Secularism modernity and religion: An analysis attempt on the political thought of Abdulkerim Suruş

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Uludağ Üniversitesi, Turkey

Approval Date: 2003

Thesis Language: Turkish




Abdolkarim Soroush emerged in the late 190s and early 1990s as the foremost Iranian intellectual operating vvithin the terms of religious discourse. He rejects outright the possibility of administering a modern State by religious methods and calls instead for the establishment of a democratic State in Iran. And he strongly supports the need for continious and öpen cultural dialogue between Iran and VVestern countries. Soroush’s argument begins as part of a larger project of Islamic revivalism in the modern muslim world. Contemporary muslim thinkers often argue that İslam must be “reconstructed”or “revived” in order to meet the need to reconcile changes in the modern world with the immutability of religion, yet he does not propose the reconstruction or revival of İslam. For Soroush İslam is unchanging and any attempt to reconstruct İslam is both futile and illusory. Religion need not be change, but rather the human understanding of it. VVhile religion itself does not change, human understanding and knovvledge of it does. Religious knowledge is but one among many branches of human knovvledge. He maintains that religiously derived methods of governance are insufficient for administering a modern State. He rejects, then, any goverment that claims legitimacy based on the implementation of some notion of Islamic methods of governance. He complately opposes any form of Islamic ideology; indeed, he sees religious ideology as one of the primary obstacles to the grovvth of religious knovvledge. Abdulkarim Soroush, he resorted to a totally different approach for bridging the gap betvveen democracy and the prevalent understanding of İslam. What Soroush suggests is primarily a reform movement featuring an Islamic way of thinking, vvhich has political consequences as well. His epistemological theory of contraction and expansion of religious knoevvledge provides the grouns for a plurality of munderstanding of religion.