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Ansar Al-'Adl
08-04-2005, 12:34 AM
:sl:
I'd like to start of this discussion with my point of view on the existence of God.

First of all, while I do believe that the existence of God is something that can be recognized by all human beings, I don't believe someone can 'prove' the existence of God and guide an atheist to theism. Atheists ask for proof of the existence of God, and they ask that, if God truly exists, why doesn't He simply demonstrate His existence to the world by sending some sign down from heaven etc. Such a mentality is described in the Qur'an by God, revealed over 1400 years ago:

26:1-8. Ta. Sin. Mim.
These are verses of the Book that makes (things) clear.
It may be thou frettest thy soul with grief, that they do not become Believers.
If (such) were Our Will, We could send down to them from the sky a Sign, to which they would bend their necks in humility.
But there comes not to them a newly-revealed Message from ((Allah)) Most Gracious, but they turn away therefrom.
They have indeed rejected (the Message): so they will know soon (enough) the truth of what they mocked at!
Do they not look at the earth,- how many noble things of all kinds We have produced therein?
Verily, in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe.

Read the complete chapter here (http://web.umr.edu/~msaumr/Quran/26.html)

Thus, God mentions that He could easily send a sign that would cause them all to have faith, yet that would eliminate the test in life. We are being tested to see if we will turn to our own hearts and realize the signs of God.

It is perfectly acceptable to conclude the existence of God from His signs. Consider an analogy.

Members reading this post have concluded that the I, the author of this post, am a real person based on the signs of my existence. Yet, you have no proof that I am a real person and not merely an automated response, nor a figment of your imagination, nor that you are hallucinating as you read my post, nor that your computer has been infected with a virus that randomly displays characters on your screen in a forum post, forming the body of my message.

Yet, you know that there is a human being that has typed this post, and you know this based on various signs of my existence. The fact that I interact, the fact that I respond, the fact that I create posts and make a visible impact on the forum, the fact that I display human considerations and thoughts etc.

Simialrly, thesists conclude the existence of God.

I want to make it clear that I am not going to set out to prove the existence of God to our atheists. I can't give them faith, only God can, as He mentions in the Qur'an:

28:56 Thou wilt not be able to guide whom thou lovest; but Allah guides those whom He will and He knows best those who receive guidance.

And who are those who God guides?

42:13 The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah - the which We have sent by inspiration to thee - and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, difficult is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).

So God guides those who turn to Him. The problem is that human beings, in their arrogance never thank God for the blessings He bestowed upon them. The only time they turn to God is when they suffer from a tragedy, the death of a loved one, then they realize that they are vulnerable and in need of God's protection. So many people only come to religion when they face massive problems and have to turn back to the same Creator the denied. They beg for the love with earlier they had rejected.
Many many people only convert when they realize they are in trouble. It is unfortunate that people foolishly wait for tragedy to turn them to God.

But why would God guide someone who does not turn to Him for guidance?

Coming back to the existence of God, the way I see it, there are many signs of the existence of God. Theists offer several proofs which I shall point out later on. However, the atheist seems to think that it is satisfactory to simply reject the proofs of God's existence, without any need for proofs of God's absence. Such a view is illogical, since believing that God does not exist is a belief like any other, and it must be supported with evidence. Yet an atheist can bring absoloutely no strong arguments to prove that God does not exist, so they operate within a vaccuum of evidence. Atheism is consequently a very weak position because it advocates a possibility like advocating that one's friend does not exist but is merely a robot created by extraterrestrial life forms. Sure, its possible, but its not likely to be taken seriously by anyone.

When I brought up this point in a previous debate with an atheist, he thought he could refute my point by challenging me to prove that an invisible pink unicorn does not exist, which he felt is analogous to asking an atheist to prove that God does not exist. I answered that I really did not need to prove the non-existence of an invisible pink unicorn since it has no affect on me. Thus, I would entertain the possibility if it was supported by some arguments the way theists support the existence of God, but I wouldn't reject the existence of an invisible pink unicorn if I cannot argue against its existence by providing proof of its absence.

But even if I accept the presence of an invisible pink unicorn, it makes no difference because I would switch then to religious arguments and analyse a belief in an invisible pink unicorn just as I would examine any other religion. The concept itself is contradictory because as soon as something is invisible, it cannot be considered pink since colours are the result of visible light energy released from electrons dropping in energy levels. And we would have to get into a discussion on the attributes of this creature as well. Consequently, it may prove similar to the Christian belief in a triune God, which I reject as self-contradictory.

So the problem still remains for atheists to prove the non-existence of God.

The other point I'd like to make is that atheists claim to reject the metaphysical world and all concepts beyond matter. Yet, they themselves have found that such a method is inadequate in explaining the universe, thus they have had to invent abstract concepts to cover up for their use of metaphysical factors in the universe. For example, we often hear the terms force, energy, and power in physics, but can anyone explain what these terms really are? Are they not concepts beyond the physical world? What is the source of all energy?

I'll leave it at that for now.

czgibson
08-06-2005, 12:10 AM
Greetings to all.
I'm very new on the board, but I'd like to make a contribution here from the atheist position. I'm interested to see how Muslims make the case for the existence of god (if, of course, it is seen as necessary to do this at all). I am aware that there are different uses of the word "god", so I should make it clear that when I use it, I mean to exclude any differences between the Muslim, Christian, Jewish (or any other) interpretations of "god", and focus on what these interpretations all affirm, namely the existence of a supernatural, omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, eternal Creator. I hope we can agree on these attributes as being shared by the vast majority of people in their understanding of the word "god".

Clearly there are some very learned Muslims on the forum whom I hope will provide some interesting ideas in this discussion. If we exchange ideas in this way, understanding can surely only be increased. With that said, I'd like to start by answering some of the points raised by Ansar in his last post:

The first point he mentions is one I agree with. Arguments for or against the existence of God have a history of not being convincing if you are on the other side, so to speak. People are usually reluctant to change their mind on this issue on the strength of an argument or a series of arguments. And rightly so. Belief in god is a matter of faith, which is not reached by arguments but by personal conviction (I'm assuming here. I clearly do not understand how faith in god is reached).


Members reading this post have concluded that the I, the author of this post, am a real person based on the signs of my existence. Yet, you have no proof that I am a real person and not merely an automated response, nor a figment of your imagination, nor that you are hallucinating as you read my post, nor that your computer has been infected with a virus that randomly displays characters on your screen in a forum post, forming the body of my message.

- tiny point: I know you are not an automated response due to the Turing test, which you may have heard of - it involves a human judge conversing with a computer and a human, without being told which is which. No computer has yet been built that can fool someone into thinking it is a human. But on with your argument:


Yet, you know that there is a human being that has typed this post, and you know this based on various signs of my existence. The fact that I interact, the fact that I respond, the fact that I create posts and make a visible impact on the forum, the fact that I display human considerations and thoughts etc.

Simialrly, thesists conclude the existence of God.

OK. A reasonable argument, but there are objections that could be made here, such as the fact that it is not massively unlikely that there is a person at the other end writing, messages, posting to forums etc. People do this all the time! What is more, it can be observed. On the other hand, I believe that a being with the attributes of god mentioned above is unlikely (to say the least), and also that any such being has never been observed by anyone.


I want to make it clear that I am not going to set out to prove the existence of God to our atheists. I can't give them faith, only God can, as He mentions in the Qur'an:

This is certainly the correct view, although I think it contradicts something you say later on. I would like to discuss faith in relation to this question, perhaps in a later post.


Many many people only convert when they realize they are in trouble. It is unfortunate that people foolishly wait for tragedy to turn them to God.

But why would God guide someone who does not turn to Him for guidance?

Tragedy can also turn people away from God, too, no?


Coming back to the existence of God, the way I see it, there are many signs of the existence of God. Theists offer several proofs which I shall point out later on. However, the atheist seems to think that it is satisfactory to simply reject the proofs of God's existence, without any need for proofs of God's absence. Such a view is illogical, since believing that God does not exist is a belief like any other, and it must be supported with evidence. Yet an atheist can bring absoloutely no strong arguments to prove that God does not exist, so they operate within a vaccuum of evidence.

"No strong arguments"? Surely even a strong argument wouldn't convince you, since you have faith. I thought we agreed that arguments can't change someone's view from atheism to theism or vice versa, that it was a matter of faith? Or perhaps you believe arguments can take someone from atheism to theism? This is the point I mentioned earlier.


Atheism is consequently a very weak position because it advocates a possibility like advocating that one's friend does not exist but is merely a robot created by extraterrestrial life forms. Sure, its possible, but its not likely to be taken seriously by anyone.

I don't think this is a good analogy, for reasons connected with the Turing test mentioned above. In fact I can barely see the connection between atheism and the absurd argument you mention here.

Re: the invisible pink unicorn argument, the question here is about the burden of proof. Who has to prove their belief, the person who affirms something or the person who denies it? In my view, the theist must take most of the burden of proof, because the assertion "god exists" is prior to the assertion "god does not exist"; it happened first. The concept of god with all his attributes came about at the same time as the idea of his existence. Before the first person ever to say "god exists" said it, it was not possible to think "god does not exist" since the concept hadn't been created yet.


So the problem still remains for atheists to prove the non-existence of God.

Again: are these proofs necessary? If you discovered an extremely convincing atheist argument, would that have any effect on your faith? I'm fairly sure it wouldn't.


The other point I'd like to make is that atheists claim to reject the metaphysical world and all concepts beyond matter. Yet, they themselves have found that such a method is inadequate in explaining the universe,

I think science has a huge amount of explanatory power. Think of how much more we understand about the universe than people from say 2000 years ago.


thus they have had to invent abstract concepts to cover up for their use of metaphysical factors in the universe. For example, we often hear the terms force, energy, and power in physics, but can anyone explain what these terms really are? Are they not concepts beyond the physical world?

There are abstract concepts, and there are metaphysical concepts. They should not be confused. Metaphysical concepts are beyond all possible physical experience. The objects or ideas they refer to cannot be observed. Abstract scientific concepts are simply labels for processes which can be repeatedly tested, observed and measured.


What is the source of all energy?

Good question!

Right, apologies for another ridiculously long post. I'm trying to be brief but when you're looking at the biggest question of all it's difficult to cover it succinctly!
Any comments or questions about what I've written are most welcome.

Henry
08-06-2005, 01:08 AM
Hey there, czgibson. About science having a huge amount of explanatory power. People don't realise that the reason it does, is because science is explaining what Allah (swt) has created. Some religious people think science completely strays away from religious teachings. Allah (swt) has created the world is such a perfect order, that he created science, so to speak.

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-06-2005, 02:47 AM
Hi Callum, :)

I hope we can agree on these attributes as being shared by the vast majority of people in their understanding of the word "god".
For info on the Islamic view of God's attributes, there is a list of 99 that Muslims commonly use. They are discussed here (http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=2273).


The first point he mentions is one I agree with. Arguments for or against the existence of God have a history of not being convincing if you are on the other side, so to speak.
I don't recall ever making such a statement. You misconstrued my words. I stated that only GOD has the capability to guide someone, and no matter how many signs we point out to someone, it may have no affect. I made no statement on the history of atheist-theist debates and proofs associated with such. Many people have been convinced, and many are continually being convinced as we speak. But ultimately, it is one's desire to seek God that will lead to one's guidance, as the verses of the Qur'an demonstrate.

This misinterpretation of my words led you to think there was a contradiction in my post when I first stated that I had no capacity to convince anyone, and later began discussing arguments. While it is certainly true that I cannot give them the guidance that God gives those who turn to Him, I may be able to reason with them and lead them to turn to God. In Islam, the scholars have mentioned two types of Hidayah (gudance):
1. Hidayah Irshad - Showing someone to the true path
2. Hidayah Tawfiq - Actually guiding someone to that path and on it

As for the former, any human being can give it to anyone. As for the latter, only God can give that form of guidance to people.

So the purpose of the arguments is to reason with you and present my view and direct you towards that which I deem truth, but I cannot convince you to accept it as truth. In short, my job is to convey, not convince. How convincing an argument is depends entirely on the person recieving it. Therefore, we can make no claims that one argument is unconvincing etc. it is all relative.


Belief in god is a matter of faith, which is not reached by arguments but by personal conviction (I'm assuming here. I clearly do not understand how faith in god is reached).
Think of that which you have faith in, and you might find your faith completely reasonable. Faith is commonly built upon reason. If I only believe in God because my parents told me so, then that's faith in my parents, not faith in God.


- tiny point: I know you are not an automated response due to the Turing test, which you may have heard of - it involves a human judge conversing with a computer and a human, without being told which is which. No computer has yet been built that can fool someone into thinking it is a human.
Improbable, but not impossible! ;)


OK. A reasonable argument, but there are objections that could be made here, such as the fact that it is not massively unlikely that there is a person at the other end writing, messages, posting to forums etc. People do this all the time! What is more, it can be observed. On the other hand, I believe that a being with the attributes of god mentioned above is unlikely (to say the least),
I'm interested in the above comment since that would make a useful argument for atheism. What makes you believe that a God of such attributes is unlikely?


and also that any such being has never been observed by anyone.
This is a flawed analogy. Your stating that you conclude I exist because you have seen other people doing a similar activites, but you've never observed a God. However, the fact that you haven't observed God is analogous to the fact that you haven't observed me, but the fact that you have observed other people posting on a forum is analogous to the fact that you have observed every machine designed and created by an intelligent designer. So these are two different ideas here.

If I use your analogy, then just as you conclude I exist because you observe people posting on forums, so does a theist conclude that there is an Almighty Creator because he observes the careful planning and design of the creators behind the inventions of technology.


Tragedy can also turn people away from God, too, no?
Absolotely, and both aspects are discussed in the Qur'an:
41:49 Man does not weary of asking for good (things), but if ill touches him, he gives up all hope (and) is lost in despair.
The above verse explains that tragedy can be a test of faith.

At the same time, the Qur'an says:
39:49 Now, when trouble touches man, he cries to Us: But when We bestow a favour upon him as from Ourselves, he says, "This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge (I have)!" Nay, but this is but a trial, but most of them understand not!
This verse states that many people only remember God in times of need. When things in their lives are pleasant they forget about their Creator, but when tragedy befalls them they plead to God to help them.

And there is no contradiction between the two. Both are aspects of human mentality.

What I find to be the most miraculous aspect of the Qur'an is that it contains guidance on every single aspect of our lives and any question a human being raises, they shall find the answer in the Qur'an if they search for it. As God says in the Qur'an:
6:38...We have neglected nothing in the Book. In the end, they shall all be gathered unto their Lord


"No strong arguments"? Surely even a strong argument wouldn't convince you, since you have faith. I thought we agreed that arguments can't change someone's view from atheism to theism or vice versa, that it was a matter of faith? Or perhaps you believe arguments can take someone from atheism to theism? This is the point I mentioned earlier.
I repeat that I have yet, in all my discussions with atheists, to see them make a strong argument against God's existence. If they did, it would call my faith into question unless I could answer their argument. And I believe that all arguments have been answered from the Qur'an.

Let me be clear that as Muslims we do not subscribe to blind faith. The Qur'an encourages us to use our senses and our reason to discover and comprehend the truth. When one is liberated from their material desires and turns towards God, they become aware of the truth. We are not Muslims because our parents were Muslims, but rather because we have discivered the truth and chosen this path for ourselves. I fully embraced Islam when I had examined alternative paths of life and found that none of them can compare to the comprehensive system which our Creator has revealed to us. We also have sevral Muslims converts on the forum and they have left their previous ways of life (some were former atheists like _salam_ and steve) and they have accepted Islam.


I don't think this is a good analogy, for reasons connected with the Turing test mentioned above. In fact I can barely see the connection between atheism and the absurd argument you mention here.
The point is that there are no supporting arguments for atheism. Atheists seem to feel it is sufficient to simply argue the proofs brought by theists without bringing their own proofs. Which brings us to your next point:


Re: the invisible pink unicorn argument, the question here is about the burden of proof. Who has to prove their belief, the person who affirms something or the person who denies it? In my view, the theist must take most of the burden of proof, because the assertion "god exists" is prior to the assertion "god does not exist"; it happened first. The concept of god with all his attributes came about at the same time as the idea of his existence. Before the first person ever to say "god exists" said it, it was not possible to think "god does not exist" since the concept hadn't been created yet.
I agree that the position that God exists preceded the position that He doesn't. However, there is a difference between not believing in God and rejecting His existence. I don't agree with your opinion on the burden of proof because if someone came to you and stated that your relatives did not exist anymore, and you argued against them all the reasons why you felt that your relatives did exist, you would probably demand that they provide proof for their assertion. They have made the assertion that your relatives do not exist, hence they must substantiate their claim. There is no neutral position here. One Christian author words the idea very concisely:

The statement “I lack belief in a god” is becoming a common position of atheists. In discussions with them, they tell me they lack belief in God the way they lack belief in invisible, pink unicorns. In other words, they have no position, take no intellectual action, have no “belief or unbelief” on the matter concerning God. To them it is a non-issue. Though this may sound sensible to some, the problem is that once you are introduced to an idea you cannot stay neutral about it. You invariably make a judgment about an idea once it has been introduced to you. You can brush it off as ridiculous, ponder its possibility, accept it, reject it, or do something in between. But, you cannot return to a “lack of belief” position if “lack of belief” is defined as a non-intellectual commitment or non-action concerning it. Though I admit that an atheist can claim he lacks belief even after being exposed to an idea and contemplating its rationality, I still assert that a position of some sort is required.
Let’s pick a baby that has no awareness of the concept of invisible, pink unicorns. Later in life, when the baby is mature and is introduced to the concept, he either accepts the existence of invisible pink unicorns, rejects them as a ridiculous notion, chuckles about it and dismisses it, becomes unsure about them, holds off judgment until later, etc. Either way, he develops a position on the concept of invisible pink unicorns. He has to do something with the concept once he’s been exposed to it. He doesn’t continue in a lack-of-belief or a lack-of-awareness state of mind because the fact is, some sort of intellectual action occurs in regard to it. He cannot become unaffected by the concept. He has been made aware of it and he, by default, does something with it.
Nevertheless, some might say that to hold off judgment until later is to be "atheistic" concerning pink unicorns and therefore support the atheist position of "lack of belief." But, as I said earlier, after being exposed to a concept a decision is made about that concept even if it is to withhold judgment. In other words, an assessment has been made and a position taken. This is not the same as going back to a state of unawareness. To suspend belief on a subject is to hold off judgment until more information is acquired. This is agnosticism, not atheism. It is an admission that not all information is acquired thus logically requiring the possibility of the existence of the thing being considered. This is something atheists do not do by definition, but agnostics do. Agnosticism is the position, in part, that "suspension of belief" is maintained until further information is acquired.
If I said that there was an ice cream factory on Jupiter, what would you think? Would you entertain the idea as a serious possibility? Would you quickly dismiss it as an outlandish absurdity? Would you request evidence for it? Or, did you suddenly have a desire to go to Jupiter for some Jupiterian Swirl? Of course, an ice-cream factory on Jupiter is ridiculous and we automatically know this so we naturally make a judgment on it. Thus, we cannot remain in a state of “lack of belief” concerning the concept once we’ve been introduced to it. We assign it to the “that is ridiculous” category.
This is why the lack of belief defense of atheists is not logical. It ignores the reality that people categorize concepts anywhere in the range of total acceptance to total rejection. It is our nature and it is the nature of the human mind.


Again: are these proofs necessary? If you discovered an extremely convincing atheist argument, would that have any effect on your faith? I'm fairly sure it wouldn't.
I've answered this before, but I'd also like to mention that the affect of the argument on me is irrelevant. We are having a discussion here, therefore we should bring forward arguments to support our stance in the discussion.


I think science has a huge amount of explanatory power. Think of how much more we understand about the universe than people from say 2000 years ago.
I never claimed otherwise. But undoubtedly, science is very limited. It always explains what but never why. Allow me to demonstrate with an example used by Maulana Wahiddudin Khan:

'Why is blood red in colour?' If you were to ask a doctor the reason, he would answer, 'Because your blood contains millions of little red discs (5 million to each cubic centimeter), each some seven thousandth of an inch in diameter, called the red corpuscles.'
'Yes, but why are the discs red?'
'Because they contain a substance called haemoglobin, which, when it absorbs oxygen from the lungs, becomes bright red. That is why the blood in the arteries is scarlet. As it flows through the body, the blood gives up its oxygen to the organs of the body and the haemoglobin becoms brownish-this is the dark blood of the veins.'
'Yes. But where do the red corpuscles with their haemoglobin come from?'
'They are made in the spleen.'
'That's marvellous, Doctor. But tell me, how is it that the blood, the red corpuscles, the spleen, and the thousand other things are so organized into one coherent whole, work together so perfectly that I can breathe, run, speak, live?'
'Ah! That is nature.'
'Nature!'
'When I say "nature", I mean the interplay of blind physical and chemical forces.'
'But Doctor, why do these blind forces always act as if they were pursuing a definite end? How do they manage to coordinate their activites so as to produce a bird which flies, a fish which swims, and me...who asks questions?'
My dear friend, I a scientist, can tell you how these things happen. Do not ask me why they are like that.'

While their is no gainsaying the fact that science has set up for us a vast storehouse of knowledge, this dialogue clearly shows that it has its limits. There is a point beyond which it can offer no further explanations.
Although some of the doctor's responses in the above quote may be outdated, in terms of accuracy, I think the quote still demonstrates my point.


There are abstract concepts, and there are metaphysical concepts. They should not be confused. Metaphysical concepts are beyond all possible physical experience. The objects or ideas they refer to cannot be observed. Abstract scientific concepts are simply labels for processes which can be repeatedly tested, observed and measured.
According to the Oxford American Dictionary of English, 'abstract concepts' is synonymous with 'metaphysical concepts'. Now if you wish to utilise an alternative definition thats up to you. The point still remains that we use abstract labels for the same concepts we claim to be beyond science. And my last point....


Good question!
Then I'm looking for a good answer! ;)

Peace be with you!

Eric H
08-06-2005, 09:15 AM
Greetings and peace czgibsonl,


czgibsonl.
I'm very new on the board, but I'd like to make a contribution here from the atheist position.

Here are my thoughts, not so much as a Catholic, rather as a theist.

There is at least one God the creator of the universe,

or

There is no God at all and the universe created itself somehow.

One of those statements is true and the other totally false, irrespective of what anyone believes we cannot change the truth because the universe already came into existance somehow.

If and only if God exists fully and totally then there is the need to do something because God the creator must be the most important thing in the whole universe

In the spirit of searching for a greatest truth

Eric

czgibson
08-06-2005, 04:24 PM
Greetings once again,
I have just written a very long post answering your points and then lost it due to my computer incompetence. A sign from god, perhaps? ;)

I will try to rewrite it, but this time I will have to be brief. I therefore apologise if any of what I say below appears brusque or rude - it is not intended that way at all; it is a consequence of brevity.



I don't recall ever making such a statement. You misconstrued my words.
How else can you interpret this sentence?

First of all, while I do believe that the existence of God is something that can be recognized by all human beings, I don't believe someone can 'prove' the existence of God and guide an atheist to theism.
I think I see how the problem has arisen. By referring to god, you are making an unfounded assertion about the way that you believe he guides people. On the other hand, you might say that this statement of mine is an unfounded assertion!

How convincing an argument is depends entirely on the person recieving it. Therefore, we can make no claims that one argument is unconvincing etc. it is all relative.
There are precise ways of ascertaining whether an argument is valid or not, as you will know if you have studied logic.

Think of that which you have faith in, and you might find your faith completely reasonable. Faith is commonly built upon reason. If I only believe in God because my parents told me so, then that's faith in my parents, not faith in God.
I don't think faith can ever be "completely reasonable". If it were then it would cease to be faith! Faith may be founded on reason, but there is always an element of doubt involved. If you had absolute proof that god exists, you would have no need for faith.

Improbable, but not impossible! ;)
This is a very deep philosophical question that deserves a whole forum to itself, let alone another thread!

I'm interested in the above comment since that would make a useful argument for atheism. What makes you believe that a God of such attributes is unlikely?
Simply the fact that nobody has ever seen or experienced anything else that is omnipotent, omniscient etc. Also, because I believe such concepts are actually logically inconsistent and therefore impossible. Consider the following paradox: If god is all-powerful, and can do absolutely anything, can he build a stone which is too heavy for him to lift? If he can build such a stone, he can't lift it. If he can't build such a stone, then his omnipotence is in serious doubt. Either way, there is something god cannot do. Of course, the stone example is very physical, and we don't normally imagine god lifting stones and so on. I just use it for simplicity's sake. Another example could be: could god create a universe that is so large he was unable to be present throughout all of it simultaneously? Whatever example you use, the paradox remains. Therefore the concept "omnipotent" is logically impossible.

EDIT: Having looked through your Creed Article "Where is Allah?" I now see that you do not believe Allah is omnipresent. I trust you are still aware of the paradox I refer to, however.


This is a flawed analogy. Your stating that you conclude I exist because you have seen other people doing a similar activites, but you've never observed a God. However, the fact that you haven't observed God is analogous to the fact that you haven't observed me, but the fact that you have observed other people posting on a forum is analogous to the fact that you have observed every machine designed and created by an intelligent designer. So these are two different ideas here.
I'm afraid I don't understand what you are getting at here. Perhaps you could go over this point again?

If I use your analogy, then just as you conclude I exist because you observe people posting on forums, so does a theist conclude that there is an Almighty Creator because he observes the careful planning and design of the creators behind the inventions of technology.
I believe the creation of new inventions and technology attest to the ability of human ingenuity and nothing more. As to how the people creating such things were designed, that is a mystery which can be (only partly) explained by evolution.

And there is no contradiction between the two. Both are aspects of human mentality.
I fully accept this point.

What I find to be the most miraculous aspect of the Qur'an is that it contains guidance on every single aspect of our lives and any question a human being raises, they shall find the answer in the Qur'an if they search for it. As God says in the Qur'an:
6:38...We have neglected nothing in the Book. In the end, they shall all be gathered unto their Lord
Any question? How about these:

1. What is George W. Bush's middle name?
2. What bitrate should I use when downloading tunes to my iPod?
3. How many humans have existed since the beginning of time?

OK, you can see what I'm doing here - but you did say any question!

I repeat that I have yet, in all my discussions with atheists, to see them make a strong argument against God's existence. If they did, it would call my faith into question unless I could answer their argument. And I believe that all arguments have been answered from the Qur'an.
Atheists believe that the standard proofs for the existence of god (ontological, cosmological, teleological, experiential, whatever) are unsatisfactory. They often also believe that any proof of the non-existence of god would also be unsatisfactory, because it is impossible to prove or disprove something that is outside any possible human experience.

Let me be clear that as Muslims we do not subscribe to blind faith. The Qur'an encourages us to use our senses and our reason to discover and comprehend the truth.
This is admirable, since many religious people seem to be hostile to reason. However, I still believe that until you see god with your own eyes, your faith is blind.

We are not Muslims because our parents were Muslims, but rather because we have discivered the truth and chosen this path for ourselves.
OK, but would you agree that if you were born into a Muslim family, in a Muslim society it is very likely that you would become a Muslim?

I fully embraced Islam when I had examined alternative paths of life and found that none of them can compare to the comprehensive system which our Creator has revealed to us.
I would love to know more about this. I'm fascinated by the journey that takes people from non-faith to faith. How is it possible? I ask myself. I am aware that it is a very personal journey, which may be difficult to explain to an outsider.

We also have sevral Muslims converts on the forum and they have left their previous ways of life (some were former atheists like _salam_ and steve) and they have accepted Islam.
This is extremely interesting - I hope they have found peace and happiness with their new belief-system.

The point is that there are no supporting arguments for atheism. Atheists seem to feel it is sufficient to simply argue the proofs brought by theists without bringing their own proofs.
I have answered this above.

I agree that the position that God exists preceded the position that He doesn't. However, there is a difference between not believing in God and rejecting His existence.
Can you explain the difference to me? I don't see it.

I don't agree with your opinion on the burden of proof because if someone came to you and stated that your relatives did not exist anymore, and you argued against them all the reasons why you felt that your relatives did exist, you would probably demand that they provide proof for their assertion. They have made the assertion that your relatives do not exist, hence they must substantiate their claim. There is no neutral position here.
Let me clarify where I stand on the question of the burden of proof. In some cases it is the asserter who has the burden, in some cases the denier, and in some cases both have work to do. The proposition "your relatives do not exist" can be verified as being true or false quite easily. Therefore, in this case, the person who denies my relatives' existence has the burden of proof, but it is easy to ascertain the truth (or otherwise) of his statement. (That is of course unless we accept the ultra-sceptical arguments of someone like Sextus Empriricus, who argued along the lines of "how can we be sure anything exists?" Such arguments may be valid in terms of pure logic, but anyone who tried to live his life with such ontological uncertainty would very quickly run into practical difficulties). However, if someone affirms the existence of god (and all that that logically entails), then that is a truly vast hypothesis, one which needs suitably vast evidence if it is to be believed. Therefore, in this case, most of the burden of proof lies with the theist, since the denial of this vast hypothesis is not a statement of comparable magnitude.

The Christian author you quote confuses atheism with agnosticism. The atheist does not take "no position" on the god question, as I think should be clear by now.

I've answered this before, but I'd also like to mention that the affect of the argument on me is irrelevant. We are having a discussion here, therefore we should bring forward arguments to support our stance in the discussion.
OK, a fair point. We are not trying to convert each other here (well I'm not anyway), merely to air the issues in the hope that we will understand them better.

I never claimed otherwise. But undoubtedly, science is very limited. It always explains what but never why.
This is absolutely true with regard to questions of existence. Science can tell tell us what exists but not why it exists in the first place. The example you use demonstrates this point clearly.

While their is no gainsaying the fact that science has set up for us a vast storehouse of knowledge, this dialogue clearly shows that it has its limits. There is a point beyond which it can offer no further explanations.[/color][/indent]
Very true. But I believe that the god hypothesis does not explain anything at all. In fact, the concept of god is one that requires explanation itself. Judicious use of Ockham's razor shows that this extra explanation to account for god does not help us understand the universe more clearly in any way whatsoever.

According to the Oxford American Dictionary of English, 'abstract concepts' is synonymous with 'metaphysical concepts'. Now if you wish to utilise an alternative definition thats up to you. The point still remains that we use abstract labels for the same concepts we claim to be beyond science.
I use the word "metaphysical" in relation to metaphysics, a clearly demarcated philosophical discipline, one which has been almost unanimously rejected by modern philosophers. The dictionary is imprecise if it does indeed say what you say it does. It should give "highly abstract concepts" as a synonym, not just "abstract concepts". There is a subtle difference. A first order abstract concept, such as energy, wealth or intelligence, cannot be observed directly, but its effects can be measured using agreed systems with varying levels of precision, depending on the concept in question. A second order abstract concept, (i.e. a metaphysical concept) such as truth, good or value, cannot be measured by any agreed system at all.

Then I'm looking for a good answer! ;)
Yes, the great unanswerable question! I'll have a go. Some people say that god is the mysterious source of life and energy. If this was the one and only definition of the word "god", then I would be a believer, since I do believe it is a mystery. Not a very satisfactory answer, I know, but the best that can be given by me!

Peace be with you!

And also with you!

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-06-2005, 06:20 PM
Hi Callum,
I'll answer your main points in order to keep the discussion focused and concise.


I think I see how the problem has arisen. By referring to god, you are making an unfounded assertion about the way that you believe he guides people.
I'm not discussing the way God guides people, I'm just pointing out that it is ultimately He who decides who will find the truth and have faith and who won't. At the same time, we can reason about the truth but we can't compel someone to accept it. I can provide my reasons for why I believe in the existence of God, but I can't convince everyone based on logic and reason. It takes a personal experience to discover one's Creator.

I hope that makes it a little more clear.


Simply the fact that nobody has ever seen or experienced anything else that is omnipotent, omniscient etc.
Actually, scientists have already begun to theorize a being with such attributes based on our knowledge of quantum mechanics. For example, in the Many Worlds Interpretation, there is the concept of the Massless Lightcone Being (http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/ManyWorlds.html#RMW). which you may he=ave heard of. In fact, the concept approaches a classical understanding of a deity.

And since if there was a God, no one esle would share such attributes, your argument borders on the logical fallacy, petitio principii.

Also, because I believe such concepts are actually logically inconsistent and therefore impossible. Consider the following paradox: If god is all-powerful, and can do absolutely anything, can he build a stone which is too heavy for him to lift? If he can build such a stone, he can't lift it. If he can't build such a stone, then his omnipotence is in serious doubt. Either way, there is something god cannot do. Of course, the stone example is very physical, and we don't normally imagine god lifting stones and so on. I just use it for simplicity's sake.
This is an old example, for sure. In fact, I believe I have commented on it before elsewhere on the forum.

Basically, such a stone could not exist, as the concept of the stone is purely imaginative and not based on actual measures. When you ask if God could create a stone, you would normally identify the properties of such a stone. But you haven't given absoloute properties, but instead given properties of the stone relative to God's properties. You have identified the potential stone as something so big that God couldn't lift, so even though we already know that there is nothing God cannot lift, you have used that as an attribute for the stone. Automatically, the concept of such a stone is nullfied. Now, when you ask could God create such a stone, the answer is no, but that doesn't imply a lack of potential on the part of God. Instead, it reflects the fact that the concept of such a stone is illogical, unreal, inadmissable. That's like asking if God can die. Well, death isn't an ability, its the inability to live. The immortal cannot die because that defies His attribute of immortality. Similarly, the omnipotent cannot create a task that He can't complete because such a task is merely a figment of one's imagination and could not exist.

You're basically asking, if God can do anything, can He make it impossible for himself to do something? The question is illogical and self-contradictory because the argument contradicts the premise. Once you have already established that God can do anything, then that's a set attribute and part of His nature. Therefore, He can do anything that is consistent with His nature, anything that is absolute.

Can God make 1=2? Well if 1=2, then it wouldn't be 1! So the idea is self-contradictory, not God.

Its related to some of the points I raised about Trinity in the following post (see the part where I quoted myself):
http://www.islamicboard.com/showpost.php?p=13170&postcount=7

The question also reminds me of the idea of what happens when an immovable rock meets an unstoppable force? The two things cannot exist in the same universe. Likewise, if God exists then all things which contradict His attributes are imaginary, non-existant and impossible. They are forever bound to the realm of imagination and cannot be brought into existence.

Shaykh Ibn Abil-'Izz (d. 1389CE) also answered this question in Sharhul Aqeedatit Tahaawiyyah (p.137), in his discussion of the following verse:

And Allah, over each thing, is omnipotent; all-powerful [al-Baqarah 2:284]

This includes all that is possible. As for what is in intrinsically impossible - such as there being a thing that exists and does not exist at one and the same time - then, this has no reality, nor is its existence conceivable, nor is it termed 'a thing' by agreement of the intelligent ones. Included in this category is: [Allah] creating the likes of Himself, making Himself non-existent, and other impossibilites.

This also serves as a reply to the question posed by some: 'Can Allah create a stone that He is unable to lift?' The argument being that if Allah cannot create such a stone, He is not all-powerful; but if He can, then likewise He is not all-powerful. The fallacy of this argument lies in the fact that such an affair is, in itself, impossible and exists only in the minds of certain people. And not all that the mind conjures-up has an existence that is possible, nor is it always termed 'a thing.'
Hopefully that makes the issue clear.


Another example could be: could god create a universe that is so large he was unable to be present throughout all of it simultaneously? Whatever example you use, the paradox remains.
Although the previous explanation should work for this as well, I'd just like to point out that we don't believe God is omnipresent in His essence.


I'm afraid I don't understand what you are getting at here. Perhaps you could go over this point again?
Okay, you were making the following comparison


you observe many people posting: you've never observed God

I pointed out that those two aren't analogous. The following two pairs are analogous:

you observe many people posting: you observe many people creating

you've never observed me: you've never observed God


Any question? How about these:

1. What is George W. Bush's middle name?
2. What bitrate should I use when downloading tunes to my iPod?
3. How many humans have existed since the beginning of time?

OK, you can see what I'm doing here - but you did say any question!
The Qur'an does indeed respond to your questioning. You may feel that it doesn't answer your questions specifically, but it certainly covers the subject of asking about trivial matters.
23:3 [The believers are those] who avoid vain talk

The Qur'an responds to everything in life. It contains guidance for humanity in all aspects of their lives. Have you read the Qur'an? If not, I would encourage you to read it, and I can recommend several good translations for you.


I would love to know more about this. I'm fascinated by the journey that takes people from non-faith to faith. How is it possible? I ask myself. I am aware that it is a very personal journey, which may be difficult to explain to an outsider.
I think you might enjoy reading some of their stories. We have a thread on this subject here:
http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=1833

A vast collection of stories are found here:
http://thetruereligion.org/modules/xfsection/
They have several stories from former atheists and christians.


Can you explain the difference to me? I don't see it.
Basically one is a neutral position, and the second is a negative position. The negative position requires support.

Let me clarify where I stand on the question of the burden of proof. In some cases it is the asserter who has the burden, in some cases the denier, and in some cases both have work to do. The proposition "your relatives do not exist" can be verified as being true or false quite easily. Therefore, in this case, the person who denies my relatives' existence has the burden of proof, but it is easy to ascertain the truth (or otherwise) of his statement. (That is of course unless we accept the ultra-sceptical arguments of someone like Sextus Empriricus, who argued along the lines of "how can we be sure anything exists?" Such arguments may be valid in terms of pure logic, but anyone who tried to live his life with such ontological uncertainty would very quickly run into practical difficulties). However, if someone affirms the existence of god (and all that that logically entails), then that is a truly vast hypothesis, one which needs suitably vast evidence if it is to be believed. Therefore, in this case, most of the burden of proof lies with the theist, since the denial of this vast hypothesis is not a statement of comparable magnitude.
Although I agree with most of what you've said in this paragraph, I'm still disagree about the theist having the burden of proof instead of the atheist. Affirming the existence of your relatives is also very significant for you, and it is equally significant to deny their existence. Now you said that its easily verifiable and by that I assume you would just pay a visit to these relatives. well, the same as true for God. God's existence is easily verifiable once we die and return to Him. But at the moment, proving the existence of one's relatives and proving the existence of God - both are comparable.

I think that's it for now. I'm in agreement with a lot of what you've said.

Regards

czgibson
08-06-2005, 08:40 PM
Hello again,
I think we're beginning to understand each other's point of view much more clearly now, agreeing to disagree, perhaps. I'm certainly learning a lot, though. I think our two ways of viewing the world are simply that, two ways of looking at the same thing. Discussions about religion of this nature always remind me of a Gestalt picture, such as the famous one where some people see a rabbit and others see a duck. Of course, both are present or implied in the picture. As regards the existence of God question it is not, of course, possible to hold both of our views on the subject simultaneously, but both views are clearly established in the world. It should be possible though, to understand the reasoning of each side, whichever one we accept.


I'm not discussing the way God guides people, I'm just pointing out that it is ultimately He who decides who will find the truth and have faith and who won't.

So god has decided that I will not have faith, for example? Has he chosen not to reveal himself to me?


Actually, scientists have already begun to theorize a being with such attributes based on our knowledge of quantum mechanics. For example, in the Many Worlds Interpretation, there is the concept of the Massless Lightcone Being (http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/ManyWorlds.html#RMW). which you may he=ave heard of. In fact, the concept approaches a classical understanding of a deity.

Very interesting - I have not heard of this. I'm familiar with Everett's "many-worlds" interpretation but this is a new one for me. Thank you.


And since if there was a God, no one esle would share such attributes, your argument borders on the logical fallacy, petitio principii.

If there was one god, yes. Or, if there was another creature that shared just one of his attributes.


This is an old example, for sure. In fact, I believe I have commented on it before elsewhere on the forum.


You're basically asking, if God can do anything, can He make it impossible for himself to do something? The question is illogical and self-contradictory because the argument contradicts the premise. Once you have already established that God can do anything, then that's a set attribute and part of His nature. Therefore, He can do anything that is consistent with His nature, anything that is absolute.

But can god withhold some of his powers from himself if he so chooses? I admit the stone paradox is a logical oddity, but I still think it points to an inconsistency in the concept of omnipotence. Your refutation of it is the best I've read, though!


Shaykh Ibn Abil-'Izz (d. 1389CE) also answered this question in Sharhul Aqeedatit Tahaawiyyah (p.137)
Hopefully that makes the issue clear.

An excellent quotation, and yes it does.


Although the previous explanation should work for this as well, I'd just like to point out that we don't believe God is omnipresent in His essence.
I noticed this too late, when I was reading your excellent Creed Article "Where is Allah?".



Okay, you were making the following comparison


you observe many people posting: you've never observed God

I pointed out that those two aren't analogous. The following two pairs are analogous:

you observe many people posting: you observe many people creating

you've never observed me: you've never observed God

I think we might have to agree to disagree on this one; I believe I have excellent reasons for believing you are a human, even though I cannot see you face to face. I can observe the effect of your existence in the posts you write etc. I do not need to have faith that you are there, because I know you are. The same is not true of god, for me, anyway.



The Qur'an does indeed respond to your questioning. You may feel that it doesn't answer your questions specifically, but it certainly covers the subject of asking about trivial matters.
23:3 [The believers are those] who avoid vain talk

A witty response, Ansar, but does this not mean that the vast majority of factual questions are trivial?


The Qur'an responds to everything in life. It contains guidance for humanity in all aspects of their lives. Have you read the Qur'an? If not, I would encourage you to read it, and I can recommend several good translations for you.

I have read many parts of the Qur'an, but never all the way through. I have intended to, of course, but I find much of it very repetitive, and thus difficult to read. Some of the violent imagery is quite upsetting too. I understand the basic historical circumstances surrounding the text of the Qur'an (I believe), but having such extreme violence in a holy book (as in the Bible, and others) has always seemed repugnant to me. I have a copy of the Abdullah Yusuf-Ali translation with full Arabic text and a commentary. I don't know Arabic, but some Muslim friends have shown me how to read certain passages in the past. I'm going to attempt a more thorough reading, due to your prompting, so can you recommend a good thread for asking questions about the interpretation of it? That would be very helpful.


Although I agree with most of what you've said in this paragraph, I'm still disagree about the theist having the burden of proof instead of the atheist. Affirming the existence of your relatives is also very significant for you, and it is equally significant to deny their existence. Now you said that its easily verifiable and by that I assume you would just pay a visit to these relatives. well, the same as true for God. God's existence is easily verifiable once we die and return to Him. But at the moment, proving the existence of one's relatives and proving the existence of God - both are comparable.

God's existence is only verifiable after we die - assuming there is an afterlife. If there is no afterlife, then his existence is not verifiable at all. Also, which is verification is easier, the one where you have to die first, or the one where you don't?


I think that's it for now. I'm in agreement with a lot of what you've said.

Me too. I think perhaps we're nearing the end of the usefulness of this discussion. Maybe we could take a break on this and I could have a more thorough look at the Qur'an?

Abdul Fattah
08-07-2005, 12:38 AM
I'm not discussing the way God guides people, I'm just pointing out that it is ultimately He who decides who will find the truth and have faith and who won't.
So god has decided that I will not have faith, for example? Has he chosen not to reveal himself to me?

God has chosen to only make people believe when they make an effort to it, or by his mercy. It's not about seeing, it's about wanting to see. In the end of the day it's a "believe" a preference for one possibility over another one. By God's mercy one can be shown a context, an image basacly anythings that helps this person decide wich one of the 2 possability's are wright.
Secondly there's causality to concider. From an atheistic p.o.v. one could state people have no freedom since al our decisions and thoughts are concluded by chemical processes in our head following nature's law. From a religious p.o.v. however, it is only by following the soul (=something un-materialistic) one take's up his freedom of choice. So the one who walks the earth simply to furfill materialistic needs is indeed blindfolded.

(more on science vs. soul in this topic http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=3128)


You're basically asking, if God can do anything, can He make it impossible for himself to do something? The question is illogical and self-contradictory because the argument contradicts the premise. Once you have already established that God can do anything, then that's a set attribute and part of His nature. Therefore, He can do anything that is consistent with His nature, anything that is absolute.

But can god withhold some of his powers from himself if he so chooses? I admit the stone paradox is a logical oddity, but I still think it points to an inconsistency in the concept of omnipotence. Your refutation of it is the best I've read, though!

Just look at this this way. If I offer you an apple, I create a freedom where you have the choice to either refuse, accept or keep the offer open. When you decide to accept the apple you loose the freedom to refuse it; or when you refuse it, you loose the freedom to accept. This does not mean that your freedom relies on me (the person who offers the apple) but is simply something that comes hand in hand with choice. Because the one creating the choice and the one aplying it are two different characters here it is obvious that only taking a choice limits your choices, and no limitation is made by offering choice or having the power to create a choice. In analogy, the posibility to limit oneself can not be concidered as a natural flaw in omnipotence. Yes if someone is omnipotent he has the power to limitate himself, this however doesn't mean that the being is not all powerfull by nature simply because the paradox exists. The reason the being is limited when he chooses so is by his own choice and could not be concidered as a flaw in its all-powerfull-nature.


I think we might have to agree to disagree on this one; I believe I have excellent reasons for believing you are a human, even though I cannot see you face to face. I can observe the effect of your existence in the posts you write etc. I do not need to have faith that you are there, because I know you are. The same is not true of god, for me, anyway.

This is exactly what I meant with: In the end of the day it's a "believe" a preference for one possibility over another one.

This post insinuates there is a person existing in this world called steve but it doesn't proof it, maybe my real name is actually steven, and i just use steve 'cause everybody calls me by that name. Likewise there are many events in, and features of this world that suggest a creator but doesn't prove it. The question is, do you want to believe?


A witty response, Ansar, but does this not mean that the vast majority of factual questions are trivial?

I think not. Not all factual questions are vain.
If I were to ask you if you know the defenition of "vain". It could be my intention to mock you or to entertain other readers by your expence, the question could therefor be concidered a vain one. I could however also meant to trigger your curiousity, lure you to think it trough, in wich case (wether or not this can be concidered an effective method) it could be concidered an attempt to constuctivly talk about it. What I'm trying to say is, that a question should only be judged as vain due to the intention of the person asking it, and not due to the structure, words or form of the question itself.


I can sense that you'r genuily interested in these matters. I was raised a cristian, and turned to atheism for a long time. I'm no expert on science but I do know my share and I reverted to islam. This being said, if you have any questions, (even trivial ones ;) ) don' be afraid to ask. And good luck with that qur'an study, inshallah you shall be guided to the truth.

czgibson
08-07-2005, 01:56 PM
Greetings, steve.

You raise some interesting points, giving an insight into how faith is acquired. This is the most interesting question for me; not because I intend to convert to theism or Islam (that is extremely unlikely), but because I wish to understand as much as I can about how believers become faithful. I know that the best way to find out is to have the experience oneself, but since I am a convinced atheist that path is not open to me.


God has chosen to only make people believe when they make an effort to it, or by his mercy. It's not about seeing, it's about wanting to see.

Yes, a point raised fairly often by religious believers. My problem with this is that I prefer to believe things that are either possible, self-evidently true, likely or very likely. For me, the existence of god is none of these things. I would like to believe that all is right with the world; I would like to believe that no more wars will ever happen, but these beliefs have no foundations. Similarly, even if I wanted to believe in god, that in itself would give me no good reason for doing so.


From an atheistic p.o.v. one could state people have no freedom since al our decisions and thoughts are concluded by chemical processes in our head following nature's law.

Yes, an atheist could say that, but only if he/she believed in absolute determinism, which is a contentious belief to say the least. I believe that in human affairs, some things are determined, and in other things we have the freedom to choose. I do not, however, see that it is necessary to involve god in any explanation of how it is possible for us to be free.


From a religious p.o.v. however, it is only by following the soul (=something un-materialistic) one take's up his freedom of choice. So the one who walks the earth simply to furfill materialistic needs is indeed blindfolded.

This is a very reductive description of what atheists do. (If that is indeed your implication). As an atheist, my life is made up of much more than this: I enjoy meeting friends, I enjoy art, music, literature, linguistics, philosophy, science, history, cinema, religious studies and teaching, which is my job. Acquiring material possessions is very low on my list of priorities.


Just look at this this way. If I offer you an apple, I create a freedom where you have the choice to either refuse, accept or keep the offer open. When you decide to accept the apple you loose the freedom to refuse it; or when you refuse it, you loose the freedom to accept. This does not mean that your freedom relies on me (the person who offers the apple) but is simply something that comes hand in hand with choice. Because the one creating the choice and the one aplying it are two different characters here it is obvious that only taking a choice limits your choices, and no limitation is made by offering choice or having the power to create a choice. In analogy, the posibility to limit oneself can not be concidered as a natural flaw in omnipotence. Yes if someone is omnipotent he has the power to limitate himself, this however doesn't mean that the being is not all powerfull by nature simply because the paradox exists. The reason the being is limited when he chooses so is by his own choice and could not be concidered as a flaw in its all-powerfull-nature.

A good point, well expressed. I concede this position, but I still think there is something wrong with the notion of omnipotence. I just cannot believe that it is possible.


This post insinuates there is a person existing in this world called steve but it doesn't proof it, maybe my real name is actually steven, and i just use steve 'cause everybody calls me by that name.

It certainly doesn't prove what your real name is, that I accept. However, I believe I have excellent reasons to believe that you are a human being and not a machine. Perhaps you are many people pretending to be one, that could be a possibility, but you are definitely not an automated response. The Turing test proves this for me.


Likewise there are many events in, and features of this world that suggest a creator but doesn't prove it. The question is, do you want to believe?

Impossible to say yes or no. If something should happen to give me very good reasons for believing, then I will believe. Until then I will hold to my current position.


I think not. Not all factual questions are vain.
If I were to ask you if you know the defenition of "vain". It could be my intention to mock you or to entertain other readers by your expence, the question could therefor be concidered a vain one. I could however also meant to trigger your curiousity, lure you to think it trough, in wich case (wether or not this can be concidered an effective method) it could be concidered an attempt to constuctivly talk about it. What I'm trying to say is, that a question should only be judged as vain due to the intention of the person asking it, and not due to the structure, words or form of the question itself.

Interesting use of the word "lure" there - it suggests you may have devious intentions, which I'm sure you don't! But this point arose because Ansar told me that the Qur'an contains the answer to any question a human could raise. Obviously this is not true, unless you accept the particular interpretation he gives to those words. I admit that the questions I chose were deliberately facetious, as I knew their answers could not be in the Qur'an. So my intention was vain (if I understand you correctly), but the questions themselves are not. The fact remains that the vast majority of factual questions are not answered in the Qur'an, as is to be expected. This is the point I was trying to make.


I can sense that you'r genuily interested in these matters. I was raised a cristian, and turned to atheism for a long time. I'm no expert on science but I do know my share and I reverted to islam. This being said, if you have any questions, (even trivial ones ;) ) don' be afraid to ask. And good luck with that qur'an study, inshallah you shall be guided to the truth.

Yes, one small question: I notice you say you "reverted" not "converted". Is this because you believe you were actually a Muslim all along, without knowing it, or is there a special interpretation of this word?

I've started reading the Qur'an again, and I've been looking for a thread where I can ask questions of interpretation. I'm surprised not to have found one, since it is obviously a major area of study for Muslims. I'm reluctant to start a new thread because I'm sure there must already be one. I must have missed it - can you point me in the right direction?

- Qatada -
08-07-2005, 02:28 PM
Peace.

Allah in the Holy Qur’an speaks of the fitrah of man in these words:

*{Then set your face upright for religion in the right state—the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know.}* (Ar-Rum 30:30)

We can see that “the pattern on which Allah has made mankind” refers to the basic nature of man, and “setting the face steadily and truly to the Faith” is called “the standard religion.” “The standard religion” is the same as The Religion or the Primordial Religion of mankind, which is mentioned in another verse that means:

*{And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! we bear witness. Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: Surely we were heedless of this.}* (Al-A’raf 7:172)

Commentators say that the above verse refers to a covenant taken by God from the whole of humanity, without any limit of time. In other words, man in his essential and original purity of soul has acknowledged his Creator. But later after his birth when he has grown up, he is in a state of “forgetfulness” as it were. And when he is reminded of his duty to God, he ought to know the truth of that in the heart of his hearts, unless he “covers up” this innermost truth.

Thus Allah in the Qur’an makes it clear to us that the basic nature of man in his purity must acknowledge Him as the One and Only Creator and Sustainer. Studies of cultural anthropology and social history also bear out man’s yearning for a Spiritual Unity. What is more, the latest findings in ecological studies stress the essential unity and uniformity in nature and the universe, which implies a Single Ruler of the universe.

Add to this the following facts:

* All the religions worth the name teach belief in One God. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are, in fact, Semitic religions sharing the same background, and essentially speaking of One God. But consider even Hinduism that speaks of many gods. You find that Hinduism in its highest form speaks only of One God. There is the Sanskrit verse in the Rig Veda: “Ekam Sat vipra bahuda vadanti”: The Truth is One, but scholars call it by many names.

* Thus we see that it is belief in the One God that validates a religion. And nature and history, too, speak up for the Truth of the One God, Allah Most High.

* The Book of God (Qur’an) informs us of certain truths, which we have no other means of knowing. If we feel the need to investigate their veracity, then the only course is to study nature and history. In fact, a new learner of the Qur’an finds it quite surprising that it urges him to observe natural phenomena and contemplate them as a way of arriving at the One Creator. Also, the Qur’an repeatedly exhorts its readers to study history, even to travel to different parts of the earth and learn what the past generations did and how they disappeared from the face of earth.

All these studies reveal to us the basic nature of man, his life in the world, and his spiritual quests. They inevitably lead us to the inescapable fact of the existence of Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, as testified by the pure essence of man.

And Allah knows best.

source: http://www.islamonline.net/askaboutislam/display.asp?hquestionID=8416

root
08-07-2005, 02:36 PM
The existence of god is a Hypothosis, it can't even be brought into a theory.

Abdul Fattah
08-07-2005, 02:53 PM
I know that the best way to find out is to have the experience oneself, but since I am a convinced atheist that path is not open to me.

Out of curiousity.... by what cause are you "convinced"?


Yes, a point raised fairly often by religious believers. My problem with this is that I prefer to believe things that are either possible, self-evidently true, likely or very likely. For me, the existence of god is none of these things. I would like to believe that all is right with the world; I would like to believe that no more wars will ever happen, but these beliefs have no foundations. Similarly, even if I wanted to believe in god, that in itself would give me no good reason for doing so.

Yes, I understand your point. But it's not completely like that, once you'll start looking at things from a theistic point of vieuw, you'll see that it's more self-evident as asumed. Like it or not, people will always heve a tendency to judge things from their own perspective. So when you don't believe in omnipotence for example, it would seem unlikely that there are also other beings (djin) walking this earth in another dimension that is hidden to us; mainly because of the prejudgement that an omnipotence being could not exist to create these even though science has already showed us that there are at least 11 dimentions, of wich we only notice 4. And you don't have to believe that all is wright. War doesn't contradict religion. We believe that this life is a test, so of course there will be hard times for everyone. We were given freedom of choice, this means we also have the freedom to harm others, and thats why there are so many problems in this life.


This is a very reductive description of what atheists do. (If that is indeed your implication). As an atheist, my life is made up of much more than this: I enjoy meeting friends, I enjoy art, music, literature, linguistics, philosophy, science, history, cinema, religious studies and teaching, which is my job. Acquiring material possessions is very low on my list of priorities.

Well, you'll have to agrea that a lack of something imaterial, would mean all proceses in your brain to follow natural laws. This doesn't mean that you can't enjoy them, or that hey do not have a purpose to you. But that simply means that "you" do not make those choice, but let them be choisen by chemistry. You also need to look further then basic materialistic possesions. There are many materialistic needs a person can have going from food, sex, entertainment, ... They are materialistic because they follow from physical stimuli. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that one should try to contradict them just pro forma. I'm just saying that when you choice only to follow these stimuli, that your life becomes no more then another link in the chain of causalistic events.


A good point, well expressed. I concede this position, but I still think there is something wrong with the notion of omnipotence. I just cannot believe that it is possible.

Just a wild guess here, but could that splinter that is buging you come from a wrong image of God? Science explains us how stuff works but not why. Till today we are still unaware of why gravity atracts objects. Einstein reformed the question to: "why does matter create bends in time-space?". And as we speak people are looking to find gravitons in cern. But why would the existence of the messenger-particul: graviton create a diffrence in dirrection with other objects. The questions remains.... When I pierce holes in a 2dimensional piece of paper, a fictional inhabitant of that paper could find those hole's, study them, find a pattern in it, make a law out of it, and even predict the next hole, but al that knowledge still does not tell him anything about a 3dimensional person piercing with a needle, simply due to his lack of dimensional insight. Likewise we are unable to fulle comprehend the underlying cause of science due to the 11 dimensions it happens in. We believ that when you hold an apple above the ground and let go, it falls because of Gods will. From that point of vieuw, all events are miracles, and that what western world would see as a miracle diffrences only because it's an "unusual" act of God. So God is beyond the laws of his creation, and even beyond the dimensions in wich he created it. This Image of God shows a much better understanding of omnipotence.


Impossible to say yes or no. If something should happen to give me very good reasons for believing, then I will believe. Until then I will hold to my current position.

Fair enoughf. In fact to believe something against your will would be concidered a lie to yourself. in fact one can not "choose" to believe. Believing is something you either do, or don't. One can only "hoose" to ignor or to listen to whatever he believes.


Obviously this is not true, unless you accept the particular interpretation he gives to those words.

It's not so much a matter of formulating an answer that answers the question. But the qur'an does offer an furfilment of any need a person can have that would give rise to questions. So when Anser said that it answers any question, I think he meant that it works as remedy to any lack of insight a person could have and that the qur'an is enoughf as a guide for human kind.


Yes, one small question: I notice you say you "reverted" not "converted". Is this because you believe you were actually a Muslim all along, without knowing it, or is there a special interpretation of this word?

We believe everybody is born a muslim, but some are raised diffrently. So we tend to say revert in stead of convert. And I do believe I was a muslim without knowing it to some extend yes, this is because everything I've learned about islam sounds so "wright" in my hearth and mind, it almost seems like something that was in me all along.


I've started reading the Qur'an again, and I've been looking for a thread where I can ask questions of interpretation. I'm surprised not to have found one, since it is obviously a major area of study for Muslims. I'm reluctant to start a new thread because I'm sure there must already be one. I must have missed it - can you point me in the right direction?

Just start a new one, i'm sure the moderaters won't mind (to much :P ).

czgibson
08-07-2005, 03:36 PM
Greetings, Aqib, and thank you for your statements of Islamic belief.
As an atheist, with considerably less knowledge than you about Islam, I feel I cannot usefully comment on the assertions you have made specifically about Islam. However, I would like to look at some of the more general points you mention.


Studies of cultural anthropology and social history also bear out man’s yearning for a Spiritual Unity.

This is broadly true. However, many anthropologists give a different explanation for the origin of this belief than you do. Many think that the god-belief is a result of fear, particularly fear as a result of being unable to explain natural phenomena. Primitive people living thousands of years ago would not understand why their citizens or crops would suddenly die, as they had little or no understanding of disease and infection; they would not understand why the seasons occur, since they had no understanding of planetary motions or climatology. These and many other inexplicable, unpredictable events might well have caused them to think that they were at the mercy of some higher power, rather than the forces of nature, and, what is more, that this higher power was to be feared, supplicated, worshipped. This belief would have been beneficial for the community, since it would encourage a strong group bond. It would also be useful for the leaders of the community, as a highly effective method of social control. (Incidentally, some anthropologists believe that the cycle of the seasons explains the prevalence of another common belief in primitive religions: that of the death and resurrection of the god. This belief is well known in certain contemporary religions too, though not Islam).

What I'm saying here is the gist of a particular (fairly widespread) anthropological view. It is the one I subscribe to - what do you think?


Add to this the following facts:

I have to say that only one of the points you mention below may be a fact.


* All the religions worth the name teach belief in One God.

This is clearly a biased opinion. Buddhism is a major world religion which believes in no god at all.


* Thus we see that it is belief in the One God that validates a religion.

This is a conclusion from a false premise, with no actual argument in between.


* The Book of God (Qur’an) informs us of certain truths, which we have no other means of knowing.

This may be a fact, but it depends which truths you are talking about.


All these studies reveal to us the basic nature of man, his life in the world, and his spiritual quests. They inevitably lead us to the inescapable fact of the existence of Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, as testified by the pure essence of man.

And Allah knows best.

OK, a strong conclusion, but what you have done here is make a list of assertions. Many Muslims say that it is important to use your mind and to decide for yourself what is true, but by making a list of assertions instead of argument, you reveal that you actually subscribe to the authoritarian approach to truth (i.e. This book was written by someone very wise, therefore we must believe it.)

Please tell me if what I have written is complete nonsense.
Peace be with you.

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-07-2005, 03:59 PM
Hello,

So god has decided that I will not have faith, for example? Has he chosen not to reveal himself to me?
God will guide you if you turn to Him for guidance. If you pray to Him with sincerity.


But can god withhold some of his powers from himself if he so chooses? I admit the stone paradox is a logical oddity, but I still think it points to an inconsistency in the concept of omnipotence.
The understanding of God's omnipotence in Islam is that God can do anything consistent with his nature. There are different notions of omnipotence but Muslims do not subscribe to the view that God can do anything that can even contradict His attributes.


I noticed this too late, when I was reading your excellent Creed Article "Where is Allah?".
Maybe you already know this, but just to make sure, I want to let you know that those articles in the sectarian section were not written by me, only posted by me. :brother:




A witty response, Ansar, but does this not mean that the vast majority of factual questions are trivial?
You are right in pointing out that the Qur'an does not contain every single piece of factual information, because the Qur'an is a book of guidance. Hence, when I say it has the answers for everything, what I should have written was that it has the answers for questions of life. Major questions of guidance.


I have read many parts of the Qur'an, but never all the way through. I have intended to, of course, but I find much of it very repetitive, and thus difficult to read. Some of the violent imagery is quite upsetting too. I understand the basic historical circumstances surrounding the text of the Qur'an (I believe), but having such extreme violence in a holy book (as in the Bible, and others) has always seemed repugnant to me.
I'm glad you mentioned this because I always prefer for people to ask about their doubts rather than keep them inside. Therwe are some verses which people misquote to portray Islam as a violent faith. I have written the following detailed article which explains all such verses:
http://www.load-islam.com/C/rebuttals/Misquoted/


I have a copy of the Abdullah Yusuf-Ali translation with full Arabic text and a commentary. I don't know Arabic, but some Muslim friends have shown me how to read certain passages in the past. I'm going to attempt a more thorough reading, due to your prompting, so can you recommend a good thread for asking questions about the interpretation of it? That would be very helpful.
In reality, the entire 'Basics of Islam' section is used for interpretation of the Qur'an. Feel free to make a thread to ask you questions.



God's existence is only verifiable after we die - assuming there is an afterlife. If there is no afterlife, then his existence is not verifiable at all. Also, which is verification is easier, the one where you have to die first, or the one where you don't?
My point was that you can only verify the existence of your relatives by visiting them after your argument with the person who denies their existence. The same is true for God, except we must visit Him after death.

peace

Abdul Fattah
08-07-2005, 05:09 PM
This is broadly true. However, many anthropologists give a different explanation for the origin of this belief than you do. Many think that the god-belief is a result of fear, particularly fear as a result of being unable to explain natural phenomena.

Well if one assumes the qur'an to be human made, that would be a logic explanation for it. But to claim it's false simply because people worshipped things like fire and the sun in history isn't very logic. It' not because some worship were uncalled for that all are. By insinuating fear lays at the origin of the qur'an you immediatly claim it to be false. It's not because fear can make people believe in false things that all believes are false.


OK, a strong conclusion, but what you have done here is make a list of assertions. Many Muslims say that it is important to use your mind and to decide for yourself what is true, but by making a list of assertions instead of argument, you reveal that you actually subscribe to the authoritarian approach to truth (i.e. This book was written by someone very wise, therefore we must believe it.)

Its a form of recognition. I earlyer said that the diffrence between atheisme and theism is a matter of believing one certain possability is more likely then another. When I read the qur'an I did not see the work of an entertainer, but I recognise it as something devine that by logical reasoning must have been created by a higher meaning, therefor I believe in it's authenticy. Once I was convinced of it's authenticity, it's devine nature, then I submited to it's autority. It would be a loss of time to try to validate this basis every time I make a conclusion in religious matters. I hope you see how thats a whole diffrent thing then just believing because we'r told to believe.

czgibson
08-07-2005, 07:42 PM
Maybe you already know this, but just to make sure, I want to let you know that those articles in the sectarian section were not written by me, only posted by me.

Oh, my mistake!

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-07-2005, 08:40 PM
I'd like to come back to one point that was dropped:

Some people say that god is the mysterious source of life and energy. If this was the one and only definition of the word "god", then I would be a believer, since I do believe it is a mystery.
Suppose we label the 'mysterious source of life and energy' as A. We know that A must have existed prior to the creation of the universe and A, being the source of the universe's energy, effectively created the universe since the expansion of the gravitational singularity required this energy.

Am I wrong?

czgibson
08-07-2005, 10:09 PM
No, I don't think so. If "A" is the ultimate (yet mysterious) source of life and energy, then yes, "A" must have created the universe. I think "A" or by-products of "A" must sustain the universe too, logically. However, nobody knows what this source of life and energy is.

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-08-2005, 03:41 AM
No, I don't think so. If "A" is the ultimate (yet mysterious) source of life and energy, then yes, "A" must have created the universe. I think "A" or by-products of "A" must sustain the universe too, logically. However, nobody knows what this source of life and energy is.
Okay, fair enough. Now I only asked about the source of energy, but you brought in the 'source of life' into the question as well, so I'm curious as to what you meant by that exactly.

Also, we have agreed now that A is the mysterious creator and sustainer of the universe, right?

Now, logically, would A not also have to be eternal?

czgibson
08-08-2005, 03:47 PM
Okay, fair enough. Now I only asked about the source of energy, but you brought in the 'source of life' into the question as well, so I'm curious as to what you meant by that exactly.

I simply mean that if something did indeed create life, or was the original source of life, then that thing is a mystery.


Also, we have agreed now that A is the mysterious creator and sustainer of the universe, right?

Yes, we have invented a hypothetical metaphysical concept called A which we have designated as being the mysterious creator and sustainer of the universe.


Now, logically, would A not also have to be eternal?

Not necessarily. We can say nothing about how A originally came to be, nor can we be certain that the universe itself will last forever. The answer to the question "will the universe last forever?" has to be "nobody knows". It will either end at some point (which I believe is the Islamic point of view - or does that just apply to the Earth?) or it will last indefinitely; which of these is true is impossible for us to determine. Also, if the universe were to disappear, this would tell us nothing about whether A continued to exist or not. A could have disappeared, malfunctioned or else decided to stop sustaining life and energy, or there could be another explanation. At this stage, so many variables are possible that it is impossible for us to use pure logic to determine whether A would be eternal or not.

root
08-08-2005, 10:52 PM
or there could be another explanation. At this stage

Ah yes, Hypothosis. Like the multiverse being recycled by blackholes since we don't actually know what lies on the "Other Side"!

That notion aside, it's the same as the ID theology of the watch in the sand. One wonders who made the watchmaker that made such a perfectly designed piece, like a droplet of water thrown out of my kitchen on a winters night. I wonder if the Crystal claimed me as the intelligent designer of such complexity as an ice crystal or was it a chemical reaction without a need for random probability.

czgibson
08-08-2005, 11:05 PM
Ah yes, Hypothosis. Like the multiverse being recycled by blackholes since we don't actually know what lies on the "Other Side"!

Yes, exactly - the discussion Ansar and I are having about A is entirely hypothetical.


That notion aside, it's the same as the ID theology of the watch in the sand. One wonders who made the watchmaker that made such a perfectly designed piece, like a droplet of water thrown out of my kitchen on a winters night. I wonder if the Crystal claimed me as the intelligent designer of such complexity as an ice crystal or was it a chemical reaction without a need for random probability.

I like your idea about the ice crystal, but I don't really see how what I said is linked to the watchmaker argument...?

Abdul Fattah
08-09-2005, 12:46 AM
Well in a way the ice cristal does show creation. It might have been formed through a totaly explainable scientific proces, but one can still marvel at how some charesteristic inhereted both in natural law and in waterdrups were "just" wright for this beautiful phenomenom to take place...

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-09-2005, 02:14 AM
I simply mean that if something did indeed create life, or was the original source of life, then that thing is a mystery.
But are you just using this to elaborate on the point of the source of energy being the course of all existence and therefore the source of life? Or are you making an independent point about that which gives life to dead matter? I just wanted to clarify.


Not necessarily. We can say nothing about how A originally came to be, nor can we be certain that the universe itself will last forever.
What is the connection between A and the lifespan of the universe? if we define A as the source of all energy in the universe, wouldn't science suggest that anything that functions as a source of energy must have never come into existence itself, since then its supply of energy would also need to have a source. If the source of all energy never came into existence, and it draws back into time, infinitely, then doesn't that mean that its eternal?

Also, maybe you could also explain to me how and why you feel that A sustains the universe, I'm interested in that point as well. :brother:


Yes, exactly - the discussion Ansar and I are having about A is entirely hypothetical.
By that do you mean that its built on a supposition or that its simply discussed through logic? If you mean the former, then I'm not sure what has been assumed here.

Thank you for this interesting dialogue. :)

Regards

czgibson
08-09-2005, 06:26 PM
But are you just using this to elaborate on the point of the source of energy being the course of all existence and therefore the source of life? Or are you making an independent point about that which gives life to dead matter? I just wanted to clarify.

I'm not really sure what you mean here. The "course" of existence? Do you mean "source"?



What is the connection between A and the lifespan of the universe? if we define A as the source of all energy in the universe, wouldn't science suggest that anything that functions as a source of energy must have never come into existence itself, since then its supply of energy would also need to have a source. If the source of all energy never came into existence, and it draws back into time, infinitely, then doesn't that mean that its eternal?

With regard to your main argument here, the simple answer is I don't know. That's why I call it a mystery.

Some sources of energy do "come into existence", such as the sun and all the stars, which we know have a life cycle. Energy itself, though, must have existed as long as the universe. Where it came from originally is unknown. As to whether this source of energy stretches back infinitely in time, or came into existence itself at some point, again, nobody knows.

With regard to your question here about the connection between A and the lifespan of the universe, you're right in your implication if I understand you correctly: it is presumably almost possible to imagine A continuing to exist should some great calamity befall the universe and bring it to an end. Almost possible to imagine A without the universe. But once you start talking about something outside the universe, there's a severe difficulty because the universe is simply "all that there is."


Also, maybe you could also explain to me how and why you feel that A sustains the universe, I'm interested in that point as well. :brother:

Yes, I think I made a mistake there - I was thinking that energy itself sustains the universe, so therefore the source of it indirectly sustains the universe; however, there are obviously parts of the universe, and items within it, that do not require energy to continue existing. It would be more accurate to simply say that energy sustains life.


By that do you mean that its built on a supposition or that its simply discussed through logic? If you mean the former, then I'm not sure what has been assumed here.

Well, it's hypothetical from my point of view, since we're talking about something, A, which I claim to be unknown. That is the supposition, and we have been discussing its logical ramifications.


Thank you for this interesting dialogue. :)

Thanks to you too. I always enjoy thought-experiments - they're good for the mind, like chess or crossword puzzles. :)

Regards

root
08-09-2005, 06:35 PM
Steve - Well in a way the ice cristal does show creation. It might have been formed through a totaly explainable scientific proces

I think you mean basic chemistry


Steve - but one can still marvel at how some charesteristic inhereted both in natural law and in waterdrups were "just" wright for this beautiful phenomenom to take place...

Yes, one could also throw 300 magnets in a bin and shake the bin then marvel and the amazing complaxity in the way that all the magnets bonded and created a "Complex Structure". But am I the creator of such a complex structure that is so improbable to repeat itself entirely matching the pattern that the magnets must have been placed together by a creator..............

root
08-09-2005, 06:44 PM
Ansar Al Adl - What is the connection between A and the lifespan of the universe? if we define A as the source of all energy in the universe, wouldn't science suggest that anything that functions as a source of energy must have never come into existence itself, since then its supply of energy would also need to have a source. If the source of all energy never came into existence, and it draws back into time, infinitely, then doesn't that mean that its eternal?

Are you not simply trying to state Einstiens E = MC(Square) model. Matter comes from raw energy, and matter can turn into raw energy. This theory paved the way to Nuclear Explosions and left a prediction, the prediction was that if E = MC (Square) was correct then scientists needed to look for the remains of a massive unimaginable explosion as the birth of the universe. This prediction of such was later confirmed when we found the faint echoes of the "Big Bang".


if the source of all energy never came into existence, and it draws back into time, infinitely, then doesn't that mean that its eternal?

As an Hypothosis then yes, but also one needs to consider a "Life and death" approach that is eternal. Destroying Matter causes energy, energy causes matter thus the loop begins.

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-09-2005, 08:20 PM
I'm not really sure what you mean here. The "course" of existence? Do you mean "source"?
Yes, My mistake.


Some sources of energy do "come into existence", such as the sun and all the stars, which we know have a life cycle.
But here you are using 'source' in a different sense. We know that these are simply transforming energy from one form into another. its related to root's point:

Are you not simply trying to state Einstiens E = MC(Square) model. Matter comes from raw energy, and matter can turn into raw energy. This theory paved the way to Nuclear Explosions and left a prediction, the prediction was that if E = MC (Square) was correct then scientists needed to look for the remains of a massive unimaginable explosion as the birth of the universe. This prediction of such was later confirmed when we found the faint echoes of the "Big Bang".
e=mc^2 represents the fact that matter contains energy. So these aren't exactly 'sources' in the same way that A is.


Energy itself, though, must have existed as long as the universe. Where it came from originally is unknown. As to whether this source of energy stretches back infinitely in time, or came into existence itself at some point, again, nobody knows.
What other plausible explanation can there be? If we agree that there is a source of energy, then such a source could not have come into existence because then it would need a source for its energy as well. Hence, it only seems logical to me that the source would stretch back infinitely in time. Could you explain any alternative?


But once you start talking about something outside the universe, there's a severe difficulty because the universe is simply "all that there is."
Good point. This means that our definition is restricted to the observable universe.


Well, it's hypothetical from my point of view, since we're talking about something, A, which I claim to be unknown. That is the supposition, and we have been discussing its logical ramifications.
Althogh A is unknown, we know it exists in some way or another.

Peace

czgibson
08-09-2005, 09:29 PM
Yes, My mistake.

In that case I would say I was expressing the first of your options.


But here you are using 'source' in a different sense. We know that these are simply transforming energy from one form into another. its related to root's point:

e=mc^2 represents the fact that matter contains energy. So these aren't exactly 'sources' in the same way that A is.

Yes, you're clearly referring to an ultimate or original source of energy, whereas the sun etc. are what I called "by-products" of the original mysterious source of energy.


What other plausible explanation can there be? If we agree that there is a source of energy, then such a source could not have come into existence because then it would need a source for its energy as well. Hence, it only seems logical to me that the source would stretch back infinitely in time. Could you explain any alternative?

Earlier on, in the same post where you labelled A you said this:


We know that A must have existed prior to the creation of the universe

For some reason this part didn't register fully the first time I read your post, which perhaps explains why you didn't see the relevance of my reference to the lifespan of the universe. We were assuming different things, and I apologise for the confusion. (I'm normally quite an attentive reader, honest!)

Anyway, I'm not sure I accept this point, for the same reasons I gave about not being able to talk about something outside the universe. As you've agreed to limit the scope of this discussion to the observable universe, does this assumption still stand? I don't see how it can.


Althogh A is unknown, we know it exists in some way or another.

Yes, absolutely. There must be an ultimate source of energy - I think the best guess on offer currently is the Big Bang, estimated to have happened 13.7 ± 0.2 billion years ago. What happened before that is anybody's guess, as I see it.

Ansar, could I invite a response from you on this materialistic explanation of the origin of god-belief, originally given by me in a response to Aqib?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqib
Studies of cultural anthropology and social history also bear out man’s yearning for a Spiritual Unity.

This is broadly true. However, many anthropologists give a different explanation for the origin of this belief than you do. Many think that the god-belief is a result of fear, particularly fear as a result of being unable to explain natural phenomena. Primitive people living thousands of years ago would not understand why their citizens or crops would suddenly die, as they had little or no understanding of disease and infection; they would not understand why the seasons occur, since they had no understanding of planetary motions or climatology. These and many other inexplicable, unpredictable events might well have caused them to think that they were at the mercy of some higher power, rather than the forces of nature, and, what is more, that this higher power was to be feared, supplicated, worshipped. This belief would have been beneficial for the community, since it would encourage a strong group bond. It would also be useful for the leaders of the community, as a highly effective method of social control. (Incidentally, some anthropologists believe that the cycle of the seasons explains the prevalence of another common belief in primitive religions: that of the death and resurrection of the god. This belief is well known in certain contemporary religions too, though not Islam).

What I'm saying here is the gist of a particular (fairly widespread) anthropological view. It is the one I subscribe to - what do you think?

Best regards.

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-10-2005, 11:38 PM
http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=4295

czgibson
08-14-2005, 05:39 PM
Greetings to all,
I'd like to resuscitate this thread, because there's one aspect of the debate that we haven't really touched on yet. It is the problem of evil. Theists often say that atheists are happy to attack the standard "proofs" of the existence of god without providing arguments of their own. I believe that the problem of evil is the strongest argument in the atheist's favour. Here is the oldest known formulation of the problem, attributed to the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 - 270 BCE):

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

I do not believe that this argument has ever been answered satisfactorily. Often, theists will give an answer involving the ideas of a test or a punishment. But why would god test us? Is he insecure? Why are god's "punishments" so indiscriminate (think of the huge variety of people who perished as a result of the tsunami - were they all irredeemable sinners?)?

Many questions surround this topic. Can anyone clarify the theist's position on this question?

Peace

root
08-14-2005, 05:43 PM
By Design, If God did indeed create man. Then he is also the intelligent designer for famine, disease, Tsunami's and everything else capable of killing man.

In reflection the willful distruction of lives by mass is an act of evil.

aamirsaab
08-14-2005, 05:44 PM
:sl:
What are you implying root?

czgibson
08-14-2005, 05:55 PM
I think root's got a good point - any theist who accepts intelligent design theory must also accept that god created tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, disease and everything else in his gruesome arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. This is one of the reasons why god has always seemed to me to be a very nasty character indeed.

Peace

aamirsaab
08-14-2005, 06:05 PM
:sl:
Ah, good point. However, as a muslim, I perceive these events described as a form of test. E.g. It is God's way of testing us.

root
08-14-2005, 06:36 PM
Ah, good point. However, as a muslim, I perceive these events described as a form of test. E.g. It is God's way of testing us.

I can see what you mean. The Government could raise tax levels very high and in order to avoid an outcry from it's subjects can claim that they are giving us a hard life because God is testing us!

As for a test. Why does he seem to test his most loyal the most often and hardest yet allow the kuffaars to have a relatively easy time of it....... I can only think religously that is probably because Muslims will have the better life after death and the Kuffaars are in for an eternity of the nasty place "hell". But in YOUR opinion will God send a Christian or a Jew to hell.

czgibson
08-14-2005, 06:59 PM
What is god testing us for? Is it to determine who is faithful and who is not? If he already knows in advance everything that will happen, what is the point of the test?

I really don't understand this concept.

Uthman
08-14-2005, 07:03 PM
:sl:


What is god testing us for? Is it to determine who is faithful and who is not? If he already knows in advance everything that will happen, what is the point of the test?
In a school test, any good teacher more or less knows how each of his students will do. Yet, they don't know exactly the percentage that the student will achieve.

:w:

czgibson
08-14-2005, 07:06 PM
In a school test, any good teacher more or less knows how each of his students will do. Yet, they don't know exactly the percentage that the student will achieve.


A good point, Osman, but the knowledge god is credited with having far exceeds knowling "more or less" what will happen. In fact, god is said to be omniscient - he apparently knows absolutely everything. In the light of this, I can't see the need for a test.

Muhammad
08-14-2005, 07:29 PM
Peace,

God does indeed allow events such as Tsunamis and earthquakes to take place - that is all under His control. Sometimes it is a means to destroy evil and sometimes it is a means to test people. God is the All-Wise, All-Knowing and everything He does is for a reason, whether or not it makes sense to us is irrelevant.


This is one of the reasons why god has always seemed to me to be a very nasty character indeed. Well after God has created us, clothed us, fed us, gave us homes and families and countless favours, people still disobey Him and refuse to even believe in Him! It is a covenant between mankind and God: He will reward us if we submit to Him and thank Him and He will punish us if we are thankless. God is the most Just and will not wrong anyone on the Day of Resurrection. Remember that He created this world and it is His to maintain and do whatever He wishes.

[4:77] Say: The provision of this world is short, and the hereafter is better for him who guards (against evil); and you shall not be wronged the husk of a date stone.

I can see what you mean. The Government could raise tax levels very high and in order to avoid an outcry from it's subjects can claim that they are giving us a hard life because God is testing us!
There is a difference between God doing something to test us and people doing something and talking rubbish. People have the choice between right and wrong, God is the One who Judges.


What is god testing us for? Is it to determine who is faithful and who is not? If he already knows in advance everything that will happen, what is the point of the test?

I really don't understand this concept.
An artist knows he is very talented at drawing, so why does he draw pictures?

aamirsaab
08-14-2005, 07:35 PM
:sl:
*hi-fives osman and muhammad.*

Muezzin
08-14-2005, 07:45 PM
I can see what you mean. The Government could raise tax levels very high and in order to avoid an outcry from it's subjects can claim that they are giving us a hard life because God is testing us!
You know, I wouldn't put it past a Conservative government.


As for a test. Why does he seem to test his most loyal the most often and hardest yet allow the kuffaars to have a relatively easy time of it.......
I find this an easy way to think of it - in a story, the protaganist, the hero, is always up against the odds, against an enemy who is seemingly indestructible. Because of his enemy's strength, the hero suffers much. However, it is this very suffering which defines him as a person.

If you still don't have a sense of what I'm trying to say, check out 'Hero with a Thousand Faces' by Joseph Campbell.


I can only think religously that is probably because Muslims will have the better life after death and the Kuffaars are in for an eternity of the nasty place "hell". But in YOUR opinion will God send a Christian or a Jew to hell.
In MY opinion, God will be the judge of that, not me.

czgibson
08-14-2005, 07:52 PM
Greetings Muhammad,
Thanks for your interesting post.


God does indeed allow events such as Tsunamis and earthquakes to take place - that is all under His control. Sometimes it is a means to destroy evil and sometimes it is a means to test people. God is the All-Wise, All-Knowing and everything He does is for a reason, whether or not it makes sense to us is irrelevant.

OK, let's use the tsunami as an example, if that's OK. So, what you appear to be saying here is that all or part of god's reason for unleashing the tsunami was to punish evil. So either some or all of the people who died in the tsunami were evil and deserved to be punished with death. Out of those who were not evil (there must have been some; children and babies, for example) do I understand you correctly: were they killed in order to test the faith of everyone else on the planet? Or were the innocent victims themselves actually being tested, to see if they would suddenly find faith in god in their last, desperate moments of life?

Your last sentence is particularly interesting. I think it shows one of the fundamental differences between the religious mind and the scientific mind. If there are certain aspects of god's actions that are inexplicable or unknowable to us, how can we possibly know that everything he does is for a reason? If a scientist came across a situation that was inexplicable to him, he would withhold judgment until he had clearer evidence. Also, the argument that "god knows best" is the ultimate way of avoiding any further debate on the matter. Of course, an argument like this is not actually intended to answer or explain anything, it is simply a blunt way of attempting to silence critics.


Well after God has created us, clothed us, fed us, gave us homes and families and countless favours, people still disobey Him and refuse to even believe in Him!

The conclusion here may well be valid, but since the premise consists of six unfounded assertions, the argument has little explanatory power.


It is a covenant between mankind and God: He will reward us if we submit to Him and thank Him and He will punish us if we are thankless. God is the most Just and will not wrong anyone on the Day of Resurrection. Remember that He created this world and it is His to maintain and do whatever He wishes.

OK, these are your beliefs, and I fully respect your right to believe what you wish, but none of this explains why god would send a tsunami to slaughter thousands of innocent people.


An artist knows he is very talented at drawing, so why does he draw pictures?

I'm afraid I don't really see what you're getting at here.

Peace

root
08-14-2005, 08:02 PM
Muhammad - Well after God has created us, clothed us, fed us, gave us homes and families and countless favours, people still disobey Him and refuse to even believe in Him!

So do you think he has "forgot" to feed the poor souls in Africa since he is not even meeting the UN Basic laws of Human rights. Or are you suggesting that they are being punished by God for disobeying him. Or is it as I suspect that the West's industrial revolution caused untold environmental damage on Africa coupled with bad leadership.

As a question Muhammad which of the three are you subscribing to. And why will you not subscribe to the third. If you do subscribe to the third at what point do you seperate "scientific Explanation" with "God's will"!! Since the Tsunami disaster in the new year was a natural disaster caused by continental drift. Can you provide any information for God's intervention to natural laws of science. Since if an intelligent creater created natural laws then he should break them with inpunity (such as parting the moon), is their any evidence for God intervening to prevent a natural disaster (reversing known natural laws & physics). If not, do you care to offer an explanation.

aamirsaab
08-14-2005, 09:05 PM
:sl:
As none of us on this forum, nor this world for a fact, know God personally, we cannot explain why God has chosen not to do something. However, you raised a good point about Africa. Now, one could interpret this as being a test to the more wealthier members of the world. Perhaps it is God's way of telling us to feed/protect them. Perhaps its is God's way of reminding us that their are "poor souls" on this planet. Until I meet God, I cannot say.

Czgibson, the tsunami is also another good point. God may have done this to punish other people or He may have done it to remind us all that we can be killed instantly.

czgibson
08-14-2005, 09:15 PM
Greetings Aamirsaab,

Do the points you mention seem like a satisfactory solution to the problem of evil to you?

The point is, do we need god to remind us that there are "poor souls" in the world? Do we need god to remind us that we can be killed at any time? I'm perfectly aware of these things even though I don't believe in god.

Peace

aamirsaab
08-14-2005, 11:01 PM
:sl:
A person doesnt need reminding but people do

Muhammad
08-15-2005, 01:05 AM
OK, let's use the tsunami as an example, if that's OK. So, what you appear to be saying here is that all or part of god's reason for unleashing the tsunami was to punish evil. So either some or all of the people who died in the tsunami were evil and deserved to be punished with death. Out of those who were not evil (there must have been some; children and babies, for example) do I understand you correctly: were they killed in order to test the faith of everyone else on the planet? Or were the innocent victims themselves actually being tested, to see if they would suddenly find faith in god in their last, desperate moments of life? Greetings czgibson and root,

If you remember I said that sometimes these events are a means of punishment but I did not say always. I will also remind us that we have already discussed this issue in a different thread, but I will reiterate the main points being that we should understand such things in an Islamic context and understanding. Those that were sinful were punished and those that were babies or righteous people, if that is what you mean by 'innocent', undoubtedly were not. Babies and children die all the time, yet we do not look at their deaths as a punishment. It is just a matter of what God has decreed and how He has decided some people are to leave this world. So it should not be viewed as murder but the will of God - He gives life and He takes it. Their families are the ones being tested with patience and strength of faith, and the rest of humanity in the sense of helping in whichever way they can.

As for the deaths of the innocent: well if they were righteous people then it follows that they already had faith during their lives so I don't really see it as a question of finding faith at the last moment but rather implementing what one has practiced throughout life, and their deaths are not so tragic if we remember that it is to God to Whom they are returning, and the hereafter for what we are aiming.


Your last sentence is particularly interesting. I think it shows one of the fundamental differences between the religious mind and the scientific mind. If there are certain aspects of god's actions that are inexplicable or unknowable to us, how can we possibly know that everything he does is for a reason? If a scientist came across a situation that was inexplicable to him, he would withhold judgment until he had clearer evidence. Also, the argument that "god knows best" is the ultimate way of avoiding any further debate on the matter. Of course, an argument like this is not actually intended to answer or explain anything, it is simply a blunt way of attempting to silence critics. God has taught mankind many things about Himself such as His Names and Attributes, of which include Him being the All-Wise, All-Knowing. He also taught us what is vital for our understanding of Islam and life, and what will ultimately allow us to attain our goal: paradise. Therefore it follows that what has not been taught is in fact unimportant and the answers to such questions are not a recommendable form of using one's time and effort. The Prophet (pbuh) actually forbade us to occupy ourselves with things that cause confusion and are not clear. Furthermore, God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and He says:

[21.23] He cannot be questioned concerning what He does and they shall be questioned.

So I hope this gives an idea of how we are to view things occurring in the world around us. There are bound to be matters that we don't quite understand or do not have full knowledge of, but we ackowledge that God Knows everything and He does everything according to His infinite Wisdom and Knowledge. We place our trust in our Creator that what He does is for a reason and He teaches us that:

[2.216] ... and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.

So knowing God reassures us that We can place our trust in Him. Saying that He Knows Best does not silence anyone except the one who recognises his limits and is not ignorant of such a fact. Sometimes in science you make predictions based upon proved theories and laws, not because it seems apparent that it could happen. I think that would be a better analagy rather than the one you mentioned, illustrating the fact that we Know God is the Creator so we accept what He decrees for us irrespective of whether we perceive it as good or bad.


The conclusion here may well be valid, but since the premise consists of six unfounded assertions, the argument has little explanatory power. Unfounded you say, well you must remember we are discussing the perspective of world events in light of God's Decree. If you can accept that God caused the Tsunami to punish people, then you can just as easily accept that God is the One who Provides for His creatures. Interesting it is how quickly you said God is a "nasty character" yet when it comes to to acknowledging that He is the One who gave you life you deny it as though it was your own doing, or something that occurred by chance! And that is only one of the assertions; nobody is able to make their own food, clothes, houses etc. unless they have the raw materials, all of which God gave to us. For it could just as well have been us out there in Africa dying of starvation but no, God blessed us with such things so that we show gratitude and recognise His Mercy, but people still wonder "how can a God punish people?!"


OK, these are your beliefs, and I fully respect your right to believe what you wish, but none of this explains why god would send a tsunami to slaughter thousands of innocent people. What I have said directly above is an attempt to show how God is not being unjust by punishing people, as can be understood from the concept of the covenant between mankind and God. We have already established that thousand of innocent people were not "slaughtered" so I won't bother repeating myself to such a gross inaccuracy.


I'm afraid I don't really see what you're getting at here. An artist knows he can draw but bothers to draw a picture, similarly God Knows the outcome of His test, yet He has allowed it to take place.


So do you think he has "forgot" to feed the poor souls in Africa since he is not even meeting the UN Basic laws of Human rights. Or are you suggesting that they are being punished by God for disobeying him. Or is it as I suspect that the West's industrial revolution caused untold environmental damage on Africa coupled with bad leadership.

As a question Muhammad which of the three are you subscribing to. And why will you not subscribe to the third. I hope that from what I have written above will help you to understand my position on such statements, nevertheless I will attempt to clarify.

2.245] Who is it that will offer of Allah a goodly gift, so He will multiply it to him manifold, and Allah straitens and amplifies, and you shall be returned to Him.

We learn from the above verse that God is the one who increases a person's wealth and constricts another's, i.e. amplitude of wealth is in control of God. It is the duty of the rich to give to the poor and it is for the poor to have patience. Both are a means to test people and many are the ways that God tests His creatures, yet all of mankind has a common end and all Muslims, at least, have a common goal. Therefore I am afraid that neither of the three options that root has given are sufficient as an explanation. God has encouraged charity countless times in His Noble Book, and surely one can understand from this how the world system works. It is in fact obligatory on every Muslim who can afford it to give charity, so if every single capable person in the world did so, we might not even have dying people in Africa.

One thing you should understand is that just because somebody is burdened with hardship, does not automatically mean they are being punished because even sickness for a Muslim is like a blessing because it purifies a person from sins.


If you do subscribe to the third at what point do you seperate "scientific Explanation" with "God's will"!! Since the Tsunami disaster in the new year was a natural disaster caused by continental drift. Can you provide any information for God's intervention to natural laws of science. Since if an intelligent creater created natural laws then he should break them with inpunity (such as parting the moon), is their any evidence for God intervening to prevent a natural disaster (reversing known natural laws & physics). If not, do you care to offer an explanation.If God wants something to happen, it will happen. If he does not want it to happen, it can never happen. Please read the following well-known verse from the Qur'an, (translation of which is):

[2.255] Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Everliving, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great.

So continental drift is undoubtedly under His control, and it should be quite easy for you to accept that He can cause an Tsunami if and when He wishes. Any "natural disaster" is under the control of God so if He did not want it to happen then it would not happen. As for the concept of God's intervention to the laws of science: I dont know whether certain things break these rules or whether all events follow them, all I know is that God does as He pleases. However, certain events like the splitting of the moon do appear to go against normal laws of science and are hence considered miracles.

Regards.

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-15-2005, 02:51 AM
Greetings,

Here is the oldest known formulation of the problem, attributed to the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 - 270 BCE):

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

I do not believe that this argument has ever been answered satisfactorily.
I'm willing to deal with this question, but first we have to define evil. What do you percieve as evil? Is it possible that your perception is very limited?

If you saw a man cutting a child's arm off, you would probably say he was evil, right? But if you learned that that man was a doctor amputating the child's arm to prevent sickness that would leave him crippled for life or kill him - then that man is not evil, he is good.

As for the question of Epicurus, I would agree that God is certanly able to eradicate evil, but before I say that He is not willing, let me clarify the understanding of God's will according to Islamic theology. Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-Uthaymeen writes the following:

We believe that Allah’s Will (iraadah) is of two types:
1. Universal will (kawniyyah): So whatever occurs, happens only by His Will. It is not necessary that what occurs is actually liked by Allah. Thus, it is similar in meaning to volition (mashee’ah); as in Allah’s statement:
And if Allah had so wished, they would not have fought eachother, but Allah does whatever He wills. [Al-Baqarah 2:253]
If Allah Wills to leave you astray, He is your Lord. [Hood 11:34]

2. Legislated Will (shar’iyyah): It is not necessary that this Will should occur. This Will does not happen, except in what He loves and desires, such as in Allah the Exalted’s statement:

Allah desires to forgive you [An-Nisaa 4:27]
So according to this, I would say that God desires (shar'iyyah) that there be no evil, but He is not willing (kawniyyah) to actually enforce this desire since He has already entrusted human beings with this task. Consider an analogy. You allow a volunteer to do some job in your office which you could easily do youself, but you want them to do the work so that it will look good on their resume. Now, that's their job, you want it to get done, and you are entirely capable of doing it yourself. But you want them to do it themselves so it will benefit them.

The same is true for this world. We are given the position of God's viceroy on earth, to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. Sure, God could do it Himself, but that's not His job, its ours. He is giving us the honor of serving Him, because He loves us and wants us to have this pleasure, as well as the pleasure of the hereafter. So if there's any evil in the world its our fault for not doing our job, not God's fault. It certainly is insolent for the employee to blame the employer when the employee doesn't finish his task!

So here I've explained the 'problem' without even getting into the idea of a test or a punishment.

It may interest you to read my article which I wrote a while ago:
On the Origin of Calamity (http://www.load-islam.com/C/rebuttals/On_The_Origin_of_Calamity/).

I hope this helps. I just skimmed through the other posts so I may have missed some important points or repeated information that has already been given, for which I apologise.

Regards.

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-15-2005, 03:03 AM
Hi Root,

So do you think he has "forgot" to feed the poor souls in Africa since he is not even meeting the UN Basic laws of Human rights.
Its our job to feed them, not God's!

I'll just use this as an example to elaborate on my previous post. Root, say I gave you the responsibility and money need for feeding, cleaning and taking care of my cat everyday and after about a week, I find that the cat is malnourished, dirty, suffering from disease - and you've used all the money on yourself. :D Furthermore, you blame me since I was fully able to take care of the cat myself!

The truth is that the money I gave you was a trust and YOU were supposed to take care of the cat. Similarly, God has blessed many human beings with so much, yet they do not fulfill their duty towards their fellow human beings and the greedily hang on to their wealth for themselves. Its our job, so we can only blame ourselves, and not God.

Hope this helps.

czgibson
08-15-2005, 05:19 PM
Greetings Muhammad,
Thank you for your long and interesting post. I will try and answer the points you raise.


If you remember I said that sometimes these events are a means of punishment but I did not say always.
Absolutely - I'm not aware of having contradicted you on this point.

I will also remind us that we have already discussed this issue in a different thread, but I will reiterate the main points being that we should understand such things in an Islamic context and understanding.
Yes, I've been privy to a discussion on this matter, but it was quite perfunctory and I wanted to explore the issue a little further. Your posts and Ansar's have certainly given the discussion more scope.

Those that were sinful were punished and those that were babies or righteous people, if that is what you mean by 'innocent', undoubtedly were not.
If by "righteous" you mean people who are generally moral, they may have committed a few small sins but they are generally good people, then yes, those are what I would call innocent people. To me, obviously, a person's religion has no bearing on their ethical quality; an innocent person may be religious or non-religious.

Babies and children die all the time, yet we do not look at their deaths as a punishment.
I look on their deaths as tragedies.

It is just a matter of what God has decreed and how He has decided some people are to leave this world. So it should not be viewed as murder but the will of God - He gives life and He takes it.
I wouldn't call it murder, which is an action with direct legal overtones, but I still think my original word "slaughter" is appropriate, as it means "the killing of a large number of people; a massacre". (Dictionary.com)

Their families are the ones being tested with patience and strength of faith, and the rest of humanity in the sense of helping in whichever way they can.
OK, and presumably passing the test involves being faithful, and failing being unfaithful. But what if somebody has no knowledge that the test is happening? Their first instinct would be to try and survive, and after the deluge has passed, to try and get their lives back together again. None of this will necessarily involve believing in god. So, let us imagine some survivors from the tsunami who are Buddhists (as many in the area affected would have been), who have lost family members, loved ones, children - who have basically suffered an enormous tragedy in their lives. Let us imagine that they have done their best to sort themselves out, they have prayed and meditated and done all the things their religion suggests they do, but they have not suddenly begun to have faith in god, and they have not converted to Islam. They have suffered a huge amount, yet, if I understand you correctly, their suffering has only just begun, because when they die they will be subjected to eternal hell-fire, due to their lack of faith in god. This is part of what I meant by god being a "nasty character".

As for the deaths of the innocent: well if they were righteous people then it follows that they already had faith during their lives so I don't really see it as a question of finding faith at the last moment but rather implementing what one has practiced throughout life, and their deaths are not so tragic if we remember that it is to God to Whom they are returning, and the hereafter for what we are aiming.
OK, I see you are using a different meaning of the word "righteous" than me. What do you mean by "implementing what one has practised throughout life"? If they have been faithful during their lives, I don't think it would matter what they did in their last moments, as long as they didn't commit some heinous sin.

The part about their deaths being "not so tragic" shows, I believe, one of the major impulses for theistic belief. Theists often say that they don't believe in god because it is comforting to do so, yet what you say here shows that you do, in fact, believe the idea of god is comforting. I believe that part of the origin of god-belief (and indeed belief in the afterlife) stems from the fact that people find it difficult to come to terms with the reality of death. I'm not saying this is the main, or the only reason why you personally believe in god, but I definitely think it's there at some level.

Therefore it follows that what has not been taught is in fact unimportant and the answers to such questions are not a recommendable form of using one's time and effort. The Prophet (pbuh) actually forbade us to occupy ourselves with things that cause confusion and are not clear.
So the Prophet (pbuh) would have opposed all scientific inquiry, as well as the study of philosophy, economics, politics and history? These things all cause confusion, and are seldom clear; they are most definitely important, however.

So knowing God reassures us that We can place our trust in Him. Saying that He Knows Best does not silence anyone except the one who recognises his limits and is not ignorant of such a fact.
I know it does not silence anyone, but it is often used as an attempt to silence people.

Sometimes in science you make predictions based upon proved theories and laws, not because it seems apparent that it could happen.
If your prediction is based upon a proven theory or law, then it's very likely that it will happen, unless there's something wrong with the theory, or the law needs updating.

I think that would be a better analagy rather than the one you mentioned, illustrating the fact that we Know God is the Creator so we accept what He decrees for us irrespective of whether we perceive it as good or bad.
OK, this is your belief. Remember, though, that a belief can never be a fact unless it's proven not to be false.

Unfounded you say, well you must remember we are discussing the perspective of world events in light of God's Decree.
Could we focus on the implied attributes given to god by Epicurus for the purposes of his argument, rather than including any other attributes that have been added by religious tradition? I think that way we will be able to deal with the question more effectively and clearly. If you disagree then we could set out parameters for what we're talking about if you wish.

If you can accept that God caused the Tsunami to punish people, then you can just as easily accept that God is the One who Provides for His creatures.
Well, that doesn't follow logically, but I would be prepared to accept it in order to follow your argument.

Interesting it is how quickly you said God is a "nasty character" yet when it comes to to acknowledging that He is the One who gave you life you deny it as though it was your own doing, or something that occurred by chance!
I believe it did occur by chance - or something like it. You've put two of my statements together here, and I admit they look pretty stupid together. For the sake of clarity: I do not believe in god. I never have, and it's highly unlikely that I ever will. Therefore, I don't believe he gave me life. However, I have, in my life, heard lots of stories about god, some of them including what I would call "nasty" behaviour on the part of god. My point was that, in those stories, god is "a nasty character", and in my view, not worthy of worship.

And that is only one of the assertions; nobody is able to make their own food, clothes, houses etc. unless they have the raw materials, all of which God gave to us. For it could just as well have been us out there in Africa dying of starvation but no, God blessed us with such things so that we show gratitude and recognise His Mercy, but people still wonder "how can a God punish people?!"
Yes, they do still wonder that, and your argument so far does nothing to dispel that mystery.

We have already established that thousand of innocent people were not "slaughtered" so I won't bother repeating myself to such a gross inaccuracy.
Well, I'm not sure that we have, for the reasons given above.

An artist knows he can draw but bothers to draw a picture, similarly God Knows the outcome of His test, yet He has allowed it to take place.
OK, I see your point now, although I don't know if god allows the test to take place to give others aesthetic pleasure! ;)

One thing you should understand is that just because somebody is burdened with hardship, does not automatically mean they are being punished because even sickness for a Muslim is like a blessing because it purifies a person from sins.
I did not know this. How does this purification occur? After illness, are you in a better moral state than before? Does this simply mean that while ill you are unable to sin, perhaps because you are limited in your movements etc.?

If God wants something to happen, it will happen. If he does not want it to happen, it can never happen.
This reminds me of a quote from Cicero on miracles: "What was not capable of happening never happened. What was capable of happening is not a miracle."

It looks like we're going to have to agree to disagree here, but thank you for making your position clear - I'm starting to understand it better. I'm sorry I'm so slow at getting to grips with these ideas, but I've only been blessed with a small brain (as a religious person might say), and life is for learning (as a non-religious person might say). Holding two contradictory mindsets in one mind was never going to be easy, but I'm getting there... ;)

Peace



Regards.

Muhammad
08-16-2005, 02:28 AM
Greetings czgibson,

Thankyou also for taking the time to read my post and replying.



Absolutely - I'm not aware of having contradicted you on this point. I apologise for not making myself clear enough, for I was referring to the part of your post where you said:


what you appear to be saying here is that all or part of god's reason for unleashing the tsunami was to punish evil. So either some or all of the people who died in the tsunami were evil and deserved to be punished with death. You assumed here that the Tsunami was as a matter of fact all or part punishment, whereas I did not say that it was. I said it could well be, yes, but I couldn't say for sure. And if it was, then we can go ahead and try to understand why people might be being punished.


If by "righteous" you mean people who are generally moral, they may have committed a few small sins but they are generally good people, then yes, those are what I would call innocent people. To me, obviously, a person's religion has no bearing on their ethical quality; an innocent person may be religious or non-religious. [2.22] Who made the earth a resting place for you and the heaven a canopy and (Who) sends down rain from the cloud then brings forth with it subsistence for you of the fruits; therefore do not set up rivals to Allah while you know.

[2.28] How do you deny Allah and you were dead and He gave you life? Again He will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him.

[2.177] It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts-- these are they who are {rue (to themselves) and these are they who guard (against evil).


God explains to us many times how people reject Him while they know that to Him belongs their submission and worship. He informs us in the Qur'an many times of His favours upon us, and how He made the earth a perfect dwelling place for us, yet people still set up rivals to Him, and deny His right to be worshipped alone. As can be understood from the above verses, a person who can be considered "innocent" should at least believe in Allaah. Yes everyone commits sins, yet it is those who repent for their sins and try their best to avoid them who are the successful.

I think now would be a good time to bring in a point that has not been addressed yet,

But in YOUR opinion will God send a Christian or a Jew to hell. At the time when their respective scriptures were revealed, then originally, Jews and Christians must at some point have been believers in Allaah if they believed in the original revelations to their Prophets. This is because all Prophets and all of Allaah's Books carry the same key message: to believe in no God but Allaah. However, people deviated from the true path and thus Christianity formed, if I am not much mistaken, when the followers of Jesus went astray after his ascent to heaven. Likewise the Jews we have today are not upon the original message contained in their book, the Torah. In their example, the Jewish population knew that Muhammad (pbuh) was the Final Prophet of God, as prophecised in their Scripture, yet out of envy they rejected him and refused to believe in Islam. So God distinguishes between the people of truth and those of falsehood:

[2.62] Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

But when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came with the Qur'an, this abrogated all other scriptures and it was required of all to accept it:

[3.19] Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam, and those to whom the Book had been given did not show opposition but after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves; and whoever disbelieves in the communications of Allah then surely Allah is quick in reckoning.

And some more verses to explain the position of the Jews:

[2.89] And when there came to them a Book from Allah verifying that which they have, and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve, but when there came to them (Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they disbelieved in him; so Allah's curse is on the unbelievers.

[2.101] And when there came to them an Apostle from Allah verifying that which they have, a party of those who were given the Book threw the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they knew nothing.

[2.146] Those whom We have given the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons, and a party of them most surely conceal the truth while they know (it).

Therefore we can understand that no other religion will be accepted of people except Islam in our current day and age.


I look on their deaths as tragedies. Not only do we find them tragedies, but we are further taught how to deal with those tragedies - by being patient and steadfast upon our faith and not giving up hope in the Almighty, Allaah.


I wouldn't call it murder, which is an action with direct legal overtones, but I still think my original word "slaughter" is appropriate, as it means "the killing of a large number of people; a massacre". (Dictionary.com) As I said, the deaths of such people are in the control of God. Just because a large number of people die at once does not make it a "massacre" since God has made death incumbent on each and every human being:

[3.185] Every soul shall taste of death, and you shall only be paid fully your reward on the resurrection day; then whoever is removed far away from the fire and is made to enter the garden he indeed has attained the object; and the life of this world is nothing but a provision of vanities.

While you may not have directly used the term murder, which according to Dictionary.com can also mean "to kill brutally or inhumanly", you have used terms such as God using weapons of "mass destruction" and victims of 'natural disasters' having been "killed". Such views are incorrect as God would not create us and then kill us! He told us our lives on this world would end, but that does not equate to killing us as though by evil intent. Indeed God is the Most Kind and Ever All-Appreciative of good. There is also a saying of our Prophet (pbuh) which teaches us that God loves us even more than the love of a mother for her child. And also see the verse:

[3.31] Say (O Muhammad (pbuh) to mankind): "If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, MercifuL"



OK, and presumably passing the test involves being faithful, and failing being unfaithful. But what if somebody has no knowledge that the test is happening? Their first instinct would be to try and survive, and after the deluge has passed, to try and get their lives back together again. None of this will necessarily involve believing in god. Life is about believing in God, and acting according to that belief. For people that are destined to die in an event like a Tsunami, I don't know if it is actually a test for them, which is where I think some of the confusion is coming from, because all they can do is face their death in the best way possible. Of course they try to survive but if their death is decreed then they cannot escape it. So if they spent their lives believing in God, they have passed the test of life, whereas if they wasted their lives then they have failed unless there is time to reform before death...

[4.110] And whoever does evil or acts unjustly to his soul, then asks forgiveness of Allah, he shall find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.

The test in an event like a Tsunami is perhaps more applicable to those that survive, as they are the ones who can demonstrate patience and strength, hence be rewarded for persevering through such difficult times.


So, let us imagine some survivors from the tsunami who are Buddhists (as many in the area affected would have been), who have lost family members, loved ones, children - who have basically suffered an enormous tragedy in their lives. Let us imagine that they have done their best to sort themselves out, they have prayed and meditated and done all the things their religion suggests they do, but they have not suddenly begun to have faith in god, and they have not converted to Islam. They have suffered a huge amount, yet, if I understand you correctly, their suffering has only just begun, because when they die they will be subjected to eternal hell-fire, due to their lack of faith in god. This is part of what I meant by god being a "nasty character". OK they have just survived, so first of all that is an enormous favour of God in that He has allowed them to live for longer and thus they have more time to review their idea of the truth. Now you said that if they have done their best and prayed and meditated, "they have not suddenly begun to have faith in god", well one might ask if that is the case, that to whom exactly are they praying to? Perhaps God brought them close to death to make them realise that their idols were not of any use to them when they were most needed. Perhaps He saved them to make them realise that it is not their false gods that help them but it is He, Allaah, Who does so. It goes back to the covenant between man and God as I said before, that if we do not fulfil our part of the contract to worship God then why should we expect God to reward us for something we have not done?

[2.286] Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned and upon it (the evil of) what it has wrought

[4.49] Have you not considered those who attribute purity to themselves? Nay, Allah purifies whom He pleases; and they shall not be wronged the husk of a date stone.

Is it more difficult to worship God the Creator than to worship powerless statues of stone? God gave mankind intelligence and many a means of guidance and it is up to him to use these things effectively. If it were impossible to recognise truth from falsehood then there would be something wrong there, but God says He does not burden any soul beyond what it can bear and that He is the Most Just.


OK, I see you are using a different meaning of the word "righteous" than me. What do you mean by "implementing what one has practised throughout life"? If they have been faithful during their lives, I don't think it would matter what they did in their last moments, as long as they didn't commit some heinous sin. I mean that faithful people will not be finding faith at the last moment but rather their faith will teach them to accept the circumstances and die as righteous Muslims. You are right in what you say here, and as righteous people they will know how best to make the most of their last moments of life.


The part about their deaths being "not so tragic" shows, I believe, one of the major impulses for theistic belief. Theists often say that they don't believe in god because it is comforting to do so, yet what you say here shows that you do, in fact, believe the idea of god is comforting. I believe that part of the origin of god-belief (and indeed belief in the afterlife) stems from the fact that people find it difficult to come to terms with the reality of death. I'm not saying this is the main, or the only reason why you personally believe in god, but I definitely think it's there at some level. The part about their deaths being not so tragic was an attempt to illustrate how God is not punishing innocent people and that their deaths are not in vain. While believing in God is naturally comforting, we do not believe in Him because we feel like it but rather because we know it to be the right thing. Having the sense of satisfaction is an outcome or bonus in following the truth, rather than the main reason for doing do. Some people find it comforting not to believe in God so that they won't have to worry about being accountable for their actions... hence following desires would not naturally lead one to believing in God, for if someone were to believe in the afterlife because they feared death, then they would perhaps be even more frightened when they realise there is something even worse than death i.e. Hell.


So the Prophet (pbuh) would have opposed all scientific inquiry, as well as the study of philosophy, economics, politics and history? These things all cause confusion, and are seldom clear; they are most definitely important, however. That Prophetic teaching was actually referring to unimportant matters of religion upon which faith does not increase; I apologise for not having made it clear.


I know it does not silence anyone, but it is often used as an attempt to silence people. No it is used to show we recognise our boundaries and limited knowledge of a subject. If we simply look at the context in which I used this concept: I was saying that I did not know whether the Tsunami and other such specific events were actually a punishment or merely a test for mankind, as this is something that God Knows best about. We can speculate and say what we think, yet ultimately the true knowledge is with Allaah since we know He has Knowledge of all things.


If your prediction is based upon a proven theory or law, then it's very likely that it will happen, unless there's something wrong with the theory, or the law needs updating. Exactly, so if you didn't know the theory then you wouldn't know what to expect, likewise we already have knowledge of God so we understand Him better. For example: we know He is the All-Knowing, All-Wise, so obviously something that our created minds cannot understand does not mean that God is doing something wrong. He has Knowledge of past, present and future and thus we know what He does is for the best and for a reason.


OK, this is your belief. Remember, though, that a belief can never be a fact unless it's proven not to be false. Ah, this is a typical tactic used by atheists! Remember the argument was about understanding God, so we were discussing an aspect of belief and not the evidence for belief! Whenever a point is made you resort to changing the subject or context.


Could we focus on the implied attributes given to god by Epicurus for the purposes of his argument, rather than including any other attributes that have been added by religious tradition? I think that way we will be able to deal with the question more effectively and clearly. If you disagree then we could set out parameters for what we're talking about if you wish. Well I am answering your question in a way. If you can say that God did not bestow upon us His favours but rather we found our own food and are responsible for our state of well-being, then why attribute evil to God when it is us who kill and commit crime? It does not make sense to reject half the argument that suits your stance, and ignore the other half. Furthermore, you say God is evil yet I am showing how it is us who earn that evil when we do not fulfil our duty to obey God and show gratitude after He gave us life and blessed us with food and homes etc.

I did not read that post about Epicurus properly beforehand so now that I know where you are coming from, I shall try to make my answers more focused on it.


Well, that doesn't follow logically, but I would be prepared to accept it in order to follow your argument. This follows on from my previous point, being that if you blame God for evil, at least blame, or rather ackowledge Him for the good aswell!


Yes, they do still wonder that, and your argument so far does nothing to dispel that mystery. I thought it would at least help in making you understand the simple fact that if you don't fulfil your duty, why should God fulfil His? If you feed and clothe a slave that belongs to you, and then he goes and serves another master, would you be pleased with such behaviour?


Well, I'm not sure that we have, for the reasons given above. Well I hope that now we have esablished those deaths were not some kind of a massacre! :)


OK, I see your point now, although I don't know if god allows the test to take place to give others aesthetic pleasure! ;) Yes as to the true reason behind it all, that is something God Knows best and also remember that He is far above His creation in that He should experience feelings like we do.


I did not know this. How does this purification occur? After illness, are you in a better moral state than before? Does this simply mean that while ill you are unable to sin, perhaps because you are limited in your movements etc.? This follows on from the concept that God is not evil. You see, to understand this properly, we need to acknowledge that life is a test and that our aim is for the hereafter. Life was never meant to be an easy ride if we are to achieve Paradise, since the road to Paradise is full of obstacles. Therefore, hardship is a form of a trial wherein we are expected to demonstrate patience and perseverance.

[2.153] O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.

[2.155] And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient,

And we learn from the Qur'an as well as the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that we are rewarded for our patience. In fact, hardships can even be perceived as a Mercy from God because it is like a means of worldy punishment for sins and we can avoid the far greater punishment of the hereafter thereby. So being purified in this life is better than in the hereafter, hence just because life becomes difficult does not immediately mean that God can't care about us or else He would not allow it to happen. No, it requires you to look at the whole picture before making conclusions.

As for how the purification occurs, well while you are sick for example, you are being forgiven sins God-Willing - it is a spiritual thing rather than a physical event. This doesn't mean you can't sin further, but simply that some sins are removed. It is up to the individual to keep sins to a minimum by controlling his actions and speech.



It looks like we're going to have to agree to disagree here, but thank you for making your position clear - I'm starting to understand it better. I'm sorry I'm so slow at getting to grips with these ideas, but I've only been blessed with a small brain (as a religious person might say), and life is for learning (as a non-religious person might say). Holding two contradictory mindsets in one mind was never going to be easy, but I'm getting there... ;) Hopefully we can reach an agreement by means of good discussion, God-Willing. There is no problem in you taking time to get to grips with any of these things, since I probably am not even doing a very good job of explaining very well but I hope God will help me to do so and guide you and the other non-muslims on this forum also.

Peace

root
08-16-2005, 01:19 PM
I am afraid there are too many if, but's and maybe for me.

Philosophy, rarely gains favour with me. We can just about say what we want as long as we ensure God remains the root cause.

Muezzin
08-16-2005, 04:19 PM
I am afraid there are too many if, but's and maybe for me.

Philosophy, rarely gains favour with me. We can just about say what we want as long as we ensure God remains the root cause.
You're trying to explain something which is inherently metaphysical, in physical terms. This is nigh on impossible. See, God may have effects, or outer physical manifestations which are visible in this world of ours, but God Himself is not visible. He is simply... present.

What I'm trying to say is, if you've got it made up in your mind that God does not exist, then there's really no way anyone can convince you otherwise. Conversely, if a believer has strong enough faith, there's no way they can be convinced that God does not exist.

So you see, the question 'does God exist' is philosophical in its very nature. If you don't like philosophy, fair enough, but you must understand this.

czgibson
08-16-2005, 04:25 PM
Greetings Muhammad,
Your last post has helped to clarify the issue further.


You assumed here that the Tsunami was as a matter of fact all or part punishment, whereas I did not say that it was. I said it could well be, yes, but I couldn't say for sure. And if it was, then we can go ahead and try to understand why people might be being punished.

I now see the point you were making. It could have been all or part punishment, and it could have been all or part test.

As can be understood from the above verses, a person who can be considered "innocent" should at least believe in Allaah. Yes everyone commits sins, yet it is those who repent for their sins and try their best to avoid them who are the successful.
OK, so we have different meanings for the word "innocent" at play here. I would say someone could be innocent whether they believe in god or not. Could an atheist with generally good moral standing not be considered innocent?


At the time when their respective scriptures were revealed, then originally, Jews and Christians must at some point have been believers in Allaah if they believed in the original revelations to their Prophets. This is because all Prophets and all of Allaah's Books carry the same key message: to believe in no God but Allaah. However, people deviated from the true path and thus Christianity formed, if I am not much mistaken, when the followers of Jesus went astray after his ascent to heaven.

I agree with this. In his lifetime, Jesus never claimed to be god - the whole idea of the trinity came about after his death.


Likewise the Jews we have today are not upon the original message contained in their book, the Torah. In their example, the Jewish population knew that Muhammad (pbuh) was the Final Prophet of God, as prophecised in their Scripture, yet out of envy they rejected him and refused to believe in Islam.

I don't know very much about the Jewish tradition. Is it fair to say they rejected Islam out of envy?


There seems to be a contradiction in the two quotes from the Qur'an you have provided. (I'm sure this gets raised frequently and there is a satisfactory explanation, but I will ask just to be clear about this.)

[2.62] Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

If I understand this correctly, Jews, Christians and Sabians who behave morally have nothing to fear, and they will get their reward on the Day of Judgment.


But when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came with the Qur'an, this abrogated all other scriptures and it was required of all to accept it:
[3.19] Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam, and those to whom the Book had been given did not show opposition but after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves; and whoever disbelieves in the communications of Allah then surely Allah is quick in reckoning.

Now, it seems that the aforementioned groups are being threatened by Allah, for not believing despite the new revelations. So, does this mean that the earlier quote, 2.62, has been updated? Something seems to have changed. I must admit I'm very unclear on the position of Jews and Christians from the point of view of Islam, because of apparent contradictions like this.


As I said, the deaths of such people are in the control of God. Just because a large number of people die at once does not make it a "massacre" since God has made death incumbent on each and every human being:

Everybody dies at some point, certainly, but a large number of people being killed at the same time does constitute a massacre, as far as I can see.


While you may not have directly used the term murder, which according to Dictionary.com can also mean "to kill brutally or inhumanly", you have used terms such as God using weapons of "mass destruction" and victims of 'natural disasters' having been "killed". Such views are incorrect as God would not create us and then kill us! He told us our lives on this world would end, but that does not equate to killing us as though by evil intent.

I was using "weapons of mass destruction" as a metaphor, which I still think is appropriate, because natural disasters (which are apparently in the control of god) can and do cause destruction on a massive scale. People are also undoubtedly killed by such disasters, so I think the use of that word is appropriate too.



Now you said that if they have done their best and prayed and meditated, "they have not suddenly begun to have faith in god", well one might ask if that is the case, that to whom exactly are they praying to?

Well, certainly not god, because Buddhists are atheists. Prayer in Buddhism does not have to be directed towards any specific personage, and although many Buddhists pray to bodhisattvas, who are students of the Buddha, these idols cannot provide any help; they are respected, but not worshipped. Prayer and meditation in Buddhism are more to do with inner contemplation on the one hand, and stilling the mind on the other.



The part about their deaths being not so tragic was an attempt to illustrate how God is not punishing innocent people and that their deaths are not in vain. While believing in God is naturally comforting, we do not believe in Him because we feel like it but rather because we know it to be the right thing. Having the sense of satisfaction is an outcome or bonus in following the truth, rather than the main reason for doing do.

Yes, I agree with your reasoning here.


Some people find it comforting not to believe in God so that they won't have to worry about being accountable for their actions... hence following desires would not naturally lead one to believing in God, for if someone were to believe in the afterlife because they feared death, then they would perhaps be even more frightened when they realise there is something even worse than death i.e. Hell.

Yes, they may well be more frightened of hell than death, but I think that given a choice between certain death with no afterlife, and the chance to get to heaven and avoid hell, most people would find the latter option easier to deal with.


That Prophetic teaching was actually referring to unimportant matters of religion upon which faith does not increase; I apologise for not having made it clear.

OK - I apologise if my comment on this point sounded a little insulting; it was meant to sound ridiculous because I knew it could not possibly be the case that the Prophet (pbuh) would have opposed such studies, due to the frequent encouragement for Muslims to use their reason and think through problems for themselves.


No it is used to show we recognise our boundaries and limited knowledge of a subject.

Precisely - saying "you have limited knowledge of this subject, and therefore you cannot talk about it" is clearly a way of attempting to silence critics. I believe our knowledge of god is very limited indeed; so much so that I see no reason to believe he exists.


Ah, this is a typical tactic used by atheists! Remember the argument was about understanding God, so we were discussing an aspect of belief and not the evidence for belief! Whenever a point is made you resort to changing the subject or context.

I'm not sure this counts as changing the subject or context, I'm merely pointing out that to use "belief" as an equivalent for "knowledge" is straightforwardly wrong. "Facts" and "beliefs" are very different, by definition. Also, you may have seen this pointed out by atheists in the past, but it's not something that is only common to atheists, it's actually a fundamental tenet of science.


Well I am answering your question in a way. If you can say that God did not bestow upon us His favours but rather we found our own food and are responsible for our state of well-being, then why attribute evil to God when it is us who kill and commit crime? It does not make sense to reject half the argument that suits your stance, and ignore the other half.

I'm sorry if this is what I appear to be doing. As you know, I do not believe in god, however, for the purposes of argument I am prepared to discuss god in a hypothetical way, in an attempt to demonstrate the difficulties that such a concept leads to, the main difficulty being, in my view, the problem of evil.


This follows on from the concept that God is not evil. You see, to understand this properly, we need to acknowledge that life is a test and that our aim is for the hereafter. Life was never meant to be an easy ride if we are to achieve Paradise, since the road to Paradise is full of obstacles. Therefore, hardship is a form of a trial wherein we are expected to demonstrate patience and perseverance.

OK, I think I'm starting to understand the test idea more clearly, but surely people can still be patient etc. without believing in god?


And we learn from the Qur'an as well as the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that we are rewarded for our patience. In fact, hardships can even be perceived as a Mercy from God because it is like a means of worldy punishment for sins and we can avoid the far greater punishment of the hereafter thereby. So being purified in this life is better than in the hereafter, hence just because life becomes difficult does not immediately mean that God can't care about us or else He would not allow it to happen. No, it requires you to look at the whole picture before making conclusions.

OK, this point makes more sense to me now - and I see the connection with purification through illness.


Hopefully we can reach an agreement by means of good discussion, God-Willing. There is no problem in you taking time to get to grips with any of these things, since I probably am not even doing a very good job of explaining very well but I hope God will help me to do so and guide you and the other non-muslims on this forum also.

You are doing an excellent job of explaining these matters to me, I'm obviously picking up the ideas quite slowly because they are mostly new to me. Bear in mind though, that being a convinced atheist, it is massively unlikely that I will convert to theism. However, it's fascinating to learn about the reasons people give to justify theistic belief. Some of the reasons I've discovered on the forum are familiar to me, but many are new, so I'm learning a lot. Thank you everyone who's helped!

Peace

Muezzin
08-16-2005, 04:26 PM
*sighs*

Is anyone listening to me? :p

czgibson
08-16-2005, 04:36 PM
*sighs*

Is anyone listening to me? :p

Greetings Muezzin,

I absolutely agree with your point of view: a theist will never convince an atheist and vice versa. That is not the intention of our discussion here. We're trying to understand each other's viewpoints, not convert each other. Since joining this forum I have learned a great deal about Muslim belief, and the reasons people give to justify it. Just because I'm an atheist doesn't mean I shouldn't have the right to study religion and learn from religious people.

Peace

Muezzin
08-16-2005, 04:39 PM
Greetings Muezzin,

I absolutely agree with your point of view: a theist will never convince an atheist and vice versa. That is not the intention of our discussion here. We're trying to understand each other's viewpoints, not convert each other. Since joining this forum I have learned a great deal about Muslim belief, and the reasons people give to justify it. Just because I'm an atheist doesn't mean I shouldn't have the right to study religion and learn from religious people.

Peace
Oh.

Okay. :) Sorry, I'm in a weird mood today. Yup, you're right, you have as much a right as anyone else to learn about religion.

Muhammad
08-17-2005, 11:49 AM
Greetings Callum!

Thankyou for your reply and I am very happy to be of help to you.



OK, so we have different meanings for the word "innocent" at play here. I would say someone could be innocent whether they believe in god or not. Could an atheist with generally good moral standing not be considered innocent?
If we go back to the issue about the purpose of life, then a person who does not acknowledge God has not succeeded in life because God says in His Holy Book:

[51.56] And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve Me.

However, God does reward a disbeliever for performing good actions, even though he has not done them with the intent to please God. But the reward is only in this life, and not the hereafter, because only a person who believes in God can get reward in the hereafter, since that is what passing the test is all about. I guess it's a bit like getting marks for what you get right in an exam even though you have ultimately failed.


I don't know very much about the Jewish tradition. Is it fair to say they rejected Islam out of envy?
[2.109] Many of the followers of the Book wish that they could turn you back into unbelievers after your faith, out of envy from themselves, (even) after the truth has become manifest to them; but pardon and forgive, so that Allah should bring about His command; surely Allah has power over all things.

In the Torah, the coming of the final Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was prophecised and they were expecting him. However, when they realised that he was not from amongst their own people but from the arabs, they did not wish to believe in him even though they knew he came with the truth. Thus envy was a key factor in their deviation. Please see the verses I posted earlier with respect to this: [2.89], [2.101] and [2.146].


There seems to be a contradiction in the two quotes from the Qur'an you have provided.

Now, it seems that the aforementioned groups are being threatened by Allah, for not believing despite the new revelations. So, does this mean that the earlier quote, 2.62, has been updated? Something seems to have changed. I must admit I'm very unclear on the position of Jews and Christians from the point of view of Islam, because of apparent contradictions like this.
You are right by saying that there is a change, because the verse [2.62] has been abrogated by verse [3.85] (I quoted a different one in my previous post when I had intended to post this one - sorry about that):

[3.85] And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.

So the first verse is referring to the Jews, Christians and Sabians of the past nations who believed in their own Prophets and Scriptures without change and died likewise, or those who were contemporaries of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who believed in Allaah and His Prophet and performed good deeds. Allaah only accepts deeds that are in accordance with His Prophet's (pbuh) religion as mentioned in verse [3.85].

So after the coming of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), no other religion except Islam will be accepted from anyone because his book (the Qur'an) abrogated all other scriptures and the Prophet (pbuh) even said that there is none among the Jews and Christians who hear about him and die without believing in the Message with which he was sent, but will be from the dwellers of the Hellfire, and this saying has been reported in an authentic narration. I hope this helps to clarify the two verses.


Everybody dies at some point, certainly, but a large number of people being killed at the same time does constitute a massacre, as far as I can see.
Well massacre means killing cruelly so if many people die at once, that does not automatically make it cruel. Many people probably die around the world every day, yet that was destined to be. Some people die in their sleep while others get killed by road accidents, but if we say God killed the latter, then what did God do to the first?


I was using "weapons of mass destruction" as a metaphor, which I still think is appropriate, because natural disasters (which are apparently in the control of god) can and do cause destruction on a massive scale. People are also undoubtedly killed by such disasters, so I think the use of that word is appropriate too.
If we consider a country sending a nuclear bomb to another country without any apparent reason, then we would probably say it was murder and the people were killed. That is because it is not the duty of people to take life, nor did the bombed country do anything to upset the other.

In the situation of a natural disaster, yes it is controlled by God but the very fact that He is God gives Him the authority to take our lives since He is the One who gave them to us in the first place. I know you don't believe in God but if you assume that there is a God and hence that means He is reponsible for death, you need to follow that assumption through and acknowledge that God also gave life. And then there are other things to consider such as people not doing their duty or being tested with hardship, which does not make it a simple case of killing.


Well, certainly not god, because Buddhists are atheists. Prayer in Buddhism does not have to be directed towards any specific personage, and although many Buddhists pray to bodhisattvas, who are students of the Buddha, these idols cannot provide any help; they are respected, but not worshipped. Prayer and meditation in Buddhism are more to do with inner contemplation on the one hand, and stilling the mind on the other.
I did not know that Buddhists were atheists, so I guess I misunderstood what you meant. However, it seems quite strange to me because 'prayer' is usually directed to a God and it is usually an act to request help of some kind, therefore if the idols cannot provide help, as you stated, then why are they being prayed to?


Yes, they may well be more frightened of hell than death, but I think that given a choice between certain death with no afterlife, and the chance to get to heaven and avoid hell, most people would find the latter option easier to deal with.
Yes that's true, although that means people understanding that they would no longer be free to do as they wish in life. So its a choice of either believing there is no God and enjoying life to its full which ends at death, or worshipping God and obeying Him throughout life in the hope to reach Paradise. I don't really see how they would follow religion only because they dislike death, because following religion is much more than that.


OK - I apologise if my comment on this point sounded a little insulting
That's ok, we all get carried away sometimes :)


Precisely - saying "you have limited knowledge of this subject, and therefore you cannot talk about it" is clearly a way of attempting to silence critics.
If we look at its use in specific contexts then we may understand it better – firstly, let us remember that Islam is a complete religion, and all aspects of religion and all related important issues will of course be explicable, but it may not explain everything down to the bone with regards to topics like creation of the universe or the case of the dinosaurs etc. because such things are not key factors in the implementation of Islam.

So if we were discussing an issue of religion, a person who stated that they had “limited knowledge of the subject” would simply mean just that, which does not automatically imply you can’t talk about it if the person were willing to go and find out and if it were possible to find out. I think it more a modest assertion rather than an argumentative strategy!

And if we were talking about existence of dinosaurs for example, I think there would be little to discuss in light of Islamic evidence, therefore the discussion would cease whether the phrase were used or not. If one decided not to talk about it, it wouldn't be due to the fact that there was something to hide but simply due to lack of knowledge.

We can also appreciate its use by the Prophet's (pbuh) Companions when they were asked questions pertaining to Islam by the Prophet (pbuh), because they would sometimes respond by saying 'Allaah and His Messenger know best' - this did not mean they didn't want to talk about it but that they acknowledged that the Prophet (pbuh) knew better than them and would rather receive the perfect answer from him.

I will remind you that its use in my context was not to silence you but to say I did not know for sure the reasoning behind the Tsunami and related events and that whatever the reason, God knew best about it.


I believe our knowledge of god is very limited indeed; so much so that I see no reason to believe he exists.
But in this case, we do have sufficient knowledge of God to know that He exists since He has made Himself known to mankind in various ways. He taught us many things about Himself, and our natural sense of reasoning tells us it to be true.


I'm not sure this counts as changing the subject or context, I'm merely pointing out that to use "belief" as an equivalent for "knowledge" is straightforwardly wrong. "Facts" and "beliefs" are very different, by definition. Also, you may have seen this pointed out by atheists in the past, but it's not something that is only common to atheists, it's actually a fundamental tenet of science.

I'm sorry if this is what I appear to be doing. As you know, I do not believe in god, however, for the purposes of argument I am prepared to discuss god in a hypothetical way, in an attempt to demonstrate the difficulties that such a concept leads to, the main difficulty being, in my view, the problem of evil.
I understand how you feel about belief and fact. And if we go back to the discussion of the problem of evil with the concept of God – you stated you are prepared to discuss God in a hypothetical way. This means that you want to learn what kind of a Being God is, and therefore we look at the whole picture. To simply look at death and say “God is evil”, without also looking at life and saying “God is good” is only looking at part of the picture and thus the discussion is incomplete! So I was trying to say that we should appreciate all the other things God does as well as give us death, such as provide for us and give us health etc. Of course you might not believe in this, but if you assume for the sake of argument that death is caused by God, you should equally accept that God does all the other things aswell and realise why death is given rather than only focus on how.

And what I meant by changing the subject is, if we are discussing hypothetically, there is no need to talk about fact at this stage since that is a discussion of its own.


OK, I think I'm starting to understand the test idea more clearly, but surely people can still be patient etc. without believing in god?
Yes they can be patient, but an act done for a worldly reason is not the same as one that is done for God. The former might earn you worldly gain, but the latter will earn you even better in the hereafter.

Thankyou again for all your comments,

Peace.

czgibson
08-18-2005, 05:18 PM
Greetings Muhammad,
Your last post was especially helpful in bringing me closer to an understanding of your views. In a similar way to the more general discussion of the existence of god, although I disagree with the Muslim view, I'm much closer to an understanding of how and why this view came about, and why people still believe it today. Similarly, on the specific question of the problem of evil, we have two contrary views, but I think I can understand why you feel your belief on this matter is justified. So, as I see it, there's no real need for any further discussion on the problem of evil - you've made your case clearly and effectively, so I'd like to thank you for your efforts.

There are one or two minor points in your last post I'd like to clear up, however. They could us slightly off-topic in this thread, but since they are all here I think it makes sense to talk about them here.



You are right by saying that there is a change, because the verse [2.62] has been abrogated by verse [3.85]
This makes it clearer, but it could certainly be very difficult for someone without the benefit of your guidance to understand this on their own. I know, for example, that the order of suras in the Qur'an does not correspond to the order in which they were revealed, so how is someone to tell which are the later suras that abrogate previous ones? I'm sure this must lead to a great deal of confusion. Muslims often say there are absolutely no mistakes in the Qur'an, but if the earlier sura has now been updated, surely that means it is mistaken?

[color=black]I did not know that Buddhists were atheists, so I guess I misunderstood what you meant. However, it seems quite strange to me because 'prayer' is usually directed to a God and it is usually an act to request help of some kind, therefore if the idols cannot provide help, as you stated, then why are they being prayed to?
Yes, Buddhists are atheists, although some of them believe in heaven and hell, but in a slightly different way from the way members of the Western monotheistic traditions do. "Prayer" in the Buddhist sense is quite different from prayer in the sense that you may have met it before. As I said, the bodhisattvas that Buddhists pray "to" are unable to help in any way; they are simply used as a focus for the person praying, in the hope that by concentrating the mind on them, some of the perceived wisdom or dedication of the bodhisattva may rub off on them.


If we look at its use in specific contexts then we may understand it better – firstly, let us remember that Islam is a complete religion, and all aspects of religion and all related important issues will of course be explicable, but it may not explain everything down to the bone with regards to topics like creation of the universe or the case of the dinosaurs etc. because such things are not key factors in the implementation of Islam.

So if we were discussing an issue of religion, a person who stated that they had “limited knowledge of the subject” would simply mean just that, which does not automatically imply you can’t talk about it if the person were willing to go and find out and if it were possible to find out. I think it more a modest assertion rather than an argumentative strategy!
Yes, there's certainly an element of modesty in the phrase, but I believe it can be used deviously. For example, I've sometimes heard a Muslim person make very outspoken, controversial comments, but then say "And Allah knows best" as a kind of precaution. Now, I can pretty much see the sense in this, but I think the phrase can end up sounding meaningless in the light of what's gone before.


And if we were talking about existence of dinosaurs for example, I think there would be little to discuss in light of Islamic evidence, therefore the discussion would cease whether the phrase were used or not. If one decided not to talk about it, it wouldn't be due to the fact that there was something to hide but simply due to lack of knowledge.


OK, this lack of knowledge idea is perhaps a better way of expressing what I had in mind. If two people are having a debate, and one of the pleads lack of knowledge by saying "Allah knows best", in effect they have ended the debate, and their opponent can say what he likes, but the debate is over; the person who pleads lack of knowledge can say no more. Effectively, they have silenced the critic, as far as that particular debate is concerned.

I'm aware that the first two points here are off-topic, but I'm not keen to start new threads for each one, because I think they can be answered quite quickly.

Thanks again for your great help with these questions; one of my Muslim students today seemed impressed with my growing knowledge of Islam - it's mainly thanks to the people on this board. :D

Peace

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-18-2005, 06:33 PM
:sl:
I would just like to point out that abrogation (naskh) only takes case with regards to God's laws, not in beliefs. Verse 2:62 is an invitation to have faith in Allah, which necessitates belief in His final messenger. For the commentary of verse 2:69, please refer here:
http://63.175.194.25/index.php?ln=eng&ds=qa&lv=browse&QR=2912&dgn=4
The verse 2:62 invites people from all previous religious background to renew their faith in Allah by accepting His final system - Islam. As the verse says:
Surely those who are (already) believers, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

So the verse invites all people, regardless of their past religious convictions, to have faith in Allah, which is clarified in other verses as following the system revealed to His last messenger. As Allah swt says:

5:65. And if only the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) had believed (in Muhammad ) and warded off evil (sin, ascribing partners to Allâh) and had become Al Muttaqûn (the pious - see V.2:2) We would indeed have blotted out their sins and admitted them to Gardens of pleasure (in Paradise).

:w:

Muhammad
08-21-2005, 08:39 PM
Greetings Callum,

I am sorry for the late reply... with regards to the few points that needed clearing up, I have a few points to make:


This makes it clearer, but it could certainly be very difficult for someone without the benefit of your guidance to understand this on their own. I know, for example, that the order of suras in the Qur'an does not correspond to the order in which they were revealed, so how is someone to tell which are the later suras that abrogate previous ones? I'm sure this must lead to a great deal of confusion. Muslims often say there are absolutely no mistakes in the Qur'an, but if the earlier sura has now been updated, surely that means it is mistaken? Abrogation is actually a topic of its own, and it has been discussed to an extent on this forum here (http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=3454).

You are right that someone may not immediately know that a particular verse has been abrogated, and this is why it is important to understand the meaning of the Qur'an by using explanatory works such as books written by knowledgable Muslim scholars who have devoted their lives to researching and gathering information from the authentic teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that explain the Qur'an. This is because some things in the Qur'an require explanation from the Prophetic teachings and therefore the people who understood it best were the Prophet (pbuh) to whom the Qur'an was revealed and those who learnt it directly from him.

I hope by reading the recommended thread you will understand the concept of abrogation better, and see that it is in fact from the Wisdom of God rather than a mistake.

I would also like to point out that it is possible to determine the original order of Surahs in the Qur'an, because some Qur'ans actually have a number denoting this adjacent to the name of the Surah.


OK, this lack of knowledge idea is perhaps a better way of expressing what I had in mind. If two people are having a debate, and one of the pleads lack of knowledge by saying "Allah knows best", in effect they have ended the debate, and their opponent can say what he likes, but the debate is over; the person who pleads lack of knowledge can say no more. Effectively, they have silenced the critic, as far as that particular debate is concerned.
I think I am beginning to understand what you mean, but using the same example above, what if someone were to say "I don't know" instead of "Allaah Knows Best" - Would you consider that as an attempt to silence the critic?

I am very happy that you are broadening your knowledge of Islam, and I hope that what you pick up from this forum is the correct information rather than a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what people like me are trying to explain.

Peace

root
08-22-2005, 03:11 PM
I think I am beginning to understand what you mean, but using the same example above, what if someone were to say "I don't know" instead of "Allaah Knows Best" - Would you consider that as an attempt to silence the critic?

I would not see the two as the same. Both use the same ignorance to the facts, but only one of them is an acknowledgment of such. The other claims a higher authorative explanation.

Ansar Al-'Adl
08-22-2005, 03:42 PM
"Allah knows best" is actually a statement of humility. Muslims choose to always end their works, discussions and thoughts with this phrase because it is an admission of our limited intelligence and the fact that there may be many details that we are not aware of. Its a disclaimer that the person making the statement is no more than a human being and if there are any mistakes in what they have mentioned, it is due to their own short-comings, while the credit for any good goes to Allah. To understand this phrase better one needs to beserve its context in Muslim discussions. Often, the Prophet saws would pose a question for his companions and they would reply by saying, "Allah and His Messenger know best". Then the Prophet Muhammad saws would provide them with the explanation. So it was a statement of humility and not something to silence the questioner or appear arrogant.

I hope this helps.

Muhammad
08-22-2005, 09:29 PM
Greetings,

I have split this thread so that we can continue our discussions of the verse [2.62] here (http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=4573), which is a thread dedicated to the topic.

In answer to the last part of your question Callum, although we have been told about the creation of the Universe and humans, we have not been informed about the specific existence of dinosaurs. This does not mean that we are not allowed to believe in them, but simply that there is no evidence from Islamic teachings.

This is what I meant when I was referring to that debate about dinosaurs: the fact that if we were to prove dinosaur existence in light of Islamic evidence, there would not be much to discuss and ultimately I would say "Allaah Knows Best" about such creatures since He is the Creator of all things. And it wouldn't make any difference if I said "I don't know", because either way the discussion would end due to a restricted topic rather than a certain phrase used.

Peace.

czgibson
08-23-2005, 05:30 PM
Greetings Muhammad,


I have split this thread so that we can continue our discussions of the verse [2.62] here (http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=4573), which is a thread dedicated to the topic.

Good idea - thanks.


In answer to the last part of your question Callum, although we have been told about the creation of the Universe and humans, we have not been informed about the specific existence of dinosaurs. This does not mean that we are not allowed to believe in them, but simply that there is no evidence from Islamic teachings.

Is it really a question of believing in dinosaurs? They existed - fact. No?

I've now grasped the position regarding the use of "Allah knows best". Thanks for that, and for all your help in these discussions. :)

Peace

Muhammad
09-13-2005, 11:07 PM
Greetings Callum,

After re-visiting this thread again I realised I hadn't answered your last question, so I apologise for the (very) late response...


Is it really a question of believing in dinosaurs? They existed - fact. No?
Islam explains that Allaah created the universe and it is He who created the first man on earth, and from him came forth multitudes of men and women. If the question were to be asked, in light of Islamic teachings regarding the early stage of earth's existence, of the place of dinosaurs in all this, then Islam has not specifically mentioned these creatures.

So Islamically, dinosaurs are not mentioned yet scientifically, we are shown that such creatures did exist. So people may think of them as a fact, only not according to Islam.

I hope this clarifies the confusion,

Peace.

czgibson
10-11-2005, 06:13 PM
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Here is a good power point presentation about the creation of the eye, as a proof of the existence of God.


http://www.------------/ppt2/index.html


Wassalam

Navidul Haq Khan

Greetings Navidkhan,

There's no such thing as a proof for the existence of god. If there were then everyone would believe it. There's no proof against it either, of course, just arguments on both sides.

Peace

azim
10-11-2005, 11:48 PM
Greetings Navidkhan,

There's no such thing as a proof for the existence of god. If there were then everyone would believe it. There's no proof against it either, of course, just arguments on both sides.

Peace

I disagree bro. The way I see it, people would never accept God unless he can be touched, seen and heard. Back in the day, the Prophets were given miracles to that extent - miracles such as healing the ill, parting the ocean etc.. etc.. Today, Allah has given the Quran as guidance and left us with our reasoning. Logic and intelligence of a person defines that there is a God. Think about it. If we look at the whole universe, we can come to two conclusions - there is a God who created it or that it created itself, and it, we, the whole universe exists due to a whole set of insanely improbable chances. The laws which where defined at the moment the big bang (the laws of physics) are all perfect for life to exist. For example, the attraction needed between an electron and neutron for an atom to actually be able to form has to be minutely precise, to a degree so small that it is barely measurable. Yet, that exact level of attraction has been created. The universe is phenomanally organised, on millions of different levels. There are laws which dictate all of these. Chaos can exist in infinite forms but order exists in only a few forms. I wish I had more time to give a better idea of what I'm convey but its late and I should sleep. I will mention one more improbable thing about our universe that exists however. The are 4 well known dimensions - 3 space, 1 time. There are 10 dimensions that exists, but 3 dimensions spread out during the creation of the universe where as the other 6 did not. If it had been any different, than some of most basic things about our universe would not exists. Imagine only 2 spread out, height and length. Try to imagine the universe. Believe it or not, 2 dimension universe is just as likely as a 3 dimension universe. Infinite possiblites of chaos but only finite possibilities of order - that is a fact of science. Our universe is ordered. Who put it in order?

Mahmud
10-12-2005, 12:07 AM
:sl:
I'd like to start of this discussion with my point of view on the existence of God.
---
I'll leave it at that for now.

MASHAALAH BRO..

MODERATOR'S COMMENT: FORUM RULE # 16.When a long article/post has been posted, and you want to comment on the article/post, do not quote it since it is a waste of space.

czgibson
10-12-2005, 05:16 PM
Greetings Azim,

You've given a version of the Argument from Design and Irreducible Complexity; fair enough, that's your view. My point was simply that all such lines of thought are arguments, not proofs.

Peace

Ansar Al-'Adl
10-12-2005, 07:19 PM
Now that we're on the topic again, Callum, I wanted to ask what you feel caused the universe to come into existence. There are philosophers who have pointed out that nothing in our universe is truly random, so do you think that this entire universe and everything in it just came into existence randomly?

Thanks in advance. :)

root
10-13-2005, 11:30 AM
Now that we're on the topic again, Callum, I wanted to ask what you feel caused the universe to come into existence. There are philosophers who have pointed out that nothing in our universe is truly random, so do you think that this entire universe and everything in it just came into existence randomly?

I see where your going with this. And it actually strikes at the very heart of a question that so far has remained unanswered and caused a complete withdrawel of a theory by professor Hawkins admitting he was wrong.

The issue concerns the "randomness" of a universe, since being random many universes would need to exist with variants. if our universe is indeed the only universe "out thier" then the scientific community would well be on it's back foot and a created universe a strong arguement for intelligent design or a natural "By Product" of something else. However, with a multiverse then chance get's every oppurtunity to deal a half decent deck of cards.

One fundamental question in this area is matter itself. Blackwholes consume a phenomanal ammount of matter to which matter contains "information". The question is where does all the matter go that a blackhole consumes. Hawkins proposed that the matter and information it contained was for ever hidden in a singularity point and would never be revealed.


Hawking revolutionized the study of the holes when he demonstrated in 1976 that, under the strange rules of quantum physics, once black holes form they start to "evaporate" away, radiating energy and losing mass in the process.

The terms of the bet were that "information swallowed by a black hole is forever hidden and can never be revealed."

Now he has reversed his theory and accepts information/matter can escape which could result in a "White Hole" which could even be a "Big Bang" effect. Truth is nobody knows and as yet such questions is beyond the grasp of human intelligence but at the same time does not imply we will never know. The point being is that a single universe with matter and information simply "dissapearing" is no longer supported. So where does the matter and information go...............

The randomness of a universe is only a valid concept if we consider a single closed universe or open multi-verse. Science does not have the answer only a hunch, meaning if it had to place a bet. Then on current understanding the science community backs a multi-verse and thier are no prizes for guessing what cretionists believe since a single "one off" universe cannot arrive by chance since it only gets one chance to work.

Finally, my own personal thought on the matter is thus. (and I think I have said this a few times.) We once thought there was only one sun in the universe, we find out they are in infinate numbers and the Same for planets. We thought too after that we only had 1 solar system and one galaxy. Again they are of infinate quantity. Everytime a belief in a single universal matter/entity appeared all we find is that they are of infinate quantities. Why then would we believe it is all housed in a single universe.

The answer to the question of randomness is a universe numbers game.......

Or is it?

Abdul Fattah
10-13-2005, 02:29 PM
The issue concerns the "randomness" of a universe, since being random many universes would need to exist with variants. if our universe is indeed the only universe "out their" then the scientific community would well be on it's back foot and a created universe a strong argument for intelligent design or a natural "By Product" of something else. However, with a multiverse then chance get's every opportunity to deal a half decent deck of cards.

Well that’s a very biased reasoning. First of all, should there be a thing like “chance” that doesn’t mean all the other possibilities actually happen. But I do think string theory will prove Einstein was right when he said: God does not throw dice. I’m not saying there is no multiverse. I’m simply saying chance has nothing to do with it.

czgibson
10-13-2005, 07:01 PM
Greetings,

Now that we're on the topic again, Callum, I wanted to ask what you feel caused the universe to come into existence. There are philosophers who have pointed out that nothing in our universe is truly random, so do you think that this entire universe and everything in it just came into existence randomly?

The simple answer is I don't know what caused the universe to exist.

"Nothing is truly random" sounds like determinism, which many philosophers have suggested. Not all of them believed it themselves, although Karl Marx is an example of a philosopher who did.

It's an argument that can be taken pretty far, saying that everything is causally determined, there's no such thing as free will etc. I find it credible up to the point that neuroscience can explain how our brains work and how we experience the world using our senses. Scientists can tell where in the brain things like language and sensory motor abilities are controlled, which suggests a definite causal link, but it would be strange to say that my preference for chicken over lamb, purple over orange or the Rolling Stones over the Beatles could be explained by reference to my brain, my environment, or any other cause. These are things I've chosen at some level that is difficult to explain.

Of course, there's a lot that is so far unexplained - I'd leave it at that; you may believe that this lack of knowledge provides room for a soul, or perhaps many other things, just as a lack of knowledge about what happened before the Big Bang may provide you with room for belief in god.

Peace

Ansar Al-'Adl
10-13-2005, 09:09 PM
Greetings,
Thank you all for your input. Some interesting ideas...

The issue concerns the "randomness" of a universe, since being random many universes would need to exist with variants. if our universe is indeed the only universe "out thier" then the scientific community would well be on it's back foot and a created universe a strong arguement for intelligent design or a natural "By Product" of something else.
I'm afraid I didn't understand the highlighted part. Could you re-phrase that or perhaps elaborate?


However, with a multiverse then chance get's every oppurtunity to deal a half decent deck of cards.

One fundamental question in this area is matter itself. Blackwholes consume a phenomanal ammount of matter to which matter contains "information". The question is where does all the matter go that a blackhole consumes. Hawkins proposed that the matter and information it contained was for ever hidden in a singularity point and would never be revealed.
The idea that the observable universe was produced by matter/energy emmisions of a white hole seems to create more problems than it solves. First, the existence of white holes themselves are hypothetical since it conflicts with our understanding of entropy. Additionally, I can't see how it would explain the dark matter in our universe. And then you have to deal with an explanation for where the original universe came from, and you would keep going on infinitely, which doesn't answer the question of the cause of the universe but only extends it. In fact, the problem then is that an infinite number of steps preceded the present universe, and we know that an infinite number of steps cannot be crossed.


Finally, my own personal thought on the matter is thus. (and I think I have said this a few times.) We once thought there was only one sun in the universe, we find out they are in infinate numbers and the Same for planets. We thought too after that we only had 1 solar system and one galaxy. Again they are of infinate quantity. Everytime a belief in a single universal matter/entity appeared all we find is that they are of infinate quantities. Why then would we believe it is all housed in a single universe.
I'm sure you don't actually mean inifinite. There are many many many galaxies/stars/planets in our universe, but there is not an infinite number. The quanitity remains finite.

The idea behind my original question is that, no matter what kind of explanation/theory/interpretation you use, you will inevitably have to explain how our conciousness and order came spontaneously from unconciousness and disorder. How does the massive universe that we live in, with all its life, appear just like that (*snap finger for emphasis*) out of nothing? The very notion conflicts with human logic.

Qur'an 52:35-36. Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no certainty.

The way I see it, the use of hypotheticals to explain the universe has become rampant, and people simply move from one idea to another, while neither holds any more scientific validity than the other. This constant changing of ideas grants these atheists no certainty in their understanding of the universe, exactly as the Qur'an mentions. All this, to escape the admission of a Sovereign Deity. As Muhammad Asad, a Jewish Convert to Islam, says about the above verses:

This is a reductio ad absurdum of their unwillingness to admit the existence of a conscious Primary Cause underlying all creation.

The simple answer is I don't know what caused the universe to exist.
So does that make you agnostic rather than atheist? Because to be an atheist means that you deny the very possibility of God's existence, while an agnostic would simply suggest that we have no way of knowing.

Do you think human beings will ever 'know' what caused the universe to exist? What you do know is that the universe exists and that it could not have just appeared randomly. What possibility are we left with?

Regards

root
10-17-2005, 07:03 PM
Greetings,
Thank you all for your input. Some interesting ideas...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Root
The issue concerns the "randomness" of a universe, since being random many universes would need to exist with variants. if our universe is indeed the only universe "out thier" then the scientific community would well be on it's back foot and a created universe a strong arguement for intelligent design or a natural "By Product" of something else.


I'm afraid I didn't understand the highlighted part. Could you re-phrase that or perhaps elaborate?

Yes sure. When we look to the universe, some see a marvel of complexity that could only have come from a designer. Since an exact quantity of energy & matter would be required with the precise laws of physics for such a universe as ours to exist. The "Randomness" would apply to the ammount off matter and energy with precise laws of relativity and more complex issues. Others (including myself) look at it more as a random chance creation, to which what we see has been brought about by chance. This chance requires a number greater than one in effect for chance to occur.

Fundamentally the question "Are we in a single closed universe" is of massive implication because if we are only in a closed universe and no other universe can does or could exist then the universe surely was a creation since "chance" cannot occur in a singular entity such as a single closed universe. However, the other side of the coin is that should we find ourself in only one of an infinate number of Universes then chance has every oppurtunity it requires to bring about a good balance of mass and energy with an acceptable number for chance to occur.


The idea that the observable universe was produced by matter/energy emmisions of a white hole seems to create more problems than it solves. First, the existence of white holes themselves are hypothetical since it conflicts with our understanding of entropy. Additionally, I can't see how it would explain the dark matter in our universe. And then you have to deal with an explanation for where the original universe came from, and you would keep going on infinitely, which doesn't answer the question of the cause of the universe but only extends it. In fact, the problem then is that an infinite number of steps preceded the present universe, and we know that an infinite number of steps cannot be crossed.

I tend to agree with you if it was not for one single point. It explains perfectly where all the matter goes, I personally have never favoured the idea that something simply "dissapears". This is never the case and is as unacceptable and on par with the expansion of the universe simply "appearing" which in General Islam and other religions and science also is very unhappy about to the point it cannot be believed. You accept the universe that we are in could not simply spring open and start expanding nor on that basis simply vanish into thin air.

Your other problem with infinate universes again I don't have a problem with since we have an infinate number of stars within our universe we would not even require infinate universes too. But for the variable randomness we don't need infinate numbers.


The idea behind my original question is that, no matter what kind of explanation/theory/interpretation you use, you will inevitably have to explain how our conciousness and order came spontaneously from unconciousness and disorder. How does the massive universe that we live in, with all its life, appear just like that (*snap finger for emphasis*) out of nothing? The very notion conflicts with human logic

I agree with you. However, on the basis that we do not as yet know or proved that we are indeed a sibngle one off universe or one of many does not imply a creator. No doubt finding the answer to multiple universes would only bring a whole bunch of new questions.


The way I see it, the use of hypotheticals to explain the universe has become rampant, and people simply move from one idea to another, while neither holds any more scientific validity than the other. This constant changing of ideas grants these atheists no certainty in their understanding of the universe, exactly as the Qur'an mentions. All this, to escape the admission of a Sovereign Deity. As Muhammad Asad, a Jewish Convert to Islam, says about the above verses:

I can understand your point. However, I don't use a hypothetical I use theory to help me understand our current understanding. String theory for example had 5 theories attached, each theory being scientifically viable and correct. This cannot be and is not the way of science, surely only one theory has to be correct. The different string theories used dimensions as part of running a machmatical model, each theory continued to be viable with the introduction of the 11th dimension. All 5 theories became one within this brilliant mathmatical calculation, which is called M Theory. The possibility of a multiverse is a scientific holy grail, and some way off a discovery. But what we do know strongly suggests that we should not be at all surprised if we are nothing more than 1 upon an infinate number of universes on a membrane super massive universe.


Do you think human beings will ever 'know' what caused the universe to exist?

Yes I do hopefully within my lifetime.


What you do know is that the universe exists and that it could not have just appeared randomly.

I would agree with your point if it was not the case that I have just put to you, a super massive universe is a possibility and therfore your point is no longer a valid one as it takes the basis that this universe is a definitive "Beginning" and "singular" entity, for this cannot be said as it is a mere hypothetical question with no supporting theory.





What possibility are we left with?

Ansar Al-'Adl
10-17-2005, 07:56 PM
Hello Root,
That was an excellent post, I really appreciate your in-depth explanations. :)

Fundamentally the question "Are we in a single closed universe" is of massive implication because if we are only in a closed universe and no other universe can does or could exist then the universe surely was a creation since "chance" cannot occur in a singular entity such as a single closed universe.
Wow. That's a very powerful statement. In other words, if our observable universe is the only thing that exists, it necessitates belief in God? If the only thing that exists is what we know from science, then atheism is false. I'm interested in Callum's opinion on this matter as well.

I would agree with your view Root, since the way I see it, a single universe can only leave 3 possibilities:
1) the universe is eternal
2) the universe came into being spontaneously
3) the universe was conciously created by an independent entity

Since 1 and 2 are clearly false, we are left with the conclusion that a single universe necessitates God.

I'm very interested in your view of a 'super massive universe' as you put it, and I'd like to read up on it, if you have any links to some good articles available, I'd really appreciate it. :)


I can understand your point. However, I don't use a hypothetical I use theory to help me understand our current understanding. String theory for example had 5 theories attached, each theory being scientifically viable and correct. This cannot be and is not the way of science, surely only one theory has to be correct. The different string theories used dimensions as part of running a machmatical model, each theory continued to be viable with the introduction of the 11th dimension. All 5 theories became one within this brilliant mathmatical calculation, which is called M Theory. The possibility of a multiverse is a scientific holy grail, and some way off a discovery. But what we do know strongly suggests that we should not be at all surprised if we are nothing more than 1 upon an infinate number of universes on a membrane super massive universe.
Thank you for this interesting info. So according to this idea of a super massive universe, every black hole spawns a new universe? So the number of 'universes' in progressively increasing, right?

Does this mean that before there used to be less 'universes', and progressing backwards we arrive at a point when there was only one universe?


Yes I do hopefully within my lifetime.
Interesting prediction. I'm hoping we'll first be able to reconcile classical physics with quantum mechanics.

Thanks once again for your post, root.

Abdul Fattah
10-17-2005, 09:52 PM
Root, I think the very essence of your argument comes down to this: what is chance

Quantummechanics uses chance for example. Here the notion of chance is mathematical: 9 out of 10 times the reaction will be like this.
I don't believe this is actually a matter of chance, and that there is a reason behind this that we fail to see. Chaos is a word we invented to define an order we fail to understand.

Then there's the chance you mention. Like:
The chance that this universe came to exist out of luck is just like a printingpress that explodes and all the letters fall back on the ground forming the current version of the oxford encyclopedia.
Here chance is meant not in a mathematical way, but in the sense that the event would defy all logical expectations. So he argument is meant to point out it's illogical to expect this universe came by randomness.

What I fail to understand, is how multiple dimensions would have any influence in this matter. If anything, I would think it even strenghtens the statement, because the more complex this universe turns out, the more it is illogical to assume it was the result of random energy.

root
10-18-2005, 08:37 PM
ROOT - Fundamentally the question "Are we in a single closed universe" is of massive implication because if we are only in a closed universe and no other universe can does or could exist then the universe surely was a creation since "chance" cannot occur in a singular entity such as a single closed universe.

Well, this is the issue in a nutshell.


I would agree with your view Root, since the way I see it, a single universe can only leave 3 possibilities:
1) the universe is eternal
2) the universe came into being spontaneously
3) the universe was conciously created by an independent entity

Since 1 and 2 are clearly false, we are left with the conclusion that a single universe necessitates God.

To me you are using the information for your own aims. Why do you assume that a conciously created universe by an independent entity necesitates a "God". Perhaps our universe is in itself a test model for other super intelligent beings, I doubt very much such a creator has any bearing to how Islam and all other faiths relate to such a God. Perhaps life is nothing more than a by product of a simulated universe to which very little consideration is given and it's existence is in itself unknown to any intelligent designer of a universal scale.


I'm very interested in your view of a 'super massive universe' as you put it, and I'd like to read up on it, if you have any links to some good articles available, I'd really appreciate it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

This is a starting point I guess.


Interesting prediction. I'm hoping we'll first be able to reconcile classical physics with quantum mechanics.

I would like some basic's answered first.

1. Why at the centre of every galaxy do we find a super massive black hole.
2. What is on the other side of a black hole.
3. Where does all the matter go that is consumed by a black hole.

Steve - I did read your post, but cannot accept it's conclusion. If a peer reviewed scientific journal accepted your point then you truely will win a nobel peace prize and throw science into a very dark age to which it could probably never recover. The fact of the matter is you can't and nor can the origins of the text you wrote. Clearly, I don't want to get into a philosophical discussion of chance only on the basis that I find it by itself utterly boring and very repetetive. No offence.

Abdul Fattah
10-18-2005, 11:28 PM
Steve - I did read your post, but cannot accept it's conclusion. If a peer reviewed scientific journal accepted your point then you truely will win a nobel peace prize and throw science into a very dark age to which it could probably never recover. The fact of the matter is you can't and nor can the origins of the text you wrote. Clearly, I don't want to get into a philosophical discussion of chance only on the basis that I find it by itself utterly boring and very repetetive. No offence.

You were the one that said: if we are only in a closed universe and no other universe can does or could exist then the universe surely was a creation since "chance" cannot occur in a singular entity such as a single closed universe.

Basicly, single closed universe or bulk of multiverses makes no diffrence in chance. You claim it does, so you already started the discussion. It has nothing to do with personal opinions or noble prisez, basicly I'm just telling you what any other person would tell you. You're mixing up two diffrent terms because of a simular name.

azim
10-19-2005, 12:52 AM
Just something I thought was interesting is that some scientists disagree with the multiverse theory for the same reason some scientists disagree with the existence of God. You can't prove either DOESNT exist.

root
10-19-2005, 03:21 PM
Basicly, single closed universe or bulk of multiverses makes no diffrence in chance.

It makes a big difference actually. What I was referring to was your quote:


The chance that this universe came to exist out of luck is just like a printingpress that explodes and all the letters fall back on the ground forming the current version of the oxford encyclopedia.

Rubbish in = rubbish out.

czgibson
10-19-2005, 04:03 PM
Greetings,


Fundamentally the question "Are we in a single closed universe" is of massive implication because if we are only in a closed universe and no other universe can does or could exist then the universe surely was a creation since "chance" cannot occur in a singular entity such as a single closed universe.


Wow. That's a very powerful statement. In other words, if our observable universe is the only thing that exists, it necessitates belief in God? If the only thing that exists is what we know from science, then atheism is false. I'm interested in Callum's opinion on this matter as well.

Since Ansar has expressed an interest in my opinion on this I'll respond, although I don't really have a lot to say about it since the idea is unfamiliar to me. Here are my initial thoughts:

The word "if" is important in Root's post. Do we live in a single universe or a multiverse? I don't know, and neither do scientists for sure. If we do live in a single universe, is it closed (finite) or infinite? Again, I don't know. The idea of the universe being infinite is a strange one, certainly. Could it be true, though?

A single closed universe could be thought of as a singular entity, but is that necessarily true for our universe? I don't know. Would an infinite universe be a singular entity or a combination of many entities?


If the only thing that exists is what we know from science, then atheism is false.

As I've said, scientists do not know for sure that we live in a single closed universe, rather than a multiverse or something else. Also, how could we ever know that nothing else exists in addition to our (apparent) single closed universe? There's no way of determining such a state of affairs, as far as I can see.

That's what I think about the matter on first acquaintance, but I wouldn't be surprised if I've got a few things wrong here.

Peace

Silver Pearl
10-19-2005, 06:07 PM
Greetings,


To me you are using the information for your own aims. Why do you assume that a conciously created universe by an independent entity necesitates a "God". Perhaps our universe is in itself a test model for other super intelligent beings, I doubt very much such a creator has any bearing to how Islam and all other faiths relate to such a God. Perhaps life is nothing more than a by product of a simulated universe to which very little consideration is given and it's existence is in itself unknown to any intelligent designer of a universal scale.

Everything has a maker; do you think a bench made itself? Do you think the computer made itself? Had there been several higher beings as you refer to, then they would all in a way lack something. They then can’t be classed as omnipresent, all knowing for they depend on one another in order for things to be in constancy. As the higher beings are imperfect and have flaws something else caused them to happen. It is hard to comprehend the beginning of the universe and creator (Presuming for a second that you agree with my point about a creator).

If life itself is irrelevant, then there would be no need for us to be made. Whether you think it was carried out in random making or evolution. Everything that makes something makes it for a reason. Animals adapt to their environment because they require it. A polar bear would not require a fine fur and hence it will not adapt to have such characteristics. Just like a camel will not demolish its hump as it necessitates it for storing fat.









I would like some basic's answered first.

1. Why at the centre of every galaxy do we find a super massive black hole.
2. What is on the other side of a black hole.
3. Where does all the matter go that is consumed by a black hole.

Firstly I am not well informed on the issue, and even if I was, it would all probably be assumptions and I can’t guarantee the information I have received is the truth but merely ideologies based on a truth that can be interrupted differently by different people. However, are you genuinely asking these question for gaining knowledge or is it simply a leading question?

Abdul Fattah
10-19-2005, 09:11 PM
Well first of all I find it interesting you think that qoute about the exploding printing press is rubbisch. It is actually (not litteraly) a quote from a noble prize winner in science. His name was Albert Einstein. Tell me, do you really think that Einstein: threw science into a very dark age to which it could probably never recover like you so adequatly desribed it?

Secondly, would you care to explain how: wether or not this universe is a singular or a multiverse has any diffrence in the matter of chance?
As far as I know, both concepts aren't really corelated.

But first of al to avoid confusion, there's two diffrent meanings of dimensions.

One meaning of dimension is a degree of libirty, a space in wich matter can move.
Then their's also parallel dimensions. Here the word dimension isn't used to define a degree of freedom but rather, means to describe a diffrent tangent world.

The problem with quantum mechanics is caused by heisenbergs uncertainty principle. Basicly this means we can't at the same time examine the course and the position of particles. Or in other words; The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known. We can analyse both features of a particle by two diffrent processes, but one experiment disregards one feature and vise versa. So the best we can do is calculate the probability. This brings forth several mathematical chance-calculations.

Einstein for one, didn't like this concept of chance, he used to answer to it with: God doesn't trow dice. Or in other words, he refused to accept that this world as it is, was the result of mere chance. Another quote of Einstein is: Stupidity is performing the same proces over and over again and expecting diffrent results. (well something like that, not exactly). Basicly he thought that if a certain proces results in one way one time and in another way another time, that there was a reason for that that we failed to see. In other words, that chaos is a word we invented to define an order we fail to understand.

But Einstein wasn't the only one one who disliked this concept of chance. Other people answered it from a diffrent aproach. they figured that the only (atheistic) way to account for such a thing as chance, is to assume that both possibilitys actually happen in parralel universes. There is however nothing scientific about it, but it is rather just a philosophical possibility to answer something that defys logic. The concept is based on pure imagination and shouldn't be confused with the multiverse string theory teaches about.

According to string theory our universe is 11 dimensional, but that just means that next to the 3 known liberty's of freedom and the 4th time dimension, matter can move through 7 other dimensions. Degrees of liberty as you will. Next to hat, string theory also claims that the 11 dimension is a membrane, a large surface in which al other 10 dimensions are hold. They expect that next to "our" membrane, might be diffrent membranes of other universes, the reason they do this has nothing to do with chance, but rather with gravity, wich would not be compound to this dimension, and able to escape the surface of the membrane.

razzzy101
10-19-2005, 09:23 PM
gud stuff!

Ansar Al-'Adl
10-19-2005, 11:52 PM
Greetings,

To me you are using the information for your own aims. Why do you assume that a conciously created universe by an independent entity necesitates a "God".
Because in that statement we have identified three attributes - an independent concious creator, which is a very basic idea of God. Let's consider the scenarios your propose...


Perhaps our universe is in itself a test model for other super intelligent beings,
If you actually believe this, what is the difference between belief in this and belief in God? If these super intelligent beings exist, then they certainly have the power to intervene in man's affairs. And logically they would have a single super intelligent leader - we're back at God. Now, you're no longer an atheist, but a theist with a certain concept of 'God'.


Perhaps life is nothing more than a by product of a simulated universe to which very little consideration is given and it's existence is in itself unknown to any intelligent designer of a universal scale.
This is a blend of your multiverse idea and the notion of a Creator. Either way, we simply trace our way to the original universe and ask the same question about it - how did it come into being.

At the end of the day, we're left with the fact that there is someone out there.


I would like some basic's answered first.
I'll do my best.


1. Why at the centre of every galaxy do we find a super massive black hole.
More accretion which leads to the 'gravitational collapse'. From what we currently know about gravity, it follows that the center of the galaxy is the most massive and gravitous part - the force of which is so powerful it results in blackholes.


2. What is on the other side of a black hole.
Why must there be 'another side'? Sure white holes are an interesting idea but they belong to the realm of science fiction, not science. They are just a belief from faith.


3. Where does all the matter go that is consumed by a black hole.
First, it doesn't necessarily 'go' anywhere. Second, I'm not going to hypthesize what happens to it by making up an idea like a white hole. This is just speculation. But, based on the facts that we do know from science, the atheist is left in a difficult position about our universe.


Since Ansar has expressed an interest in my opinion on this I'll respond, although I don't really have a lot to say about it since the idea is unfamiliar to me. Here are my initial thoughts:
Thanks for your imput. :) I appreciate it.


The word "if" is important in Root's post. Do we live in a single universe or a multiverse? I don't know, and neither do scientists for sure.
First of all, from our scientific observations right now, there is no real reason to believe in a mutiverse, which isn't science but science fiction since its just speculation. But assuming even a multiverse existed, as I pointed out in my questions to root (previous post, not this one), it doesn't answer the problem because we still have to explain the origin of the multiverse, or the original universe that spawned the multiverse.

Do you agree with the three logical possibilities I have given with regard to the universe?

If we do live in a single universe, is it closed (finite) or infinite? Again, I don't know. The idea of the universe being infinite is a strange one, certainly. Could it be true, though?
I don't think there is any support amongst the scientific community for an infinite universe, which would violatate our observations for the last century. Scientists are agreed that there is a finite quantitiy of mass and energy in our universe as explained in the laws of thermodynamics.

I find it a little bit strange that atheists expect theists to answer all their questions on God, yet when we turn the tables around and ask the atheists how they can possibly reject God when there is no other apparent explanation for the universe, they feel fine just saying "I don't know".
This relates back to my original assertion (first post of this thread) that atheists provide no evidence for their rejection of God, and leave the objections of theists unanswered. I think this is it for what I have to say about cosmological arguments - maybe I'll introduce something new into the thread later, inshaa'Allah.

:w:

root
10-20-2005, 11:44 AM
Hi Steve.

Your still attempting to drag me into a game of chance. Your Einstien qoutes were interesting in as much as the scale by which they are being misrepresented.

If we take an imaginary steel bin (representative of a universe) and within this bin (placed a large number of magnets) representative of matter. Our bin and magnets will be subjected to natural known laws of physics, so will behave according to a pre determined rule of physical laws. The chances of two opposite magnets coming together is not possible because of the rules of magnatism, in a game of chance ain't never gonna happen. When Einstien quoted "God does not play with dice" it was in reference to order the order of laws and Chemistry.

If we now violently shake our bin we will form a "random" structure which involves "chance". Where each magnet "sticks" to the now formed super massive group of magnets. If we observe the formation of magnets we are left with two possibilities:

1. The structure is so complex it could only have come about by an intelligent designer.

2. The structure has formed from random chaotic chance.

root
10-20-2005, 12:37 PM
Hi Ansar,


Quote Root :
Perhaps our universe is in itself a test model for other super intelligent beings,


ANAR - If you actually believe this, what is the difference between belief in this and belief in God? If these super intelligent beings exist, then they certainly have the power to intervene in man's affairs. And logically they would have a single super intelligent leader - we're back at God. Now, you're no longer an atheist, but a theist with a certain concept of 'God'.

The only certainty here is nothing is certain! Equally then they certainly could not intervene in mans affairs. Obviosly we are moving into the realms of the very much unknown based on a single closed universe.


QOUTE - ROOT Perhaps life is nothing more than a by product of a simulated universe to which very little consideration is given and it's existence is in itself unknown to any intelligent designer of a universal scale.

ANSAR - This is a blend of your multiverse idea and the notion of a Creator. Either way, we simply trace our way to the original universe and ask the same question about it - how did it come into being.

At the end of the day, we're left with the fact that there is someone out there.

No, it's not a blend. Being in a simulation test model is a reasonable and equal assumption to God within a closed universe. We are left with no facts that someone is out there only wishful thinking for some.

As for you trying to answer the black hole questions. A brave attempt but as yet these are basic black-hole questions that are unknown still to science and currently being researched. Nobody knows why super massive black holes are at the centre of galaxies, wether or not they form before galaxies and what role they play in forming a galaxies.


First, it doesn't necessarily 'go' anywhere. Second, I'm not going to hypthesize what happens to it by making up an idea like a white hole. This is just speculation. But, based on the facts that we do know from science, the atheist is left in a difficult position about our universe.

if it does not necessarily "go" anywhere, why do you have such a problem with our universe not necessarily coming from "anywhere". that makes no sense to me at all and was part of the original post.

As for the "scientifc facts" we have come full circle. An atheistic approach to a closed single universe is a difficult position for an atheist, not for our current understanding. It's pure falacy to suggest what you suggest here.


I find it a little bit strange that atheists expect theists to answer all their questions on God, yet when we turn the tables around and ask the atheists how they can possibly reject God when there is no other apparent explanation for the universe, they feel fine just saying "I don't know".
This relates back to my original assertion (first post of this thread) that atheists provide no evidence for their rejection of God, and leave the objections of theists unanswered. I think this is it for what I have to say about cosmological arguments - maybe I'll introduce something new into the thread later, inshaa'Allah.

Because we don't fully understand many issues, does not necesitate by default the notion that God must therefore be true. We are the same in that both sides are still illuded by the truth. However, science makes the prediction that our universe IS NOT a single entity. As for a religous belief, you need not make such predictions because it's not actually based upon anything but ignorance. We do not know yet, so that proves "God" did it!

Finally, may I ask a question. What prediction do you make.

1. Closed single universe.
2. Multiverses.

Ameeratul Layl
10-20-2005, 12:39 PM
:sl:

I quite like this.....its such an interesting debate. :)

Abdul Fattah
10-20-2005, 01:46 PM
Your Einstien qoutes were interesting in as much as the scale by which they are being misrepresented.

Well I guess since they actually were regarding this matter, and I did not misinterpreted them, that must mean they’re very interesting, unless you could show differently.


When Einstien quoted "God does not play with dice" it was in reference to order the order of laws and Chemistry.
No, it wasn’t! Do your homework, it was in reference to quantum mechanics, which doesn’t has this causalistic structure the other fields of science have.


If we take an imaginary steel bin (representative of a universe) and within this bin (placed a large number of magnets) representative of matter. Our bin and magnets will be subjected to natural known laws of physics, so will behave according to a pre determined rule of physical laws. The chances of two opposite magnets coming together is not possible because of the rules of magnatism, in a game of chance ain't never gonna happen.
If we now violently shake our bin we will form a "random" structure which involves "chance". Where each magnet "sticks" to the now formed super massive group of magnets. If we observe the formation of magnets we are left with two possibilities

1. The structure is so complex it could only have come about by an intelligent designer.
2. The structure has formed from random chaotic chance.

This kind of reaction clearly comes from a bad knowledge of science. It is true that in a black hole, were we need both the rules of the very small (quantum mechanics) and the rules of the very big (general relativity) to calculate what happens, we come up with nonsensical results. But that is not because of a fundamental flaw in energy and matter, but rather from a weak understanding of it. Energy doesn’t follow laws like human beings follow the laws of society. Energy just does what it does, and we describe their actions in laws. If these laws are conflicting that’s because we fail to fully understand them. Like I said: Chaos is a word we came up with to define an order we fail to understand. The understanding of this process (whether or not it follows a strict causality) changes nothing in the random vs. design debate, except for the fact that the more complexer this universe turns out to be, the more we are amazed by it’s elegance.

But to get back to the main point, you have again failed to show me, so allow me to ask you once again:

What difference does a single universe vs. multiverse make in “chance” or make in creation vs. randomness?

You are just addressing questions science fails to answer, and disguising it as a breakthrough in the creation vs. randomness debate.

~*Sister*~
10-20-2005, 01:50 PM
Salaaam

Me too sis, Jazakallah for the information keeep posting because its very intresting.

w.salaam

Abdul Fattah
10-20-2005, 02:09 PM
As for the three questions...

1. Why black holes are at the center of galaxys, well your question is wrong, it should be: Why do galaxys stick around black holes? Well just like our planet goes around our sun, the answer is gravity.

2. What is on the other side of a black hole? Well a black hole is a spherical object, so on the other side of the black hole, we would see exactly the same, the backside of this black hole. But I suppose you weren’t referring to the 3dimensional “other side” but rather to Einstein-Rosenberg bridges (a.k.a. wormholes). Well these wormholes are hypothetical punctures in the 4dimensional fabric of space time. They could hypothetically be caused by two different black holes that enter each others strong gravitational field. So on the other side of that wormhole would be… you guessed it; another black hole.
:) click here :) (http://www.superlaugh.com/1/smileback.htm) for more information.


3. Where does all matter go that is consumed by a black hole?
Well a very small part of it is emitted in the form of Hawkins radiation. As for the rest of it, well by occams razor I would say it just stays there and the black hole grows bigger or denser. This isn’t actually as far out as you might think, it’s not like these black holes are sucking up that much matter. Remember that gravity is actually a weak force.

ola
10-20-2005, 02:13 PM
slmz every1
may i ask bro steve if he is from belgium if sooo woooow man dat is kool i must say
have u converted 2 islam or wat?
maybe im bein nosey oops :confused:
anywayz u dont have 2 answer bro
lol
ola :love: :thumbs_up

Abdul Fattah
10-20-2005, 02:20 PM
selam aleykum

Hi
I thought I'd answer your question via message rather then in the topic before the moderators tel us not to go of-topic, but it seems like your inbox is full. :p

Yes I'm from Belgium, I was raised christian by my parents, but soone became atheistic because it didn't make sense. But about 8 months ago, I started reading the qur'an and I converted to Islam.

Hope this answers your question.

Ansar Al-'Adl
10-22-2005, 04:31 AM
:sl:
This is what I was about to post when the site when down...
_________________________________
Hello Root,

I'll begin with one of the points that came later in the post since it is relevant to the remainder of the post.

The way I see it, atheists will go to long winded ridiculous and far-fetched explanations to avoid the most obvious answer - that there is a Creator. They will hypothesize the existence of all sorts of imaginary things, but when it comes to their Creator they reject the notion with arrogance because it entails a change in their lifestyle.


Because we don't fully understand many issues, does not necesitate by default the notion that God must therefore be true.
Based on what we know from our universe, we are left with only one logical possibility - that the universe was conciously created by an independent entity. Even with your multiverse idea, it doesn't change anything. We simply trace our way back through the multiverse coming to the original. If you claim that it extends for infinite, that's illogical because then an infinite number of steps precede the birth of our universe, and an infinite number of steps cannot be crossed. So when you get to the original universe, you still have to explain where it came from and in the end, your left with no other choice but to admit the existence of this concious independent entity. Once you've done that, you proceed logically and learn how to discover and come in contact with this independent entity.


However, science makes the prediction that our universe IS NOT a single entity.
Not true. Science makes no such prediction, and in fact has no authority to make such a prediction. As soon as such a prediction is made, it is immediately beyond the realm of science, and it enters speculation and fiction. Just because some atheist scientists may have speculated about a multiverse, do not confuse that with science predicting a multiverse.


As for a religous belief, you need not make such predictions because it's not actually based upon anything but ignorance.
This is a fallacious argument. On one hand you falsely attribute speculation of certain atheists to 'science' when these speculations have no basis in science. On the other hand, you arrogantly label religious beliefs as 'ignorance' and 'baseless' when in reality they actually have a foundation in fact, unlike some of your hypotheses. Once it becomes apparent to someone that there is a Concious and independent entity that created our universe, it also becomes logically apparent that such an entity is in control of its creation, and the design observed in nature is the consequence of the order and energy infused in our universe. An entity that made the concious choice to spawn our universe from nothing and had the power to do so, is certainly not unaware or removed from it.


67:14 How could it be that He who has created [all] should not know [all]? Yea, He alone is unfathomable [in His wisdom], aware!

It becomes incumbent on any human being who arrives at this realization to make the journey to discover the true path in coming to know this independent entity.

Secondly, you forget to take into account the scientific theories of Quantum Physicists which approach the model of God, such as the massless lightcone being of the Many Worlds Interpretation, described as transcending time and space and being in control of them.


We do not know yet, so that proves "God" did it!
That is not the assertiong being made here. The assertion being made is that based on what we do know, a denial of God has no basis in fact. Instead, it is apparent that this denial and the desperate far-fetched speculation that follows serve only to escape the admission that there is a divine power at work behind the universe. No matter what idea or hypothesis you come up with, it doesn't negate the need for there to have been an external cause which conciously brought about the universe from nothing.


The only certainty here is nothing is certain! Equally then they certainly could not intervene in mans affairs.
That's illogical. The one that initially infused energy and matter in creation certainly has the ability to add to it, to subtract it, etc. Such a being is fully capable of altering the universe at will.

Secondly, it is illogical that such a concious powerful being would have created this universe aimlessly.

23:16-17. And [know that] We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in mere idle play: [for,] had We willed to indulge in a pastime, We would indeed have produced it from within Ourselves - if such had been Our will at all!

Thus, when one learns that the universe has purpose, he/she must discover that purpose and re-direct their lifestyle accordingly. Just as in science we search for a theory that comprehensively addresses all the facts, similarly, when examining groups claiming to know God, we must examine each theory to see which is the most logical and comprehensive.


No, it's not a blend. Being in a simulation test model is a reasonable and equal assumption to God within a closed universe.
Perhaps I should ask specifically what you mean by 'simulation test model'.


if it does not necessarily "go" anywhere, why do you have such a problem with our universe not necessarily coming from "anywhere". that makes no sense to me at all and was part of the original post.
The two are not alike. On what hand, it is logically impossible for our universe to arise spontaneously from nothing. On the other hand, the whole reason why black holes have the most gravity is because of the large amount of matter that is absorbed into the black hole.


Finally, may I ask a question. What prediction do you make.

1. Closed single universe.
2. Multiverses.
First of all, I see both as inconsequential to the obvious existence of God. Second, I do believe in dimensions beyond our observable universe, such as heaven and hell. But, as for the notion of a multiverse where independent 'universes' are formed through blackholes, I do not accept it as it does not agree with what we know from science (eg. law of entropy/SLoT).

Regards

czgibson
10-24-2005, 12:12 AM
Greetings,

Please forgive me for interrupting here, but this is the most interesting subject that's been on the site in days. [ :p ]


The way I see it, atheists will go to long winded ridiculous and far-fetched explanations to avoid the most obvious answer - that there is a Creator. They will hypothesize the existence of all sorts of imaginary things, but when it comes to their Creator they reject the notion with arrogance because it entails a change in their lifestyle.

Do you mean the hypotheses scientists make? Or would you say most atheists actually believe in imaginary things as well?

I'm sorry you feel that we atheists are arrogant.


Not true. Science makes no such prediction, and in fact has no authority to make such a prediction. As soon as such a prediction is made, it is immediately beyond the realm of science, and it enters speculation and fiction. Just because some atheist scientists may have speculated about a multiverse, do not confuse that with science predicting a multiverse.

Many scientists do in fact make that prediction. You shouldn't think of science as a monolithic entity with an agreed response to questions about theoretical physics. It's an area that is being discovered, so all sorts of hypotheses are possible. If people put forward theories based on these hypotheses, let them battle it out and see which theory conforms most to experiments they can devise - survival of the fittest.


Secondly, you forget to take into account the scientific theories of Quantum Physicists which approach the model of God, such as the massless lightcone being of the Many Worlds Interpretation, described as transcending time and space and being in control of them.

Now you use scientists' multiverse predictions to support your argument, even though you've just described them as "speculation and fiction".


Thus, when one learns that the universe has purpose, he/she must discover that purpose and re-direct their lifestyle accordingly.

Where does this idea come from, that non-believers must necessarily have a bad lifestyle?


Just as in science we search for a theory that comprehensively addresses all the facts, similarly, when examining groups claiming to know God, we must examine each theory to see which is the most logical and comprehensive.

I've never seen the search for god compared to science like that before.

Peace

ummbilal
10-24-2005, 12:29 AM
greetings CZ Gibson,

Your arguments against the existence of God sound familiar, my now husband voiced similar arguments many years ago, needless to say hes a muslim now Allhumdulilah..

I am not going to attempt to argue the piont with you as i am tired and bound to trip up, so i'll just say have you read...

The Bible, The Quran and Science Dr Maurice Bucaill/ El Falah ?


You really do sound like you'd like to believe if only you believed it all, so to speak i hope you understand what i am saying!

maybe you'd like to speak to my husband?
i'll pm you his e mail inshaallah.

if you'd like a copy of the above book let me know and i'll send you one inshaallah.

the Quran is indeed repatative but men are prone to forget so the point must be made in several ways several times and Allah knows best..

Allah guides whom he will inshaallah he will uide all those with Islam in their hearts.

peace Mr Gibson

Ansar Al-'Adl
10-24-2005, 12:52 AM
Do you mean the hypotheses scientists make? Or would you say most atheists actually believe in imaginary things as well?

I'm sorry you feel that we atheists are arrogant.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean it to be a blanket statement. I understand that there are many atheists who would not fit the description, but from personal experience I've found that atheists tend to look down on others for what they themselves are guilty of, sometimes to a greater degree.

Yes, I was referring to the fact that atheists instantly reject God, while often employing the most bizarre explanations from the world of science-fiction to replace Him.


Many scientists do in fact make that prediction. You shouldn't think of science as a monolithic entity with an agreed response to questions about theoretical physics. It's an area that is being discovered, so all sorts of hypotheses are possible. If people put forward theories based on these hypotheses, let them battle it out and see which theory conforms most to experiments they can devise - survival of the fittest.
I'm not saying science is a 'monolithic entity' nor am I suggesting that there are no scientists who personally make that prediction. But we need to make the distinction there because it is very misleading to say that 'science predicts this while you say that' when in fact 'this' has no more scientific validity than 'that'.


Now you use scientists' multiverse predictions to support your argument, even though you've just described them as "speculation and fiction".
You're right I do. My point being that even the speculative explanations do not provide the atheist with a safe refuge from God.


Where does this idea come from, that non-believers must necessarily have a bad lifestyle?
Anything that does not function in accordance with its purpose is flawed. When I said that someone would have to re-adjust their lifestyle after discovering their purpose in life, this is logical as the validity of one's lifestyle rests on their purpose in life. I was not suggesting that non-believers live a 'bad' life morally, or anything. Allow me to illustrate with an example.

A student is handed a piece of paper by the instructor. Suppose this student paints a wonderful painting. Now, if the paper was given for an art assignment involving painting, then there's a good chance that his action was good. But if the paper was his Calculus test, there's a good chance he will find his test mak 'bad' to say the least.

Likewise, one may consider a car. It may be the most luxurious car ever designed, but if it explodes upon ignition, most people would consider it 'bad'. If another car is decked out with the most expensive gadgets, yet is powered by the pedaling of a severly exasperated driver, it is likewise 'bad'.



I've never seen the search for god compared to science like that before.
To quote the [former?] slogan of Apple: 'Think Different.' :D

Regards

czgibson
10-24-2005, 12:02 PM
Greetings Ummbilal,


I am not going to attempt to argue the piont with you as i am tired and bound to trip up, so i'll just say have you read...

The Bible, The Quran and Science Dr Maurice Bucaill/ El Falah ?

I haven't read that book. Sounds interesting. I've seen a debate with a similar title, "The Qur'an and the Bible in the light of science", between Dr. Zakir Naik and a Western scientist with Christian leanings. The scientist hadn't really done his homework, so it wasn't too difficult for Dr. Zakir Naik to win the argument. However, as I've mentioned before, although I found Naik's recall very impressive, his arguments, beneath his rhetoric, were very weak.


You really do sound like you'd like to believe if only you believed it all, so to speak i hope you understand what i am saying!

I think you're right. I think it would be comforting and reassuring to be a believer. (I'm not saying these are the main reasons for your belief). However, I've been through the arguments, and while many of them are logically self-consistent, I see no reason to accept the premises of such arguments.


maybe you'd like to speak to my husband?
i'll pm you his e mail inshaallah.

I'm not sure. I'd prefer to keep my part of these discussions forum-based, I think.
Thanks for the offer, though.


if you'd like a copy of the above book let me know and i'll send you one inshaallah.

I'd certainly like to read it, but I don't want to cause you any expense. Maybe if you give me a link showing where I can buy it?


the Quran is indeed repatative but men are prone to forget so the point must be made in several ways several times and Allah knows best..

Yes. I find this repetition makes it quite difficult to read the book. It's more repetitive than any other book I've come across. Also, from what I can see, the repetition normally concerns assertions rather than explanations. (I'm thinking of phrases like "Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." which recur throughout the text). Simply repeating that point will not bring it any closer to reality for me. It would be similar to me responding to every post with a stock phrase such as "god doesn't exist" - it wouldn't actually develop the argument any further.

As you can see, I'm still having difficulty reading the book, let alone understanding it, so thanks for your help.

Peace

razzzy101
10-24-2005, 12:25 PM
gud gud

root
10-24-2005, 02:12 PM
Hi Steve.......

Gravity- is the force of attraction between massive particles. Weight is determined by the mass of an object and its location in a gravitational field. While a great deal is known about the properties of gravity, the ultimate cause of the gravitational force remains an open question. General relativity is the most successful theory of gravitation to date. It postulates that mass and energy curve space-time, resulting in the phenomenon known as gravity.


Steve - What difference does a single universe vs. multiverse make in “chance” or make in creation vs. randomness?

Matter matters. The precise quantity of matter & mass within our universe is required for the manner in which it is structured and governed. With respect to "God does not throw dice", I used it in the context that einstien beleived everything followed a pre determined and fixed rules and was generalising throughout science. Yes, to be specific it was in reference to quantam mechanics but within the context of oreder and pre-determination.


Consider, The precise distance that the planet Earth required in relation to it's star to support life. If our planetory formation was a single entity then it would be prity hard to say it occured by random chance. Indeed supporters of Intelligent Design use this as an example of complexity and impossability that chance could occur. In recent times this has been proven wrong on the basis that we have an infinate number of stars most of which have planets, even if 0.1% out of an infinate number of stars have a planet in proportion to the star at the same precise distance as our earth then you already have trillions of planets just like earth "Not too hot and not too cold" (Just Right).

It is on this basis amongst others that has convinced the average Human that life must exists throughout the universe because sufficient oppurtunity exists for the chance to occur.

creationists and ID believers some of which still use the precise distance of earth to sun relation to try and prove complexity and thus God created it. Some have gone all the way back to the birth of the universe in an attempt to state that a single universe could not come about by chance because:

1. The gravitational coupling constant—i.e., the force of gravity, determines what kinds of stars are possible in the universe. If the gravitational force were slightly stronger, star formation would proceed more efficiently and all Stars would be more massive than our sun by at least 1.4 times. These large stars are important in that they alone manufacture elements heavier than iron, and they alone disperse elements heavier than beryllium to the interstellar medium. Such elements are essential for the formation of planets as well as of living things in any form. However, these Stars burn too rapidly and too unevenly to maintain life-supporting conditions on surrounding planets. Stars as small as our sun are necessary for that.

On the other hand, if the gravitational force were slightly weaker, all stars would have less than 0.8 times the mass of the sun. Though such stars burn long and evenly enough to maintain life-supporting planets, no heavy elements essential for building such planets or life would exist.

AND THUS the oppurtunity for too little, just right too much gravity cannot have the oppurtunity to vary. Thus an Intelligent Designer must have designed it (like they thought the earth did, but now nobody believes them)

However, with an infinate number of universes. Like planets the oppurtunity exists for the "just right" ammount of matter to occur by chance without a creator.

This is the answer to your question.


1. Why black holes are at the center of galaxys, well your question is wrong, it should be: Why do galaxys stick around black holes? Well just like our planet goes around our sun, the answer is gravity.

if you read what I said, i reffered to a super massive black holes. If Gravity is so weak why don't we just jump off a high building instead of base jumping with a parachute. We don't yet know if black holes form before or after a galaxy. We only discovered that galaxies have a super massive black hole in them several years ago.


2. What is on the other side of a black hole? Well a black hole is a spherical object, so on the other side of the black hole, we would see exactly the same, the backside of this black hole. But I suppose you weren’t referring to the 3dimensional “other side” but rather to Einstein-Rosenberg bridges (a.k.a. wormholes). Well these wormholes are hypothetical punctures in the 4dimensional fabric of space time. They could hypothetically be caused by two different black holes that enter each others strong gravitational field. So on the other side of that wormhole would be… you guessed it; another black hole.

The correct answer is nobody knows!


3. Where does all matter go that is consumed by a black hole?
Well a very small part of it is emitted in the form of Hawkins radiation. As for the rest of it, well by occams razor I would say it just stays there and the black hole grows bigger or denser. This isn’t actually as far out as you might think, it’s not like these black holes are sucking up that much matter. Remember that gravity is actually a weak force

Hawking Loses Bet; Changes Mind on Black Holes
By Jane Wardell
Associated Press
posted: 06:53 am ET
16 July 2004

http://space.com/news/hawking_bet_040716.html

Abdul Fattah
10-24-2005, 03:25 PM
Gravity- is the force of attraction between massive particles. Weight is determined by the mass of an object and its location in a gravitational field. While a great deal is known about the properties of gravity, the ultimate cause of the gravitational force remains an open question. General relativity is the most successful theory of gravitation to date. It postulates that mass and energy curve space-time, resulting in the phenomenon known as gravity.

Yes I know all of this. But even with general relativity, the question remains, why does mass and energy tend to curve space time? All we can do is examine how it happens, determine a correlation between the presence of mass and the events it causes. Why have absolutely no idea as to why gravity exist. That’s the healthy way to look to science, as an examination of events, and a description of the usual behavior of events. Not as an explanation.


Matter matters. The precise quantity of matter & mass within our universe is required for the manner in which it is structured and governed. With respect to "God does not throw dice", I used it in the context that einstien beleived everything followed a pre determined and fixed rules and was generalising throughout science. Yes, to be specific it was in reference to quantam mechanics but within the context of oreder and pre-determination.

Exactly! Like I said he believed there was no such thing as chance and that even quantum mechanics which appeared to be random at certain times must also be following a strict cause and event.


Consider, The precise distance that the planet Earth required in relation to it's star to support life. If our planetory formation was a single entity then it would be prity hard to say it occured by random chance. Indeed supporters of Intelligent Design use this as an example of complexity and impossability that chance could occur. In recent times this has been proven wrong on the basis that we have an infinate number of stars most of which have planets, even if 0.1% out of an infinate number of stars have a planet in proportion to the star at the same precise distance as our earth then you already have trillions of planets just like earth "Not too hot and not too cold" (Just Right).

Your definition of chance is way of. If I pick one single card out of a deck, the chance that it would be the ace of hearts is 1 to 52, right? Now if afterwards, I put the card back, shuffle the deck, and pick a new card the chance will again be 1 to 52. I can repeat this process 52 times and my chance of picking the ace of hearts would still be 1 to 52. This is a general misconception among people. They figure if you do this 52 times, eventually you’ll have the ace of hearts once. But the truth is, a random process is not influenced by other processes. I can see how one increases his luck of encountering the specific card. But there are no guarantees. You could repeat this process 52 000 000 times and still not see the ace of hearts. The same applies to the stars. The presence of other stars, does not change the fact that the elegance of our earth seems to defy logic. But that’s just one mart of the elegance. The laws of science by their self are already a beauty of elegance by themselves.
On one hand, you cannot account things to randomness, because science shows everything happened for a reason. While on the other hand we are amazed by the elegance this universe has, singular or multiverse , all the same. Most people believe that Einstein actually lost his “edge” because of this. But as it turns out, Einstein wasn’t so far off in his quest to unify general relativity with electromagnetism.


It is on this basis amongst others that has convinced the average Human that life must exists throughout the universe because sufficient oppurtunity exists for the chance to occur.

That’s a wild guess. Have you actually studied the possibility of life on other planets? I wouldn't say sufficient opportunity exists. But then again, it would be a wild guess al the same. But regardless that, opportunity is an unrealistic word, in a world without chance. What you have is actions and reactions, not choices and possibilities.


creationists and ID believers some of which still use the precise distance of earth to sun relation to try and prove complexity and thus God created it. Some have gone all the way back to the birth of the universe in an attempt to state that a single universe could not come about by chance because:
1. The gravitational coupling constant—i.e., the force of gravity, determines what kinds of stars are possible in the universe. If the gravitational force were slightly stronger, star formation would proceed more efficiently and all Stars would be more massive than our sun by at least 1.4 times. These large stars are important in that they alone manufacture elements heavier than iron, and they alone disperse elements heavier than beryllium to the interstellar medium. Such elements are essential for the formation of planets as well as of living things in any form. However, these Stars burn too rapidly and too unevenly to maintain life-supporting conditions on surrounding planets. Stars as small as our sun are necessary for that.

On the other hand, if the gravitational force were slightly weaker, all stars would have less than 0.8 times the mass of the sun. Though such stars burn long and evenly enough to maintain life-supporting planets, no heavy elements essential for building such planets or life would exist.

AND THUS the oppurtunity for too little, just right too much gravity cannot have the oppurtunity to vary. Thus an Intelligent Designer must have designed it (like they thought the earth did, but now nobody believes them)

Like I said, elegance or even perfection.


However, with an infinate number of universes. Like planets the oppurtunity exists for the "just right" ammount of matter to occur by chance without a creator.

Like I said this doesn’t matter. Picking 52 cards would still give 1 to 52 odds. Even an infinitive number of possible universe doesn’t blow away the beauty of this universe that hints to a creator. If 10 milion printing presses or even an infinitive number of them would blow up. And only the letters of one of them would fall down on the ground thus forming the exact and complete text of the oxford encyclopedia, It would still defy our logic. It would be to amazing to ignore it as a “fluke” , just by the argument that there are other exploding printing presses that didn't act like that. In fact that would be exactly why it would defy logic, because it wouldn't be what we expect it to do. If every single exploding printing press would do this, we would find it a very normal, regular thing. In fact, I bet some people would even build up a scientific explenation for this so they could ignore the amazingness of this event.


if you read what I said, i reffered to a super massive black holes. If Gravity is so weak why don't we just jump off a high building instead of base jumping with a parachute. We don't yet know if black holes form before or after a galaxy. We only discovered that galaxies have a super massive black hole in them several years ago.

Gravity seems strong because it’s a collective force caused by an entire earth. But consider this. Even though the mass of the whole world would pull you to the center of the earth while you jump of a building. The Electromagnetive force, caused only by the few electrons of that small piece of pavement you land on, are more then enough to counter this force. So yes, gravity is a much weaker force then we imagine.


Steve: 2. What is on the other side of a black hole? Well a black hole is a spherical object, so on the other side of the black hole, we would see exactly the same, the backside of this black hole. But I suppose you weren’t referring to the 3dimensional “other side” but rather to Einstein-Rosenberg bridges (a.k.a. wormholes). Well these wormholes are hypothetical punctures in the 4dimensional fabric of space time. They could hypothetically be caused by two different black holes that enter each others strong gravitational field. So on the other side of that wormhole would be… you guessed it; another black hole.

Root: The correct answer is nobody knows!

Well of course nobody knows, but that’s because we haven’t examined any wormhole. In fact the whole theory of wormholes, is strictly theoretically. So we don’t know, because we don’t know if it is possible for black holes to form a wormhole. But If these wormholes would exist, they would be formed the way I described them, and then we would know. You’re building on a hypothetical situation, so stick with the hypothesis, otherwise you’re just dreaming out loud, and your question is sheer science fiction.


Steve: 3. Where does all matter go that is consumed by a black hole?
Well a very small part of it is emitted in the form of Hawkins radiation. As for the rest of it, well by occams razor I would say it just stays there and the black hole grows bigger or denser. This isn’t actually as far out as you might think, it’s not like these black holes are sucking up that much matter. Remember that gravity is actually a weak force

Root:Hawking Loses Bet; Changes Mind on Black Holes
By Jane Wardell
Associated Press
posted: 06:53 am ET
16 July 2004

http://space.com/news/hawking_bet_040716.html

Have you actually read the article? It confirms what I said, that there are in fact things escaping black holes.

root
10-24-2005, 06:59 PM
Hi Steve,

OK. This is why I did not want to get into the numbers game!


Yes I know all of this. But even with general relativity, the question remains, why does mass and energy tend to curve space time? All we can do is examine how it happens, determine a correlation between the presence of mass and the events it causes. Why have absolutely no idea as to why gravity exist. That’s the healthy way to look to science, as an examination of events, and a description of the usual behavior of events. Not as an explanation.

My point is mass is related to Gravity. small mass universe equates to a totally different universe than ours. Hey, we have a variable that a single universe could not provide. With a single closed universe you effectively rule out variable universes. It had to work first time with no second chance, a mutiverse challenges that type of thinking, It's not a difficult issue to grasp.


Your definition of chance is way of. If I pick one single card out of a deck, the chance that it would be the ace of hearts is 1 to 52, right? Now if afterwards, I put the card back, shuffle the deck, and pick a new card the chance will again be 1 to 52. I can repeat this process 52 times and my chance of picking the ace of hearts would still be 1 to 52. This is a general misconception among people. They figure if you do this 52 times, eventually you’ll have the ace of hearts once. But the truth is, a random process is not influenced by other processes. I can see how one increases his luck of encountering the specific card. But there are no guarantees. You could repeat this process 52 000 000 times and still not see the ace of hearts. The same applies to the stars. The presence of other stars, does not change the fact that the elegance of our earth seems to defy logic. But that’s just one mart of the elegance. The laws of science by their self are already a beauty of elegance by themselves.
On one hand, you cannot account things to randomness, because science shows everything happened for a reason. While on the other hand we are amazed by the elegance this universe has, singular or multiverse , all the same. Most people believe that Einstein actually lost his “edge” because of this. But as it turns out, Einstein wasn’t so far off in his quest to unify general relativity with electromagnetism.

You wanted this, as I stated I did not want to get into a game of numbers.

If I had a red card and a yellow card hidden behind my back. And I randomly chose to show either the red or yellow at 1 second intervals to a crowd, the person correctly anticipating my random selection 1 million times without error is quite easy to achieve. This would not seem possible under your "Cards Chance" smoke screen. Do you care to explain this apparent difference of opinion!

Einstein Gravity Gravity & Electromagnatism with your reference to him being not so far off after being percieved as losing the edge only because he was looking for a theory of everything and not the unification of Gravity with electromagatism. perhaps readers may wish to fully understand the concepts being discussed by refering here (And steve I would love it for you to review each one) and then we may discuss specific chapters thus sing from the same hyme sheet and ensure we are talking the same thing.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html

Bradband & Quick-time required to view these excellent miniseries. Each one lasting approx 7 mins.

At the moment I fear we are simply confusing the REAL scientific understandings with multiple universes.

Abdul Fattah
10-24-2005, 07:44 PM
My point is mass is related to Gravity. small mass universe equates to a totally different universe than ours. Hey, we have a variable that a single universe could not provide. With a single closed universe you effectively rule out variable universes. It had to work first time with no second chance, a mutiverse challenges that type of thinking, It's not a difficult issue to grasp.

Well yes my point was that this difference in equation comes from a limitated understanding of what gravity actually is. Furthermore you’re totally missing the point.
The existence of different universes does not undermine the amazing elegance of this universe. You are thinking in terms of art. If an artist draws 100 paintings and only one is beautiful, then we would indeed call this a fluke. But first of all, we do not the other universes. And secondly, this kind of reasoning, seeing universes as different “chances to accomplish the same thing” is contradictive with science that show us every event follows strict causality.


If I had a red card and a yellow card hidden behind my back. And I randomly chose to show either the red or yellow at 1 second intervals to a crowd, the person correctly anticipating my random selection 1 million times without error is quite easy to achieve. This would not seem possible under your "Cards Chance" smoke screen. Do you care to explain this apparent difference of opinion!

In the event you described, the chance of purely guessing correctly whether you’ll show red or yellow will always be 50% Regardless of how many times you try. The difference with my example is only that due to the smaller number of possibilities, one is inclined to think that there is in fact a good chance of guessing it right. And while the odds are indeed more favorable for successfully predicting them, such an act would be described as pure luck by mathematics.


Einstein Gravity Gravity & Electromagnatism with your reference to him being not so far off after being percieved as losing the edge only because he was looking for a theory of everything and not the unification of Gravity with electromagatism.

Well as I remember he didn’t care so much for strong and weak force. So his idea of a theory of everything was just to unificate Electromagnetism with general relativity.


perhaps readers may wish to fully understand the concepts being discussed by refering here (And steve I would love it for you to review each one) and then we may discuss specific chapters thus sing from the same hyme sheet and ensure we are talking the same thing

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html
Bradband & Quick-time required to view these excellent miniseries. Each one lasting approx 7 mins.
At the moment I fear we are simply confusing the REAL scientific understandings with multiple universes.

Root, did you forgot? I was the one who first told you about that link in a different topic :p

czgibson
10-24-2005, 08:22 PM
Greetings Ansar,

I notice your name has changed. What does this signify, if I might ask? I can only guess it's either something to do with marriage or qualifications. Am I even close?


I'm sorry, I didn't mean it to be a blanket statement. I understand that there are many atheists who would not fit the description, but from personal experience I've found that atheists tend to look down on others for what they themselves are guilty of, sometimes to a greater degree.

Fair enough, although the same could be said about many religious people.


Yes, I was referring to the fact that atheists instantly reject God, while often employing the most bizarre explanations from the world of science-fiction to replace Him.

What explanations from science-fiction have you come across in your discussions with atheists? Have I used any, for example?


I'm not saying science is a 'monolithic entity' nor am I suggesting that there are no scientists who personally make that prediction. But we need to make the distinction there because it is very misleading to say that 'science predicts this while you say that' when in fact 'this' has no more scientific validity than 'that'.

That's a fair distinction to make. I'm just always wary when someone makes a statement of the form "science predicts that...", since scientists may not always agree.


You're right I do. My point being that even the speculative explanations do not provide the atheist with a safe refuge from God.

Why not? To an atheist, after all, god is just one of many speculative explanations. To say that god is a more likely explanation than other speculations seems odd.


Anything that does not function in accordance with its purpose is flawed. When I said that someone would have to re-adjust their lifestyle after discovering their purpose in life, this is logical as the validity of one's lifestyle rests on their purpose in life. I was not suggesting that non-believers live a 'bad' life morally, or anything. Allow me to illustrate with an example.

Fair enough. You've obviously decided that people's purpose in life is to worship Allah. (Perhaps there are other things as well, but we'll stick to that one for now). Consequently, you see people who see no reason to do this as flawed in that respect. The question is, what is your evidence that this is in fact the purpose of human life? Is this something that can be worked out using logic applied to experiential data, or is it something you believe because you've been told it's true?


To quote the [former?] slogan of Apple: 'Think Different.' :D

It wouldn't surprise me. You can always rely on a big company to mangle the English language. The grammatical mistake in this instance is of course that the adjective "different" should be an adverb ("differently"), since it is describing a verb and not a noun. It may be the school holidays, but my capacity for pedantry knows no limits!

Peace

P.S. None of the buttons in my reply box are working (i.e. quote, italics, smileys etc.). Has this happened to anyone else?

eyes_of_mine
10-24-2005, 08:36 PM
Greetings Ummbilal,
I think you're right. I think it would be comforting and reassuring to be a believer. (I'm not saying these are the main reasons for your belief). However, I've been through the arguments, and while many of them are logically self-consistent, I see no reason to accept the premises of such arguments.
Peace

CZ you do not seem like your average atheist, you seem to be a truth seeker and your mind is open .
If your mind was not open you would not be here debating with us, nor would you even pick up the Quran and try to read it, something most atheists refuse to do.
And you are very well mannered :thumbs_up
Keep looking your probally closer than you think, I have good feelings about you. :thumbs_up

Ansar Al-'Adl
10-24-2005, 09:09 PM
:sl: Sister UmmBiblal,

maybe you'd like to speak to my husband?
i'll pm you his e mail inshaallah.
Is your husband a Muslim revert? Why don't you invite him to join the forums? Even if he isn't able to post very often, we'd love to have him with us. :)

:w:

Hi Callum,

I notice your name has changed. What does this signify, if I might ask? I can only guess it's either something to do with marriage or qualifications. Am I even close?
:laugh: no, the name change has no real significance (my username differs from my real name anyway).


What explanations from science-fiction have you come across in your discussions with atheists? Have I used any, for example?
They inevitably come up when we start asking atheists questions dealing with the origin and purpose behind our universe.


That's a fair distinction to make. I'm just always wary when someone makes a statement of the form "science predicts that...", since scientists may not always agree.
My point exactly!


Why not? To an atheist, after all, god is just one of many speculative explanations. To say that god is a more likely explanation than other speculations seems odd.
Remember when I compared belief in God to theories in science? We always have to find a theory that is able to deal comprehensively with all the evidence, and able to provide concrete answers to our questions.


Fair enough. You've obviously decided that people's purpose in life is to worship Allah. (Perhaps there are other things as well, but we'll stick to that one for now).
The arabic term ibaadah is much more comprehensive than the english word 'worship'. The former signifies devotion, servitude, and intense love as well as the journey coming closer to God. These are all aspects which define our purpose in life, as explained later in this post.

Consequently, you see people who see no reason to do this as flawed in that respect. The question is, what is your evidence that this is in fact the purpose of human life? Is this something that can be worked out using logic applied to experiential data, or is it something you believe because you've been told it's true?
Good question. I do not accept any belief simply because someone tells me its true. The Islamic concept of the purpose in life is a comprehensive perspective that I have found is best able to deal objectively with all our questions, and is able to unite all our observations on life under one theory. The efficieny of the Islamic purpose in life in explaining the world has drawn many converts to islam, who now write in detail on the subject, such as the likes of Khalid Yasin and Jeffery Lang. The latter's writing is given in the following portion of my post.


Yes. I find this repetition makes it quite difficult to read the book. It's more repetitive than any other book I've come across. Also, from what I can see, the repetition normally concerns assertions rather than explanations. (I'm thinking of phrases like "Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." which recur throughout the text). Simply repeating that point will not bring it any closer to reality for me. It would be similar to me responding to every post with a stock phrase such as "god doesn't exist" - it wouldn't actually develop the argument any further.
This reminded me of some of the writings of Dr. Jeffery Lang, a former atheist as well as a professor of mathematics, who converted to Islam. He writes about his initial reflections after reading the Qur’an, concerning its descriptions of the relationship between man and God. He puts us in his mind as he expresses the atheist objections he had to the Qur’an after reading it. I apologize for the length of the excerpt, but it wasn’t possible to provide the relevant discussion without the context necessary for it to make sense. So I had to type up a large portion of his reflections on God and man as well.

If God Were One of Us

If God were one of us, it would make things much easier, because then I would be able to understand Him, enough at least to see the connection between good works and divine intimacy. I can understand other persons because I share similar experiences, similar fears, hopes, dreams, wants, hardships, and joys. I can relate to them because we are the same basic being, only differing by slight variations. But God is not one of us. The Qur'an goes so far as to say that we cannot comprehend God, that God is "high exalted above anything that people may devise by way of definition" (6:100), that "there is nothing like unto Him" (42:11) and "nothing can be compared to Him" (112:4). It could not be otherwise, for how could human beings who are mortal, finite, corporeal, dependent, vulnerable, weak, limited, created, bound by space and time, understand one who is everlasting, infinite, non-corporeal, utterly independent, invulnerable, all-powerful, all knowing, all wise, Creator of all, transcendent.
If only the Qur'an had elaborated on God somewhere, gave us enough of a description so that we could fill in the lines. I did not come all this way only to find out that God is incomprehensible - an inscrutable mystery - and that for me there is no hope.
No wonder we humans tend to deify our own or to humanize God. Although this creates for me more rational dilemmas then it solves; it does lend God some tangibility. I guess I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I wanted God to be utterly exalted above creation, utterly unlike the humanity I was part of, and at the same time reachable.
What a fool I had been, deluding myself into thinking that the Qur'an could somehow bridge the infinite gulf between God and humanity, that it could logically relate human suffering to divine intimacy. We hardly understand the human personality; how could it make sense of the relationship between God and man? It took reading the entire text to prove that I had been right all along, that there is no possible theological rationalization for human existence.
I was finally beginning to see clearly again. I was wrong when I just said that we understand our fellow man. We do not understand our humanity; we only know it through experience. I do not fully comprehend who I am, my motivations, my anxieties, my dreams, my emotions, my conscience and psychology. I do not grasp my humanity intellectually; I know it through my being human. Virtually all of my knowledge of humanness is subjective. This leads, however, to a seemingly inescapable conclusion. For if we cannot come at all close to experiencing divinity, which appears to be the Qur'an's position, then we cannot possibly come to know God in any real, meaningful way. By insisting that God is radically unlike creation - that nothing we know even compares to Him - the Qur'an has made attaining a relationship with God practically impossible. Although the author had campaigned brilliantly, had presented a literary and rational masterpiece, he was unable to present a complete and coherent explanation for why we are here. Yet he had nothing to be ashamed of, for he fell short where he and all others must inevitably fall short, trapped in the limitless void between God and man.
This was for me a hollow realization, and I felt no sense of victory whatsoever. For there were times in my reading of the Qur’an when I was so close to surrender, when the author’s words – his voice – nearly overpowered me, causing me to feel that only God could be speaking to me through this Scripture. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was moved to tears on several occasions, that at times I truly felt I was in the presence of a tremendous power and mercy. These spiritual moments always took me by surprise. I would even try to resist them, to shake them off, but they were often too strong and intoxicating to resist, and my resistance continually weakened as I progressed through the text. There were moments when I was almost sure there is a God, when I felt the presence of one I always knew but had fought to forget. I didn’t know if I was any better or worse for having read the Qur’an, but I knew that I had changed, that I would never be so confident in my atheism again.
Even so, it was time to get on with my life, time to stop agonizing over the existence of God, letting it impede with my happiness. One of the main things that first attracted me to San Francisco is that it is a place where people live life to the fullest. After twenty-one years of schooling, I was ready to reap the benefits of all my work. It was time for me to start enjoying myself, I had the motivation, the opportunity and the means, I was young, single, considered good-looking, and had a good career. It was time to start having fun.

Say my Name

And then, not too long after finishing the Qur’an, perhaps a couple of weeks later, I thought of it. It came to me softly, unexpectedly – I think while I was watching a football game on television – as an afterthought, slipping into my consciousness,
It is not true that the Qur’an tells us very little about God; it tells us a great deal, but for some reason I had paid almost no attention to it. If I had just glanced at the beginning of a surah, or turned to almost any page, I would have found what I was looking for, if only I had read carefully, for there are thousands of descriptions of God in the Qur’an that link good works to growing closer to Him. Although I had read the Qur’an from cover to cover, deliberating on and analyzing almost every verse along the way, I mentally disregarded the Scripture’s abundant references to God’s attributes. Often used to punctuate passages, they occur typically in simple dual attributive statements, such as, “God is the Forgiving, the Compassionate” (4:129), “He is the Almighty, the Compassionate” (26:68), “God is the Hearing, the Seeing” (17:1). Collectively, the Qur’an refers to these titles as al-asmaa al-husnaa, God’s “most beautiful names” (7:180; 17:110; 20:8; 59:24).

Say: Call upon God, or call upon the Merciful, by whichever you call, His are the most beautiful names. (17:110)

God! There is no God but He. To Him belong the most beautiful names. (20:8)

He is God, other than whom there is no other god. He knows the unseen and the seen. He is the Merciful, the Compassionate. He is God, other than whom there is no other God; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme. Glory to God, above what they ascribe to Him! He is God, the Creator, the Evolver, the Fashioner. To Him belong the most beautiful names. Whatever is in the heavens and on earth glorifies Him and He is Exalted in Might, the Wise. (59:23-24).
I had thought that the Qur’an used these divine names mainly as a literary device to crown passages and separate topics. That is probably why I for the most part skipped over them without giving them any serious thought. I now felt that I might have underestimated their significance and I began to jot down the divine attributes I could remember.

God is the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Forgiving, the Clement, the Peaceful, the Loving, the Just, the Benevolent, the Creator, the Powerful, the Protector, the Truthful, the Knowing, the Wise, the Living, etcetera.
There, right before me, was the connection I sought, for this list largely intersected with and was the perfection of the one I had compiled earlier of the virtues that men and women need to develop. The implication was clear: Since God is the perfection of the virtues we should acquire, the more we grow in them, the greater our ability becomes to experience His being. The more we grow in mercy, the greater our ability becomes to experience God’s infinite mercy. The more we develop compassion, the greater our ability becomes to know God’s infinite compassion. The more we learn to forgive, the greater our ability becomes to experience God’s infinite compassion. The more we learn to forgive, the greater our ability to experience God’s infinite forgiveness. The same could be said of love, truth, justice, kindness, and so on. The more we grow in these, the greater our ability becomes to receive and experience God’s attributes of perfection.
An analogy would be helpful. I once had a goldfish and a magnificent German shepherd, and I now have three beautiful daughters. My gold fish, being very limited in intellect and growth, could only know and experience my love and compassion at a relatively low level, no matter how much kindness I directed towards it. On the other hand, my dog, who was a more complex and intelligent animal than my fish, could feel warmth and affection on a much higher level, and could therefore experience the love and compassion I showered on him to a much greater degree. Yet my daughters – and even more so as they mature – have the ability to feel the intensity of my love and caring for them on a plane my dog could never conceive of. This is because they have the capacity to know first hand through their own emotions and relationships deeper and richer feelings than my dog. Analogously, the greater our level of goodness, the greater our ability becomes to experience and relate to the infinite goodness that is God.
…Even if we are unaware of our experiences of the divine – even if we deny the existence of God – we experience His names nonetheless, but we remain deaf, dumb, and blind to their source. This is the greatest tragedy – the ultimate loss – according to the Qur’an, for we deprive ourselves of the means to grow closer to God. We come to know something of goodness, while closing ourselves off to the boundless mercy that originates it, which brings us back to the importance of faith in addition to good works.
…In the Qur’an, the story of Adam begins with the announcement that God is about to place a vicegerent (khaleefa) on earth, one who will represent Him and act on His behalf (2:30). It is presented as a momentous delegation, as a commission announced to the angels. It is presented as a momentous delegation as a commission announced to the angels. It is an honorable election for which each of us is created. When I first read this passage I was as dumbfounded as the angels were, for how could man, this most rebellious and destructive creature, represent God on earth? I, like the angels, saw only one side of humanity, the inclination to do evil, to “spread corruption and shed much blood”. Of course many men and women do not represent God very well. But our ability to do and grow in evil comes with the reciprocal ability to do and grow in goodness, and on the whole it seems that there must be more good than evil in the world, otherwise our race would have destroyed itself long ago. There have also always been persons who are great exemplars of goodness, who humbly dedicate themselves to helping others for love of God. This is the vicegerency to which the Qur’an calls us. More than just communicating a message or implementing a command, it means becoming an agent of God on earth through which others experience His attributes. Such individuals become filters, as it were, of the divine light, as God’s goodness reaches others through them. The more they grow in goodness, through their dedication, self-sacrifice, and learning, the greater becomes their ability to receive, experience, and represent God’s most beautiful names, and their experience of God’s presence in this life is only a small foreshadowing of what awaits them in the next. (Lang, pp. 93-102)
To add to what Dr. Lang wrote about the divine attributes mentioned in the Qur’an, I think its also important to note that there is always a connection between the statement and the divine attributes that follow. The divine attributes a very important aspect of Islam, and the relationship between man and God.


I haven't read that book. Sounds interesting. I've seen a debate with a similar title, "The Qur'an and the Bible in the light of science", between Dr. Zakir Naik and a Western scientist with Christian leanings.
As far as the book by Maurice Bucaille is concerned, its a good reference, but its become a little outdated in the sense that arguments from Muslims and their opponents have developed beyond the material found in that book. Most of the books arguments (as well as others) can be read in the works of Harun Yahya, here:
http://www.-----------------------/
The entire book by Bucaille is also available online here:
http://www.ymofmd.com/books/tbqs/default.htm

This book is also on the Qur'an and Science:
http://www.ymofmd.com/books/ocvr/default.htm

As for the debate, its not a 'western scienctist with christian leanings', the man's name is William Campbell, who is a Christian Missionary as well as a medical doctor. He wrote a response to Dr. Bucaille's book on the same topic - the Bible and the Qur'an in the light of science. After writing that book he agreed to debate with Dr. Zakir Naik, also a medical doctor, on the topic. So the debate comes after Bucaille's book in terms of the arguments between Muslims and Non-Muslims on Science in the Qur'an (hence my comment on it being outdated). Dr. Naik also wrote a book on the subject, available here:
http://www.ymofmd.com/books/qms.pdf

In arguing with atheism, I tend to rely more heavily on logic and the guidance given by the Qur'an, whereas Dr. Naik relies exclusively on correlation studies between science and the Qur'an - an approach which I feel is not entirely in-line with the Qur'anic method of Da'wah (inviting others to Islam). Nevertheless, Dr. Naik's debating skills are very good, coupled with his amazing recall - I still think his Da'wah contributions are much better in the field of Comparative religion.


It wouldn't surprise me. You can always rely on a big company to mangle the English language. The grammatical mistake in this instance is of course that the adjective "different" should be an adverb ("differently"), since it is describing a verb and not a noun.
I suppose you're right. Or maybe its not supposed to be a grammatical mistake because we're all supposed to be thinking different! lol


It may be the school holidays, but my capacity for pedantry knows no limits!
I hope you enjoy your holidays and I wish you the best when you return to teaching classes. :)


P.S. None of the buttons in my reply box are working (i.e. quote, italics, smileys etc.). Has this happened to anyone else?
If the problem persists please make a post in the Troubleshooting forum.

Regards

root
10-24-2005, 09:12 PM
Root, did you forgot? I was the one who first told you about that link in a different topic

Yes I did forget, you got the link?


Well yes my point was that this difference in equation comes from a limitated understanding of what gravity actually is. Furthermore you’re totally missing the point. The existence of different universes does not undermine the amazing elegance of this universe.

Correct. I agree with this, multiple universes do not undermine the amazing elegance of this universe of which required just the right ammount of matter. Not too much and not too little. I am interested as to your explanation of why we appear to have the perfect ammount of matter that was required in order for it to exist in it's current form?



You are thinking in terms of art. If an artist draws 100 paintings and only one is beautiful, then we would indeed call this a fluke. But first of all, we do not the other universes.

No, I am not refering to an artistic representation. I am referring as an example to the types of universes created if mass was variable in their formations on the assumption they exist!


And secondly, this kind of reasoning, seeing universes as different “chances to accomplish the same thing” is contradictive with science that show us every event follows strict causality

No, why do you think it is to accomplish the same thing! what "thing" are you refering too?


In the event you described, the chance of purely guessing correctly whether you’ll show red or yellow will always be 50% Regardless of how many times you try. The difference with my example is only that due to the smaller number of possibilities, one is inclined to think that there is in fact a good chance of guessing it right. And while the odds are indeed more favorable for successfully predicting them, such an act would be described as pure luck by mathematics.

Yes, I agree and in the same context as you put it, And while the odds are indeed more favorable for successfully predicting them, such an act would be described as pure luck by mathematics.

Luck becomes mathmatically possible, for someone to correctly guess 112 times correctly the order of my random selection of two colours becomes mathmatically predictable, your cards remain unpredictable. How do you account for two random processes yet one is predictable the other is not?


Well as I remember he didn’t care so much for strong and weak force. So his idea of a theory of everything was just to unificate Electromagnetism with general relativity.

Yes, I agree and is it not true that Einstien tried to Unificate Gravity with Electo-Magnetism as a theory of everything? A yes or a no is adequate.

Abdul Fattah
10-24-2005, 10:43 PM
Yes I did forget, you got the link?

You mean a link to the post where I first posted it? No it’s to long ago to remember the tread. I do remember posting it, brother Muhammad even send me a PB about it, and later posted a response with part of the transcript to point out certain things. It was somewhere in comparative religion…. That’s all I can remember


Correct. I agree with this, multiple universes do not undermine the amazing elegance of this universe of which required just the right ammount of matter. Not too much and not too little. I am interested as to your explanation of why we appear to have the perfect ammount of matter that was required in order for it to exist in it's current form? [quote]
My explanation? I thought you knew, I am in favor for creationism :)

[quote]No, I am not refering to an artistic representation. I am referring as an example to the types of universes created if mass was variable in their formations on the assumption they exist!

Well I didn’t mean that literarly of course. What I meant with that comparison is, that you cannot say that our universe is a fluke, that multivers or singular universe changes nothing in the amazingness of our universe.


No, why do you think it is to accomplish the same thing! what "thing" are you refering too?

Well I seemed to have read that between the lines, that you insinuated that if there would be many universes, the odd chance of our universe turning out so elegant wouldn’t defy atheistic logic. So that like saying, well it isn’t all that odd, because there were multiple tries, as if all dimensions of a multiverse would be attempts to accomplish the same thing. Like an unsuccessful artist who keeps on drawing until he hits a fluke.


Luck becomes mathmatically possible, for someone to correctly guess 112 times correctly the order of my random selection of two colours becomes mathmatically predictable, your cards remain unpredictable. How do you account for two random processes yet one is predictable the other is not?[quote]

It’s not mathematically predictable. It might be psychologically predictable though. You take a certain pattern which the other person recognizes. It’s possible to predict, but very unlikely. Honestly, If you saw someone making such a prediction, wouldn’t you start wondering whether or not there’s something else going on here? A scam, a routine, telekinesis … Basically you would sense that this defies logic.

[quote]Well as I remember he didn’t care so much for strong and weak force. So his idea of a theory of everything was just to unificate Electromagnetism with general relativity.

Yes, I agree and is it not true that Einstien tried to Unificate Gravity with Electo-Magnetism as a theory of everything? A yes or a no is adequate.

Yes, that was what I was saying. General relativity refers to gravity. So both statements are equal in contents. The problem he had with this unification, is that gravity is a lot weaker then Electromagnetism is, like I explained previously. But now, many years later, It turns out he was actually on to something. See, some believe that gravitons would be able to escape to different universes. The reason gravity is so much weaker, would therefore be caused simply by the absence of these escaping gravitons, and the theory can be unified after all.

czgibson
10-26-2005, 12:55 AM
Hi Ansar,

You've confused me with your name change. You've changed from the truth to the just, if I'm not mistaken!


They inevitably come up when we start asking atheists questions dealing with the origin and purpose behind our universe.

Of course, when you ask an atheist about what gave rise to our universe all they can do is speculate. Nobody knows for certain.


My point exactly!

I'm glad to see we have a similar understanding of how science works.


Remember when I compared belief in God to theories in science? We always have to find a theory that is able to deal comprehensively with all the evidence, and able to provide concrete answers to our questions.

Right, survival of the fittest theory. The thing is, if belief in god is such a good theory (and I would dispute the claim that it is even a theory), then why is it not widely accepted among scientists? Sure, there are many theistic scientists, just as there are many atheistic scientists, but those who do believe in god do not do so because they find it to be a satisfactory theory; they do so because of personal reasons which often can't be articulated in any objective form. Because of this I believe that theism cannot really be compared to a scientific theory in the sense in which we normally understand the term.


The arabic term ibaadah is much more comprehensive than the english word 'worship'. The former signifies devotion, servitude, and intense love as well as the journey coming closer to God. These are all aspects which define our purpose in life, as explained later in this post.

OK - I would assume these all come under the meaning of the word 'worship' anyway.


Good question. I do not accept any belief simply because someone tells me its true. The Islamic concept of the purpose in life is a comprehensive perspective that I have found is best able to deal objectively with all our questions, and is able to unite all our observations on life under one theory.

The idea of uniting all observations under one theory is an attractive one, no doubt, but there are many questions I think Islam leaves unanswered. Plus, despite your demur, every Islamic text I've seen relies heavily on the argument from authority.


I apologize for the length of the excerpt

No need to apologise - reading is always a pleasure and never a chore. :)

In the first paragraph, Lang is already writing as a believer. He voices a familiar sceptical argument (which I've made here before) about how when it comes to god, we simply have no reference, since we are not aware of anything in our experience that is eternal, omniscient or omnipotent. He falls back on mystery, and leaves it hanging at this stage.


I guess I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I wanted God to be utterly exalted above creation, utterly unlike the humanity I was part of, and at the same time reachable.

Right, he wanted god to be somehow detectable to human agency.


It took reading the entire text to prove that I had been right all along, that there is no possible theological rationalization for human existence.

As far as I can see, this sentence is, in a strict sense, meaningless. Theology is something created by humans, so we would not expect it to provide an explanation for human existence.


I do not fully comprehend who I am, my motivations, my anxieties, my dreams, my emotions, my conscience and psychology. I do not grasp my humanity intellectually; I know it through my being human. Virtually all of my knowledge of humanness is subjective.

These are typical teenage existentialist notions, which can always be relied upon to make boundaries and measures of knowledge uncertain.


Although the author had campaigned brilliantly, had presented a literary and rational masterpiece, he was unable to present a complete and coherent explanation for why we are here. Yet he had nothing to be ashamed of, for he fell short where he and all others must inevitably fall short, trapped in the limitless void between God and man.

I don't know what is meant by 'rational' here, but Lang has, once again, suddenly brought god into the discussion again, with no real explanation of why he feels it necessary to search for him. Plus, of course, it's hardly surprising that a complete explanation for why we are here was not found.


For there were times in my reading of the Qur’an when I was so close to surrender, when the author’s words – his voice – nearly overpowered me, causing me to feel that only God could be speaking to me through this Scripture. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was moved to tears on several occasions, that at times I truly felt I was in the presence of a tremendous power and mercy. These spiritual moments always took me by surprise. I would even try to resist them, to shake them off, but they were often too strong and intoxicating to resist, and my resistance continually weakened as I progressed through the text.

So, essentially, he's been convinced by a strong and intoxicating voice - welcome to the world of literature! Although my own reading of the Qur'an has been limited, I've yet to find anything in it to persuade me that its authorial voice is anything other than human.


There were moments when I was almost sure there is a God, when I felt the presence of one I always knew but had fought to forget. I didn’t know if I was any better or worse for having read the Qur’an, but I knew that I had changed, that I would never be so confident in my atheism again.

I suppose I'll have to read the entire text - I'd love to have an experience that seriously challenged my atheism, just as I relish the chance of being proved wrong. I became an agnostic at the age of five, and a strong atheist after studying philosophy at university. Since then, I haven't doubted my position for a second. I suppose I've got a closed mind about this, which is why I'm eager to find something that will throw me off balance and force me to reconsider. It hasn't happened yet though.


Even so, it was time to get on with my life, time to stop agonizing over the existence of God, letting it impede with my happiness.

There's no need to agonise over it - it's one of the most interesting questions of all time!


He is God, other than whom there is no other god. He knows the unseen and the seen. He is the Merciful, the Compassionate. He is God, other than whom there is no other God; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme. Glory to God, above what they ascribe to Him! He is God, the Creator, the Evolver, the Fashioner. To Him belong the most beautiful names. Whatever is in the heavens and on earth glorifies Him and He is Exalted in Might, the Wise. (59:23-24).

I've always read these attributes as simple assertions, projections that mankind has cast onto an imaginary authority.

Lang's long final paragraph is essentially an oblique version of the ontological argument. He posits the attributes of Allah as being goals for humans to aspire to. This is nothing new, and does nothing to remove the idea that the ontological argument relies on wish-fulfilment, rather than any objective reality.


As far as the book by Maurice Bucaille is concerned, its a good reference, but its become a little outdated in the sense that arguments from Muslims and their opponents have developed beyond the material found in that book. Most of the books arguments (as well as others) can be read in the works of Harun Yahya, here:

I've seen Harun Yahya get some accusations of inaccuracy here on the forum - maybe that's only on certain issues. Certainly my own impression from looking at his website was that this was not someone to be taken seriously.


As for the debate, its not a 'western scienctist with christian leanings', the man's name is William Campbell, who is a Christian Missionary as well as a medical doctor.

Right, a Western scientist with Christian leanings - that's exactly what I meant!


In arguing with atheism, I tend to rely more heavily on logic and the guidance given by the Qur'an, whereas Dr. Naik relies exclusively on correlation studies between science and the Qur'an - an approach which I feel is not entirely in-line with the Qur'anic method of Da'wah (inviting others to Islam). Nevertheless, Dr. Naik's debating skills are very good, coupled with his amazing recall - I still think his Da'wah contributions are much better in the field of Comparative religion.

That's a good summary of how I feel about Dr. Naik - good debating skills, but he needs to realise that the correlation studies you speak of are not convincing in the slightest. Relying on them tends to sound ludicrous fairly quickly.

With regard to your own debating style, I can't fault your logic at all - it's just the guidance from the Qur'an [i.e. your premises] that I struggle to understand. I'm trying though, and you're an excellent guide.


I suppose you're right. Or maybe its not supposed to be a grammatical mistake because we're all supposed to be thinking different! lol

:D


If the problem persists please make a post in the Troubleshooting forum.

It's all good now - must have been a one-off.

Peace

Ansar Al-'Adl
10-26-2005, 11:59 AM
Hello Callum,

Right, survival of the fittest theory. The thing is, if belief in god is such a good theory (and I would dispute the claim that it is even a theory), then why is it not widely accepted among [modern western] scientists?
You answer your own question in the following sentence, i.e. it is widely accepted.

Sure, there are many theistic scientists, just as there are many atheistic scientists, but those who do believe in god do not do so because they find it to be a satisfactory theory; they do so because of personal reasons which often can't be articulated in any objective form.
How do you know? Every believer in God I personally know, believes in God because they find no other adequate explanation for the universe.


Because of this I believe that theism cannot really be compared to a scientific theory in the sense in which we normally understand the term.
I think that if atheists did treat belief in God as a scientific theory, it would wipe out a lot of their objections. How often do we see atheists ask, "Prove to me that God exists" - yet we know in science that there is no 'proof', there is simply evidence used. The atheist wants to set unscientific criteria upon us and then accuse us of being unscientific for not fulfilling them!

The truth of the matter is that there is no evidence for atheism. There is plenty of evidence for God, and the first part that I discussed just now was the evidence for God in cosmology - that our knowledge of the universe leaves us with only one logical conclusion. But there is also other evidences for God which I plan to discuss here, inshaa'Allah, the fitrah being the next argument I will use.


The idea of uniting all observations under one theory is an attractive one, no doubt, but there are many questions I think Islam leaves unanswered.
Such as?

Plus, despite your demur, every Islamic text I've seen relies heavily on the argument from authority.
I don't know which texts you've read, but it all depends on the field. If you're reading a text on Islamic Jurisprudence, then it begins with the assumption that the reader has already accepted Islam. Its not going to spend time discussing the proofs of Islam.

With regard to the excerpt from Lang, keep in mind that I gave you his reflections after reading the Qur'an. Earlier in his book he shares his initial reflections as he begins the Qur'an.


In the first paragraph, Lang is already writing as a believer. He voices a familiar sceptical argument (which I've made here before) about how when it comes to god, we simply have no reference, since we are not aware of anything in our experience that is eternal, omniscient or omnipotent. He falls back on mystery, and leaves it hanging at this stage.
And then he completes the gap in his discussion on the divine attributes.


As far as I can see, this sentence is, in a strict sense, meaningless. Theology is something created by humans, so we would not expect it to provide an explanation for human existence.
Why not? What he means to say is that he [initially] foudn that religious theology could not rationalize human existence, it could not logically provide a comprehensive theory. Evidently, he found out otherwise.



Although the author had campaigned brilliantly, had presented a literary and rational masterpiece, he was unable to present a complete and coherent explanation for why we are here. Yet he had nothing to be ashamed of, for he fell short where he and all others must inevitably fall short, trapped in the limitless void between God and man.
I don't know what is meant by 'rational' here, but Lang has, once again, suddenly brought god into the discussion again, with no real explanation of why he feels it necessary to search for him. Plus, of course, it's hardly surprising that a complete explanation for why we are here was not found.
I don't really understand the point of your above comment. Lang was reading the Qur'an seriously, expecting it to provide a coherent explanation to support its principle of belief in God. Its not about him feeling it necessary to serarch for God, he's saying that since Islam is a theistic religion, he would expect the Qur'an to provide some coherent explanation bringing God and man into the picture - a task he felt others had failed at.


So, essentially, he's been convinced by a strong and intoxicating voice - welcome to the world of literature!
As you can see from the excerpt, that's not necessarily what convinced him. What convinced him, as he explains throughout his books, was the complete and coherent explanation that the Qur'an provided. It is exactly as I eexplained to you that we search for the most comprehensive theory that is able to expain all the observations and evidences adequately.


Although my own reading of the Qur'an has been limited, I've yet to find anything in it to persuade me that its authorial voice is anything other than human.
Answer is in the first part of the sentence. And besides, we don't believe that everyone who reads the Qur'an will be able to recognize it for what it is. There have been many orientalists and christian missionaries who have read the Qur'an, not benefiting from it in the least. But as the Qur'an clarifies right at the beginning of the second chapter, verse 2, it is guidance for a specific group - those who take the Qur'an seriously when they read it, like Dr. Lang and Dr. Brown, searching in it for a comprehensive and unifying theory behind the purpose in life, they will be able to recieve guidance. As I clarified in the very first post in this thread, God will only guide those who seriously seek his guidance.


I became an agnostic at the age of five, and a strong atheist after studying philosophy at university.

Two definitions:


agnostic |ag?nästik| noun a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

atheism |?????iz?m| noun the theory or belief that God does not exist. (Oxford American English Dictionary)
Since you always mention that 'we just don't know yet' and you always talk about lack of evidence for God rather than evidence for the nonexistence of God, I don't know how you can claim to be an atheist and not agnostic. Atheism is possibly one of the weakest positions I've seen, since it relies on completely no evidence whatsoever but the mere existence of other hypothetical possibilities.


I've always read these attributes as simple assertions, projections that mankind has cast onto an imaginary authority.

Lang's long final paragraph is essentially an oblique version of the ontological argument. He posits the attributes of Allah as being goals for humans to aspire to. This is nothing new, and does nothing to remove the idea that the ontological argument relies on wish-fulfilment, rather than any objective reality.
You misread Lang's final paragraphs as an argument for God using the divine attribites, which they weren't. It was filling in the missing gap he had described earlier, the gap between man and God, how to know God, using the divine attributes. I gave you this exceprt to show you how crucial the divine attributes are to the Islamic theory behind the purpose of life - the divine attributes which you quickly dismissed as simple assertions. Divine attributes are part of a comprehensive theory, linking together various ideas in Islam and defining the focus of human life.


Right, a Western scientist with Christian leanings - that's exactly what I meant!
Well, your description seems to put a different emphasis on. I would more likely have said a Western Christian with science leanings. :D


I'm trying though, and you're an excellent guide.
Thank you. :) I've learnt much from you as well.

Regards

ummbilal
10-27-2005, 01:40 PM
salaam alakum all,

hi cz Gibson

the book i mentioned,

the Bible the Quran and Science,

written by a frence scientist and translated into english.

http://www.islamicgoodsdirect.co.uk/product_info.php/products_id/703

i read some again last night for the first time in a while, it compares science in the Bible(not accurate to what scientists have proven) and the Quran which is very suprising, very interesting esspecially the chapter about the pharoah who oppressed Musa as people.

inshaallah this will help you with your search for the Haqq(truth)

Muhammad
10-27-2005, 11:27 PM
Greetings and :sl: everyone,

Sorry to interrupt - just 2 things:

1.
You mean a link to the post where I first posted it? No it’s to long ago to remember the tread.
Here is the link :) (http://www.islamicboard.com/showpost.php?p=43812&postcount=43)

2. Thought of the Moment

OK here is a quick thought that went through my mind when I read some of the things in this thread a few days ago...

It has been said that science provides evidence for its theories, but what exactly do we mean by 'evidence'? There are many things that we cannot witness or physically sense, as has been mentioned earlier, so we trust the results of experiments. For example, we haven't seen the particles of matter yet we see their random traces in a particle accelerator, hence we believe they exist.

Similarly, nobody has ever seen God, yet the results of His work are right in front of our eyes. What is the difference between the creation of the universe being an evidence of a creator, and proving the existence of non-tangible substances such as particles and forces?

Peace.

Abdul Fattah
10-28-2005, 12:35 AM
Thanks Muhammad for backing me up. I'd give rep-points, but apearently I have to pass some around first :p

root
10-30-2005, 07:56 PM
Hi Steve,

I have given much thought to what you have said. I can see why you want to imply that Einstien's attempts to unify electromagnatism with Gravity which stems from your strong convictions that Gravity is actually a weak force.

However this said, I cannot understand by what context you mean when you stated:


Gravity seems strong because it’s a collective force caused by an entire earth. But consider this. Even though the mass of the whole world would pull you to the center of the earth while you jump of a building. The Electromagnetive force, caused only by the few electrons of that small piece of pavement you land on, are more then enough to counter this force. So yes, gravity is a much weaker force then we imagine.

You stated,


Where does all matter go that is consumed by a black hole?
Well a very small part of it is emitted in the form of Hawkins radiation. As for the rest of it, well by occams razor I would say it just stays there and the black hole grows bigger or denser. This isn’t actually as far out as you might think, it’s not like these black holes are sucking up that much matter. Remember that gravity is actually a weak force.


Why black holes are at the center of galaxys, well your question is wrong, it should be: Why do galaxys stick around black holes? Well just like our planet goes around our sun, the answer is gravity.

http://mail.lionrampant.co.uk/users/root/Pictures/magnet.JPG

Wonder if you could explain why in my diagram of a magnet directly over a paper clip does the (electromagnatism) fail to overcome the "Weakness" of Gravity and pick the paper clip up? keep it simple please.

Regards

Root

Abdul Fattah
10-31-2005, 03:03 AM
Wonder if you could explain why in my diagram of a magnet directly over a paper clip does the (electromagnatism) fail to overcome the "Weakness" of Gravity and pick the paper clip up? keep it simple please.

Yes of course, sorry if I sound somewhat confusing by jumping from one point to another.

We know that the Electromagnetic force, the weak force and the strong force work with messenger-particels. The source of the force sends these particles, and when they hit a certain other object, they interact in a certain way, allowing the force to work.
Although it hasn't been found yet, everybody believes that gravity also has these messenger-particles. We've been looking for them quite a while now, and we already have a name for them, the graviton, but they haven't popped up yet. We do have a theory of what they would be like and how they would interact.

These messenger-particles are collective, that means the more particles, the stronger the force. Also all 4 forces seem to have quite some simularitys. That 's why Einstein thought they must have been caused by the same basic particle, and tried to unify the theories. The problem he faced though, was that gravity is that much weaker. Gravity does has it's strong sides though. Although being a lot weaker, it's reach is a lot stronger then that of other forces.

So why doesn't the magnet atract the paperclipp? Well there are only a small number of messenger-particles of the magnetic field attracting it, because most don't even make it that far, while there are a whole bunch of gravitons, caused by the entire earth, all with a big reach pulling the paperclip down.
What you have is quantity over quality.

What is the importance of all this? Well string theory suggests, that gravitons are actually a lot stronger then we originally thought, so they would be unifiable. The reason they "act" weak, is because they are not bound to our universe, they can escape the 11th dimension (the 11th dimension is a big membrane in which our other 10 dimensions are hold) into other universes of the asumed bulk.

This is all explained in the NOVA-link though ...

root
10-31-2005, 08:39 AM
STEVE - So why doesn't the magnet atract the paperclip? Well there are only a small number of messenger-particles of the magnetic field attracting it, because most don't even make it that far, while there are a whole bunch of gravitons, caused by the entire earth, all with a big reach pulling the paperclip down. What you have is quantity over quality.

So the distance from the electromagnetic force is an important variable upon electromagnatism and should the paper clip be closer to the magnet then the magnetic force would overcome the power of gravity and pick the paper clip up? In summary the further from the source of electromagnatism the "weaker" it becomes whilst retaining the acceptance that electromagnatism is a "strong force".

Would you agree with this?

Abdul Fattah
10-31-2005, 02:15 PM
Not exactly, there's two diffrent factors. Strength was refering to the potential energy of the messenger particels rather then their range. So EM has a short range but is a strong force. While gravity has a long range but is a weak force.

Thats why the magnet cannot pick up the paperclip with EM-force, but the moon can infleunce the tides with gravity.

Muhammad
11-06-2005, 11:44 PM
Greetings and :sl: ,

Visiting the poetry forum, I came across a couple of poems that touch on some of the issues raised here, and I thought I would share them with you guys:

Allah Knows Best


...Allah tests us often

With suffering and with sorrow

He tests us not to punish us

But to help us meet tomorrow



For growing trees are strengthened

If they withstand the storm

And the sharp cut of the chisel

Gave the marble grace and form...

(http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=6999)


Science and Faith

Once Science said to Faith:

"My eye can see all that is in this world;
The Entire world is within my net.
I am only concerned with material things,
What have I to do with spiritual matters?
I can strike a thousand melodies,
And openly proclaim all the secrets that I learn."

Faith said:

"With your magic even the waves in the sea are set ablaze,
You can pollute the atmosphere with foul, poisonous gases.
When you associated with me, you were light,
When you broke off from me, your light became fire.
You were of Divine origin,
But you have been caught in the clutches of Shaytan.
Come, make this wasteland a garden once again.
Borrow from me a little of my ecstasy,
And in the world set up a paradise.
From the day of creation we have been associates,
We are the low and high tunes of the same melody."

(http://www.islamicboard.com/showpost.php?p=106330&postcount=2)

Peace.

Protected_Diamond
11-07-2005, 12:07 AM
Intresting debate, very intresting debate, masha Allah :statisfie keep it going!

DaSangarTalib
11-07-2005, 03:46 PM
Greetings and :sl: ,

Visiting the poetry forum, I came across a couple of poems that touch on some of the issues raised here, and I thought I would share them with you guys:

Allah Knows Best


(http://www.islamicboard.com/showthread.php?t=6999)


Science and Faith

(http://www.islamicboard.com/showpost.php?p=106330&postcount=2)

Peace.

im glad 2 be of sum help 2 dis elerlastin and neverendin debate......discussion...wateva:brother::thumbs_up

muslim dude
11-20-2005, 02:10 PM
May Allah bestow His peace on these who are guided and may Allah bestow His peace on these who are not guided by guiding them to the straight path.

I am new to this forum, so please forgive me if I am repeating points that were raised elsewhere. Ma'shallah this is a very interesting thread and I wanted to contribute some points. Remember, any mistakes I make here and elsewhere are my fault and any good I state is from Allah.

In response to some of the points czgibson had raised a while ago...



The first point he mentions is one I agree with. Arguments for or against the existence of God have a history of not being convincing if you are on the other side, so to speak. People are usually reluctant to change their mind on this issue on the strength of an argument or a series of arguments. And rightly so. Belief in god is a matter of faith, which is not reached by arguments but by personal conviction (I'm assuming here. I clearly do not understand how faith in god is reached).


I like Anwar also have to disagree here. The whole reason God sent down Messengers with clear evidences is to persuade people with clear arguments.

That is why Moses (pbuh) was sent down with superior "magic" to counter the "magical" deceptions of the sorcerers of Pharaoh (Interesting to read in the Qur'an that the masters of the trade, the sorcerers who knew their craft inside out recognised that Moses (pbuh) "magic" could only have come from God).

That is why Jesus (pbuh) was sent down miracles like curing lepers, giving sight to the blind and so forth to counteract the greatest physicians of the time, the people of the Roman empire. People of that time knew the limits of medical technology and hence knew the ability of Jesus (pbuh) could have only come from God.

That is why Muhammad (pbuh), the seal of the prophets was sent with the Qur'an (Recital) to the people who were the masters of their language bar none. They recognised that no way, that the words of the Qur'an could have ever been produced by any creature (creation). So, they recognised that the Qur'an could only ever be the words of God (The Creator).

(Qur'an, Chapter 41 (Fussilat: They are explained in detail): 1 - 3)
"Ha Mim"
"A revelation from Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful"
"A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail; - a Qur'an in Arabic for people who know."

(Qur'an, Chapter 12 (Yusuf: (Prophet) Joseph): 1 - 3)
"Alif-Lam-Ra These are the Verses of the Clear Book."
"Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an in order that you may understand."
"We relate unto you (Muhammad pbuh) the best of stories through Our Revelations unto you, of this Qur'an.
And before this (i.e. before the coming of Divine Inspiration to you), you were among those who knew nothing about it (the Qur'an)."

(Qur'an, Chapter 14 (Ibrahim: (Prophet) Abraham): 1)
"Alif-Lam-Ra (This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you (Oh Muhammad pbuh) in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness into light by their Lord's Leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise."

Also, as a side note, some scholars say that there is a double sign/argument/miracle in the Qur'an for people in this day and age. Like czgibson stated, the people of the current generation has a lot more knowledge of the world we live, more so than the people of 2000 years ago.



Think of how much more we understand about the universe than people from say 2000 years ago.


The Qur'an contains facts about this world that could not have been known at the time of Muhammad (pbuh) and so further strengthens the arguments that Qur'an is the word of God. By that, I mean our generation is at such a time that can fully appreciate some of the statements in the Qur'an through new technological advances and that is indeed a special favour for us from God. Subhanallah, truly, there is no one worthy of worship but Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Kind.

Also, what's interesting to me, is that you needed arguments from authority to prove that Ansar and Steve are human beings and are not automated bots, i.e. The Turing Test. I guess you can think of the Noble Qur'an as the "Turing Test" of an evidence of God and the proof of the messengership of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.



I know you are not an automated response due to the Turing test


What I am trying to illustrate with this point is that there is no shame in saying you gained knowledge from authority. In your case, the teacher(s) that taught you about the Turing test - well unless you are claiming that you knew of the Turing Test the moment you came out of your mother's womb!

This is how people learn, from each other, especially the ones with experience and especially from the ones that gained knowledge. What the people of revealed religions say is that we gained knowledge about God from teachers specially taught by God and there is no shame in that. This type of teachers are known as prophets and they taught mankind that no one is worthy of worship but The Creator and how to worship our Creator and it is for our own benefit to worship our Creator.

(Qur'an, Chapter 96 (Al-Alaq: The Clot): 1 - 5)

"Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists)."
"He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood)."
"Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous."
"Who has taught (the writing) by the pen."
"Who has taught man that which he knew not."

czgibson
11-20-2005, 03:35 PM
Greetings Muslim Dude, and welcome to the forum!


That is why Jesus (pbuh) was sent down miracles like curing lepers, giving sight to the blind and so forth to counteract the greatest physicians of the time, the people of the Roman empire. People of that time knew the limits of medical technology and hence knew the ability of Jesus (pbuh) could have only come from God.

It would be more accurate to say that some people accepted that Jesus' ability came from god. Many people did not accept this to be the case, notably the people who had him crucified.


The Qur'an contains facts about this world that could not have been known at the time of Muhammad (pbuh) and so further strengthens the arguments that Qur'an is the word of God. By that, I mean our generation is at such a time that can fully appreciate some of the statements in the Qur'an through new technological advances and that is indeed a special favour for us from God.

Are you referring to the vague "scientific" statements in the Qur'an? I've never found them very convincing, as I think I've explained on another thread.


What I am trying to illustrate with this point is that there is no shame in saying you gained knowledge from authority. In your case, the teacher(s) that taught you about the Turing test - well unless you are claiming that you knew of the Turing Test the moment you came out of your mother's womb!

I'm not sure you've understood what is meant by the phrase "argument from authority". It refers to an argument where someone says "this is the case" with no logical argument to back it up. In that situation, the only measure of the statement's truth-value is the credibility of the speaker.

On the Turing Test, no, I'm not claiming to have known about it since I was born! True, the idea was first shown to me by a teacher (one of my professors at university). I did not accept it until I had read about it and evaluated it for myself. When I did so, it was not for the reason that Alan Turing was a very clever man, and therefore we should believe everything he said; it was because it seemed reasonable to me, and a useful measure in the field of artificial intelligence.

This is different from religious claims, where there is often no corroborating evidence which we can use to judge the truth-value of a statement - we simply have to accept the word of a religious authority. For instance, none of the statements in the Qur'an about the nature of Paradise can be verified by anyone who is currently alive. If you believe them to be true, you are basing that solely on an appeal to authority - you can have no other way of knowing them to be true. Even then, I would not class beliefs about Paradise as knowledge. They are simply assertions which cannot be verified.


This is how people learn, from each other, especially the ones with experience and especially from the ones that gained knowledge. What the people of revealed religions say is that we gained knowledge about God from teachers specially taught by God and there is no shame in that. This type of teachers are known as prophets and they taught mankind that no one is worthy of worship but The Creator and how to worship our Creator and it is for our own benefit to worship our Creator.

I'm a teacher, and I can assure you that my students will not normally accept something as being true until I've proven it to them by using sources other than myself. I wouldn't be a very good teacher if I just said "this is true because I say so."

The argument from authority is a logical fallacy, and religion is the only area of learning I can think of where it is accepted as a matter of routine. It is, in fact, the most common justification for religious claims. In science, philosophy, history or any other discipline, it is not usually accepted as a means of attaining knowledge.

Peace

Silver Pearl
11-25-2005, 07:37 PM
I know your comments were addressing the brother directly but I hope you don’t mind my intervention.



Jews, Christians and Muslims believed them to be direct interventions by the deity in nature. So they're not miracles, but they're similar, since in a miracle, the deity is held to have intervened in such a way as to break the laws of nature.

As Brother Ansar has indicated so on numerous times, Jews, Christians nor Muslims found such counter to be a miracle. Therefore when such argument has been refuted it is irrelevant to attempt to continue with your counterpart.






The increased scientific knowledge humanity has amassed indicates that if someone has been "raised from the dead", then they were not in fact dead. Drugs can be given to people that can slow the pulse and breathing to give the appearance of death, before they are revitalised to great applause. This is how the "zombies" of voodoo culture in Haiti are brought about.



There are natural processes that can explain the parting of the Red Sea - here's a Russian scientist giving his view of events:

Parting of the Red Sea (http://http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040122-113947-8632r.htm)
Now if raising the dead took place before an era where such technology was yet not discovered what defense would you use to explain such event?

Your link does not work….

In addition, I’m sure you’re very familiar with the flaws and weakness of theories, with time science improves and many of the things we thought we knew are contradicted by new understanding. Taking merely someone’s discovery and ‘his view’ simply because it backs up your ideology doesn’t always go down very well. But I’ll be interested to read the article anyways.




As for feeding thousands of people with one meal - the evidence I've seen for that is so flimsy that it's more likely that the event never actually happened.


Ah, yes I figured you’d say that, after all it is easier to deny it. However, there is that 50% that such incident took place, with time comes new discovery.



The objection is resolved according to your understanding of god, and I apologise if I've seemed reluctant to accept this. There are two concepts of god at work here: that including the free will bestowed on humanity, which you have espoused, and the classical sense, which assumes that god is omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect and which assumes nothing else. I've been getting confused between the two - sorry.

However, I do not believe the objection is resolved in the terms of the classical assumptions about god. You still need to resolve the objection relating to that concept before you can legitimately add other assumptions about free will and moral responsibility being given to humans by god. This is the point I've been trying to get across - not very well, it appears.

The problem that seems to be here is that you have a tendency of having a very black or white view of God. An image which does not actually fit in Islam but rather an image you have conjured based on what you knew and filled in the gaps (perhaps?). Being humans that are able to use and have free will does not contradict with an omniscient, omnipresent being. Think of it this way, If I knew what would happen tomorrow does that mean I play a part in what happens? Does that I mean I force you to do what I foresee? Do you know what will happen tomorrow? Had we not free will what would be the point of being created? You find it difficult to comprehend or perhaps have no desire to make sense of the over lap of the two ideas being one.

It is simple, they are not two separate but rather it is possible to have both.

Do you think we have free will? Ignore the fact that you may or may not believe in God. Do you believe that as humans we have free will, to do as we please?


But your understanding of god is built upon that concept! It is an augmentation of it; if an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect being is incompatible with the existence of evil, then how could a being exist which has those qualities and more?


You still hold concepts of pure and evil, good and bad and use that logicality for everything. A good being can existent that is powerful without being evil, or having such nature. Just because you have strength to do everything which we can and can’t comprehend doesn’t mean you have to have qualities of evilness. As humans we have a very limited comprehending of what is around us.

Jinns (what creation Satan originated from) and humans both were given free will, and as humans we became aware of good and bad after Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Now Satan having sworn to stray God’s creation acts as a force of evil whisper, the source of evil (if that is how you’d like to think of it).












You're absolutely right!


So you’re deep down inside reluctant to even consider such possibility?



It is not possible to demonstrate the existence of god logically. If it were, then there would be no need for faith, and everyone would believe in god without exception.


I’m going to have to disagree with you, it is logical that smoking is bad for health, it causes cancer yet people still smoke. It is logically agreed upon that murder is bad yet people commit it. I highly doubt that even if the Existence of God was logical everyone would be obedient. Don’t underestimate human’s capability of being self-absorbed and arrogant.



I don't think we're really getting anywhere with this part of the discussion.

Do you agree that Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) was sane and truthful? Or is there still unexplained doubt?




Why would he go through all that suffering even if he was the Prophet of god? He believed what he was doing was right: you draw your interpretation and I draw mine. I think that's all that can be said.

It is something that some of us may not understand, patience was an asset that the prophet had which many of us can’t achieve. He believed in the message sent to him and to those prophets before him. Why would he not go such pain? After all he was sent a message that would send mankind to the straight path. If you knew some people close to you were about to encounter something bad if they did not follow a certain road to where ever destination they wished to go would you not do your best to drive them to safety? Would you be selfish and just consider your own pain when you know, that if you have patience that many would be save in the long run? What does Muhammad (pbuh) gain from lying?



Yes, much later. Many organisations have had humble beginnings.


Humble beginning does not even explain one third of it.





Did he claim it was entirely false? My understanding was that he retained Allah as the "top god", and simply did away with the others, keeping certain pre-Islamic traditions in order to make the transition easier. Is this not the case?

Allah (swt) is the creator alone; no partners should be associated with him as he has none. Polytheism contradicts with the fundament teaching of Islam. However, you should note that the prophet (pbuh) spread the truth without having to destroy any of the establishment of polytheism, truth stands clear from falsehood.

Peace out :)

rabbekh firlee if I have spoken something wrong.

czgibson
11-25-2005, 08:56 PM
Greetings Silver Pearl,

I know your comments were addressing the brother directly but I hope you don’t mind my intervention.

No, not at all.


As Brother Ansar has indicated so on numerous times, Jews, Christians nor Muslims found such counter to be a miracle. Therefore when such argument has been refuted it is irrelevant to attempt to continue with your counterpart.

What do you mean by counter? I'm not sure what you mean here.


Now if raising the dead took place before an era where such technology was yet not discovered what defense would you use to explain such event?

What technology do you mean? In Haiti they use plants which have existed for thousands of years...


Your link does not work….

Thanks for pointing this out - I've fixed it now.


In addition, I’m sure you’re very familiar with the flaws and weakness of theories, with time science improves and many of the things we thought we knew are contradicted by new understanding. Taking merely someone’s discovery and ‘his view’ simply because it backs up your ideology doesn’t always go down very well. But I’ll be interested to read the article anyways.

True. We have to take scientific theories on trust until a better theory comes along, but at any given time current scientific theories are the best we have to go on.


Ah, yes I figured you’d say that, after all it is easier to deny it. However, there is that 50% that such incident took place, with time comes new discovery.

Since it's a massively unlikely event (unless the meal was huge), I wouldn't say the chance of it having happened is 50%.


The problem that seems to be here is that you have a tendency of having a very black or white view of God. An image which does not actually fit in Islam but rather an image you have conjured based on what you knew and filled in the gaps (perhaps?). Being humans that are able to use and have free will does not contradict with an omniscient, omnipresent being.

I believe we have free will, but I don't believe there is a god. I don't understand how such a being could exist.


Had we not free will what would be the point of being created?

I don't understand this question. We are created to survive, I think.


You find it difficult to comprehend or perhaps have no desire to make sense of the over lap of the two ideas being one.

The two concepts of god that I mentioned are clearly different, no?


It is simple, they are not two separate but rather it is possible to have both.

You mean we have two simultaneous omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect beings, one who has given us free will and one who hasn't?


Do you think we have free will? Ignore the fact that you may or may not believe in God. Do you believe that as humans we have free will, to do as we please?

Yes. I am not a thorough-going determinist.


You still hold concepts of pure and evil, good and bad and use that logicality for everything. A good being can existent that is powerful without being evil, or having such nature. Just because you have strength to do everything which we can and can’t comprehend doesn’t mean you have to have qualities of evilness. As humans we have a very limited comprehending of what is around us.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here.


Jinns (what creation Satan originated from) and humans both were given free will, and as humans we became aware of good and bad after Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Now Satan having sworn to stray God’s creation acts as a force of evil whisper, the source of evil (if that is how you’d like to think of it).

These are all beliefs of yours that I don't subscribe to.


So you’re deep down inside reluctant to even consider such possibility?

Well, I've studied logic, and I know that faith does not enter into it.


I’m going to have to disagree with you, it is logical that smoking is bad for health, it causes cancer yet people still smoke.

