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Flame of Hope
07-11-2011, 05:48 PM
Assalamu alaykum.

I'm starting a book discussion on the book The God of All Things. It is the detailed version of Islamic Boot Camp actually. People have said that the book has changed their lives and proven to be of great benefit. Alhamdulillah!

La hawla wa la quwwata ila billah!

I'll be posting a chapter a day. You are invited to make your comments and point out any lessons you might have noted in the chapter.

Teachers, educators and students are highly encouraged to participate in this discussion.

Jazakallah khair.

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Flame of Hope
07-11-2011, 05:50 PM
The God of All Things
by Rajasa Robbins

Dedicated to:
Mariyah and
All haters of untruth

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds
then to the understanding, and ends with reason.
There is nothing higher than reason.
- Immanuel Kant
Source: Critique of Pure Reason, 1781


So listen to the voice of reason.
For certainly....it is the voice of Truth.

----------------------------------

Chapter 1

The words reverberated in his head.

“You have only 6 months to live.”

Richard White was dying. He was only 39 years old.

“You can’t be serious, doctor,” he had asserted. But the
doctor had a grim look on his face.

Richard was devastated. He had millions of dollars in his
bank account. But all his wealth was pretty useless. All the
money in the whole world could not save him. There was no
cure for the disease he was suffering from.

He thought about his huge, grand mansion in which he
lived, the number of cars he had and his great army of
employees and servants who were always at his beck and
call. He sat in his hospital room thinking. And many were
the thoughts that passed through his mind. He remembered
his past life, his childhood days, his adolescence and the
days of his youth.

How quickly the years had sped by! It was like it all
happened yesterday. And now, his time was nearly up!
Death was coming closer and closer by the minute.
The thought frightened him. He was scared. So very
scared. And there was nowhere to run. There was absolutely
nothing he could do! Never before had he felt so helpless.
The subject of death was one he always avoided.

He had always read about people dying, and he had also attended
several funerals. But he had never dwelt upon the unpleasant
subject of his own death. And now, after the doctor had
conveyed the dreadful news to him, he found himself thinking
of nothing but death.

He remembered the story of Emperor Shih Huang Ti, a
Chinese ruler who was afraid of death and who wanted to
live forever. He sent many people in search of an antidote
that would make him immortal. But such an antidote was
never found.

“In this day of computers and great medical progress,”
thought Richard, “no one has yet found a cure for death. Or
even old age. I don’t fancy any one ever will.”

“I wonder what happens after death,” he murmured to
himself. “Is death the end of our existence?”

“Or is there life after death?”

“Does anyone know?”

“How can I know for sure?”

Richard was seized by a burning desire to know what the
truth was. He suddenly wanted to solve the greatest riddle
mankind had been puzzling over for centuries, and which
was still enshrouded in complete mystery. Why do we die?
What is the purpose of life, and what lies beyond death?
He was a practical man and very shrewd. He was not a
fool. He was not satisfied with religious explanations. He
wanted a scientific answer. An answer that made sense.

The phone rang.

“Your chauffeur is here,” said the receptionist.

“I’ll be down in a minute,” said Richard.

Richard changed his clothes and left his hospital room.
He signed some papers at the receptionist’s desk and then
turned and walked a few steps towards the glass doors
above which a sign said “EXIT”. But something caught his
eye and he went back a few steps. The object of his attention
was the huge community board where several notices,
flyers and posters were pinned. He was looking at one
particular flyer pasted there. In bold letters, it said:

WHO ARE WE?
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH?
COME SOLVE THE MYSTERIES OF LIFE AND DEATH
WITH DR. SINGH.
GET SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS AND REASONABLE ANSWERS
SIGN UP FOR OUR 10 DAY CLASS AND RETREAT TODAY!

-----------------end of chapter 1---------------------------------

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Flame of Hope
07-11-2011, 05:51 PM
Assalamu alaykum.

Questions:

1. Can you relate to how Richard feels?

2. How would you feel if you were told you had only 6 months left to live?

3. What do you think about the dedication of the book? It is not dedicated to Lovers of Truth, but to Haters of Truth.

4. What do you think of the quote by Immanuel Kant:

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds
then to the understanding, and ends with reason.
There is nothing higher than reason.

5. If you were an atheist like Richard would you have been interested in finding out what would happen to you after you died?

6. What would your reaction have been if you had seen that flyer about a 10 day retreat that would provide you with a scientific explanation regarding the mystery of death?

Please post your comments. Jazakallah khair.

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Flame of Hope
07-11-2011, 05:54 PM
:sl:

In this chapter, there is mention of Emperor Shih Huang Ti... also known as Qin Shi Huang. He was the first Emperor of China. Later on his life, when he became aware that there was no escaping Death, he desperately began to search for the elixir of life.

This emperor greatly feared death and did everything he could to ensure his safety from it.

But who is safe from death? No emperor, no king, no queen is safe from it.

Here some more info on this emperor, which I believe you will find most fascinating.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qin_Shi...Elixir_of_life




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SFatima
07-11-2011, 06:37 PM
salamo alaikum sister, interesting story, where's the second chapter? :)
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Flame of Hope
07-11-2011, 07:31 PM
Originally Posted by SFatima
salamo alaikum sister, interesting story, where's the second chapter? :)
Walaykum salam sister. Well, here's the second chapter. :)

Do post your comments or any questions that come to your mind after reading it.

---------------

Chapter 2

“Eligibility test!” exclaimed Richard.

“Yes, sir. You will have to qualify before you can
attend this retreat,” said Henry. “Not everyone who
applies is accepted.”

“Why is that?” asked Richard.

“Because we want to make sure that we do not waste
our time, sir,” replied Henry. “Only serious parties will be
entertained.”

“Alright,” said Richard. “When do I come for the test?”
“Thursday morning, at 10 o’clock,” said Henry. Then he
gave him his address.

Richard hung up the phone.

“Hmmm. An eligibility test. This is going to be extremely
interesting,” he thought.

At 10 o’clock sharp on Thursday morning, Richard was
seated in a hall full of people. Each person was given a
questionnaire and the test was over in just five minutes.

There were only two questions for everyone to answer:
Question 1: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest
and 10 the highest, how greatly do you rate your desire to
know what happens after death?

And... Question 2: How much can you pay to know the
answer to the question: what happens after death?

For the first question, Richard had no problem at all in
circling the number 10. And for the second question, he said
to himself, “This is a million dollar question. What would I
give to know the answer?” And he put in the amount of one
million dollars.

The papers were collected and those who had answered
“10” for the first question were asked to step forward. Out
of fifty people, only nineteen had answered “10”.

“The rest of you can leave now,” said Henry to the
people who had not qualified.

After they had gone, Henry turned to the nineteen candidates.
“Congratulations,” said Henry with a big smile. “You
qualify for this retreat. You are most welcome to join our
camp. But first, I thought I might inform you that your stay
at the retreat isn’t going to be exactly comfortable. You
shall wear simple clothes, eat simple food and sleep on the
floor. Dr. Singh has organized this retreat at a remote island.
So you’ll be totally cut off from the rest of the world for ten
whole days. Once you join, no complaints will be tolerated.
Also, this re-treat will cost you some money. It’s not for
free. Therefore, please think carefully before you join.”

“Ah!” thought Marie Marchessaux, instantly deciding to
join. “This sounds like an adventure I simply can’t afford to
miss! A remote island! How exciting!”

Jim Garrison, a poor, struggling lad in his teens also
decided to join. “Ten days away from everyone will do me a
lot of good,” he said to himself.

Richard was not so sure. “I’m so used to living a comfortable
life,” he thought. “Will I be able to stay at the
retreat for ten days? It’s going to be extremely hard!”

Unlike Richard, a girl by the name of Amy Smith had no
hesitation at all in making her decision.

“It doesn’t bother me that I will have to sleep on the
floor and eat simple food,” she said to Henry. “I would do
anything to find out what happens after death. In fact, I
think it’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Henry smiled at her enthusiasm. “Well,” he said. “There
are no age restrictions for this camp. We encourage you to
come, in fact.”

Amy beamed.

Richard looked at her in amazement. Such extraordinary
courage and that too from a little girl! No, he would join
this retreat. Yes, he would. And he stepped forward.

23 year old Andrew Armstrong was thinking of not
going. But he too changed his mind when he heard Amy’s
words. “If this little girl can do it, why can’t I?” he told
himself.

And then there was Martha Woodridge, a 71 year old
lady. Lately, she had been thinking about death a lot and her
curiosity to know what lay beyond death was incredibly
strong. “I will go to this retreat,” she said firmly. “I don’t
know if I’ll be able to go another time.”

And so, there they were. Six people eagerly looking
forward to Dr. Singh’s exciting ten day retreat on a remote
island. The rest of the people, thirteen in all, mumbled their
apologies and left the hall. They decided they weren’t that
interested after all.

Henry regarded the six brave people who would attend
the retreat with great approval.

“You have proven that your desire to know the truth is
strong and genuine,” said Henry appreciatively. “You may
now join our retreat. Please make your payment.”

“How much do we pay?” asked Richard.

“Why, the amount that you wrote in your question paper
of course,” replied Henry very much amused. “How much
can you pay?”

“Yes,” said Richard, taking out his check book. He wrote
out the amount, signed the check and then handed it over to
Henry.

“Thank you!” began Henry. And then he saw the amount
of one million dollars written on the check. It was Richard’s
turn to smile as he watched a very astonished Henry blink
his eyes in utter disbelief.

-----------End of Chapter 2-------------

Questions:

1. Why do think an eligibility test was necessary?

2. How did YOU score in the eligibility test?

3. If you were a millionaire like Richard, would you have scored the same?

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Flame of Hope
07-12-2011, 08:08 PM
Chapter 3

Amy couldn’t keep still.

“When is the boat going to come?” she kept asking.

Her governess, Mrs. Patil, a plump 38 year old Hindu
woman told her to be patient. She was accompanying the
little 10 year old to Camano Island. She was not personally
interested in the retreat, but she didn’t mind going. After all
she was being paid good wages for the job of looking after
Amy.

Marie Marchessaux felt as excited as Amy. She was a
famous Canadian actress who had come to Seattle for a
vacation. She had been to many places and seen many
interesting things. She had tasted the finest things in life and
had enjoyed every luxury and comfort. However, she was
quite bored with her lifestyle. There was no real fun. No real
excitement. Each day of her life was party, play and amusement.
She had grown quite sick of it all. What was the
meaning of life? It seemed so meaningless.

“What a bit of luck to see Dr. Singh’s ad in the newspaper!”
she thought delightfully. “Here’s my chance to find out
what life is all about!”

The boat was about half an hour late but nobody seemed
to mind. Henry got off the boat full of apologies.

“Good morning! Good morning!” he said. “Are you all ready?
Please come on board!”

The six passengers eagerly got on the boat carrying their
bags and suitcases. Soon they were on their way to Camano
Island. It was a pleasant trip over the blue waters of the sea.
Richard felt relaxed and happy.

“It feels wonderful to be
in the company of people who don’t know anything about
me,” he thought.

Marie was thinking along the same lines. She hated
people prying into her life. Being a celebrity, she was always
in the limelight and hardly ever left alone. Here nobody
knew her. “It’s so nice to be unknown,” she thought with a
smile.

“Alright!” shouted Henry at last. “Here we are! We have
arrived at Camano Island!”

The boat halted at the pier and the passengers got off one
by one. A mini bus was waiting for them and Henry directed
them to board it at once. The bus took them to The Round
House, a huge circular building all white in color. The doors
to the entrance were made of glass and so were the many
windows around the building. It looked like a grand science
center.

Inside the building, Henry turned to his new enthusiastic
guests. “Welcome to The Round House,” he said. “I shall
take you to your rooms in a moment. But first, I must ask
you to surrender all jewelry items.”

Everyone stared at Henry.

“Don’t worry, they will be returned to you after your
stay,” he said reassuringly.

He looked at the several expensive rings that Richard
wore on his fingers. Richard took them off and handed them
over to Henry. Marie was next. She gave Henry her diamond
rings, bracelet and necklace.

Martha then spoke, a little concerned. “I just have this
simple necklace,” she said.

Henry regarded her simple necklace and nodded. “That
too,” he said. “Especially that. Your necklace has a cross on
it. Nothing religious of any kind is allowed over here.”
Martha removed her necklace.

“You’ll get it back,” said Henry taking it from her.

“But I shan’t give you my necklace,” said Mrs. Patil
defiantly. “Mine has an amulet on it which protects me from
danger and harm. It was given to me by my grandfather and
I will not surrender it under any circumstances!”

Henry looked at Mrs. Patil scornfully. “We have a policy
here, ma’am,” he told her. We do not at all tolerate superstitious
beliefs of any kind. They are most unscientific and
utterly baseless. If you feel you can’t give up your amulet,
you will have to leave this island immediately and go back
home.”

“But she came with me!” cried Amy.

“I know,” said Henry. “But your companion is not cooperating
with us. She will have to go. And you will have to
go as well. I’m sorry.”

Mrs. Patil didn’t want to be fired. She needed the money
and couldn’t afford to lose her job. So she blurted out,
“Alright! I’ll take it off!”

Richard watched as Mrs. Patil reluctantly placed her
precious amulet and necklace upon Henry’s palm.

“I’m glad I came to this retreat,” he thought. “I do not
regret my decision one bit!”

------------End of Chapter 3----------------
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Flame of Hope
07-12-2011, 08:09 PM
Questions:

1. What do you think of the "no jewelry policy" in The Round House?

2. Do you feel sorry for Mrs. Patil because she was forced to surrender her amulet to Henry?

3. If it was you, would you have surrendered your jewelry? What would you have done?

4. Why do you think Richard was glad to be at the retreat at the end of the chapter?


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Bintulislam
07-12-2011, 09:05 PM
Originally Posted by Riham
Assalamu alaykum.

Questions:

1. Can you relate to how Richard feels?

2. How would you feel if you were told you had only 6 months left to live?

3. What do you think about the dedication of the book? It is not dedicated to Lovers of Truth, but to Haters of Truth.

4. What do you think of the quote by Immanuel Kant:

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds
then to the understanding, and ends with reason.
There is nothing higher than reason.

5. If you were an atheist like Richard would you have been interested in finding out what would happen to you after you died?

6. What would your reaction have been if you had seen that flyer about a 10 day retreat that would provide you with a scientific explanation regarding the mystery of death?

Please post your comments. Jazakallah khair.

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Ans1: No, I don't think I have ever felt the way Richard felt,as being Muslims we believe that death is nothing terrible,its just a transition phase whose comfortability or trouble depends on our deeds.Its a phase that we have to go through to meet our Lord.To get our results.Death is a reality that we inherited,but yes I can relate to how recklessly we believe in its manifest when it comes to us.The crucial reality taken as something abstract thought that we all have either watched or heard happening yet the insensible lightness that surrounds us,the arrogance of not accepting it that one day it'll occur to me too-is what I have and probably will keep feeling until the time's really near.After all death is like a friend,who's sitting just beside us,accompanies us everywhere we go till we're alive,but one day it'll touch us.And we'll die.

But it also depends if whether we are living or we are just someone among millions of living-dead.No one is perfect but to me a person without any sense of accountability is already dead.They haven't used their life.



Ans2: I'd feel relaxed but hasty and sad too.There'd be so much to do.Pending to-do lists.Good works.Quitting everything bad once and for all.If only I could get myself live everyday of my life that way--I'd be among the living.:) And I'm not depressed. :) See,if you get to know that you're gonna die in specified time than you already start behaving well.Its easier to maintain all your vows and resolution for a given period of time than having an unknown time limit and falling short or out of plans.As correcting one's self and getting back to a right path again and again is VERY difficult.



Ans3: Hmmm...the lovers of truth have already accepted the truth.It is rightfully addressing the haters so as they're the ones who'd get more benefit out of it and need to give it a thought



Ans4: What Immanuel Kant said is So true and I like it but would like to add one thing sometimes people mess up(it could be the fault of anything:tricked senses,limited or faulty knowledge application,wrong interpretation which by the end of the day results in confusions and wrong conclusions)and those are the times when they miss the truth.But removing all those errors,unless we sense anything we don't believe in its reality.Then sometimes sense do trick us for that we need our thought process;knowledge and experience;understanding allows us to either accept or negate the input of our senses.After that it yields us reasons.Justified.And then there's the Pure Heart Theory;if your heart's open to truth then it'll find it. :)



Ans5:I can't possibly even imagine that.Life would be SO confusing.It wouldn't make sense at all.May be I'd get lured by the material or may be Allah SWT would help me get to the right path-I dunno.But I dun think I would be interested.Cuz my sense then,would sense nothing but material,my knowledge would seek nothing but worldly benefits and wouldn't go beyond that and my reasons would be lame. I would want to have lived this one life fully and completely.I find it LITERALLY amazing when people convert to religions.Its really difficult.

Ans6:If I were to die like Richard was,then would definitely go attend it.
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Flame of Hope
07-12-2011, 09:21 PM
:sl:

Originally Posted by Bintulislam
Ans6:If I were to die like Richard was,then would definitely go attend it.
Jazakallah khair sister for participating in the book discussion.

It's really interesting to hear differing views and opinions about a given situation.

Alhamdulillahir rabbil al ameen!
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Bintulislam
07-12-2011, 09:37 PM
Originally Posted by Riham
Questions:

1. What do you think of the "no jewelry policy" in The Round House?

2. Do you feel sorry for Mrs. Patil because she was forced to surrender her amulet to Henry?

3. If it was you, would you have surrendered your jewelry? What would you have done?

4. Why do you think Richard was glad to be at the retreat at the end of the chapter?


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Ans1:It was wise.Kind of indicated that ornaments and jewels have a little use on our path to finding the truth.Hope I'm not being over-imaginative. :P


Ans2:Nope.Not at all.


Ans3: I 'm not a huge jewelry fan.But to have gone this far I wouldn't mind handing him over my gold earrings though with suspicion that these people might be scums.You know how its like these days;you can't just trust people.But from the perspective of being dead in a couple of months;I'd give them my jewelry without a second's delay.

Ans4:Because it was not supportive of superstitions and blind faiths.
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Bintulislam
07-12-2011, 09:39 PM
Originally Posted by Riham
:sl:



Jazakallah khair sister for participating in the book discussion.

It's really interesting to hear differing views and opinions about a given situation.

Alhamdulillahir rabbil al ameen!

Wa -Alaikum as-Salaam!! :)

Pleasure's all mine. :)
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Flame of Hope
07-12-2011, 10:09 PM
:sl:

Originally Posted by Bintulislam
Ans4:Because it was not supportive of superstitions and blind faiths.
Masha'allah! Very nicely worded sister. And great observation and insight. :)
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-12-2011, 10:14 PM
:sl:

Whoops! I think I forgot to post the questions on chapter 2.

Questions:

1. Why do think an eligibility test was necessary?

2. How did YOU score in the eligibility test?

3. If you were a millionaire like Richard, would you have scored the same?

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Flame of Hope
07-13-2011, 03:21 AM
Chapter 4

Mrs. Rekha Patil was very upset.

“That man has absolutely no respect for other
people’s feelings!” she declared with much antagonism.
“This is a most horrible place!”

Amy felt a little sorry for her. “Don’t worry, Mrs. Patil,”
she said. “You’ll get your chain back. After just ten days.”

Martha nodded.

“It made me sad when they took away
my necklace with my cross too,” she admitted. “This room
of ours isn’t exactly comfortable to live in either.” She
gazed around the apartment that had been assigned to the
women with an air of resignation.

“But we had been warned beforehand about that,” said
Marie. “We agreed to the terms and conditions before we
came here, remember?”

“So we did,” said Martha. “So we did. There’s no point
in complaining now.”

Mrs. Patil was in tears. “I don’t mind sleeping on the
floor or eating simple food,” she sniffed. “I don’t mind the
discomfort. I was told about that before I came here. But
what bothers me is that they took away my necklace! My
amulet! My grandfather had given it to me when I was a
little girl of ten and I have never ever taken it off till now!”

“What’s an amulet?” asked Amy not having a clue what it
was.

“It’s an ornament worn as a charm against evils,” Mrs.
Patil explained with a sob. “All my life I’ve worn it and it
has protected me from all kinds of harm.”

“Oh,” said Amy thoughtfully. “Henry was saying that this
amulet thing was unscientific.”

“Unscientific!” exclaimed Mrs. Patil. “I don’t know about
all that! There are some things in life that science can’t
explain. Faith, for example. I have great faith in my amulet.”

“And I in my cross,” said Martha slowly. “I have great
faith in my religion just like you do, Mrs. Patil. But I decided
to come to this retreat nevertheless.”

She paused.

Then she continued in a serious tone, “You
know, in schools and colleges across the US, young people
open their science books and are taught that human beings
descended from apes. The evolution theory is taught to
them as though it is very scientific. I don’t agree with that
theory of course. I believe in my cross, my Bible and my
God.”

Martha stopped a few seconds to catch her breath. “I’ve
grown old now,” she went on. “I’m weak. These years are
my twilight years. But for the past few months I have
become rather contemplative. I am well aware that my time
to leave this world is coming nearer. Frankly I am very
frightened. I don’t understand though why I should be.
After all, I believe that I will go to heaven. I believe that
God will take good care of me.”

She looked at the faces of Amy and all the women who
were listening to her with rapt attention. “I guess everyone
is scared of death,” she said. “I am. And I want to believe
that everything is going to be alright. But still there is that
nagging doubt in my mind that doesn’t go away. This doubt
terrifies me. You see, I’m not absolutely sure what is going
to happen after death. And I want to be sure. I want an
answer which will remove all doubt from my head, you
understand what I mean?”

Everyone nodded. They understood perfectly well what
she meant.

“Then I got Dr.Singh’s postcard in the mail.”
continued Martha. “I made up my mind to attend the retreat
as soon as I read it. He offered scientific and reasonable
answers to the questions I had on my mind.”

“Bah!” said Mrs. Patil. “Scientific answer! You’ll probably
hear about the evolution theory again. Didn’t you hear
what Henry said? That there is no tolerance for religion or
superstition in here?”

“Oh no,” responded Martha. “The ad sounded genuinely
scientific to me. I’ve told you that I don’t believe in the
evolution theory. I believe in a God. And Dr. Singh talked
about a God in the ad.”

“What!” cried Marie. “Do you by any chance have that
postcard with you?”

“I sure do,” replied Martha reaching for her suitcase.
Everyone gathered around her to read the postcard.
It read:

The God of All Things
An invitation to think and ponder.
Come solve the mysteries of life and death
with Dr. Singh.
Get scientific explanations and reasonable answers.
Sign up for our 10 day class and retreat today!
For more details, please turn over.


--------------End of Chapter 4-------------------------
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Flame of Hope
07-13-2011, 03:24 AM
Questions:

1. What do you think about Mrs. Patil's reaction? Do you think she should have been allowed to keep her amulet?

2. What is your opinion about the amulet she wears? Do you think Mrs. Patil is superstitious?

3. What do you think of superstitious beliefs?

4. Would you wear an amulet like that if one was given to you?

5. What do you think of Martha's response when she was asked to surrender her necklace that had a cross on it?

6. What do you think of Mrs. Patil's attitude regarding science?

Read more discussion going on: here
Reply

Bintulislam
07-13-2011, 10:41 AM
Originally Posted by Riham
:sl:

Whoops! I think I forgot to post the questions on chapter 2.

Questions:

1. Why do think an eligibility test was necessary?

2. How did YOU score in the eligibility test?

3. If you were a millionaire like Richard, would you have scored the same?

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Yes you did. :p

Ans 1: To know the level of commitment for this- death awareness programme.

Ans 2: Ummm...I'd put a ten(since I am to consider myself in Richard's place) and in paying amount I'd write some 50,000 R.s (not even dollars).:P [its kind of weird;assuming to not know anything about death when I am already SO educated]:P

Ans 3: no,I wouldn't,I could do MORE charity work with that million(being atheist doesn't mean you don't have common sense).
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-13-2011, 07:30 PM
Chapter 5

Dr. Suryaveer Singh was in his study reading a book
of fiction - The Taming of the Shrew by William
Shakespeare. He was totally absorbed in it.

There was a knock at the door. Dr. Singh looked up.

“They are in the classroom waiting for you,” said Henry.

Dr. Singh nodded. “Yes, I’ll be right there. Just give me
five more minutes. This book is positively unputdownable.”

“Unputdownable?” Henry raised his eyebrow.

“Yes,” said Dr. Singh. “I simply can’t put it down!”

“Oh!” said Henry and smiled. “I’ll be in the classroom.
See you in five minutes.”

Exactly five minutes later, Dr. Singh walked into the
classroom. He was dressed in white and looked very much
like an important scientist. He had in his hand a glass of
milk. He put it down on the table and then regarded his
students seated at their desks. They had their notebooks and
pencils before them and were ready for their first lesson.

“Welcome to The Round House,” said Dr. Singh. “We
certainly wish that we could call it The White House, but
that name is already taken.”

Martha couldn’t help smiling.

“We conduct some very special classes over here,” he
said. “Classes which help people find answers to life’s most
serious questions. Who are we? What are we doing here on
this planet? Where are we going? What happens after
death?”

“Man has attempted for centuries to answer these timeless
questions. But most of the answers are nothing but
conjecture. Basically, it’s all guesswork if you ask me.”
“What we want is an answer that is scientific and reasonable.
An answer that is based upon evidence and reason. We
want to know for certain what is the truth and reality and
steer clear from wild guessing.”

“So Truth and Reality - that is the focus of our ten day
class. Now, I have a question to ask you. If you wanted to
pick a color that would represent Truth, what color would it
be?”

“White!” said Marie instantly.

Dr. Singh nodded.

“Exactly. Now you know why you are all dressed in
white,” he said looking at all his six students who had
obediently put on their white uniforms. “And also why we
have painted our building white.”

“Truth is spotless,” he went on. “You can’t add anything
to it. Nor can you deduct anything from it. Truth is therefore
hundred percent pure. It is indivisible. It is one.”

He held in his hand a dropper with some dark blue ink it.

“See this glass of milk? Now watch!”

He squeezed one drop of ink in the milk.

“What happened to the color of the milk?” he asked.

“The milk is no longer white,” said Andrew.

“Meaning it is no longer pure,” said Dr. Singh with a
smile. “Truth cannot be mixed with anything. If it is, then it
no longer remains the Truth. It becomes corrupted.”

Dr. Singh by now had everyone’s undivided attention.

“However,” he said. “Truth is also most horrible. You
have come here to learn what the Truth is. But I must warn
you that you are asking for trouble. Truth is very bitter and
not everyone can take it.”

“Do you know what it is?” asked Amy.

“Yes, I certainly do,” replied Dr. Singh.

“Then why don’t you just tell us all about it?”

“Actually,” said Dr. Singh. ”The Truth is right under your
very noses. Such a pity that people can’t see it.”

“Really?” said Amy in astonishment.

“Yes,” said Dr. Singh. ”Special qualities are needed to
see this Truth. Do you know what qualities?”

Nobody answered.

Then Jim said, “Intelligence?”

“No, but good try” said Dr. Singh picking up a piece of
chalk and going to the blackboard. “There are two.”

He wrote the two qualities on the board:
1. Sincerity
2. Humility

“You have proven that you have these two qualities. You
passed our eligibility test. We wanted to know how sincere
you were and also how humble, for Truth can never be seen
by people who are proud.”

“I know, you are perhaps wondering why proud people
can’t see it? It is because proud people always think that
they are right. And hence if they were to discover that they
were wrong, their pride would come in the way and stop
them from accepting the Truth. I could declare to the world
the Truth. But what is the use? People won’t listen.”

