Praise and thanks to Allah, the Lord of everything, the One Who does not need or resemble anything.
The Atheist Delusion
Atheism has, as of late, become the new “chic” among a large segment of American society—especially, among younger people. For Muslims, this should be of concern for many different reasons, the most significant being that atheism is the worst form of disbelief. Also, what is called the “new atheism” is very aggressive in attacking all types of religion—especially, those religions that claim to be following prophetic guidance. The atheists also present themselves as people of “logic” and “reason” and ridicule those who claim to have “faith”. As we shall demonstrate, God-willing, it will be seen that it is the doctrine of atheism that is predicated in irrationality and governed by egotistical dictates.
As for this relatively recent trend of atheism in the U.S., its system of anti-belief runs contrary to what the vast majority of Americans followed for most of this nation’s history. Atheists were seen, in general, as a reprobate people. In the 1950’s, the atheism was widely associated with communism—and the communists were seen as the among the most immoral people on earth. In the doctrine of communism, the state dictated “morality” and the state disregarded the existence of an afterlife and accountability after death. The communists wanted the people to be devoted to the state an did not want religion to interfere with its domination of the people’s affairs. The communists were called a “godless people,” for their atheism and absence of morals. Understanding the threat that atheism posed to the social order, the American government printed on its currency and stamped on its coins “In God we trust,” to oppose the vicious atheistic doctrine of communism.
How times change. Nowadays, on almost any liberal or 20-something (or younger) internet site, one can see an abundance of comments insulting religions, attacking all notions in the existence of a Creator or God’s Prophets. What Muslims should keep in mind—and those open-minded people in pursuit of the Truth—is that most of this atheistic sentiment stems from the West’s (meaning, the cultures derived from European civilization) experience with Christianity.
Many of the Western thinkers, philosophers, and scientists of the past resented Christianity because of the Catholic Church’s policy of suppressing knowledge and learning. As these intellectuals studied and pondered the world around them, they developed ideas and theories that did not conform with Catholic Church dogma. Also, there was the mutual declaration of heresy and disbelief by Catholics and the Protestants against each other, which caused centuries of internecine strife in Europe. When the cross wars were essentially over, most of Europe simply agreed to disagree and have religion take a back seat to consumer and scientific materialism.
More recently, the Cultural-Marxists, seeing they could not subvert the West with the anarchic call to revolution in the name of “economic equality”, chose to attack traditional Western values and institutions, such as, modesty and marriage, patriarchy, and national identity. This assault has been relentless, and any visit to a liberal arts college campus, with its various “identity-group” courses and studies programs readily demonstrates this. Religion—in particular Christianity—has borne the brunt of these attacks, for Christianity is seen as one of the pillars of (traditional) Western culture and identity. Many youth in the West have traded in the religion of their ancestors for the promise of a fantastical utopia where everyone will be “equal” and there will be no distinctions amongst people regardless of their gender, ethnicity, height, weight, physical or mental abilities, or what they chose to do with their private parts. There will just be “equality” and everyone will finally be the same-the same…. or so they imagine.
Another reason for his upsurge in atheism is the explosion of information via the internet. When a person takes the time to look up the history of Christianity, the history of the Bible and its compilation(s) and versions, the Biblical inconsistencies, or the logical absurdities of the Christian doctrine, one arrives pretty much to the same conclusions of the Cultural-Marxists even if for different reasons: namely, that Christianity can’t possibly be the true religion of the Creator of the universe. It is a man-made innovation that was (and is) used to manipulate and exploit the masses. And if anyone happens to see some Sunday morning church programs on TV with their “pay for a prayer” services, it should make it clear that much of Christianity is simply a con game to bilk the gullible out of their money. These are some of the reasons why atheism has become popular in the West, especially among the more “educated” (and in many cases the simply more indoctrinated) young people.
With that said, we will examine the inconsistencies in the anti-belief doctrine of atheism, but first we will discuss the Islamic belief pertaining to God (Allah). Let’s start by saying that in Islam “Belief” or “Faith” (Arabic: Imaan) is not a blind adherence to absurdities. In Islam, the intellect is the faculty that is used to distinguish truth from falsehood. By using our minds, we can know that any part of a given object must be smaller than the entire object. By using our minds, we can know that if A > B and B > C, then it must necessarily hold true that A > C.Once the terms are understood, no one of a sound mind doubts the conclusion.It is by the use of the mind that one can also know that Islam is the true religion.
The scholars of the Islamic creed mentioned that there are three rational judgments:
The Rational Necessity
The Rational Impossibility
The Rational Possibility
The Rational Necessity refers to God and to God’s Attributes. By definition, it means that which the sound mind does not accept its non-existence. In other words, the mind says this One must necessarily be. The rational necessity refers to Allah and Allah’s Attributes, for the natural intelligence dictates that this world must have a Creator, and that this Creator would have perfect befitting Attributes, such as, Oneness, Eternality, Knowledge, Omnipotence, and absolute Incomparability and absolute Non-Neediness of what is created.