It's a medical fact that was discovered using the laws of logic, yes. But when people smoke for a long time, they don't do it because they think it is a good thing to do; they do it because they are addicted.


It is logically agreed upon that murder is bad yet people commit it.

This is not a matter of logic but morality. Ethics has only a tangential relationship with logic.


I highly doubt that even if the Existence of God was logical everyone would be obedient. Don’t underestimate human’s capability of being self-absorbed and arrogant.

Now you appear to doubt that the existence of god can be demonstrated logically, whereas before you seemed to say it was a possibility. Have I understood you correctly?

If it could be logically proven, I would be a believer. However, in that situation it would not even be a question of belief, it would be knowledge.


Do you agree that Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) was sane and truthful? Or is there still unexplained doubt?

The simple answer is I don't know. See earlier in the thread for my half-formed thoughts on this, and Ansar's rebuttals of them.


If you knew some people close to you were about to encounter something bad if they did not follow a certain road to where ever destination they wished to go would you not do your best to drive them to safety?

What was the bad thing that people were heading towards?


What does Muhammad (pbuh) gain from lying?

He founded a religion, which I believe was his aim.


Allah (swt) is the creator alone; no partners should be associated with him as he has none. Polytheism contradicts with the fundament teaching of Islam.

Yes. The Qur'an is a sustained tribute to the unity of god. In that respect Islam makes far more sense than something like Christianity, to my mind.


However, you should note that the prophet (pbuh) spread the truth without having to destroy any of the establishment of polytheism, truth stands clear from falsehood.

Well, he didn't destroy the establishment of polytheism, but he did away with most of its gods for his system.

This truth you speak of only really stands out if you believe it, so for me this statement is unapplicable.

Peace

Khattab
11-26-2005, 12:21 AM
Hi Callum,

I have one question for you after reading through the latest posts. If humans are built to survive only what are your beliefs regarding the human bieng ie the intelligence that we have ie to create, teach, think what are the purpose of these things?

Peace

Silver Pearl
11-26-2005, 08:35 AM
Peace Callum,



What do you mean by counter? I'm not sure what you mean here.

You were trying to give an arguement that had already been refuted, not to mention the fact you have somewhat contradicted yourself. Notice that the events in which you state as being seen as a 'miracle' was never considered such, thus there is no point of arguing such a view when your statement is incorrect.




What technology do you mean? In Haiti they use plants which have existed for thousands of years...

You mean they used plants to distiniquish whether a person was dead and then came to life?



Thanks for pointing this out - I've fixed it now.

No worries




Since it's a massively unlikely event (unless the meal was huge), I wouldn't say the chance of it having happened is 50%.

No it isn't unlikely, just because we find it hard to comprehend such an event occuring does not make its probability weak.




I believe we have free will, but I don't believe there is a god. I don't understand how such a being could exist.

What part of an omnicient God do you find hard to swallow?



I don't understand this question. We are created to survive, I think.

If we were created merely to survive why the need to have such luxury? why strive to be well educated, build a family etc. Why not just feed ourselves? Doesn't quite add up do is it?



The two concepts of god that I mentioned are clearly different, no?

You find it hard to take in the fact that an all-knowing God can give us free-will?




You mean we have two simultaneous omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect beings, one who has given us free will and one who hasn't?

No, you misunderstood my point, It is One God who is all-knowing and bestowed us free-will. There is no need to clove two different images, you're still stuck on this idea of christain's teaching of God. Islam is not the same.




Yes. I am not a thorough-going determinist.

Alright...






I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

You still see everything as being black or white, or presume that in order for God to be acceptable to you, He must fit in your perception of him and how he is.




These are all beliefs of yours that I don't subscribe to.

Yeah, i suppose you won't agree with the laws and teaching of Islam until you believe Allah (swt).




Well, I've studied logic, and I know that faith does not enter into it.

Not really, logic certainly enters Islam *look at Ansar's post*




It's a medical fact that was discovered using the laws of logic, yes. But when people smoke for a long time, they don't do it because they think it is a good thing to do; they do it because they are addicted.

We are not assesing the consequence and addiction of smoking, simply pointing out that things are logical but humans still do it. Whether that leads them to addiction or not is quite irrelevant.






Now you appear to doubt that the existence of god can be demonstrated logically, whereas before you seemed to say it was a possibility. Have I understood you correctly?

No....




If it could be logically proven, I would be a believer. However, in that situation it would not even be a question of belief, it would be knowledge.

Exactly, you'd follow based solely on knowledge and not the logicality of it. Once again, don't underestimate humans capability of showing arrogance towards even the most clear things.




The simple answer is I don't know. See earlier in the thread for my half-formed thoughts on this, and Ansar's rebuttals of them.

Perhaps it is time we focused on this area, you have to better understand the issue, in order for their to be a clear conclusion in your view. It'd make the arguement alot simpler.....




What was the bad thing that people were heading towards?

Let your imagination answer that, however, such question was irrelevant...would you kindly like to answer it now




He founded a religion, which I believe was his aim.

That would make him a liar.....I truly believe it is important for you to grasp the character of the prophet (pbuh) so that this discussion may progress somewhere rather than go in circles.



Yes. The Qur'an is a sustained tribute to the unity of god. In that respect Islam makes far more sense than something like Christianity, to my mind.

We are getting somewhere :)




Well, he didn't destroy the establishment of polytheism, but he did away with most of its gods for his system.

See Ansar's comment to this....




This truth you speak of only really stands out if you believe it, so for me this statement is unapplicable.

The truth is always clear, it is a matter of not actually wanting to submit yourself to rules laid by God that blinds people from it.

Peace

muslim dude
11-28-2005, 10:18 AM
May Allah bestow His peace on these who are guided and may Allah bestow His peace on these who are not guided by guiding them to the straight path.

czgibson, thanks for your response, especially clearing up on what you meant by "argument from authority".



I'm not you've understood what is meant by the phrase "argument from authority". It refers to an argument where someone says "this is the case" with no logical argument to back it up. In that situation, the only measure of the statement's truth-value is the credibility of the speaker.


So, in essense it is being said that you will find it hard to accept a statement from anyone without thinking about it and without any reasonable evidence, basically if someone says a statement and that is it.

Did You know, when Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), that he was the Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr accepted it straight away.

And we don't expect you to have the faith and certainty of Abu Bakr, after all he is As-Siddiq (ra). Most people are not like Abu Bakr (ra) but then again not many people knew Muhammad (pbuh) as well as he did whilst both of them were growing up in Makka...

"Ibn Is'haque transmitted that Muhammad bin 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Abdullah bin al-Hasin al-Tamimi narrated that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) said 'I did not invite anybody towards Allah but he stumbled over (my) words, hesitated, and thought it over except Abu Bakr who accepted it immediately without hesitation and did not wait even for a moment"

Source: pg 58 of Hayatus Sahabah (Lives of the Sahabah) vol 1, who I think stated the narration are quoted in "al-Bidayah" voll III p 26 and pg 27.

The credibility of Muhammad (pbuh) as a trustworthy and honest person was without any doubt by the people who have met him (pbuh) including these people who ended up opposing his message. (corroborating evidence can be shown if desired)


I'm a teacher, and I can assure you that my students will not normally accept something as being true until I've proven it to them by using sources other than myself. I wouldn't be a very good teacher if I just said "this is true because I say so."


Right, most of the people of the time (like your students now don't accept your word without looking at evidences) did not accept that Muhammad was the messenger of Allah (pbuh) as true until they heard what Muhammad (pbuh) bought with him (i.e. the Qur'an) and reflected upon it.

So just like you didn't accept the Turing Test just because Alan Turing was a clever man, so a lot of the companions (ra) didn't initially accept Muhammad (pbuh) as a Messenger of Allah just because he was a trustworthy man, but they heard his corroborating evidence, the Majestic Qur'an and the rest as they say is history.

They found the Noble Qur'an more than reasonable - like you expect you students to consult other sources, they knew of the best poetries by men, the best stories by men, the knowledge of this world, the nature of this world, the actions and motivations of men, eloquence - and from these existing evidences, they knew it was just impossible that the Qur'an was something other than the Word of Allah.

The Glorious Qur'an has indeed proven more than a useful measure in the field of how to live one's life and the basis of setting up a just and knowlegable society for billions of people since the revelation of the first verses.

Also you know what? God knows us better than we know ourselves and He is closer to us than our jugular vein. So not only has He stated that He will explain His existence, but also the corroborating evidence of His existence as this will increase the faith and certainty of some His creation.

(Qur'an, Chapter 16 (An-Nahl: The Bee): 9)
"And upon Allah is the responsibility to explain the Straight Path, but there are ways that turn aside. And had He willed, He would have guided you all (mankind)."

(Qur'an, Chapter 16 (An-Nahl: The Bee): 10 - 14)
"He it is Who sends down water (rain) from the sky; from it you drink and from it (grows) the vegetation on which you send your cattle to pasture"

"With it He causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes, and every kind of fruit. Verily! In this is indeed an evident proof and a manifest sign for people who give thought."

"And He has subjected to you the night and the day, the sun and the moon; and the stars are subjected by His Command. Surely, in this are proofs for people who understand."

"And whatsoever He has created for you on this earth of varying colours [and qualities from vegetation and fruits, etc. (botanical life) and from animal (zoological life)]. Verily! In this is a sign for people who remember"

"And He it is Who has subjected the sea (to you), that you eat thereof fresh tender meat (i.e. fish), and that you bring forth out of it ornaments to wear. And you see the ships ploughing through it, that you may seek (thus) of His Bounty (by transporting the goods from place to place) and that you may be grateful."

Fine, you may not find these evidences convincing, but at the very least it will be hard to deny that God had told you to think about the various things of this world (i.e. you don't have to worry about verifying Paradise) which can be verified (i.e. it can be verified that rain exists and that the movement of the Sun and Moon follow an established rather than random course etc) and so this is collabarating evidence that you said did not exist in the Qur'an.

It is important to divide knowledge up into "seen" and "unseen". Not only does the Qur'an talk about the unseen, but also the "seen" (as in perceivable) knowledge and this is what we would say are the collabarating evidences in the Qur'an.

These are the evidences than can be verified and you can judge the truth-value of these statements for yourself...


This is different from religious claims, where there is often no corroborating evidence which we can use to judge the truth-value of a statement - we simply have to accept the word of a religious authority.

Once the truth value of the statements referring to "seen" knowledge has been ascertained by oneself, then it means that you would accept the Qur'an as a proof of God and the word of God, thus accepting what the Qur'an refers to "unseen" knowedge (such as Paradise) at face value becames a logical conclusion.

Also, in response to the following statement:


Are you referring to the vague "scientific" statements in the Qur'an? I've never found them very convincing, as I think I've explained on another thread.


Ok, I will have to check out the other threads, but czgibson, if you notice at the end of these verses like verses 11, 12 and 13 of surah An-Nahl, it stated that the people who will fully appreciate these evidences and the language used to describe these evidences are "people who understand"...

Another way of dealing with these evidences is to reflect deeply on it as it a sign (i.e. evidence) for these "people who give thought".

czgibson
11-28-2005, 05:54 PM
Hi Khattab,

Sorry it's taken me this long to get round to your short question!



I have one question for you after reading through the latest posts. If humans are built to survive only what are your beliefs regarding the human bieng ie the intelligence that we have ie to create, teach, think what are the purpose of these things?

I think these things help us to survive, and give us advantages which most other species do not possess, certainly not to the same level as exists in humans. (I may be doing dolphins and elephants a disservice there - that's one for the biologists!)

After all, a species which can share complex knowledge is bound to have a survival advantage over a species that cannot, don't you think?

Peace

czgibson
11-28-2005, 06:40 PM
Greetings,


You were trying to give an arguement that had already been refuted, not to mention the fact you have somewhat contradicted yourself. Notice that the events in which you state as being seen as a 'miracle' was never considered such, thus there is no point of arguing such a view when your statement is incorrect.

The argument had been opposed, but not refuted. I'd like to make clear the distinction between natural events which are sometimes attributed to god, and events attributed to god which break the laws of nature, commonly called miracles.


You mean they used plants to distiniquish whether a person was dead and then came to life?

No, the drugs I referred to earlier actually occur naturally within certain plants.


No it isn't unlikely, just because we find it hard to comprehend such an event occuring does not make its probability weak.

I definitely think that weakens the probability of an event taking place. If I told you that a round square walked into a restaurant and ordered a pizza, wouldn't you say that the fact that that is difficult to understand makes it less likely that it happened?


What part of an omnicient God do you find hard to swallow?

I've had a go at explaining this earlier on in the thread.


If we were created merely to survive why the need to have such luxury? why strive to be well educated, build a family etc. Why not just feed ourselves? Doesn't quite add up do is it?

Being educated and having families have given us survival advantages in the past, and they help with the project of feeding ourselves.


You find it hard to take in the fact that an all-knowing God can give us free-will?

Since there's a lack of evidence that any omniscient being exists, I find it hard to conceive such a being doing anything.


No, you misunderstood my point, It is One God who is all-knowing and bestowed us free-will. There is no need to clove two different images, you're still stuck on this idea of christain's teaching of God. Islam is not the same.

My misunderstanding. I'm aware that Islam is purely monotheistic.


You still see everything as being black or white, or presume that in order for God to be acceptable to you, He must fit in your perception of him and how he is.

I don't have a perception of god because I don't perceive him!


We are not assesing the consequence and addiction of smoking, simply pointing out that things are logical but humans still do it. Whether that leads them to addiction or not is quite irrelevant.

It's not really irrelevant - my point was that addiction is not a matter of logic, rather compulsion.


Let your imagination answer that, however, such question was irrelevant...would you kindly like to answer it now

Why was the question irrelevant? I asked it because I don't know the answer.


We are getting somewhere :)

Where are we getting? It's plain to see that the Qur'an preaches the unity of god. Don't get me wrong, I believe it's a hugely important book, but that doesn't mean I believe it contains the truth.


The truth is always clear, it is a matter of not actually wanting to submit yourself to rules laid by God that blinds people from it.

So people can choose to accept the truth? That's very odd. If something is self-evidently true, I cannot choose to accept it, I simply accept it. 2 + 2 =4. That is analytically true. Denying that would be very different from not accepting Islam, which consists mostly of synthetic truths, which have to be verified according to known facts rather than the definitions of terms. Since the facts required to verify Islam (or any theistic religion) are missing, its truths cannot be verified.

Peace

afriend2
11-29-2005, 06:11 PM
Assalamu Alaikum to all!

aw Alhamdolillah , bhai (muslim dude) im so proud of you! i always wondered why you took so long on the computer! now i know why, keep up the good work!
:statisfie
for those of you who dont know muslim dude is my brother.
:brother:
Wassalam

czgibson
12-04-2005, 01:05 AM
Greetings Muslim Dude,

Sorry for the late reply.


So, in essense it is being said that you will find it hard to accept a statement from anyone without thinking about it and without any reasonable evidence, basically if someone says a statement and that is it.

That's what I mean, yes.


Did You know, when Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), that he was the Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr accepted it straight away.

So he accepted an argument from authority unquestioningly.


The credibility of Muhammad (pbuh) as a trustworthy and honest person was without any doubt by the people who have met him (pbuh) including these people who ended up opposing his message. (corroborating evidence can be shown if desired)

I don't doubt that people saw the Prophet (pbuh) as a trustworthy and honest person, but that on its own has no bearing on the truth or falsity of what he said.


So just like you didn't accept the Turing Test just because Alan Turing was a clever man, so a lot of the companions (ra) didn't initially accept Muhammad (pbuh) as a Messenger of Allah just because he was a trustworthy man, but they heard his corroborating evidence, the Majestic Qur'an and the rest as they say is history.

OK, but that obviously depends to what extent you believe the Qur'an is reliable evidence.


They found the Noble Qur'an more than reasonable - like you expect you students to consult other sources, they knew of the best poetries by men, the best stories by men, the knowledge of this world, the nature of this world, the actions and motivations of men, eloquence - and from these existing evidences, they knew it was just impossible that the Qur'an was something other than the Word of Allah.

Reading the Qur'an, I find it very hard to accept that it is anything other than a product of human endeavour. I've read books where it is hard for me to understand how a human could have produced them (such as the works of Shakespeare), but the Qur'an has never given me this impression. I'm talking subjectively now, but the case for the Qur'an having been written by god is far from proven.


(Qur'an, Chapter 16 (An-Nahl: The Bee): 10 - 14)
"He it is Who sends down water (rain) from the sky; from it you drink and from it (grows) the vegetation on which you send your cattle to pasture"

It's perfectly possible to understand how rain comes about without needing to bring god into it.


"With it He causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes, and every kind of fruit. Verily! In this is indeed an evident proof and a manifest sign for people who give thought."

Rain is proof that god exists? Sorry, that is just strange.


"And He has subjected to you the night and the day, the sun and the moon; and the stars are subjected by His Command. Surely, in this are proofs for people who understand."

What is all this nonsense about "people who give thought" and "people who understand"? The person who wrote that obviously had no understanding of how rain, day and night actually come about, and so decided to attribute it to god, so that other people who didn't understand would have a way of explaining it.

You've made a number of points that need addressing separately, so forgive me for breaking up your sentences like this:

Fine, you may not find these evidences convincing,

Correct, although I wonder why you present your "evidences" so tentatively. Do you not have confidence in them?


but at the very least it will be hard to deny that God had told you to think about the various things of this world

As far as I'm aware, god has told me nothing.


(i.e. you don't have to worry about verifying Paradise)

If I'm being asked to believe in Paradise, I'd like to have some evidence for it. Imagine I told you that after we die we all go and live in an ice cream factory on Jupiter - you'd quite rightly want some evidence for this belief. If I then told you that you don't need to worry about verifying it, you should just believe it anyway, I expect you would think I had an odd belief, and I'd be surprised if you accepted it.


[God has informed humanity of things] which can be verified (i.e. it can be verified that rain exists and that the movement of the Sun and Moon follow an established rather than random course etc) and so this is collabarating evidence that you said did not exist in the Qur'an.

Well, it's not a hugely wondrous idea to conclude that rain exists. Just because rain exists, that doesn't imply that the things which can't be verified exist too. If that were the case, I could easily make this argument:

Rain exists, therefore the ice cream factory on Jupiter exists.


Once the truth value of the statements referring to "seen" knowledge has been ascertained by oneself, then it means that you would accept the Qur'an as a proof of God and the word of God, thus accepting what the Qur'an refers to "unseen" knowedge (such as Paradise) at face value becames a logical conclusion.

It would have nothing to do with logic and everything to do with faith in authority.


Ok, I will have to check out the other threads, but czgibson, if you notice at the end of these verses like verses 11, 12 and 13 of surah An-Nahl, it stated that the people who will fully appreciate these evidences and the language used to describe these evidences are "people who understand"...

I think it should say "people who believe". If I wanted to understand how rain comes about, I would ask a scientist.

Peace

CWise
12-04-2005, 11:57 AM
Not in relation directly to this thread but to a number:

I have read through a few of the threads posted on Digg in regards to the Islam and felt I had to comment.

The thread "Top Misconceptions About Islam" was especially true, they way in which Islam is potrayed by the media really does make me ashamed to be associated with "The Western World".

It simply comes down to western media (Government Influenced, by that I mean American, gotta hate media control...) giving the ignorent majority of society something to blame.

People are freaken stupid by nature, anything they don't understand or is different are considered 'evil', so to speak, or my favourite "the cause of the problem". Trying to teach or explain it to these stupid people is like telling a crack head that he doesn't need crack.

I am from New Zealand and consider myself an...... agnostic, but I have always considered Islam a beatiful religion and have wanted to learn Arabic for a long time, just have to get my A into G and dooo it!!!!

Anway, I felt I should comment, and that I am at least one of the 'un-stupid' people, who will do my best to change people's perception of Islam.

Thanx!!

Sam from NZ

PS (Majority of us NZers are un-stupid, i hope anyway :-)

Shadow
12-04-2005, 02:48 PM
^welcome to the forum Sam:)
maybe u shud open a thread over here

http://www.islamicboard.com/introduce-yourself/

:welcome:

Silver Pearl
12-04-2005, 04:07 PM
Greetings to you too:)



The argument had been opposed, but not refuted. I'd like to make clear the distinction between natural events which are sometimes attributed to god, and events attributed to god which break the laws of nature, commonly called miracles.

I'm aware of the difference between the two. Also i don't see how Ansar merely opposed your point. I guess we are barking at the same tree but from a different direction.



No, the drugs I referred to earlier actually occur naturally within certain plants.

That is not my point, what i asked was did these people distinquish whether a person came to life after death using plant?





I definitely think that weakens the probability of an event taking place. If I told you that a round square walked into a restaurant and ordered a pizza, wouldn't you say that the fact that that is difficult to understand makes it less likely that it happened?

Not really, just because we can't mentally comprehend something does not mean it is unlikely to have happened.You must understand us humans are very limited in terms of our knowledge.

I'll ask a question, How did we come about?




I've had a go at explaining this earlier on in the thread.

Is that a code for i don't want to go through that root again? :)




Being educated and having families have given us survival advantages in the past, and they help with the project of feeding ourselves.

You don't need to be educated to survive, if we were created simply to survive as you suggested we'd only be programmed to work in that way. However, i'm sure you're aware that humans don't only think 'must keep alive and feed myself' It is human nature to hold on to life and not die, due to fear mostly.



Since there's a lack of evidence that any omniscient being exists, I find it hard to conceive such a being doing anything.

Lack of evidence? Look around you and tell me that all that is only came about by chance. You think chance would create such complex creatures as ourselves? or perhaps we have created ourselves?.....







I don't have a perception of god because I don't perceive him!

So to you God is nothing as he does not exist....what exists then?





It's not really irrelevant - my point was that addiction is not a matter of logic, rather compulsion.

Yeah i believe it was irrelevant as it had no relevance to the issue and was taken out of context. Smoking doesn't start off as being addiction, it starts off as being a choice, where logicality is written all over it but people ignore it, and addiction then takes place afterwards.



Why was the question irrelevant? I asked it because I don't know the answer.

Posing a question does not answer the inticial question, you should have just stated you couldn't answer....



Where are we getting? It's plain to see that the Qur'an preaches the unity of god. Don't get me wrong, I believe it's a hugely important book, but that doesn't mean I believe it contains the truth.

agree to disagree eh?:)



So people can choose to accept the truth? That's very odd.

No it isn't, people have the choice but it is easier to blind yourself and to not abide by rules.



If something is self-evidently true, I cannot choose to accept it, I simply accept it.

No this is where free-will comes in, one has the choice to follow the truth.


Sam-welcome aboard and thanks for your comment

czgibson
12-04-2005, 05:08 PM
Greetings Silver Pearl,


I'm aware of the difference between the two. Also i don't see how Ansar merely opposed your point. I guess we are barking at the same tree but from a different direction.

I've claimed that events previously considered to be miracles can now be explained in a different, more complete way due to the increased knowledge we have of scientific phenomena, just as natural events like rain, which used to be explained by reference to god, can also be explained with no need for alluding to a deity. I've seen denials that this is in fact the case, but I've seen no arguments that conclusively prove I'm wrong in this claim.


That is not my point, what i asked was did these people distinquish whether a person came to life after death using plant?

The plants were used to make the person appear to be dead. They would then wake up (perhaps with the use of another plant), and the audience would be suitably impressed. So, although the witch-doctor performing the "miracle" would claim it was due to his magical powers, in fact there is a perfectly natural explanation.


Not really, just because we can't mentally comprehend something does not mean it is unlikely to have happened.You must understand us humans are very limited in terms of our knowledge.

So you're quite prepared to believe I'm telling the truth when I say that a round square walked into a restaurant and ordered a pizza? Really?


I'll ask a question, How did we come about?

Phew! That's a big question! I came about because my father impregnated my mother at a certain point in the past. If you're asking how humans came about, it's my belief that we share a common ancestor with apes (some of whom we share over 95% of our DNA with) and homo sapiens branched off from the rest of the apes just over 100,000 years ago.


Is that a code for i don't want to go through that root again? :)

Well, yes. I don't have an infinite amount of time.


You don't need to be educated to survive, if we were created simply to survive as you suggested we'd only be programmed to work in that way.

I've never said you need to be educated to survive, simply that education confers a survival advantage. Take a simple example: imagine two cavemen walking independently through the forest. One of them knows how to identify over 100 different species of poisonous plant. The other does not, because no-one has ever taught him about poisonous plants. Which of the two is more likely to survive in the long term?

(I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say "we'd only be programmed to work in that way".)


However, i'm sure you're aware that humans don't only think 'must keep alive and feed myself' It is human nature to hold on to life and not die, due to fear mostly.

I think we do think that way at a basic level, but of course you're right that we think about lots of other things too, many of them directed to supporting this basic impulse. (I would also say that fear of death is probably the most crucial survival mechanism.)


Lack of evidence? Look around you and tell me that all that is only came about by chance. You think chance would create such complex creatures as ourselves? or perhaps we have created ourselves?.....

Howcome you've brought chance into this? I would say it all evolved - how the universe started, I don't know.


So to you God is nothing as he does not exist....what exists then?

Another massive question! What exists? Lots of things exist. The universe and everything in it. As for anything outside the universe - we have no way of knowing.


Yeah i believe it was irrelevant as it had no relevance to the issue and was taken out of context. Smoking doesn't start off as being addiction, it starts off as being a choice, where logicality is written all over it but people ignore it, and addiction then takes place afterwards.

I'll say it again - logic is never a matter of choice. Something is either logical or it's not - our feelings or decisions about it don't matter in the slightest.


Posing a question does not answer the inticial question, you should have just stated you couldn't answer....

I know - I asked a question because I didn't know the answer, you told me to answer it myself, but since I still didn't know what the bad thing was that you referred to all that time ago, I couldn't. I suppose for some reason you don't want to tell me.


agree to disagree eh?:)

It's looking that way.


No it isn't, people have the choice but it is easier to blind yourself and to not abide by rules.

Would you say that someone has the choice whether to accept that 2 + 2 = 4? Truth is truth - it doesn't matter whether you like it or not. If something is self-evidently true, you don't choose whether or not to accept it, you simply accept it or you find yourself in a position of error.


No this is where free-will comes in, one has the choice to follow the truth.

I strongly disagree, for the reasons I've been trying to explain. "Tony Blair is the Prime Minister of the UK." Are you telling me that you're free not to believe that if you so wish?

Peace

PS Welcome, Sam. You sound like you've got some interesting ideas to bring to this discussion, and others too! Enjoy the forum.

Silver Pearl
12-06-2005, 05:43 PM
Greetings,



I've claimed that events previously considered to be miracles can now be explained in a different, more complete way due to the increased knowledge we have of scientific phenomena, just as natural events like rain, which used to be explained by reference to god, can also be explained with no need for alluding to a deity. I've seen denials that this is in fact the case, but I've seen no arguments that conclusively prove I'm wrong in this claim.

Really? i wouldn't quite say that, what has been identified and cleared due to founding new scientific evidence which answer queries that we were unable to do so before is not the same as miracle.

How can science explain Jesus' (pbuh) birth? (note that in Islam Mary-may Allah bless her was not married or touched by any man). How can science explain how people were able to see the angle of death? How can people explain how Solomon could communicate with Jinn and control the wind? Those are factors of miracle.

However, basic simple things in life can also be seen as miracle. Science doesn't explain why, it only states How something happened....

Hence why Science won't be able to prove the non-existence of God nonetheless it may prove God’s existence.


The plants were used to make the person appear to be dead. They would then wake up (perhaps with the use of another plant), and the audience would be suitably impressed. So, although the witch-doctor performing the "miracle" would claim it was due to his magical powers, in fact there is a perfectly natural explanation.

Did the plant make the person's heart stop beating? Only then can it be considered 'death' state So care to share this plant?



So you're quite prepared to believe I'm telling the truth when I say that a round square walked into a restaurant and ordered a pizza? Really?

You go simply on creating an ideology to support your claim, I'm not saying i believe that, simply it doesn't make sense unless you're just being ambigious with what you been by circle square, one shape can be inside the other or someone could name their child circle square (why is beyond me). However, your comparison is of different issue and your hypothesis is hoping that the answer to question will make it better.

God is perfect thus although we are capable of doing bad he isn't, we have the will to do as we please. That doesn't compromise with his power...


Phew! That's a big question! I came about because my father impregnated my mother at a certain point in the past. If you're asking how humans came about, it's my belief that we share a common ancestor with apes (some of whom we share over 95% of our DNA with) and homo sapiens branched off from the rest of the apes just over 100,000 years ago.

Or could it have not been that Apes came from us? Also what are the chances that things will just randomly evolve till humans came about?



Well, yes. I don't have an infinite amount of time.

lol, me neither





(I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say "we'd only be programmed to work in that way".)

what is the hoovers job? to hoover, will it clean dishes? no, it has been programmed (since you refuse to acknowledge free-will) to do just that....



I think we do think that way at a basic level, but of course you're right that we think about lots of other things too, many of them directed to supporting this basic impulse. (I would also say that fear of death is probably the most crucial survival mechanism.)

You mean everyone's goal ultimately is to survive, which tends to be expressed subconsciencely?




Howcome you've brought chance into this? I would say it all evolved - how the universe started, I don't know.

So you're saying chance and random change has nothing to do with evolving?




I'll say it again - logic is never a matter of choice. Something is either logical or it's not - our feelings or decisions about it don't matter in the slightest.

Yes it is a matter of choice, are you saying that it is not logical that smoking is bad? are you saying it is not logical to see that murder is wrong? Ultimately emotions are what clouds us from logic.


I know - I asked a question because I didn't know the answer, you told me to answer it myself, but since I still didn't know what the bad thing was that you referred to all that time ago, I couldn't. I suppose for some reason you don't want to tell me.


It isn't because i didn't want to tell you, i just felt you didn't need to know as it was irrelevant but i suppose i'll make up something and may be you could then try and answer it. Eternal sadness and agony







Would you say that someone has the choice whether to accept that 2 + 2 = 4? Truth is truth - it doesn't matter whether you like it or not. If something is self-evidently true, you don't choose whether or not to accept it, you simply accept it or you find yourself in a position of error.

Yes,

How can you define one? What is 2? Maths is one of those subjects with no real answer to why such is right. We are taught from a small age that 1+1=2 thus we have acquired such knowledge and never stopped to question it. Just like people believed for a long time that spontaneously things came about but Louis Pasteur proved the theory wrong. Don’t get me wrong. Truthfully you don’t really have much choice when it comes to maths and practicing it, that is how society works and it is something we have been taught. Such example proves nothing. 1+1=2 isn’t evidently true, as in bindery 1+1 is not 2, 2 doesn’t exist. Also had we been taught that 1+1=3 we would have also seen that as being ‘truth’




Then if they reject thee, so were rejected messengers before thee, who came with Clear Signs, Books of dark prophecies, and the Book of Enlightenment.

Peace

czgibson
12-07-2005, 08:17 PM
Greetings Silver Pearl,


Really? i wouldn't quite say that, what has been identified and cleared due to founding new scientific evidence which answer queries that we were unable to do so before is not the same as miracle.

That's the point I'm making isn't it? Since there are possible scientific explanations for events such as the raising of the dead and the parting of the Red Sea, that would appear to make the chances of them actually being miracles much more remote.


How can science explain Jesus' (pbuh) birth? (note that in Islam Mary-may Allah bless her was not married or touched by any man).

Personally I would explain the Virgin Birth of Jesus as being a myth attached to the Christian belief-system well after Jesus had died. The Qur'an was written at a time when this belief would have been around for some time. There are also several linguistic questions that suggest the story is doubtful - see here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Birth


How can science explain how people were able to see the angle of death?

I don't know. When was the last time anyone saw the angel of death?


How can people explain how Solomon could communicate with Jinn and control the wind? Those are factors of miracle.

I think the first question should be: what is the evidence that Solomon actually possessed these abilities?


Hence why Science won't be able to prove the non-existence of God nonetheless it may prove God’s existence.

Do you mean that science might discover god somehow?


Did the plant make the person's heart stop beating? Only then can it be considered 'death' state So care to share this plant?

I was wrong. The drug I'm referring to is not found in a plant, but in the pufferfish. In voodoo ceremonies, it is believed by some anthropologists to be present in near lethal doses in a powder known as coup de poudre. Accounts disagree on exactly what the ingredients of this powder are, but the key ingredient seems to be the drug tetrodotoxin.

Tetrodotoxin (http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/ttx/ttx.htm)


You go simply on creating an ideology to support your claim, I'm not saying i believe that, simply it doesn't make sense unless you're just being ambigious with what you been by circle square, one shape can be inside the other or someone could name their child circle square (why is beyond me). However, your comparison is of different issue and your hypothesis is hoping that the answer to question will make it better.

You said:


No it isn't unlikely, just because we find it hard to comprehend such an event occuring does not make its probability weak.

I'm simply showing an example where this is not the case.


Or could it have not been that Apes came from us?

Not as far as anyone knows. Here's a quote from the wikipedia entry on apes:


Current understanding is that the apes diverged from the Old World monkeys about 25 million years ago. The lesser and greater apes split about 18 mya, and the hominid splits happen 14 mya (Pongo), 7 mya (Gorilla), and 6 mya (Homo & Pan).


Also what are the chances that things will just randomly evolve till humans came about?

Evolution contains random and non-random elements. Natural selection is not random, but is determined by brute survival rates.


You mean everyone's goal ultimately is to survive, which tends to be expressed subconsciencely?

The goal of every species is to survive.


So you're saying chance and random change has nothing to do with evolving?

Chance, maybe; as for random change, I'm not sure what you mean.


Yes it is a matter of choice, are you saying that it is not logical that smoking is bad?

(Bad for your health, I assume you mean.)

No, but...


are you saying it is not logical to see that murder is wrong?

I would agree with this. Placing a value-judgment on something is not a matter of logic, even if it is something most people agree with like murder. It's a question of ethics.


Ultimately emotions are what clouds us from logic.

And emotions can determine choice, can they not?


It isn't because i didn't want to tell you, i just felt you didn't need to know as it was irrelevant but i suppose i'll make up something and may be you could then try and answer it. Eternal sadness and agony

I'm sorry for my misunderstandings. Could you restate the question and I'll try to answer it?


How can you define one? What is 2? Maths is one of those subjects with no real answer to why such is right. We are taught from a small age that 1+1=2 thus we have acquired such knowledge and never stopped to question it.

You're quite right. How silly of me. (I'm doubly annoyed because I've made this point myself on a number of occasions!)

OK, how about an example from logic - one which can be proven:

The statement "A = not A" is definitely false.

That sentence contains a self evident truth. I do not believe we have any choice about accepting it. This is very different from accepting a religion, whose truths will be synthetic, yet unverifiable, and so will therefore require a choice. Choosing to accept something as true is very close to simply having an opinion.

Peace

Silver Pearl
12-08-2005, 08:43 PM
Greetings Callum,



That's the point I'm making isn't it? Since there are possible scientific explanations for events such as the raising of the dead and the parting of the Red Sea, that would appear to make the chances of them actually being miracles much more remote.


You can't always rely on possibility but anyways, science does not explain raising from death. The abscence of life, death, can only be defined when one is no longer in the state of living. In order for one not to be alive they can no longer have any of the 7 qualities required for something to be labled as living such as movement, respiration etc. Now have humans explained how a person who died came to life and how could this have been proven?

Bring forth substancial Scientific evidence...





Personally I would explain the Virgin Birth of Jesus as being a myth attached to the Christian belief-system well after Jesus had died. The Qur'an was written at a time when this belief would have been around for some time. There are also several linguistic questions that suggest the story is doubtful - see here:

Once again doubt only comes in because people are so pessimistic. For us we can't imagine how any human can be born only from one parent. It doesn't make it impossible simply becomes we are incompetent of comprehending it. Also the site isn't helpful much, It address biblical quotes and not islamic quotes :)






I don't know. When was the last time anyone saw the angel of death?

Well not exactly yesterday, a long time but i'm sure i can't resurrect those who witnessed these angels if that is what you imply.


I think the first question should be: what is the evidence that Solomon actually possessed these abilities?

Again your arguement is weak and has no substance, Why would history just elevate certain people to have such powers? What do they gain from it? Neither of us can bring Solomon to the jury box so may be we'll leave you to find out these answers for yourself.




Do you mean that science might discover god somehow?

No, God can't be discovered, We'd have to travel, God knows the length, to reach his throne. I meant simply that people have this misconception that Science and religion contradict one another when it is actually that most of the time they aid one another. Science explains the How and Religion explains the Why....If we gain enough knowledge who knows what hidden truth may be relieved.



I was wrong. The drug I'm referring to is not found in a plant, but in the pufferfish. In voodoo ceremonies, it is believed by some anthropologists to be present in near lethal doses in a powder known as coup de poudre. Accounts disagree on exactly what the ingredients of this powder are, but the key ingredient seems to be the drug tetrodotoxin.

So basically people haven't really discovered the whole ingredient that made people seem dead. supposedly Also How can one seem dead? Did their heart stop beating completely? because it is only then that one can be said to be dead....and how did they measure their heart beat? Did they have the relevant equipment.




I'm simply showing an example where this is not the case.

Not really, you merely just put forth an imaginary statement played on language cleverly. Your description of your object can easily be metaphorical. Also you didn't specify what the 'circle square' thing or being was.




Not as far as anyone knows.

Science is developing, there is always plenty of room for error. I ask again do you think that it is possible that Apes could have evolved from us or that pigs could have also evolved from us?






Evolution contains random and non-random elements. Natural selection is not random, but is determined by brute survival rates.

So where does recessive gene come into this? Sometimes species will take on unuseful qualities. Why, What, Who and How does natural selection determine when it is relevant to take place?




The goal of every species is to survive.

So you agree with my statement then. So why do humans strive to survive if really there is no point to their living except to die and rot away in their graves? What was the point for the process of evolution to take place? How did the universe come about?

I'm sure you'll brush my questions under the carpet and state you don't have the answers but if you don't have the answers, i can only wonder how much you've really thought about your views. Not to sound rude or anything, if i do, my mistake it wasn't intended.



Chance, maybe; as for random change, I'm not sure what you mean.

Constant mutation where there is not the slightest trace of any negative out put but rather very beneficial consequences occuring from it.




No, but...

No but.....what?




I would agree with this. Placing a value-judgment on something is not a matter of logic, even if it is something most people agree with like murder. It's a question of ethics.

Forget about other people's ideology and morality for a split second and try and persuade me that there is no logicality in seeing smoking as being bad for ones health.




And emotions can determine choice, can they not?

No, emotion is part of humans, it is both a blessing and danger at times but it does not determine our choices.




I'm sorry for my misunderstandings. Could you restate the question and I'll try to answer it?


Don't worry about it.....



You're quite right. How silly of me. (I'm doubly annoyed because I've made this point myself on a number of occasions!)

OK, how about an example from logic - one which can be proven:

The statement "A = not A" is definitely false.

Once again i'm going to have to prove you to be incorrect about your assumption. 'A=not A' can be true because the compliment of A means that which is not A thus your statement is true and not false when it comes to Compliments.





This is very different from accepting a religion, whose truths will be synthetic, yet unverifiable, and so will therefore require a choice. Choosing to accept something as true is very close to simply having an opinion.

Once again i'm going to have to disagree with you, maths does not show more truth in its formulas than the truth (you'll probably disagree with the word i've used) Me, Ansar and others have put forth. If anything you could say that the truth we speak of is more reliable than going on 'self evident truth' which can contradict itself if you look at another part of maths.

Faith aid us when it comes to accepting truth. Faith, A quality which all humans have. May be we try and lose this asset on purpose...

peace,

Ansar Al-'Adl
12-08-2005, 08:54 PM
Hello Callum :) ,
In case you didn't notice...
http://www.islamicboard.com/comparative-religion/7938-problem-evil-temp-split-teog-thread.html#post124118

czgibson
12-08-2005, 10:12 PM
Greetings Silver Pearl,


You can't always rely on possibility but anyways, science does not explain raising from death.

I don't think you've understood me. A scientist would say that anyone who was said to have been raised from the dead was never really dead to begin with, people just thought they were. That is the scientific explanation of the stories you refer to.


Once again doubt only comes in because people are so pessimistic. For us we can't imagine how any human can be born only from one parent. It doesn't make it impossible simply becomes we are incompetent of comprehending it. Also the site isn't helpful much, It address biblical quotes and not islamic quotes :)

The Islamic belief in the Virgin Birth has only arisen because Christians believe it. You may say otherwise, but I'm convinced that that is a fact.


Well not exactly yesterday, a long time but i'm sure i can't resurrect those who witnessed these angels if that is what you imply.

No, I'm simply implying that people may have claimed to have seen the angel of death a long time ago, but what does that prove? People claim to have seen all sorts of unbelievable things, particularly in stories from long ago.


Again your arguement is weak and has no substance, Why would history just elevate certain people to have such powers? What do they gain from it? Neither of us can bring Solomon to the jury box so may be we'll leave you to find out these answers for yourself.

Sorry, but that's not a weak argument! History has not done what you claim it has done. Again, what is the evidence?


I meant simply that people have this misconception that Science and religion contradict one another when it is actually that most of the time they aid one another.

Have you never heard of the many scientists who were persecuted by religious authorities for their practices and beliefs?


So basically people haven't really discovered the whole ingredient that made people seem dead. supposedly Also How can one seem dead? Did their heart stop beating completely? because it is only then that one can be said to be dead....and how did they measure their heart beat? Did they have the relevant equipment.

No. Again, people only believed they were dead, when in fact, of course, they were alive the whole time. With regard to the "relevant equipment", did people have such equipment in the raisings from the dead that you are advocating?


Not really, you merely just put forth an imaginary statement played on language cleverly. Your description of your object can easily be metaphorical. Also you didn't specify what the 'circle square' thing or being was.

1. Thank you for the "cleverly", but that was no imaginary statement. It was a real statement. Neither you nor I imagined it.

2. So what if my object is metaphorical? Maybe the feeding of thousands with one meal was metaphorical too.

3. I specified that it was a round square. If you have difficulty in conceiving this object, this merely shows that something which is difficult to comprehend is less likely to be believed, my original point.


Science is developing, there is always plenty of room for error. I ask again do you think that it is possible that Apes could have evolved from us or that pigs could have also evolved from us?

No, I do not think those are possibilities. We come from the same family as the apes, and apes in general have been around a lot longer than we have. We are not related to pigs so far as I know, although if you have an alternative theory on this I'm ready to listen.


So where does recessive gene come into this? Sometimes species will take on unuseful qualities.

You mean a non-beneficial mutation? That is due to mutation being unpredictable.


Why, What, Who and How does natural selection determine when it is relevant to take place?

Species that have an advantageous mutation will tend to survive in greater numbers, and thus the mutation will be passed on to more offspring. That is natural selection. Have you never heard of it before?


So you agree with my statement then. So why do humans strive to survive if really there is no point to their living except to die and rot away in their graves?

I do basically agree with your statement, yes.

Humans want to survive in order to produce offspring and ensure the survival of the species as a whole.


What was the point for the process of evolution to take place? How did the universe come about?

Two very different questions, but the answer to both is the same - I don't know.


I'm sure you'll brush my questions under the carpet and state you don't have the answers but if you don't have the answers, i can only wonder how much you've really thought about your views. Not to sound rude or anything, if i do, my mistake it wasn't intended.

You're absolutely right, I don't have the answers, and I'm happy to admit it. They're not particularly urgent questions for me, to be honest. Oh yes, and be assured that I have thought about my belief-system very carefully.


Constant mutation where there is not the slightest trace of any negative out put but rather very beneficial consequences occuring from it.

Mutation is never entirely positive. It's most often negative, in fact, but one negative mutation usually dies out pretty quickly.


No but.....what?

Sorry - I meant "No, but.... I agree with this." I should have expressed it more clearly.


Forget about other people's ideology and morality for a split second and try and persuade me that there is no logicality in seeing smoking as being bad for ones health.

I agree with you about smoking, as I said in my last post. In the section you've quoted, I was talking about murder. You said murder was wrong, and I agree, but that view has nothing to do with logic, since it entails a value-judgment. (It seems we're not understanding each other, since we're having to repeat ourselves a lot.)


No, emotion is part of humans, it is both a blessing and danger at times but it does not determine our choices.

Emotion does not determine our choices? I'm very confused by that.

I like strawberries, but I don't like carrots. Therefore, given the choice, I would choose strawberries, since they produce a pleasant emotional response in me. What could be simpler than that?


Once again i'm going to have to prove you to be incorrect about your assumption. 'A=not A' can be true because the compliment of A means that which is not A thus your statement is true and not false when it comes to Compliments.

:-\

"The complement of A" is not the same as "not A", though, is it? Your definition is incorrect.


Once again i'm going to have to disagree with you, maths does not show more truth in its formulas than the truth (you'll probably disagree with the word i've used) Me, Ansar and others have put forth. If anything you could say that the truth we speak of is more reliable than going on 'self evident truth' which can contradict itself if you look at another part of maths.

These are different kinds of truth, clearly. Also, self-evident truth cannot be self-contradictory, by definition.


Faith aid us when it comes to accepting truth. Faith, A quality which all humans have. May be we try and lose this asset on purpose...

I have faith in certain things, for instance I have faith (not knowledge) that the sun will rise tomorrow, but when it comes to truth I prefer to rely on knowledge, if possible.

Peace

muslim dude
12-14-2005, 08:14 PM
May Allah bestow His peace on these who are guided and may Allah bestow His peace on these who are not guided by guiding them to the straight path.



Sorry for the late reply.

Don't worry. I think we are both in the same boat in the sense our work commitments means that we will find it slow to respond.






So, in essense it is being said that you will find it hard to accept a statement from anyone without thinking about it and without any reasonable evidence, basically if someone says a statement and that is it.

That's what I mean, yes.



Al-Hamdulilah, thanks for teaching me about the concept of argument from authority. You are a credit to your profession of teaching.


OK, but that obviously depends to what extent you believe the Qur'an is reliable evidence.

Al-Hamdulilah, I am glad you have stated it is an evidence of some sort. I just wanted to explain that muslims in general don't just rely on argument from authority, but also makes use of corroborating evidence. You may reject the evidence but you are not denying the existence of the evidence of God. Hence, your original point of muslims only relying on argument from authority has been proved false.



Reading the Qur'an, I find it very hard to accept that it is anything other than a product of human endeavour. I've read books where it is hard for me to understand how a human could have produced them (such as the works of Shakespeare), but the Qur'an has never given me this impression. I'm talking subjectively now, but the case for the Qur'an having been written by god is far from proven.

So if you don't mind me asking czgibson, are you an expert in the field of poetries, stories, knowledge of this world, nature of this world, actions and motivations of men, eloquence and so forth? If so, do you have credentials to back it up or do you expect us to accept your expertise purely based on argument from authority?

(Qur'an, Chapter 49 (Al-Hujraat: The Chambers): 6)
"O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done."

On the otherhand, billions of people throughout current and past times have read the Qur'an and have accepted the statements in it....

(Qur'an, Chapter 40 (Ghafir/Al-Mu'min: The Forgiver/The Believer): 1 - 3)
"Hâ-Mîm."
"The revelation of the Book (this Qur'ân) is from Allâh the All-Mighty, the All-Knower."
"The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment, the Bestower (of favours), Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), to Him is the final return."

There are statements in it that explicity states that it is not a product of human endeavour, but is indeed the Word of God (hence corroborating evidence of God). Not only has it got statements such as these, but it contains other verses (i.e. statements) that talks about both the seen and unseen knowledge in such as way that it is the irrefutable Word of God. How do we know? Well we are humans ourselves and most of us when we are sincere in the seeking the truth, hence we are not too arrogant to acknowledge the limits of human ability and so humble enough to admit, we cannot better the writings in this glorious book.


(Qur'an, Chapter 4 (An-Nisa: The Women): 82)
"Do they not then consider the Qur'ân carefully? Had it been from other than Allâh, they would surely have found therein much contradictions."

(Qur'an, Chapter 10 (Yunus: [Prophet] Jonah): 37)
"And this Qur'ân is not such as could ever be produced by other than Allâh (Lord of the heavens and the earth), but it is a confirmation of (the revelation) which was before it [i.e. the Taurât (Torah), and the Injeel (Gospel), etc.], and a full explanation of the Book (i.e. laws and orders, etc, decreed for mankind) - wherein there is no doubt from the the Lord of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinns,and all that exists)."

(Qur'an, Chapter 52 (At-Tur: The Mount): 34)
"Let them then produce a recital like unto it (the Qur'ân) if they are truthful."

Now one person who claims that they find it very hard to accept Qur'an can only be from God (perhaps this person has not got enough understanding of the limits of human ability) but then at the same time claims the likes of Shakespeare is not the product of human endeavour (thus implying divine origin) seem a little strange to say the least! And what's more amazing is that as far as I know, none of the works of Shakespeare make any claims of it's divine origin (and Allah knows best).

So do you have corroborating evidence to back up you point about the works of Shakespeare being of divine origin or do we have to rely on argument from authority?

(Qur'an, Chapter 52 (At-Tur: The Mount): 43)
"Or have they an ilâh (a god) other than Allâh? Glorified be Allâh from all that they ascribe as partners (to Him)"


Quote: (Qur'an, Chapter 16 (An-Nahl: The Bee): 10 - 14)
"He it is Who sends down water (rain) from the sky; from it you drink and from it (grows) the vegetation on which you send your cattle to pasture"

It's perfectly possible to understand how rain comes about without needing to bring god into it.

Sure it is, to a superficial level... but you gain a better and more significant understanding if you dig a little deeper...


Quote:
"With it He causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes, and every kind of fruit. Verily! In this is indeed an evident proof and a manifest sign for people who give thought."

Rain is proof that god exists? Sorry, that is just strange.

Yep, this is correct. The existence of rain is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of crops is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of olives is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of date-palms is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of grapes is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of every kind of fruit is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.


Quote:
"And He has subjected to you the night and the day, the sun and the moon; and the stars are subjected by His Command. Surely, in this are proofs for people who understand."

The existence of subjection of the night and the day is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of subjection of the sun and the moon and the stars is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.

They did not exist before a point in time, then they existed after a point in time and they operate in a non-random manner. That is a quite a lot of corroborating evidence!

(Qur'an, Chapter 16 (An-Nahl: The Bee): 17 - 19)
"Is then He, Who creates as one who creates not? Will you not then remember?"
"And if you would count the graces of Allâh, never could you be able to count them. Truly! Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
"And Allâh knows what you conceal and what you reveal."


What is all this nonsense about "people who give thought" and "people who understand"? The person who wrote that obviously had no understanding of how rain, day and night actually come about, and so decided to attribute it to god, so that other people who didn't understand would have a way of explaining it.

My understanding about why God stated advise about "people who give thought" and "people who understand" is that maybe God wants you to not just rely on argument from authority but also check out the corroborating evidence and think deeply about them...

(Qur'an, Chapter 52 (At-Tur: The Mount): 35-36)
"Were they created by nothing, or were they they themselves the creators?"
"Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay but they have no firm Belief."

(Qur'an, Chapter 30 (Ar-Rum: The Romans): 8)
"Do they not think deeply (in their ownselves) about themselves (how Allâh created them from nothing, and similarly He will resurrect them)? Allâh has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny the Meeting with their Lord. [See Tafsir At-Tabarî, Part 21, Page 24]."

(Qur'an, Chapter 19 (Maryam: Mary): 67)
"Does not man remember that We created him before, while he was nothing? "

muslim dude
12-14-2005, 08:24 PM
You've made a number of points that need addressing separately, so forgive me for breaking up your sentences like this:


I will forgive you as long as you forgive me breaking up your post into several posts ;)


Quote:
but at the very least it will be hard to deny that God had told you to think about the various things of this world

As far as I'm aware, god has told me nothing.

So why are claiming the God has not told you anything when God has revealed in His Book:

(Qur'an, Chapter 20 (Ta-Ha): 14)
"Verily! I am Allâh! Lâ ilâha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I), so worship Me, and perform As*Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât) for My Remembrance"


Quote:
(i.e. you don't have to worry about verifying Paradise)

If I'm being asked to believe in Paradise, I'd like to have some evidence for it.

As has been stated before, belief in the unseen will come about only after establising that the One who has made these statements is our Creator and Sustainer and is the only one worthy of worship. And God was so kind and merciful to us that He gave us corroborating evidence from the seen (i.e. perceivable) knowledge! Truly, Allah is Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim.


Imagine I told you that after we die we all go and live in an ice cream factory on Jupiter - you'd quite rightly want some evidence for this belief.

If I then told you that you don't need to worry about verifying it,
you should just believe it anyway, I expect you would think I had an odd belief, and I'd be surprised if you accepted it.


Right again teacher, so as a student, I would research and look for corroborating evidence. I would discover that man has yet to go to Mars let alone Jupiter and also discover that there are no ice cream factories have been created in this planet that can survive in a planet mostly made up of gas.

