as stopping the amputation of hands of thieves in Al-Ramada Year in early Islam (year of famine), stop the payment of Zakat to people who show inclination towards Islam as mentioned in the text of the Holy Quran, and other issues.

The development of religious thought and reform practices is an ongoing process in every religion, but more slowly with Muslims when compared to others.

My friend says that change is a necessary process, so that we become more tolerant and more receptive towards others, especially when we know that it is a preferred practice for all of mankind, medically, nutritionally, industrially, agriculturally, etc.

And the religious reform process today will not take place, of course, at the pace of Christianity, for example, and the reason is mainly due to the natural evolution imposed by time, and the repercussions of the Sept 11 events, the emergence of radical movements such as DAESH which has shown how brutal its men can be, never before seen by the world through media or social networking means.

email: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf