Religious intellectuals in Iran are striving to redefine the relationship between reason and revelation, and, despite Pope Benedict’s belief to the contrary, consider Islam to consist precisely of multiple interpretations, writes Abdolkarim Soroush. Reason’s greatest rival is not religion, then, but revolution. Speaking from personal experience of Iran’s Cultural Revolution, which he supported, Soroush warns: “The first resource that is squandered in a revolution is rationality and the last thing that returns home is rationality. If it ever returns.”
Abdolkarim Soroush (1945) is prominent Iranian philosopher, reformer, and Rumi scholar. A supporter of the Khomeini regime, Soroush became increasingly critical of the Iranian clergy during the 1990s. He founded the monthly magazine Kiyan, which was shut down in 1998; since then he has been subject to censorship in Iran. Soroush is currently visiting professor at the Amsterdam Free University. A selection of his work has been published in Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam, Oxford: OUP 2002.