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Deep Thinking

Deep Thinking

Have you ever thought that the Earth you are now walking on is moving at a speed of 1,670 kilometers an hour? Have you ever thought why your hair constantly grows, while your eyebrows and eyelashes stay fixed? Wouldn’t it be bad otherwise? Have you ever thought about all the wondrous happenings in and around you? This film is an invitation to think so. Because in the Qur’an God invites us to think about the living things that He has created.

Deep Thinking

Deep Thinking

Have you ever thought about the fact that you did not exist before you were conceived and then born into the world and that you have come into existence from mere nothingness?Have you ever thought about how the fragrant and beautifully colored flowers you see everyday have come out of pitch black, muddy soil?

Have you ever thought about how mosquitoes, which irritatingly fly around you, move their wings so fast that we are unable to see them?

Have you ever thought about how the peels of fruits such as bananas, watermelons, melons and oranges serve as wrappings of high quality, and how the fruits are packed in these wrappings so that they maintain their taste and fragrance?

Have you ever thought about the possibility that while you are asleep a sudden earthquake could raze your home, your office, and your city to the ground and that in a few seconds you could lose everything of the world you possess?

Have you ever thought of how your life passes away very quickly, and that you will grow old and become weak, and slowly lose your beauty, health and strength?

Have you ever thought about how one day you will find the angels of death appointed by Allah before you and that you will then leave this world?

Have you ever thought about why people are so attached to a world from which they will soon depart when what they basically need is to strive for the Hereafter?

Man is a being whom Allah furnishes with the faculty of thought. Yet, most people do not use this very important faculty as they should. In fact, some people almost never think.

In truth, each person possesses a capacity for thought of which even he himself is unaware. Once man begins to use this capacity, facts he has not been able to realize until that very moment begin to be uncovered for him. The deeper he goes in reflection, the more his capacity to think improves, and this is possible for everyone. One just has to realize that one needs to reflect and then to strive hard.

The purpose of this book is to invite people to think in the best way and show ways of doing this. Someone who does not think will remain totally distant from truths and lead his life in self-deception and error. As a result, he will not grasp the purpose of the creation of the world, and the reason for his existence on the earth. Yet, Allah has created everything with a purpose. This fact is stated in the Qur’an as follows:

We did not create the heavens and the earth and everything between them as a game. We did not create them except with truth but most of them do not know it. (Surat ad-Dukhan: 38-39)

Did you suppose that We created you for amusement and that you would not return to Us? (Surat al-Muminun: 115)

Therefore, each person needs to ponder the purpose of creation, first as it concerns him himself, and then as it pertains to everything he sees in the universe and every event he experiences throughout his life. Someone who does not think, will understand the facts only after he dies, when he gives account before Allah, but then it will be too late. Allah says in the Qur’an that on the day of account, everybody will think and see the truth:

That day Hell is produced, that day man will remember; but how will the remembrance help him?

He will say, “Oh! If only I had prepared in advance for this life of mine!” (Surat al-Fajr: 23-24)

While Allah has given us an opportunity in the life of this world to reflect and derive conclusions from our reflections, to see the truth will bring us great gain in our life in the Hereafter. For this reason, Allah has summoned all people, through His prophets and books, to reflect on their creation and on the creation of the universe:

Have they not reflected within themselves? Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and everything between them except with truth and for a fixed term. Yet many people reject the meeting with their Lord.(Surat ar-Rum)

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The Miracle of the Immune System

The Miracle of the Immune System

Our bodies have enemies, which we are unable to see and may not even be aware to exist. We also have an army that expertly protects us against all forms of external threat and is constantly on guard: our “immune system!” You will see in this film that the intelligence which prevails in this system belongs to Allah.

The Miracle of the Immune System

The Miracle of the Immune System

Preface

One of the most important factors for the continued existence of any country is its defence capability. As a nation, it must be in a constant state of preparedness to face all kinds of threats and dangers from external and internal sources. No matter how well developed and advanced a country may be, if it fails to defend itself, it could be brought to ruin with the launching of even a minor military offensive against it, or even a well-directed and unanticipated terrorist act. In the face of such threats, neither its natural resources, its technological prowess, not its economy will be of any avail. If the country in question is unable to defend itself, it may even cease to exist.

This is one of the reasons why significant amounts of the national income is regularly allocated to defence; nowadays, armed forces have to be provided with the most advanced weaponry, tools and equipment fitted with the latest technological features, and meticulous training has to be given to soldiers in an all-out attempt to keep defence systems fully functional.

No less than countries, people too have to be concerned about their defence, if they want to lead a healthy and peaceful life. They inevitably have to protect themselves and their possession against criminal acts, such as theft and murder, as well as against natural disasters, such as accidents, fire, earthquakes and floods.