Then he turned and wrote something on the blackboard:

If Truth is bitter, then Falsehood must be sweet.

“Do you understand what that means?” he asked.

“People don’t really want to know what the Truth is.
Falsehood is much more pleasing to them. If you were to go
to them and tell them the Truth, they are not going to listen
to you. Why? Because if they were to listen to you, they
would have to give up all that Falsehood that is so sweet
and wonderful to them. It takes real courage to accept the
Truth. Do you think you have such courage?” he asked.

Amy was quick to say, “Yes!”

The rest nodded in affirmation.

“Good,” said Dr. Singh very pleased. “There are some
other qualities that you are going to need in this quest for
Truth.”

And he wrote them down on the board:

1. Hatred for lies and untruth.
2. Looking at things objectively
3. Sticking to facts
4. Open-mindedness
5. No prejudice, no bias

-------------End of Chapter 5--------------

Read more on this discussion: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-13-2011, 07:31 PM
Questions:

1. What do you think of Dr. Singh and his method of teaching?

2. Do you agree with Dr. Singh's list of qualities of a truth-seeker?

3. Do you think a person can find the truth without those qualities?

4. Does this sound like a scientific approach to solving the riddle of death?

Read more: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-13-2011, 07:33 PM
Originally Posted by Bintulislam
Ans 1: To know the level of commitment for this- death awareness programme.

Ans 2: Ummm...I'd put a ten(since I am to consider myself in Richard's place) and in paying amount I'd write some 50,000 R.s (not even dollars).:P [its kind of weird;assuming to not know anything about death when I am already SO educated]:P

Ans 3: no,I wouldn't,I could do MORE charity work with that million(being atheist doesn't mean you don't have common sense).
:sl:

Jazakallah khair for answering the questions sister. I like your answer to the first question.... to assess level of commitment. To weed out those who were not serious. :)
Reply

Eric H
07-15-2011, 10:33 AM
Greetings and peace be with you Riham;
But first, I must ask you to surrender all jewelry items
The only jewellery I wear is a wedding ring, and it would not worry me to give that up for a few days. I carry the thoughts of my wife in my heart, my words and deeds should show that I am married and not available to other women, my marriage does not depend on a ring.
My faith in Christ does not depend on me wearing a cross, my words and actions should show that I am a Christian.

Nothing religious of any kind is allowed over here
.
But.
If they asked me to surrender my Bible for a few days, then I would have to say no. My faith hangs and depends on what I believe to be the inspired word of God, if this meant I could not continue then so be it.
.
Now can I ask you a question, if Henry had said to leave your hijab behind and change into different cloths, and leave your Quaran behind, would you do this?
.
Every blessing
Eric
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-15-2011, 05:18 PM
Originally Posted by Eric H
Greetings and peace be with you Riham;

The only jewellery I wear is a wedding ring, and it would not worry me to give that up for a few days. I carry the thoughts of my wife in my heart, my words and deeds should show that I am married and not available to other women, my marriage does not depend on a ring.
My faith in Christ does not depend on me wearing a cross, my words and actions should show that I am a Christian.


.
But.
If they asked me to surrender my Bible for a few days, then I would have to say no. My faith hangs and depends on what I believe to be the inspired word of God, if this meant I could not continue then so be it.
.
Now can I ask you a question, if Henry had said to leave your hijab behind and change into different cloths, and leave your Quaran behind, would you do this?
.
Every blessing
Eric
Hello Eric! Thank you for participating in this discussion.

It's very interesting these questions you have raised. Would I leave behind my hijab and change into different clothes? No, I wouldn't.

I wouldn't particularly care to attend a retreat that expects women to uncover themselves in any way.

Just because the retreat lays much emphasis on science it doesn't mean that values and morality, decency and chastity are all chucked down the drain.

Besides telling people to take off their clothing is highly disrespectful. Nobody would desire to continue their studies at the retreat if they were told to do something indecent.... such as taking off their clothes or uncovering themselves.

As for leaving my Qur'an behind..... sure!! I would be more than happy to leave that behind. What it teaches is deeply embedded in my heart. So I'm not at all perturbed if I'm told to leave it behind.
Reply

Who Am I?
07-15-2011, 05:23 PM
:sl:

I think that this is why we are told to memorize the Qur'an, to safeguard it from situations such as the above. Even if all copies were removed from existence today, the words would still live on, because there are many people who have memorized it and can share its message.
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-15-2011, 06:01 PM
Chapter 6

“The Truth that you are looking for is something
that is not within the grasp of most people,” said
Dr. Singh. “There are many things that come in the
way….things that obstruct people’s vision. But in reality
what seems to be a mystery is in fact not at all a mystery.
Truth is actually very obvious. It’s there loud and clear for
all to see.”

“How come we don’t see it if it’s so obvious?” asked
Jim.

“Because,” replied Dr. Singh. “Truth doesn’t come to
the person who is not looking for it.”

Richard couldn’t help agreeing. “That makes a lot of
sense!” he thought.

“If you are not interested in knowing what the Truth is,
you are never going to know it,” Dr. Singh went on. “If you
don’t seek it, you are not going to find it. It’s as simple as
that. I’m here only to help you find it, not actually tell you
what it is.”

He turned to look at the notes he had written on the
blackboard. “Now, there’s a lot of ground to cover,” he
said. “But first, let us get to know each other a little better.
Henry, give me the list, will you please?”

Henry walked to Dr. Singh and gave him a sheet of paper
that had the list of all the six students who had enrolled for
the class. He called out the first name on the list.

“Richard White,” he read. “What made you sign up for
this class? Could you share that with us please?”

“I’m here because I don’t want to die ignorant,” said
Richard. “I want to be prepared in case there is anything
after death. And besides, I have very little time left to find
out.”

“What do you mean?” asked Dr. Singh.

“I’m dying, sir,” he said. “I have only five more months
left to live.”

There was a murmur of sympathy in the classroom.

“Well,” said Dr. Singh after some thought. “I can tell you
one thing.”

Richard looked at him expectantly.

“This is the best decision you have made in your entire
life!” said Dr. Singh encouragingly.

“Now,” he said looking at his list again. “Jim Garrison.
Let’s hear what you have to say.”

“Well,” said Jim. “I grew up in a poor family. And I had
big dreams. I wanted to become rich, famous and successful.
Just like that eighteen year old kid named Ben Thomas.
He had become a millionaire and he had everything. I
wanted to be just like him. Then one day, this Ben met with
an accident and died and I was thinking a lot after that. I’ve
been thinking what is the use of acquiring all this wealth and
money? Ben left all his money behind. He could take nothing
with him. And there I was dreaming of things that I
couldn’t take with me after death. So it seems to me that
becoming rich couldn’t be our goal in life. So what is? I was
very much attracted to your ad, Dr. Singh, because you said
you had the answer to the question - what are we here for?
And I also wanted to get away from life’s everyday problems
that were bugging me. I’m really glad to be here.”

“Very interesting,” remarked Dr. Singh. “You are a
thinker, Jim. I like that.”

Andrew Armstrong’s reason was different. “I’m not a
good person, sir,” he said. “I’ve been to jail and been
involved in a lotta crimes. I done a lotta bad things in life.
I’m sorry about what I done. But what’s done is done. I had
a lotta time to think while I was in prison. And I been
thinking about all those people who do bad things and don’t
get caught. There are people who are even worse than me
ya know. And they’re roaming around free. They live and
they die and they’re never caught. And I don’t understand
that. I paid for the things I done. But not everyone does. It’s
just not fair! When I was in prison I also met a guy who was
charged with something he didn’t do. He was innocent. And
I was wondering about it all. It’s not fair! And I wanna
know if there’s life after death. It would make a lotta sense
to me if there was. But I need to know for sure. So that’s
why I joined this class.”

“I don’t think you’re a bad person,” said Dr. Singh.
“Anyone who feels sorry for the things he did can’t be bad.
I’m happy to have you here.”

Andrew smiled. “Thank you, sir,” he said.

Dr. Singh threw a glance at his list again.
“Who’s next?” he said. “Ah! Marie Marchessaux! What
brings you here? Share that with us please!”

“I’m seeking happiness,” said Marie. “I have everything
anyone could want. But I’m unhappy. I guess I am searching
for meaning in life. Like Jim.”

Then it was Martha’s turn. “I’ve come here to get assurance
that what I believe is true,” she said. “I have great faith
in my God and I’ve lived all my life worshipping Him. Yet,
when I think about death, my faith wavers a little. I have
doubts in my mind. I want to be certain. So joining this class
seemed to me a sensible thing to do.”

“Yes ma’am,” said Dr. Singh. “You have indeed done a
very sensible thing. And now let us hear what our little child
here has to say. Amy Smith? What is your reason for coming
here?”

“I had to come to this class,” said Amy. “I’m so very
afraid of death. I know that people die. And I know that my
mom and my dad are going to die. I love my parents, my
grandpa and grandma a lot. And I can’t bear the thought of
losing them. I sometimes go under the sofa and cry because
I’m so scared thinking about death. I want to know why
people have to die and stuff. I don’t want to die either. But I
know I will one day. I’ve asked so many people questions
about dying. But it seems nobody really knows what happens
after death. Then I saw your poster in the library and
after that nothing was going to stop me from coming here.”

“Well, Henry!” commented Dr. Singh after a lapse of a
few seconds. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such
extraordinary wisdom and sincerity in people. This particular
class promises to be most interesting. Most interesting
indeed.”

------------------End of Chapter 6------------------

Questions:

1. What do you think of Dr. Singh's statement: “Truth doesn’t come to
the person who is not looking for it.” ?

2. We get to know the characters better in this chapter. Which character can you relate to the most?

Read more: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-15-2011, 06:04 PM
Chapter 7

Dr. Singh was addressing his class. He had a serious
look on his face.

“I have no doubt,” he said earnestly, “that you have what
it takes to find and see the Truth. But finding the Truth is
one thing, and accepting it is quite another.”

He looked at the puzzled expressions on the faces of his
students. “What I want to know is, do you really have the
courage to accept the Truth when you do find it?”

“I don’t understand,” said Jim.

“Well,” said Dr. Singh. ”Would you be willing to admit
that you were wrong once you find the Truth? For example,
Jim, let’s say that you do not believe there is life after death.
If you were to learn that your idea was wrong, and that
indeed there was life after death, would you be willing to
accept that fact?”

“Certainly,” replied Jim at once.

“And what about you, Martha?” asked Dr. Singh. “You
believe that there is life after death, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do,” answered Martha. ”I believe that there is life
after death.”

“What would your reaction be if you learnt that there was
no life after death? Would you be willing to accept such an
idea?” Dr. Singh asked.

Martha gave no answer. She sat there with a frown on
her face.

“I’ll accept the Truth, whatever it is!” said Amy suddenly.

There was silence in the room as everyone tried to absorb
the significance of what she had said.

Dr. Singh was highly impressed. “That’s the spirit!” he
said finally. “That’s what I wanted to hear.”

Martha appeared to be lost in thought.

“People are complicated creatures,” said Dr. Singh.
”They love indulging in Falsehood. Most of them are
unreasonable, sentimental and highly emotional. You can’t
talk to them about things that are contrary to their beliefs.
They will just shut you out and refuse to listen to you. It
happens to be a fact that ninety-nine percent of the time,
people are quite wrong about their views concerning life
and death.”

“You’ll understand what I’m saying in a little while,” he
continued. “We’re going to discuss the properties of Truth.
Actually, there is one outstanding property that makes Truth
easily recognizable. Do you know what it is?”

Nobody knew. And they waited for Dr. Singh to reveal it
to them.

Dr. Singh gave a broad smile. “What’s two plus two?” he
asked. “Amy?”

“That’s easy! It’s four!” said Amy.

“Andrew? What about you? Two plus two is equal to...?”

“Four,” he replied.

Dr. Singh turned, walked to the blackboard and wrote
down the equation:

2 + 2 = 4.

“Okay,” he said. ”Does everyone agree that the answer is
four, and not three or five?”

Everyone nodded.

“What does this tell you?” Dr. Singh enquired. “Is there
anything of significance that you note by this simple equation?”

Again nobody said anything. They didn’t see anything
significant at all.

“Well,” said Dr. Singh. ”There is certainly something very
important to note over here. Do you think someone in Japan
or Russia would give a different answer?”

“No,” said Richard. ”That answer is the same in every
country.”

“Do you think the answer would have been different, say
- a thousand years ago?” Dr. Singh asked.

“No, the answer would be the same even two thousand
years ago,” said Richard.

“Then here’s what we learn from this seemingly simple
equation,” said Dr. Singh.

And he wrote down the following on the blackboard:

1. There is only one correct answer. And that answer is 4.
2. All answers besides 4 are incorrect.

“Does everyone agree with what I’ve written here?”
Dr. Singh enquired.

Everyone was in agreement. It was so obvious and clear.

“So from this, we come to one conclusion. An extremely
significant and important conclusion,” said Dr. Singh. “And
that is Truth is singular in nature. That is the most outstanding
property of Truth. Only one percent is the Truth.
Ninety-nine percent is false. Got that?”

Marie gasped in astonishment. “This is awesome!” she
thought.

“Ninety-nine percent of the answers are wrong. Rather we ought
to make it 99.9% of all answers! All answers besides the
right answer are incorrect! There can be
only one correct answer,” explained Dr. Singh.

“If you were to believe that the answer is anything other
than 4, such as 8 or 7 or 9 - you would be sadly mistaken.”

“People don’t have a problem when it comes to mathematics
and they discover they were wrong,” he went on,
“but they do have a problem admitting that they are wrong
in other areas. It is this tendency in people - their refusal to
admit that they are wrong -that prevents a lot of people
from seeing the Truth. Like I said, pride comes in the way.
But there is more to it than that. It has to do with human
nature. It is a peculiar condition that we human beings
suffer from. And in your search for Truth, it would do you a
lot of good to get acquainted with this phenomenon. Therefore,
your homework for today is to do some research on
this subject. Henry will show you where the library is. We’ll
discuss your findings tomorrow morning. Class is now
dismissed.”

Dr. Singh wrote down the subject for their research on
the blackboard. The students jotted it down. And the words
that they wrote down were these:

Cognitive dissonance

------------End of Chapter 7----------------------

Questions:

1. Do you think Immanuel Kant's quote in the beginning of the book has any relevance to the most outstanding property of Truth discussed in chapter 7? (He had said, "There is nothing higher than reason."

2. Does Dr. Singh seem to be promoting any religion when he begins to explain the number one property of Truth?

3. Do you believe that Truth can be reduced to a mathematical formula of razor sharp precision as was demonstrated by Dr. Singh's equation of 2 + 2 = 4?

4. Do you think Dr. Singh's method of teaching is scientific? If so, does that make you glad or disappointed?

5. Would you be keen to know what Dr. Singh would teach next? Or would you dread it?

Read more: here

Reply

Flame of Hope
07-15-2011, 06:07 PM
Chapter 8

They were in the library. Amy had made friends with
Andrew and was sitting excitedly on a stool next to
him as he typed in the words cognitive dissonance in the
search box.

Marie and Jim were also surfing the internet, doing their
research.

Martha sat at a table, referring to a book and writing
down notes.

Richard was in a corner all by himself. He had a book in
front of him and was pretending to read it. His thoughts
were actually elsewhere. He was deeply troubled.

“I shouldn’t have come here,” he was telling himself. He
recalled the words of Dr. Singh:

......do you really have the courage to accept the Truth
when you do find it?


Richard didn’t think he had the courage. He suddenly
didn’t want to know what it was. His thoughts were now on
Andrew. He was watching him earnestly doing his homework,
sitting before his computer. Andrew’s words had
chilled his heart right to the core. He couldn’t forget what
he had said:

I been thinking about all those people who do bad things
and don’t get caught. There are people who are even worse
than me ya know. And they are roaming around free.


Everyone had their secrets. And Richard had his own. A
terrible secret that he never talked about. It was two years
ago. He closed his eyes as he remembered so very vividly
that dreadful day. His girlfriend Anne Johnson had been
cheating on him and he had found her in bed with another
man. In a fit of jealous rage, he had killed her. And the man
she had been with went to prison for a crime that he did not
commit. Richard had money. He had influence. He was thus
able to escape punishment. He didn’t think much about the
murder he had committed. Anne deserved to die for being
unfaithful. She wasn’t a good woman. So he had rationalized
and locked away this secret in the back of his mind and
gone about his daily activities as though nothing had happened.
But now he had been forced to think about that
incident again. He hoped that there wouldn’t be life after
death. But what if there was? Would he be able to face such
a possibility? Did he have the courage to accept something
he didn’t want to be true? He covered his face with his
hands, not wanting anyone to see his anguish.

“Are you alright?”

He looked through his fingers and saw a pair of dark
brown eyes gazing at him with great concern.

“Did you bring your medicine with you?” Amy was
asking. She had not forgotten that he had only a few more
months left to live, and she felt very sorry for him.

Richard was a little surprised. “I’m......I’m alright, I
guess,” he said. “Just a little disturbed.”

“Have you been thinking about death then?” asked Amy.
“That makes a lot of people worried. Do you feel very
scared?”

Richard looked at Amy with a little bit of annoyance. He
wanted to tell her it was none of her business. But instead
he said, “Yes, I do. I feel very scared.”

Amy nodded her head in sympathy. She did not miss the
unfriendliness in Richard’s tone and knew that he wanted to
be left alone.

“I’m sorry if I disturbed you, Richard,” she said.

Richard watched Amy as she went back to her stool.

“Yes, I’m scared,” he admitted. “I’m afraid of death. But
more than that I’m afraid of the Truth -the Truth that I will
have to pay for what I did.”

-----------End of Chapter 8-----------------

Questions:

1. Do you think that murderers have more reason to fear death?

2. Why do you think Richard wishes not to have come to the retreat?

3. Have you ever felt the same way like Andrew when he said these words:

I been thinking about all those people who do bad things
and don’t get caught. There are people who are even worse
than me ya know. And they are roaming around free.

4. Do you feel sorry for Richard after learning about the crime he committed? Or do you feel horrified?

5. How do you feel about crimes that go unpunished?

Reply

Flame of Hope
07-15-2011, 06:09 PM
Chapter 9

Richard had made up his mind. He wasn’t a coward to
run away from the retreat. He would stay and
summon the courage to face the Truth whatever it turned
out to be.

“After all,” he thought. “Dr. Singh didn’t exactly say that
there was life after death.” And even if there was, perhaps
he could learn something important that would show him a
way to make things right. That made him feel a little better.
He had been impressed with Dr. Singh’s introductory
lecture. Everything he had said made a good deal of sense
to him. Then he thought about the homework that had been
given to them. He was the only one who had not done any
research. He decided to look up the term cognitive dissonance
the first thing in the morning before class. The library
was always open for their use. For the first time that night,
he slept on the bare floor. Thankfully it was carpeted. The
physical discomfort he experienced was actually quite
bearable. What was unbearable was the mental agony he
was suffering from.

Andrew and Jim were already fast asleep. He looked at
them enviously. They certainly didn’t have a guilty conscience
to wreck their peace of mind. With a sigh, he turned
on his side and closed his eyes.

At 6.00 a.m, there was a loud knocking on the door. It
was Henry. “Good morning,” he said to a sleepy-eyed
Andrew. “Breakfast is at 7. Class begins at 8 o’clock sharp.
You don’t want to be late. You have a long day ahead of
you.”

Andrew nodded, closed the door, turned and went back
to his place to sleep a little more. Jim hadn’t awakened but
Richard had.

A few minutes later, he was in the library writing his
notes on cognitive dissonance.

At 7.00 o’clock everyone gathered in the cafeteria for
breakfast. Amy was positively bursting with enthusiasm.
“I can’t wait for our class to start,” she said. She was
trying to persuade Mrs. Patil to attend the class, but the lady
was just not interested. Amy gave up. Then she stole a
glance at Richard. She felt really bad for him. Last night, he
seemed to be so worried. Today, he looked a little more
relaxed.

Richard caught Amy looking at him and couldn’t help
smiling. This was her chance! She boldly walked over to
where he was sitting and sat down beside him.

“I’m so glad you’re feeling better today,” she said. “My
mom and dad don’t believe in God. But Martha does. And
she thinks that all good people go to heaven after they die.”
Amy obviously thought that if she told Richard that he
would go to heaven he would feel better.

Richard frowned. He did not consider himself a good
person at all.

“And what does Martha think about bad people?” he
enquired. “What happens to them?”

“Oh!” cried Amy. “Wait, I’ll go and ask her!” And she ran
to where Martha was, deep in conversation with Mrs. Patil
and Marie.

Soon she returned to Richard with a puzzled expression
on her face.

“Martha told me that even bad people go to heaven.”
Richard stopped eating his sandwich. He looked at her
waiting for an explanation. And Amy did explain.

“Martha says that all people are sinners. And that Jesus
Christ paid for all our sins by dying on the cross.”

“Amy,” said Richard after considering her statements for
a full two minutes. “What do you think? Do you believe
what Martha believes?”

Amy laughed. “Actually I don’t know what to believe,”
she said. “My parents say there is no God. Martha says
there is and that he died for our sins. And you know Mrs.
Patil over there? Well, she believes in something called
rebirth. Everyone has something different to say. I don’t
know who to believe.” She paused. Then she smiled after a
bit of thought. “But I do know one thing!” she declared.
“I’d believe Dr. Singh. He is a scientist.”

“How do you know that he is a scientist?” asked Richard.

“I asked him!” replied Amy grinning. Then she abruptly
changed the subject. “Richard, were you able to finish your
homework? Andrew helped me do mine. But I didn’t understand
anything. It sounded so complicated. I hope Dr. Singh
will explain everything to us.”

Richard listened to her chatter with amusement.

“I managed to get a little time this morning to do a bit of
research. And I do agree with you. Cognitive dissonance
does seem very complicated. I read about it and I think that
you need not bother your head over it. It’s not for kids
anyway.”

Amy withdrew a folded piece of paper from her pocket.
“This is for you,” she said. Richard took the paper and
opened it. There was a drawing of a flower and Amy had
written:

To Richard. Love from Amy.

Below these words he read:

I shall pass this way but once, any good therefore that I
can do or any kindness that I can show to any human
being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for
I shall not pass this way again.


Richard was touched. He was at a loss for words.

“I found that on the internet,” said Amy. “I really liked it.
I thought you would like it too. Do you?”

Richard nodded. “Yes, I do. I like it very much. Thank
you. I’ll stick this letter of yours on my wall and I’ll think
about you everyday.” He looked at the last line: ...for I shall
not pass this way again. That was the cold hard Truth he
was looking at. He sighed. He didn’t want to be reminded
that he was going to die soon. But there was no running
away from that reality. He couldn’t afford to.

The bell rang. They had fifteen minutes to get dressed
and go to class. When they entered the classroom, they
were in for a surprise. There was a catalog of furniture and
decorative items on each student’s desk. Dr. Singh was
sitting in his chair. He greeted his students warmly.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” he said. “I want to know if
any of you might want to buy any of those items for your
rooms. You know, to make your stay more comfortable?”

Marie picked up her catalog and flipped through it to
look at the pictures of beautiful furniture. “My! These are
lovely items!” she exclaimed.

Martha too had a look. “Lovely, yes,” she commented.
“But they are too pricey.”

“Here’s a catalog that has pretty affordable items,” said

Dr. Singh giving it to Martha.

She took the catalog and nodded. “Yes, this is much
better. Cheaper prices here.”

Dr. Singh watched his students going through the catalogs
with interest.

“So tell me,” he said. “Who wants to purchase some
furniture or home decor items for their room?”

Richard shook his head. “Not me,” he said.

“Not me, either,” said Marie.

Nobody wanted to buy anything for their rooms.

“May I ask the reason why you don’t want to buy anything?”
enquired Dr. Singh. From the look on his face, it
seemed as if this was a very important question.

“Because,” said Richard, “we’re going to be here for only
a few days more. What’s the point in purchasing this stuff
when it is for such a short period of time?”

“Don’t you want to make yourself comfortable for the
time you are here?” Dr. Singh asked.

Now it was Marie who spoke. “It would be a waste of
time and money to get these things,” she said. “We’d be
comfortable for a few days, and then after that we’re leaving.
And we can’t take these things with us. Neither do we
want to. We are guests over here.”

Dr. Singh gave a big smile. “Aha! This was the answer I
wanted to hear.”

“We come into this world bare and alone, with nothing.
And we leave this world bare and alone, with nothing. We
are here in this world for a very short time. You are here
today, gone tomorrow. Just like you are guests over here on
this island and you are going to leave in a few days, you are
also guests in this earthly life. You are going to have to bid
farewell one day to this world.”

Dr. Singh waited for his words to sink in. “Richard, you
know that your time is coming near. I’d like to know if you
would be making any more purchases to make yourself
more comfortable when you return home?”

“No, I wouldn’t,” admitted Richard. “It would be foolishness
to do so.”

Marie thought about the posh apartment in which she
lived. It was very elegant and she had certainly decorated it
with beautiful works of art. She also thought about the
many things she owned.

“Dr. Singh is right,” she thought. “If I am a guest in this
world, I should behave like a guest as well.”

------------End of Chapter 9--------------

Questions:

1. Richard envies Jim and Andrew. Why?

2. To what extent do you agree with the truth expressed in these words? :

I shall pass this way but once, any good therefore that I
can do or any kindness that I can show to any human
being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for
I shall not pass this way again.

3. Do you think Richard is the one in need of kindness most of all?

4. What do you think is the reality of today's world? Do people show kindness to others even though it is in their power to do so? What do you think would motivate people to show this much needed kindness?

5. If you were Amy and confused about differing beliefs, would you also turn to Dr. Singh for explanations of life's mysteries?

6. Do you agree that we are in reality guests on earth? If so, does it sound reasonable to live in this life as if this is it, make ourselves comfortable and settle down? What do you think of people who act as though they are going to be here forever and spend their entire lives acquiring possessions, property and materialistic riches.... which they will have to leave behind when they die?

Read more: here
Reply

Eric H
07-15-2011, 10:47 PM
Greetings and peace be with you Riham; thanks for your reply,
.
Nothing religious of any kind is allowed over here
The Bible is much longer than the Qur’an, and I have a terrible memory, so I would not be able to memorise it, I would need my Bible for this reason. If you adhere truthfully to this condition, then it would exclude all people with a religeous belief. It does not matter wether your religeous beliefs are written in your heart or they are written on paper, you must leave these things behind, and go with an open mind.
The hijab is a religeous symbol, you could change into some other modest garment discreatly, that would not identify you as a Muslim.
When it comes to the bottom line, I believe there is a point we would not go beyond.
.
in the spirit of searching for truth
Eric
Reply

Bintulislam
07-15-2011, 10:59 PM
Originally Posted by Riham
Questions:

1. What do you think about Mrs. Patil's reaction? Do you think she should have been allowed to keep her amulet?

2. What is your opinion about the amulet she wears? Do you think Mrs. Patil is superstitious?

3. What do you think of superstitious beliefs?

4. Would you wear an amulet like that if one was given to you?

5. What do you think of Martha's response when she was asked to surrender her necklace that had a cross on it?

6. What do you think of Mrs. Patil's attitude regarding science?

Read more discussion going on: here
Now you know,I actually forgot what parts I have had answered already.Please put the chapter no too on top while posting the questions.:)

Ans 1: Mrs. Patil's reaction was pretty understandable as well as nothing surprising.If someone's brought up in an environment where people are discouraged to ask questions and obligated to give in to the most illogical stuff or letting others do thinking for them.That kind of behavior is well expected.Because she was made to believ that without it;she's in danger.And she she never had challenged that thought;she fell in sync with 'the trend' that was brought about by the (as she clearly seems to think)indisputable and unquestionable wisdom and knowledge of her ancestors.