The rational impossibility refers to that which could not exist under any circumstances, such as, someone drawing a “square circle” or the daughter giving birth to her own mother. Such claims contradict the meanings of words, and a thing cannot be contrary to its definition.1
The rational possibility refers to that which has the potential to exist at one time and not exist at another time. This refers to all the creations—both the customary occurrences, as well as, the uncustomary occurrences.2
As can be seen from the above, the Muslim belief in the Creator is compatible with reason. It is atheism and its blind faith in “particles” somehow agreeing to cooperate and arrange themselves in a harmonious fashion and producing planetary orbits, mountains and seas, life, and human consciousness that is not based upon conclusions derived from sound reasoning. Instead the doctrine of atheism is driven by egotism and arrogance. This universe exists, and we know that from our senses. The universe could not be self-created, and it could not be beginningless. We know that the universe could not be “self-created” for the phrase “self-created” is itself absurd. A thing must be to do. That is, for something to act, it must exist. The non-existent could not possibly produce something. Furthermore, to assert that something “created itself” entails claiming that this thing was existing before it was originated… and that it was originated after it was already existing.
Likewise, the universe could not be beginningless, for such a claim entails what is known as an “infinite regress,” that is, a series of events going back allegedly forever. Such a series could not exist in reality for there would be no way to reach the present. If one were to think of a timeline, for the timeline to reach the present, it would have to have a beginning at some point; otherwise, one would be claiming that it would take infinity to reach the time of Julius Caesar, and a greater infinity to reach the time of George Washington, and an even greater infinity to reach the 2012. The problem with the allegedly infinite regress is that the present would be the limit of what came before, and that which has a limit would not be infinite.3
Another argument the atheists may attempt to use is to say that the universe happened “by chance,” which is just another way of claiming the universe was “self-created.” This has to be rejected—even according to the statistical theories of the atheists and scientific materialists. Such people are astounded by the complexity of the cosmos and by the workings of the human body. They attempt to postulate consistent cause and effect relationships between occurrences all through creation. They also recognize that if one were to put cards numbered 1-10 in a bag, and shake up the bag, the chance, according to statistics, of pulling the cards out in sequential order is more than 1 in 3.6 million. And if we add just five more cards to the bag, the statistical chance of pulling them out in sequential order 1-15 becomes 1 in 1,307,674,368,000.
If one were to tell these atheists that last night you were able to pull twenty-five cards out in sequential order on three out of four attempts, they will say you are a liar or you cheated. Although, they do not accept that doing something as relatively uncomplicated as pulling cards out of a bag in sequential order happens “by chance,” yet they believe that their galaxies, stars, planets, biospheres, etc. not only happened once “by chance” billions of years ago, they happened in such a way that they could replicate and sustain themselves for eons… all by themselves. This is an example of a person’s brain on kufr (disbelief). This is the result of not wanting to submit to their Creator.
It matters not the complexity of the theories that the atheists present, the bottom line is that a thing cannot give itself it own properties. Who would pick a stone up from the ground and ponder how the stone gave itself its size, its color, its age, it shape, its weight, its density? And even if the person points to those things that may have affected the stone, such as, erosion, still erosion does not give itself its properties. However far down the bunny hole of causation the materialist may wish to dive, the fact remains that none of these causes can actually give themselves the power to influence something else. Muslims understand that the causes and the results are all created by the Creator and the mere correlation between occurrences does not mean that these causes create4 the results.5
Atheists and the so-called Sky Buddy
The Prophet Muhammad said in a Hadith:
“O Allah, You are Adh–Dhaahir and there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin and there is nothing below You.”
Frequently when atheists debate with those who profess a belief in God, the atheists will say that they don’t believe an imaginary sky buddy created the universe. On this point the Muslims agree with the atheists. In the above Prophetic saying, the Prophet Muhammad told us that there is nothing above nor anything below God. The Muslims understand from this that God is not an object and that God exists without being in a direction or a location. Contrary to the claims of the Christians and the so-called Salafis,6 Muslims do not believe that the Creator is in the sky floating about on a nimbus. Muslims also do not believe God is inside of Heaven or Paradise or located somewhere above Paradise. God, the Creator, the Creator of time, space, direction, and all dimensions exists without being in a location. God was before places and after God created places, God did not transform and materialize in a place. Allah is not a spatial entity.
In these same discussions, the atheists will frequently say that they want to see “physical proof” for God. In the above Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad said that Allah is Adh–Dhaahir, which means that God’s Existence is evident by the existence of the creation (as we said, the creation could not have produced itself). And Allah is Al-Baatin, which means that Allah cannot be fathomed by the imagination. The Islamic doctrine is between the extremes of denying (i.e., atheism) and of comparing (i.e., polytheism/anthropomorphism). That is, Muslims affirm that God exists, while being certain that God does not—inanywaywhatsoever—resemble the creations. To ask for “physical proof” for God is absurd, for God is not a “physical being.” As one does not ask for a photograph to prove the fragrance of roses, or for an audio recording to prove the existence of a rainbow, one does not ask for “physical proof” for God. Instead, one uses the mind to recognize that the creation could not have produced itself; therefore, it must have a Creator.