But this is not the end of the matter. Human beings have other enemies, which go unseen by them and, as such, are often ignored. Actually, these enemies are much more resilient than the others. Serious measures must, therefore, be taken to guard against them.

Who, or what then these enemies that keep human beings under constant threat?

They are bacteria, viruses, and similar microscopic organisms, which may exist in the water we drink, the food we eat, the house we live in, and the office where we work. In essence, they are everywhere.

Most interestingly, in spite of being surrounded by such a serious threat, we make no effort whatsoever to protect ourselves against it. This is because there is a mechanism within our bodies, which undertakes this task on our behalf, providing the necessary protection for us, without causing us the slightest disturbance. This is “The Defence System”.

It is one of the most important and amazing systems operating within our bodies, for it undertakes one of the most vital missions of life. We may not be aware of it, but all the elements of the immune system protect our bodies just like the soldiers of a huge army. The defence cells that protect the human body against invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, and similar micro-organisms, are equipped with extraordinary abilities. The patterns of intelligence, effort, and sacrifice, which these cells display during the war they wage in the body, astonish everyone who learns about them.

People in general would like to know what makes them ill, how illnesses take complete control of their bodies, what causes fever, fatigue, pain in their bones and joints, and which processes take place in their bodies throughout their illnesses.

The main purpose of this book is to explore how this system, which protects the human body just like a disciplined, organized army, has come into being and how it works.

These two points will lead us to very important conclusions. First, we shall together witness the uniqueness and the perfection in Allah’s creation. Second, we shall observe what contradictions the theory of evolution, a superstitious belief having no verification whatsoever, includes within its own reasoning, and on what an unsound basis it was erected.

Before proceeding to the main topic, it will be useful to state another important point: In books on the immune system, you will often see statements such as:

“We do not yet know how this formed…””The reason still remains unknown…”

“Research on the topic is under way …”

“According to a theory…”

These statements are actually important confessions. These are expressions of the helplessness people experience at the outset of the 21st century — even with all the latest technology and accumulated knowledge at their disposal — in the face of the miraculous work these tiny cells accomplish. The tasks achieved by these microorganisms include such intricate operations that the human mind can barely grasp the details of this well established system. There is obviously a secret wisdom hidden in the immune system which eludes man’s understanding. As you read this book, you will witness the superiority of this wisdom, hidden both in your cells and in other details pertaining to your body. The ultimate conclusion is that this could only be the wisdom of a supreme “Creator”.

Science may one day succeed in solving all the secrets of the immune system and even produce a similar artificial system by imitating the actions of these cells. No doubt, this task will require highly educated professionals using the most sophisticated technology and instruments available, working in highly advanced laboratories. The most important point here is that the accomplishment of such a task would once again invalidate the theory of evolution, proving that such a system cannot originate by coincidence.

The likelihood of the spontaneous development of a mechanism such as the defence system currently seems too remote. As scientists unravel the secrets of this system, they are enthralled by the design they encounter. The points that are revealed lead to many other questions, which make the wisdom and consciousness in the cell all the more apparent. Therefore, it has become very clear that the defence system, like all the other systems in the body, could not have developed gradually, just by chance, as suggested by the theory of evolution.

The main purpose of this book is to introduce you to these “brave warriors” within you, while also proving to you that this mind-boggling system is a special sign of creation. In relation to this, we will see how the scenarios formulated by the theory of evolution are demolished and rendered meaningless when faced with the facts. The topic which will be particularly highlighted here, is not the biological details of the defence system, which are easily accessible in any book of biology or medicine, but the miraculous aspect of the system. We have especially avoided the unnecessary use of biological and physiological terms in order to make the contents of the book easily understandable to readers of all ages and professions.

Lastly, we want to remind you that even now, you are totally indebted to your defence system if you are able to read this book peacefully, without being infected by the microbes all around you. Had the immune system not existed in your body, you would never have been able to read this book, having left this world even before you learned reading and writing.

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Agnosticism

Agnosticism

By Laurence B. Brown

 

“We cannot swing up a rope that is attached to our own belt.”
–William Ernest Hocking

The issue of Agnosticism is of integral importance to any theological discussion, because agnosticism complacently coexists with the broad spectrum of religions, rather than assuming a separate or opposing theological position.  Thomas Henry Huxley, the originator of the term in the year 1869 CE,[1] clearly stated,

“Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle…Positively the principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, follow your reason as far as it can take you without other considerations.  And negatively, in matters of the intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable.”[2]

The word itself, as Huxley appears to have intended it, does not define a set of religious beliefs, but rather demands a rational approach to all knowledge, including that claimed of religion.  The word ‘Agnosticism,’ however, has since become one of the most misapplied terms in metaphysics, having enjoyed a diversity of applications.