Ans 2:Well,it was of little or no importance.It might have boosted her courage in times of difficulty because with it she must have felt positive and well protected but also that would have kept her 'trying' anything practical to save herself up.She's definitely superstitious.She had NEVER tried taking it off.

Ans 3:Well,they sprout from lack of education,sensibility and plausibility.

Ans 4:Nope,Never.

Ans 5:Well,Martha's response was different.Her's was basically the case of religious reverence.Where she liked portraying or displaying her zeal and love for her religion by wearing a cross around her neck or may be she was also considering it some kid of charm to save her from stuff.

Ans 6: She was skeptical.Closed minded.True and logical stuff does get confirmed by science.But yet again bad science does has its adversities--I remember reading about World War II and how the scientists faked the finding of a evolving Monkey-Human skull (they had actually joint the cranium of human with the mandible of monkey or vice versa )and claimed to have proof of the theory of evolution.people then,believed them afte half a century it was proven to be a hoax.SO DO BEWARE OF PLOTS AND BAD SCIENCE.
Reply

Bintulislam
07-15-2011, 11:35 PM
Originally Posted by Riham
Questions:

1. What do you think of Dr. Singh and his method of teaching?

2. Do you agree with Dr. Singh's list of qualities of a truth-seeker?

3. Do you think a person can find the truth without those qualities?

4. Does this sound like a scientific approach to solving the riddle of death?

Read more: here
Ans 1: It is interesting and dramatic. :P

Ans 2: If that's humility and sincerity then yes or even if its that 5 qualities-list by the end of the chapter then yes even though they are more of an reasearchers qualities.But then again,in the end the objective is truth;but I'd say intelligence is also needed.

Ans 3:No.

Ans 4:Sure it does;

1. Hatred for lies and untruth.
2. Looking at things objectively
3. Sticking to facts
4. Open-mindedness
5. No prejudice, no bias
Reply

Bintulislam
07-15-2011, 11:49 PM
Originally Posted by Riham
Chapter 6
Chapter 6
Questions:

1. What do you think of Dr. Singh's statement: “Truth doesn’t come to
the person who is not looking for it.” ?

2. We get to know the characters better in this chapter. Which character can you relate to the most?

Read more: here
Ans 1:True that.If your heart's not opened you can never see it even if it lies under you nose.Like Quran says about those who deny the truth or don't respond to the calls of the truth as the worst of animals;those who have ears but can't hear;those who have eyes but can't see.

Ans 2: I don't think I could completely relate to anyone.I can tell whom I can't relate to at all.Richard,Amy and Marie.

:)
Reply

Bintulislam
07-16-2011, 12:09 AM
Originally Posted by Riham
Chapter 7



------------End of Chapter 7----------------------

Questions:

1. Do you think Immanuel Kant's quote in the beginning of the book has any relevance to the most outstanding property of Truth discussed in chapter 7? (He had said, "There is nothing higher than reason."

2. Does Dr. Singh seem to be promoting any religion when he begins to explain the number one property of Truth?

3. Do you believe that Truth can be reduced to a mathematical formula of razor sharp precision as was demonstrated by Dr. Singh's equation of 2 + 2 = 4?

4. Do you think Dr. Singh's method of teaching is scientific? If so, does that make you glad or disappointed?

5. Would you be keen to know what Dr. Singh would teach next? Or would you dread it?

Read more: here
Ans 1: Yes it does provided its free of errors mentioned in this chapter .

Ans 2: Dun think so.But it does seem like he likes Dr.Zakir Naik a lot. :D

Ans 3:Well,its difficult and complicated and exhausting not all mathematical equations are as easy as the given one;then certainly the emotional card kicks off now and then;so even though the truth is all findable yet its consuming and you have to fight and struggle on many grounds not just logic and formula applications but by the end that's worth it.

Ans 4:Ummm..it'd be too soon to conclude but he's talking all logic.

Ans 5:Would like to know.
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-16-2011, 12:40 AM
:sl:

Subhanallah! Sister Bintulislam, I was like holding my breath reading all your answers. I had forgotten to post the chapters here...... and so had post them all in a hurry.

Sorry for having the chapters lumped up like that. :(

I do appreciate your honesty, the time and trouble you took to answer ALL the questions. I was like WOW! This girl is a thinker! :shade:

These lines of yours for example:

If that's humility and sincerity then yes or even if its that 5 qualities-list by the end of the chapter then yes even though they are more of an reasearchers qualities.But then again,in the end the objective is truth;but I'd say intelligence is also needed.
Very smart. You grasped the need for intelligence. Humility and sincerity isn't enough.

Then you correctly identified what made an investigation scientific:

1. Hatred for lies and untruth.
2. Looking at things objectively
3. Sticking to facts
4. Open-mindedness
5. No prejudice, no bias
Smart girl. :D

Jazakallah khair for all your answers. This discussion is getting so interesting because of your participation in it.

Thank you Eric H for also enriching this discussion with your remarks and observations. :)
Reply

Bintulislam
07-16-2011, 12:48 AM
Originally Posted by Riham
Chapter 8


-----------End of Chapter 8-----------------

Questions:

1. Do you think that murderers have more reason to fear death?

2. Why do you think Richard wishes not to have come to the retreat?

3. Have you ever felt the same way like Andrew when he said these words:

I been thinking about all those people who do bad things
and don’t get caught. There are people who are even worse
than me ya know. And they are roaming around free.

4. Do you feel sorry for Richard after learning about the crime he committed? Or do you feel horrified?

5. How do you feel about crimes that go unpunished?
Ans1:I think anyone who has done a foul thing to the fellow beings has a very good reason to be troubled until they make up (or rectify)misery they've been causing;mrder is no doubt a very HUGE sin;for if you take a single innocent lif its like you've killed the whole of humanity...but if the person has served the punishment in the world and regret what they had done.Then Allah SWT is The Most Merciful.

Ans 2:Because he was afraid of the consequences that he might have to face for not finding the truth all his life and in turn committing harmful deeds.

Ans 3: Yes,I have.A lot of times.You ought to when everything's out of control.Then realizing that there's someone who will not let go the guilty.It gives satisfaction,realizing that there'll be justice.

Ans 4: I felt horrified.Though after sometime I felt sorry for him;thinking how difficult would it be to bear with oneself(the conscience;if one has it) after committing such a heinous crime.

Ans 5:Bad.Very bad.But am hopeful that justice will be served ;if not here then in the hereafter.It even happens in the life;youknowhow KARMA plays its role.
Reply

Bintulislam
07-16-2011, 01:13 AM
Originally Posted by Riham
Chapter 9



------------End of Chapter 9--------------

Questions:

1. Richard envies Jim and Andrew. Why?

2. To what extent do you agree with the truth expressed in these words? :

I shall pass this way but once, any good therefore that I
can do or any kindness that I can show to any human
being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for
I shall not pass this way again.

3. Do you think Richard is the one in need of kindness most of all?

4. What do you think is the reality of today's world? Do people show kindness to others even though it is in their power to do so? What do you think would motivate people to show this much needed kindness?

5. If you were Amy and confused about differing beliefs, would you also turn to Dr. Singh for explanations of life's mysteries?

6. Do you agree that we are in reality guests on earth? If so, does it sound reasonable to live in this life as if this is it, make ourselves comfortable and settle down? What do you think of people who act as though they are going to be here forever and spend their entire lives acquiring possessions, property and materialistic riches.... which they will have to leave behind when they die?

Read more: here
Ans 1: Because their souls weren't burdened with guilt.

Ans 2: Everyone would agree with the;words;but accepting it is what matters the most.I do agree with them as much as I can.But I am forgetful. :(

Ans 3: Ummm that's difficult to say...nobody knows when they're gonna die;not for sure.That said,each of the character deserves kindness equally.

Ans 4: Today's world is the world of material,selfism and personal gains though there are still many good people among us.That depends on a lot of things like character;if a person is of an upright character then he will not miss a chance to be kind;but that's not usually the case.I think the kindness itself can motivate people to be kind;if I believe in kindness then I must start being kind to people;unexpected little acts of kindness are nothing but inducers of positivity and soft-heartedness;and the receiver automatically feels positive and tries to do something like that himself;that marks the beginnning of a chain-reaction effect.

Ans 5:I would like to listen to what he has to say he seems to be the most credible one i.e he knows what he's talking about.

Ans 6:Yes,I do.No,but we shouldn't also live it like as if its nothing--the material-hype must be avoided but its not bad to try to earn legally more to get things that are needed-but there's definitely no room for obsession.They are losers.
Reply

Bintulislam
07-16-2011, 01:26 AM
Originally Posted by Riham
:sl:

I had forgotten to post the chapters here...... and so and so had post them all in a hurry. Sorry for having the chapters lumped up like that. :(
*Blushes* :) oh don't be sorry plz;I can understand;how?Because I'm sure you'll find various mistakes(grammatical and spelling) in my answers cuz they too were posted in haste.Hopefully;you'd condone them.:)

Originally Posted by Riham
:sl:
I do appreciate your honesty, the time and trouble you took to answer ALL the questions. I was like WOW! This girl is a thinker!
Then you correctly identified what made an investigation scientific:
Smart girl. :D
Jazakallah khair for all your answers. This discussion is getting so interesting because of your participation in it.
:)
:) :) :) No,thankyou for inviting us to be a part of this.Well,I am not smart at all.I'm like those people who know what to do but fail to follow their intellect;that's not what smart people do.Identifying scientific stuff is easy for me;I'm a science student.No,JazakAllah kherun! for creating such a wonderful thread and taking the pains of posting such-long-yet-worth-reading chapters and then putting questions.Good job!
Reply

Bintulislam
07-16-2011, 04:38 PM
Originally Posted by Eric H
Greetings and peace be with you Riham; thanks for your reply,
.


The Bible is much longer than the Qur’an, and I have a terrible memory, so I would not be able to memorise it, I would need my Bible for this reason. If you adhere truthfully to this condition, then it would exclude all people with a religeous belief. It does not matter wether your religeous beliefs are written in your heart or they are written on paper, you must leave these things behind, and go with an open mind.
The hijab is a religeous symbol, you could change into some other modest garment discreatly, that would not identify you as a Muslim.
When it comes to the bottom line, I believe there is a point we would not go beyond.
.
in the spirit of searching for truth
Eric
Greetings,

You know how,there is a sense embedded in all of us,the sense being able to differentiate between right and wrong.The sense that urges us to search and look for the truth.The sense that is basically the key to the right path.

Coming towards hijab;I agree with every word that Riham said.That sense of correctness has also defined boundaries for us and it works and is felt the same way by every human.And I wouldn't mind wearing a BIG hat or anything else instead of hijab as long as I am covered.But also I don't see why would I ever want to go to such a place I already have all the answers which are well defined,make sense,well elaborated,logical and VERY helpful.I'm satisfied.AlhamduLillah. :)

In case of Quran,I don't know Quran by heart but I know what its about.The message remains within me.No one can temper with it.But that doesn't make me closed minded.See,Quran is the book of signs(on several place it asks you about things you're surrounded with and asks you to consider and think);it urges and encourages you to ponder and question and dwell on realities but it also doesn't leave you unguided it tells you the meaning of life and the worth of your actions or inactions and its results.SO basically it gives you a mind set that only craves for the truth and asks for nothing but truth.And that's what its like.
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-16-2011, 08:16 PM
:sl:

Originally Posted by Bintulislam
*Blushes* :) oh don't be sorry plz;I can understand;how?Because I'm sure you'll find various mistakes(grammatical and spelling) in my answers cuz they too were posted in haste.Hopefully;you'd condone them.:)



:) :) :) No,thankyou for inviting us to be a part of this.Well,I am not smart at all.I'm like those people who know what to do but fail to follow their intellect;that's not what smart people do.Identifying scientific stuff is easy for me;I'm a science student.No,JazakAllah kherun! for creating such a wonderful thread and taking the pains of posting such-long-yet-worth-reading chapters and then putting questions.Good job!
That's wonderful! I've got a science student participating in this discussion! No wonder your views are so interesting. That explains everything. lol.

Well, I think I've done it again. I'm two chapters behind..... so I'll be posting them together. Look forward to your answers Bintulislam. :)
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-16-2011, 08:18 PM
Chapter 10

Amy was playing chess with Henry. She picked up her
rook and moved six squares.

“Check mate!” she cried ecstatically.

Henry frowned. Amy had defeated him in the first game.
“Let’s see if you win in the second game,” he said and
began putting his pieces back on the board.

Dr. Singh and the other students were watching TV. They
were watching The Forensic Files. It was the episode
entitled Once Bitten.

“This program is not suitable for children,” Dr. Singh had
said. And he had ordered Amy out of the room. To his other
students, Dr. Singh had said, “The program you are about
to see is about cognitive dissonance. Children do not suffer
from this condition. Therefore it is not at all necessary for
Amy to watch this program.”

Richard felt good. He had been right about it. Cognitive
dissonance didn’t apply to kids.

They watched the film with great interest. It was the
story of a man twice wrongly convicted of murder. A
woman was murdered and a man by the name of Ray Krone
was arrested because his bite mark seemed to match the bite
marks found on the woman’s body. During the first trial, Dr.
Raymond Rawson, the State’s dental expert and a nationally
known forensic odontologist said that the bite mark was as
good as a fingerprint. His testimony convinced the jury that
Krone was the killer. Later, when other scientists analyzed
the marks, they discovered that there were too many inconsistencies
and that the bite marks actually did not match.

There was a second trial and three other bite mark experts
came to Ray Krone’s defense. These experts spoke to Dr.
Rawson about their findings and Rawson realized that he
was wrong about his opinion. But he did not withdraw his
statement in court. He said, “I’m in too deep.” And stuck
with his original testimony.

The jury again found Ray Krone
guilty. Krone spent more than 10 years in prison, for a crime
that he did not commit due to Dr. Rawson’s erroneous
opinion. He was set free after DNA testing proved beyond
doubt that the killer was someone else.

Dr. Singh turned off the TV.

“This is a story,” he said, “of a man who was innocent.
But he spent more than ten years in jail because of a scientist
who was unwilling to admit that he was wrong. What do
you think about this man - this Dr. Raymond Rawson?”

Martha’s hand went up. “I hate this man!” she said with
great emotion. “How could he do this to a poor, innocent
man? I can’t believe that a scientist could do such a thing!”

“Richard?” said Dr. Singh. “What is your opinion?”

“It’s shocking,” replied Richard. “I don’t think much of
this man.”

“Marie,” said Dr. Singh. “You don’t have a high opinion
of Dr. Rawson by any chance, do you?”

“Certainly not!” answered Marie. “He is so proud and
arrogant! And wicked! I don’t like him at all.”

“Then I guess I could say that none of you has any
respect for him?” said Dr. Singh.

“Respect for this man!” cried Andrew. “I wouldn’t have
spared him if he done this thing to me! It really makes me
mad to see innocent people in jail!”

“Very good,” said Dr. Singh. “I’m pleased to know that
none of you thinks highly of this Dr. Rawson. I certainly
don’t. I’ve never liked people who refuse to admit their
mistakes. But frankly I’m not surprised. You see, human
beings are like that. Not all of them of course. But most.
Scientists are supposed to be objective in their opinions and
they are supposed to be free from prejudice and bias. But
scientists are also human beings and they are not above
making mistakes. They can be wrong. Dr. Raymond
Rawson was wrong. And he knew it. But what did he do?
He stuck to his wrong opinion. Was he proud? Yes, he was
proud. He was a well known forensic expert. He had a
reputation to protect. He wasn’t going to admit that he was
wrong under any circumstances. He didn’t care if an innocent
man went to jail. Dr. Rawson suffers from a human
condition known as cognitive dissonance.”

Dr. Singh paused for a minute to make sure that his
students had absorbed what he had just said.

“What is cognitive dissonance? Anyone?” he asked.
Jim put up his hand. He had a paper in his hand and he
began to read:

Cognitive dissonance is a condition first proposed by
the psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956. The theory
holds that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving
force that compels the mind to acquire or invent new
thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so
as to minimize the amount of dissonance or conflict
between cognitions.

Dr. Singh nodded appreciatively. “Is that all? Or do you
have anything more to explain what it is?”

“No, there is more,” said Jim. He resumed his reading:
Festinger claimed that people avoid information that
is likely to increase dissonance. Not only do we tend
to select reading material and television programs
that are consistent with our existing beliefs, we
usually choose to be with people who are like us. By
taking care to “stick with our own kind,” we can
maintain the relative comfort of the status quo.
Likeminded people buffer us from ideas that could
cause discomfort. In that sense, the process of
making friends is an example of selecting our own
propaganda.

“Excellent!” cried Dr. Singh. “You have certainly hit it on
the button.”

“I’m sorry,” said Marie with a bewildered expression on her
face. “I don’t understand a thing!”

“It’s really not that difficult to understand,” said Dr.
Singh. “Cognitive dissonance simply means this - that people
do not like to be wrong.”

“Take the example of Dr. Rawson. He was wrong about
his opinion, wasn’t he? Well, he didn’t like it. He didn’t like
being wrong. So what did he do? He rejected all information
that was contrary to his opinion.”

“You might want to jot this down,” he said and went to
the blackboard. He wrote:

cognitive dissonance = information that causes
disturbance and imbalance

“People don’t like to be wrong,” he repeated. “They live
in their own world. They have a bubble around them and
they fight hard to keep out any information that causes them
discomfort. They may be wrong about many things, but they
won’t admit it. They keep out all info that threatens to burst
their bubble. For example, let’s say that you like eating icecream
and you are trying to lose weight. Then you pick up a
health magazine. You read that a new study says that icecream
is more fattening than originally thought. This piece
of information is unpleasant to you. It causes a disturbance
in your mind. So what you do is ignore the information
altogether. You reject the info. You ignore that info because
doing so would allow you to continue eating ice-cream.”

“You can see this at work everywhere,” he went on.
“People are extremely selective about the material they
read, the friends they make and the TV programs they
watch. For example, atheists would read about only those
things which deny the existence of God. They would refuse
to look at evidence that proves that He exists.”

“Any information or evidence that suggests that God is
non-existent would be shut out by people who believe in
God...people known as theists.”

“Information about many gods and goddesses would be
shut out by people who believe in only one God, the people
who call themselves monotheists.”

“And the polytheists would be very vicious indeed in
rejecting any evidence that proved that their many gods and
goddesses did not exist.”

“We all have our bubbles around us. We build these
bubbles to protect ourselves from information that is displeasing
or threatens to upset our sense of balance. We want
to keep out information that is going to burst our bubble.
But if we do this we are in danger of shutting out the Truth.
You have to understand that Truth will never force its way
through that bubble of ours. We have to come out of our
bubbles to see it. And for that we need courage and the
willingness to consider every bit of information regardless
of whether we like it or not. We also need to crush our pride
when we go searching for the Truth. Because if we refuse to
admit that we have made a mistake, then we would continue
walking on the wrong path.”

“And I’m sure,” said Dr. Singh with a smile. “That you
wouldn’t want to be like Dr. Rawson, would you?”

---------------End of Chapter 10-----------------------

Read more: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-16-2011, 08:19 PM
Questions on Chapter 10:

1. Do you think cognitive dissonance poses a problem to man? Why?

2. What do you think of people who refuse to come out of their bubbles and only stick to things that they are comfortable with?

3. After reading this chapter do you think the bubbles we build around ourselves really protect us? Or do they cause more harm?

4. Would you agree that it is a common malady man suffers..... unwillingness to admit that he could be wrong?

5. What is the outcome in this situation: A man makes a mistake but refuses to admit it. ?

Read more: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-16-2011, 08:20 PM
Chapter 11

The balloons were big and colorful. Each student had
a balloon. Amy’s was a bright yellow and she was
squealing in delight. Richard’s was blue, Jim’s purple,
Andrew’s green, Marie’s red and Martha’s orange.

Dr. Singh looked at his students extremely amused.
“No,” he said. “We are not having a party. Henry, could
you provide each of them with a needle please?”

Amy’s eyes opened wide. “Ooooh! We’re going to burst
our balloons! What fun!” she thought.

Dr. Singh noticed the excitement on Amy’s face. “You
don’t need to burst your balloon, Amy. You can keep your
balloon and play with it. But the rest of you have a choice to
make. The balloons you are holding represent the bubbles
you have built around yourselves. If you want to see the
Truth, you are going to have to come out of your bubble.
I’d explained to you earlier that there are certain things you
are going to need in your quest for Truth. And one of them
was -open-mindedness. If you have a bubble around you,
you are not open-minded. You are close-minded. Closeminded
people are very selective about the type of information
they let through their bubble.”

“So........if you burst them, that would mean you are
willing to come out of your closed world. And if you don’t
that would mean that you prefer to remain in darkness. For
darkness it is. People who do not have Truth in their life,
live in utter darkness.”

A balloon instantly popped. Richard had pricked his
balloon. The next balloon to go was Andrew’s. The rest of
them did not hesitate much in bursting their balloons.

Martha was the last one to do it.

Dr. Singh nodded in appreciation and was all smiles. He
had a fountain pen in his hand. He walked over to Richard
and shook his pen a little. Several droplets of blue ink
stained Richard’s nice and white coat. It startled Richard a
little and he looked at his beautiful coat in dismay, all
ruined.

“Oh,” said Dr. Singh, “I’m not going to apologize for
that. Henry will get you a new coat in a minute. I just
wanted to bring your attention to these little spots here on
your uniform. How do they make your coat look?”

“It’s all spoilt!” cried Martha. “It looks awful.”

“Yes,” said Marie. ”These ink spots don’t look good.”

“White clothes get dirty easily, don’t they?” said Dr.
Singh. “We usually take extra care of our white clothes. And
if there are any stains on them, we try to remove them, am I
right?”

Martha nodded. “Yes, we use detergent, bleach, stain
remover and things like that to get the dirt off the clothes.”

“Truth is just like this white uniform you are wearing,”
said Dr. Singh. “Truth is spotless and one hundred percent
pure. It is free from impurities. It is unadulterated and
uncorrupted.

“As a seeker of Truth, you wear white because this color
best represents the Truth. Let me now ask you -would you
tolerate these stain marks on your white uniform? Richard,
tell me how you feel about these stains.”

“I wouldn’t like them on my uniform at all,” replied
Richard.

Dr. Singh took a piece of chalk and went to the blackboard.
“These ink marks on your white uniform can be called
impurities. If these impurities fall upon Truth, what would
they be known as?”

And he wrote down one word on the blackboard:

Falsehood.

“Just as you wouldn’t tolerate these ink marks on your
clean white uniform,” he went on, “you shouldn’t tolerate
any form of Falsehood in your quest for Truth. And what I
mean by no tolerance is......” He stopped and looked at his
students meaningfully. “Having hatred for lies and untruth.”

“We have learnt that ninety-nine point nine percent of all answers
are false. And only one percent is true, correct and right.
That means that we are going to have to deal with a lot of
falsehood. A lot of it! They are like all these stains on a pure
white uniform. However, Falsehood has some properties
that you should be aware of. It is unfortunate that many
people find it pleasing and attractive. The reality though, is
as you can see,” and he pointed to the stains on Richard’s
coat. “That Falsehood is very ugly.”

“Let us now recall some of the things that we have learnt
about Truth. Can you remember its most outstanding
property?”

Amy’s hand shot up. “Truth is one percent, and everything
else is ninety-nine percent!” she answered.

Dr. Singh smiled and nodded. “Correct! Truth is one,” he
said with great emphasis on the word one. “We’ll understand
this better after we do a little exercise.”

“I’m going to give you five minutes. I want you to write
down three things that you know are true.”

He looked at his watch and then said, “Start now!”
When the time was up, Dr. Singh asked Amy what she
had written.

She stood up and read her answers:

1. I am a girl.
2. My mother’s name is Samantha.
3. I am 10 years old.

Dr. Singh considered her first statement. “I am a girl,” he
repeated. “Yes, that is certainly a true statement. That is the
only answer that is one percent correct. 99.9 percent
of all answers would be wrong.”

“But,” said Marie, “the only other answer besides I am a
girl would be I am a boy. So that means only fifty percent of
the answers would be wrong.”

“Hmmm,” said Dr. Singh. “I see that you have missed the
whole point. There are indeed 99.9 percent answers
that are going to be wrong. For Amy is a girl. And that is
the only Truth. She is not a boy, yes. But she is also not a
woman, or a tree, or a dog, or a cat, or a hen or a stone.
She is not a chair or a book or a flower or a house. I can go
on endlessly.”

“And then consider Amy’s second statement,” he continued.
“Her mother’s name is Samantha. It is not Patricia or
Diana or Sara or Betty or Laila. There are countless women
in this world. So you are going to have 99.9 percent
wrong answers. And only one answer that is correct. Only a
woman named Samantha is Amy’s mother.”

“And the last statement that Amy made. She is ten years
old. Not one or two or twenty or eighty or hundred or two
thousand. Only one answer is correct. 99.9 percent
of the answers are incorrect. There is only one Truth.”

Marie’s eyes regarded Dr. Singh with the greatest amazement.
“This man is incredible!” she thought. “I wonder if he’s
married.”

--------------End of Chapter 11----------------

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Flame of Hope
07-16-2011, 08:21 PM
Questions on Chapter 11:

1. Do you think it was necessary for Dr. Singh to get his students to prick the balloons?

2. What do you think is the reality in the world of today regarding bubbles that people have built around themselves? How many people do you think have the courage to prick their bubbles and come out of their shells?

3. Why do you think Dr. Singh let Amy keep her balloon?

4. What do you think of the balloon example to illustrate the point that people needed to be open-minded if they desired to know the Truth? How well did Dr. Singh succeed in making his point?

5. Why do you think Martha was the last person to pop her balloon? And why was Richard the first?

6. How did you feel when Dr. Singh splashed ink on Richard's white uniform?

7. Does the visual representation of Falsehood on Richard's coat (the ink spots) make it clear that we should hate Falsehood? Would you have been upset at the sight of YOUR beautiful white coat all ruined by ink stains? Would you have left those stains on your coat?

8. Do you recall the dedication at the beginning of the book? ( It is dedicated to haters of untruth. Not lovers of Truth.) Does this chapter give a clue why the dedication was not for lovers of Truth?

9. Do you think hating untruth is a hard thing to do? What is the percentage of untruth versus percentage of Truth?

One last question......

10. Why do you think Marie wants to know if Dr. Singh is married?

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Flame of Hope
07-17-2011, 06:25 AM
:sl:

I'm planning to post this discussion on my web site mysteryofdeath.com.

If you would like your views and opinions to be included, please begin participating in the thread.

Sister Bintulislam, I hope that you will be with us till the end of the book. I would like to have your answers on my web site.... the answers of a science student. :p
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Flame of Hope
07-17-2011, 06:28 AM
:sl:

By the way, I had wanted to ask this question to Muslim members..... regarding chapter 7. It is the chapter where we learn that Truth is One.

Does not that remind you of the kalimah? Truth is One..... and God is One. "Qul huwa Allahu ahad" :) Therefore... the significance of chapter 7.
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Flame of Hope
07-17-2011, 06:31 AM
Chapter 12

It was a hot day but everyone was glad to be out and
breathe in the fresh air. Amy was jumping up and
down extremely thrilled. Dr. Singh had said that they were
going to go on an adventure. They were standing outside
The Round House under the tall, magnificent pine and fir
trees. It felt wonderful.

