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JackWallabee

Logic vs. Religion

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To preface, let me just say that I've really started to question the universality and truth of religion because there's far too many things that just don't make much sense. I'm posting here because I want to know if it's possible to get rid of these doubts, which have come as a result of many questions left unanswered.

One thing that's hard to reconcile is science and religion. We've all heard arguments about nature versus nurture, but from a religious perspective, there is more than that, right? We believe in this metaphysical, yet-to-be-proven entity called the soul. And don't we believe that it is the soul that distinguishes us? Don't we believe that it is the soul that allows us to be judged according to our actions? But the question is, where does the soul actually come into play? From a scientific perspective, all of our actions are a result of electrical/chemical signalling in the brain. If the way in which we THINK is due to the wiring in our brain, which came as a result of both genetics and environment (both of which are directly attributed to random chance), how is it that we can be judged according to our good and bad deeds? How does the soul factor into how we act? Because, according to science, a soul has yet to be discovered. And certainly, if there is a soul, I think it's important for God to outline its involvement in the process of thinking and acting.

Even disregarding the natural argument, how is it that we can be judged independently on our deeds when the environments and experiences of each person in this world differ so drastically? The ability of one person to perform good deeds (i.e. taking care of others, donating to charity, etc.) may directly be related to his/her means, which are a direct result of environment/chance. Does an inhabitant of war and poverty-stricken countries, perhaps only fighting to survive, have the same potential for good deeds as a wealthy man living in Scandinavia? Probably not. So what gives? If the answer is that everything is variable and God knows and somehow makes it allright in the end, then what's the point? What's the point of existing if everything you do is ultimately corrected for anyway? What happened to free will?

Hopefully, someone can give provide something that makes sense, though I doubt it. Thanks.

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To preface, let me just say that I've really started to question the universality and truth of religion because there's far too many things that just don't make much sense. I'm posting here because I want to know if it's possible to get rid of these doubts, which have come as a result of many questions left unanswered.

One thing that's hard to reconcile is science and religion. We've all heard arguments about nature versus nurture, but from a religious perspective, there is more than that, right? We believe in this metaphysical, yet-to-be-proven entity called the soul. And don't we believe that it is the soul that distinguishes us? Don't we believe that it is the soul that allows us to be judged according to our actions? But the question is, where does the soul actually come into play? From a scientific perspective, all of our actions are a result of electrical/chemical signalling in the brain. If the way in which we THINK is due to the wiring in our brain, which came as a result of both genetics and environment (both of which are directly attributed to random chance), how is it that we can be judged according to our good and bad deeds? How does the soul factor into how we act? Because, according to science, a soul has yet to be discovered. And certainly, if there is a soul, I think it's important for God to outline its involvement in the process of thinking and acting.

Even disregarding the natural argument, how is it that we can be judged independently on our deeds when the environments and experiences of each person in this world differ so drastically? The ability of one person to perform good deeds (i.e. taking care of others, donating to charity, etc.) may directly be related to his/her means, which are a direct result of environment/chance. Does an inhabitant of war and poverty-stricken countries, perhaps only fighting to survive, have the same potential for good deeds as a wealthy man living in Scandinavia? Probably not. So what gives? If the answer is that everything is variable and God knows and somehow makes it allright in the end, then what's the point? What's the point of existing if everything you do is ultimately corrected for anyway? What happened to free will?

Hopefully, someone can give provide something that makes sense, though I doubt it. Thanks.

your thinking too much. don't think. just worship God. in order to worship God and follow what God tells us in Quran you dont have to think, you just have to follow it.

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To preface, let me just say that I've really started to question the universality and truth of religion because there's far too many things that just don't make much sense. I'm posting here because I want to know if it's possible to get rid of these doubts, which have come as a result of many questions left unanswered.

One thing that's hard to reconcile is science and religion. We've all heard arguments about nature versus nurture, but from a religious perspective, there is more than that, right? We believe in this metaphysical, yet-to-be-proven entity called the soul. And don't we believe that it is the soul that distinguishes us? Don't we believe that it is the soul that allows us to be judged according to our actions? But the question is, where does the soul actually come into play? From a scientific perspective, all of our actions are a result of electrical/chemical signalling in the brain. If the way in which we THINK is due to the wiring in our brain, which came as a result of both genetics and environment (both of which are directly attributed to random chance), how is it that we can be judged according to our good and bad deeds? How does the soul factor into how we act? Because, according to science, a soul has yet to be discovered. And certainly, if there is a soul, I think it's important for God to outline its involvement in the process of thinking and acting.