At varying times this term has been applied to a variety of individuals or subgroups, differing greatly in degrees of piety and sincerity of religious purpose.  On one extreme there are the sincere seekers who have not yet encountered substantiated truth in the religions of their exposure.  Most often, however, the religiously unmotivated utilize the term to excuse personal disinterest, attempting thereby to legitimize escapism from the responsibility of serious investigation into religious evidences.

The modern definition of ‘Agnostic,’ as found in the Oxford Dictionary of Current English, is not strictly faithful to Huxley’s explanation of the term; however, it does represent the most common modern understanding and usage of the word, which is that an Agnostic is a “person who believes that the existence of God is not provable.”[3] By this definition, the Agnostic view of God can be variously applied to such hypothetical entities as gravity, entropy, absolute zero, black holes, mental telepathy, headaches, hunger, the sex drive, and the human soul – entities which cannot be seen with the eye or held with the hand, but which nonetheless appear to be real and evident.  Clearly, not being able to see or hold some specific thing does not necessarily negate its existence.  The religious argue that the existence of God is one such reality, whereas the Agnostic defends the right to such belief, just so long as proof is not claimed.

As an aside, the philosophy that nothing can be proven absolutely appears to take origin from Pyrrho of Elis, a Greek court philosopher to Alexander the Great, commonly acknowledged to be the ‘father of skepticism.’  Although a certain degree of skepticism is healthy, protective even, the extreme position adopted by Pyrrho of Elis is somewhat problematic.  Why?  Because the confirmed Pyrrhonist logically stimulates the skeptic of skepticism (i.e. the normally thinking person) to question, “You claim that nothing can be known with certainty…how, then, can you be so sure?”  The enemies of logic can create a great deal of confusion by such compilation of paradox and philosophical compost.  One great danger is to seduce an abandonment of logic, in favor of decision by desire.  Another danger is to allow immersion in intellectual contortionism to stifle common sense.

Humanity should recognize that if common sense prevails, stubborn detractors begin to look a tad daft when the apple has fallen on their heads a few too many times.  After a point, those with the common sense to accept vanishingly small confidence intervals (or ‘P’ values, as they are known in the field of statistical analysis) begin to hope for bigger, higher, and harder apples to either convince the academically defiant Pyrrhonists or simply remove them from the equation.

So, by common sense (and common experience), most people accept whatever theories appear most reasonable, whether proven in an absolute sense or not.  Hence most people accept the theories of gravity, entropy, absolute zero, black holes, the hunger drive, an author’s headache and a reader’s eyestrain — and well they should.  These things make sense.  In the opinion of those of religion, all mankind should also accept the existence of God and of the human spirit, for the overwhelming evidence witnessed in the many miracles of creation support the reality of The Creator to the point where the confidence level approaches infinity and the ‘P’ value diminishes to something smaller and more elusive than the last digit of Pi.

With regard to T. H. Huxley’s invention of the term ‘agnostic,’ he was quoted a having explained,

“Every variety of philosophical and theological opinion was represented there (the Metaphysical Society), and expressed itself with entire openness; most of my colleagues were –istsof one sort or another; and, however kind and friendly they might be, I, the man without a rag of a label to cover himself with, could not fail to have some of the uneasy feelings which must have beset the historical fox when, after leaving the trap in which his tail remained, he presented himself to his normally elongated companions.  So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of ‘agnostic.’”[4]

According to the above, individuals who identify with the label of ‘Agnostic’ should recognize that the term is a modern invention which arose from one individual’s identity crisis in a circle of metaphysicians.  The one who coined this term identifies himself as a man without a label, analogous to a fox without a tail — both of which imply the self-perception of a certain degree of personal inadequacy.  What part of this man’s pride did he leave behind in the jaws of a spring-loaded religious enigma?  Fairly obviously, Huxley, like many prominent metaphysicians and theologians throughout history, was unable to find a doctrinal pigeonhole to suit his concept of God.

Regardless of the above considerations, even if a person were to argue that Huxley did nothing more than attach a label to a previously un-named but ancient theology, the two word question “So what?”  jumps the synapses of consciousness once again.  Labeling a theology does not imply validation or, more importantly, value.  If there were value to the concept, a person would suspect that it would have been voiced earlier — like 1800 years earlier and in the teachings of a prophet like Jesus.  Yet the prophets, Christ Jesus included, seemed to have a very different message, the point of which was the reward of faith in the absence of absolute proof, despite the inability to view the reality of God with one’s own eyes.

