Several years ago, after what I thought was a horrible ordination process, I decided to leave the church. It was a weekday when I decided that I would never step back into the church. The only problem was that I was serving as a chaplain in a level II trauma center outside of Chicago, IL, so I had to be confronted with normative Christian discourse and theologies that I found to be hugely problematic. But, nonetheless, I decided to leave. I had completed my undergraduate degree in rel … [Read more...]
I was born in Pakistan, completed my medical school there and then moved to the United States for specialized medical training. I also moved to escape the horrid persecution my Islamic sect – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community - faces back home. In America, I could enjoy all the freedoms I was denied under Pakistan’s law, most importantly the freedom of speech. I therefore set out to use social media to raise my voice for freedom of conscience world over – and specifically in the ‘Muslim world.’ … [Read more...]
As an atheist who works with religious persons, I am honored to be a part of these “Emerging Voices.” By way of introduction, I first met Holly Roach and Steve Knight at a conference they coordinated at Mission Gathering Church in San Diego. Ryan Bell, Adele Sakler, and myself were invited to lead a panel on Skeptimergent—a group of skeptics and non-believers interested in discussing the role that liberal and Emergent forms of Christianity took in their lives. I first came in contact with Emerg … [Read more...]
I met Brian a few years back when I picked him up from the airport for a conference I was coordinating at Claremont School of Theology. During our ride back, we chatted about atheism, progressive Christianity, and ways we thought they could work together. And as much as I wanted to find fault with him, his insipid kindness won me over.Since that time, I have been working with Churches, trying to find ways in which we can work together. So I thought I would ask Brian some questions th … [Read more...]
"The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world."--Edgar Allen Poe--I have always been a fan of the gloomy Mr. Poe. I remember the first time I purchased his Complete Works and spent a summer reading through it. I was infatuated in the aesthetics of his vocabulary, how we painted the world dark with words, and how the confidence of his prose contrasted with his emotional instability. I was also interested in how he viewed religion and re … [Read more...]
The Post-Colonial Method versus the Sociological Method in the Study of Religion: Top-down or Bottom-up?
In the current study of “religion,” two different methods have developed that are often in tension with each other. The first is the Post-Colonial Method (PCM) with scholars like Talal Asad, Edward Said, Timothy Fitzgerald, and Gayatri Spivak, and the second is the Sociological Method (SM) with scholars like Steve Bruce, Phil Zuckerman, and Barry A. Kosmin. Each of these methods has their own histories, assumptions, and trajectories for the study of religion. The tensions between the two ar … [Read more...]