” ‘The question is no longer as Dostoyevsky put it “can civilized man believe?” Rather: can unbelieving man be civilized?’ Philip Rieff
In order to deepen our understanding of the place of Islam in the contemporary world, it is useful to contrast Islamic and secular ethics. The latter is today closely associated with the perspective of secular humanism, ‘the rejection of religion in favour of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts’. Whilst Muslims see moral authority as ultimately deriving from God, secular humanists see morality as intrinsic to humanity. Our innate moral authority, it is argued, provides a sufficient basis for making our own laws. Although Islam may grant that the spiritual and rational faculties of humanity provide an intrinsic moral sense, it is also clear that humanity is greatly in need of moral direction and is indeed capable – both individually and collectively – of going dangerously and destructively astray without the light of faith from it…”
This is an extract from Magnus Bradshaw’s excellent essay. For the full manuscript of just a few pages, please click here.