for Edgar Morin, “the most dangerous is that two France dissociate and oppose each other”

By Nicolas Truong

Posted today at 04:09

Director of research emeritus at the CNRS, awarded with thirty-eight honorary doctorates throughout the world, the sociologist and philosopher Edgar Morin, born in 1921, notably wrote The method (Threshold, 1977-2004) and My memories come my way (Fayard, 2019). His latest work, Let’s change lanes. Lessons from the coronavirus (with the collaboration of Sabah Abouessalam, Denoël, 160 p., 14.90 euros), gives the keys to the “world after”. In the interview he gives to World, he analyzes the new ideological fractures that cross our country.

In France in 2020, five years after “Charlie Hebdo” and the Bataclan, we still kill in the name of a god. Are the assassination of Samuel Paty and the killing in Nice a sign that history is repeating itself?

First of all, it seems to me important to situate myself before considering these tragic events and to say, as it was formerly required, “where speaks” the author of this interview. When it comes to religions, I think human spirits create the gods they worship and obey. I am, as they say, agnostic. Or, rather, I believe that the universe contains a mystery which is beyond the capacities of our minds. I consider the Bible, the foundation of the three religions Jewish, Christian and Muslim, as a tissue of legends and myths; half legendary half historical are also the Gospels and the Koran. I admire Jesus without believing in his resurrection.

When religions are all-powerful, like today in Iran or Saudi Arabia, I hate their hatred of the ungodly, of other believers, of non-believers. I hate the prohibitions they impose, especially on women. This was the case with Judaism in the past and still is for its Orthodox. This has been the case with Christianity for centuries. This is still the case in many countries of Islam.

“I am for the freedom of women who reveal themselves in Iran and for the freedom of women who veil themselves in France”

However, I do not confuse Islam and jihadism: between the pious Muslim and the murderous fanatic, as between Francis of Assisi and Torquemada, there is a whole extremely diverse world. The word “Islamism” obscures this diversity to see only proselytism and rejection of democracy and secularism. Of course, Sharia is incompatible with the laws of a secular republic. But the majority of Muslims in France accept the republican laws and believers are all the more peaceful because they candidly believe that their religion is a religion of peace.

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