At the outset of the 2nd 'Sermons of Love and Reason' held on the commemoration of the character of Ali Shariati, Rahman Bouzari secretary of the conference stated that Shariati's contemporary government used to ban his books, but now on the anniversary of his death, people can have free access to his literature.
The next speaker was Bijan Abdolkarimi who, referring to a Japanese Islamologist's opinion on Shariati as the purest, sincerest and clearest spirit in the last two centuries of Iran, said "such clarity of soul and words ignites one's life."
He then mentioned the difficulties of reading Shariati and various ranges of his readers: "A group of Shariati readers are familiar with and in love with him, another group knows him well but not in line with his ideas, and still a third group that has no idea of Shariati and is getting to know him."
He termed Ali Shariati as one of the few Iranian thinkers whose futurist ideology can aid us cope with the Nietzschean Universe. "Yet I do not think that he is a master for the future, as I believe that many parts of his ideas have expired in the passage of time and still, there is a prophecy for the future found in his ideology that is very beneficial," he added.
According to him, the ideological and theoretic aspects of Shariati's thought are what to be forgotten in the passage of time as in the present era all metaphysical systems as well as those insisting on modernity and individual freedom are doomed to failure and challenged by technological transformations – a big change that like the industrial revolution would affect all aspects of our lives and historical sphere.
As the industrial revolution brought changes in the social structures of family, political system, religion, ethics and individual relations, Abdolkarimi regarded the emergence of the internet as a revolution in the concepts of time and place. The new world as is the beginning of a new paradigm that would change out semantic horizons, including those of Shariati's.
"The globalizing speed is beyond what local figures like Shariati had imagined," he added.
He went on to say that Shariati often attempted to reconcile tradition with modernity. "Shariati criticizes modern thought and historical convention from the point of view of tradition. Shariati helped us to understand tradition in the modern semantic horizon."
He added: "Shariati calls us to reunite with our historical roots as the only means of getting out of the nihilist crisis. The solution is also advocated by many other great thinkers obsessed with human freedom. As Nietzsche suggests the renaissance of tragedy as a way to oppose nihilism believing in the insight latent in Greek tragedies that can address modern catastrophes, Shariati believes in the revival of traditions. He believed in a future when our children enjoy a spiritual experience other than that of the Church. One of his greatest lessons for us was making rupture within tradition, as he thought that tradition is not monolithic and religion could function against religion."
Abdolkarimi stated that Shariati offers an existential image of religion and takes a great step towards subverting theoretic thought system.
Shariati finds religion, mysticism, and art together and has a totally different view of religion. Instead of taking refuge to God and Heavens for interpreting religion, he ascribes it to the existence of mankind and this is exactly what Kierkegaard, Heidegger and many other philosophers have done.
"Shariati also reconciles new science and religion and claims that we can connect to new sciences without fear of losing the spirit. Another significant element in Shariati's thought was offering the portrait of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a model for the Perfect Man."
Abdolkarimi finally stated that Shariati was totally against totalitarian enlightenment. His great plans contained setting liberty free from capitalism, setting God free of the Church, and setting man free of socialism and materialism. And still, we do not know how much of these goals will be actualized.