Even disregarding the natural argument, how is it that we can be judged independently on our deeds when the environments and experiences of each person in this world differ so drastically? The ability of one person to perform good deeds (i.e. taking care of others, donating to charity, etc.) may directly be related to his/her means, which are a direct result of environment/chance. Does an inhabitant of war and poverty-stricken countries, perhaps only fighting to survive, have the same potential for good deeds as a wealthy man living in Scandinavia? Probably not. So what gives? If the answer is that everything is variable and God knows and somehow makes it allright in the end, then what's the point? What's the point of existing if everything you do is ultimately corrected for anyway? What happened to free will?

Hopefully, someone can give provide something that makes sense, though I doubt it. Thanks.

To answer your first, I have two responses. The body can be considered a vehicle for the soul to carry out it's actions in the physical world. Our brains are programmed by our souls, which is why we all respond to different things in different ways, in terms of thought process. Chemical firings cannot explain concepts, in particular. Neurologists are unable to find things such as 'belief' in the brain.

With the problem of interaction between body and soul (i.e how does the soul cause the body to act in a certain way), science itself fails to explain causation. Take the example of a bike. I may ask, how does the pedal cause the bike to move? You may respond by saying that when you push the pedal, which pulls the chain, which makes the wheel rotate. What you won't be able to answer is how pushing the pedal causes it to move.

With regard to your second, a person is accountable individually because the environment and experiences of each person varies drastically. Nobody at any point said that God will make things right in the end. Of course not, otherwise a lot of the negative things in the world would not be taking place. Each person is required to do what is within their capability. A poor person living in a war-torn country is not required the same as a rich person living in luxury. The idea of giving things as charity's primary reason is not to eradicate poverty in the world, if this was the case then everyone would be required to do the same. The purpose is for instilling humanity as a quality in the character of a person.

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Dear Jackwallabee,

I take it that you are struggling with a conception of God--no doubt legitimate from a certain point of view--that you have inherited from your rearing and the rationalist empiricist epistemology you have inherited from your schooling. This fissure is very difficult to overcome since religion speaks to our deepest human needs and is therefor indispensable and since we live under the all encompassing, indeed tyrannical, paradigm of a modern Western science based on an epistemoligcal premise that excludes anything that isn't quantifiable. You have raised numerous issues in your post, but I am confident that they can all be solved by going to the root of the problem. You must understand that the language of Revelation, and of traditional socieities in general, is a language of symbolism. In addition to this their epistemological posture was one that took intuition just as seriously as discursive reason (ratio), and if forced to choose most of them would opt for intuition since it has an epistemological primacy over and above reason. If you are interested in overcoming this and other related problems I would recommend Seyyed Hossein Nasr's Knowledge and the Sacred; and for modern science and Islam I would recommend the scholarly works of Muzaffar Iqbal (the complimentary volumes Islam and Science (2002) and Science and Islam (2007)).

Cordially,

Shuayb

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your thinking too much. don't think. just worship God. in order to worship God and follow what God tells us in Quran you dont have to think, you just have to follow it.

In order to follow, I have to understand--not everything--but enough to rid myself of this cognitive dissonance. Blindly following anything is never a good idea.

To answer your first, I have two responses. The body can be considered a vehicle for the soul to carry out it's actions in the physical world. Our brains are programmed by our souls, which is why we all respond to different things in different ways, in terms of thought process.

Saying that out brains are programmed by our souls is interesting and may make sense if it weren't for simple observation. Brain function isn't in all-or-nothing proportion, that much is obvious, but to say that this is a result of the soul, rather than the myriad ways in which genes, fetal environment, and fetal/child/adult development affect it, is disregarding everything that's observable. Trauma to the brain, neurological diseases, and genetic disorders suggest that brain function is a very complicated natural phenomenon. Brain function runs the gamut, and thus explains the diverse ways in which people think, much better than an abstract soul does. On that point, whenever I've asked others how the mentally handicapped or ill are judged by their actions, the response has been that they're conventiently absolved to a large extent. Why?