“How would you like to go on a treasure hunt?” said Dr.
Singh. “I know that you are very hungry, so what you are
going to do today is to locate a restaurant that is situated
pretty near here. That will be your treasure - finding that
restaurant.”

He then divided his class into two groups. Group A was
the ladies group and Group B was the men’s. Then he gave
each group a sheet of paper.

“This is a map of the island,” he said. “Follow the directions
given and you should have no problem getting there.”

Everyone was excited. This was going to be so much
fun!

“You have a time limit,” said Dr. Singh. “You have to
find that restaurant, eat your food, and come back here
within two hours. I’ll be waiting here for you.”

Dr. Singh himself wasn’t hungry. He had already eaten.
He brought out a chair and sat down on it. He had a book
with him. Henry looked at it and noticed that it was the
same unputdownable book - The Taming of the Shrew.
The students turned to go but Dr. Singh had one more
thing to say. “You are going to need money to buy your
lunch,” he said and he handed each group several green
dollar bills.

“Dr. Singh thinks of everything,” thought Marie. She had
grown to greatly respect this man. She was extremely glad
to have met a man like him. He was so different, so mature,
so sensible, so knowledgeable.

Dr. Singh wanted to get on with his reading of The
Taming of the Shrew
. But he also wanted to make sure that
the ladies would be safe.

“Henry,” he said. “You will go with the ladies. They
might need your assistance.”

Marie blinked her eyes a little. She wasn’t sure if she had
seen Dr. Singh wink at Henry. She must have been imagining
it. Henry nodded keeping his face expressionless.

It was about two hours later that Dr. Singh was awakened
from his nap. He had fallen asleep in his chair after
reading only a few pages. The men had returned from their
treasure hunt. They had no problem finding the restaurant
and they had enjoyed a fine meal. They looked very pleased
with themselves.

“Ah! Group B, it seems you found your treasure,” said
Dr. Singh knowingly. “I’m going to ask you about your
experience a little later after Group A gets back and it would
be lovely to hear all about it. But you might want to get
yourself some chairs. It’s going to be a while before the
ladies return.” And he went back to his book.

The men sat there waiting in their chairs for two more
hours. It was certainly getting very late, and just when the
sun was about to set in the horizon, Henry appeared with
the members of Group A following him looking extremely
tired and weary.

“Henry, take them to the cafeteria and fix them something
to eat, will you?” said Dr. Singh getting up from his
chair. “When you are done, please come on over to the
classroom for the final lesson of the day.”

Half an hour later, all six students were sitting in their
classroom. Marie, Martha and Amy wondered how Dr.
Singh knew that they hadn’t eaten their lunch. They had not
found the restaurant at all. They were so glad to have Henry
take them back to The Round House. And after eating some
vegetable sandwiches they were feeling much better.

“So let us talk about your experience today, shall we?”
Dr. Singh said. “Let’s hear what Group B has to say.”

“We found the restaurant easily,” said Andrew. “We had a
nice meal there and we didn’t have no trouble finding our
way back here.”

“And what about Group A...what was your experience?”
questioned Dr. Singh.

“We never found the restaurant,” said Marie. “We
searched for it for a long time and we didn’t even realize
it.....but we had gone deeper into the woods. If it hadn’t
been for Henry, we wouldn’t have found our way back.”

“It was an awful experience,” said Martha.

“And I was very disappointed,” said Amy looking morose.

She had wanted to find the treasure so badly. And
when they weren’t able to find it, she had felt very unhappy.

Dr. Singh didn’t seem to sympathize with the ladies at all.
He had a smile on his face. For some reason he seemed to
be genuinely amused.

“Well,” he said at length. “I knew very well that you were
not going to find that restaurant. And I also knew that you
were going to lose your way. That’s why I sent Henry with
you. So that he would bring you back here safe and sound.”

“You knew?!” cried Marie perplexed.

“Yes, I knew,” replied Dr. Singh. “You see, the map that
I had given you was false. It did not contain true directions.
Hence, it was certain that you were going to lose your
way.”

There was a stunned silence as all the six students stared
at Dr. Singh incredulously.

“I gave Group B a map that was true. It was correct and
it was precise. Therefore, the men had no problem whatsoever
in finding their treasure. I knew that they would find
their way back because they had something solid to depend
on - the Truth. Now, we know that there are certain things
we need in our search for Truth and one of them we learned
was...” and he wrote on the blackboard:

Hatred for lies and untruth

“I wasn’t sure if you really had a hatred for lies and
untruth,” he said. ”So I had you go on a treasure hunt to
find out how you felt about it. I hope it is now clear to you
that if you follow a map that is incorrect and false, you are
going to lose your way. You are never going to find whatever
it is that you are looking for. But if you follow a map
that is true and accurate, you would never lose your way.
You will certainly find what you are searching for. Falsehood
leads people astray. And because of that you must hate
it with all your heart. You must have a hatred for lies and
untruth. I hope that after this experience, you will develop
this hatred.”

Martha nodded her head. She had to agree with Dr.
Singh. A false map was no good. It got them nowhere.

“One more thing,” said Dr. Singh. “I gave you the maps
and you went looking for the treasure. You assumed that the
map I gave you was correct.”

He paused. It seemed from the expression on his face
that he had something very important to say.

“Assumptions are dangerous things,” he said. “In real life
people follow guides and maps assuming that they are true
and correct. But one must never assume. Before we follow
any directions we must first make sure that the map or
guide that we are following is true. In other words, we must
confirm the Truth of that map or guide before following the
directions given in it.”

Dr. Singh waited for a minute to help his students think
over a little about what he had just said. It was really a great
piece of advice and when the students returned to their
rooms that evening, they had plenty of things to think about.

------------End of Chapter 12----------

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Flame of Hope
07-17-2011, 06:33 AM
Questions on Chapter 12:

1. What did you think about Dr. Singh's treasure hunt idea?

2. Did you feel sorry for Group A?

3. Do you think Dr. Singh was mean to give Group A a false map?

4. Do you agree with the point Dr. Singh made about following Falsehood... that it leads people astray?

5. Do you think it was necessary for Group A to experience the feelings that came from following a false map? Do you think that hearing about Group A's experience made Group B feel very glad that they were given a true map?

6. Do you think Dr. Singh is right about confirming the truth of a thing before following it?
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truthseeker63
07-17-2011, 06:50 AM
This is a really good thread.
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-17-2011, 07:40 PM
Chapter 13

The next day, the students watched Dr. Singh write the
following words on the blackboard:

The Properties of Falsehood

“Today, we are going to learn some very important
lessons,” said Dr. Singh. “Yesterday you went on a treasure
hunt. Group A was given a false map and Group B was
given a true map. We are now going to reflect upon your
experience to isolate first the properties of Falsehood and
then the properties of Truth.”

He pointed to what he had written on the board. “Let’s
talk about Falsehood. What do you know about it?”

Andrew raised his hand. “Falsehood is the opposite of
Truth.”

“Very good,” said Dr. Singh and he wrote his words
down on the blackboard for all to see, understand and
absorb.

“What else?”

“It’s bad,” said Martha thinking about how her group had
lost its way following a map that was false. “And it leads
nowhere.”

Marie nodded her head. “Yes, and I think it’s unreliable
too. We can’t depend on it.”

Dr. Singh wrote down their answers on the board:

It is bad.
It leads nowhere.
It is unreliable.

“Great observations,” remarked Dr. Singh. “Falsehood is
indeed bad. It is in fact evil for it leads to nothing but utter
ruin, devastation and destruction. It leads people astray.
Now one of its interesting properties is that there are many
ways that lead to it. People who take the path of Falsehood
are clearly on the wrong track. They have taken the wrong
way. So......” and he wrote:

It is wrong.
It is evil.
Many ways lead to it.
It leads to ruin and destruction.

“How does following Falsehood lead to destruction?”
asked Jim curiously.

“If you follow a map that is inaccurate or false,” replied
Dr. Singh, “you are going to end up being totally lost. You
would be walking in darkness and be unable to walk
straight. You would stumble and fall because you wouldn’t
be able to see where you are going. You would be chasing
shadows, things that aren’t really there. Falsehood isn’t
solid like Truth. It isn’t real. Consider now a situation where
a person devotes his entire life to Falsehood. He believes in
things that in reality do not exist and walks in a direction
that leads nowhere. Such a person would be living in total
darkness, wouldn’t you say?”

He paused and then went on. “This is really a very
serious matter. Falsehood can never guide nor help anyone
in reaching their destination. People who spend their entire
life following Falsehood are in fact ruining their lives. A
person who loses his way, who can’t see where he is going,
who keeps stumbling and falling with nothing solid to walk
on, is headed for destruction. There is no hope for such a
person, is there? The members of Group A could never have
found their way back with a false map to guide them. That
was the reason why I sent Henry with them. Can you
imagine what would have happened if Henry had not gone
with them?”

Jim nodded his head. He was thankful that Dr. Singh had
given his group the true map and not the false one!

“You could be extremely sincere and earnest,” went on
Dr. Singh, “but if you are following false directions, everything
you do would be in vain! Just think about it! Wouldn’t
you have wasted your precious time running after shadows
and things that are non-existent? Wouldn’t you be headed
toward nothing but disaster? And can disaster and destruction
ever bring anyone any happiness? A false map or guide
leads to only one thing, my friends. Eternal grief! It spells
nothing but utter dejection, disappointment and sorrow!”

Dr. Singh’s students listened to him with all their atten-
tion. This was deep. Really deep. And Dr. Singh was going
to go deeper still. And they waited to hear more. They
wanted to hear more.

“So if you really care about where you are going.....if you
really care about yourself....you should follow the Truth....
and nothing but the Truth!” said Dr. Singh. “And since it is
the only thing that is solid, dependable and real, it is the
only thing that can save you. Now - there is only one path
that leads to the Truth. And that path is the Straight Path. It
is the right way and the only way that you should take. Why
do I say that the path of Truth is Straight? Because it is not
a path that twists and turns unexpectedly. Truth does not
bend. But more than that it is dependable. You can rely on it
one hundred percent.”

Richard loved what he was hearing. They had found the
restaurant, had their lunch and found their way back all
because they had a true map. That was absolutely correct.
Truth was indeed hundred percent reliable.

Dr. Singh then wrote the following on the board:

The Properties of Truth

“Let us now discuss the properties of Truth. What do you
know about Truth.....so far?”

“Truth is always in the singular,” said Marie. “There is
only one Truth.”

“Right,” said Dr. Singh and wrote on the blackboard:

Truth = One

“This is the most outstanding property of Truth. But
there are many other outstanding properties. Can you think
of any?”

They all looked blankly at him.

Dr. Singh smiled. “Okay,” he said. “Do you remember the
last exercise we had done? We found that two plus two is
four. So let me write that again here.”

He wrote:

2 + 2 = 4

“Do you think you can put any other answer there besides
the number four?”

Everybody shook their heads.

“That means there is no substitute for the number four.”

And he wrote the following words upon the blackboard:

There is no substitute for Truth.
Truth = Unique.

“The next question. If there is no substitute for the
number four, then there is no other number like it. Right?
We couldn’t take for example the number five and say this
number will do.”

“Right,” said Richard. “There is no number like the
number four.”

“That means that there is nothing like the Truth,” concluded
Dr. Singh. He wrote that down on the board:

There is nothing like the Truth.

“Now we aren’t finished yet with our equation. There are
some more things that we can deduce from it,” he said
pointing to what he had written: 2 + 2 = 4.

“From this we learned that Truth is One. It is one whole
unit. Now, this is very important. If Truth is one whole unit,
it means that it is indivisible. You cannot add anything to it
nor can you deduct anything from it. You cannot divide it
nor can you multiply it.......because if you did your answer
would change. Two plus two is always four. There can be
only one answer to that equation and it doesn’t matter at all
who adds up these two numbers, in which country or place
or age. The answer will never change. It is always going to
be four. You can’t do anything to it. If you don’t like that
answer it is not going to change for you. In fact, Truth is
indestructible. And because it is indestructible, it is powerful.
It is solid and unshakeable. It is real.”

Dr. Singh wrote the following on the board:

Truth = Indestructible
Truth = Powerful
Truth = Real

He continued writing:

Truth = Indivisible, can’t divide it, can’t multiply it, can’t
add to it, can’t deduct from it
Truth = Never changes

“Now, about Truth never changing. This is another
outstanding attribute of Truth,” said Dr. Singh. “It is fixed.
It is constant. It never changes. Think about it. Thousands
of years ago man needed food, water, air, shelter and
clothes. What has changed? Nothing at all. In this time and
age, man still needs food, water, air, shelter and clothes.
What about the attraction between the opposite sexes? Men
and women are attracted to one another. This is true for any
age -past, present or future. Thousands of years ago women
gave birth to babies. They still do. Men don’t. And they
never will. Our earth is round in shape. It always has been.
Fire burns wood. It always will. Truth never changes. And
because it never changes, it is eternal in nature. It is stable.”

He turned and wrote the following on the board:

Truth = Eternal
Truth = Stable

“And because it is eternal and never changes, Truth is
one hundred percent dependable. It is the only thing that
can guide us and save us. So.........” and he wrote down:

Truth = Trustworthy
Truth = The Best to Guide
Truth = The only thing that can save us

“Truth is also........” Dr. Singh wrote:

Truth = Straight
Truth = Precise
Truth = Accurate

Marie raised her hand excitedly. “I know one property,”
she said eagerly. “Truth is Perfect!!”

“Very good, Marie,” said Dr. Singh. “You are absolutely
right about that.” And he wrote down:

Truth = Perfect

“How about if we thought a little more on this quality,”
he said. “If Truth is Perfect then it means that it does not
suffer from any faults. It has no flaws. There are no impurities
to be found in it. So that means........?”

“I know! I know!” shouted Amy. “That means Truth is
clean.”

“Excellent!” said Dr. Singh. “But we’re going to write
another word to describe it. We already know about this
property.” And he wrote down:

Truth = Pure

“What else can you say about the Truth?”

This time it was Martha who gave an answer.

“Truth is Good,” she said.

“Marvelous!” said Dr. Singh very pleased with her
answer. He wrote down:

Truth = Good

“Why do you say that Truth is good, Martha?”

“Because it is trustworthy and dependable,” replied
Martha quietly. “If I follow it, I will not lose my way.”

“Great answer! I’m impressed!” said Dr. Singh appreciatively.

“I think Truth is Beautiful,” said Richard. He had been
watching Dr. Singh write so many exceptional things about
Truth that he couldn’t help saying it. “It’s really beautiful.”

Dr. Singh smiled. He didn’t say anything but he wrote it
down:

Truth = Beautiful

“I agree,” said Dr. Singh heartily. “And I’ll tell you the
reason why I agree. You see, when you find the Truth, you
enter the world of light. Light is after all that which makes
things clear. Before the discovery of Truth we are blind and
ignorant. When we find the Truth, we begin to see. It
banishes our blindness. So.......”

He wrote down:

Truth = Light

“But there is another more important reason why I think
Truth is beautiful. And it is this: Truth is the way to peace.
You see, when there are no more doubts in your mind, that
is when you find peace. Truth is the answer to all your
questions. So when you find the Truth, you will find Peace.”
And he wrote:

Truth = Peace

Richard was pleased. Very pleased. “That is what I want
the most,” he thought. “Peace of mind. Nothing means
more to me than that.”

-------------End of Chapter 13-------------

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Flame of Hope
07-17-2011, 11:39 PM
Questions on chapter 13:

1. What do you think of the idea that Truth and Falsehood have properties?

2. What do you think of the properties of Falsehood? Are those properties correct?

3. What do you think of the properties of Truth? Are those properties correct?

4. Does this sound like a science class? Why?

5. What do you think would have happened if Dr. Singh had begun his lectures by talking about his religious beliefs, whatever they might be?

6. Do you think the scientific approach to solving the mysteries of life and death is better? Why?

7. Describe how you felt when you read this chapter.

8. Do you agree with the way Richard feels at the end of the chapter..... that nothing matters more than finding peace? Do you agree that the only way to find real peace is by finding the Truth?

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Flame of Hope
07-19-2011, 12:00 AM
Chapter 14

The lessons that the students learnt that day were
unforgettable. They had learnt many things about
Truth and also about Falsehood. They felt greatly enlightened
and happy. But there was more coming and they were all ears
as Dr. Singh went on with his lecture.

“Foolish are the people of this world,” he said. “When
Truth comes to them, they reject it as false. And when false
tales are related to them, they take them to be the Truth. In
other words, they consider Falsehood equal to the Truth. It
looks like this to them,” and he wrote on the board:

Falsehood = Truth

“It is just like this equation here....” and he pointed to:

2 + 2 = 4

“Four is the only correct answer. That is the only Truth
there is to the question - what is two plus two. And when
people reject the Truth it is as if they are denying that the
answer to this equation is four. Instead they accept other
answers such as three, five, six, seven, eight and nine. But
what they think and believe does not harm the Truth in the
slightest, does it? The answer to the question - what is two
plus two is always going to be four, whether you like it or
not, believe it or not, accept it or not.”

“Why would anyone want to reject the Truth?” asked
Jim.

“Because people prefer Falsehood,” replied Dr. Singh.

And he rewrote the following words on the board:

If Truth is bitter, Falsehood must be sweet.

“I’m afraid Truth is not pleasing to many. It is really
bitter and people are in fact afraid of it. They want to run
away from it. And there is indeed a very big reason why
Falsehood is so sweet and alluring to people. I’ll get into
that later when the time is right. But for now, let’s try to
find out why anyone would follow Falsehood in the first
place.”

Dr. Singh looked at Henry who nodded and left the
room. He came back with a big tray, some watercolor paint
and three damp sponges.

“We’re going to conduct an experiment,” said Dr. Singh.

He made three little puddles of water on the tray. And he
colored each of them a different color. The first puddle was
blue, the second red and the third green. He put a sponge on
each puddle.

“Now, tell me,” he demanded. “What is going to happen?”

“The sponge is going to absorb the water,” said Jim.

Dr. Singh picked up the sponges and sure enough they
had all sucked up the colored water.

“You are absolutely right,” he said. “These sponges
absorbed all the water. And it didn’t matter what color
water it was. Red, blue or green.”

He then looked at them all intently.

“Children are like that,” he said. “They are just like these
sponges. They absorb everything around them. Hence, they
will pick up everything in their environment. They will
absorb the good as well as the bad.”

“They don’t know what is right and what is wrong. They
simply copy the ways of their parents or guardians. So if
their parents do bad things, their children are going to end
up doing bad things. If their parents use foul language, their
children are going to use foul language as well.”

“I’m six feet two inches tall. I inherited that from my
father. We are the way we are because we have inherited the
genes of our parents. But there are many other things that
we inherit from them. We inherit the traditions, customs and
beliefs of our parents as well. We also inherit their prejudices.
Which is most unfortunate.”

“Really, we ought to be grateful we are living in this age
of science and technology. If you had been born hundreds of
years ago in a Viking family for example, you would have
ended up just like them. If you had been born in an Aztec
family, you would have accepted their beliefs about offering
human sacrifices to the sun. I shudder to think about it, and
I’m indeed glad that I was born in this age.”

Richard nodded. He was glad too. Everyone was.

“I’d like to tell you a little story,” went on Dr. Singh.
“One day I had gone to the library to do some research
on mythology. I had a little chat with the librarian there.
“Mythology is indeed full strange and weird tales,” I said.
She nodded her head in agreement. Then I said, “Maybe I
could make up a story myself about strange gods and
goddesses. Maybe with heads of birds and bodies of
snakes.” She laughed. “Sure, you can try,” she said. “But
who would believe you?” I looked at her in the eye and I
was very serious when I said it. I said to her – “my children”.
She laughed again and then said, “Yes, you are quite
right about that. And then I suppose your children would
pass on your story to their children and it will go on and on
from generation to generation.””

“Wow!” was all Andrew could say.

“I found a very interesting book in the library the other
day,” said Dr. Singh. He took it out of the drawer and
showed it to them.

“The name of the book is Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill
by Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano. I’m going to
read out to you some things that will really amaze you.”

And he read out loud:

Children will imitate anything including behaviors
most adults would regard as destructive and anti
social. They will believe everything. There is no limit
to a child’s credulity. For example, an Indiana school
board had to issue an advisory that stated that there
is no such thing as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -
that they do not exist. Too many children had been
crawling down storm drains looking for them.

Dr. Singh shut the book and put it away. The point was
made.

“Now you know one of the reasons why people follow
Falsehood. All people at one time were children. And they
learnt whatever they did from their parents. They absorbed
everything, the good things as well as the bad. Truth as well
as Falsehood. And when they grew up they built great big
bubbles around themselves to stop any information that did
not support their views and opinions from coming through
to them.”

“Just think a little now. There is this man who grew up in
an ancient family. He believes in strange gods and goddesses
with heads of birds and bodies of snakes. You go to him and
tell him what the Truth is. You tell him that his gods and
goddesses don’t exist. Do you think he is going to thank
you for that piece of information?”

“He’d probably throw me out of his house,” chuckled
Andrew.

“That’s right,” said Dr. Singh. “That’s cognitive dissonance
at work. People who have been following the traditions
of their forefathers would continue following them
even if they are wrong. They just can’t admit that they are
wrong. Whatever they do pleases them and they are happy
in their ignorance. They don’t want to know what the Truth
is. They don’t want to change.”

“I understand,” said Richard slowly. “I am beginning
to understand.”

“Understand what?” asked Dr. Singh.

“That Truth is not going to change. It is we who have to
change. That is hard for most of us because we like to
remain as we are.”

----------End of Chapter 14-----------
Reply

Bintulislam
07-19-2011, 02:26 AM
Originally Posted by Riham
:sl:

I'm planning to post this discussion on my web site mysteryofdeath.com.

If you would like your views and opinions to be included, please begin participating in the thread.

Sister Bintulislam, I hope that you will be with us till the end of the book. I would like to have your answers on my web site.... the answers of a science student. :p
Well inshaAllah Ima try and stick with you till the end of the book. :) Most definitely sisters.It would be an honour. :) you know I just posted the answers to chap 10 and apparently the internet got busted. :( Will have to type in again.You'll have to wait,just because I am not answering,doesn't mean I am not reading.I'll answer as soon as I get time.Its an interesting book.

-peace
Bint
Reply

Bintulislam
07-19-2011, 02:26 AM
Originally Posted by Riham
:sl:

I'm planning to post this discussion on my web site mysteryofdeath.com.

If you would like your views and opinions to be included, please begin participating in the thread.

Sister Bintulislam, I hope that you will be with us till the end of the book. I would like to have your answers on my web site.... the answers of a science student. :p
Well inshaAllah Ima try and stick with you till the end of the book. :) Most definitely sister.It would be an honour. :) you know I just posted the answers to chap 10 and apparently the internet got busted. :( Will have to type in again.You'll have to wait,just because I am not answering,doesn't mean I am not reading.I'll answer as soon as I get time.Its an interesting book.

-peace
Bint
Reply

Bintulislam
07-19-2011, 02:33 AM
Originally Posted by Riham
:sl:

By the way, I had wanted to ask this question to Muslim members..... regarding chapter 7. It is the chapter where we learn that Truth is One.

Does not that remind you of the kalimah? Truth is One..... and God is One. "Qul huwa Allahu ahad" :) Therefore... the significance of chapter 7.
Yes it is. The truth is one;There is no God but Allah.

I also wanted to point out one thing,which I dunno whether you'd agree upon or not;its rather irrelevant.Dr. Singh says that the color white symbolizes one....its not a mixture or combination its just one....something like that.but you know white is basically formed by different colours.When you pass out white light (the usual sunlight) through a prism it breaks up into its 7 colors i. I think VIBGYOR....thought I'd let you know. :)
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-20-2011, 06:39 PM
Originally Posted by Bintulislam
Well inshaAllah Ima try and stick with you till the end of the book. :) Most definitely sister.It would be an honour. :) you know I just posted the answers to chap 10 and apparently the internet got busted. :( Will have to type in again.You'll have to wait,just because I am not answering,doesn't mean I am not reading.I'll answer as soon as I get time.Its an interesting book.

-peace
Bint
:sl:

Alhamdulillahir rabbil al ameen! Allah takes note of he who does even an atom's weight of good. And what the good you have done in supporting this book is definitely far heavier than an atom's weight. :)

May Allah reward you abundantly for your participation in this thread. Ameen.
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-20-2011, 06:40 PM
Questions on chapter 14.

1. What do you think about the sponge experiment?

2. What do you think would stop people from blindly following the teachings of their forefathers?

3. What do you think of blind faith? Why do you think many people indulge in it?

Read more: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-20-2011, 06:43 PM
Chapter 15

After lunch, the students had a some time to do a little
bit of research on the things they had learned. They
went back to their classroom excitedly, eager to share their
discoveries.

Dr. Singh welcomed them and they all settled down in
their chairs behind their desks. Yet again Dr. Singh gave
another extraordinary lecture. He was indeed full of surprises.
They had thought that they had dealt with most of
the properties of Truth and couldn’t imagine that they might
have left anything out. But they had. There was still one
more property of Truth that they hadn’t considered. And
they stared at the words Dr. Singh had written on the
blackboard trying to fathom its meaning. The words that Dr.
Singh had written were:

Truth = Knowledge

“Can anyone explain that?” he asked grinning.

They looked blankly at him.

“Perhaps you need a little bit of time to think about it?”
Dr. Singh gave them about five minutes. They thought
about it. What did it mean? Truth is Knowledge?

Dr. Singh smiled. “Okay,” he said. “I see that I’m going
to have to explain this. And really, I don’t at all mind. You
see, it is pretty simple. Man has always been curious about
the world in which he lives. And he has a deep thirst for
knowledge. Now listen carefully. What is meant by knowledge?
Knowledge means having an awareness. An awareness
of the true state of affairs. In other words, knowledge
means awareness of the Truth. Perhaps you will understand
this better if we again look at this equation,” and he wrote
again:

2 + 2 = 4

Marie looked at that familiar equation with the greatest
respect. It was a simple equation. But it had taught her so
many extraordinary things; things that were pretty obvious
and apparent but which were understood only after a little
bit of thought and reflection.

“If you say that the answer to two plus two is four, we
can say that you have knowledge. We can say that you
know what the Truth is. But if you say that the answer is
five, six or seven, then we can’t say that you have knowledge
at all. We would say that you are ignorant. Knowledge
is light whereas ignorance is darkness. So.......,” and he
wrote on the board:

Truth = Knowledge = Light
Ignorance = Darkness

“I’m sure you have heard of the saying - Knowledge is
Power.” And he wrote that down too:

Truth = Knowledge = Power

“Now it is important to note that progress is made only
when you stick to the Truth. If you say that two plus two is
five, your calculations are going to be wrong. You won’t
make any progress at all. You will make progress only when
your calculations are correct, accurate and precise. You will
make progress only if you have knowledge that two plus
two is four. Only then will your calculations be right.”
“In our quest for Truth, I had mentioned that we would
be needing several qualities. One of them was -sticking to
facts.” Then he wrote:

Truth = Fact

“We must always stick to facts during our experiments,
observations and investigations. Because fact is another
name for Truth. And because science is concerned only with
facts, we can say that science is the study of Truth. Scientific
observations are always objective. This is good because
then it enables us to see things the way they really are. In
other words, we see reality - or the Truth. Reality is after all
another name for Truth. So I had better write that down
here.”

Truth = Reality

“We have made tremendous progress in science and
technology. We have computers, space ships, airplanes and
submarines. But none of this progress would have been
possible if we had not stuck to the Truth, been objective in
our observations and eliminated all error. It is only by
harnessing the power of Truth that we can make any
progress.”

