Dr. Khalid Sohail
Dr. Sohail is a psychiatrist who practices in Whitby, Ontario. He is the author of several books, including Prophets of Violence - Prophets of Peace: Understanding the Roots of Contemporary Political Violence. You may visit his website at www.drsohail.com.
"Scriptures were written in the context of a particular preexisting language and culture; only if we appreciate those linguistic and cultural traditions can we understand their scriptures as part of their mythology. I think that when humanity reaches the stage of mental growth and cultural evolution when most people can understand scriptures as folklore and not as divine revelations, can view them as mythology rather than stories, and can differentiate facts from fiction, there might be more wisdom and peace and fewer conflicts and holy wars in this world."
Darwin was clear in his heart and mind that man was an evolved ape rather than a fallen angel and that life could be understood without divine revelations, but as far as his wife's feelings were concerned he could not change her mind and heart, and had to live with that conflict and sadness all his life. The pain he experienced is evident from the note that was found at the bottom of his wife's letter.
As time passes we become more and more aware of the contributions of Charles Darwin, not only in the world of biology but also in the disciplines of psychology and sociology. Darwin's book The Descent of Man is a goldmine of understanding, not only about the similarities and differences between animal and human minds but also about the different stages of the evolution of the human mind.
To have a better understanding of the psyche of Al-Qaeda we need to understand the ideology, personality and political strategy of the organization's leaders as well as their followers. Their vision of Islam was not limited to a few countries--it was to be implemented across the whole world according to God's wish as expressed in the Quran, and they were determined to make that wish a reality. They dreamed of world domination.
"Dr. Jill Taylor's book, My Stroke of Insight is the story of a neuroscientist who experiences a stroke and loses the faculties of the left side of her brain. Her stroke became a mixed blessing as it transformed her into a spiritual person. Her story provides wonderful insights into right-brain functions, the brain that deals with the mysteries of creativity as well as spirituality. I feel optimistic that Jill Taylor's book can develop a bridge between religious, spiritual and secular people so that they can develop insights into those practices and experiences that are traditionally discussed in religious and holy books, and develop a language that can be used to share experiences and insights."
Julian Jaynes was one of the original psychologists, philosophers, and scholars, of the 20th century. While Charles Darwin connected human consciousness with biological unconscious, Sigmund Freud with psychological unconscious, and Karl Marx with social unconscious, Jaynes connected evolution of human consciousness with the breakdown of the bicameral mind, the Half God/Half Human mind. Although his theory did not become as popular as other theories it is nevertheless worthy of serious consideration.
The fundamental question in the 21st century is whether Muslims all over the world want to send their children to religious schools to learn scriptures and divine revelations or to secular schools to study modern science, psychology and philosophy. Crucial to the future of humanity is the choice Muslims in the Middle East will make: to create fundamentalist, militant and theocratic Islamic states, or democratic, secular and humanistic states.
Over the centuries, secular philosophers and humanist psychologists have been laying the foundations of secular ethics and humanist philosophy. In the 21st century, people have a choice: to follow the traditions of monotheistic religions or adopt the secular traditions of modern science and psychology, medicine and philosophy.
"As a humanist psychotherapist my view is that to promote secular ethics and create a humanistic world, we need to respect human rights and associate sex with love and affection, rather than sin and guilt. To grow as a human species and evolve as sexual beings, we need to embrace advances in science and psychology rather than age-old scriptures that impose contradictory sexual morals and create fear in people."
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