Beyond Belief… July 8, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Fascinating piece here on Slate about creationism and how – in the US anyhows, it ties so closely into identity which is why, for example, Christian and Muslim creationists have quite divergent approaches, the former being militant in engaging with and pushing back against secularism and science, the latter being markedly more chilled about it all. But here’s an almost unbelievable anecdote:
In 2014, Louisiana’s Sabine Parish School District settled its own lawsuit after a teacher repeatedly bullied and humiliated a –sixth-grade Buddhist student for not believing in creationism. As part of the settlement in Sabine Parish, the bullied student transferred to a new school away from his harassers. But even at his new school, “The kids were touching him with their crosses to see if he would melt,” said his father, Scott Lane.
It sounds, almost medieval, doesn’t it?
And as to Islam?
“Even in biology classes at the Muslim schools, the religious significance of evolution was usually glossed over and only cursorily acknowledged, if at all,” he wrote.
Guhin asked a teacher at Al Amal why he didn’t “talk that much in class about evolution’s religious implications.” The teacher’s answer was, “I just don’t know about it; it’s not my subject area.” Another teacher called it a “minor issue” and was unwilling to even call it “haram” (prohibited in Islam), because it was such a minor topic.
And the thinking as to why it matters less?
In the Muslim schools, there were different important practices and boundaries, including prayer and gender roles. “The key practice for the Muslims was prayer, what they do, Salah, five times a day,” Guhin said. “The key demarcation from the outside world was gender performance, like how we interact with people of the opposite sex.”
Evolution is “neutral” when it comes to prayer and gender performance, Guhin said, meaning it’s not part of forming a group identity for American Muslims. Some Muslims are Quranic literalists, but most students that Guhin interacted with viewed prayer as more important than emphasizing the Quran in a way that would make creationism central. One teacher at Al Haqq even lamented to Guhin that many of the school’s Qurans have never been opened. “Part of the explanation for why those Qur’ans stay on the shelf is the centrality of prayer,” he wrote.