Evolution, the Purpose of Life and the Order of Society
How a Nurcu connects worldview and normativity in pseudo-biographical narratives
Keywords:Islam in Turkey, Nurcu movement, theory of evolution, creationism, religious narratives, conversion stories, Islam and Science, Nurcu
This essay treats the pseudo-biographical monographs with which the Turkish author Halit Ertuğrul popularizes the teachings of Said Nursi, founder of the Nurcu movement. Rejection of the theory of evolution plays a central role in these narratives, where a religious person acts as a prompter who demonstrates to a person led astray by materialism the futility of his ideology. As soon as ‘the materialists’ have understood this, they change their life entirely and free themselves from the sociopolitical delusions of communism or behavioral problems. The theory of evolution functions in these accounts not only as a basis of atheism and materialism but also as the antithesis of a harmonious order of the cosmos, which ought to be reflected in a harmonious order of society.
This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts: Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.
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