Thursday, November 18, 2004

You want to know...
...why we can't discount the opinions of religious people just because they are religious? Because we would lose the valuable voices from people like this woman. Please, if you ever click through on something I post, make sure to read this piece. For you liberals who read this blog, it's NYT, so you're on friendly ground, even if you may not like what you read. Either way, this woman is brilliant, and I'd like to hear more from her.

Which brings me back to the question of why I, an independent-minded woman, bother with Islam. Religion supplies a set of values, including discipline, that serve as a counterweight to the materialism of life in the West. I could have become a runaway materialist, a robotic mall rat who resorts to retail therapy in pursuit of fulfillment. I didn't. That's because religion introduces competing claims. It injects a tension that compels me to think and allows me to avoid fundamentalisms of my own.
Islam today has deep flaws, and I know saying so makes me a blasphemer in the eyes of countless Muslims. C'est la vie. If they move beyond emotion, they'll come to appreciate that for the rationalists among us, religion can be a godsend.

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