Islam’s doctrine is based upon pure monotheism—the belief that the Creator of the universe is Holy and clear of being blemished by any created characteristics; hence the Creator does not resemble any of the creations, and the Creator does not need any of the creations. God is Unique. Only God creates. Only God deserves to be worshiped.
One of the favorite issues the atheists like to go into in their debates what is called “theodicy”, that is, how does religion account for human suffering and good and evil. The atheists frequently rehash the arguments that were employed by the heretical faction known as the Qadariyyah. For the Muslims, the matter is simple: God is the Creator and Owner of everything, and God does not owe us anything. God is the One Who brought us into being from body fluids. God created us in a helpless state. God will make us go through this life, and God will take our lives from us. The essence of the Muslims’ religion is Islam, that is, willing submission to the Creator. This entails submitting to the Creator’s Sacred Laws and to the reality of our being owned by our Lord and that God has the absolute right to do with us whatever God wills.
A considerable part of Western culture is rooted in the classical Greek pagan tradition, and one of the attributes of that tradition was “hubris”. Hubris, excessive pride and arrogance, was a fatal flaw for many a Greek character. And we see that what motivates many atheists today is not a sincere desire to be “reasonable”—what motivates many atheists is the vice of pride. The atheists want to believe that they are “free” from the authority of their Lord; they do not want to believe they are the property of God. The atheists do not want to believe that the One Who owns them will bring them into account for their convictions, words, and actions in this world. Nonetheless, simply because one does not want to believe in something does not make truth go away. The person who rebels against the Lord of the Heavens and Earth is in a war he cannot possibly win. He will never prevail and will never find succor, for the specter of death is always looming about us. He may attempt to push these disturbing thoughts out of his mind, but he will only be living in a delusion.
The prudent thing to do is to submit to God, for in submission is victory and peace. The one who recognizes that he has a Lord, Who is beyond all comparison and need, and he (or she) obeys with humility and sincerity his Lord’s Commands as were revealed to the final Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wasallam), will find for himself in the Hereafter blessings and bliss that no mind has ever conceived. And he (or she) will live in this world with the certitude that there is a Creator for this universe and that this temporary life is merely a passageway to an everlasting Hereafter. This is the humble and reasonable approach to life, and it is the only way to attain salvation and success.
1 We cannot have a rhinoceros that is a penguin. Words have meanings, and we cannot arbitrarily invent new meanings for words if we wish to have intelligent discussions with others.
2One of the main problems with scientific materialism is that it attempts to relegate all possibility to what it is familiar with. Hence, one finds such people denying matters, such as, the miracles of the Prophets and karamaat of the righteous, as well as, the events of the Afterlife and the unseen dimensions of the jinn and angels. Simply because a matter is unfamiliar to one does not give one the right to deny its existence. Many confuse the difference between the unfamiliar or uncustomary with the impossible and this is a grave error.
3This is different than the possibility of time extending forever into the future. It is rationally conceivable that each event would be followed by another ad infinitum into the future. Such being the case, it is not possible to speak of the last event of Paradise, for Paradise (and Hell) are creations (i.e., they are originated) which will exist forever. But to claim that time or the universe has no beginning would mean that the present could not exist, which is obviously contrary to reality.
4’To create” is being used throughout with the meaning of bringing from non-existence into being. We cannot create we merely manipulate what is furnished to us by the natural world (which itself is created by God—as is our thoughts and our ability to manipulate the world is also created by God); we cannot produce something out of nothingness.
5By this we can see why the miracles of the Prophets and the karamaat of the awliyaa’ are not fairy tales or “far fetched” fantasies. Muslims understand that every occurrence is created by God. What we witness as causes, for instance, fire burning flesh is not a necessity but merely a customary relationship. The fire does not give itself the property to burn flesh, and likewise, the flesh does not give itself the property to be burnt by fire. Experience, however, tells us that usually when fire contacts flesh, the flesh is burnt by the fire. We also know from the incident with Prophet Ibrahim when he was catapulted into a raging fire, he neither burned in his body nor his clothing (Qur’an 21:69). That is, because Allah is the only Creator, and if Allah does not will for the customary norm to occur, then it will not occur.
6The so-called “Salafis” better known to the Sunni Muslims as the “Wahhabis” pray to a giant unidentified object they believe to have a real-actual smiling face, fingers, two feet, one shin, that supposedly sits in a high location above Paradise. The Wahhabis (so-called Salafis) come to such ludicrous conclusions about the Lord of the Universe because of their literalist distortion of the Qur’an and Hadith. Given their erroneous literalist method of interpretation, it’s not surprising these same people commit terrorism and other atrocities in the name of Islam.