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Friday 14th of June 2024
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Theism from two Secure Paths

Theism from two Secure Paths

Third Lecture
Theism from two Secure Paths

Since antiquity, books about theism have been published and debates have been conducted constantly among experts.

Each scholar has adopted his own special technique and approach to the problem. However, there are two approaches which could safely guide us towards the Great Creator:

1. The way from within (which is the shortest way);

2. The way from without (which is the most enlightened way).

Through the first approach, we will come in contact with our consciences and listen to the call of monotheism from our inner selves.

Through the second approach, we will search in the wide world of creation and observe every sign of God on the forehead of every creature and any particle. Each one of these two approaches calls for a lengthy discussion. However, we will try to briefly discuss each approach.

The Approach from Within

Let us ponder over the following points:

Scientists inform us that anyone who thinks, from whatever race or class, if he himself examines without any special instruments, even to the extent of not hearing about the debate between the believers and the materialists, he would realize that there is a great power supervising the universe which is beyond the material world.

In the bottom of his heart, such a person will feel a delicate call inviting him towards an awesome source of knowledge and power that we call God. This is the call of our pure and flawless conscience.

A person might get distracted by the flashy, material aspects of life and might not hear this call. His involvement in worldly things might hinder him from listening to his own conscience. However, if this person were confronted with natural calamities such as earthquakes and floods, or a wrecked airplane in a hazardous climate, his inner feelings would overwhelm him and would drive him towards the Almighty God whose power lies beyond all other powers.

There are only a very few people in this world who would not resort to such a power at the time of disaster and misery. Of course, this innate feeling is always within us but it is amplified during calamities.

History has repeatedly shown us that those powerful statesmen who would normally abstain from calling God’s name have resorted to God when they felt the very pillars of their power and strength shaky and vulnerable.

Islamic history gives the account of Pharaoh, that when he found himself in the middle of the billowing waves crashing down upon him and realized that the very water which was the basis of the prosperity of his land and of his people was ordered to destroy him, he shouted out in his time of misery, confessing, “Now I admit that there is no God except for the God of Moses.” This cry emanated from his very conscience. Pharaoh and other people hear this call of conscience in the time of misery.

If you look within yourself and search your heart, you will acknowledge the presence of a light deep inside your heart which constantly leads you towards God. You might have repeatedly been faced with delicate problems the solution to which might have been beyond your power. Under such hard conditions you might definitely have resorted to the Supreme Power.

Under such circumstances, a hope mingled with love for that power encompasses your turbulent soul and puts aside the gloomy rays of despair.

However, there remains this touchy question: Is it not possible that we resort to God only because we have been conditioned by environmental factors and parental influence, and that the inner conscience is not the crucial factor?

One is justified to make such an assumption. However, we will present you with a solution in the following lecture. For the time being, let us hear what the Holy Qur’¡n says regarding this issue:

فَإِذَا رَكِبُوا فِي الْفُلْكِ دَعَوْا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ إِذَا هُمْ يُشْرِكُونَ.

So when they ride in the ships they call upon Allah, being sincerely obedient to Him, but when He brings them safe to the land, lo! They associate others with Him. [Qur’¡n, 29:65]


Think and Answer

Try to memorize the number of the above verse and its meaning so that you might get acquainted with the language of the Holy Qur’¡n.

Have you ever found yourself in a hopeless situation in which you last resort had been God’s Grace?

Why have we called this approach the shortest way?


Fourth Lecture
The Answer to an Important Question

The Question

In the previous lecture, we discovered that we always hear the call of monotheism and theism from the bottom of our hearts, and that this is more strident at the time of danger. Under such conditions, we inevitably remember God and resort to His infinite Benevolence.

At this juncture, we might assume that this call which we have named the call of conscience is nothing more than the result of the indoctrinations to which we have been constantly exposed through our close interactions with the environment, school, and parents or through habit.

The Answer

A few things need to be said prior to answering this question. Habits and customs vary constantly among nations and are always at the mercy of change. We could never come across a habit or custom which has been unchanging and constant throughout the history of a nation. That is why customs and mores are idiosyncratic features of a specific nation during a particular era.

Thus, if we find a common feature in the customs among different nations and peoples we could safely deduce that this is an innate disposition built in the very soul of man.

For instance, a mother’s affection towards her child could not be the result of indoctrination or habit formation. This is because it has never been the case among any culture for a mother to deprive her child of her love and care.

Of course, due to mental illness, a mother could destroy herself or a father could have buried his daughter alive during the period of Arab Ignorance. But such examples are rare in the history of mankind.

This introduction now sets the stage for a look at the issue of God-worship among people both in the past and in the present. Since this discussion is a little hard to follow, more attention is required on the part of the reader.

According to great sociologists, religion and faith have always existed. Throughout history, man has always had some form of religion. This is a clear indication for the innate nature of God-worship in the depths of the human mind and soul. This has not occurred through indoctrination or instruction. If it were a result of imitation or habit formation, God-worship would not have been so enduring and ever-lasting in the conscience of man.

There are even clues to the fact that man has had a form of religion even during pre-historic times. [By the pre-historic era, we refer to the time when writing was not invented and man could not transfer much of his culture to future generations.

Since primitive man could not visualize God as a super-natural Being, he would search for God in natural objects and would make idols from them to satisfy his innate need for God. With the rapid development of his mental capacities, man could gradually identify the truth and could dispense with his idols which were material beings and become familiar with the great power of The Almighty God.

2. Some famous psychologists contend that the human spirit has four dimensions or four main senses:

a) The sense of knowing which causes man to acquire types of knowledge to satisfy his curiosity. This knowledge may or may not be materially useful.

b) The sense of doing good, which is the main source for ethical and human issues.

c) The aesthetic sense, which is the source for the creation of poetry, literature and art in their true sense.

d) The religious sense, which invites man to recognize God and to carry out His commands. Thus, you can see that the religious sense is one of the most profound senses of the human soul. This sense never leaves man alone.

3. In our future discussions, we will find that most materially-oriented scholars and atheists have somehow implicitly confessed to the existence of God despite the fact that they have avoided calling Him so by name. They have preferred to use the concept of nature for His real name. However, all the features they have designated for nature coincide with those of God.

For instance, these scholars maintain that the reason why nature has provided man with two kidneys is that in the event of the failure of one kidney man could continue his existence with the other one. But is this giving in harmony with life-less nature? Or does it imply a God whose Knowledge and Power is beyond imagination no matter under what name He is referred to?

From our discussion in this chapter, we have arrived at the following conclusions:

The love for God has always and will always be in ourselves.

Belief in God is an eternal flame which will keep our hearts and minds warm forever.

In order to recognize God we do not have to go a long way. If we delve into the depths of our very being, we will find there the love for God.

The Holy Qur’¡n says:

وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ.

And We are nearer to him than his life-vein. [Qur’¡n, 50:16]


THINK AND ANSWER

Give some examples of habit formation; and provide some examples of man’s innate nature.

Why were the ignorant people seeking after the worship of idols?

Why do materialists use nature for God’s name?

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