Throughout my life, the question of faith has somehow been tied up with factual evidence, historical accounts, and the power of both science and religion to facilitate wonder. Those who do not believe are always looking for proof. Those who do have faith are also looking to reinforce or explore that faith. Both sides are really looking for the same thing, though – meaning. Whether in science, religion, or philosophy the search always has been, and always will be, for meaning. For myself, I think that as long as that search is being actively pursued – as long as the faithful aren’t just sitting on their laurels watching everyone else, as long as the scientist is still striving to make that next discovery and the poet to distill that shadowy intangible – no one search will be invalid or wrong. It’s the questioning that counts, that makes life full.
Personally, that’s why I am typically delighted with the scientific discoveries made in relation to my faith. The Sea of Gallilee may have been full of ice floes and that’s what Jesus walked on? Delightful! New gospels and letters bringing into question the ideas that the early church’s Gospel left to us? Well then, let’s all get a little closer to the historical Christ, and in turn, to the one we feel in our hearts. If history unearths a new revelation or challenge for us, let’s meet the challenge.
Now it’s the turn of the Muslims to question the foundations of their faith a bit. And for a religion that holds the very image of its prophets (including Jesus) still sacred, it’s going to come as a blow. Still, there will be adaptations, modifications, and in time a lessening of the impact these foundations have. It is the nature of religions – at least the nature we have seen thus far. That’s why the Buddha is reincarnated – with each passing generation, the truth of his teaching, his path, dilutes further. You need a new shot of truth in the arm to keep progress going forward. I mean, look at how short-living some of the founding principles of current religions were – having to be Jewish to become Christian, or freeing all your slaves who were also Muslim. The things that were less politically desirable were discarded.
Now, the question comes when an individual must determine if these changes negatively or positively impacts the belief itself. Does my acceptance and tolerance of others make me more faithful, or damn me? Will the questioning of the Koran shatter the Islamic religion, or change it into something different, for better or worse?