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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Symbols and Metaphors

Finished (ok i skip some of it) catching Reza Aslan's speech and Q&A at ISF 2014.

He said some stuff about how he deals with his faith towards the end. I like his explanation. Not the exact text but here's a similar quote he given in an interview.

" I think of myself as a person of faith; I believe that there is a reality beyond the material realm, and I want to commune with that reality. But what I’m talking about is so ineffable that I need a language of symbols and metaphors in order to make sense of it to myself and to communicate those ideas to other people. 

The difference between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is the same as the difference between French, German, and Spanish. They’re different languages to describe identical sentiments. For me, the language, the symbols, and the metaphors that make the most sense are those provided by Islam: the notion of the oneness of God, the conception of divine unity. 

These make sense to me in a way that the symbol of the suffering servant on the cross does not, in a way that the symbol of the void in Hinduism does not, and in a way that the symbol of the wheel of rebirth in Buddhism does not. I value those other symbols and languages, and, indeed, I’m literate in them, just as I can communicate in French and Arabic. But I think in English. And I feel my spirituality in the language of Islam."

and this..

"If you want to draw water you do not dig six one foot wells. You dig one six foot well. Islam is my six foot well. I like the symbols and metaphors it uses to describe the relationship between God and humanity. But I recognize that the water I am drawing is the same water that every other well around me is drawing. And no matter the well, the water is just as sweet!"


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