“Since Truth is reliable, precise and accurate, we are able
to make planes, fly in the sky, go out in outer space. The
plane, rocket, ships etcetera are all built upon Truth. They
are founded on Truth. Even a small, slight error or mistake
would result in collapse and devastation. All calculations
therefore have to be accurate. Or else it spells disaster.”
“A man can succeed in life only with knowledge of the
Truth. Those who do not follow Truth remain backward and
make no progress. They are plunged in the darkness of
ignorance. So the mission in man’s life ought to be this -
seeking knowledge. Knowledge, which is the other name
for Truth.” He wrote that down:

Our mission = seek knowledge

“Why seek knowledge? Because Knowledge is Light,
Knowledge is Power, Knowledge is Truth and more importantly,
Knowledge enables us to make progress. It leads
straight to success.”

Dr. Singh finished speaking at last. The students were full
of awe. Everything they had heard made such perfect sense.
All of them were extremely glad to have come to that
retreat. They were certain that no school in the whole world
taught such great, terrific and fabulous lessons. Richard felt
even a million dollars was insufficient to pay for the knowledge
he had acquired so far. Indeed he had made the best
decision of his life.

“I’m going to write down some famous quotes right
now,” said Dr. Singh turning to the blackboard again. “I
believe you will find them most interesting.”

He wiped away all that he had written and wrote the
following:

1. “Facts do not cease to exist because they are
ignored”. - Aldous Huxley

2. “Facts are facts and will not disappear on account
of your likes.”- Jawaharlal Nehru

3. “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be
our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our
passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and
evidence.” - John Adams

“I hope these quotes make sense to you now,” said Dr.
Singh smiling. He watched them write down the quotes
earnestly in their notebooks. Then Marie raised her hand. “I
found one quote today which I thought was good,” she said.

“Go ahead. Read it out for us please,” said Dr. Singh.

Marie cleared her throat. “Leo Tolstoy said this,” she
said. And she read out loud:

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one
thinks of changing himself.

Dr. Singh nodded appreciatively. “Very good, Marie,” he
said.

“Can you repeat that?” asked Amy. “I want to write that
down.”

Marie smiled and repeated the quote.

“By now,” said Dr. Singh. “I think all of you have a
pretty clear idea about what the Truth is. And I also think
you have an immense hatred for untruth and lies. Am I
right?”

They all nodded.

“Then I think you are ready for the pledge,” he said.
“Henry.....?”

Henry was holding some sheets of paper in his hand. He
handed a sheet to each student.

“This is your pledge,” said Dr. Singh. “A promise that
you make to yourself. Keep this with you and read it everyday.
I think it will do you a lot of good.”

Richard looked at the words printed on the paper. He
immediately made up his mind to memorize it thoroughly.
He agreed with everything that was written on it.
It said:

THERE IS NO OTHER TRUTH BUT ONE TRUTH.

ANYTHING OTHER THAN TRUTH IS FALSE AND VAIN.

I SHALL LOVE THE TRUTH WITH ALL MY HEART.

AND I SHALL REJECT ALL FALSEHOOD.

MY MISSION IN LIFE IS TO SEEK KNOWLEDGE,

AND WALK UPON THE STRAIGHT PATH ALONE,

FOR I KNOW THAT ONLY THE TRUTH HAS THE POWER

TO HELP ME, GUIDE ME AND SAVE ME.

---------End of Chapter 15-----------
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-20-2011, 07:05 PM
Questions on Chapter 15:

1. What part of this chapter appealed to you? Would you say this chapter was important? Why?

2. Does this chapter make it clear why the book is dedicated to haters of Truth and not lovers of Truth? How?

3. What do you think about the pledge? Do you think it is worth memorizing?

4. Why do you think Dr. Singh is laying so much importance on the properties of Truth?
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-20-2011, 07:11 PM
:sl:

This is for Muslim members who possess understanding.

Regarding the first line in the pledge:

THERE IS NO OTHER TRUTH BUT ONE TRUTH.

One of God's names is Al Haqq... The Truth.

So, if we were to remove the word TRUTH and replace it with with God.... what do we get?

THERE IS NO OTHER GOD BUT ONE GOD.

Let's do the same replacement with the second line in the pledge which is....

ANYTHING OTHER THAN TRUTH IS FALSE AND VAIN. = ANYTHING OTHER THAN GOD IS FALSE AND VAIN.

This is the message of TAWHID.
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-21-2011, 05:31 AM
Chapter 16

There was that equation again:

2 + 2 = 4.

Dr. Singh wasn’t finished with it yet. He had written it
again on the blackboard to make yet another point.

“How do you know that two plus two is four,” he asked.

Everyone was surprised to see Amy raise her hand.

“Because we can count!” she said confidently.

“Okay,” said Dr. Singh. He had two pens in his hand. He
placed them on the table.

“How many pens are these?” he asked.

“Two,” replied Amy.

He withdrew two more pens from his pocket. He placed
them beside the other two pens. “Now how many pens are
there altogether?” he asked. “Amy, come and count them
for us please.”

Amy went to the table and counted the pens. “One, two,
three, four. Four pens!” she said.

“Good, you may sit down,” said Dr. Singh.

Amy returned to her seat.

“Are you absolutely sure that two plus
two is four?” he enquired.

All of them were a little bit annoyed by the question. It
was so ridiculously simple, they couldn’t understand why
Dr. Singh was asking them that again.

Amy answered quickly, “Yes, I’m absolutely sure of that.
Very very very sure.”

Dr. Singh said, “So we can say without hesitation that it
is a fact that two plus two is four.”

“Yes,” said Jim. “That’s a fact alright.”

“You know something?” said Dr. Singh with a twinkle in
his eye. “I simply love facts. Even though they are stubborn
things according to John Adams. Do you know why I love
them so much?”

“Because fact is another name for Truth?” said Andrew.

“Well, yes, of course. Fact is another name for Truth. But
that is not the reason why I love facts so much.”

He gave them some time to think. But no one seemed to
know the reason.

“Alright,” said Dr. Singh at last. “I’ll tell you why I love
facts. It is because facts do not allow us to have our own
opinions.”

They listened carefully as he went on, “That’s the wonderful
thing about facts. Nobody argues over them. They
are not subject to personal interpretation. There is absolutely
no need to wonder about them. They are clearly
observable and like Jawaharlal Nehru said - they are not
going to disappear because you don’t like them. A fact is a
certainty that has universal acceptance. It doesn’t matter
which country or age you live in; whether it is America or
China. At all times and at all places, two plus two is always
four. There are no disagreements about it. Absolutely no
disputes. That is the Truth that prevails - as they say in India
- Satyamev Jayate. Truth will prevail.”

He had a match box on the table. He took out a match
stick and set it alight. He then took a piece of paper and put
it over the flame. It caught fire.

“It’s a fact, isn’t it?” said Dr. Singh. “That fire burns
paper? Nobody will argue with you about that.”

There was also a glass of milk on the table. This time he
didn’t drop any ink into it. He simply pointed to it and
stated another fact.

“It’s a fact that milk is white in color. Everybody agrees
with that. Nobody can deny it.”

“I don’t like disagreements. I don’t like disputes. But it
so happens that in the world of man there are plenty of
disagreements and disputes. The question is why do disagreements
arise? Anyone?”

Dr. Singh waited again for someone to answer. But no
one said anything.

“Disagreements and disputes arise only under one condition.
And that is when the Truth is unknown.”

“Let me explain. The earth was once considered to be at
the center of the universe. Now we know for a fact that it is
not. We no longer have any opinion about it. There was also
a time when people thought the earth was flat. They feared
falling off at the edge! Today we know that the earth is not
flat. It is spherical in shape. It is round. Nobody argues over
this fact anymore.”

“I can give you some more examples. Hundreds of years
ago there were some people who believed that a great giant
by the name of Atlas carried the earth upon his shoulders.
And some ancient folks thought that the earth was supported
on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant
sea turtle.”

“Today there are no more arguments and disputes about
these issues. Because with the help of science and technology,
we’ve gone out in space and seen the Truth with our
own eyes. We have seen that there is no Atlas carrying the
earth upon his shoulders. Nor is the earth supported by four
elephants. It is not flat. And it is certainly not the center of
the universe.”

“I hope that makes it a little clearer for you when I say
that disputes only arise when the Truth is unknown. This is
because some facts lie beyond our power of perception.
This happens when we are confronted with matters that are
imperceptible. They cannot be perceived by our senses.
These facts are enveloped in darkness, totally concealed and
hidden.”

“For example, say there’s a crime scene. A man lies dead
in his living room. He was shot dead. This is something that
happened when there were no witnesses. Who killed him?
Nobody knows. This matter belongs to the realm of the
unseen, the unknown. How are we to know who killed this
man?”

“Another example. News reports. There are many events
taking place all around the world. They are reported in the
newspapers. But how are we to perceive the truth of those
reports? It’s impossible for us to be physically present at all
times and places to know what really happened, right?”
“A friend might come to you and tell you about a dream
he had. It’s impossible for you to get into the head of your
friend to see for yourself whether he really had the dream.
So how are you to know if he is telling you the truth?”

“Well?” Dr. Singh waited for an answer.

None came.

He said the words slowly.

“This is where we engage in something called belief.”
He explained. “When confronted with anything that lies
beyond our sense of perception, we have no other option
but to believe it or not believe it.”

“Dreams. When someone tells you about a dream he had,
you have no option but to either believe him or not believe
him. It is the same with news reports.”

“Now, regarding the murder mystery. A man has been
killed. Nobody knows who did it. The truth is unknown. So
because it is unknown, people are going to come forward
with a lot of theories and explanations. They are going to
have a lot of opinions. This is what happens when the truth
is unknown, concealed and hidden. But that doesn’t mean
that we can’t find out what the truth is.”

“It is the job of detectives and the police to find out what
it is so that they can catch the killer and put him behind
bars. Before their investigations, they too are in the dark.
They don’t know what the truth is. They know nothing. But
in the end, they do uncover the truth and catch the killer.
These detectives didn’t witness the murder. But they find
out what the truth is by searching for clues and looking at
the evidence. They stick to facts and are thoroughly objective
in their approach. They are dealing with the unseen and
unknown. So of course they are going to have their beliefs
about who committed the murder. But their beliefs are
always supported by evidence. They do not indulge in wild
guessing.”

“So the key word here is - evidence. Whatever we
believe must always be supported by evidence. Sure, we can
believe whatever we like, but without evidence our beliefs
have no ground to stand on. This is extremely important! If
we believe in something, we should be able to say why we
believe it. We must be able to provide the proof, evidence
and reason why we believe what we do. Otherwise we
would be like those ancient people who believed that the
earth was flat and that it was supported on the backs of four
elephants.”

“You are here to find out about things that belong to the
world of the unseen. You want to solve the mysteries of life
and death. You want to know who you are, what you are
doing here, what is the purpose of your life and what happens
after death. Now please listen carefully.”

Dr. Singh stopped speaking to catch his breath. He was
very passionate about the subject that was under discussion.
And he had reached the point that was the most important
of all.

“These questions have answers. Some real answers. And
I have no doubt, given the sincerity and drive you have
shown so far, that you will find these answers. But you need
to understand one thing. These questions are related to the
world of the unseen. The world that is totally concealed and
hidden. Therefore you have no other option but to believe in
it or not believe in it. That world cannot be grasped by our
perceptions.....we cannot see it, hear it, taste it, smell it or
touch it. Just as you cannot perceive the dream of your
friend. You either believe him or you don’t. There is no way
you can get into his head and experience that dream for
yourself. Do you understand?”

They all nodded. They were actually wonderstruck.
Finally Dr. Singh had touched on the subject they were all
dying to know more about.

“Detectives find the Truth by looking for clues and
evidence,” said Dr. Singh. “And you too must do the same.”
“Of course,” he went on with a big smile. “I’ll be here to
help you look for those clues and evidence. They are found
in great abundance all around you actually. Frankly, I think
you are going to be quite amazed when I point them out to
you.”

----------End of Chapter 16----------------
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-21-2011, 06:23 AM
Questions on chapter 16:

1. So you thought Chapter 15 was cool. What do you think about Chapter 16?

2. Does the significance of the quote by Immanuel Kant (There is nothing higher than reason)... in the beginning of the book become clearer in this chapter?

3. What do you think of opinions that are not supported by evidence? Do you think evidence is important?

4. Dr. Singh has finally touched upon the subject of death. How do you feel now that he has done that? Do you share in the class excitement? Do you feel like you are sitting there in the classroom with Dr. Singh?

Read more: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-21-2011, 08:07 PM
Chapter 17

They were sitting on comfortable white sofas in an airconditioned
room, sipping lemonade. There was a
Hindi movie going on and they were all watching it with
interest. Nobody except Dr. Singh understood Hindi, but
that was okay. They could follow the story by reading the
English sub-titles.

It was odd. Entertainment was the last thing they expected
at that retreat. But they were glad. It was a nice
break from all the serious thinking and contemplation
exercises that had rattled their brains for the past few days.

The name of the movie they were watching was Dilwale
Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
. It was the story of a young girl
named Simran who is dismayed to learn that her father had
arranged her marriage with his friend’s son in India. She
asks her father to let her go on a month long holiday on the
Euro-rail with her friends before she goes to India to marry
a man who she had never seen or met in her entire life. Her
father is very strict, but he agrees. On the train, she meets
Raj, a guy who is also on holiday with his friends. The two
of them fall in love. Simran’s father comes to know about
this. In a rage he informs his entire family that they are
leaving for India the next day. Raj then goes to India to find
his beloved Simran and bring her back to England. But his
task is difficult because everyone is preparing for Simran’s
wedding. Simran’s mother soon discovers that Raj and
Simran love each other. But she also knows that her husband
would never accept Raj. She tells Raj and Simran to
run away. At this point, Dr. Singh stopped the movie.

“I want you to listen carefully to what Raj says,” he said.
“He is about to speak about a universal Truth and it is
important for you to take note of it.”

He pressed the play button.

Raj was saying to Simran’s mother. “When I was a little
boy, my mother passed away. Whatever I am today is mainly
because of her. She said to me, “Son, in your journey of life
you will come upon many turns and cross-roads. The wrong
road will be the one that will be easy. It will be very attractive
and pleasing. You will be drawn towards it. While the
other road which is the right road, will be hard. Bear in
mind son, that if you take this road, you may face a lot of
difficulties and hardships in the beginning, but ultimately it is
by walking on this road alone that you will win.” Raj did not
want to run away with Simran. He felt that it was the wrong
road to take.

They watched the movie till the end. Amy was clapping
her hands because she was so overjoyed that Simran and
Raj got together at last. It was a happy ending and they
were all smiles. To Richard, this was unusual entertainment.
He had never watched a Hindi movie before.

“Most extraordinary!” he thought.

They all looked relaxed and pleased.

Henry got them all some more lemonade.

“I hope you enjoyed the movie,” said Dr. Singh. “I watch
Hindi movies quite frequently. But not for entertainment,
though I must say that these movies are certainly very
gripping.”

“Not for entertainment?” Marie was puzzled.

“Yea,” said Dr. Singh. “There are many lessons we can
learn from watching them. For example, that dialogue
between Raj and Simran’s mother. Did you take note of it?”

“Actually I have written down some notes on that,” said
Marie.

“Let’s hear what you’ve written,” said Dr. Singh.

“There are two roads to take. One is the wrong road and
the other is the right road. The wrong road is easy, the right
one is hard. The one who takes the right road will win in the
end,” Marie read out.

“Very good,” said Dr. Singh. “I hope that makes it pretty
apparent why Truth is so bitter for many people?”

“I know!” said Andrew. “The right road to take is the
path of Truth, and that road is full of hardships and difficulties.
So that’s why Truth is so bitter for many people. They
don’t like to take the hard road.”

“Yes,” said Richard. “It makes so much sense now.
There’s only one way that leads to real success and that’s
the way of Truth. Anyone who takes the wrong way cannot
expect to win.”

“You know,” said Jim thoughtfully. “There isn’t just one
way that is going in the wrong direction. There are thousands
and millions of them. Only one way is the right way to
go.”

Dr. Singh nodded his head appreciatively. “Sharp observation
there, Jim. Very good!”

Martha wanted some words of appreciation as well.

“Truth is bitter for another reason,” she said. “Truth
won’t change. It remains the way it is whether you like it or
not. And you can’t have an opinion about it either.”

“Marvelous!” cried Dr. Singh. “You have hit it right on
the button. People hate the Truth because it won’t change.
Very good!”

Martha felt as if she was on cloud nine.

“Truth and untruth can never be the same,” said Dr.
Singh. “Truth will not change. It remains the way it is. It
will not become what you want it to be. On the other hand,
untruth keeps changing. Untruth is whatever you want it to
be. If you don’t like it, you can always change it to fit your
view of things.”

“I never knew so much about Truth like I do now,” said
Richard. “I think more people should attend this retreat.”

“Most people are just not interested in learning about the
Truth,” said Henry matter-of-factly.

“It’s such a shame!” said Martha. She was really pleased
to have made it to the retreat and was sorry for all the
people who had not qualified.

“Most people don’t want to know what the Truth is,”
said Dr. Singh. “It is bitter after all. Who likes swallowing a
bitter pill? And talk about bitter, does anyone know which is
the bitterest Truth of all?”

“Ah, you mean that bitter Truth that everyone flees from
like frightened rabbits?” chuckled Henry.

Dr. Singh nodded. “Yep. It’s a bitter piece of Truth that
people don’t like to think about. It terrifies them.”

“I know what it is,” said Richard quietly. “There is
nothing more terrifying than the thought of death. Am I
right?”

Dr. Singh smiled. “Yes, you are. People don’t like to
think about dying. So they don’t think about it at all. Until it
comes to them suddenly.”

Richard nodded. He was at the retreat for no other
reason than to know more about this mysterious phenomenon.
The thought of death terrified him, that was true. And
he had always evaded thinking about it all his life. Until the
doctor had broken the news to him that he hadn’t much
longer to live.

“I have a little story to tell you,” said Dr. Singh. “It has
to do with people’s attitude towards death.”

All of them leaned forward to hear the story.

“Once a man named Simon had a dream. He dreamed
that he was on a train. The train was traveling at full speed.
The passengers on the train were busy eating and drinking.
They were playing music at full blast and singing and dancing
and decorating their compartments with artistic drawings
and paintings. When the train stopped at various
stations many passengers bought things to make their trip
more comfortable. Simon saw that some people were very
wealthy, while others were not. But the same merry atmosphere
pervaded the entire train. Or so it seemed. He
walked from one coach to the next and saw all the people
were engaged in enjoying themselves. Suddenly, the train
entered a deep, dark tunnel. The doors opened and some
people were snatched away by some dark mysterious hands.
When the relatives of the people who were taken away saw
that they were no more, they wailed and cried. But soon
afterwards, they went back to their merry-making.”

“What a strange dream!” thought Marie.

Dr. Singh continued with his story. “The train stopped at
many tunnels and many more people were snatched away.
Simon was extremely scared. He decided to ask one of the
passengers what it all meant. “What are these mysterious
tunnels?” he asked. “Where are these people taken?” “Oh, I
don’t know where they go,” said the passenger. “I just
know that they come to get us at these tunnels.” “Do they
come to get you at any time?” asked Simon. “Oh yeah, they
can come any time to get you. I suggest you don’t think
about it,” was the reply, and the passenger went back to
playing cards.”

“Well, Simon was terrified. The train could stop any
moment at one of those dreaded tunnels and it could be his
turn to go! He wanted to know more about those tunnels.
So he kept looking for an answer. He went through many
coaches and was dismayed to find the same carefree attitude
in every coach. He decided to ask somebody a question. He
tapped one man on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” said Simon.
“Could you please tell me where this train is going?” “I
don’t know,” said the man. “And I don’t care!” He laughed
and offered Simon some beer.”

“Simon was of course very upset. What kind of attitude
was this!? He couldn’t understand how these people could
be so merry and so ignorant. He had never seen such incredibly
foolish people. And then he found one coach that was
different from the rest. The passengers in that coach didn’t
have many belongings. Their compartment was not decorated.
They wore no fine clothes but were dressed in simple
white attire. When the train stopped at a station, they would
purchase lots of straw, hay and grass. All of them read
books and seemed to be memorizing some instructions
given in them. “How odd!” thought Simon. “Excuse me,”
he said to one passenger clad in white. “Do you know
where this train is going? And what happens to people when
they are taken away at those dark, mysterious tunnels?” The
passenger nodded his head. “Yes, I know where this train is
going. And I also know what happens to those people at
those tunnels. We are actually preparing ourselves for
that.””

Dr. Singh paused for a few seconds. Then he continued
with a smile. “At this point, Simon was awakened from his
dream by the loud ringing of his alarm clock.”

“Aww!” cried Amy. “Now we’re never going to know
where that train was going or what those dark tunnels were
about!!”

“It doesn’t matter,” said Martha. “I think Dr. Singh has
made his point.”

Everyone except Amy could see the point. She looked at
them all extremely perplexed.

“Will anyone volunteer to explain the dream to Amy?”
asked Dr. Singh.

Richard turned and looked at Amy. “You see Amy, it is
really quite simple,” he said. “We are all on the train. Every
person on earth is on it. We are all going somewhere. And
most people don’t know where. The problem is not that
they don’t know where they are going. The problem is, they
don’t care.”

“In the story, you saw that the passengers on the train
were carefree and busy enjoying themselves. That’s how the
people of this world are. Well, most of them anyway. They
know that death can come to anyone at any time, but they
don’t want to think about it. Those tunnels are tunnels of
death. And anyone can be snatched away at any time. Simon
asks people questions. Where is the train going? What do
people say? They tell him they don’t know and they don’t
care!”

“And then he finds some people who do know where
they are going. These people are wearing white clothes and
purchasing straw, hay and grass. It’s not important why they
were collecting these things. It’s important that they knew
the answers to the questions that Simon was asking. It’s
important that they were preparing themselves for the time
when the tunnels would get them.”

“Oh!” cried Amy. “I understand! This dream is about
foolish people and clever people, isn’t it?”

“Foolish people and clever people?” Richard wondered
what she meant.

“Yes,” said Amy. “The foolish people are the ones who
don’t care. The clever people are the ones who do.”

----------End of Chapter 17-------------
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-21-2011, 08:21 PM
Questions on chapter 17.

1. Do you feel that Dr. Singh was wrong to provide entertainment at the retreat? Would it have been better if he had simply continued with his lessons instead?

2. Was there anything of value that the students learned from the Hindi movie? Or was it a complete waste of time?

3. What do you think about people's attitude towards death? How correct is the description given in Simon's dream regarding that attitude?
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-22-2011, 08:36 PM
Chapter 18

“It feels so nice to be here in this room,” remarked
Marie. “It’s nice and cool and I feel so refreshed
after watching that movie.”

Richard agreed. This room was the kind he was used to.
It was indeed very comfortable.

Dr. Singh smiled. “I thought a little break would do you
some good. And besides you deserve a little bit of reward
for being such outstanding students.”

“We’re the clever people,” said Amy smugly. “Aren’t we,
Dr. Singh?”

“Oh yes! Certainly!” he replied at once. “This room is
specially reserved for you to help you unwind and relax.
Believe me, you’re going to need it. Our journey in search
of Truth and in search of answers has only just begun. You
have a long way to go, many discoveries to make and a lot
of work to do.”

“You’re very kind, Dr. Singh,” said Martha. “Thank you
so much!”

“Not at all! Not at all!” replied Dr. Singh.

“Well,” said Amy. “I knew all along that it was going to
be a lot of fun! I’m so happy I came here! Thank you so
much Dr. Singh for taking me in even though I’m so little.”

“We encourage children to come,” said Dr. Singh. “Since
they absorb everything, it would do them a lot of good to
learn what is right and distinguish between true and false
early in life. That is what we teach over here. Our aim is to
help you know what is true and what is not. It’s the adults
who have a harder time actually. They have to unlearn all
the things that prevent them from seeing the Truth the way
it really is.”

“That’s so true,” remarked Martha.

“Yes,” said Richard. “It’s harder for us who are grown
up. But I sure am glad to be here. You are so right. This has
been the best decision I have ever made. And like Amy, I
must admit that I am having fun too.”

Everyone was in agreement. Yes, it was a lot of fun. It
was fun to find answers to questions and listen to stories
and watch movies. They enjoyed thinking about things and
making great discoveries. It was fun because it was all so
meaningful and enlightening. It satisfied their burning
curiosity. It was like court TV. Seriously entertaining.

“Let’s play a game,” said Dr. Singh suddenly.

Amy’s eyes sparkled with delight. More fun! How wonderful!

Henry left the room and came back with a basket containing
various objects. He withdrew them one by one and
placed them upon the table:

A pair of shoes, a pair of gloves, a pair of sunglasses, a
cap, a t-shirt, a belt.

“Okay,” said Dr. Singh. “The name of this game is - Built
upon what Truth.”

“Built upon what Truth….?” Jim repeated the words.

“Yes!” said Dr. Singh enthusiastically. “This game is
extremely easy but by playing it you will come to understand
how everything you see around you is built upon
Truth. These things you see here are all built upon Truth.
Let’s see if you can tell me what Truth each of these things
is built on.”

He picked up the shoes and asked, “What Truth are these
shoes built on?”

“I know! I know! I know!!” cried Amy excitedly. “These
shoes are built on the Truth that we have two feet!”

“That’s right,” said Dr. Singh. “What about this cap? No,
Amy. Let someone else answer.”

Marie answered. “This cap is built on the Truth that we
have one head and it is round in shape.”

“These sunglasses?” Dr. Singh picked up the pair and put
them on.

“Those sunglasses are built on the Truth that we have
two eyes,” said Martha. Then as an afterthought, she added,
“And also the Truth that we have two ears to hang them
on.”

“Good observation. Very good!” said Dr. Singh. He then
picked up the t-shirt. “What Truth is this t-shirt made
upon?”

“It is built on the Truth that we as human beings have
two arms. The right sleeve for the right arm and the left
sleeve for the left arm. We also have one chest. The t-shirt is
shaped to fit our torso, or upper body. We also have a neck,
so there is a hole in the middle of the t-shirt for that,” said
Richard.

“Right! Now what about these gloves?” Dr. Singh put
them on.

“Those gloves are built on the Truth that we have two
hands,” said Andrew.

“And this belt?”

“It is built on the Truth that we have a waist and need
something to hold up our trousers or pants,” said Jim.

“That wasn’t a difficult game, was it?” said Dr. Singh. “It
is pretty apparent when you think about it. Everything you
see around you is built upon Truth. We can make progress
only when we stick to the Truth.”

He picked up the t-shirt. “This t-shirt doesn’t have three,
four or seven sleeves.”

He pointed to the shoes. “Shoes are always in pairs.
When we make them, we have to make two of them. We
never make just one. Nor do we make more than two.”

He put on the sunglasses. “The same logic applies to
these sunglasses. And these gloves as well.”

“This cap is designed to fit the head. One head. Not three
or four heads because we don’t have three or four heads.
This belt is designed to fit our waist. Now did you notice
something while doing this exercise? Did you take note of
anything else significant?”

He waited. And when no one spoke, he said, “Well, it’s
pretty obvious. Everything you see has a certain size and
proportion. When we make shoes, we have to make shoes
in different sizes. One size does not fit all people. Clothes
are made in different sizes. Tailors take your measurements
to make clothes that will fit you perfectly. Those measurements
have to be accurate. You can’t have one sleeve longer
and the other shorter, for example. So size, shape and
proportion. These things are pretty apparent. When we
make anything, we have to keep in mind the true dimensions.
Our measurements have to be accurate. In other
words, we make things keeping the Truth in mind. Sure,
these shoes are built on the Truth that we have two feet. All
shoes are made in pairs because of that. But there is also
another Truth and that is, our feet come in different sizes.
There are shoes for babies, children, men and women.”