Seeing as this is not materialistically possible with our current technology, it would seem like the teacher is claiming knowledge of the unseen which will mean that we shall need to establish if the one who is making this claim is the Creator and the Sustainer of the seen and unseen, and hence worthy of worship.

So, inorder to assess if this one is worthy of worship, they will need to pass this criteria:

(Qur'an, Chapter 112 (Al-Iklhas: The Purity): 1 - 4)
"Say (O Muhammad (pbuh)): He is Allâh, (the) One."
"Allâh-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks)."
"He begets not, nor was He begotten;"
"there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him."

hmmm.... so czgibson pass does not pass the criteria without a shadow of a doubt! Hence he is not worthy of worship, hence he does not posses the knowledge of the unseen, hence there cannot possibly an ice cream factory in jupiter just based on czgibson's statement, and this point has been proved true without just relying on argument from authority, but I used corroborating evidence, the Noble Qur'an.

(Qur'an, Chapter 12 (Yusuf: [Prophet Joseph]): 111)
"Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur'an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Allâh's existing Books [the Taurât (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allâh] and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe."

"And (remember) the Day when We shall raise up from every nation a witness against them from amongst themselves. And We shall bring you (O Muhammad ) as a witness against these. And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur'an) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allâh as Muslims)."



Well, it's not a hugely wondrous idea to conclude that rain exists. Just because rain exists, that doesn't imply that the things which can't be verified exist too. If that were the case, I could easily make this argument:

Rain exists, therefore the ice cream factory on Jupiter exists.

What? Now are you stating that the ice cream factory on Jupiter caused the rain to exist? Surely not?!!!

Now, this is an argument from authority unless you have further corroborating evidences. Did this factory create the heavens and the earth and everything between? Is it sustaining everything that exists? Did the ice cream factory on Jupiter send down a book to mankind for guidence? How many people worship this ice cream factory on jupiter then?



Quote:
Once the truth value of the statements referring to "seen" knowledge has been ascertained by oneself, then it means that you would accept the Qur'an as a proof of God and the word of God, thus accepting what the Qur'an refers to "unseen" knowedge (such as Paradise) at face value becames a logical conclusion.

It would have nothing to do with logic and everything to do with faith in authority.

I am really sorry, but your counter-point in relation to the point that was made above does not make sense. I am
pretty sure, the original point made above was logical...

muslim dude
12-14-2005, 08:40 PM
If I wanted to understand how rain comes about, I would ask a scientist.


Why ask scientist?
Do you have blind faith in them?
Do you use them as argument from authority?
Do they have knowledge of the unseen?

I will assume you will answer the last three questions with a no. In fact, it will probably be safe to state that the reason you ask them is they have some knowledge of the "seen" (i.e. perceivable knowledge) based on corroborating evidences.

Right, so what is a scientist then? Someone who "has" science.
So what would this science be then? Is there a teacher in the house?!



the word "science" comes from the Latin root scientia, which means "knowing"


Al-Hamdulilah, did I not say you were credit to your profession, czgibson?!

Hey did you know the arabic word for knowledge is "ilm"?
One who posseses knowledge is "mu'alim" which is derived from "ilm" which is also the word used for "teacher".

Also, "Islam" means submitting to the Will of Allah and "muslim" means the one who does "Islam".

Guess what? Al-Hamdulilah, the Lord of all that exists, has blessed a lot of his creation with some of His Knowledge by His permission, including the muslims in this forum!

(Qur'an, Chapter 2 (Al-Baqarah: The Cow): some of 255)
"... And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. ..."

I guess this makes us muslim scientists, henceforth you can ask us how rain comes about, and thus you can have confidence in our answer as scientists, when we state with our corroborating evidences that it comes by the will of Allah, Glory be to Him.

(Qur'an, Chapter 16 (An-Nahl: The Bee): 40)
"Verily, Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: 'Be!' - and it is."

czgibson
12-15-2005, 09:53 PM
Greetings Muslim Dude,


Al-Hamdulilah, thanks for teaching me about the concept of argument from authority. You are a credit to your profession of teaching.

It's kind of you to say so.


Al-Hamdulilah, I am glad you have stated it is an evidence of some sort.

I don't recall stating it was evidence of any kind, but for the record I believe it is evidence of the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) and little more. Sorry to speak about your holy book in this reductive way, but that is my view, based on my minimal acquaintance with the book.


I just wanted to explain that muslims in general don't just rely on argument from authority, but also makes use of corroborating evidence. You may reject the evidence but you are not denying the existence of the evidence of God. Hence, your original point of muslims only relying on argument from authority has been proved false.

I am denying the existence of evidence of god. While I would not say that Muslims rely only on the argument from authority in justifying their faith to non-believers, I would say that it appears to be the form of argument that is used most commonly


So if you don't mind me asking czgibson, are you an expert in the field of poetries, stories, knowledge of this world, nature of this world, actions and motivations of men, eloquence and so forth?

That's a difficult question to answer without sounding arrogant. With regard to poetry, stories and eloquence, the answer is yes for works of Western literature, no for works of the East.

As for knowledge of the world, the nature of the world and men's motivations, I know enough to get by, but I wouldn't say I'm an expert.


If so, do you have credentials to back it up or do you expect us to accept your expertise purely based on argument from authority?

I have a Master's degree in English and Philosophy, but even with credentials it's still an argument from authority! Whether you accept it or not is your choice, of course.


On the otherhand, billions of people throughout current and past times have read the Qur'an and have accepted the statements in it....

The same is true for many other books, such as the Bible, but that does not mean it contains the truth.


There are statements in it that explicity states that it is not a product of human endeavour, but is indeed the Word of God (hence corroborating evidence of God).

I would not see that as corroborating evidence, since it is an assertion that cannot be verified; it can only be accepted on its own authority.


Not only has it got statements such as these, but it contains other verses (i.e. statements) that talks about both the seen and unseen knowledge in such as way that it is the irrefutable Word of God. How do we know? Well we are humans ourselves and most of us when we are sincere in the seeking the truth, hence we are not too arrogant to acknowledge the limits of human ability and so humble enough to admit, we cannot better the writings in this glorious book.

In my view, nobody can better the writing of James Joyce or Will Shakespeare, but I don't believe their words are the words of god.


Now one person who claims that they find it very hard to accept Qur'an can only be from God (perhaps this person has not got enough understanding of the limits of human ability) but then at the same time claims the likes of Shakespeare is not the product of human endeavour (thus implying divine origin) seem a little strange to say the least! And what's more amazing is that as far as I know, none of the works of Shakespeare make any claims of it's divine origin (and Allah knows best).

True, but I never claimed Shakepeare's works to be of divine origin. I simply said I find it hard to understand how someone could have written them (i.e. he was an extraordinarily talented writer).


Sure it is, to a superficial level... but you gain a better and more significant understanding if you dig a little deeper...

I don't see how bringing god into things helps anyone's understanding of rain.


Yep, this is correct. The existence of rain is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of crops is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of olives is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of date-palms is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of grapes is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of every kind of fruit is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.

I don't understand why you think this is the case.


The existence of subjection of the night and the day is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.
The existence of subjection of the sun and the moon and the stars is a corroborating evidence of existence of God.

What do you mean by 'subjection' here?


They did not exist before a point in time, then they existed after a point in time and they operate in a non-random manner. That is a quite a lot of corroborating evidence!

Not really, just a list of assertions which you've connected to god.


My understanding about why God stated advise about "people who give thought" and "people who understand" is that maybe God wants you to not just rely on argument from authority but also check out the corroborating evidence and think deeply about them...

Good point, but so far I haven't seen anything that I would consider to be good corroborating evidence.

Peace

czgibson
12-15-2005, 10:25 PM
Hello again,

I will forgive you as long as you forgive me breaking up your post into several posts ;)

:)


So why are claiming the God has not told you anything when God has revealed in His Book:

(Qur'an, Chapter 20 (Ta-Ha): 14)
"Verily! I am Allâh! Lâ ilâha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I), so worship Me, and perform As*Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât) for My Remembrance"

You're assuming god wrote the book, which, as I've said, I don't believe to be the case.


Right again teacher, so as a student, I would research and look for corroborating evidence. I would discover that man has yet to go to Mars let alone Jupiter and also discover that there are no ice cream factories have been created in this planet that can survive in a planet mostly made up of gas.

So you wouldn't believe it because there's no evidence to support the idea. That's exactly my point of view regarding god.


hmmm.... so czgibson pass does not pass the criteria without a shadow of a doubt! Hence he is not worthy of worship, hence he does not posses the knowledge of the unseen, hence there cannot possibly an ice cream factory in jupiter just based on czgibson's statement, and this point has been proved true without just relying on argument from authority, but I used corroborating evidence, the Noble Qur'an.

I don't know why I would need to be worthy of worship in order to be believed. You say you used something other than the argument from authority, but the quotes you gave from the Qur'an rely solely on the authority of the Qur'an if they are to be credited at all.


[COLOR="SeaGreen"][B][I](Qur'an, Chapter 12 (Yusuf: [Prophet Joseph]): 111)
"Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur'an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Allâh's existing Books [the Taurât (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allâh] and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe."

(I'm always suspicious of anything that defends its own veracity so strongly. If its true, people ought to be able to see that without these extra assertions. In an English idiom (from Shakespeare), this is known as "protesting too much".)


What? Now are you stating that the ice cream factory on Jupiter caused the rain to exist? Surely not?!!!

Of course not. I'm using your own logic to show the absurdity (as I see it) of the case you're making.


Now, this is an argument from authority unless you have further corroborating evidences. Did this factory create the heavens and the earth and everything between? Is it sustaining everything that exists? Did the ice cream factory on Jupiter send down a book to mankind for guidence? How many people worship this ice cream factory on jupiter then?

Let's get it straight: I'm not claiming that this factory does exist, just that there's as much evidence for it existing as there is for god existing.


I am really sorry, but your counter-point in relation to the point that was made above does not make sense. I am
pretty sure, the original point made above was logical...

So: rain exists, therefore god exists, therefore the Qur'an is true, therefore paradise exists? Is that really the argument you're putting forward here, or have I misunderstood you? If that is the argument you're making, there is nothing logically binding about it - it is purely faith-based.


Why ask scientist?

Because scientists are able to explain many of the operations of the natural world. It is their chief area of study.


Do you have blind faith in them?

Certainly not. They're as fallible as anyone else.


Do you use them as argument from authority?

Sometimes, maybe.


Do they have knowledge of the unseen?

They have knowledge of gases and microscopic things that can't be seen by the human eye - do they count?


I will assume you will answer the last three questions with a no. In fact, it will probably be safe to state that the reason you ask them is they have some knowledge of the "seen" (i.e. perceivable knowledge) based on corroborating evidences.

Right, so what is a scientist then? Someone who "has" science.
So what would this science be then? Is there a teacher in the house?!

A scientist is someone who investigates phenomena and constructs hypotheses based on experiment and observation which (hopefully) lead to theories that can explain aforementioned phenomena. The explanations they produce, gathered together, form the body of what we know as science.

That's the way I see it, anyway.


Hey did you know the arabic word for knowledge is "ilm"?
One who posseses knowledge is "mu'alim" which is derived from "ilm" which is also the word used for "teacher".

I did not know this.


Also, "Islam" means submitting to the Will of Allah and "muslim" means the one who does "Islam".

I did know this.


Guess what? Al-Hamdulilah, the Lord of all that exists, has blessed a lot of his creation with some of His Knowledge by His permission, including the muslims in this forum!

You've been blessed with faith, certainly.


I guess this makes us muslim scientists, henceforth you can ask us how rain comes about, and thus you can have confidence in our answer as scientists, when we state with our corroborating evidences that it comes by the will of Allah, Glory be to Him.

That's not how I understand science, as you can see from my "instant definition" above. What experiments have you done on rain to find out how it comes about? Reading the Qur'an, to find the answer "it comes from god"?


(Qur'an, Chapter 16 (An-Nahl: The Bee): 40)
"Verily, Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: 'Be!' - and it is."

This quote sums up what I'm trying to say: what reason is there to believe it? What reason is there to believe that these words were not written by a human? Is there any reason other than the authority of the text itself?

Peace

hidden_treasure
12-16-2005, 05:44 AM
i would like you to prove to me that there is no Creator........













la ilaha ilallah

time_spender
12-16-2005, 08:46 AM
hmmm...
I think the problem with atheists is that they havent understood the truth of themselves.
when their logic is differet you will never satisfy them.
they should first learn about what they are..why they are the human of earth and why they are the only creatures that have the highest amount of choice...i think asking them about these stuffs will help them to come in the line:)
wasalaam

czgibson
12-16-2005, 03:01 PM
Greetings,

i would like you to prove to me that there is no Creator........

I can't do that, just as you can't prove that there is. Atheism is my belief; it's not something that can be proven.


hmmm...
I think the problem with atheists is that they havent understood the truth of themselves.
when their logic is differet you will never satisfy them.
they should first learn about what they are..why they are the human of earth and why they are the only creatures that have the highest amount of choice...i think asking them about these stuffs will help them to come in the line
wasalaam

I'd like to respond, but I'm not really sure what you mean here.

Peace

time_spender
12-16-2005, 03:52 PM
i Czgibson
oh so you are the Atheist!!:playing:
well...i mean first we should understand what we are.that will help us to

converse about God more easily.
Prophet(AS) said:"who understood himself found his God"
or Imam Ali(AS) said:"knowing yourself is the most beneficial knowledge"
so Czgibson,lets talk about the word "Human"
can you tell me what you think about human? what is he?
an animal just like others.execpt that he has a bigger brain and the power

to choose?? a unknown creature that changed till evolution made him like

this?:rollseyes

I will help you! We have a big brain and the power to choose
now give these tools to any other animal and he will become like us.ok?

My question is why WE? why why why?:?
under these whys you will find something blinking!
did i understand myself too you?
Ok...enough for now? continue


P.s.Czgibson do you believe in soul?:)
wasalam And Allah bless you all:brother:
:w:

Silver Pearl
12-16-2005, 07:56 PM
Greeting to you too Callum,

Apologies for the late reply.



I don't think you've understood me. A scientist would say that anyone who was said to have been raised from the dead was never really dead to begin with, people just thought they were. That is the scientific explanation of the stories you refer to.

The holes in the theory of the statements made by your scientist is that they don't have prove that the person was never dead to start off with. How can they assess something unknown to them or could they travel back a thousand years and carry out their theory? (if so would i love to travel with them!)



The Islamic belief in the Virgin Birth has only arisen because Christians believe it. You may say otherwise, but I'm convinced that that is a fact.

Lets not be arrogant now Callum, I'm sure you're well aware of the danger of arrogance. Christianity and Islam have common grounds, after all the message was from the same lord so why shouldn't there be similarities? The story of Jesus (pbuh) arose because the same lord that gave Jesus (pbuh) the gospel gave muhammad (pbuh) the Qur'an.

To suggest that muhammad (pbuh) made a cult of his by taking certain teachings of other religion in itself is absurd.


No, I'm simply implying that people may have claimed to have seen the angel of death a long time ago, but what does that prove?

Would you consider seeing the angel of death a miracle?



People claim to have seen all sorts of unbelievable things, particularly in stories from long ago.

Don't catergorize myths and truth in the same place.




Sorry, but that's not a weak argument! History has not done what you claim it has done. Again,

Exactly my point....you agree with me, *shock horror* but i don't think you understand what i implied so look back if you wish.




Have you never heard of the many scientists who were persecuted by religious authorities for their practices and beliefs?

No need to get so patronising Callum. Of course i have, just because people have persecuted scientist does not mean that the two are contradictory to one another.




With regard to the "relevant equipment", did people have such equipment in the raisings from the dead that you are advocating?

A man had asked to be cremated due to fear of his fate if Allah (swt) resurrected him, the man thought he wouldn't be able to be ressurected if he was cremated but with the power of God he was. Would you like to tell me a man who after being scattered as ashes can still maintain life?



1. Thank you for the "cleverly", but that was no imaginary statement. It was a real statement. Neither you nor I imagined it.

The statement may be real but it does not make it true, its nature isn't true (if it were, you wouldn't have used it as an example). It is something you just conjured to try and prove a point.




2. So what if my object is metaphorical? Maybe the feeding of thousands with one meal was metaphorical too.

We are talking about Islam here, quoting teachings of christianity is irrelevant.




3. I specified that it was a round square. If you have difficulty in conceiving this object, this merely shows that something which is difficult to comprehend is less likely to be believed, my original point.

Likely to believed doesn't make it false.....



No, I do not think those are possibilities. We come from the same family as the apes, and apes in general have been around a lot longer than we have. We are not related to pigs so far as I know, although if you have an alternative theory on this I'm ready to listen.

As far as our limited knowledge goes, pigs and humans have no link?....Could the evidence, that we came from apes, not be refuted if more information was gained?is it not possible that the theory could be wrong? As for my theory.....




Species that have an advantageous mutation will tend to survive in greater numbers, and thus the mutation will be passed on to more offspring. That is natural selection. Have you never heard of it before?

Here we go again with the patronising tone, everyone who has reached YR 7 knows what natural selection is. However, there is the same chance that disadvantages mutation can be passed on, it works both ways.




I do basically agree with your statement, yes.

You could have said that the first time


Humans want to survive in order to produce offspring and ensure the survival of the species as a whole.

is the point of existence to merely die without life after that? Why would nature create something that has no purpose? Name one thing that nature has made that has No purpose what so ever. Quoting something humans don't understand quite well will not be accepted as an example.




Two very different questions, but the answer to both is the same - I don't know.

So how can you conclude as an atheist if you can't even answer the most important questions? isn't it almost like blind faith, after all you base your whole belief on blindness. Surely to call yourself an atheist, it must mean that you have found excellent answers to those questions which refute the existence of God.



You're absolutely right, I don't have the answers, and I'm happy to admit it. They're not particularly urgent questions for me, to be honest. Oh yes, and be assured that I have thought about my belief-system very carefully.

So it wouldnt really bother you that if tomorrow you died (god forbid) and it came to your knowledge that God existed and we were all right that perhaps things might not look so rosey for you?



Mutation is never entirely positive. It's most often negative, in fact, but one negative mutation usually dies out pretty quickly.

Not true, otherwise sickle cell aneamia would have been wiped out.



Sorry - I meant "No, but.... I agree with this." I should have expressed it more clearly.

No problem.



I agree with you about smoking, as I said in my last post. In the section you've quoted, I was talking about murder. You said murder was wrong, and I agree, but that view has nothing to do with logic, since it entails a value-judgment. (It seems we're not understanding each other, since we're having to repeat ourselves a lot.)

In your opinion it isn't logical that murder is morally wrong then?

yes it does seem that we are having to repeat ourselves frequently, as you fail to answer the fundamental questions i ask and also due to my misunderstanding of some of your statements.




Emotion does not determine our choices? I'm very confused by that.

Not in all cases, sometimes yes emotion does infuence our choices but at times it is possible to make a decision without being emotionally influenced.



I like strawberries, but I don't like carrots. Therefore, given the choice, I would choose strawberries, since they produce a pleasant emotional response in me. What could be simpler than that?

It is just the way your taste bud react to different substances, and our stimuli. For example i hate sprouts because it leaves this bitter taste in my mouth, it isn't because i get this tingly feeling of sadness in my stomach





"The complement of A" is not the same as "not A", though, is it? Your definition is incorrect.

nm. misunderstanding....

My statement is correct and so is yours, we are just both talking from different points.




These are different kinds of truth, clearly. QUOTE]

True and i guess we might not even agree on the definition of truth.


[QUOTE]I have faith in certain things, for instance I have faith (not knowledge) that the sun will rise tomorrow, but when it comes to truth I prefer to rely on knowledge, if possible.

Alright,

I think it is time we came to an end on this discussion. I'm well-aware that i raised some questions but it isn't likely you'll be able to answer, due to limited knowledge on the issue humans have.

I think i'll end this intriguing discussion with the following:

You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion

It has been a pleasure discussing with you but for now i'll let you battle it out with muslim dude.

Regards

Silver Pearl

Ansar Al-'Adl
12-16-2005, 08:28 PM
:sl:
From my point of view, it seems like the debate is not going anyway in this manner. This thread is not for discussing evolution, please do so in the other threads. I think we need to stay on target here and stick only to the arguments atheists use against God and the arguments theists use for God. That's why I would prefer to continue our discussion on the problem of evil first, in the other thread.

:w:

hidden_treasure
12-20-2005, 08:03 AM
Greetings,


I can't do that, just as you can't prove that there is. Atheism is my belief; it's not something that can be proven.



I'd like to respond, but I'm not really sure what you mean here.

Peace
hi there,

If we could prove that there is a creator..would you accept Islam as being the truth and become muslim???

czgibson
12-20-2005, 04:41 PM
Greetings hidden treasure,

If we could prove that there is a creator..would you accept Islam as being the truth and become muslim???

The short answer is no, I wouldn't become a Muslim on that basis alone. Here's a more detailed answer:

If you could prove to me that the universe was created by some being at a particular point in time, I would probably become a theist of some kind. I'd then have to accept many other propositions before identifying that being as the god of Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology, and many more propositions after that before becoming a Muslim.

(In all honesty, I don't think any of that is likely to happen.)

Peace

muslim dude
01-01-2006, 06:56 PM
May Allah bestow His peace on these who are guided and may Allah bestow His peace on these who are not guided by guiding them to the straight path.

Insha'allah, I will split my response to czgibson into two sections...

(Sorry for the length and also for not answering all the points raised - I am just worried about going off-topic)



You've been blessed with faith, certainly.

Thanks for saying so. I would like to add faith is based on knowledge and blind faith is based on ignorance...



In my view, nobody can better the writing of James Joyce or Will Shakespeare, but I don't believe their words are the words of god.

Well, I did say these authors did not say their work was the word of God so it would have been pretty silly of you to believe so otherwise! Infact comparing the writings of James Joyce and Will Shakespeare to a book that is claimed to be the Word of God is a silly comparison as well!

The writings of James Joyce and Will Shakespeare would fall into the category of drama, entertainment. Although, analysing the quality of writings can be subjective, there are certain indications that can be used such as the popularity of the books across the cross-section of society and the influence it has on society. Even if you were to claim nobody can better these authors writings in the category of entertainment, this would not be an undisputed claim. Some people would prefer the works of JRR Tolkien, some prefer CS Lewis, several might like Jane Austin, others prefer Charles ****ens, Orwell etc. Infact, some people nowadays might say nobody can beat Rowling's Harry Potter interms of entertainment ;)

However, the Qur'an would fall under the category of a book of guidance, hence can only be compared with other books of guidance (whether the others are revealed or man-made). The fact that the influence Qur'an has had in the past, since revelation 1400 years ago and the influence it is still having nowadays on all the cross-section of society, transcending across so many nations of differing people, languages and cultures, so much so that the teachings in it formed the basis of such a huge number of communities that it is undoubtedly, the undisputed number one book in the category of guidance. I cannot think of any other book that had such a profound effect since 1400 years ago on the human species!



You say you used something other than the argument from authority, but the quotes you gave from the Qur'an rely solely on the authority of the Qur'an if they are to be credited at all.

1)
Well, what I would say regarding this matter is, when someone is teaching another discipline, would you not expect them to refer to their sources of information? I mean surely you would expect a history teacher to teach from the history books, maths teacher from the maths book, english teacher from english literature like Shakespere. Are you going to attempt to debunk the theory of relativity whilst not allowing the proponents of the theory to use any of Einstein's work in defence?!

Then why would it be expected for the proponents of God to abandon their main references to God like the Noble Qur'an? This would be treating religious discipline in a different way to other disciplines and would certainly be a case of double standards!

2)
Also, stating that we rely on the "authority of the Qur'an" is not really an accurate statement. We as muslims do not believe that the Qur'an wrote itself. It would have been better to state we rely on the authority of the author of the Qur'an.

We believe the author to be God as stated in the Qur'an. This is not an assumption, but is a premise that has yet to have been negated.

Now, I know you are going to say something like "this is argument from authority", so in response I will say did I not state that God does not want you to rely just on argument from authority? So He has challenged people who doubt the premise, that the Qur'an is the Word of God, to produce something like it...



What reason is there to believe that these words were not written by a human? Is there any reason other than the authority of the text itself?

Like I said before, the text did not write itself. The premise is that it is the Word of God. If you want to negate the premise, then feel free to take up the challenge.

(Qur'an, Chapter 52 (At-Tur: The Mount): 34)
"Let them then produce a recital like unto it (the Qur'ân) if they are truthful."

So, if as you suggest that an illiterate man living 1400 years ago - in the middle of a desert, far away from the centres of great civilization of the day (Rome and Persia), living among people so ignorant that they used to bury their infant daughters alive, drinking alcohol committing all sorts of corruption,
treating women as objects, worshipping idols and believing in all manner of superstitions such that they used to walk round the Ka'ba naked - that someone living in that kind of enviroment can actually produce the Qur'an by himself...

...then surely you, Callum with your Master's degree in English and Philosophy, living in this technological age in one of the most developed nations with access to the works of so many scholars in eloquence (e.g. Shakespeare), law, history, nature of the world etc. and with http://www.google.com at your fingertips should be able to produce something like it, that will persuade the masses that what you have produced is a guidance containing nothing but the truth, making use of language with eloquence and imagery that surpasses the Qur'an, then you will be able to say that the premise has been negated.

The condition is that if you fail to do so, then you will have to accept the premise, that the Qur'an is the Word of God, hence a good corroborating evidence of existence of God and the failure to fulfil this challenge is the reason why you would end up believing that these words were not written by a human...

muslim dude
01-01-2006, 07:14 PM
I would like to share this verse from Qur'an with you:

(Qur'an, Chapter 25 (Al-Furqan: The Criterion): 17)
"And on the Day when He will gather them together and that which they worship besides Allâh [idols, angels, pious men, saints, 'Iesa (Jesus) * son of Maryam (Mary), etc.]. He will say: 'Was it you who misled these My slaves or did they (themselves) stray from the (Right) Path?'"

and also a part of a hadith narrated by Abu Huraira:

"....On the Day of Resurrection, people will be gathered and He will order the people to follow what they used to worship. So some of them will follow the sun, some will follow the moon, and some will follow other deities; and only this nation (Muslims) will be left with its hypocrites. Allah will come to them and say, 'I am Your Lord.' They will say, 'We shall stay in this place till our Lord comes to us and when our Lord will come, we will recognize Him. Then Allah will come to them again and say, 'I am your Lord.' They will say, 'You are our Lord.'....."
(Source: Bukhari, Volume: 1, Book Number: 12, Hadith Number: 770)

You can almost imagine some people spotting Shakespeare and following him into the fire. You might even get the odd person following that Ice Cream factory in Jupiter...

Evaluating the arguments that have been put forward by czgibson, it is like you are thinking of God as a creation when infact He is the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists (i.e. all of the creations). He is The First and The Last, (i.e. The One without a begining and without an end).

The people who think of God as another creation are in a confused state. This will manifest itself on the Day of Judgement when the people will be called upon to whom they think is God, but in reality were only the creations of God, and will end up following them into the hellfire.

So Callum, I know you are going to argue that you don't believe in God. What I am stating is that in my opinion, you do not know what you do not believe in!

Imagine, you set up a stall in an Open Day for these wanting to do an Master's degree in English. A potential student comes up to the stall, and asks what's so good about a Master's degree in English? You reply by explaining the virtues of the course such as learning about outstanding literature, poetry, grammer, calligraphy and so on. The student then get up stating that it is not for him. You might ask why, after all you spent a lot of time explaining things, and after all the student did show an initial interest. So he replys, "I am not really interested in Differential Equations, Calculus, Geometry and I don't think Trigonometry will be that useful to me in real life." Now, would you not think that the person was very confused and did not understand anything you said about the English course?

Similarly, in order for anyone to make a rational decision on whether to recognise and worship God or not, they will have to understand who God is and what are the attributes of God that allows you to recognise God.

If you do not recognise who God is, then you will be wasting your time by describing Him with the limitations of creation and putting forward arguments on that basis, since these arguments will be very weak indeed. Infact, I think Ansar called these type of arguments, "Strawman Fallacy" (Ma'shallah, this forum is really educational).

(Qur'an, Chapter 43 (Az-Zukhruf: The Gold Adornments): 82) "Glorified be the Lord of the heavens and the earth, the Lord of the Throne! Exalted be He from all that they ascribe (to Him)"

And, you know, subhanallah, the very fact that you are thinking of God as a creation, and hence your resistance in worshipping what's effectively in your mind is a creation, bodes well for you. Muslims also do not worship any creation. There is no one worthy of worship except the Creator of all that exists. The fact that we all refuse to prostrate to any creation is infact the natural disposition God has put into all our hearts. That is why, if Allah were to expand your heart with His Knowledge, then I am sure, by Allah's permission you will be one of these that submits to His Will. Truly, Allah is Al-Lateef (The Subtle One) and Ar-Rasheed (The One who guides).






Right again teacher, so as a student, I would research and look for corroborating evidence.
I would discover that man has yet to go to Mars let alone Jupiter and also discover
that there are no ice cream factories have been created in this planet that can survive in
a planet mostly made up of gas.

So you wouldn't believe it because there's no evidence to support the idea. That's exactly my point of
view regarding god.


My points on the lack of evidence to support the existence of an Ice Cream factory on Jupiter works because we are claiming that the Ice Cream factory on Jupiter is a creation (i.e a material object).

This is why, if you were to say Rain exists, so the Ice Cream factory on Jupiter exists, this would be an absurd argument as you rightly pointed out.

Why would it be absurd? It would be absurd because the existence of one independent creation would not mean that another independent creation exists.

However, to say the following argument is not logical shows your lack of understanding of the attributes of God.



So: rain exists, therefore god exists, therefore the Qur'an is true, therefore paradise exists? Is that really the argument you're putting forward here, or have I misunderstood you? If that is the argument you're making, there is nothing logically binding about it - it is purely faith-based.


So, do you not see that comparing God to a creation is the most absurd of comparisons of all? This is why this argument that has been put forward falls flat.

You have to understand, everytime muslims refer to God, we mean He is the One that is the Creator and Sustainer of all the exists, The First and The Last, The Life Giver.

Therefore, Callum, hope you can understand that stating that rain exists, hence God exists is logically sound. Why? This is because since this entire planet is a creation, (i.e. there was a point in time when earth did not exist, then after the point in time, the earth existed.), logically everything in earth is also created including the rain.

Or to put it in other words, to appreciate the fact that rain exists is the evidence of existence of God is to understand that rain and everything that exists is creation and God is the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.

Once you understand this point, then this will increase your knowledge on who God really is, and insha'allah bring you closer to him...

(Qur'an, Chapter 52 (At-Tur: The Mount): 35-36)
"Were they created by nothing, or were they they themselves the creators?"
"Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay but they have no firm Belief."

(Qur'an, Chapter 30 (Ar-Rum: The Romans): 8)
"Do they not think deeply (in their ownselves) about themselves (how Allâh created them from nothing, and similarly He will resurrect them)? Allâh has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny the Meeting with their Lord. [See Tafsir At-Tabarî, Part 21, Page 24]."

(Qur'an, Chapter 19 (Maryam: Mary): 67)
"Does not man remember that We created him before, while he was nothing? "

czgibson
01-08-2006, 02:32 AM
Greetings Muslim Dude,

Sorry for the late reply (that's my standard opening to every post these days!)



Well, I did say these authors did not say their work was the word of God so it would have been pretty silly of you to believe so otherwise! Infact comparing the writings of James Joyce and Will Shakespeare to a book that is claimed to be the Word of God is a silly comparison as well!

The argument has been put forward that the quality of the writing in the Qur'an is so good that it cannot have been the product of human effort. I'm simply pointing out why this is a fallacious argument.


Although, analysing the quality of writings can be subjective, there are certain indications that can be used such as the popularity of the books across the cross-section of society and the influence it has on society.

Nonsense. Popular or influential books are not necessarily well written. You were closer with your first point here, that judging the quality of writing is essentially subjective.


Even if you were to claim nobody can better these authors writings in the category of entertainment, this would not be an undisputed claim. Some people would prefer the works of JRR Tolkien, some prefer CS Lewis, several might like Jane Austin, others prefer Charles ****ens, Orwell etc. Infact, some people nowadays might say nobody can beat Rowling's Harry Potter interms of entertainment ;)

Absolutely true, but those people would be wrong. ;)


However, the Qur'an would fall under the category of a book of guidance, hence can only be compared with other books of guidance (whether the others are revealed or man-made). The fact that the influence Qur'an has had in the past, since revelation 1400 years ago and the influence it is still having nowadays on all the cross-section of society, transcending across so many nations of differing people, languages and cultures, so much so that the teachings in it formed the basis of such a huge number of communities that it is undoubtedly, the undisputed number one book in the category of guidance. I cannot think of any other book that had such a profound effect since 1400 years ago on the human species!

You could be right about the Qur'an being the number one book of guidance, although there would certainly be other contenders, such as the Tao Te Ching, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Pali canon of Buddhist scriptures and so on.

As for books which have had a profound effect, how about the works of Homer, which have influenced so many authors in the history of Western literature? They're more than twice as old as the Qur'an, too.


1)
Well, what I would say regarding this matter is, when someone is teaching another discipline, would you not expect them to refer to their sources of information? I mean surely you would expect a history teacher to teach from the history books, maths teacher from the maths book, english teacher from english literature like Shakespere. Are you going to attempt to debunk the theory of relativity whilst not allowing the proponents of the theory to use any of Einstein's work in defence?!

The main difference is that these people have many books to work from. They won't say "this one book (two if you include the hadiths) contains everything, and all other books are just interpretations of it".


2)
Also, stating that we rely on the "authority of the Qur'an" is not really an accurate statement. We as muslims do not believe that the Qur'an wrote itself. It would have been better to state we rely on the authority of the author of the Qur'an.

We believe the author to be God as stated in the Qur'an. This is not an assumption, but is a premise that has yet to have been negated.


That is quite clearly an assumption, and the only authority for it is the text of the Qur'an itself.


Now, I know you are going to say something like "this is argument from authority", so in response I will say did I not state that God does not want you to rely just on argument from authority? So He has challenged people who doubt the premise, that the Qur'an is the Word of God, to produce something like it...

And who would judge whether the challenge had been met? As you say, that would be a subjective judgment.

Also, is it really beyond the ability of human wit to come up with a challenge like that? If Shakespeare had claimed his works to have been written by god, and included a similar challenge in one of his texts, would you believe that too?


Like I said before, the text did not write itself.

I don't remember claiming that it did. It's my belief that it was written by a human or a group of humans. Who, I don't know.


The premise is that it is the Word of God. If you want to negate the premise, then feel free to take up the challenge.

There's no need for me to do that - who would be able to decide whether I'd succeeded?


So, if as you suggest that an illiterate man living 1400 years ago - in the middle of a desert, far away from the centres of great civilization of the day (Rome and Persia), living among people so ignorant that they used to bury their infant daughters alive, drinking alcohol committing all sorts of corruption,
treating women as objects, worshipping idols and believing in all manner of superstitions such that they used to walk round the Ka'ba naked - that someone living in that kind of enviroment can actually produce the Qur'an by himself...

How do you know he did it by himself? How do you know he had anything to do with its composition?


...then surely you, Callum with your Master's degree in English and Philosophy, living in this technological age in one of the most developed nations with access to the works of so many scholars in eloquence (e.g. Shakespeare), law, history, nature of the world etc. and with http://www.google.com at your fingertips should be able to produce something like it, that will persuade the masses that what you have produced is a guidance containing nothing but the truth, making use of language with eloquence and imagery that surpasses the Qur'an, then you will be able to say that the premise has been negated.

Why would this be necessary to negate that premise? There are plenty of books which contain nothing but the truth, and with excellent uses of language. Incidentally, while I haven't read the Qur'an in Arabic (or even in English all the way through), it clearly doesn't translate well.


The condition is that if you fail to do so, then you will have to accept the premise, that the Qur'an is the Word of God, hence a good corroborating evidence of existence of God and the failure to fulfil this challenge is the reason why you would end up believing that these words were not written by a human...

I couldn't write as well as Shakespeare, but I know for a fact that his words were written by a human. We're going in circles here...


You can almost imagine some people spotting Shakespeare and following him into the fire. You might even get the odd person following that Ice Cream factory in Jupiter...

Shakespeare's going into the fire, is he? Oh well. I expect most of the people I admire are too.


Evaluating the arguments that have been put forward by czgibson, it is like you are thinking of God as a creation when infact He is the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists (i.e. all of the creations). He is The First and The Last, (i.e. The One without a begining and without an end).

I am thinking of god as a creation, you are absolutely right!


The people who think of God as another creation are in a confused state. This will manifest itself on the Day of Judgement when the people will be called upon to whom they think is God, but in reality were only the creations of God, and will end up following them into the hellfire.

:?


So Callum, I know you are going to argue that you don't believe in God. What I am stating is that in my opinion, you do not know what you do not believe in!

You're very close to the truth here - I find the idea of god utterly incomprehensible. I can't understand how people can believe it.


Similarly, in order for anyone to make a rational decision on whether to recognise and worship God or not, they will have to understand who God is and what are the attributes of God that allows you to recognise God.

I'm not making a decision on whether to recognise and worship god - to me, god is a fictional character invented by humans.


And, you know, subhanallah, the very fact that you are thinking of God as a creation, and hence your resistance in worshipping what's effectively in your mind is a creation, bodes well for you. Muslims also do not worship any creation.

I see what you've done there - very clever. :)


Therefore, Callum, hope you can understand that stating that rain exists, hence God exists is logically sound. Why? This is because since this entire planet is a creation, (i.e. there was a point in time when earth did not exist, then after the point in time, the earth existed.), logically everything in earth is also created including the rain.

The point is you've made an assumption in your premise, therefore your argument is not logically binding. In form your argument may well be valid, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily true. Here's an example of a similar argument (exaggerated to make the point clear):

If all chickens are elephants,
and all elephants are bananas,
then all chickens are bananas.

That argument is logically valid, but it's not logically binding, because it's clearly nonsense, filled as it is with assumptions that bear no resemblance to the real world.

You've made the assumption that god is the creator, therefore your argument is based on faith, and nothing more. That's fair enough, of course, you're free to believe what you like - just be aware that faith-based arguments are rarely convincing to an outsider who does not share that faith.

Peace

sumay28
01-08-2006, 04:26 AM
Wild salmon hatch from eggs buried in gravel on the bottoms of streams. Spaces between rocks in the gravel let water move around the eggs, which keeps them healthy. Plants on the side of the stream make shade on the water to keep it cool enough for salmon eggs. After they hatch, young salmon journey to ocean, where they spend several years growing up.
Once fully grown, they begin the journey back to the stream where they were born. No one is really sure how they find their way back to that one special stream. Some scientists think the salmon can smell very small differences in the water from different rivers, and that is how they know where to go. As salmon head upstream into rivers, they must pass all the same obstacles they faced as young fish. Still, they keep swimming. They are so strong they can swim against the current and jump up small waterfalls! Meanwhile, the bears and predators gather together like it's a holiday to catch em. And they do it all without food -- spawning salmon don't eat once they begin their swim upstream. During this time they go through extreme physical changes. They develop a beak-like thing, and their color changes. Once they reach the place where they hatched, the salmon spawn. Female salmon dig holes in the gravel with their tails and lay their eggs in the holes. Male salmon fertilize the eggs with a fluid called milt, then the female buries the eggs. When spawning is over, the adult salmon die. Their bodies become food for all kinds of scavenging animals, and also provide nutrients to the plants and soil of the forests that grow near the streams. In a few months, if all goes well, their eggs will hatch and the baby salmon will begin the cycle all over again.


ALLAHU AKBAR!!!

And still... people would rather accept no explanation for it, instead of just admitting even the POSSIBILITY that there is a Creator, a Governer... a GOD.

time_spender
01-08-2006, 02:22 PM
sumay28 :

Wild salmon hatch from eggs buried in gravel on the bottoms of streams. Spaces between rocks in the gravel let water move around the eggs, which keeps them healthy. Plants on the side of the stream make shade on the water to keep it cool enough for salmon eggs. After they hatch, young salmon journey to ocean, where they spend several years growing up.
Once fully grown, they begin the journey back to the stream where they were born. No one is really sure how they find their way back to that one special stream. Some scientists think the salmon can smell very small differences in the water from different rivers, and that is how they know where to go. As salmon head upstream into rivers, they must pass all the same obstacles they faced as young fish. Still, they keep swimming. They are so strong they can swim against the current and jump up small waterfalls! Meanwhile, the bears and predators gather together like it's a holiday to catch em. And they do it all without food -- spawning salmon don't eat once they begin their swim upstream. During this time they go through extreme physical changes. They develop a beak-like thing, and their color changes. Once they reach the place where they hatched, the salmon spawn. Female salmon dig holes in the gravel with their tails and lay their eggs in the holes. Male salmon fertilize the eggs with a fluid called milt, then the female buries the eggs. When spawning is over, the adult salmon die. Their bodies become food for all kinds of scavenging animals, and also provide nutrients to the plants and soil of the forests that grow near the streams. In a few months, if all goes well, their eggs will hatch and the baby salmon will begin the cycle all over again.


ALLAHU AKBAR!!!

And still... people would rather accept no explanation for it, instead of just admitting even the POSSIBILITY that there is a Creator, a Governer... a GOD.
:sl:
Allahu Akbaro kabira!
It was mazing sis sumay28..thanx for sharing!
its true...everything has a reason and its God!
czgibson,can i ask u something!
U must know some geology...the geologist say that Dinasaurs were on earth million years ago...after their extinction starts new smaller beasts apear on earth....they become smaller and smaller till the time is appropraite for humans too live,....the only creature that has the power 2 rule earth appears in a time that beast are smaller in size(A lion is beter than a meat-eater dinasaur!!!)
Now the question is who controled the conditions so it was good enough for humans 2 live? who made the creatures smaller so Human can live and rule earth while if he was born in Dinasaurs time he would taste the extinction!!
did the nature decide to do the procedure so when the conditions got better he born the only choosing-ruler creature? nature has a brain?
Whats the answer...can u tell me plz...i wanna now how u make stories for nature?!!
Wasalam and peace
:w:
p.s.sorry 4 the mistakes!

czgibson
01-08-2006, 02:52 PM
Greetings Time Spender,


czgibson,can i ask u something!


Certainly.


U must know some geology...the geologist say that Dinasaurs were on earth million years ago...after their extinction starts new smaller beasts apear on earth....they become smaller and smaller till the time is appropraite for humans too live,....the only creature that has the power 2 rule earth appears in a time that beast are smaller in size(A lion is beter than a meat-eater dinasaur!!!)

Some creatures grew smaller, some grew bigger. The blue whale, for example, is the largest animal alive today. It's also the largest animal that has ever lived on the planet. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.


Now the question is who controled the conditions so it was good enough for humans 2 live? who made the creatures smaller so Human can live and rule earth while if he was born in Dinasaurs time he would taste the extinction!!
did the nature decide to do the procedure so when the conditions got better he born the only choosing-ruler creature? nature has a brain?
Whats the answer...can u tell me plz...i wanna now how u make stories for nature?!!


The simple answer is that nobody controlled the conditions you speak of. Nature accomplished this by itself.

Peace

time_spender
01-08-2006, 07:08 PM
Greetings Time Spender,


Certainly.
Some creatures grew smaller, some grew bigger. The blue whale, for example, is the largest animal alive today. It's also the largest animal that has ever lived on the planet. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

the simple answer is that nobody controlled the conditions you speak of. Nature accomplished this by itself.

Peace
:sl:
Greetings czgibson
first of all Whales live in the sea and its has nothing to do with humans!!
And its a simple fact that the beasts that were meat eaters and lived on land grew smaller or atleast became less dangerous....:)

and now,is nature intelligent?
it gives birth to the only creature that has the power to choose(so he can rule the earth!) when the appropriate time comes! do u mean nature knows that what he's doin?
If ur saying this then we believe that God did that with nature!
Hope u understand what i,m saying!!!
peace and :w:

muslim dude
01-22-2006, 07:26 PM
May Allah bestow His peace on these who are guided and may Allah bestow His peace on these who are not guided by guiding them to the straight path.

Bismillah.

Hi Callum,

Listen, hope you do not mind, but our discussion seems to have kind of split into two - one about the Qur'an and the other about existence of God so I am just going to concentrate on the latter, and insha'allah cover you points of comparing Shakespeare et al with the Qur'an in another more appropriate thread.



The point is you've made an assumption in your premise, therefore your argument is not logically binding. In form your argument may well be valid, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily true. Here's an example of a similar argument (exaggerated to make the point clear):

If all chickens are elephants,
and all elephants are bananas,
then all chickens are bananas.

That argument is logically valid, but it's not logically binding, because it's clearly nonsense, filled as it is with assumptions that bear no resemblance to the real world.

Ok, in my defence I would say that I was not making an assumption that God is the creator. Rather, I have attached a label "God" to The Creator. What you have to understand, is that many, many people in different cultures, different times and different locations have attached different labels to the same Entity. While it is true to say that people have differed on the attributes and sometimes on the essence of this Entity, one of the more common factors would be that this One was acknowledged as The Creator and The Sustainer of all that exists.

This would mean the argument that was put forward by myself in our discussion would not only be logically sound, but logically binding. The difference being syntactic rather than semantic so to speak.

In fact, I would say that "atheists" also have have attached a label to the The Creator and The Sustainer of all that exists...

So for your argument to be similar to what I said, it will run more like the following:

If all chickens are gallus gallus,
and all gallus gallus lay eggs,
then all chickens lay eggs.

Right, so you are asking what is this label that is used by atheists? I will let you answer that one by yourself.



The simple answer is that nobody controlled the conditions you speak of. Nature accomplished this by itself.


Nature is your label!

If you accept this, then I guess it is more of a question of discussing the attributes and essence of "The Creator and Sustainer of all that exists" rather than the existence of the "The Creator and Sustainer of all that exists" which is probably a separate discussion suitable for another thread.

I would like to conclude (insha'allah) our discussion by adding, though it is possible to use logic to derive the existence of "The Creator and Sustainer of all that exists" and some more of His attributes, muslims and perhaps other theists would argue that inorder to get a fuller understanding of the attributes and essence of The Creator, we as human beings, with our limited knowledge are in need of Divine Revelation for a clearer understanding. For muslims this would be the Qur'an and the Sunnah of The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

(Qur'an, Chapter 112 (Al-Iklhas: The Purity): 1 - 4)
"Say (O Muhammad (pbuh)): He is Allâh, (the) One."
"Allâh-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks)."
"He begets not, nor was He begotten;"
"there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him."

mysticalsilence
12-02-2006, 07:26 AM
Greetings Aamirsaab,

Do the points you mention seem like a satisfactory solution to the problem of evil to you?

The point is, do we need god to remind us that there are "poor souls" in the world? Do we need god to remind us that we can be killed at any time? I'm perfectly aware of these things even though I don't believe in god.

Peace


You know what’s funny?
What you call a problem I actually see as a solution!

I would actually call God lame if there was no evil on this planet and we where not capable of it.
Imagine humanity knowing the existence of God and communicating with him directly and also not being capable of doing evil.

a) We (humanity) wouldn’t be intellectually challenged to do anything we would just refer to god for the answer or for him to do it for us.
B) We would not really have free will because not being capable of doing evil and only good would limit our existence. I mean we wouldn't even be able to develop or conclude the relativity of evil it self!
c) Everyone would be awarded heaven just for being? (I especially like the concept of degrees of heaven in Islam getting what you deserve based on what you have done)

So not having evil would actually go against our existence as human beings how can you have free will when you cannot do evil?

Even as an atheist are you not thankful for your existence even if it was a bunch of atoms that just happened to be at the right time to form an embryo while your mother was pregnant. You have probably done things that are morally wrong in your lifetime and some people do even worst but in general everyone is thankful their existence.

That is why in general Humanity is also reflective of that and thankful for existence regardless of evil. The beauty of humanity itself is that we can choose and lead ourselves to where ever we choose.

Evil is what separates us from animals and makes our social behavior complex (free will).

Its like saying I want to watch TV but I don’t want to pay for the electricity.
Evil is part of the functionally of free will we are not complete without it.

Am I the only one that see beauty in evil(not evil deeds but its existence)



***

Also while I am at it I would also like to use an analogy that Denys Turner used to perhaps answer the question on why God might of created us.


its like asking why did Mozart create his music?
One could answer because he needed money or wanted to be famous.
But the simple and clear answer would be just because he could and it was an exercise of his creative powers.

I just think God created us because he could as simple as that.

root
12-03-2006, 09:37 PM
mysticalsilence - How do you know that you have free will? Philosophical tradition claims that no choice is free unless it is uncaused: that is, unless the "will" is exercised independently of all causal influences. Choices are made by brains, and brains operate causally, that is they go from one state to the next as a function of antecedent conditions.

Your brain merely rationalises evil as something that it learns, not something that exists indapendently. Additionally, to claim that animals do not have free will then why does a chimp eat a banana, but refrains from eating it when the alpha male would spot him doing so?

IbnAbdulHakim
12-03-2006, 09:44 PM
mysticalsilence you amaze me, in a brilliant way of course, i never ever thought of things in such a way. Thanks :D

mysticalsilence
12-03-2006, 10:47 PM
mysticalsilence - How do you know that you have free will? Philosophical tradition claims that no choice is free unless it is uncaused: that is, unless the "will" is exercised independently of all causal influences. Choices are made by brains, and brains operate causally, that is they go from one state to the next as a function of antecedent conditions.

Your brain merely rationalises evil as something that it learns, not something that exists indapendently. Additionally, to claim that animals do not have free will then why does a chimp eat a banana, but refrains from eating it when the alpha male would spot him doing so?
You know I really don’t know how to answer such a thing really because it sort of makes sense and I understand what you mean but it makes us look very robotic.
But let me give you a on the spot answer don’t counter argue it to much or quote me on it harshly as if it was my final answer.

First of there are major difference in what I meant by free will and as you took it. I'm sorry I dint should of put more effort into a clearer vocabulary.

Everyone knows that every "decision"(lets call it that) is caused(chemically and environmentally) in animals and also humans. But it’s not the cause of the decision itself that matters.
Amongst many other features of the human brain is the fact that we can take decisions that go against survival.(natural selection)

For example:
Suicide/self mutilation this really indicates a free will like state of mind for the humans vs. animals because whatever the cause its a "decision" an animal could not take because it is against its own survival.
Also your example of the chimp shows that its a mostly instinct based reaction. A Human will sometimes put himself in the face of danger for no apparent reason and animals will not do that that is what I mean by free will.

Even though I replied to you, as for your base using the philosophical claim to begin with!
I don’t know much about it I will look into it. I don’t have habit of just believing what people tell me is the standard. (At least not anymore)

Reply let me know if you think there is a weakness in this and I will look into it further.

Ali.

Abdul Fattah
12-03-2006, 11:31 PM
mysticalsilence - How do you know that you have free will? Philosophical tradition claims that no choice is free unless it is uncaused: that is, unless the "will" is exercised independently of all causal influences. Choices are made by brains, and brains operate causally, that is they go from one state to the next as a function of antecedent conditions.

First of all there is absolutely no research that shows us that the outcome of a choice is as simple as a chemical reaction. Science is far from showing us that thinking is nothing more then a causal process. There are to many questions when it comes to understanding how the brain works.

But what is even more striking, is that suppose science would show that there's nothing more to our consciousness then just physical processes in our brains. Even if science would be able to show us just how the whole brain works, and what factors are decisive in the outcome of our choices, we still wouldn't be able to foresee the decisions a person will make. Because some processes that occur in our brain rely on the collisions of electrons. these collisions would require quantum mechanics to calculate, and as for now quantum mechanics at best can only give us a probability of an outcome.


Your brain merely rationalizes evil as something that it learns, not something that exists independently. Additionally, to claim that animals do not have free will then why does a chimp eat a banana, but refrains from eating it when the alpha male would spot him doing so?

He doesn't eat it out of opportunitism. He does not eat it because he realizes the consequence of eating it and he fears those consequences. Now doing something with a motive is still not the same as doing something out of free will. To exercise free will one has to do something out of ideology. For example fasting to worship even though your body asks for food, spending your time praying even though your mind would like to indulge in vain entertainment. That is the true free will.

Chuck
12-04-2006, 09:46 AM
Speaking of free choice and evolution, here is something:



Sense of justice discovered in the brain

A brain region that curbs our natural self interest has been identified. The studies could explain how we control fairness in our society, researchers say.

Humans are the only animals to act spitefully or to mete out "justice", dishing out punishment to people seen to be behaving unfairly – even if it is not in the punisher's own best interests. This tendency has been hard to explain in evolutionary terms, because it has no obvious reproductive advantage and punishing unfairness can actually lead to the punisher being harmed.

