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Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:34 PM

God, Science and Feminism

Last edited Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:16 PM - Edit history (1)


Shanzeh Khurram1
18-year-old from California
Posted: 01/17/2013 10:21 am

To say that I'm confused about religion would be an understatement. In just the past few years, I've gone from Muslim by default to agnostic to devout Muslim to a confused believer trying to make sense of faith on my own terms.

The greatest hindrance I have when it comes to believing in God is the unscientific nature of religion. As a lover of science, I like graphs and statistics: objective data published in reputable scientific journals that helps me to make informed decisions. And faith in God is necessarily blind -- irrational, unprovable. So at the age of 15, I turned away from Islam -- the religion in which I had been raised -- because it just didn't seem logical to me.

But I found that when I didn't believe in God, I didn't believe in anything -- I couldn't make sense of the suffering that I saw around me. Agnosticism is, at heart, a belief in uncertainty, and I like being absolutely certain about what I believe. And even this disbelief seemed forced -- when stuck in an elevator, my first instinct was to pray to God, even though I didn't think I believed in him at the time. This led to a full-blown existentialist crisis: I thought the world was absurd and meaningless and that perhaps nothing was real.

At 17, I tried to re-establish meaning in my life through the outward practice of religion -- I donned the hijab, kept extra fasts and read Islamic books. Fundamentalist Islam is nothing if not certain. But after a month of super-strict religious adherence, I started to hate God. I thought he was harsh and sexist since He gave men the upper hand over women and set down rigid rules, which, if not followed, would result in Hell.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:57 PM

1. The Benjamin Button syndrome is spreading, it would appear.

Not that many 8 year olds used to be 17.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:17 PM

2. Oops! The 1 got cut out for some reason. Fixed it.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:00 PM

3. seems to me she's still trying to figure out what feminism and islam really mean to her


and that might be a long journey. i find it hard to believe that she will find a way to reconcile feminism and the hijab. just don't see it any more than feminism and segregation of the sexes in orthodox israel being reconciled. anathema is the word i believe.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:08 PM

4. I have read accounts from feminist Muslims who actually describe the hijab as liberating.

It protects them from sexual harassment or abuse and allows them to move freely in areas where they might not be able otherwise.

I give this young woman a lot of credit. She is struggling with issues that are important to her.

I wish her the best in the future.

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