“There’s also another thing that we can take note of.
These shoes are made of leather. We don’t make shoes out
of iron or steel. That would be most uncomfortable, don’t
you think? These sofas you are sitting on. They are not
made of iron either. Neither are our beds. When I go to the
kitchen, I make an omelet on a frying pan that is made of
metal. We never make our frying pans out of plastic. Do you
know why?”

“Because plastic would melt,” said Amy at once.

“Very good! So do you see how we make things keeping
the Truth in mind? We build things with knowledge. Knowledge
of the Truth. We know the properties of metal and we
know the properties of plastic. And because we know, we
make our frying pans out of metal. It doesn’t matter what
country you go to, in what age or time. People everywhere
follow the same principles. These things you see here and all
the things that man has made, they are all built upon Truth.
Now suppose you see a man placing a pot made of wood on
the stove, what would you think of him?”

“Silly!” said Martha.

“Of course! That’s right. He would be silly to do such a
thing. But there’s an important point to be made here. The
point is, if you follow anything other than the Truth, you
would be silly.”

It made sense to them now that he put it that way.

“You see, Truth never changes. It doesn’t matter what
you think or believe, it is not going to change. You might
believe or you might think that you can boil some water in a
wooden pot. Sure you can go ahead and believe and think
whatever you like. But your belief or thought must be based
on knowledge. Knowledge of the Truth. It’s important that
you know what the Truth is before you do anything. Doing
things in ignorance can land you in serious trouble. There is
therefore a big difference between a person who knows and
a person who doesn’t know. A knowledgeable person is not
the same as one who is ignorant. Like those people who
were on the train. They didn’t know where they were going
and they didn’t care to find out.”

“You are here today because you care and because you
want to find out where we are going. Of course that’s very
clever of you. Why? Because you will benefit from all this.
You will be a winner. You won’t be like those thousands of
people who are ignorant and who are lost. Frankly it’s all in
your own self interest. Tell me, if a person is headed in the
wrong direction, would that affect you? Or anyone else?”

They shook their heads.

“No, whoever goes in the wrong direction would meet
with his own doom. It is his loss alone. And he has no one
but himself to blame, because he is the one who didn’t care
where he was going. He chose that direction. He chose
ignorance. But a person who chooses the right way and
who walks on the path of Truth, he is the one who will win
in the end, even though he will face difficulties and hardships
on the way. So it’s really alright with me that hundreds
and thousands of people are headed in the wrong direction.
It is their loss and their problem. I won’t suffer because of
the decision and choices they have made. I know that I am
on the right path and I know that I will win if I stay on this
path. That’s all that matters to me. I must admit I am rather
selfish in this regard. There is room over here for over
seventy people. But only six of you managed to make it. I
don’t really care about the people who didn’t qualify for this
retreat. It is their loss, not mine or yours. So, it is my ardent
hope that you will be as selfish as I am as far as hunting for
the Truth is concerned. I believe that you will find the
answers to many questions here. And I hope you will have
the courage to accept the Truth, whatever it is. After all,
you are the one who will reap the fruit of your labor. Your
hard work will pay off and in the end, success and victory
will be yours. And yours alone. Don’t worry about other
people I always say. Worry about yourself.”

-----------End of Chapter 18-------------

Read more: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-22-2011, 08:37 PM
Questions on chapter 18.

1. What do you think about Dr. Singh's game: Built Upon What Truth?

2. How do you feel about the people who had not qualified to attend the retreat? Do you think it was a good idea for Dr. Singh to have the eligibility test? Why? / Why not?

Read more: here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-23-2011, 08:50 PM
Chapter 19

They were back in their classroom, ready for action.
Dr. Singh had written one word on the blackboard in
huge big letters. That single word announced to them that
they were going to learn about a subject of paramount
importance. The word was - Beliefs.

Henry had a paint brush and a pail of black paint with
him, and he was painting the side door black.

“What on earth is he doing?” wondered Martha. A black
door looked very much out of place.

Dr. Singh meanwhile was sitting in his chair, a broad
smile upon his face. He liked to keep his students in suspense.

He called Amy. She got up and went to him. He had
something in his fist and he showed her what it was. Then
he whispered something in her ear. Amy giggled and went
back to her seat.

“What’s in my fist?” he asked. “Can you guess what it
is?”

They all tried.

“Is it a penny?” said Marie.

Martha thought it was a button.

Richard said, “I think you have nothing in your fist.”

“I believe it’s a pebble,” said Jim.

Andrew didn’t answer. He remained quiet.

“Well, Andrew? What’s the matter? Can’t guess what
I’ve got in my fist?” Dr. Singh waited for him to respond.

“Actually sir, I don’t wanna guess. I don’t know what
you got in your fist.”

Dr. Singh was impressed. “Now that’s a great answer!
Good job! Bravo!”

Andrew was surprised. So were the rest of them. They
did not at all understand why Dr. Singh was so pleased with
his answer. Dr. Singh wasted no time in explaining.

“Too many people indulge in guesswork,” he said. “Very
few people are honest enough to admit that they do not
know the answer. When searching for the Truth, it is vital to
have this element of honesty. I admire people who have the
grace to say that they do not know and are honest about it.
And I despise people who claim that they know the answer
when in fact they are doing nothing but guesswork. You’ll
understand precisely what I mean in a moment.”

“Amy knows what’s in my fist. Tell us Amy, who has
guessed correctly.”

“None of them!” said Amy.

“Now please understand that I am not condemning you
for trying to guess what’s in my fist. You were doing so
under my instructions. This was in reality an experiment. By
participating in this exercise I am hoping you will under
stand how people believe in all kinds of things when they
are dealing with things that are beyond their powers of
perception. You cannot see, hear, taste, smell or touch what
is in my fist. So what do most people do? Yes, they guess.
They make a lot of guesses. And with the passage of time,
their guess becomes their faith. Their belief. Their conviction.”

He held out his fist.

“Amy knows what’s in my fist. If you ask her she will tell
you what it is.”

He told her to tell them what it was.

“It’s an orange seed!” said Amy.

Dr. Singh opened his hand. There it was. An orange seed.

“I hope you have learnt something very important about
belief from this,” he said. “But let’s hear it from you. What
did you learn?”

“Uhh…that people do a lot of guesswork?” said Jim.

“People are wrong to indulge in guesswork?” said Andrew.

“Ah, I know!” said Richard. “People are usually wrong
when they guess the answers. But they are even more
wrong when they believe whatever it is that they guess.”

“And we have learned that it is better to say that you
don’t know the answer rather than guess it,” said Marie.

“Very good! Very good!” said Dr. Singh. “You have
learnt well. But just in case it has escaped your observation,
I shall explain in more detail the meaning of all this.”

He took a deep breath. “I have an orange seed in my fist.
Nobody except Amy and I know about this Truth. There is
only one Truth. I’m sure you haven’t forgotten that already,
have you? Only one answer is correct. 99.9%
of answers are going to be wrong. So……..”

“If you believed that I have a penny in my fist, would
your belief turn that orange seed into a penny?”

“No,” said Marie.

He looked at Martha. “If you believed that I held a
button in my fist, would your belief turn that orange seed
into a button?”

The answer was of course negative again.

“And Richard, if you believed that there was nothing in
my fist, would your belief cause that orange seed in my fist
to disappear into thin air?”

Richard saw the point. Loud and clear.

“You see,” continued Dr. Singh, “you can believe whatever
you like. You can believe the moon is square in shape
for example. But would that belief make that moon become
square in shape?”

Henry had finished painting the door. Dr. Singh took no
notice. He went on. “If you believe something, you need to
have a reason why you believe it. For example, if you
believed that I have an orange seed in my fist and I asked
you the reason why you believe it, you can tell me that you
asked Amy. She had seen what was in my fist. So you have
a good reason to back up what you believe.”

“People have many beliefs. And most beliefs are unfounded
and baseless. If you ask people why they believe
what they do they won’t be able to give you a reasonable
answer. Usually people simply follow the beliefs of their
forefathers. And that’s not surprising.”

“Yeah, I understand that pretty well,” said Andrew. “It’s
children, isn’t it? They would inherit the beliefs and customs
of their parents and pass that on to their children. And it
goes on and on and on.”

“Yes,” said Dr. Singh. “Glad to know that you have not
forgotten our previous lessons. Blind beliefs. That’s what
we are dealing with. Remember those ancient people who
believed that the earth was supported on the backs of four
elephants? What reason did they have for believing such a
thing?”

“I guess they had no reason,” said Andrew.

“That was made up. A figment of their imagination,” said
Richard.

“Guesswork,” said Marie.

“Exactly!” said Dr. Singh. “Their belief had no basis
whatsoever. It was not founded on fact, nor evidence nor
reason. Therefore their belief was clearly in error.”

“The problem with people is that they believe anything.
They entertain a strange notion that if they believe in something
hard enough they will make possible what is impossible.
In other words, they think that faith and belief can
perform miracles. They believe that Truth is whatever you
want it to be if you believe in it with all your heart.”

“That’s preposterous!” exclaimed Richard.

“Yea, I know. But that’s how people are. I watch Hindi
movies a lot. There are many lessons to be learned in watching
them. Lessons that teach you what to avoid. It’s in
watching nonsense that you actually gain wisdom. Now that
doesn’t mean that all Hindi movies are rubbish. But I’m sure
many people are aware that these movies revolve more
around fantasy and things that are untrue.”

“Take for example, the movie Karan Arjun. It’s the story
of rebirth. A mother loses her two sons and she goes to the
temple and beats her head on the stone before the goddess
Kali, begging this goddess to return her sons to her. In the
beginning of the movie, there goes the commentary - This
story is about belief. Belief and faith that can make the
impossible, possible.”

“So, this mother has strong belief and faith that her two
sons will come back. And the movie shows the birth of her
two sons. Born again. In other words, the belief of this
woman is so strong that her belief becomes true. It makes
possible what is impossible.”

“By now, you already know that Truth is universal in
nature. It applies to all people, at all places and at all times.
The concept of rebirth is found only in India and its surrounding
region. It is not known in other parts of the world. I leave you to decide
whether you want to believe it or not. And to help you
decide perhaps you could ask these people who believe in
rebirth why they believe what they do. See if you can get a
reasonable answer.”

“I’m almost certain they believe that because that is what
their forefathers believed,” said Richard.

“Uh huh,” said Marie. “Blind faith. That’s what I think it
is. They’ve got no reason to believe it.”

Dr. Singh smiled. “There’s a TV show I’ve been watching
lately - on Zee TV, called Shabash India - Naa mumkin
kuchh bhi nahin. To translate that, it means - Well done
India - Nothing is impossible.”

“The producers of that show say - Nothing is impossible.
You get to see many astonishing feats. Like a man setting
himself on fire and jumping from a height into a tank of
water that has been set ablaze. And a man who does some
stunts with his motor cycle, flying over many buses. A little
boy with roller skates, skating under 30 cars, with his legs
outstretched on either side. A man blowing up a massive
rubber tube by blowing into it, and so on. However, all this
does not mean that nothing is impossible. This is a highly
misleading statement. Here are some things that are impossible
to do.”

He turned and wrote the following on the blackboard:

1. Turn copper into gold.
2. Kill a man and then bring him back to life.
3. Get a dead man to make a woman pregnant.
4. Go without food, water, sleep for three days and then
win in the Olympic race.
5. Change our parents.
6. Change the age in which we live.
7. Pluck a leaf from a tree and then put it back.
8. Prevent fire from burning paper.
9. Teach dogs, cats, rabbits and goats to speak English.
10. Obtain a Master of Arts degree without studying.

“My! These are impossibilities indeed!” said Martha.

“I can think of many more impossibilities. The greatest
impossibility is changing the Truth. But I hope you see the
point. That slogan - Nothing is impossible has done a fine
job in reflecting the mentality of the Indian people. They
believe in anything and everything. They believe even in
impossibilities.”

“That’s really absurd!” said Marie.

“Yes, it is,” said Dr. Singh. “But it’s not just the Indian
people who are that way. It’s people all over the world. This
is a condition which afflicts all human beings.”

Richard nodded. He thought about the American people.
They believed in impossibilities as well. There was no
denying that. Dr. Singh spoke the Truth.

“Well, not all human beings are like that,” said Jim. “I’m
not.”

“Me neither,” said Amy quickly.

“That’s true too,” said Dr. Singh. “Not all human beings
believe in absurdities and nonsense. That’s a good thing to
know. And it’s nice to know there are people in this world
who want answers that make sense, and who are not content
with the answers provided by their forefathers. And hey,
I’m talking about all of you.”

He smiled and they smiled back in return.

“And now,” said Dr. Singh. “Let’s turn our attention to
this mysterious black door over here.”

-------------End of Chapter 19-----------

Questions on chapter 19:

1. Would you say this chapter was an important one? Why?

2. What did you think of Dr. Singh's "What's in my fist?" game? Do you think it was a good way to explain how people come up with strange ideas to explain mysteries?

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Flame of Hope
07-25-2011, 09:09 PM
Chapter 20

This black door and what lies beyond it is a mystery,”
said Dr. Singh. “Would you like to guess what’s on
the other side of this door?”

They shook their heads.

Jim spoke for all of them. “We don’t want to indulge in
guesswork,” he said.

“Nice to know you’ve learned your lesson,” said Dr.
Singh. “Guesswork and conjecture can never help us know
what is the truth and reality. So we are not going to guess.
We don’t know what lies beyond this door. But we know
for sure one thing. What?”

They looked at him blankly.

“We know for certain one thing, my friends. And that is,
there is only one correct answer.”

“Right!” exclaimed Jim. “Now why didn’t I think of
that?!”

“Yeah,” said Andrew. “There’s only one Truth. Whatever
lies beyond this door, we don’t know what it is. But we can
say for sure that only one answer has gotta be the right
answer.”

“And that answer will not change,” finished Richard.

Dr. Singh was about to speak when Marie raised her
hand.

“Also one more thing!” she said. “No amount of belief or
faith is going to change that answer either.”

“I’m very pleased,” remarked Dr. Singh. “You really are
brilliant students.”

He took a piece of chalk and went to the blackboard. He
made a little dot and then drew a horizontal line.

“This point here is our entry into this world, our birth.”
He wrote the word Birth under the dot.

“And this line here is the length of our life here on earth.
It comes to an end here….” And he made another dot at the
end of the line. He wrote the word Death under it.

“This point is where we leave this world. Our death.
Now, this is a scary topic. I’m not sure if you really want to
know more about it. Not only are we looking at a subject
that is frightening, we are also looking at a subject that
people are very sensitive about. You see, people have a lot
of beliefs about death and what happens after death. And
these beliefs have been drummed into our consciousness
since we were little by our parents, guardians, elders and
society. You already know that there is only one Truth. That
means ninety-nine percent of beliefs are going to be wrong.
So…”

“I understand what you mean,” said Richard. “You’re
wondering whether we have the guts to face that Truth,
especially now that we know that believing differently won’t
change it.”

“Yes, I want to know if you have got the courage to
admit that you’re wrong about whatever beliefs you have
entertained about this subject. We shall not proceed unless
you’re ready.”

They all looked at one another. There was determination
on their faces.

“We’re ready!” said Martha.

“Alright then,” said Dr. Singh walking to the black door.

“Consider this door the door by which you leave this world.
This door indicates Death. Everyone of us will have to go
through this door one day. We have seen people go through
that door and we know very well that they never come
back. We don’t know where they go. They simply disappear
and vanish into thin air and we know that the same fate
awaits us all.”

Amy shuddered. It gave Marie the shivers. Richard found
himself trembling. It was a scary subject alright. But they
were not going to run away. Running away was not the
solution.

“Since we’re dealing with the unknown, of course it’s
inevitable that people are going to indulge in a lot of guesswork.
A lot of it, I’m afraid,” said Dr. Singh. “The question
is, how are we to solve the mystery of death without making
guesses?”

He paused for a few seconds. “You know that things are
built upon Truth. But did you know that things are also built
upon reason?”

“Built upon reason?” said Richard.

“Of course! Isn’t that obvious? Think about it.”

He gave them some time to think. They thought about it
for ten minutes.

Finally Richard had something to share. “Well, come to
think of it, I’ve always believed that there was a reason for
everything. I can’t say why I believe that. It just seems kind
of logical. And it makes sense to me now that you bring it to
our attention. I agree wholeheartedly that all things are built
on reason. Just can’t explain why I agree. Maybe there’s
something deep down inside me that finds this idea most
appealing.”

“Well said and well expressed,” commented Dr. Singh.

“Yes, you’re right. Certainly there’s a reason for everything.
It’s a good thing too. It becomes easy for us to find answers
to questions because of it. All we need to do is ask the
magic question - why. And when you ask why, you’ll get to
know the reason behind anything. Asking the question why
gives you an answer that is reasonable. An answer that
makes sense. And that’s the answer you want. You should
settle for nothing less than that.”

“This is a mystery. What happens after death? No one
seems to know. But I’ve solved this mystery and I think you
can too. It’s really easy but we’ll handle this one step at a
time. Firstly we need to understand that the world of the
unseen – and we’re dealing with the unseen here – this
world cannot be reached through any of our five senses. We
cannot see it, hear it, smell it, taste it or touch it. Now let us
consider what things belong to this unseen world.”

He wrote on the blackboard:

1. Events that happen in this world in different
places and times that we did not personally witness.

“Because we didn’t witness the event – that doesn’t mean
that it never happened, by the way…..” He continued
writing:

2. Dreams of other people.

“It is impossible to experience them for ourselves,” he
commented. And lastly….”

3. The minds of other people, their hearts and their
thoughts.

He explained, “It is impossible for us to know what is in
the hearts of other people and what they think. This definitely
belongs to the world of the unknown and unseen. This
is something that we cannot perceive through any of our
five senses.”

“So these three things here – these are the things which
we cannot perceive with our senses. This is where belief
comes in. But this is also where many people fall into a trap.
They think they can believe whatever they like. This is most
unreasonable.”

“At this point, I’d like to inform you that I’m not going
to tell you what the truth is. You are going to have to find it
on your own and I’m here only to help and guide you. I
shall put before you all the relevant facts and details and I
shall leave you to come to your own conclusions.”

“Speaking of conclusions, I do have something important
to say. In order to reach the right conclusion, you need to
have the right facts and the right premise. A faulty premise
will lead to a faulty conclusion.”

He wrote on the blackboard:

False premise – wrong conclusion.

“You see,” he explained. “If your premise is not based on
fact your conclusions are going to be wrong. For example,
some people say that Truth is unknowable. That it is impossible
to know what happens after death. Impossible to find
out. So their conclusion is – it’s alright to believe whatever
you like.”

“In this case – where people say that Truth is unknowable
– this is a false premise. It is something that is not
based on fact. Because it is false – their conclusions are
going to be wrong. As you can see – their conclusion is that
any belief is valid.”

“The reality is this, my friends. It is not impossible to
uncover the hidden Truth. It is very much possible to find
out and know what the Truth is. It is certainly possible to
solve mysteries.”

“If it was true that Truth is unknowable – then detectives
could never have solved all those murder mysteries. Historians
and archaeologists could never have known what
happened in the past. Scientists would never have found out
so much about the universe.”

“Detectives, lawyers, historians, archaeologists, scientists
– the common man – you and I – in fact, any human being
can find out what the Truth is. Even a child – like Amy –
can do it. But I want to hear from you. Can you tell me how
they do it? How they solve mysteries and find out what
happened in the past?”

“They look for clues and evidence?” said Marie.

“Right. But clues and evidence don’t solve mysteries.
What does?”

He waited for them to give an answer. When none came,
he said, “It’s our power of reason, and in our quest for
Truth – this is what we shall be using, for the world of the
unseen can only be reached through it.”

-----------End of Chapter 20-------------


Questions on chapter 20:

1. Are you disappointed to learn that Dr. Singh never talks about religion nor makes any attempt to preach his religious views to his students? What do you think would happen if he had done that?

2. What do you feel has the answer to the question: what happens after death? Religion or science?

3. "There is nothing higher than reason".... the quote at the beginning of the book by Immanuel Kant. Does this chapter remind you of this quote and clarify the point that all answers about the unknown can only be discovered through the use of reason? If it is reason that helps us to discover what the hidden Truth is, the Truth that can save man from disaster.... does that not prove that "there is nothing higher than reason"? How successfully do you think this chapter highlights the importance of reason.... and its connection to the Truth?

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Flame of Hope
07-26-2011, 09:27 PM
Chapter 21

Dr. Singh went to the black door and tapped on it.

“It’s a mystery what lies beyond this door,” he said.
“And we’re going to solve this mystery by using our power
of reason. That’s the only way to do it. Do you agree?”

“Yes,” said Marie, “whatever lies beyond that door is part
of the unseen.”

“And it cannot be reached by our perceptions of sight,
hearing, taste, smell and touch,” said Dr. Singh. “But before
we proceed to solve this mystery, perhaps you could tell me
something about Sherlock Holmes. I’m sure you must have
heard of him.”

“Who hasn’t heard of Sherlock Holmes!” said Andrew.
“He did some very clever detective work.”

“He’s a fictitious character, created by Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle,” said Martha. “He wasn’t a real person.”

“Yes, yes,” said Dr. Singh. “You are right about that. But
the mysteries he solved were very much like the mysteries
we have in real life. So even though he was a made-up
character, the way in which he solved his mysteries is pretty
valid. He used his power of reasoning just like real people
would do.”

“Yeah, I can understand now why he is so well-known all
over the world,” said Jim. “He was so much like a real
character!”

“Uh huh,” said Dr. Singh. “This is where fiction shines.
Heard of William Shakespeare? Well, he wrote his plays
based upon popular stories that were circulating around in
his days. Even though his plays were fictitious, they are
considered masterpieces in English literature. Why? Because
his work is directly connected to real life situations
and real life people. His plays have universal appeal. We can
relate to the characters in his stories. We can understand the
problems his characters face because their problems are so
much like our problems.”

Marie was thinking and she looked at Dr. Singh with a
quizzical expression on her face. She would have expected
this man to read nothing but books of science. But he
seemed to have his nose into all kinds of things. He watched
movies and read fiction. Just like ordinary, normal folk
would. But Marie didn’t at all think Dr. Singh was ordinary.
He had such a towering, charismatic personality.

“Now, about Sherlock Holmes,” said Dr. Singh. “He was
able to solve many mysteries that others couldn’t because of
just one remarkable thing. What?”

They waited for Dr. Singh to tell them what it was, but
he didn’t. He smiled enigmatically. He posed the question
again. “What was Sherlock Holmes so good at that no case
was too difficult for him to solve?”

Amy couldn’t bear it. “Oh, Dr. Singh!” she cried. “Please
tell us!”

Dr. Singh walked to the blackboard. “Sherlock Holmes
was good at one thing,” he said. And he wrote down one
word:

Observation.

“This is the starting point. This is where you must begin
if you want to be successful at solving any mystery. In any
investigation, this is the first step. Observation is the key to
solving all mysteries.”

He wrote another word on the board:

detective.

“What does a detective do? Well, he solves mysteries,
doesn’t he? That word detective - if we were to break it up,
you’ll find another word in it. And that word is - detect. A
detective is therefore a man who is good at detecting. And
you can’t be good at the art of detection, if you are not
good at observation.”

They listened with great interest.

“Now why is observation so important? It’s because we
are searching for clues. We want evidence that will lead us
to the Truth. Sherlock Holmes observed everything. He
even took note of things that we might consider trivial and
unimportant. In our quest for Truth, we too must take note
of everything. Every clue is important. Nothing must escape
our scrutiny. So first comes observation. Second comes
clues and evidence. And third comes our use of reason.”

He paused and then said, “I don’t know if Sherlock
Holmes would have been able to solve the mysteries of life
and death however. I actually think you can do it more
easily than him!”

“You mean me? I can do it better than Sherlock
Holmes?” asked Amy incredulously.

“Yes, you. All of you!” answered Dr. Singh. “Do you
know why?”

He was smiling again. He loved to tease them.

Amy was impatient once more. “Please Dr. Singh! Please
tell us!” she begged.

“It’s going to be easier for you, my child,” responded Dr.
Singh. “Because you are well acquainted with the properties
of Truth!”

Amy was puzzled. So were the rest of them.

“You don’t understand?” said Dr. Singh. “Well, let me
explain. Tell me.......what is the most outstanding property
of Truth?”

Several hands shot up in the air. “Truth is one!” they
chanted.

“Well then,” said Dr. Singh. “That is the number one
observation, the number one clue and the number one
reason how we solve any mystery. There is only one Truth.
So there’s only one correct answer. Now, tell me what
conclusion would you arrive at from this simple observation?”

“That all other answers are incorrect,” replied Richard.

“That’s right,” said Dr. Singh. “And what does that mean
for us? What would be the reasonable thing to do when you
know that only one answer is right?”

They sat there wondering for a few minutes.

Dr. Singh became a little impatient. “Okay, I’ll tell you
what would be the reasonable thing to do. It would be to
eliminate all answers that are wrong!”

“That makes sense!” exclaimed Richard.

“Of course it makes sense. That’s why it’s the reasonable
thing to do. If Truth is one, then all other answers are going
to be wrong. Now, how do we know which answers are
wrong? They are the answers that are improbable and
unlikely. So all we would need to do is eliminate improbabilities,
whatever is unlikely, and which doesn’t make
sense. It’s as simple as that. I call it the elimination method
and it’s a very effective method of finding the Truth. Just
think about it. If we were to eliminate all the wrong answers,
what are we going to be left with? The Truth of
course. And that’s what we want, don’t we?”

“A lot of people are going to dislike this elimination
method,” observed Jim.

“You are quite right about that,” said Dr. Singh. “Imagine
living all your life believing in something that is not true.
Something that is false, and then learning that it is all false.
That you were on the wrong track. It’s going to hurt the
feelings and sentiments of many people.”

“But don’t people who walk on the path of untruth hurt
themselves the most?” commented Marie.

She thought about the treasure hunt and the false map
they had followed. “If I found out that I was walking on the
wrong street and someone told me what the right street
was, I really don’t think I’d feel hurt. I think I would thank
the person who showed me the right way actually.”

“Aha!” said Dr. Singh. “I like what you said. This is how
we should react. But you must remember that people are
complicated creatures. Many of them don’t like to be
wrong. So they’ll continue walking on the wrong path even
if you told them which was the right path.”

“I guess this is it then,” said Jim. “The time for us to face
reality?”

“Right!” Dr. Singh nodded. “Truth is one. And this is a
fact that will provide us with all the ammunition that we
need to blast all falsehood, lies and untruth into outer space.
Are we ready for business?”

“Yes sir!” they all shouted enthusiastically.

-----------End of Chapter 21--------------
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-26-2011, 09:39 PM
:sl:

The God of All Things is not an easy book to read. And not for the weak-hearted. But it's the only book in the world which solves the mystery of death with such thoroughness and detail as you have seen here.

Death is inevitable and will come to all of us. To die with knowledge and conviction about the truth about the Afterlife is critical.... for after all there can be nothing more precious and more important to us than ensuring the safety of our souls.

I do not preach any religion in this book... it is simply not necessary.

Truth is self-evident..... one just needs an unbiased mind to see it.

Read on .... and discover what it is.... in the forthcoming chapters.