Full article: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn10239&feedId=online-news_rss20

Woodrow
12-04-2006, 01:15 PM
Just my own random thoughts.

Some people will make the statement that matter exists simply because it exists no further explanation needed. And that statement makes sense and needs no further interpretation.

Yet, when we say Allah(swt) exists simply because He exists, That is immediatly seen as an invalid statement and needs irrefutable documentation of it's truth.

People will say matter is quantifiable and qualifiable and will produce tools that show it can be measured. Yet, the tools can only measure what they are designed to be measured. They are designed with the preconcieved concept as to what they should find. The tool in itself is considered the proof that it works.

But, when we use tools of faith, revealed word, and historical observation to measure the existance of Allah(swt) we are told that our methods are flawed because we are using them with a preconcieved idea as to what we will find. We are told we have designed tools, with the concept of what they should find. We are considering our tools in themselves as proof they work


Us Humans sure are funny creatures.

Trumble
12-04-2006, 08:03 PM
My take on that would be that I agree, but I note a certain inherent contradiction.


Yet, when we say Allah(swt) exists simply because He exists, That is immediatly seen as an invalid statement and needs irrefutable documentation of it's truth.

I certainly don't see it that way, and fully understand why muslims don't. However you happen to view God, or 'reality', or both (including atheistic materialism), somewhere down the line you need to accept some sort of faith based assumptions. What puzzles me, though, is why that can't just be accepted as an obvious truth. With that in mind


But, when we use tools of faith, revealed word, and historical observation to measure the existance of Allah(swt) we are told that our methods are flawed because we are using them with a preconcieved idea as to what we will find. We are told we have designed tools, with the concept of what they should find. We are considering our tools in themselves as proof they work

But why bother? From a purely personal point of view I think muslims would be better just taking the 'acceptance' approach. As I've said before, I find attempts to 'prove' the existence of God and truth of the Qur'an via so-called Qur'anic miracles and such utterly pointless, not least because few other than muslims, even when approaching with something resembling an open mind, find them even vaguely convincing of anything. Outside of an Islamic context they simply aren't convincing... and no desperate desire to 'deny' the existence of God is needed to think that way. The whole thing just gives the impression of an urgent need on the part of muslims to prove it to themselves rather than to anybody else, which I know is totally unfounded.

Woodrow
12-04-2006, 09:09 PM
The whole thing just gives the impression of an urgent need on the part of muslims to prove it to themselves rather than to anybody else, which I know is totally unfounded.

You are correct. I can understand why people would think that is what we are doing. That is something I had not thought about. Thank you for bringing that to attention.

We do not have any need to prove anything to others. We know Allah(swt) exists and that is all that matters. No need in trying to offer proof to anyone who is not receptive. It may be best if we just restrict our proofs to those who express a desire to learn why we believe as we do.

Ansar Al-'Adl
12-04-2006, 09:52 PM
Greetings Trumble,
It is definitely erroneous to assert that such evidences are unconvincing absolutely outside of an Islamic context as demonstrated by the testimony of thousands of converts who embrace Islam on the basis of rational and objective investigation. It is one thing to claim that you find the evidences unconvincing, but it is another to assert that they are unconvincing to every non-muslim - by all means share your criticism of the evidences if you see any significant flaw in our argumentation. You can look at my posts in the the various threads on God or the Qur'an or the life of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh and provide your criticism.

You see, in Islam we do not believe in blind faith. We don't just blindly accept the creed passed down by our ancestors. We use faith, but our faith is constructed upon rational and objective study of the truth, of the life of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, of the Qur'an and of other theologies and ideologies. Muslims maintain that Islam stands above all other theologies, ideologies and philosophies in its logical coherence and its ability to provide a complete explanation for our existence and place in the universe. As I said in another post:
On the contrary Islam has everything to do with logic. Faith should not be placed in illogical doctrines passed down by one's ancestors. Islam provides the most coherent, comprehensive and parsimonious explanation for our existence. It is analogous to how scientists accept the theory that provides the most parsimonious explanation for a specific observable phenomenon.Personally, when I present these evidences for the veracity of Islam - whether they be arguments on the doctrines themselves, the Qur'anic evidences, the life of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, etc. - I find the objections proferred by atheists and other disbelievers to be feeble and unconvincing. Many of these atheists realize this as well; Dr. Jeffery Lang and Dr. Laurence Brown have both authored books on the subject, both having been staunch atheists all their life. So the evidences clearly are convincing people from the other side, and certainly motivating them to become their ardent bearers. As such, in order to advance a viable objection, it takes a more rational and objective critique of the evidences than to simply assert that they "aren't convincing".

Regards

http://www.islamicboard.com/discover-islam/31757-there-any-real-proof-islam-right-religion.html

Trumble
12-04-2006, 10:26 PM
It is definitely erroneous to assert that such evidences are unconvincing absolutely outside of an Islamic context as demonstrated by the testimony of thousands of converts who embrace Islam on the basis of rational and objective investigation. It is one thing to claim that you find the evidences unconvincing, but it is another to assert that they are unconvincing to every non-muslim - by all means share your criticism of the evidences if you see any significant flaw in our argumentation. You can look at my posts in the the various threads on God or the Qur'an or the life of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh and provide your criticism.

Fair point, it would certainly be inappropriate to generalize to that extent, although I did say previously that;


because few other than muslims, even when approaching with something resembling an open mind, find them even vaguely convincing

I think 'few' is accurate.


As such, in order to advance a viable objection, it takes a more rational and objective critique of the evidences than to simply assert that they "aren't convincing".

True, certainly, when each is approached individually. I have, however, put forward viable (I wouldn't claim definitive) objections regarding a selection already across assorted threads and really don't think it would achieve much to do so again. As an entity, though, I'm not sure that is required, simply because if they were 'convincing' far more people would have been convinced by them. Some care is needed in clarifying what I am talking about here. Obviously huge numbers have been convinced by the Qu'ran in many ways, as many have been convinced by the Bible in much the same ways, but you will need to 'convince' me that much conversion to Islam has occurred because of "rational and objective investigation" in the scientific sense.


Personally, when I present these evidences for the veracity of Islam - whether they be arguments on the doctrines themselves, the Qur'anic evidences, the life of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, etc. - I find the objections proferred by atheists and other disbelievers to be feeble and unconvincing.

As I find the science based 'evidences' feeble and unconvincing, which is both precisely my point and as far as I went. I just think Islam has far stronger arguments, as theology, as metaphysics, and as a way for individuals to lead spiritual, fulfilling and happy lives, than messing about with attempted scientific parallels. Of course, as you don't view them that way, you won't agree.

I'd better add to that that I can certainly agree halfway regarding the 'logic' of Islam, compared with the other monotheistic religions - certainly if I believed in God, at least in the way you do, I would most certainly be a muslim. Islam is the logical conclusion to the monotheistic tradition, and were I a Christian I would no doubt happily 'revert' after suitable "rational and objective investigation". But I'm not. Both traditions share the same basic assumption, one I cannot accept, and in the absence of any evidence (in my opinion) cannot accept. My own beliefs are based on faith, but a faith underpinned by the fact they make far more inherent sense to me than theism. They fit my gut feelings as to the way things are. And also have rather more 'scientific' backing (in my opinion), but that isn't really relevant... I don't need to find such backing, hence my question as to why some muslims do.

Ansar Al-'Adl
12-05-2006, 08:59 AM
Hi Trumble,
Thanks for your post.

As an entity, though, I'm not sure that is required, simply because if they were 'convincing' far more people would have been convinced by them.
My response to that assertion would be that the vast majority of people have not had the arguments explicated for them in a lucid and comprehensible manner that they can relate to. As well, aren't we assuming here that human beings are always rational? We know that the interplay of hormonal intricacies in the brain with external environmental factors gives rise to a host of attitudes, convictions and decisions that are constructed on personal biases and desires and not rational grounds.

but you will need to 'convince' me that much conversion to Islam has occurred because of "rational and objective investigation" in the scientific sense.
Okay. Rather than throw a number of testimonies from converts at you, I would like to introduce you to some excerpts which I posted from Dr. Jeffery Lang's book here:
http://www.islamicboard.com/comparative-religion/14884-reflections-some-ayat.html

I just think Islam has far stronger arguments, as theology, as metaphysics, and as a way for individuals to lead spiritual, fulfilling and happy lives, than messing about with attempted scientific parallels. Of course, as you don't view them that way, you won't agree.
If you are referring to my comparison with scientific theories then I don't think such a comparison comes at the expense of those other arguments.

certainly if I believed in God, at least in the way you do, I would most certainly be a muslim.

Islam is the logical conclusion to the monotheistic tradition, and were I a Christian I would no doubt happily 'revert' after suitable "rational and objective investigation".
I am impressed by your honesty and open-mindedness :thumbs_up


But I'm not. Both traditions share the same basic assumption
Absolutely; I would concurr that the transition from Judaism or Christianity to Islam certainly involves less of a transformation in one's beliefs than from atheism to Islam which must be quite revolutionary for one's outlook on life and the universe. When you think about it, you admire the courage it takes for an individual to undertake such a journey, whether rightly or wrongly, depending on your perspective.

My own beliefs are based on faith, but a faith underpinned by the fact they make far more inherent sense to me than theism. They fit my gut feelings as to the way things [I]are. And also have rather more 'scientific' backing (in my opinion), but that isn't really relevant
If it something you believe then I think it is relevant. Don't you think you are following the same methodlogy with respect to faith and logic that I outlined above? You are not blindly placing your faith in the doctrines of your ancestors but you are going with what is intuitively most reasonable in your eyes. Granted the difference here may be that you hold this process to be inherently subjective and therefore would not make the claim of objective evidence and investigation, but I think the core understanding of faith and logic between you and I is the same.

Thanks once again for your insightful comments.

Peace

root
12-05-2006, 05:53 PM
mysticalsilence - You know I really don’t know how to answer such a thing really because it sort of makes sense and I understand what you mean but it makes us look very robotic.

It's a shame you see it that way, but it's a minor point really.



But let me give you a on the spot answer don’t counter argue it to much or quote me on it harshly as if it was my final answer. First of there are major difference in what I meant by free will and as you took it. I'm sorry I dint should of put more effort into a clearer vocabulary.

Cool, no sweat.


Everyone knows that every "decision"(lets call it that) is caused(chemically and environmentally) in animals and also humans. But it’s not the cause of the decision itself that matters. Amongst many other features of the human brain is the fact that we can take decisions that go against survival.(natural selection)

Yes, as the dominant species on this planet, our hoghly evolved intelligence and group social skills have made us top dog around this solar system of ours.


For example:
Suicide/self mutilation this really indicates a free will like state of mind for the humans vs. animals because whatever the cause its a "decision" an animal could not take because it is against its own survival.

Is this not just a difference in the level of intelligence and our own massive frontal lobe capability, what I mean is \I doubt very much animals can concieve suicide if they cannot concieve their own existence! One must be aware of what you have before one can decide to take it away!


Also your example of the chimp shows that its a mostly instinct based reaction. A Human will sometimes put himself in the face of danger for no apparent reason and animals will not do that that is what I mean by free will.

The point was here that another mechanism over-rides free will, (assumuing we have free will in the first place). Science itself is Agnostic to the question "do we have free will" because of the deep paradox of both camps to the question we do or do not. Even trying to prove we have free will in itself presents a huge paradox.


Even though I replied to you, as for your base using the philosophical claim to begin with! I don’t know much about it I will look into it. I don’t have habit of just believing what people tell me is the standard. (At least not anymore)

Agreed, each of us is a work of art sculpted by evolution and second by experience and reflection upon one's social perceptions, as our perception matures so does the level of autonomy. Aristotle called this wisdom..........

But consider for one second, suppose a teleportation machine scans your brain and every sindle cell that makes your body and digitally encodes it then destroys your "self" transports the data somewhere else where it is recoded at your destination? You arrive in precisely the same condition that you "left" identical in body brain and patterns of mental activity, all your beliefs, memories emotions and experiences all apparent and you go about your business feeling and believing nothing has changed in the slightest. Just like waking from a dreamless state. If you are comfortable with this scenario then you should be comfortable with the bundle theory, you appreciate that the "self" is no more than patterns of energy and information which can be disrupted and reconstituted without destroying the "self" or indeed your "soul" for that matter, since they are simply tools of the brain like software programmes that help you make sense of all the input your brain recieves, other tools of the brain for example are the sense of past, the present and the future.

If on the other hand you would be i9nclined to think that the reconstructed you is not you at all, a replica void of the "self" and absent in soul. All your friends and family would see you as you but you would consider yourself at this poinyt a replica of what was originally you and if you believe this then you are in the ego theory.

Which one are you inclined to be choose, (under your own free will, but would that choice be free since in effect you would need to consider your personal beliefs of just who you are and why you are here before you even consider an answer). What a bummer eh!


Reply let me know if you think there is a weakness in this and I will look into it further.

I look forward to seeing if you are an ego theorist or bundle.


Steve - To exercise free will one has to do something out of ideology. For example fasting to worship even though your body asks for food,

I am inclineds to agree, however. As stated earlier to Mysticalsilence, something more is going off, not just free will, if we can call it that but restraint. Fasting is not acting in free will at all, and following ideology in no way at all demonstrates any free will.


Steve - spending your time praying even though your mind would like to indulge in vain entertainment. That is the true free will

"vain entertainment", quite an impoverished view. However that said again this cannot prove anything for free will. More like indoctrination and firmiliarity in that we don't want to suffer the consequences of not being a good muslim!

mysticalsilence
12-05-2006, 07:49 PM
Yes, as the dominant species on this planet, our hoghly evolved intelligence and group social skills have made us top dog around this solar system of ours.

Yes but once again this really weakens "natural selection" ! Chemical possibilities that allow "anti-survival" reactions are not possible progessional mutations in "natural selection".



Is this not just a difference in the level of intelligence and our own massive frontal lobe capability, what I mean is I doubt very much animals can concieve suicide if they cannot concieve their own existence! One must be aware of what you have before one can decide to take it away!

This is somethign I was not going to reply to but this reminds me of a verse from the quran.

"We shall seize him by the forelock,
a lying, sinful forelock."

It once again comes to perception but massive agreements with science the Quran has. This maybe translated to forelock because the translator looks for the closest word available in english but in arabic it really means frontal lobe litterally. lying tongue , lying heart lying mind in general could of been the options people of logic in those times could of taken.But this is very specific about where lying takes place.



The point was here that another mechanism over-rides free will, (assumuing we have free will in the first place). Science itself is Agnostic to the question "do we have free will" because of the deep paradox of both camps to the question we do or do not. Even trying to prove we have free will in itself presents a huge paradox.

I based my response on what I knew.
If you knew this before you should of said I dont know if we have free will.
But you chose to say we do not have free will?




Agreed, each of us is a work of art sculpted by evolution and second by experience and reflection upon one's social perceptions, as our perception matures so does the level of autonomy. Aristotle called this wisdom..........

But consider for one second, suppose a teleportation machine scans your brain and every sindle cell that makes your body and digitally encodes it then destroys your "self" transports the data somewhere else where it is recoded at your destination? You arrive in precisely the same condition that you "left" identical in body brain and patterns of mental activity, all your beliefs, memories emotions and experiences all apparent and you go about your business feeling and believing nothing has changed in the slightest. Just like waking from a dreamless state. If you are comfortable with this scenario then you should be comfortable with the bundle theory, you appreciate that the "self" is no more than patterns of energy and information which can be disrupted and reconstituted without destroying the "self" or indeed your "soul" for that matter, since they are simply tools of the brain like software programmes that help you make sense of all the input your brain recieves, other tools of the brain for example are the sense of past, the present and the future.

If on the other hand you would be i9nclined to think that the reconstructed you is not you at all, a replica void of the "self" and absent in soul. All your friends and family would see you as you but you would consider yourself at this poinyt a replica of what was originally you and if you believe this then you are in the ego theory.

Which one are you inclined to be choose, (under your own free will, but would that choice be free since in effect you would need to consider your personal beliefs of just who you are and why you are here before you even consider an answer). What a bummer eh!


I did not understand why you emphasized at cause so much but now I realize it. Well to tell you the truth based on my knowledge(even though very limited compared to most of you) I know that we has human beings have not even understood fully what "self" is let alone to go beyond that level and assume about its properties. Unless I missed out on some pregessions in science there is no proof that even if we where even capable of replicating a human being exactly like you declared it( i doubt it will ever happen) that all of his memories and and experiences would remain intact.

And also once again correct me if I am wrong I dont keep up with everything.
From my understanding we have not even fully understood at a lower level how the brain processes things. Perhaps we understand locations of certain activities in the brain and also how information transfers itself etc etc.

I mean lets start by first being capable of reparing a damaged human being(dead or brain dead) before jumping on possible assumptions of what would happen by reconstructing one!

I mean the advance in quantum physics and the suggestion that parts of matter are not static, leave room for so many possibilities such as the holographic brain theory , the concept of the operator.etc etc.

Science has a "lead" that makes a lot of sense but the are far from solving the case. And just because you have an advantage in terms of explaining how things work to a certain degree does not mean you should jump ahead on detailed conclusion of all the possibilities of how they could be and why they are.

root
12-05-2006, 09:53 PM
Yes but once again this really weakens "natural selection" ! Chemical possibilities that allow "anti-survival" reactions are not possible progessional mutations in "natural selection".

I don't see how it would. Commiting not just actual suicide but since we briefly discuss evolution, genetic suicide as well (people who never go on to have a family), I can't see how your point has any concerns to evolution since in effect, evolution works with large numbers and if you were to guess a percentage of suicides amongst humans it would be inssucnificant.

Humans are very subjective. France banned a book once because it was causing so many suicides amongst young men, I think the book is available on the internet still. Japanese suicide pilots and Islamic suicide bombers also fall into this category,

But consider, try to kill yourself by holding your breath and see how far your free will and eagerness to die get's you!!!! I don't think gentic suicide or actual taking of one's own life effects natural selection inb a manner you seem to imply.

Regards

Root

mysticalsilence
12-05-2006, 11:13 PM
I don't see how it would. Commiting not just actual suicide but since we briefly discuss evolution, genetic suicide as well (people who never go on to have a family), I can't see how your point has any concerns to evolution since in effect, evolution works with large numbers and if you were to guess a percentage of suicides amongst humans it would be inssucnificant.

Humans are very subjective. France banned a book once because it was causing so many suicides amongst young men, I think the book is available on the internet still. Japanese suicide pilots and Islamic suicide bombers also fall into this category,

But consider, try to kill yourself by holding your breath and see how far your free will and eagerness to die get's you!!!! I don't think gentic suicide or actual taking of one's own life effects natural selection inb a manner you seem to imply.

Regards

Root

After reading your post I realised you did not really want to respond with serious backing to my question I decided to awnser myself since you dont seem to feel like it.


Yes it does make sense so much so that evolutionists had to work on the problem specifically. It is not so easy to brush off as you claim.
Scientist wouldent have considered it a problem and nor would I have thought of it as big loophole, I dont have a lot of factual knowledge but my logic is not weak and isnt that rusty.
See:


Evolutionists have developed several models to explain the apparent contradiction of suicide and evolutionary theory. Denys de Catanzaro has conducted a lot of research into this field.
http://www.answers.com/topic/suicide-and-evolution


I just dont think its logical to beleive that a series of events that created life that are purely survival driven , will create or evolve into state of conciousness that will allow self destruction.

There is even a book called "Suicide and Evolution" that I have put on my purchase list after this post of yours.(I will find the awnser myself thank you!)




Evolution and Suicide is a vitally important book. It is the first to bring this phenomenon into the realm of consciousness studies, and the author's speculations provide valuable insights into suicide itself as well as the nature of human consciousness.

— Stanley Krippner, Ph. D., professor of psychology at Saybrook Institute



Suicide occurs 2,000 times per day throughout the world: that’s 80 to 100 self-inflicted deaths per hour! In fact, author Jon Tolaas relates that suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. Because of the shame often associated with suicide in Western and European cultures, many self-inflicted deaths are never officially listed or acknowledged as such. If one considers the many family members and friends of those who choose such a sorrowful departure, the number affected by suicide grows exponentially into the millions. These statistics show that suicide is not some aberrant condition that rarely occurs, but an ongoing phenomenon throughout known history. Tolaas explores and sensitively shares the evolutionary theories of suicide and the biological and sociological environments that possibly contribute to its mainstay as a part of life – and death – on Earth. Examining the perspectives of several psychiatrists and scientists, Tolaas provides insights into this often taboo subject, including that of “suicide by the installment plan” demonstrated through repeated self-destructive behaviors, and the fascinating subject of suicide in the animal kingdom. Bravely addressing the multidimensional aspects of these tragic events Evolution and Suicide offers thought-provoking material for the academic and layperson.


You never provided grounds for your argument as passed off suicide as a minimal part of our society!

If you keep talking to me about your "beleifs" without really giving me any real factual evidence of your claims then I will probably start ignoring you.

Because debating with a person who is "Seamingly smart" is the worst kind It will never end with you !
And you will keep presenting your "beleifs" in a "seamingly" logical way.

Also you did not reply to my other points?

Like you stated we do not have free will then you went on to say science is agnostic to the free will factor so which is it?

Abdul Fattah
12-05-2006, 11:19 PM
I am inclineds to agree, however. As stated earlier to Mysticalsilence, something more is going off, not just free will, if we can call it that but restraint. Fasting is not acting in free will at all, and following ideology in no way at all demonstrates any free will.
Well in the end you do choice to follow that ideology even though your desires might incline you to do difrently. I guess what I'm talking about here is following conscience. (or from our p.o.v, following one's soul).

But you're defenitly right, there's more to it then just that.
We still haven't the faithest idea how for example our brain would create a consciousness (don't confuse with conscience :p ).
Or how we are able to store memories.
Or how exactly the hierarchy of different emotions work.
There's just a whole bunch of questionmarks.



"vain entertainment", quite an impoverished view.
Well that depends on what the mind would like to indulge at. For example, If someone gets the urge to watch beavis and butthead instead of praying I would classify that as the mind urging for vain indulgement :p

moujahid
12-06-2006, 03:37 AM
...and Allah is always Merciful to the human beings. He loves them. He is close to them. But it is the Nifaaq(hypocracy) inside our hearts thats killing us. Allah has given you time and itellect and a life. All of these belong to Him. So where will you run away?

mysticalsilence
12-07-2006, 03:40 AM
Hey STEVE
I would like to talk to you on msn do you mind?
I tried to pm you this but it dosent allow it.
Pm me your ID or reply.

Thanks

root
12-07-2006, 09:31 PM
After reading your post I realised you did not really want to respond with serious backing to my question I decided to awnser myself since you dont seem to feel like it.


Yes it does make sense so much so that evolutionists had to work on the problem specifically. It is not so easy to brush off as you claim.
Scientist wouldent have considered it a problem and nor would I have thought of it as big loophole, I dont have a lot of factual knowledge but my logic is not weak and isnt that rusty.
See:


Quote:
Evolutionists have developed several models to explain the apparent contradiction of suicide and evolutionary theory. Denys de Catanzaro has conducted a lot of research into this field.
http://www.answers.com/topic/suicide-and-evolution

I think we need to clarify this "apparant contradiction" of suicide and evolution. Firstly, the contradiction is restricted to Man on the following premis:

Other than humans do otherwise healthy and reproductively-capable individuals of any other species perform actions foreseeably guaranteed to result in their immediate death?", the answer is NO. Violate any one of the conditions in the preceding statement, and the answer is YES. This contradiction with evolution relates specifically to humans as your source clearly points out. However, your source is related to apparent suicide and self sacrifice. To take your point further you would need to clarify your position as referencing suicide of healthy reproductively-capable individuals or sick and lame species or even self sacrifice for without this clarification this debate is clouded by smoke-screens.

I look forward to you clarifying this. Below is a snippet from your link that confirms the source you posted is not referencing suicide parsae.

It can be used to predict how likely a mother or father is to sacrifice herself or himself to save their children, or other situations of that sort. De Catanzaro takes pains to recognize that his formula is only a base on which to predict likelihood of suicide or self sacrifice.


I just dont think its logical to beleive that a series of events that created life that are purely survival driven , will create or evolve into state of conciousness that will allow self destruction.

I am confused with the apparent non-sensicle construction of your point here. I simply do not understand what you mean by "created life". perhaps you can clarify.


There is even a book called "Suicide and Evolution" that I have put on my purchase list after this post of yours.(I will find the awnser myself thank you!)

Might be worth a read, what would really be interesting is wether it tries to address why otherwise healthy and reproductively-capable individuals perform actions foreseeably guaranteed to result in their immediate death? Or looks at differing species who will outside of this premis seem to take action that garuntees a quick demise. It may even be looking into self sacrifice. Again, it could be just one any two or all three. However, the importance of clarity to which one we are referencing is very important as I would hope you can appreciate.

PS... I would also conside another book by Richard Dawkins titled "The ancestors tale"

Your next quote was interesting also and again I felt it was very non-specific.


Source: http://www.pdbookstore.com/comfiles/pages/JonTolass.shtmlSuicide occurs 2,000 times per day throughout the world: that’s 80 to 100 self-inflicted deaths per hour! In fact, author Jon Tolaas relates that suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.

Again, is this suicide of otherwise healthy reproductively fertile humans or are other circumstances involved for example Euthonasia due to terminal illness. It's important this distinction be made as I have expressed in this post.

80 - 100 self-inflicted deaths per hour compared to 14,709 births per hour. I would consider the 80 - 100 insignificant even though you seem to object. Again your material was of a very generalised nature.

PS... Suicide is the 8th cause of death amongst men, it does not figure in the top ten for all persons.


If you keep talking to me about your "beleifs" without really giving me any real factual evidence of your claims then I will probably start ignoring you.

If you expect me to do your homework and research then perhaps you best. If you want a source because you doubt a point I make (ask for it)!


Because debating with a person who is "Seamingly smart" is the worst kind It will never end with you ! And you will keep presenting your "beleifs" in a "seamingly" logical way.

Seemingly or apparantly!


Also you did not reply to my other points?

I know, I am only interested in the points I quoted. However, if you would reminfd me which points in particular. I will.


Like you stated we do not have free will then you went on to say science is agnostic to the free will factor so which is it?

I am agnostic on the question. However, thanks for wasting my time searching where I have allegedly stated "we do not have free will". I double checked and don't see it.

I found your writing style to be quite asinine.

Pygoscelis
12-08-2006, 11:38 AM
testimony of thousands of converts who embrace Islam on the basis of rational and objective investigation.

Dispassionate? Hard cold logic and reason? No introspection? No revelation? No emotional need? No affective motivation? No social forces involved?

Got any links or references to this phenomenon? If its genuine it may be valuable.

It is unheard of by those over here who research conversion and apostacy, but they do usually study Crhsitians. I've never heard of anybody converting to religions based solely on logic and reason. The research shows quite the opposite. It is affect that usually wins them over.

Ansar Al-'Adl
12-08-2006, 06:09 PM
Got any links or references to this phenomenon? If its genuine it may be valuable.
http://www.islamicboard.com/comparative-religion/14884-reflections-some-ayat.html

I'd also recommend reading The First and Final Commandment by Dr. Laurence Brown:
http://www.leveltruth.com/ffcommain.asp

Regards

Nuseyba bintkab
12-12-2006, 11:23 AM
eveyone can see god exits

جوري
06-11-2008, 01:27 AM
Bump..
an oldie but a goodie

Abdul Fattah
06-11-2008, 01:50 PM
Omg, 2y old necro-post you must be an advanced level of necromancy :)

I just noticed someone asked me 2 years ago to talk to me... I wonder if this person's still active :D

czgibson
06-11-2008, 04:43 PM
Greetings,

I'd almost forgotten about this thread. I'd completely forgotten about this post, from almost three years ago:


CZ you do not seem like your average atheist, you seem to be a truth seeker and your mind is open .
If your mind was not open you would not be here debating with us, nor would you even pick up the Quran and try to read it, something most atheists refuse to do.
And you are very well mannered :thumbs_up
Keep looking your probally closer than you think, I have good feelings about you. :thumbs_up

Thanks, eyes of mine, wherever you are. :)

No change yet, though, I'm afraid...

Peace

Amir1
06-11-2008, 05:42 PM
This is really deep, well beyond me. I know one thing, atheists or agnostics or whatever they call themselves, haven't proved to me the non-existence of God.

Tornado
06-12-2008, 05:26 AM
This is really deep, well beyond me. I know one thing, atheists or agnostics or whatever they call themselves, haven't proved to me the non-existence of God.

The burden of proof lies on the person making the claim.

Abdul Fattah
06-12-2008, 10:26 AM
The burden of proof lies on the person making the claim.

Correct, so if atheists want to convince people that God doesn't exist they better show some proof. Of course the same could be said for theists. In the end of the day, if neither brings forth solid proof, you should give both views (atheism and theism) the benefit of the doubt. And not like your reply implies take atheism as the default position. Taking atheism as the default position is to be negatively biased against existence of God without any proof of it. The un-biased position is the diagnosticians position.

IbnAbdulHakim
06-12-2008, 10:30 AM
^ you mean the agnostics position? :)

Tornado
06-12-2008, 04:24 PM
Correct, so if atheists want to convince people that God doesn't exist they better show some proof. Of course the same could be said for theists. In the end of the day, if neither brings forth solid proof, you should give both views (atheism and theism) the benefit of the doubt. And not like your reply implies take atheism as the default position. Taking atheism as the default position is to be negatively biased against existence of God without any proof of it. The un-biased position is the diagnosticians position.

Remember, atheists aren't the ones making the claim.

Uthman
06-12-2008, 04:32 PM
Attempting to prove God's existence or non-existence is futile. Evidence pointing either way is inconclusive.

Tornado
06-12-2008, 07:10 PM
Attempting to prove God's existence or non-existence is futile. Evidence pointing either way is inconclusive.

god can never disproved.

Abdul Fattah
06-12-2008, 11:11 PM
Remember, atheists aren't the ones making the claim.

Depends on how you look at it, really.

Tornado
06-13-2008, 01:28 AM
Depends on how you look at it, really.

If a person says that something exists, it's their responsibility to provide proof.

Uthman
06-13-2008, 06:55 AM
Likewise, if somebody originally claims that something doesn't exist, should they not provide proof?

Tornado
06-13-2008, 07:08 AM
Likewise, if somebody originally claims that something doesn't exist, should they not provide proof?

No. Theists proclaim a god exists so it's up to them to provide proof. Atheists counter by saying that since there is no evidence for its existence, we shouldn't automatically believe it to exist.

IbnAbdulHakim
06-13-2008, 09:34 AM
^ if atheists cant accept the beginning of time or existence of anything itself as an evidence then what can they accept?


Can time begin without a creator?

i_m_tipu
06-13-2008, 09:35 AM
No. Theists proclaim a god exists so it's up to them to provide proof. Atheists counter by saying that since there is no evidence for its existence, we shouldn't automatically believe it to exist.

So automatically u has to believe everything coming from nothing.
So what kind of proof u want to provide that everything coming from nothing.
Can u give single evidence from entire knowledge of the world and its history that someone find something which is coming from nothing?
No u can't.
So from ur theory its clearly proved u r wrong.

From the beginning to now human only have knowledge to assemble component from the nature and shape a material thing.
It is a very poor understanding to believe using human brain and proof everything and then believe.

Quran revealed more than 1400 hundred yrs ago. There are so many things Quran says. One of them Sun, Moon and Earth are moving. And Human found few yrs ago that sun is also moving. Quran never failed us.

Quran is still unchanged, was more than 1400 yrs old, Author is Muhammad (accroding to u) who is an illiterate man. So try to prove Quran is wrong.
It is so easy to prove us wrong. Isn’t it? :)

U can’t prove it wrong. It does not matter how hard u try. Quran also challenge this.

Note: Try something which u can capable of. Try not something which is beyond ur capabilities. Such as try to have a direct evidence of the existence of GOD.

------
06-13-2008, 09:36 AM
No. Theists proclaim a god exists so it's up to them to provide proof.

If we provide proof and your still blind to it, then it's not our fault, is it?

IbnAbdulHakim
06-13-2008, 09:40 AM
^ i agree they are blind to it but i would say its due to prejudice against it.


Just thinking about the beginning of everything should lead to a belief of God really. If we know that close enough to everything in life has a manufacturer then we should also accept that the universe and this world has a manufacturer.

why be so stubborn against a manufacturer of the universe? If people claim that he is sending down messengers and books then that is good for us, why not be open minded and look into the message and really deeply contemplate over the existence of the one who started everything instead of always going "nope nope, not clear enough, i see no angels and i dont see God" <-- honestly think about how this sounds!! you have the books and you've been sent the messengers...

------
06-13-2008, 09:45 AM
:salamext:

^ I think they do not want to believe that there is a God, because that would mean putting restrictions on the "so called enjoyments" of this dunya, in their eyes; drugs, alcohol, chirpsing girls, clubbing, etc.

Umar001
06-13-2008, 10:03 AM
Maybe everyone should take it steps at a time. So we don't end up skipping over parts.

Those who believe sshould state why they believe.
Those who do not believe should also state why they do not believe.

Those who are neutral can keep quiet for the time being?

Thats what I understand so far.

IbnAbdulHakim
06-13-2008, 10:13 AM
Those who believe sshould state why they believe..

for everything in existence there must be a beginning.

and the Quran is clear.



two very simple reasons

ninjarunner
06-13-2008, 10:29 AM
If a person says that something exists, it's their responsibility to provide proof.

More accurately, if someone makes a positive claim.
"the sky is blue" it is their responcibility to provide the evidence.
If someone makes a negative claim, "the sky is not blue" it is not their responcibilty to prove the negative. "negatives are difficult to prove."

glo
06-13-2008, 10:29 AM
I don't think I believe in God because of any 'proof' that has ever been presented to me.

I believe in God because there was a specific moment in my life, when my eyes were opened; when everything I had ever heard, read and known suddenly fell into place and I knew: God is real!

Once I had that inner conviction of God's existence and presence, everything - every breath, every day, every living thing, every sunrise, every landscape - became living proof of his existence, and it became impossible to imagine life without believing in God ...

I don't think 'proof' alone can convince anybody of God's existence.
It also require an inner willingness to submit, to believe and to change. Without that willingness an unbeliever will always stay an unbeliever ...

crayon
06-13-2008, 10:34 AM
I don't think 'proof' alone can convince anybody of God's existence.
It also require an inner willingness to submit, to believe and to change. Without that willingness an unbeliever will always stay an unbeliever ...

Well said.:thumbs_up

Nerd
06-13-2008, 10:44 AM
There is no proof that God exists or that God doesn't exist. Be on the safe side, believe in God or be burned in Hell for eternity (that is if God does indeed exist)

IbnAbdulHakim
06-13-2008, 10:47 AM
There is no proof that God exists or that God doesn't exist. Be on the safe side, believe in God or be burned in Hell for eternity (that is if God does indeed exist)

you make it sound like one day a man woke up and said "maybe God does exist ?"

it didnt happen like that, God sent messengers recognised by historians (Muhammad existed, Jesus existed, Moses existed! peace be upon them all).

So it isnt a haphazard thought which just randomly occured but has much backing.

------
06-13-2008, 10:50 AM
:salamext:

Yup.

Nerd
06-13-2008, 11:04 AM
I do believe that Allah exist. But I do try to be neutral and am not arguing here Serene.

For my part, Adam and Hawwa both as I understand were Muslims (Who believed in Allah). I am not sure, when Human beings stopped believing in Allah and started worshiping idols, fire, cows etc. (now I suppose we have over 100's of gods).

And as you can see, people have turned to science for an answer. As much as I adore science, I got to admit its limited to what it can and cannot answer. Might take a couple of thousand of years before science is close to see the unseen world.

But we all agree that the life of a human being is much less than a 100 years. And its up to that person to weigh the evidence he/she see to believe in God or not. For those who do not believe in God, be prepared to face the consequences in case God does exist.

------
06-13-2008, 11:05 AM
For those who do not believe in God, be prepared to face the consequences in case God does exist.

And is this just your opinion or a fact that you are stating?

Umar001
06-13-2008, 11:09 AM
Maybe individuals should state what they mean by evidence/proof and so forth. To some a sequence of which seem pretty normal may be proof, to others a supernatural personal experience may be proof, others yet state that taking into consideration everything being almost certain is proof, others still yet claim only testable evidence is proof.

Maybe this is where everyone is diverging.

ninjarunner
06-13-2008, 11:10 AM
And is this just your opinion or a fact that you are stating?

it sounds like a version of pascals wager.

im sure christians, jews, and others say the same thing.

glo
06-13-2008, 11:15 AM
Thing is, Nerd, how would somebody make him/herself believe in God - just in case he does exist?

I can see that somebody might choose to follow a certain religion on that basis ... but believing in God?
Belief comes from within. How can someone just decide to believe something?
Doesn't there have to be some inner conviction first? :?

Can you explain what you mean by 'believing in God to be on the safe side'?

Thanks :)

ninjarunner
06-13-2008, 11:15 AM
I don't think I believe in God because of any 'proof' that has ever been presented to me.

I believe in God because there was a specific moment in my life, when my eyes were opened; when everything I had ever heard, read and known suddenly fell into place and I knew: God is real!

Once I had that inner conviction of God's existence and presence, everything - every breath, every day, every living thing, every sunrise, every landscape - became living proof of his existence, and it became impossible to imagine life without believing in God ...

I don't think 'proof' alone can convince anybody of God's existence.
It also require an inner willingness to submit, to believe and to change. Without that willingness an unbeliever will always stay an unbeliever ...
how does that relate to people of other religions? they dont believe in your god is there a particular reason why you decided god was the chrisitan one and not the muslim one? Or a deistic one?

------
06-13-2008, 11:17 AM
:salamext:

God does not have any religion :-\ Religion is for humans.

glo
06-13-2008, 11:24 AM
how does that relate to people of other religions? they dont believe in your god is there a particular reason why you decided god was the chrisitan one and not the muslim one? Or a deistic one?
Well, personally I believe that the three Abrahamic faiths do believe in the same God ... but that's another topic, and it doesn't account for uncounted other religions which honour different deities.

In answer to your question, yes, there was a specific reason why I was left believing firmly that what I believed was in line with the Christian faith and no other religion.

I cannot speak for other people.
The make their own assessments and come to their own conclusions.
What convinced me may not convince others, and vice versa.

Nice talking. Welcome to LI. :)

ninjarunner
06-13-2008, 11:25 AM
Well how about how do you know that your understanding of god (the christian for some) is right. How do you know the rules that your ideally follow based on that understanding is right? How do you know that your is the one dictated by god/s?

Nerd
06-13-2008, 11:27 AM
Can you explain what you mean by 'believing in God to be on the safe side'?

Thanks :)

We all tend to science -(maybe we are a bit overly dependent on science these days)- to get answers whether a God exist or not. And for the time being it seem to be impossible for science to come up with a definite answer on this matter.

Considering the facts like the average life span of a human being and the rate at which science is progressing, it would be rather dumb to wait for answers and die and possibly go to hell.

But true belief in God does have a lot to do with "Inner convictions".

Nerd
06-13-2008, 11:30 AM
And is this just your opinion or a fact that you are stating?

Its a possibility am stating here, that people can take into consideration.

glo
06-13-2008, 11:31 AM
Well how about how do you know that your understanding of god (the christian for some) is right. How do you know the rules that your ideally follow based on that understanding is right? How do you know that your is the one dictated by god/s?
Well, I am convinced that I follow God in the way he wants me to, I believe I do, I trust that I do ... but I don't know.

Regardless of what others may tell you, I think none of us know!
We won't know until the time of our death ... and then we will all know the whole truth.

Until then, all of us just do the best we are capable of ...

aamirsaab
06-13-2008, 11:36 AM
Well how about how do you know that your understanding of god (the christian for some) is right. How do you know the rules that your ideally follow based on that understanding is right? How do you know that your is the one dictated by god/s?

It essentially comes down to emotion rather than logic. You feel it is right within you (obviously this opens up the can of worms: well so do murderers etc etc) but in Islam atleast, it is often referred to as imaan.

Additionally, there is feedback from following the teachings of religion (which can be interepretated as positive or negative) - if religion was solely about blind faith then why is there not a single religion that states: all you should do is pray? Clearly this is not the case as far as religion is concerned - especially given the fact that some form of deity worshipping occurs in almost every outpost of humanity on this earth (apart from maybe eskimos) - if they were purely down to simply praying then those religions wouldn't have survived.

In simpler terms: all religions ask of their followers to actively do something. The feedback that you get from performing those acts will lead you to the conclusion that yes my religion is true or no my religion is not. Of course, there are additional ways of determining whether your religion is true or not but in the heart of the believer it comes down to the experience/feedback from practicing the religion.

glo
06-13-2008, 11:36 AM
We all tend to science -(maybe we are a bit overly dependent on science these days)- to get answers whether a God exist or not. And for the time being this is seem to be impossible for science to come up with a definite answer on this matter.

Considering the facts like the average life span of a human being and the rate at which science is progressing, it would be rather dumb to wait for answers and die and possibly go to hell.

But true belief in God does have a lot to do with "Inner convictions".
Thanks for clarifying, Nerd. :)

Nowadays, many people seem to increasingly put their entire trust in science.
Like you, I doubt that science will be able to answer everything - although some people believe that one day it will ...

czgibson
06-13-2008, 11:37 AM
Greetings,

Well, I am convinced that I follow God in the way he wants me to, I believe I do, I trust that I do ... but I don't know.

Regardless of what others may tell you, I think none of us know!
We won't know until the time of our death ... and then we will all know the whole truth.

Until then, all of us just do the best we are capable of ...

Absolutely, 100% correct. If more people thought this way, the world would be a far safer place to live.

Brilliant post, glo.

Peace

IbnAbdulHakim
06-13-2008, 01:30 PM
Well, I am convinced that I follow God in the way he wants me to, I believe I do, I trust that I do ... but I don't know.
...

and how do you follow God?


Who do you learn to follow God from?


Its good you believe in God but following him in the correct manner is a must, i strongly believe every single human should strive in their lives to find the correct way of Worshipping God. Tell me just how much have you searched ways of how to worship God and which one seems most natural and befitting?



to me nothing can compare to worshipping God in the prescribed five daily prayers... nothing...

Abdul Fattah
06-13-2008, 02:16 PM
If a person says that something exists, it's their responsibility to provide proof.

No, because I never claimed it as a scientific fact. When I claim God exists, I'm preaching a religion. In the end of the day I acknowledge it to be a belief. I will never say for example that God's existence is a scientific proven fact. At best I would say there's religious and philosophical indications to believe that. On the other hand when an atheists says: "god doesn't exist", he's trying to pass off his claim as factual. Of course when an atheists says "I don't believe that God exists.", that's a whole different thing. See, it all depends on how you look at it.

glo
06-13-2008, 02:46 PM
Tell me just how much have you searched ways of how to worship God and which one seems most natural and befitting?

to me nothing can compare to worshipping God in the prescribed five daily prayers... nothing...
Greetings, brother

You will just have to take my word for it that I have explored other religions and ways of worship.
Not least of all have I spent more than two years here in LI, exploring the Islamic faith extensively, and with an open heart and an open mind ...

With regards to actually engaging in worship of other religions, I must say that I have not tried that.
I am sure you understand that. After all, would you join me in Christian prayer, if I invited you? I am sure you would not!

Once, many years ago, when I was exploring other religions, I remember getting on my knees and trying to pray to a pagan deity.
I had such a sudden sense of ... well, the only word that springs to mind is shame. No words came out of my mouth, and I jumped up immediately.
Although I was not a Christian then, and didn't become a Christian for some years after that, it just felt so wrong to be praying to those gods.
I knew there and then that I would never try it again, and I haven't ...

I am glad you find such comfort and joy in praying in Islamically prescribed ways to Allah five times a day, and I wish you well.

I too experience great peace, joy and guidance in my prayer and worship.

To you your religion, brother, and to me mine. :)

Salaam.

Trumble
06-13-2008, 03:27 PM
On the other hand when an atheists says: "god doesn't exist", he's trying to pass off his claim as factual. Of course when an atheists says "I don't believe that God exists.", that's a whole different thing. See, it all depends on how you look at it.

I don't see the distinction. Why must "an atheist" be "trying to pass off his claim as factual" while, presumably, "a theist" will share your own enlightened position? There are people who do both in both camps, which is more visible in this forum than anywhere else I can think of!

Tornado
06-13-2008, 03:46 PM
I won't believe in a god to be on the safe side because if there is a god, it would know that I had be lying to myself. The lush forests, waterfalls, and all the other magnificent things in the natural world isn't evidence for a creator. It's tough to actually think that these creations came about without a creator, but science shows how a lot of stuff did come about without a creator. Science comes nowhere to explaining everything in the universe, but it does explain a whole lot.
There might be a god, there might not be a god, but theist know for sure there is a god ('cept glo). Atheists don't know whether there is a god or not but since the natural world doesn't need a designer, it's more of an opinion that since god isn't needed, maybe he's just not there.
Why is there something rather than nothing? An incredibly tough question. I don't know (yet, not sure if we'll ever find that answer), whereas theists not only know it's god, but they also know which one of the many gods.
An atheist doesn't have to believe in science, just have to have a lack of belief in god.

Abdul Fattah
06-13-2008, 03:53 PM
I don't see the distinction. Why must "an atheist" be "trying to pass off his claim as factual" while, presumably, "a theist" will share your own enlightened position? There are people who do both in both camps, which is more visible in this forum than anywhere else I can think of!
Consider the difference between:
-An atheists saying: "god doesn't exist"
-An atheist saying: "I don't believe that God exists."
I think it's clear that for the second is sharing his position, but the first is passing it off as a fact.
Now consider the same difference between:
-An theists saying: "god exist"
-An theist saying: "I believe that God exists."

When I say "God exists", I am preaching. But I think it goes without saying that when a atheist says "god doesn't exists" that he doesn't think he is "preaching" his views. See in general most atheists won't even acknowledge that atheism is a belief, but will instead insist that it is the default position. So the difference lies in the intention. An atheist thinks he's dealing with undeniable facts when he claims god doesn't exist. A theist on the other hand, while he may sometimes be carried away, knows that in the end of the day what he's saying is a religion!

Secondly you need to understand that this is also culturally decided. Due to atheists often seeing atheism as the default position like I explained in the previous paragraph, it is much more of a soar issue to theists when an atheists says "god doesn't exist" as opposed to a theist saying "God exists".

Gator
06-13-2008, 03:57 PM
But does the theist hold even the infinitesimally small probablity that god doesn't exist?

I'm an atheist, but I'm the "I don't believe there's a god" sort I guess. While I think there's no god I still leave the infinitesimally small probablity that god exists.

aamirsaab
06-13-2008, 04:02 PM
But does the theist hold even the infinitesimally small probablity that god doesn't exist?

Wouldn't they be categorised as an agnostic then? Surely a thiest is one who believes in God, an aethiest is one who doesn't and an agnostic is one who really isn't quite so sure (hence would be thinking maybe there is maybe there isn't - the guy/gal in the middle as it were)

Gator
06-13-2008, 04:06 PM
In my understanding, the agnostic says that their belief in the existence or non-existence isn't able to be reasoned based on their experience and available evidence.

I have come to the conclusion based on my experience of the world and how my mind processes it that there is no god, so I'm an atheist. Now, I also believe that nothing is impossible and I could be wrong so I'll always leave open the possibility (however small) that a god might exist.

Now my question is that a theist believes god exists but (and I know this is a very individualized question) do you leave open the possibility that you could be wrong, the same way I do?

Thanks.

aamirsaab
06-13-2008, 04:10 PM
...
Now my question is that a theist believes god exists but (and I know this is a very individualized question) do you leave open the possibility that you could be wrong, the same way I do?

Thanks.

I guess so, from a human stand point. We'd usually just call it doubt, which is part of human nature. So yeah I guess there is a certain possibility that they could be wrong, though no more than anyone else would have were they in their shoes.

glo
06-13-2008, 04:18 PM
So are we all agnostics to a greater or lesser extend?


Agnosticism (Greek: α- a-, without + γνώσις gnōsis, knowledge; after Gnosticism) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims — particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality — is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism, inherently unknowable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism

Indeed my previous statement sounds pretty agnostic:

Well, I am convinced that I follow God in the way he wants me to, I believe I do, I trust that I do ... but I don't know.

Regardless of what others may tell you, I think none of us know!
We won't know until the time of our death ... and then we will all know the whole truth.

Peace

Whatsthepoint
06-13-2008, 04:25 PM
There's no clear disctinction between agnostics and soft atheists.

Gator
06-13-2008, 04:31 PM
This would be my distinction. The agnostic position is that some things are unknowable. This is regards to clear evidence and facts. OK we got that. I think from some of the replies, we all have some level of doubt.

But you got to take you shot/guess about how things work. A person who calls himself a pure agnostic refuses to do this. Once you do take a guess you are either an atheist or theist, with differing levels of conviction.

There are people (or person) on this board who catagorize themselves as agnostic, but tend to believe there is some kind of god (I forget who it is). Now are we the same position since I'm a weak (agnostic) atheist?

Thanks.

Uthman
06-13-2008, 06:48 PM
Personally, there is 0% doubt in my mind that Allah exists. I just know that he does. It's not something that I can explain and those atheists and agnostics amongst you might think I'm crazy, but I'm really not. I am absolutely 100% sure that Allah exists. I know it!

Abdul Fattah
06-13-2008, 09:01 PM
This would be my distinction. The agnostic position is that some things are unknowable. This is regards to clear evidence and facts. OK we got that. I think from some of the replies, we all have some level of doubt.

But you got to take you shot/guess about how things work. A person who calls himself a pure agnostic refuses to do this. Once you do take a guess you are either an atheist or theist, with differing levels of conviction.

There are people (or person) on this board who catagorize themselves as agnostic, but tend to believe there is some kind of god (I forget who it is). Now are we the same position since I'm a weak (agnostic) atheist?

Thanks.

Yeah I guess I can agree to you at some point however I wouldn't go to far as to say that an agnostic has no inclination to either side, because that would be practically impossible. So instead I would suggest that small inclinations either way are allowed for agnostics. Problem is then where do you draw the line (like Whatsthepoint just pointed out)?

Tornado
06-13-2008, 09:06 PM
Personally, there is 0% doubt in my mind that Allah exists. I just know that he does. It's not something that I can explain and those atheists and agnostics amongst you might think I'm crazy, but I'm really not. I am absolutely 100% sure that Allah exists. I know it!

Not even a tinee doubt? It's good to be open to new ideas. Heck, I'm not 100% sure god doesn't exists and definitely open to any evidence that points towards one.

Abdul Fattah
06-13-2008, 09:17 PM
Not even a tinee doubt? It's good to be open to new ideas. Heck, I'm not 100% sure god doesn't exists and definitely open to any evidence that points towards one.

I guess this depends from one Muslim to another. If you're interested in this, there's a thread about this here (http://www.islamicboard.com/comparative-religion/49673-do-you-ever-have-had-moments-doubt.html). According to the poll; the majority never or sometimes have doubts. I wasn't the majority. I often have doubts. Perhaps it's a matter of semantics. How long does your mind need to entertain a thought before you can call it a "doubt"? Are we talking about a quick thought that gets refuted by your own logic immediately afterwards, or are we talking about something you don't have an answer to and is pushed in the back of your mind and comes out to say hi every once in a while.

glo
06-13-2008, 09:19 PM
Not even a tinee doubt? It's good to be open to new ideas. Heck, I'm not 100% sure god doesn't exists and definitely open to any evidence that points towards one.
I tend to agree with you.

I cannot imagine that anybody who actively engages with his faith, who reads, ponders and discusses spiritual/religious/theological matters, does not have at least times of questioning and doubt.

I think questioning is a very healthy thing ... can following a religion blindly without a conscious and informed decision be a good thing, I wonder? :?

People who claim to never have doubts or questions tend to make me a little suspicious ... either that or they are just more godly and saintly than me! :mmokay:

Uthman
06-13-2008, 09:32 PM
Not even a tinee doubt? It's good to be open to new ideas. Heck, I'm not 100% sure god doesn't exists and definitely open to any evidence that points towards one.

There are times when I briefly do have doubts but that is very rare. The vast majority of the time I am completely sure that he exists and the idea of him not existing just does not even enter my mind at all. I really don't know how to explain the fact that it is more than just a belief for me. It is sure knowledge. Quite clearly, atheists and agnostics do not have this experience.

Btw, be assured that I am absolutely 100% open to new ideas. :)

Tornado
06-13-2008, 10:23 PM
Quite clearly, atheists and agnostics do not have this experience.


Actually, I have had this experience. I definitely once believed that a personal god existed and didn't doubt its existence.

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