 

“According to Huxley, the word was designed as antithetic to the ‘Gnostic’ of early church history, and was intended to be opposed not simply to theism and Christianity, but also to atheism and pantheism.  He meant the word to cover with a mantle of respectability not so much ignorance about God but the strong conviction that the problem of His existence is insoluble.”[5]

The tail-less fox searching for a “mantle of respectability?”  So it would seem, but who could blame him?  It was a difficult and confusing time — given the setting, many intellectuals must have been pretty frustrated and imagined themselves to be short not just a tail, but both hindquarters as well.  In a time and place where, as Huxley describes, the choice, in a practical sense, was Christianity or nothing, anybody who pondered the theological difficulties would have been forced to reconsider the oath of membership to any of the exclusive Christian clubs.  Invention of the label of ‘Agnosticism’ was no doubt born of the frustration of having had to deal with those whose doctrines could easily be discredited by men and women of intellect, but in a theological void where an acceptable alternative was not yet presented to the English-speaking world.  What could a person who believed in God, but who did not believe in the religions of his or her exposure do?  Escape was the only alternative, and that, so it appears, is exactly what Huxley did.  Huxley coined a term which encapsulated an ages-old concept which afforded all who claimed allegiance an escape route from the overheated, overcrowded room of religious discussion, and into the private den of personal convictions.

Yet, although the term afforded a popular relief valve for those who evaded the pressure of serious religious discussion in the time of Huxley, the question arises, “Does the term have value in the present day?”  The truth of the concept remains, but the question is not whether there is truth in the concept, but whether there is value in the truth.  A rock has truth, but what is its value?  Very little, under normal circumstances.

So on one hand, the ‘So what?’ factor remains.  Encapsulating the ages-old concept of the non-provable issue of God sounds so neat and practical, but does the concept of non-provability change anybody’s belief in God?  A person can embrace any of the myriad belief/disbelief systems while at the same time admitting that the truth of God cannot be proven.  Yet such an admission does not change the depth of conviction each person holds in his or her heart and mind.

And most people know this.

Few devotees believe they can support their religion or the existence of God with absolute and irrefutable proof.  Growing challenges by increasingly intelligent and well-informed laity have placed an impossible burden of proof on the clergy of the Judaic and Christian faiths, in specific.  Questions and challenges, which in previous ages would have brought charges of heresy as a practical measure for the suppression of sedition are now commonplace, and deserving of answers.  The fact that Church responses to such queries defy logic and human experience has resulted in clergy often having no other resort than to reverse the challenge upon the questioner, in the form of asserting, “It’s a mystery of God, you just have to have faith.”   The questioner may respond, “but I do have faith – I have faith that God can reveal a religion which would answer all my questions,” only to be counseled further, “Well, in that case, you just have to havemore faith.”  In other words, a person has to stop asking questions and be satisfied with the party line.  Even when it doesn’t make sense, and even when the foundational scriptures teach otherwise.

Hence, over the past few centuries the hierarchy of the many Judeo-Christian sects have been driven back on their heels by God-given logic to a teetering, bowed-back, arm-spinning posture of Gnostic ideology, which in the early (i.e. the period of those who knew best) history of Christianity was regarded as a no-holds barred, no doubt about it, ‘gather-the-firewood-and-plant-the-stake’ heretical sect.   The scenario is bizarre; it is like saying, “Sure, that oven was last year’s model.  The prototypes didn’t work.  In fact they exploded and everyone who used one burned to death, but we’re bringing it back anyway because we need the money.  But we promise you, if you believe — I mean really believe — then we promise you’ll be OK.  And if it does explode in your face, don’t blame us.  You just didn’t believe enough.”  The sad thing is, lots of people are not only buying it, they’re setting one aside for each of their kids.

The overall scheme of things is one in which clergy considered Christian faith to be founded upon knowledge up until the educated laity came to know better.  For many centuries laity were not allowed to own Bibles, with the punishment of possession in more than a few cases having been death.  Only with suppression of this law, manufacture of paper in Europe (14th century), invention of the printing press (mid-15th century), and translation of the New Testament into the English and German languages (16th century) did Bibles become readily available and readable by the common literate man.  Hence, for the first time, laity became able to read the Bible (where available – publication and distribution remained limited for many decades) and present rational challenges to established doctrines based upon personal analysis of the foundational scriptures.  When such challenges defeated the arguments of the Church apologists, most Christian sects did an amazing thing — they disavowed the nearly 2,000 year-old claim that doctrine should be based upon knowledge, and instituted instead the concept of salvation through spiritual guidance and justification by faith.  Particular emphasis was placed on the alleged virtue of blind, unthinking (and hence unquestioning) commitment.

The modern ‘spiritual’ defenses which sprung from the new church orientation mimic the heretical ‘mystic exclusivity’ of the ancient Gnostics, all echoing familiar sentiments such as, “You just don’t understand, you don’t have the Holy Spirit inside you like I do,” or “You just need to follow your guiding light — mine is leveled, laser-straight and Xenon bright, but yours is flickering and dim” or “Jesus doesn’t live inside you as he does inside me.”  No doubt such assertions appeal to each speaker’s ‘aren’t I special’ personal ego inventory, but if someone insists on belief in spiritually exclusive pathways, then no doubt others will insist on a discussion of the difference between delusion and reality.  T.H. Huxley, no doubt, would have been happy to chair the debate.

