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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The onslaught on religion

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By Musa Bah

It is now fashionable (at least in the West and, it is encroaching closely upon us) to view religion as something primitive and uncivilised among some scientists and some ‘enlightened’ elite. Many there are now, who view religion and religious people as ‘uncivilised’ and unenlightened’. For them, it is enough to believe and follow only that which can be proven scientifically. They demand experiential proof of the existence of God and as they cannot find such, they discard religion altogether and become atheists.

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Some people even go to the extent of shamelessly ridiculing religion, particularly Islam as it is that religion which insists more on morality and spirituality than any other. Many people, coming from other religions, have found it convenient to question the viability of religion and declare themselves atheists with pride. Charles Darwin (author of Natural Selection or Survival of the Fittest) and his protégé Richard Dawkins have confused and convinced so many people that there is no such thing as a god. People like Christopher Hitchens drank deep from that cup and then using their eloquence and prolific writings decided to confuse and convince more people.

“If nothing else, the attack on traditional religious thought marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion…
And like any militant church, this one places a familiar demand before all others: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (David Berlinksi, The Devil’s Delusion (2010).

Writings and quotations like the foregoing have become common in our today’s world. We have read books like God Is Not Great, The God Delusion (Christopher Hitchens) and others which aim only at misleading the believers and turning them away from religion. Religion – all religions; Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism and others – are constantly under attack and many; unfortunately, are turning away from religion. It is therefore time for the religious, Muslims in our case, to fight back (through ideas, knowledge and reasons) against these onslaughts.

What we need to remember and understand is that God is no thing. He is not a physical object or an organism that can be placed in a test tube to be analysed by scientists. The fact that they (the scientists) cannot produce or obtain empirical proof of the existence of God does not in any way conclude that there is no God. It only proves the words of the Holy Qur’an: ‘Laa yudrikhul absaar wa huwa yudrikul absaar’. (Eyes cannot reach Him, but He reaches the eyes) Holy Qur’an Ch 6 verse 104.

It has been proven by science that we (humanity) cannot detect ninety-five percent of the physical universe and that our senses of feeling, hearing, seeing and our most advanced scientific gadgets can only detect five percent of the physical universe. Consequently, what is there to tell us that we can detect God? God is the Creator of the heavens and earth, and those things which we cannot even detect, but know are there due to certain scientific observations.

Thus, instead of dismissing the idea of the existence of God because we cannot empirically proof it, we should remember that to do any work, you need the right tools. If you want to measure the amount of rain you don’t buy a tapeline. If you do, you will fail miserably. If you want to measure rain you get an udometer (rain gauge). That is the right tool. In the same way, you cannot measure God by using the same test tubes you use to test physical objects. This is a fundamental lesson scientist must remember so that they can stop wasting their time and energy trying to prove (or disprove) as the case maybe, the existence of God. They must use the right tools.

 

What is the right tool?
In a court of law, one way to establish the truth or otherwise of an accused person’s claims is by seeking alibis (examining witnesses). If there is an abundance of witnesses, then such a person’s claim is accepted as a fact. For instance, if Mr X is accused of murdering Mr Y and the time of death is determined medically, if Mr X can produce at least one credible individual who says that he was with Mr X at the time of the murder, it is deduced that as Mr X cannot physically be present in two different places at the same time, it will prove that he was innocent of the charge. Better still, if he were to prove that he was at a party or a wedding where more than twenty people saw him, then it becomes even better because all of them cannot lie about his whereabouts.

This same analogy can be used to prove that there is a God. In the religious scriptures we are told that God sent one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets to the world at different times and to different peoples. (And for every people there is a messenger 10:48). Obviously, all these people could not have been lying or delusional. They must have received the same message for the same god who sent them to the world. How can all these people, appearing at different times and in different parts of the world, have come and said the same thing if it were not true?

An interesting scenario here is the case of the continent of Australia. It is said that this continent has more than eight thousand islands, each of which did not even know that the other existed. In each of these islands, the people thought that they were the only ones. They obviously spoke different languages, lived in different times and were separated by water. There was no communication as television, radio, mobile or internet had not been created; yet, in each of these islands, the concept of an All-Powerful Being existed. They of course had different names for these deities, but the attributes were the same. This shows that it was that one God, the same All-Powerful and All-Knowing God Who revealed Himself to them. (‘Wa inna alaynaal al-hudaa’ Surely, it is for Us to guide Ch. 92 verse 13).
This should inform us that there is a God and He created the heavens and the earth. There are countless other proofs which we will, God willing, explore in our next issues.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Universe!

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