4.4.4 Resolving Apparent Contradictions

When people receive conflicting advice, they need to find ways of resolving apparent contradictions: often by following the Golden Rule.

People are more likely to avoid conflict with their neighbours if they comply with the standards of socially acceptable behaviour in the society they are in, as described earlier (4.4.2), centred on observance of the Golden Rule.  To do this, they may have to resolve apparent conflicts with their religious texts and the customs of their forbears.  This should not mean having to sacrifice their own culture, but it does require some care in their interactions with other people.

An Economist article, What is sharia?, illustrates the scope for accommodating different requirements within Islam:

“Although parts of Sharia are set out in the Koran [Quran], most of the system, like other legal frameworks, is flexible.”

Resolving apparent contradictions with a compromise is always possible, given goodwill, in one of three ways – as described in the following sub-sections:

●  Religious texts can be interpreted in different ways (, so it is often possible to choose an interpretation which complies with other people’s preferences.

●  A permission is not an instruction to do something (, so people can simply refrain from actions which offend other people.

●  People must take personal responsibility for conflict resolution ( They can choose to ignore advice or choose a different adviser.  They can always choose to obey the law of the country that they are in, rather than some aspect of religious law.  And the Golden Rule takes precedence over any other aspect of religious law.



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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/444b.htm