The problem is that claiming mystical exclusivity as the key to guidance and/or salvation is to claim that God has arbitrarily abandoned the ‘un-saved’ of creation — hardly a God-like scenario.  Does it not make infinitely more sense for God to have given all of humankind equal chance to recognize the truth of His teachings?  Then those who submit to His evidences would deserve reward, while those who deny would be blameworthy for failing to give acknowledgement, credit, and worship where due.

But unfortunately, the nature of delusion is that the ones who are deluded rarely are capable of recognizing the errors of their misunderstanding; the nature of the Gnostics is similar in that they typically are too enamored with their self-satisfying, self-serving philosophy to realize the falsehood of their foundation.  And indeed, it is hard to believe the waiter has spat in the soup when the restaurant is rated five-star, the service refined, the presentation impeccable.  Appearance and taste may be so good as to defy reality.  But it is the patron who regards the bearer of truth as an inconvenient kill-joy rather than as a sincere benefactor who is going to wear the sicknesses of the server home.

So why the contemporary return to heresy-slash-Gnosticism, with the official sanction of so many religious institutions?  Well, it is understandable.  Since no logical defense of modern day Judaism or Christianity withstands the pressure of present day scriptural analysis, this ‘mystical exclusivity’ is a last ditch defense of a rapidly crumbling doctrinal status quo.  Significant attrition has occurred in numerous Judeo-Christian sects already.  The remaining faithful are largely forced into ‘believing agnosticism,’ holding personal faith in the existence of God and a specific doctrine as the approach to Him, while at the same time recognizing that such beliefs cannot be objectively proven.

Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy of the Unconditioned (1829), and Herbert Spencer’s Principles (1862) laid the cellulose foundation of the concept, and T.H. Huxley packaged and popularized it.

So, does the concept of Agnosticism have value?  Returning to the rock, which only has value to those in need of one, Agnosticism has practicality for those who feel the need of a theological defense system.  Those who are satisfied with such theology end religious discussions by deflecting the threat of rational argument off the shield of Agnostic defenses.  To all others, it is just a rock.  It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t do anything.  It just sits there like the impotent and self-evident lump it is, occupying metaphysical space.

Examination of the Islamic religion fosters an interesting thought, in this regard.  The teachings of Islam were not available in the English language until Andre du Ryer’s French translation of the meaning of the Holy Quran was rendered into English by Alexander Ross in 1649 CE.  This first translation into the English language being notably of hostile intent and filled with inaccuracies, it fell hugely shy of inviting objective analysis of the Islamic religion.  As the translator stated in his address ‘to the Christian Reader,’

“There being so many sects and heresies banded together against the truth (by which the author refers to Christianity), finding that of Mahomet wanting to the muster, I thought good to bring it to their colours, that so viewing thine enemies in their full body, thou maist the better prepare to encounter, and I hope overcome them….Thou shalt find it of so rude, and incongruous a composure, so farced with contradictions, blasphemies, obscene speeches, and ridiculous fables…Such as it is, I present to thee, having taken the pains only to translate it out of French, not doubting, though it hath been a poyson (poison), that hath infected a very great, but most unsound part of the universe, it may prove an antidote, to confirme in thee the health of Christianity”

The translator’s prejudice clearly evident, a person should hardly be surprised to find the translation fraught with error, and inclined to exert little positive impact on Western consciousness.  George Sale, having been unimpressed, picked up the torch and attempted a new translation of meaning, criticizing Ross as follows:

“The English version is no other than a translation of Du Ryer’s, and that a very bad one; for Alexander Ross, who did it, being utterly unacquainted with the Arabic, and no great master of the French, has added a number of fresh mistakes of his own to those of Du Ryer; not to mention the meanness of his language, which would make a better book ridiculous.”[6]

Not until George Sale’s translation of meaning into the English language in 1734 did the Western world begin to receive teachings of the Holy Quran in an accurate, though all the same ill-intentioned, exposure.

George Sale’s perspective is evident in the first few pages of his address to the reader, with such statements as,

“They must have a mean opinion of the Christian religion, or be but ill grounded therein, who can apprehend any danger from so manifest a forgery….But whatever use an impartial version of the Koran may be of in other respects, it is absolutely necessary to undeceive those who, from the ignorant or unfair translations which have appeared, have entertained too favourable an opinion of the original, and also to enable us effectually to expose the imposture…”

and,

“The Protestants alone are able to attack the Koran with success; and for them, I trust, Providence has reserved the glory of its overthrow.”

