Shahadat ‘Umr 1

by cmiphilos1 on September 30, 2022

I believe in reason, meaning that sound reason with the proper training is capable of grasping and comprehending things.  Science itself is a rational power.  Investigating reason wonders at everything and probes everything from the highest of beings—God—to the humblest.  Under no circumstances should any obstacles be placed in the way of responsible investigative reason seeking to understand anything.  The peoples and cultures that hinder reason and prevent it from exploring any subject responsibly will themselves go extinct, or they will be enslaved or continue to languish in slavery.  However, if reason is consumed with pride and begins to regard itself as everything, its powers turn demonic.  One of the qualities of sound reason is humility and its realization of its limits beyond which it cannot go.  Reason also does not mature in a vacuum or in isolation and at a distance from other rational minds.  Only by entering deeply and dynamically into the cumulative rational tradition that stretches for at least 3000 years can reason develop and advance.  Short of immersing oneself in this rich and living tradition of reason, it is impossible to wonder at anything from God down to the grain of sand on the seashore and to arrive at any results about these things that will be respected in Paris and Oxford and Boston and Moscow where this tradition is alive and creative.  Only in this way can you become an active part of this living tradition of rational discourse.  Reason therefore has its rules and its centers and its traditions, which means it is impossible for reason to concoct anything out of thin air or relying purely on the imagination.  Only by adhering to these venerable centers and being molded from within in the crucible of their methodologies and traditions can reason arrive at anything certain and hence respectable.  I believe that this certainty, arrived at by reason immersed in the living cumulative tradition, is truth. I believe therefore that truth exists and is not lost, as some maintain, and that reason is capable of searching for it and uncovering it—the truth about anything, from God to the sand grain, passing through the animal, the human person, and society.  Such a certainty only eludes the one who is incapable for finding it but is indeed accessible to the rational investigator.  And if this truth has not been discovered by any person so far, it remains existing in itself and in the mind of God.  To emphasize the existence of fixed truths about any subject, and reason’s ability to fathom as many of them as possible—this is one of the most important tenets of my faith.

Copyright © 2024 Charles Malik Insitute. All rights reserved.

An Initiative of The Philos Project.