Alternative Sociology Probing into the Sociological Thought of Allama M. T. Jafari by Dr Seyed Javad Miri, has been published by the London Academy of Iranian Studies (LAIS) in London.
Seyed Javad Miri rightly affirms Allama Jafari’s rejection of Feuerbach’s thesis, that “theology is anthropology.” Feuerbach’s projection theory has not only deeply influenced historical materialism. It is accepted in most forms of sociology, on the Right and on the Left. It cannot be denied, that projection takes place in religion, like in any other domain of human life, e.g. between lovers. However, all projections need a screen. That is also true for religion. Paul Tillich argued correctly, that from the fact that anthropological projection takes place in religion it cannot be concluded, that there is no more place for theology any longer. What Miri calls the humanistic and naturalistic approaches to the study of society could be combined in the effort to achieve alternative Future III – a free society, in which not only the antagonism between the sacred and the profane, and the discrepancy between the personal autonomy and the universal solidarity, but also the contradiction between nature and man could be reconciled. Those sociological approaches can, of course, not be value-free in Weber’s sense. To be sure, already the intentional or unintentional interference of the sociologist into his or her own object of study renders a value – free sociology impossible. In any case, the humanistic and naturalistic sociological approaches could not be satisfied with the mere positivistic study of what is the case, but would also have to point out its potential and what ought to be in a positive or negative way, and initiate the consequent, necessary practical changes. Miri’s new book, inspired by the great work of his teacher Allama Jafari, is doing precisely that in the most excellent way, as he is building a strong bridge between the great Iranian culture and the West.
Rudolf J. Siebert
Professor of Religion and Society
Department of Comparative Religion
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA