About this time last year, a Google Chrome extension was released on the Google store that automatically replaced the term “pro-life” with “anti-choice”. As with everything else in the abortion debate, both sides were quickly up in arms. The anonymous creator of the extension explained that he/she created it in an attempt to clarify the debate. It has been pointed out before that the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are flawed because they naturally demonize the opposing party. The implied opposite of being “pro-life” is to be “pro-death” or “anti-life” and no pro-choice advocate would ever claim such a position. Likewise, to say that you’re not “pro-choice” is to say that you’re pro-coercion or, as the extension claims, “anti-choice” which has never been the position of those fighting against abortion. However, flawed as the terms may be, the extension itself exposed a more fundamental problem. In an effort to clarify the debate by removing what the creator deemed as misleading language, all it managed to do was further confuse it. As a column on pro-life website LifeActionNews.com stated:
As a “narrative autobiography”, the book follows the larger story of Qureshi’s life and is not a point-by-point report. Qureshi is very forward about this fact in the preface to the book when he explains that the conversations and events recorded within are recollections of the general summary of a specific conversation or even a collection of conversations over time. This works to the books strength since, in my experience, biographies have a tendency to get bogged down in details and specifics (names, dates, etc.) that the biographer or historian may find interesting but the reader may not. The pacing of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, however, is fluid and fast-moving without feeling rushed. It’s a wonderful and difficult balance to find.
Across the board, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity seems to be one of the most misunderstood concepts in all religious studies. Jews don’t understand it. Atheists don’t understand it. Mormons don’t understand it. Muslims don’t understand it. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t understand it. Even a lot of Christians don’t understand it and, when pressed, will appeal to analogies or models that are technically heretical.
It’s been called contradictory, polytheism, and paganism, yet the Church has understood the concept to be at the very heart of orthodoxy since the days of the apostles, even if they (the church) couldn’t articulate it or explain it.
Smart people have a habit of asking good questions and nowhere is this truer than 17th Century mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz who asked what is simultaneously a very simple but very profound question:
Why is there something, rather than nothing?
In fact, Leibniz believed that this was “the first question that should rightly be asked” and with a little reflection it’s easy to see why he believed that. Many of us in asking the deep questions of life will come to a series of regression that leads us from the simple and mundane (“What am I going to do today?”) to the fundamental and profound (“What am I doing with my life?”, “What am I here for?”). Answering those deeper personal questions depends on an understanding of the purpose of life and the cosmos in general, which in turn requires an understanding of where those things came from and why. This chain seems to present a problem of infinite regress, with each step of the chain requiring its own explanation. The most common analogy for this problem is the infamous “Chicken and the Egg” scenario. Eggs come from chickens and chickens grow out of eggs, so which one came first?
Writer, artist, lay theologian, student of comparative religion.