The translation of Reverend J. M. Rodwell, first published in 1861, coincided with the nineteenth century rise of oriental studies in the scientific meaning of the term.  And it was during this period of dawning Islamic consciousness in Western Europe that Huxley presented his proposal of Agnosticism.

Many Muslims might wonder, had Huxley lived in the present ‘information’ age of ease of travel, broad cosmopolitan exposure to people, cultures and religions, complete with accurate and objective information on the Islamic religion, would his choice have been any different?  It is an interesting thought.  What would a man have done who, as previously quoted, stated, “I protest that if some great Power would agree to make me always think what is true and do what is right, on condition of being turned into a sort of clock and wound up every morning before I got out of bed, I should instantly close with the offer.”[7] To such a man, the comprehensive canon of Islam may have been not only appealing, but welcome.

This section began with the assertion that Agnosticism coexists with most religions of established doctrine.  Doctrinal adherents can be divided into functional sub-categories on this basis.  For example, the Theistic (Orthodox) Christians who conceive the reality of God to be provable, the Gnostic Christians who conceive knowledge of the truth of God to be reserved for the spiritual elite, and the Agnostic Christians, who maintain faith while admitting inability to prove the reality of God.  The distinguishing difference between these various subgroups exists not in the presence, but in attempts at justification, of faith.

Similarly, most religions can be sub-divided by the manner in which individual adherents attempt to justify faith within the confines of doctrine.  At the end of the day, however, these divisions are of academic interest only, for the how or why of belief does not alter the presence of belief any more than the how or why of God alters His existence.

To return to Francis Bacon, he once opined, “They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.”[8] Believers would offer advice to Atheists and Agnostics alike that God exists, whether seen or not, whether desired or not, whether considered proven or not.  Argument to the contrary is just a distraction from a reality which will unfold as undeniable truth on a future day of joy for some, deep regret and horror for others.

A great many people need not await the Day of Judgement to entertain such a conclusion, for all people faced with insurmountable trials find themselves drawn to belief, for when faced with desperate circumstances, Who else do people instinctively call upon other than God?  Although few make good on the promises of fidelity made at such moments of desperate appeal, the evidence of the oath remains long after the promises to God are cast aside to lie neglected in the gutters of the memory.

Can anybody help the insincere?  Very likely not.  The concept of recognizing God and living in satisfaction of His commandments only when, and for as long as, it suits one’s purpose, demonstrates an unwillingness to submit on God’s terms.  Take, for example, St. Augustine’s pathetic prayer, “Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo.  (Give me chastity and continency—but not yet!)”[9] Here’s the prayer of a ‘Saint?’ who on one hand was praying to God, and on the other hand wasn’t ready to leave the houses of prostitution, to the compromise of his sexual incontinency.  Compare this with the exemplary lives of the disciples of Jesus, who are reported to have deserted infinitely more honorable pursuits when called to follow Christ Jesus.   These men left their worldly priorities, such as their livelihood of fishing and their obligation of burying the dead, when the truth came to them, without delay to a time of greater personal convenience.  The religious might be inclined to comment, “Wow!  Those are my kind of guys!”  The more important understanding, however, is that those appear to be God’s ‘kind of guys.’

Of course, that was then and this is now.  In the present age prophets walk on water, heal lepers, and bid mankind to follow only in the imaginations of those with a view to history.  All the same, a lot of people still seek the truth of God and, once recognized, will follow immediately, regardless of the sacrifice required.  But first, they must know the truth with certainty.

So what’s the problem?  Simply this: information has never been so readily available, and yet (on the surface at least) never so confusing and religiously obstructive.  Most people have been raised with the intellectual tools to root out and identify the inconsistencies and fallacies of the religions predominant within their exposure.  Sincere seekers log a certain depth of experience in discrediting various faiths, a few of which are truly twitty cults, but the majority of which are sects claiming to be based upon some version of the Old or New Testaments, but in fact diverging from the balanced and fundamental teachings found therein.  After a while, one sect begins to look very much like the others, many times with only shallow doctrinal differences, and almost always with the same questionable foundation.  Most such sects have evolved to a modern conglomerate of truths, half-truths (or in other words, half-lies) and solid unadulterated deception.  The problem is, mixing truth with falsehood is like mixing beauty with ugliness — it doesn’t work.  Any one particular religion is either entirely truthful or to some degree impure.  And since God doesn’t error — not even once — if people can’t trust one element of that which is presented as revelation, how can they know which teachings can be trusted?  Furthermore, many of the religious have difficulty conceiving that God would leave humankind to hang the hereafter on an impure understanding of Him.

