With all the demands for Muslims to answer questions about their faith, I thought it might be helpful to develop six simple questions one can ask of all peoples of faith:
1. Do you think your faith is the one true faith, or do you believe that there are many paths to Truth?
2. If your faith has a Holy Book, what makes it holy? How do you know your book is true? Are the Holy Books of other religions as holy as your own? If not, why not?
3. As a person of faith, what is your obligation to all the other peoples in the world?
4. When they die, what happens to those who do not accept your faith?
5. When your theology disagrees with scientific fact and proven theory (theory as understood in scientific circles not everyday speech), do you adapt to science, or insist science adapt to your theology?
6. Why do you believe what you believe about God, creation, humanity, and the afterlife?
Just to be fair, let me briefly answer my own questions:
1. I believe Truth cannot be reduced to any system of thought, though many systems of thought do glimpse a part of it.
2. A book is holy when a community considers it holy. All holy books derive from this sociological phenomenon, so all holy books are equally holy. This does not mean that any holy book or all holy books are true or equally true. Each may contain wise and beneficial teachings, but no book can contain absolute Truth.
3. All people are obligated to treat all life with compassion and respect.
4. I believe that as we die we become aware of a greater and all–inclusive level of reality in which all things exist. When we die we return to that.
5. I change my theology.
6. I would like to say I believe what I believe based on a combination of everyday experience, study, and experiences had during spiritual practice. And while this may be true, I also suspect that I have no idea why I believe what I believe. Not knowing why I believe as I do, and knowing that Truth cannot be reduced to belief, I am humbled. Humility is the sign of true spirituality. Arrogance and certainty are the sign of religious posturing.