Alhamdulillahir rabbil al ameen!
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-27-2011, 06:16 PM
Chapter 22

Amy felt rather important. Dr. Singh had chosen her
and she was going to solve the first puzzle.

“Are you ready Amy?” said Dr. Singh with a twinkle in
his eye. “You are going to be our little detective. You are
going to solve this mystery and you are going to do it using
the elimination method. Don’t worry, it will come to you
naturally.”

Amy listened carefully.

“There’s a classroom. The blackboard has nothing written
on it. There’s a table in front of it and a chair. On the
table is a piece of chalk. There are several desks there too.
Some people enter this classroom. A man by the name of
Sebastian, his son Robby who is three years old, a blind lady
named Seema and her service dog. Seema is from India by
the way. And she can’t speak English. Okay, so these are the
people who enter the classroom. Seema, the blind lady,
Robby, the three year old and the man named Sebastian.
And yes, don’t forget the dog, Seema’s dog. They stay in
the room for ten minutes. After they have gone, you enter
that classroom and see that there’s something written on the
blackboard. It’s a simple sentence - Two plus two is four.”

Dr. Singh smiled. “Can you tell me Amy, who did not
write that sentence on the blackboard? I don’t want to
know who wrote it. I want to know who didn’t write it.
Understand?”

“Oh, okay,” said Amy. It was instantly clear to her that it
was the man named Sebastian who wrote the sentence on
the blackboard. But that was not the answer Dr. Singh
wanted.

So she said, “Well I know that Robby didn’t write
it. He’s only three years old and I know that little kids that
age don’t know how to write. They don’t know how to add
up numbers. Then, there’s that blind lady. I don’t think she
did it. She couldn’t see. And you said that she didn’t speak
English. So she couldn’t have written that sentence on the
board.”

Dr. Singh nodded. “See how easy it is for us to reason
and rule out the improbabilities? Good job! Seema and
Robby couldn’t have done it, so we are going to rule them
out. Is there anything else that you need to rule out Amy?”

Amy thought about it. “Oh yes!” she said. “There was
that dog. Seema’s dog. He couldn’t have done it either.
Dogs can’t write.”

Dr. Singh was pleased. “I’m glad you thought about
that,” he said. “Certainly, we can rule out the dog. Is there
anything else left to rule out?”

“No,” replied Amy.

“You have left out the table, the chair, the desks.....and
the piece of chalk,” said Dr. Singh extremely amused.

Andrew laughed. And everyone was smiling. They now
understood what Dr. Singh meant when he said that nothing
should escape their observation.

“I know, I know,” said Dr. Singh. “Tables, chairs,
desks....why should we even consider them? Simply so that
we can rule them out. We want to eliminate 99.9% answers,
right? So.....we have ruled out all the wrong answers. Now
tell me Amy, which is the only answer that remains?”

Amy had no hesitation at all in saying that it was
Sebastian.

“Right!” said Dr. Singh. “Eliminate all the wrong answers
and the only answer left is the Truth. You may not have seen
Sebastian actually write two plus two is four on the blackboard
- with your own eyes. But you know for sure that it
must have been him because you know that all the other
answers are wrong. You know what the Truth is by using
your powers of observation and reason.”

“Reason tells you first that there’s only one correct
answer. Meaning there is only one Truth. So you reason that
it couldn’t have been the dog. Dogs can’t write. It couldn’t
have been the blind lady. She couldn’t see. Plus she didn’t
know English. It couldn’t have been Robby because he’s
only three years old. He hadn’t learned how to add numbers,
nor could he write. And of course tables, chairs and
desks are non-living things. They cannot do anything. So the
only answer left is the man named Sebastian. We eliminated
all the wrong answers. In this case, they were all so obvious
that we didn’t need much time to think about it.”

“Now, have you ever heard of those multiple-choice
tests? You know - those tests where you are given four
choices - A, B, C or D. Three of the choices are wrong.
Only one is right?”

“Yes,” said Martha instantly. “I do them all the time. In
Reader’s Digest, when I take the word power test.”

“Okay,” said Dr. Singh. “Often it so happens that you do
not know what is the correct answer. But many times it is
possible to figure out what the right answer is. You see -
you know that there’s only one right answer - there is only
one Truth - so what you would do is eliminate or rule out
those answers you know for sure are wrong. If you can
eliminate three wrong answers - which by the way is 99.9% of
the answers - what would you be left with?”

“The correct answer!” cried Marie.

“So let’s do one of those multiple-choice tests. I’m going
to ask you a question and I’m going to provide you with
four answers. Let’s see if you can figure out what the right
answer is by using the elimination method. Okay?”

He wrote on the blackboard:

What looks like a man and lives in the jungles of South
East Asia?
A) octopus
B) zebra
C) orang utan
D) eagle

“This is so easy,” said Richard. “It’s got to be C - the
orang utan.”

“Can you tell us why you selected this answer?” asked
Dr. Singh.

“Well of course I don’t know what an orang utan is. But
I do know that the octopus lives in the sea. Not in any
jungle. The zebra might live in a jungle I suppose, but it
certainly doesn’t look like a man. And it can’t be the eagle.
The eagle is a bird. So the only answer left is the orang
utan.”

Amy clapped her hands in delight. She was enjoying this
kind of puzzle-solving very much. “This is so much fun!”
she said excitedly.

“Our little formula of eliminating all improbabilities - a
highly effective method of uncovering the Truth. I’m sure
you all agree with me there. And now that you understand
how it works, let’s solve a mystery that has baffled people
since the beginning of history. It still remains a mystery for
many people even today. But you, my dear friends are going
to solve it easily. So easily that it’s going to be a breeze.”

Dr. Singh took a piece of chalk and wrote on the blackboard
the mystery question:

What came first - The chicken or the egg?

“I don’t think it’s gonna be easy to solve that!” exclaimed
Andrew.

“I’ve come across that question many times,” said Richard.
“The debate goes on. Nobody has been able to give a
satisfactory answer. The chicken comes from the egg and
the egg comes from the chicken. So what really came first,
nobody really knows.”

“Ah, but you can know what came first, my dear friend.
I’m going to solve this mystery step by step for you. I think
you’ll be quite amazed to learn how incredibly simple it
really is to solve this mystery,” said Dr. Singh.

They were all ears.

“First of all, we’ll consider all the possibilities and options,
alright?”

He wrote on the blackboard:

Possibility 1 - The chicken came first.
Possibility 2 - The egg came first.

He turned and asked them a question. “Do any other
possibilities come to your mind?” Nobody spoke so Dr.
Singh wrote down:

Possibility 3 - Neither the chicken nor the egg came first.

“To solve this puzzle,” said Dr. Singh. “We’re going to
use the formula of elimination. Of all the options written
down here, which one would you rule out or eliminate
first?”

“Possibility number 3 of course,” said Richard at once.

“Right,” said Dr. Singh crossing out the third option.
“We’ll rule out that possibility. It can’t be the right answer.
Because life comes from life. A dead chicken cannot produce
any egg nor can a dead egg produce any chicken. So
we have two other possibilities left over here. Which one
are you going to rule out next?”

It suddenly became very clear to them and Marie instantly
raised her hand. “I would rule out the egg!” she said.

Dr. Singh crossed out possibility number 2. “Tell me
Marie, why did you select this option to rule out?”

“Because it’s highly improbable that the egg came first. If
the egg had come first, then a baby chick would have come
out of that egg, not a full-grown chicken. And a baby chick
cannot survive without the care and protection of its
mother,” was Marie’s reply.

Dr. Singh was pleased with her answer. “Great observation
Marie! Very good!” he said appreciatively.

He then turned to the blackboard again.

“Now my friends, tell me what’s the only answer that’s
left here on this blackboard?”

There it was. Loud and clear for all of them to see. It was
the chicken. It was the chicken that came first.

“So the mystery is solved,” said Dr. Singh. “The chicken
came first. This is the truth that we should believe. But
wait! Now that we know that it was the chicken that came
first, we must think a little further and reach another conclusion.
Another truthful conclusion. You see, all of us know
that a chicken by itself cannot produce an egg. It needs a
partner to help it produce an egg that will hatch into a
chick. So the logical conclusion would be - it wasn’t just
one chicken that came first. Mama chicken came along with
Papa chicken. And from the first pair came all the chickens
that we see today.”

“What a clever way to solve mysteries!” thought Jim.

Richard was thinking the same thing. But now he was
beginning to grow worried. He could sense that they had
reached a point of no return. They were getting dangerously
close to the Truth. Soon it would be there before them to
see in crystal clear clarity, and although he had told himself
that he would be brave, he found himself feeling exceedingly
afraid.

-----------End of Chapter 22---------------
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-27-2011, 06:27 PM
Questions on chapter 22:

1. Describe how you felt when reading this chapter. Does the thought of getting to the bottom of the mystery of death frighten you? Or make you feel eager and glad? Would you say that honest observation plays a critical role in solving mysteries?

2. Why do you think Richard feels afraid of facing the Truth?

Read more:here
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-28-2011, 07:21 AM
Chapter 23

It was a beautiful, bright and sunny day and they were
happy to get out in the open. Dressed in white all of
them looked and felt rather grand and important. They were
going out on an assignment. Henry led the way. They had
not gone very far when a loud cry made them stop and look
behind. It was Mrs. Patil.

“Wait for me!” she shouted at the top of her lungs. “I’ve
had enough of staying indoors,” she said panting for breath
as she came up to them. “Dr. Singh told me that you were
going out to do some investigating or something. I just
hope you don’t mind if I come along.”

“Of course we don’t mind!” said Martha at once.

Henry quickened his pace and the men were forced to
walk a little faster. They were headed towards the lake and
to reach it they had to go through a forest. The ladies
however walked at a lazy pace for Martha couldn’t walk
too fast.

“You should really come and attend our class,” said Amy
to Mrs. Patil. “We are in the middle of solving the greatest
puzzle ever!!”

“And what puzzle is that?” asked Mrs. Patil.

“The puzzle of life,” answered Amy.

The men were walking ahead and having their own
conversation.

“I really do think we are on a strange assignment,”
Andrew was saying. “Dr. Singh told us to go out and make
observations. But observations about what?!”

“I’ve been thinking the same thing,” said Jim. “I’ll just
write down all the things I see.” And he took out a notebook
from his pocket and began to jot down a few observations.

Amy saw what Jim was doing. She too took out her
notebook and wrote down a few things.

Mrs. Patil was intrigued. She wondered what they were
writing.

“I hope you don’t get bored with our company,” said
Martha to Mrs. Patil. “We have an assignment on our hands,
so we’re going to be a little busy writing down notes.”

“Bored? Of course not!” said Mrs. Patil. “I’m just glad to
get out of that White House!”

“The Round House, Mrs. Patil,” corrected Amy.

“Whatever!” mumbled Mrs. Patil. And then she caught
sight of Amy’s shiny new badge. There was something
written on it. “Untruth busters!” she read.

Amy giggled. “Untruth busters - that’s what we are!”

“What on earth does that mean?”

“Just that we eliminate all the wrong answers in order to
get to the Truth,” explained Marie.

“Oh, I already know what the Truth is,” said Mrs. Patil
with a trace of arrogance in her voice. “I don’t need to
attend some silly classes to know what it is.”

“Don’t you call our classes silly!” said Amy angrily.

“Alright, I won’t,” said Mrs. Patil seeing that even Marie
and Martha looked offended.

However Mrs. Patil couldn’t conceal her emotions. She
looked at Henry who was now guiding them through the
forest. She frowned as she remembered how she had to
surrender her amulet to him. There was much hatred in the
eyes of Mrs. Patil and Amy was quick to mention it.

“You hate Henry a lot, don’t you?” she said.

Mrs. Patil did not deny it. “He took my amulet, remember?”

“But Mrs. Patil!” exclaimed Amy. “He was only doing his
job! He is really a very nice person.”

“I don’t care what anyone says,” replied Mrs. Patil. “I’ve
always worn that amulet and I’ve never taken it off. Without
it I feel very unsafe and unprotected.”

Amy thought about the amulet. What was it? A charm
that warded off evil? She walked closer to Mrs. Patil. She
had a question to ask her.

“How do you know that this amulet thing works?” she
asked.

“Of course it works!” said Mrs. Patil quickly. “I have
been kept safe and sound all these years because of it.”

“But Mrs. Patil,” said Amy slowly and clearly. “Look at
all of us! I don’t know how old Henry is. But I think he is
much older than you. And Martha is older than all of us.
What I mean to say is - Mrs. Patil - none of us wears any
amulet or anything. But no harm has come to any of us.”

Marie and Martha raised their eyebrows in astonishment.
They couldn’t believe it! Whatever Amy had just said made
perfect sense!

Mrs. Patil was quite speechless. Now what
answer was she to give this little brat?

A couple of squirrels were scurrying up and down the
trees and Amy instantly forgot about the question she had
just posed to Mrs. Patil. Squealing in delight she watched
the little animals with the greatest fascination and wonder.

Mrs. Patil secretly breathed a sigh of relief. “I can’t wait
to get out of this place!” she said to herself.

At last they reached the lake. They marveled at the lovely
scenery before them. Richard had spoken very little during
their little excursion. He hadn’t written down anything in his
notebook at all. But now as he looked at the beautiful lake,
the green forest and the splendid blue sky, he withdrew from
his pocket his notebook. He seated himself on a huge rock
and began to scribble down the many thoughts that were
racing in his mind. Thoughts about the beauty of nature and
the remarkable order prevalent in the world around him. He
was surprised that he had never thought about such things
before. He had never had the time for it.

When they returned from their trip to the lake, they
found Dr. Singh waiting for them in the classroom. A loaf of
bread was on the table. Amy looked at it hungrily.

They settled down behind their desks and placed their
notebooks in front of them.

“Welcome back,” said Dr. Singh getting up from his
chair. “This will be our last lesson for the day. I shan’t take
too long. I know that you are tired and hungry and want to
get back to your rooms. But the lesson you are going to
learn in a few moments is an important one. Once you
understand it, you’ll be able to see the Truth so clearly that
half of the answer to the mystery of life and death - will be
solved.”

He pointed to the loaf of bread that was on the table. “As
you know - all things are built upon Truth. So tell me -what
Truth is this loaf of bread built on?”

“The Truth that we need to eat?” said Jim.

“Right. Now you also know that all things are built on
reason. Everything is built upon reason. In other words,
there’s a reason for everything. So if we take a look at this
bread over here - we can say with the greatest certainty that
there’s a reason why this bread exists on this table.”

“Now let’s consider this a mystery. There’s a loaf of
bread on the table. It’s a mystery how it got there. So how
shall we go about solving this mystery? Of course - by
asking the magic question why. Why is this a magic question?
Because when you ask the question why - you get to
the bottom of the mystery. You find out the reason behind
the mystery. In this case, we shall know the reason why the
bread is on the table.”

Everyone listened in rapt attention. This was so ridiculously
simple that they were amazed how they never
thought about it that way!

“So tell me my friends, why is there a loaf of bread on the
table?” Dr. Singh had a smile on his face.

The answer to that question was just too easy. Amy gave
the answer. “Because,” she said with confidence. “Someone
put it there!”

“Very good!” said Dr. Singh. “Someone put it there. And
that’s the reason why the bread exists on the table. The
mystery is solved, isn’t it? You know that someone had to
put that loaf of bread on the table. Even though you didn’t
see anyone do it. Now tell me, would you be reasonable if
you said that nobody put this loaf of bread on the table?
That it got there all by itself?”

“That’s not possible,” said Jim. “And anyone who says
that that loaf of bread got there on the table by itself - well
seriously - I think he needs to have his head examined!”

“So all of you agree that nobody would ever come to the
conclusion - that the loaf of bread appeared on the table by
itself - or that nobody put it there.”

Dr. Singh had a way of making things abundantly clear
and the students had absolutely no hesitation in agreeing
with what he said.

“Let me however tell you the reason why nobody would
come to such a conclusion,” went on Dr. Singh. “It’s because
there is a certain law that operates in this universe.
It’s a law that provides us with one of our most important
clues in solving any mystery. A law that leads us to conclude
that everything is built upon reason. What law am I talking
about?”

When nobody answered, Dr. Singh revealed, “It’s the law
of cause and effect!”

There were heads nodding in total agreement. And they
listened intently as Dr. Singh continued speaking. “The law
of cause and effect tells us that if there is an effect, there has
to be a cause. And if there is a cause, there is bound to be an
effect. So when you see this loaf of bread on the table - we
can ask - what caused it to appear there on the table? We
ask about the cause because it was not there before. So if
something exists, then it means that it was caused to come
into existence. In other words, it was created or made. So
what are our conclusions going to be when we see this loaf
of bread on the table? One - that someone put it there. And
second - that someone made it.”

“How right you are!” exclaimed Marie with the greatest
admiration.

“It would be unreasonable to say,” went on Dr. Singh,
“that nobody made this loaf of bread. Agree?”

They agreed indeed.

“Okay now, let us think a little about the millions of
things we make or create. Tables, chairs, buildings, refrigerators,
cars, pots and pans, clothes etcetera. Why do all
these things exist? They exist because we made them. In
other words, they were caused to come into existence. They
are the effect and we are the cause. A thousand years ago,
the car didn’t exist. It exists today however. And the reason
why it exists is because we made it. We created it. We
caused it to come into existence. Got it?”

“This is not all hard to follow,” commented Andrew.

Dr. Singh desired to explain the phenomenon of cause
and effect a little more. He went on with his speech, “Yes, it
is not at all hard to understand how the law of cause and
effect works. For example, let’s say we are walking in the
desert. Suddenly we come across an abandoned truck. We
didn’t see who made it, but certainly we would never come
to the conclusion that nobody made it. Or that it appeared
there by itself. We would never say that it formed itself out
of thin air. There’s also another conclusion that we would
reach. And that is - the truck was made by human beings.
Not by any animal, insect or bird.”

“Oh, but that’s so obvious!” said Marie.

“You’ll be surprised how many people shut their eyes to
things that are so obvious,” said Dr. Singh. “Especially in
this area - about things of the unseen. They would come to
unreasonable conclusions and say things like - nobody made
the truck. Or that it was made by a hyena or an eagle or a
snake!”

“Nobody would say things like that!” said Martha swiftly.

“You’ll understand what I mean in a little while,” responded
Dr. Singh.

Henry could not help chuckling.

---------End of Chapter 23------------
Reply

Flame of Hope
07-28-2011, 07:27 AM
Questions on chapter 23.

1. What do you think of the question Amy put to Mrs. Patil? Could this mean that sometimes children have greater insight than adults?

2. Dr. Singh's observation is that many people shut their eyes to to things that are obvious. Do you agree with that observation? Why do you think people ignore the obvious truth?

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Flame of Hope
08-06-2011, 09:36 PM
Chapter 24

“When we are confronted with a mystery to
solve,” said Dr. Singh, “we usually have to deal
with effects. We identify and observe the effects and then
ask about the cause. That’s how mysteries are solved. So
what are effects? How do we recognize them?”

Dr. Singh wrote down the following on the blackboard:

Effect = Existence or presence of anything which was
previously non-existent

“Any event, happening or occurrence is also an effect,”
he went on. “For example, if you come across a burnt
building - what would you think? Why is the building burnt,
right? You would ask what caused the building to be in that
state. Obviously that building wasn’t like that when it was
built. So we can say that at one time that building did not
exist in that burnt-down state. But now it does. Therefore
the existence of the building in that burnt state indicates that
it’s an effect.”

He paused and then continued, “We’re always asking
about causes. Why do we ask for causes? Because we want
to know the reason why a thing exists - such as this loaf of
bread. We want to know the reason why things happen.
Like a building that gets burnt down. We want to know the
reason why things are the way they are. Our mission therefore
is to find out what is the cause. And if we can find the
cause - we have solved the mystery.”

“Just like when we see a dirty and smelly old man?”
asked Amy.

Dr. Singh raised his eyebrow.

“I mean - we can ask why he is dirty and smelly,” explained
Amy at once, wondering if she had said something
stupid. “We can ask what caused him to be like that - dirty
and smelly?”

Dr. Singh smiled. “You’re right! Certainly we can ask
that. Very good!”

Amy felt very encouraged. “Also what about a messy
room?” she said. “We can ask what caused that room to be
messy?”

“Excellent!” cried Dr. Singh very much pleased. “Can
you think of any other examples?”

“How about an accident?” said Jim. “We can ask what
caused it, right?”

“And murder?” said Andrew. “Like when the police want
to know who is the person who caused the murder?”

“Good,” said Dr. Singh. “It looks like you have understood
the principle of cause and effect well. We are now in a
position to solve our little mystery...the mystery of what
happens after death.” He walked towards the black door
and stood before it. There was a serious look on his face.

“Like I said - I’m not going to solve the mystery for you.
Nor am I going to tell you the answers to the questions you
have on your mind. You’re going to have to come to your
own conclusions. But Truth is very clear and obvious
especially to those people who are looking for it. So in just
a few moments you’ll be face to face with the Truth. The
Truth which you may dislike. The Truth which is very bitter.
I have asked you before and I’ll ask you again - do you wish
to proceed?”

Richard’s face grew pale. The time had come at last. He
knew that he was very close to the Truth. And he didn’t
want to know it. Somehow he felt that it was going to be
something he wouldn’t like. “But I don’t have to accept the
Truth if I don’t like it,” he told himself. “Nobody can make
me accept it!”

“We’re ready to face the Truth!” declared Marie. The rest
of them were all eager to know what Dr. Singh was going
to reveal next.

“Alright!” said Dr. Singh. “All of you went outdoors
today. You were told to make observations. So tell me -
what did you observe?”

Amy went first. “I saw many things,” she said opening
her notebook. “Lots of trees and plants - pretty flowers,
green leaves, green grass - an ant-hill - some termites. I
even saw a big spider-web! There was a spider on it too -
and some squirrels. They had bushy tails!”

“I made some different observations,” said Marie. “I saw
falling leaves and I felt the wind blowing. And I was thinking
about how things fall. Because of the earth’s gravity. I
saw birds flying in the air. They have wings and that’s why
they can fly. Then at the lake, I saw some fish in the water.
They have gills, fins and tails.”

“Very good observations,” commented Dr. Singh.

“I wrote down pretty much the same things that Amy
wrote,” said Andrew.

“Richard? Let’s hear what observations you made,” said
Dr. Singh noting how Richard seemed to be a little withdrawn.
Richard opened his notebook. “I’ve observed,” he said
slowly. “That my legs had grown weak and tired after
walking only a little distance. And that I was feeling thirsty
and hungry. I’m sorry if I’m talking only about myself - but
these are my observations -about how I felt. At the lake, I
sat down and wrote down many other things. I’ve been
thinking about my own death - which is going to be soon.
And then I looked around me and saw that death comes to
all things. The trees, plants, animals - the birds, insects,
fish....reptiles. There are many living things on earth. They
all die. And another thing I’ve noted is day and night. I felt
rather thankful that night was going to come in a few hours.
It’s the time for rest and sleep....which I need very badly.
Lastly I must say that everything in nature is so orderly and
systematic. And peaceful.”

“Awesome!” said Jim looking at Richard in admiration.

“Yes,” agreed Dr. Singh. “That’s deep thinking -observing
how everything around us is perishing. Wonderful!”

Then it was Jim’s turn. He cleared his throat. “Well, I
have made some very obvious observations,” he said. “Like
we’re wearing clothes. There’s no other animal out there
that wears clothes. Then the fact that the earth is round in
shape. And so is the sun. Actually each thing seems to have
a specific size and shape. Including us human beings. We
have two hands, two feet and we walk erect. And also one
more thing. We don’t have tails!”

“Ah, those observations are obvious alright,” remarked
Dr. Singh. “But I love them! People have a tendency to
overlook what is most obvious - and that isn’t good at all.
We need to take into consideration all things, including
things that are obvious - in order to come to the right
conclusion. Nothing must be left out.”

Martha was the last one to speak. “My observation is
this,” she said. “We’re different from the animals and creatures
that exist on this planet. There are many things to see
and observe. But that has been my main observation - that
human beings seem to be special creatures.”

“I’m impressed,” commented Dr. Singh. “All of you have
made some really great observations. You have seen the
existence of many things - living as well as non-living. It’s a
fact that there are many things in this universe. The logical
question to ask therefore is - why do these things exist?
Why are things the way they are?”

“You’ve learnt that the existence of anything that wasn’t
there before is an effect. So the question to ask is - have all
the things you have seen and observed always existed? Or -
was there a time when those things didn’t exist?”

“You see - if there was a time when these things did not
exist - then we must ask the question what caused them to
exist. All the things you have seen and observed are effects.
If so, we should ask about the cause. This is where we
wonder about our own existence. We want to know what
caused us to be here.”

“Nothing caused us to be here,” said Richard at once.
“All things have evolved to be what they are.”

Martha rolled her eyes. “That stupid evolution theory!”
she thought.

“Evolved?” said Dr. Singh. He laughed heartily. “No, no,
my friend! The evolution theory does not have any ground
to stand on. I personally think it’s all nonsense!”

Richard was not very pleased. It showed on his face.

“You’d think it was nonsense too, Richard,” said Dr.
Singh seeing that he had to explain the matter clearly to
him.

“You see, the evolution theory rests on two assumptions,”
and he wrote on the board:

Assumption 1: The universe has always been there
Assumption 2: Life emerged from non-living matter

“The first assumption has been totally destroyed by
recent astronomical discoveries. We have found that our
universe is in a continuous state of expansion. And the
galaxies are speeding away from one another. Based on this,
scientists have come to the conclusion that at one time the
universe did not exist. It came into existence as a result of a
big bang. What does that mean? It means that it was caused
to come into existence. In other words - the universe hasn’t
always been there.”

“The second assumption is absolutely ridiculous,” he
went on. “Life comes from life. Non-living things never
become alive all of a sudden. Scientists have tried with all
their might and technological expertise to create living
things out of non-living matter. To this day they have not
succeeded. They never will! Just think about it! Can a dead
man ever make a woman pregnant? Can a dead woman ever
give birth to a child? This is an impossibility!”

Martha was extremely pleased. She simply loved the way
Dr. Singh blasted the evolution theory. Marie threw her a
glance and nodded her head in support.

“Let’s get back to our observations,” said Dr. Singh
totally ignoring Richard’s reaction to what he had just said.

They all looked on as Dr. Singh wrote a few things on
the board:

Observation 1: The tails of squirrels are bushy.
Observation 2. Birds have wings.
Observation 3: The sun is round in shape.
Observation 4: Spiders make spider-webs.
Observation 5: We are living beings.

“We’ve learned that the first step in solving any mystery
is observation. These are some of the things you have
observed. And now - what we are going to do is simply ask
the magic question why. So tell me -why are the tails of
squirrels bushy?”

They were silent for a while. Then Jim had an answer.

“Because that’s the way they have been made,” he said.

Dr. Singh wrote on the board:

1. The tail of a squirrel is bushy because that’s the way it
has been made.

He asked the rest of the questions and then wrote down
their answers on the board. The answers were as follows:

2. Birds have been given wings so that they can fly.
3. The sun is round in shape because it has been made
that way.
4. Spiders can make spider-webs because they have been
taught how to do it.
5. We are living because we have been given life.

“Now - we’re going to do a grammar exercise,” said Dr.
Singh with a big smile. “All these sentences are in the
passive voice. Change them to active. What do you get?”

They gave their answers and Dr. Singh wrote them all
down. They were as follows:

1. The tail of a squirrel is bushy because SOMEONE
made it that way.
2. SOMEONE gave birds wings so that they can fly.
3. The sun is round in shape because SOMEONE made it
that way.
4. Spiders can make spider-webs because SOMEONE
taught them how to do it.
5. We are living because SOMEONE gave us life.

