By Sohaib Sultan is the Imam and Muslim Life Coordinator in the Office of Religious Life at Princeton University.
For a Muslim, asking “Is God Dead?” begs the question, “If God is dead then how am I alive?”
TIME’s 1966 cover story—which provocatively asked “Is God Dead?”—was and remains an ethnocentric proposition with Liberal-Protestant-Christian-Western premises about history and theology. The story of God through the prism of Islam seems to tell a very different story in the modern period.
Despite everything that the Muslim World has been through—from colonialism to violent sectarianism—there is no evidence whatsoever of Muslims en masse abandoning a belief in God or fleeing the mosques. Quite to the contrary, the last few decades have seen a revival of religiosity among previously secularized Muslim societies and among former communist states that tried to wipe Islam out altogether. Many thinkers in the West might assume that the reason for this return to a God-centric approach is due to lack of democracy or freedom to think critically about faith, but I would argue that Islam—as a faith and civilization—is actually an antidote to some of the theological problems posed in TIME’s piece 50 years ago.