Inclusivist Understanding of Religion; Dealing with Disagreement and Diversity Via Said Nursi's Thought

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:10
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Hakan GULERCE, Istanbul University, Turkey
Disagreement has always been a serious issue in the social life. Sometimes it is perceived as a gift and sometimes it is accepted as matter of conflict. Humans need to find strategies to cope with disagreement. Too many parts of the world witness the inability of humanity to live with difference. Many have died because of our inability to handle a disagreement effectively. In this study I will focus on the conventional approaches to this topic. For the modern mindset, the choice is simply a religious theocracy (which denies diversity) or an aggressive secularism (which allows diversity but only a privatized form of religion). Having looked at the traditional debate, I will discuss how Said Nursi (1876-1960), a famous Muslim thinker and theologian of Turkey, argues for a rich alternative, which affirms diversity yet also remains committed to the public nature of religious traditions. I will suggest that Said Nursi’s inclusivist understanding of religion and theology can be an alternative solution for the problem arising from religious disagreement. In my paper I will examine the original works of Said Nursi, the Risale-i Nur Collection, and give some examples from his life and interactions. Said Nursi’s original terms “positive action” and “jihad of word and love” will be discussed to shed more light on religion’s role in peace and violence.