The problem screams in the doctrine-stuffed ears of man that a person cannot mix truth with falsehood and continue to consider the blend to originate from God any more than a person can mix loveliness and ugliness and continue to win beauty pageants.  Place a single, hairy, multilobulated mole (not a beauty mark, but a trueugly mark) smack dab in the middle of any picture of facial perfection and what does a person get?  Pure, unadulterated ‘Angelic’ beauty?  On the contrary, the end result is the all too human reality of beauty marred.

Place the tiniest of falsehoods in a religion, which is reported to be from a perfect and flawless God, and what is the result?  A lot of sincere people walking, for one.  But for those who wish to hang on to the canon of a flawed belief system, apologists assume the role of religious cosmetic surgeons.  These apologists may succeed in smoothing the uneven surface of scripture by way of doctrinal dermabrasion, but anybody with depth of insight recognizes that the foundational genetics remain faulty.  Consequently, while some see straight through the lame attempts at excusing the absurd, many follow anyway.

Amongst those who do choose to embrace a faith, many arrive at their choice by throwing up their hands in frustration and chosing whatever religion suits best or, at the very minimum, offends least.  Some file a telepathic communiqué with God to the effect that they are doing the best they can, others rest comfortably on insecure conclusions.  Many become Agnostic with regard to all doctrinal faiths, pursuing an internal, personal faith for lack of exposure to a doctrinal belief which is pure and consistently Godly.

Refusal to compromise belief in a perfect and infallible God for a ‘settle for’ religion possessing shaky foundation and demonstrable doctrinal weaknesses is understandable – respectable even.  After generations of distracting family traditions, centuries of confounding cultural misdirection, and a lifetime of prejudiced propaganda, many Westerners have become spiritually immobilized.  On one hand the concept of a pristine, pure religion devoid of adulteration, corruption and, in short, the grimy and fallible hand of religion-engineering man is much sought after, but elusive to Western consciousness.  On the other hand, many see too clearly the inconsistencies of any present day religion founded on that with which the West is most familiar—namely the Jewish and Christian Bibles.  Some may remain trapped within the narrow confine defined by the horn-tips of this dilemma.  Others look deeply into Biblical scriptures and recognize that as the Old Testament predicted the coming of John the Baptist, Christ Jesus and one remaining prophet, so did Christ Jesus predict a prophet to follow himself—one who would bring a message of truth to make all things clear.

Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and a variety of other Christian sects claim to fulfill this prophecy with the founder of their flavor of belief.  Many others are skeptical and still searching.  It is for the latter that this book has been written.

 

 


Footnotes:

[1] Meagher, Paul Kevin et al.  Vol. 1, p. 77.

[2] Huxley, Thomas Henry.  Agnosticism.  1889.

[3] Thompson, Della.  p. 16.

[4] Huxley, T. H.  Collected Essays.  v.  Agnosticism.

[5] Meagher, Paul Kevin et al.  Vol. 1, p. 77.

[6] Sale, George.

[7] Huxley, Thomas H.  Discourse Touching The Method of Using One’s Reason Rightly and of Seeking Scientific Truth.

[8] Bacon, Francis.  Advancement of Learning.  I.vii.5.

[9] St. Augustine, Confessions, bk. viii, ch. 7


 

 

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A System Planned in Its Every Detail

A System Planned in Its Every Detail

Breathing, eating, walking, etc, are very natural human functions. But most people do not think about how these basic actions take place.  For example, when you eat a fruit, you do not contemplate on how it will be made useful to your body. The only thing on your mind is eating a satisfying meal; at the same time, your body is involved in extremely detailed processes unimaginable to you in order to make this meal a health-giving thing.

The digestive system where these detailed processes take place starts to function as soon as a piece of food is taken into the mouth.  Being involved in the system right at the outset, the saliva wets the food and helps it to be ground by the teeth and to slide down the esophagus.

The esophagus transports the food to the stomach where a perfect balance is at work.  Here, the hydrochloric acid present in the stomach digests the food.  This acid is so strong that it has the capacity to dissolve not only the food but also the stomach walls.  Of course, such a flaw is not permitted in this perfect system.  A secretion called mucus, which is secreted during digestion, covers all the walls of the stomach and provides a perfect protection against the destructive effect of the hydrochloric acid.  Thus the stomach is prevented from consuming itself.

The point that deserves attention here is that evolution can by no means explain the system briefly summarized above.  Evolution maintains that today’s complex organisms have evolved from primitive cellular forms by the gradual accumulation of small structural changes.  However, as stated clearly, the system in the stomach could in no way have been formed step by step.  The absence of even one factor would bring about the death of the organism.

When food is received into the stomach, the ability of the gastric juices to break down food is effectuated as a result of a series of chemical changes.  Now, imagine a living being in the so-called evolutionary process in whose body such a planned chemical transformation is not complete.  This living being, unable to develop this ability autonomously, would not be able to digest the food it ate and would starve to death with an undigested mass of food in its stomach.

