ATATÜRK’S THOUGHTS ON RELIGION AND SECULARISM
Religion is a fact and necessary. We have got a religion which is basically strong. The materials are very good but the building has been neglected for many centuries. The necessity to repair the building has not been felt when its mortars were damaged or dropped off. To the contrary, the building has been kept on decaying more and more due to the foreign elements of commentaries and superstitions. This building can not be touched and repaired in a day. But the splits will be get deeper with time and it will be necessary to build a new building on a strong basis.
Religion is a matter of conscience. Everybody is free to obey to the orders of his own conscience. We are full of respect for religion. We are not opposed to the thought or mentality. We are just trying not to mix the State and National Project with the religious operations, and to avoid reactionary activities, intentional or actual. We shall never give any chance to the reactionaries. (Mr. Asaf İlbay is narrating, The Memories of Close Friends, Page 102-103)
My friends! God is only one and great. We can say by the signs of divine beliefs that human beings can be classified in two groups, periods. The first period is the childhood and adolescence. The second is the adult and mature period of mankind.
Mankind must have been very closely involved with these issues like a child, like an adolescent at the first period. God chose to deal with his servants until they reached maturity by necessary of the divine special envoys. He sent many prophets and envoys known or unknown starting with Adam.
But after imparting the religious and civilisatory facts to the mankind by our prophet he did not see any necessity to get in touch with human beings by a mediator. He kindly accepted that every servant would have ability to get in touch with divine thought and therefore our Holy Prophet was the last and his book is the most perfect book. (1922 Speech III, Page 1241)
These ignorant persons who dare to introduce the prophet to me as a dervish in trance could never be able to comprehend his noble personality and successes. And they seem to be at a loss to understand this. How could a dervish in trance make a feasible plan which might have been thought of by a great commander in the Uhud Battle?
History must not be an art distorting the realities but must be a science clarifying them. The ignorant vagrants described this person exalted with his military ingeniousness as well as his politic opinions in a little battle also as a dervish in trance. They can not join us in our historic feat. If Mohamed had not persued the foe, overcoming of the resistance of his environment and his injured, Islam would be non-existent. (Şemsettin Günaltay, Ülkü Dergisi (Magazine) Volume:9, Series :9, 1945, Page 3)
Our religion is a highly sensible and natural religion. A religion must be compatible with wisdom, science and logic. Our religion is completely compatible with all of these. (1923)
Our great religion states that man can not be related to mankind if he does not work. Some people are thought by some others to be unbelievers because they have adopted the innovations of the new age.
The real infidelity is this supposition. Is aim of their comment not wanting Islam to be enslaved by the infidels or what else? Please do not care about each hodja (religious teacher or imam) with a turban. Being a hodja is being a hodja with the brain not with a turban. (Atatürk’s S.D II, Page 128)
Our religion does not advise our nation to be worthless, indolent and inferior. To the contrary, God and also the Prophet order nations to protect their values and their honour. 1923 (Atatürk’s S.D II, Page 92)
Everybody possesses a measure especially for our religion. You can easily understand if something is compatible with our religion or not by this measurement. Whatever is compatible with wisdom, logic and benefit of the people you may be assured to be convenient to our religion. If something is compatible with wisdom and logic and of advantage to the nation and the benefit of the Islam, ask no more. It is religion. If our religion was not compatible with logic and wisdom it would not be perfect and the last religion. 1923(Atatürk’s S.D. II, Page 127)
The Turkish Nation must be more religious, I mean religious in all simplicity. I believe in this as I believe in my religion and in reality. It does not contain any thing against the conscience nor any obstacle to development. (1923)
Our Nation possesses two strong virtues, which are language and religion. No power could remove these virtues from our nation’s heart and conscience, nor will it ever be able to. 1923 (Atatürk’s S.D.II, Page 66-67)
Sirs, you and my nation well know that the Republic of Turkey can not be the country of sheiks, dervishes, disciples and followers. The most straightforward and the truest religious order is the order of civilisation.1925 (Atatürk’s B.N. Page 93)
As you know, degenerates who taken have us in the wrong direction mostly masked with a religious veil and have continuously deceived our pure and clear people with interpretations of religious rules. Read our history and listen…You will see that all the evil which ruined, captivated and destroyed our people always came from the infidels masked by religion. 1923 (S.D II, Page 127)