How does Fethullah Gülen reconcile tradition and modernity in his teachings?
Modernity has forced individuals and groups into an anxious state of rapid change and uncertainty. It has radically drained and emptied the individual’s life of the symbolic functions which used to enable social expression, imagination, and aspirations for successful integration into the social fabric. Fethullah Gülen’s work focuses on precisely this integration or reintegration, taking on the task of healing the breach and remaking one’s world. It teaches both the theoretical and practical aspects of how to become a rounded human being, how to educate the mind, heart and spirit in order to lead a fulfilled life and be oneself while being with and for others. Fethullah Gülen makes the modern condition meaningful by a mixture of conservative thought and liberal tolerance that encourages people to adopt new ways of naming or defining and perceiving reality. His thought favors individual modesty, social conservatism and Islam in the founding of civilization, and he gives examples of modest and tolerant people who have not lost their connection with God, as well as examples of individuals who have been worn down by modern excess and the suppression of tradition.
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