In addition, during the secretion of this dissolving acid, the stomach walls simultaneously have to produce the secretion called mucus.  Otherwise, the acid in the stomach would destroy the stomach.  Therefore, in order for life to continue, the stomach must secrete both fluids (acid and mucus) at the same time.  This shows it was not a step-by-step coincidental evolution that must, in effect, have been at work, but rather a conscious creation with all its systems intact.

What all this shows is that the human body resembles a huge factory made up of many small machines that work together in perfect harmony.  Just as all factories have a designer, an engineer and a planner, the human body has an “Exalted Creator.”

 

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The Ability to See the Signs of God

The Ability to See the Signs of God

“Say: ‘Praise be to God.  He will show you His Signs and you will recognize them.  Your Lord is not heedless of anything you do.’” (Quran 27:93)


“This is a communication to be transmitted to mankind so that they can be warned by it and so that they will know that He is One God and so that people of intelligence will pay heed.” (Quran 14:52)

In many other verses, God emphasizes that one of the most crucial purposes of the Quran’s revelation is to invite people to ponder.

In the Quran, God invites people to reject blindly accepting the beliefs and values society imposes on them and to ponder by pushing aside all the prejudices, taboos and constraints on their minds.

Man must think on how he came into being, what the purpose of his life is, why he will die and what awaits him after death.  He must question how he, himself, and the whole universe came into existence and how they continue to exist.  While doing this, he must relieve himself of all constraints and prejudices.

By thinking while isolating his conscience from all social, ideological and psychological obligations, the person should eventually perceive that the entire universe, including himself, is created by a superior power.  Even when he examines his own body or any other thing in nature, he will see an impressive harmony, plan and wisdom at work within its design.

Concerning this point again, the Quran guides man.  In the Quran, God guides us as to what we should reflect on and investigate.  With the methods of reflection given in the Quran, he who has faith in God will better perceive God’s perfection, eternal wisdom, knowledge and power in His creation.  When a believing person starts to think in the way shown in the Quran, he soon realizes that the whole universe is a sign of God’s power and art, and that, “nature is a work of art, not the artist itself”.  Every work of art exhibits the exceptional skills of the one who has made it and conveys his messages.

In the Quran, people are summoned to contemplate numerous events and objects that clearly testify to the existence and uniqueness of God and His attributes.  In the Quran, all these beings that bear witness are designated as “signs”, meaning “tested evidence, absolute knowledge and expression of truth”.  Therefore, the signs of God comprise all the beings in the universe in that they disclose and communicate the being and attributes of God.  Those who can observe and remember will see that the entire universe is entirely composed of the signs of God.

This, indeed, is the responsibility of mankind: to be able to see the signs of God.  Thus, such a person will come to know the Creator who created him and all other things, draw closer to Him, discover the meaning of his existence and his life and so prosper.

Each thing, the breath a human takes; political and social developments; the cosmic harmony in the universe; the atom, which is one of the smallest pieces of matter, is each a sign of God, and they all operate under His control and knowledge, abiding by His laws.  Recognizing and knowing the signs of God calls for personal effort.  One will recognize and know the signs of God in accordance with his own wisdom and conscience.

Undoubtedly, some guidelines may also help.  As the first step, one can investigate certain points stressed in the Quran in order to acquire the mentality that perceives the whole universe as an articulation of the things created by God.

God’s signs in nature are emphasized in a chapter call “The Bee”:

“It is He who sends down water from the sky.  From it you drink and from it come the shrubs among which you graze your herds.  And by it He makes crops grow for you and olives and dates and grapes and fruit of every kind. Therein is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect.  He has made the night and the day subservient to you, and the sun, the moon and the stars, all subject to His command.  Therein are certainly signs in that for people who use their intellect.  And also, the things of varying colors He has created for you in the earth.  There is certainly a sign in that for people who pay heed.  It is He who made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat fresh flesh from it and bring out from it ornaments to wear.  And you see the ships cleaving through it so that you can seek His bounty, and so that perhaps you may show thanks.  He cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so it would not move under you, and rivers, pathways, and landmarks so that perhaps you might be guided.  And they are guided by the stars.  Is He Who creates like him who does not create?  O will you not pay heed?”(Quran 16:10-17)

In the Quran, God invites men of understanding to think about the issues which other people overlook or just dismiss using such barren terms as “evolution”, “coincidence”, or “a miracle of nature”.

In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people of intelligence: those who remember God standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth:

“Our Lord, You did not create this for nothing.  Glory be to You!  So guard us from the punishment of the Fire.” (Quran 3:191)

As we see in these verses, people of understanding see the signs of God and try to comprehend His eternal knowledge, power and art by remembering and reflecting on them, for God’s knowledge is limitless, and His act of creating flawless.

For men of understanding, everything around them is a sign of this creation.

 

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