Look at the Perfect One
At the Circle’s Center:
He Spins and Whirls like a Golden Compass,
Beyond all that is Rational,
To show this dear world That Everything,
Everything in Existence
Does point to God.

~From “A Golden Compass”, by Hafiz

The bloody, incendiary conflict between the modern world and radical Islamism has captured the world’s attention, and Steve McIntosh’s new paper for the Institute for Cultural Evolution (ICE) shines an integral light on this challenge. Fostering Evolution in Islamic Culture is a good example of just how powerful the integral perspective can be in sorting this stuff out.

Muslim societies in the Middle East, that once carried science through the Dark Ages, are now entrenched in a dialectical antithesis with modernity. In Christianity, the reformation preceded the enlightenment, and it’s time, many argue, for Islam to have its own reformation.

Excerpt | The problem of reverse orientalist in Islamic scholarship

Is there is role for us to play in helping traditional Islamists to reform their religion and reclaim a reason-friendly Islam like the one that flourished in the Golden Age?

“The majority of peaceful Muslims who love their religion may very well be persuaded to come up with a more modernist friendly version if they were assured that secularism was not going to be the end result,” Steve tells Jeff.

Secularism and atheism are not the end of history, but that’s not clearly visible in the Islamic world. ~Steve McIntosh

There is a deep, heroic impulse in many Muslims to rescue Islam from modernity, because they can’t see past the secularism and atheism that modernity ushers in. To traditionalists, cultural evolution feels like an existential threat.

But God survives, and we meet God again on the other side.

As Steve says: “Evolutionary spirituality reclaims the notion of a loving creator, but at a post-mythic, post-secular, and post-postmodern level. It can begin to recognize the deep theistic truths of Islam with new eyes and at a new level.”

An integral perspective reveals Islam to be an ancient, venerable, necessary line of spiritual development within human history. We can begin by acknowledging this truth, and making room for a robust theism so moderate reformers can evolve Islam for the better, not just for Muslims, but for all of humanity.

Enjoy the podcast. If you’d like to know more about the work of ICE, including a panel discussion at the Integral Center next month with Islamic scholars, visit the website.