The Truth was staring at them in the face. There it was -
as clear as crystal right before their very noses. They
couldn’t deny it. It was after all the only answer that made
sense! But Dr. Singh did not declare that Truth to them. It
was something they had to figure out on their own. However,
Dr. Singh decided to help them a little.

“Who is this someone? Do you know?” he asked his
awestruck audience. “Remember the elimination method?
We must eliminate all those answers which are unlikely and
improbable. So what answers must we rule out? We must
rule out all animals, insects, birds, reptiles that live on earth.
We must rule out all plant life. We must also rule out all
non-living things. And yes! We must rule out human beings
as well. Human beings did not teach the spider how to make
that spider-web - nor are they the ones who made the sun
round in shape. So who is that SOMEONE - what is the
only answer that is left?”

“Mon Dieu!” exclaimed Marie quite forgetting that she
was speaking French.”

Dr. Singh nodded his head. “I think I agree with you
there,” he said. “He would be known as Dieu in French,
Bhagwan in Hindi, Allah in Arabic, Tuhan in Malay.....and in
the English language?”

There was silence in the classroom as they waited for Dr.
Singh to finish speaking.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said at last. “In the English
language He is known as God - the Creator of this universe
and all things in it!

-------End of Chapter 24---------


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Flame of Hope
08-06-2011, 09:38 PM
Questions on chapter 24:

1. Is there anything in this chapter you disagreed with? What?

2. Do you feel that this lesson on the existence of God should have been the first thing that Dr. Singh should have taught his students? Or do you feel this was the right time to do it?

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Flame of Hope
08-06-2011, 09:41 PM
Chapter 25

Richard tossed and turned on the flat, hard floor. He
was having a hard time going to sleep. It wasn’t the
discomfort of the floor that was bothering him however. It
was his state of mind.

There were two loud voices in his head.

“You made a huge mistake coming here!” cried the first
voice. “Why did you have to come? And mingle with all
these ordinary people? You’re used to a life of comfort and
luxury! You have everything that you want! You left all that
behind - for what? To live under these miserable circumstances!?
You have been stripped of your identity. You have
no more importance. You are not even recognized. You
have become like these common people. What have you
accomplished by coming here? What have you found? That
a God exists? What rubbish! You know that there is no
God! These classes are nothing but a waste of time!”

“Yes, maybe I did make a mistake,” thought Richard.

“You did not make any mistake,” said the second voice.
“You wanted to know what the Truth was. You wanted an
answer that made sense. So you got what you were looking
for.”

“Oh come on!” said the first voice angrily. “There is no
need for you to go looking for the Truth. You already know
it.”

“Do I?” thought Richard doubtfully.

“Yes, of course!” insisted the first voice. “You know that
there is no God. You’ve never believed in God. And there is
no reason why you should start believing in Him now.”

“You’re right,” said Richard feeling a little better. “Why
should I believe in God all of a sudden?”

“Because,” said the second voice matter-of-factly. “You
have no other choice.”

Richard opened his eyes. He knew that he had no choice
but to believe in the existence of a Creator. After all, there
was no other answer that was reasonable. He dearly wished
he could accept the idea that nobody caused the universe to
come into existence. He wished he could believe that life
began on earth by itself - and that nobody had given him
life. But now -after attending Dr. Singh’s classes, and after
having learnt the amazing properties of Truth, he found it
difficult to accept anything that was unreasonable....or false.

“Untruth Busters”.

He thought about the badge he wore.

“I’m supposed to hate untruth,” he reminded himself.

Then why was he finding it so hard to accept the obvious
Truth?

“Why am I so unhappy to learn that God exists?” he
wondered.

He thought about this for a good while. He stared at the
ceiling and tried to think objectively. He didn’t want his
emotions to cloud his thinking. It wasn’t long before the
answer came to him. He remembered some of the lessons he
had learnt earlier. One of them was the lesson on cognitive
dissonance. And that was when it hit him full force. That’s
what it was! He was suffering acutely from this condition!

He had found information that created a disturbance in his
mind. Information that was extremely unpleasant. Information
that showed that he was wrong about what he believed.

“You’re not wrong!” cried the first voice instantly. “The
evolution theory can’t be wrong! How can it be wrong if it’s
taught in schools?! We learn about it in science text-books -
in all kinds of books. Scientists have shown how life began
on earth. You have seen the diagrams, the illustrations -
you’ve seen how man evolved from lower-life forms.
Scientists cannot be wrong!”

“Oh yes, they can!” retorted the second voice. “Remember
Dr. Rawson - that forensic scientist?”

Richard thought about Dr. Rawson. He didn’t think
highly of that man. He was proud and arrogant. That’s what
he was.

He blinked his eyes as sudden realization dawned on him.
Wasn’t he being proud as well?! He had seen the Truth and
he had disliked it. And he had turned away from it - simply
because it was not something he believed! It was not what
he thought it would be! He remembered the lesson of the
orange seed. There was no changing the Truth. It remained
what it was regardless of how anyone felt about it. And
hadn’t he said that Truth was beautiful? And that he would
love the Truth with all his heart? Hadn’t he pricked the
balloon and shown everyone that he was going to be open-minded?
And hadn’t he circled the number 10 in answer to
the question: How great is your desire to know what happens
after death?

Didn’t he want to know what the Truth
was? Of course he did! Then why was he running away
from the Truth when it came before him?

Dr. Singh was right.

Pride had come in the way. It was making him feel
unhappy and worse than that - it was preventing him from
accepting the Truth.

But there was something else. He thought about his girlfriend
- Anne. And how she had shreaked and grabbed at
him as he had taken a pillow and suffocated her to death. He
remembered that scene very clearly and vividly. Sweat lined
his brow as he relived that awful moment. He had been
quite overcome with a mad rage. He scarcely recognized
himself. He had refused to hold himself guilty of the crime
however. “I’m not guilty,” he had told himself a thousand
times. “She deserved it! She was asking for it!” he would
say again and again. He consoled himself thus - by placing
the entire blame on the girl who had been so unfaithful to
him. The world did not know that he was a murderer. He
was confident that nobody would ever find out. But now -
he was extremely worried.

“If God does exist,” he thought fearfully. “Did He witness
the murder - and know what I did?!”

He wanted to know! He wondered about this new,
strange God. Who was He? What was He like? Did He care
about His creatures? Did He take note of their doings? Did
He forgive people for the bad things they did? Why did He
create man? Why did He keep Himself invisible?

Richard became more and more curious about this God -
who had made all things. There was much fear in his heart
no doubt. But along with it, there was also a flicker of hope.
He recalled the pledge that he had made to himself:

There is no other Truth but one Truth.
Anything other than Truth is false and vain.
I shall love the Truth with all my heart.
And I shall reject all falsehood.
My mission in life is to seek knowledge,
And walk upon the Straight Path alone,
For I know that only the Truth has the power
to help me, guide me and save me.

He recited the lines over and over again. They had a
calming effect on his mind.

“I had better forget about how I feel,” he thought eventually.
“I came here to find out what the Truth was - and if it’s
true that God exists - then I shall certainly accept it. I will
not run away nor will I refuse to admit that I have been
wrong.”

He suddenly felt as if a tremendous burden was lifted
from his shoulders. The voices in his mind became silent.
Peace and tranquility descended upon him. And two minutes
later, he was fast asleep.

------------End of Chapter 25---------------


Questions on chapter 25:

1. What do you think was the most difficult thing that Richard had to face in this chapter?

2. Does it feel like there was war going on in Richard's head? Have you faced such turmoil and war in your own head at any point in your life?

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Flame of Hope
08-06-2011, 09:42 PM
Chapter 26

There was great excitement in the air. Dr. Singh put on
a broad smile. He knew that his students were eager
to get on with their next lesson.

“Today - we’re going to learn something quite extraordinary,”
he began. “We’re going to learn what our Creator is
like. And we’re also going to learn what our Creator is not
like. But first - I’d like to do a bit of revision - for the
benefit of those of you who may still object to the idea that
God exists.”

Richard listened attentively.

“It was way back in the early 1900’s. Astronomers
discovered a strange phenomenon - known as red shift.
They found that light from distant galaxies shifted toward
the red end of the color spectrum. What did this mean?”

He paused for a few seconds before explaining, “It meant
that the universe is expanding. In all directions. Now - I’d
like to read to you what conclusion one professor of astronomy
came to based upon this discovery. This guy’s
name is John D. Barrow and this is what he writes in his
book The Origin of the Universe.” He withdrew a book
from the drawer, flicked open its pages and read out:

“If the universe is expanding, then when we reverse the
direction of history and look in the past we should find
evidence that it emerged from a smaller, denser state - a
state that appears to have once had zero size. It is this
apparent beginning that has become known as the big
bang.”

Dr. Singh turned and wrote on the board in big letters:

ZERO SIZE.

“What is meant by zero size?” he asked.

“No existence!” answered Andrew at once.

“Exactly!” said Dr. Singh. “There was a time when the
universe did not exist! If there was proof to show that the
universe has always existed - we would have reason to
believe that it was not caused to come into existence. We
could have said with confidence that the universe was not
made - or created. It would have been alright to say that
there is no Creator or Maker. However - the facts are
before us and they are undeniable. The facts show that the
universe has not always existed. At one time the universe
had zero size. This means that the universe is an effect. You
remember what an effect is?”

“Yes,” replied Jim. “The existence of something which
wasn’t there before - is known as effect.”

“Therefore the universe must have been caused to come
into existence,” Dr. Singh concluded. “If there is an effect -
then there has to be a cause. So.....” He wrote on the board:

The universe must have been caused to come into exist-
ence

“This sentence is in the passive voice. We shall change it
to active. We get.....” And he wrote:

Someone must have caused the universe to come into
existence.

Never had the Truth been so clear to them. It was so
evident and obvious.

“Isn’t it strange how people like to say things in the
passive voice?” went on Dr. Singh. “The passive voice is
used when the doer or subject is considered unimportant.
You will find that science text-books are all written in the
passive voice. No - change all those passive voice sentences
to active voice - and the Truth will become abundantly clear
to you.”

“Biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, geometry, geography,
history .....these are some of the subjects you learn in
school. And what are they but facts? Science is the study of
things as they are. It’s the study of Truth - remember? And
you will find observations written down in those books -
written in the passive voice. Obviously people give more
importance to the effect. Not to the cause. They will write
down that the sun is round in shape. But they would never
write that someone gave the sun that shape.”

“Oh - they wouldn’t write it down like that!” commented
Jim. “If they did, that evolution theory that is taught in
schools would have to be chucked out the window.”

“Yeah- that’s right!” agreed Andrew. “The theory of
evolution says that there’s no Creator. That nobody made
this universe. So if we were to convert those passive voice
sentences to active voice - then that theory would look
extremely silly!”

Dr. Singh was all smiles. “Do you remember that puzzle
we solved the last time - about what came first - the chicken
or the egg? Do you recall I had listed three options?”
“I remember them,” said Amy at once. “Option one was
the chicken came first. Option two was the egg came first.
And the third option was neither the chicken nor the egg
came first.”

“And which option did we eliminate right away?” asked
Dr. Singh.

“The third option,” replied Richard.

“It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?” said Dr. Singh. “You had
no hesitation in ruling out that option immediately. It sounds
too silly. We cannot imagine anyone believing in such a
thing.” He paused. “But this is precisely what people who
support the evolution theory believe. According to them -
neither the chicken nor the egg came first. They think that
life began on earth by chance.”

“This is too funny!” said Marie unable to suppress her
laughter. Laughter being contagious, soon everyone including
Richard was laughing.

“So the next time you read any science book -simply do
this simple exercise,” said Dr. Singh. “Change all those
passive voice sentences to active voice. You’re going to be
amazed at the wonderful things you will discover.”

“I can’t wait to do this exercise!” said Marie excitedly.

“Alright - so now let’s move on. Based upon the law of
cause and effect - it has been established that Someone
created this universe. We call that Someone - God. It
doesn’t matter at all what you think or feel - this is the only
Truth there is. No other answer would make sense and
therefore all other answers have to be eliminated. God
created this universe - and we know that this has to be the
Truth - because we have observed that every effect has a
cause. We have used our power of reasoning to arrive at
this answer. It doesn’t matter at all whether you like it or
not. This is the bitter, unpleasant Truth that’s not going to
change.”

“But I don’t consider this Truth to be bitter at all,” said
Jim.

“Perhaps not you,” responded Dr. Singh. “But those who
do not believe in God would. They would find this answer
most repugnant. Do you know why?”

Richard knew why but he didn’t speak.

“Because,” said Dr. Singh slowly, “it would prove that
they have been wrong!”

“Yeah,” said Andrew, “I remember. Cognitive dissonance.
People don’t like to be wrong.”

“Right! People are like that. They hate being wrong. But
is this a good thing? No - not at all. You must remember
that it is only the Truth that can guide you - and save you. If
a person refuses to accept the Truth when it comes to him -
he’s going to continue walking on the wrong path. And
what would that lead to?”

“That would lead to his doom,” said Andrew.

Dr. Singh nodded. “If you turn away from the Truth
because of your dislike for it - that would indeed be a pity.
Because that would mean you allow your emotions and
feelings to rule your life. It is often the case that we like
things that are bad for us and dislike the things that are
good for us. Therefore we must not get misled by our
feelings.”

“That’s so true!” thought Andrew.

“So now if I were to ask you - do you believe in the
existence of God - what would you say?”

Dr. Singh looked straight at Richard.

“I believe that He exists,” confessed Richard.
“And why do you believe that?”

“Because I have no other option but to believe it. This is
something that is related to the unseen - something that I
am unable to perceive with my five senses. I either believe it
- or I don’t.”

“And you have chosen to believe it?”

“Yes - because I have seen the evidence.”

“And the evidence is?”

“The existence of the universe...which was at one time
non-existent.”

“Great!” commented Dr. Singh pleased to learn that
Richard had accepted the Truth. “Let us now focus on the
Creator of this universe - and find out more about Him.”

------------End of Chapter 26-------------



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Flame of Hope
08-13-2011, 09:13 PM
Chapter 27

“Truth is very clear and evident,” said Dr. Singh.
“When you see a loaf of bread you instantly know
that human beings made it. Not some animal, insect or bird.
Your mind works like lightning - and you know what the
Truth is - even without thinking about it. Or so it seems.”

“That loaf of bread - it did not exist at one time. But now
it exists - only because we made it. Similarly the universe
once had zero size. It did not exist. So what can be the only
reason why it exists?”

“Because Someone created it,” said Jim.

“And we know that it was no human being!” said Dr.
Singh. “We can apply the same logic to the mystery regarding
the chicken or the egg. We found that a pair of chickens
- male and female came first. If this is true - then what does
it mean?”

They looked at him blankly.

Dr. Singh smiled. “It’s really very simple my friends. It
just means that before they came - they did not exist.”

“Oh yeah! That was easy!” said Andrew.

“So they didn’t exist,” went on Dr. Singh. “But then
there they were! The first chickens. What could be the only
reason why they suddenly appeared?”

“I know!” cried Amy. “That’s because Someone made
them. God made them.”

“How about if we applied the same reasoning to human
beings?” asked Dr. Singh. “If there was the first pair of
chickens - then there must also have been the first pair of
human beings. The first man and the first woman. What do
you think?”

“I agree with that,” said Marie. “I can’t imagine a baby
coming first. God couldn’t have created the baby first.”

“We have therefore solved one mystery,” said Dr. Singh.
“We now know that all of us are children of that first man
and first woman that God created.”

“This is awesome!” said Jim. “I never thought that we
could figure out something like this!”

“And it does make perfect sense,” added Richard quietly.

“What seems to be a mystery - is in fact not at all a
mystery,” said Dr. Singh. “You have the beautiful gift of
reason that helps you to know what the Truth is. By the
way, I have a question to ask you in this regard.”

They waited to hear the question.

“Can you tell me - what is meant by the word gift?”

“Something that is given for free?” said Martha.

“Right!” replied Dr. Singh. “If you have the gift of reason
- it’s only because it has been given to you and that too for
free!”

There was no denying that.

“But wait a minute!” exclaimed Dr. Singh. “There’s that
passive voice sentence again.”

He walked to the blackboard and wrote it down.

“We must change this to active voice,” he said firmly.
“What do we get?”

Martha had the answer. “If you have the gift of reason -
it’s only because Someone gave it to you for free.”

Dr. Singh wrote her words down. Then he turned and
regarded his class. They were all wonder-struck. Here was
another Truth staring at them in the face!

“Wow!” was all Jim could say.

“That’s the Truth my friends,” said Dr. Singh. “God is the
One who has given you the ability to reason - so that you
can know what the Truth is - so that you can know Him!
You don’t need to be exceptionally clever or smart to
understand or know this Truth. Even a little child can
understand it.”

Amy smiled. She was very pleased.

“Actually,” continued Dr. Singh. “People have believed in
the existence of God since the beginning of history. If a man
came across a spear lying in the jungle - he would instantly
reason that the spear was made by someone - a human being
like himself. Similarly when people looked at the stars, the
moon, the sun, the trees and the mountains - they also
reasoned that these things existed because Someone made
them. Not a human being of course. But Someone who was
very powerful and great.”

The students had no more doubts in their minds regarding
the existence of God.

“Alright, class,” said Dr. Singh abruptly. “We’re going to
another room. We’re going to watch a slideshow!”

The students followed Dr. Singh and entered the same
room where they had watched The Forensic Files.

Henry began to set up the projector and prepare the
slides.

“I’d like to tell you a story,” said Dr. Singh when they
had taken their seats. “I have a friend who lives in England.
His name is John. He’s an artist and he teaches art. He had a
class of ten students and they were all very good at drawing.”

Amy loved listening to stories. Especially the stories that
Dr. Singh told. She listened eagerly and attentively little
realizing that everyone else was as eager and interested as
she was.

“Well one day,” went on Dr. Singh. “John told those ten
students that he was going to marry a girl who lived in
Singapore. He asked them to draw a portrait of this girl.”

“Did he give them her photograph?” asked Jim.

“No,” replied Dr. Singh smiling. “He gave no information
about her at all. Of course they were very surprised. How
were they to draw her picture without seeing her? John told
them he just wanted to see how good his class was. So they
made their drawings and displayed them on the wall for
John to see. John brought a picture of his girlfriend the
following day and he showed all his students the picture he
had brought.”

He stopped speaking. Was this the end of the story?

“What do you think?” asked Dr. Singh. “Which student,
do you think, had drawn the picture that looked just like his
girlfriend?”

“No one!” they all said aloud.

“Are you sure?”

“Very sure,” they said confidently.

“You’re right,” said Dr. Singh.

“When John showed them her picture - she was nothing
like what any of them had drawn. Now here’s a question for
you. If a million people tried to draw a picture of someone
without seeing him or her - without knowing anything about
that person - how accurate do you think their pictures are
going to be?”

“They are not going to be accurate at all,” replied Richard.

“That would be nothing but guesswork,” said Jim.

“Exactly!” said Dr. Singh. “And here’s the point I want to
make. God is Unseen. If so - how does anyone know what
He looks like?”

There was silence in the room. Dr. Singh walked over to
the switch and turned the lights off.

“Alright, Henry,” he said. “Let’s begin the slide-show!”

------------End of Chapter 27---------


Questions on chapter 27:

1. Would you agree that the gift of reason is the most beautiful given to us by God? Why?

2. How sound do you think is the idea of making images of people or gods we've never seen before with our own eyes? How well do you think Dr. Singh's story illustrates the silliness of making images of God when nobody has ever seen Him?

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Flame of Hope
09-01-2011, 08:10 PM
Assalamu alaykum.

It's time to get on with the chapters....

Here's the next chapter....

------------

Chapter 28


It was a slide-show of many different gods and god
desses. They saw the many faces of Jesus Christ.
Some people drew him as a white man with blonde hair and
blue eyes. Others drew him as a black man. Each picture
was different.

Then there were images of Buddha. In India
he was drawn with big eyes and rounded eyebrows. In
China he had slant eyes. Next came the pictures of Hindu
gods and goddesses. Many of these gods and goddesses had
several arms and several heads. They saw the elephant god
Ganesha - the god of good fortune, the terrifying goddess
Kali and the goddess of wealth, Laxmi. The slides showing
pictures of the Hindu gods and goddesses seemed to be
never-ending.

“Did you know,” informed Dr. Singh, “that in Hinduism -
there are around 330 million gods and goddesses?”

It was unbelievable - but there they were - hundreds and
hundreds of pictures of gods and goddesses. The slide-show
went on. People from other countries had their own gods
and goddesses. Egyptian gods and goddesses were different
from the Japanese gods and goddesses. There were Greek
gods, Chinese gods, African gods. All kinds of gods and
goddesses.

They watched the slide-show in great fascination.
They had never seen so many images and forms of
God. They watched the slide-show for half an hour. Then
Dr. Singh turned the lights on.

“People cannot see God,” he said, “so they have drawn
him in all kinds of shapes and forms. Can you tell me -
which of these images depicts God accurately?”

“None of these images,” said Richard. “All these pictures
and images - they are all false!”

“You are sure about that?”

“There can be no doubt about it,” said Richard.

Martha had to agree as well, though a little reluctantly.
She believed that Jesus was God. And she had seen many
different pictures of him in the slide-show. She had to admit
that all the pictures she had seen were false. None of them
could be the picture of the real Jesus simply because nobody
knew what he looked like. It was all guess-work. She had
never thought about it - but now she could see how wrong
it was to make guesses. That little story that Dr. Singh had
told them earlier about his friend John had made her think a
little more deeply. She glanced at her white coat and looked
at her badge that had “Untruth Busters” written on it. She
was not supposed to tolerate any form of falsehood. She
was supposed to hate it with all her heart and she was
supposed to guard her uniform from getting filthy. She
remembered how Richard’s coat had looked so awful when
Dr. Singh had shaken some drops of ink on it. It spoiled
everything! She thought about the painting of Jesus she had
in her bedroom. “I had better remove it when I get home,”
she secretly told herself.

“Many people believe in God,” said Dr. Singh. “Like I
said, it doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to figure out that
He exists. But people have all kinds of ideas and beliefs
regarding Him. They indulge in a lot of conjecture. You can
go to any library and check out an illustrated book on world
mythology. You will be amazed at the number of gods and
goddesses people have believed in - and still do believe in.
And you’ll be astonished to read about the incredible opinions,
stories and theories people have come up with regarding
God.”

He paused before continuing, “You know that there is
only one Truth. And the Truth is - God is Unseen. Therefore
people who make images of God are clearly in error.”

“But there are people who do not make any images of
Him,” Jim pointed out.

“Yes,” said Dr. Singh. “And these are the people who are
on the right track. No see God - no make image of God.
Makes sense, right?”

“Yeah, that makes sense,” said Andrew.

“It’s not surprising however that people should come up
with so many different beliefs and opinions about God. This
is something that’s bound to happen. You remember what
we had learnt? Disputes and disagreements only arise when
the Truth is unknown, concealed or hidden? It’s only when
Truth is unseen that people indulge in guesswork?”

“Yes, I remember!” said Marie recalling the lesson of the
orange seed. They had made a lot of guesses -and all of
them were wrong.

“And I also remember,” she added, “that the world of the
Unseen can only be reached through our power of reason.”

“That’s right,” said Dr. Singh. “We have found that God
exists - not because we did some guesswork but because we
used our power of reason. And we also learned that God
gave us the gift of reason - so that we can find out what the
hidden Truth is - so that we can reach the world of the
Unseen. So what does that mean? It means that we can find
out more about God - what He is like - and what He is not
like - simply by using our powers of observation and reason.
If you guess - you are going to be wrong. But if you use
your reason - you are going to be right.”

“I absolutely agree!” said Richard. He didn’t care about
people’s opinions and he didn’t like making guesses. He
liked using his power of reasoning to uncover the Truth.
They all did.

“I have a story to tell you,” said Dr. Singh. “Listen
carefully. After hearing this story - I shall be asking you
some important questions.”

Dr. Singh knew how to stir their interest and they listened
with great eagerness.

“A long time ago in ancient Egypt,” began Dr. Singh.
“There lived a couple who worshipped the goddess Isis -
the god Osiris and another god named Horus. They had
been childless for many years and naturally they yearned for
a child. So they prayed to these idols everyday. In another
country - in ancient India - there was also one couple - who
were in the same predicament. They too wished for a child.
But they had different gods. They prayed to the god Shiva
and the goddess Parvati.”

“Then what happened?” asked Amy curiously.

“Well, the prayers of the Egyptian couple were answered.
They were of course overjoyed.”

“And the Indian couple?” Marie wanted to know.

“Their prayers were also answered,” said Dr. Singh. “But
now - it’s question time! The Egyptian couple worshipped
Isis, Osiris and Horus. They prayed to these gods - and their
prayers were answered. And the Indian couple worshipped
Shiva and Parvati. They prayed to these Hindu gods - and
their prayers were also answered. My question to you is this
- Did the Egyptian couple know anything about the gods
that the Indian couple worshipped?”

“I don’t think so,” said Amy.

“And did the Indian couple know anything about the
gods that the Egyptian couple worshipped?”

“No,” said Marie. “Not if this was in ancient times.”

“So tell me what conclusions you are going to come to
based on these observations,” said Dr. Singh.

No one spoke and they looked at Dr. Singh blankly again.

“Alright,” said Dr. Singh a little amused. “I’ll tell you
what our conclusions are going to be. In the case of the
Egyptian couple - we can conclude that the Hindu gods
couldn’t have been the ones to answer their prayers. And in
the case of the Indian couple - the Egyptian gods couldn’t
have been the ones to answer their prayers.”

“Yeah! That’s right!” said Jim.

“Let’s think a little more, shall we?” continued Dr. Singh.

“If it’s true that the Egyptian gods and goddesses exist -
then a question arises which must be answered - and the
question is - why didn’t these Egyptian gods hear the
prayers of the Hindu couple?”

“Hmmm,” said Richard. “I never thought of that!”

“And if it is true,” went on Dr. Singh, “that the Hindu
gods and goddesses exist - then why didn’t these gods hear
and respond to the prayers of the Egyptian couple?”

The answer was pretty clear.

“It’s because - these gods and goddesses don’t really
exist!!” exclaimed Jim.

They had already seen hundreds of
gods and goddesses in the slide-show. And they knew that
all those gods and goddesses were false. They were made by
human beings!

“Then we have another question that we must answer,”
said Dr. Singh, “and the question is - if these gods and
goddesses don’t exist - who listened to and responded to
the prayers of these two couples? Who gave these couples
what they wished for?”

Again the answer was loud and clear.

“Only a God who possessed power and ability could have
answered the prayers of these people,” said Richard. “Our
Unseen God.”

“I agree!” said Jim. “The true God is the One who is
Unseen. Images and pictures can’t be made of Him. He’s
the same God who created this universe and He’s the same
God who listens to and answers the prayers of people all
over the world.”

“And He is also the One who created the first man and
first woman from whom we all came,” added Martha. “He’s
the God who created the Egyptians as well as the Hindus.
He created us all.”

Dr. Singh was impressed and pleased. They had figured
out the answers all on their own. They were doing pretty
well but they had only just begun. They had a lot more to
learn about the God of all things.

----------End of Chapter 28--------------



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Flame of Hope
09-01-2011, 08:14 PM
:sl:

Questions on chapter 28:

(where are you Bintulislam? :hmm: )

1. If man created these idols, why do you think some people still believe that they have power over us?

2. How did the creation (idols) become the master over the creator (man)?

3. How do you believe in what you can't see?



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