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In the Name of God بسم الله
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original discussion: My review:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم As we stated earlier, before we can answer the question “how can I know that God exists?” we must first ask the question “how do I know anything at all.” There are multiple ways that the intellect comes to know, and these modalities (or ways) of knowing are arranged hierarchically. I will go from the lowest form of knowledge to the highest – though this may seem unintuitive to the modern mind, which has been conditioned to see certainty as ordered in precisely the opposite direction. I will sort out these modern confusions as we proceed upon each level, inshaAllah. The lowest form of knowing, and the least certain is that of sense perception. “Huh? But I thought you had to see it to believe it?” you may ask. Ah, but you see sense perception deceives us all the time. We readily admit that. Sometimes we see things that aren’t really there, and sometimes what we see does not reflect reality. For instance, we perceive the earth as being flat, the sun as setting upon the horizon, the stars as being small, and if I were to put my finger in a glass of water it would appear to break due to the refraction of light. Your eyes deceive you Take a look at this clip around 12:30 where Dawkins himself says that if he were to see a direct sign of God – the heavens opening up and seeing the angels – he would still disbelieve in God. Instead, he would find it more probable that he were hallucinating, that David Blaine or some magician were playing a trick on him, or that aliens with some advanced technology could manipulate reality to make him think he were seeing what he were seeing. You can hear his own words here.... This article was originally published on themuslimtheist.com. Click here to continue reading.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم A friend of mine sent my third post in the proof for the existence of God series to a mutual friend who is a PhD student in physics. Let’s call him Muhammad. He made a comment in response: Muhammad: I decided to send him a full length reply because I intended on posting it here, as this objection is no doubt common amongst the scientifically minded.... Click here to continue reading.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Despite the repeated use of the phrase “there is no proof or evidence for the existence of God,” I would imagine most atheists, and indeed most people, are unaware that there is in fact a technical difference between evidence and proof. Fittingly, the distinction between proof and evidence was initially taught to me in an introductory evolutionary biology course by an ardent atheist professor during my first year of university. My professor used this distinction to justify why she would not be receiving objections to evolution in her class. (Literally, she said that we were not allowed to question evolution or present counter evidence during the lecture, and that she would not entertain it during her office hours.) It was the most bizarre and dogmatic moment I had in my entire education, and I say this as someone who was blessed to study theology in a seminary environment for a year. Contrary to popular opinion, the seminaries are far less dogmatic when it comes to foundational beliefs, as they permit questioning the existence of God and raising objections to the proofs offered. She argued that evolution was based upon good evidence, but could never attain the status of complete certainty. It was a probabilistic argument, like virtually all of science, rather than a demonstration, as in the case of mathematical proofs (and, as we shall see, metaphysical arguments.) I still vividly remember the slide used to showcase an example of rational certainty – it was that of a triangle with some lines and an accompanying trigonometric proof. Because evolution (along with all empirical science) could never attain 100% rational certainty, she argued that it was always possible to be a skeptic, to raise objections about inductive inferences which are probabilistic at best, or to posit alternative explanations that could explain the data, no matter how improbable. Oh the irony. If scientific atheists only applied their standards consistently, they would either deny science or accept God. We will see why more clearly later on when we explore the evidence for the existence of God. But there is neither here nor there. For now, what I want to do is just go over some basic concepts in reason in order to set the table for the coming arguments... This article was originally published on themuslimtheist.com. Click here to continue reading.
The following excerpt is from The Muslim Theist Blog. Click here for the full original article. بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Before we can answer the question “how can I know that God exists?” we must first ask the question “how do I know anything at all.” Or perhaps more appropriately, since God is not a “thing,” we should ask “how do I come to know?” As we shall see, all knowledge is ultimately grounded in what is unfortunately called “intuition” in English, but which is more appropriately called “immediate knowledge” or “knowledge by presence” in Islamic philosophy. I will nevertheless sometimes use the word intuition, but it should not be mistaken for the ordinary usage of simply having a “hunch” about something or the vain, amorphous imaginings of artists and poets. From intuition, in its proper sense, descends pure reason, with its capacity to give completely certainty based on deductive proofs. After that descends inductive reason, which allows us to make probabilistic arguments that reach a different kind of certainty. Lastly, we have sense perception, which contrary to popular belief is actually the lowest and least reliable form of knowledge. Sense perception, quite obviously, cannot on its own lead one to belief in God, since God is immaterial. It must be combined with either reasoning or intuition in order to yield fruit, at least as far as we’re interested in the question of God and meaning. Now the question for you, my dear reader, is what are you looking for? Are you looking to know God directly, unmitigated by any long-winded, tedious discourse involving minute reasoning? Are you looking for absolute proof of the existence of God, one that considers all objections and involves very precise reasoning? Would you be satisfied with a very compelling probabilistic argument, based on solid evidence, for the existence of God? Or perhaps, more darkly, you are here simply to “refute” any attempts to show that God is, in fact, Reality. Perhaps you have already made up your mind and are here simply to edify your ego, without the slightest intention to actually listen to what is being said and to make a genuine attempt at understanding. Perhaps if you were to hear something that might otherwise change your perspective, you would miss it simply because you are subconsciously committed to an uncharitable reading and fault finding rather than sincerity. If so, realize there is nothing to be gained in this world by proving that you are right, other than the momentary satisfaction of having domination over another soul, but everything to be gained through sincerity. With that reminder at hand, I shall assume going forwards that you are entirely sincere in seeking to know the truth, whatever it might be, and that you are entirely prepared to hear this humble author’s perspective. As to the previous concern, what will ultimately satisfy all human beings is the direct knowledge of God, which is acquired intuitively. When a person experiences God, by definition certainty is attained – light fills the heart and one’s phenomenological experience of Being radically alters. It might be wise then, to simply prescribe steps for how one might achieve this meeting with the Divine, so that one might see the Truth for themselves rather than merely hear of it second hand. Indeed within each religion, there is a mystical path that is aimed at precisely that, and if one wishes they are entirely free to embark upon such a path. However, a problem arises in that a person who is not already on this path wants to know with certainty that the object of the journey, namely God, does in fact exist and so such efforts would not be in vain. It seems to be asking a little much to tell a person they must completely change their lifestyle, values, and temporarily suspend their established beliefs about the nature of reality simply to experiment and see, perhaps, if God is indeed Real and as Glorious as He is made out to be – a highly dubious supposition to begin with if one is already entrenched in the atheist camp. Continue...
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