With the problem of interaction between body and soul (i.e how does the soul cause the body to act in a certain way), science itself fails to explain causation. Take the example of a bike. I may ask, how does the pedal cause the bike to move? You may respond by saying that when you push the pedal, which pulls the chain, which makes the wheel rotate. What you won't be able to answer is how pushing the pedal causes it to move.

I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here.

With regard to your second, a person is accountable individually because the environment and experiences of each person varies drastically. Nobody at any point said that God will make things right in the end. Of course not, otherwise a lot of the negative things in the world would not be taking place. Each person is required to do what is within their capability. A poor person living in a war-torn country is not required the same as a rich person living in luxury.

I shouldn't have said all right. I meant corrected for in the sense that all the variables (environment, genes, etc.) must be accounted for in order for God to judge each person according to his/her actions. And you're supporting me with your last couple sentences by saying that people are judged according to different standards. My point was that if everything is corrected for anyway, the actual process of doing good and bad becomes nearly meaningless in the sense that it all evens out. What is it that differentiates one person from another if it isn't some ratio of good/bad deeds? I think we're back at square 1 here, trying to find out what causes our actions. On a related note, do serial killers have a brain defect or are they simply evil souls corrupted by the devil? Science suggests the former, so how are those murders judged? Isn't the entire notion of good/evil completely voided if the former is true?

Dear Jackwallabee,

I take it that you are struggling with a conception of God--no doubt legitimate from a certain point of view--that you have inherited from your rearing and the rationalist empiricist epistemology you have inherited from your schooling. This fissure is very difficult to overcome since religion speaks to our deepest human needs and is therefor indispensable and since we live under the all encompassing, indeed tyrannical, paradigm of a modern Western science based on an epistemoligcal premise that excludes anything that isn't quantifiable. You have raised numerous issues in your post, but I am confident that they can all be solved by going to the root of the problem. You must understand that the language of Revelation, and of traditional socieities in general, is a language of symbolism. In addition to this their epistemological posture was one that took intuition just as seriously as discursive reason (ratio), and if forced to choose most of them would opt for intuition since it has an epistemological primacy over and above reason. If you are interested in overcoming this and other related problems I would recommend Seyyed Hossein Nasr's Knowledge and the Sacred; and for modern science and Islam I would recommend the scholarly works of Muzaffar Iqbal (the complimentary volumes Islam and Science (2002) and Science and Islam (2007)).

Cordially,

Shuayb

Thanks.

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But the question is, where does the soul actually come into play?

The soul comes into play as volition or free will.

If the way in which we THINK is due to the wiring in our brain, which came as a result of both genetics and environment (both of which are directly attributed to random chance), how is it that we can be judged according to our good and bad deeds?

But since both genetics and the environment are both outside our realm of control, you are arguing that our THOUGHTS (and decisions) are outside our control. In other words, you are arguing that you have no choice (or free will) in the matter of thinking about what you do.

Does an inhabitant of war and poverty-stricken countries, perhaps only fighting to survive, have the same potential for good deeds as a wealthy man living in Scandinavia?

Why not? There is an Islamic principle that goes ÅäãÇ ÇáÇÚãÇá ÈÇáäíÇÊ (Indeed one's deeds are based on intentions). If a poor/helpless person sincerely intends to do good, then this counts as if the good deed was actually performed by him, even if it wasn't in reality.

A couple of ahadith from Kafi, vol 2, pg 85:

Imam Sadiq [a] narrated: Indeed, the poor believing servant (of Allah) says, 'O Lord bestow upon me such and such so that I can do so and so good deeds.' If Allah, Mighty and Exalted, knows that his intention is true He will write down for him a reward (just for his intention) as if he had performed the deed; Indeed Allah is vastly generous.

Abi Hashim narrated from Abu Abdillah (al-Sadiq) [a] that he said: "People of hell will remain in hell for ever because of their intention in this world to disobey Allah even if they lived here forever. People of paradise will live therein forever because of their intention in this world to worship Allah even if they lived here forever. Because of intentions these and those will remain therein forever. The Imam then recited the words of Allah, the most High, [say: "Everyone acts according to shakilah (his own disposition). . . . ," (17:84)]. The Imam said, "It (Shakilah) means intention."

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Saying that out brains are programmed by our souls is interesting and may make sense if it weren't for simple observation. Brain function isn't in all-or-nothing proportion, that much is obvious, but to say that this is a result of the soul, rather than the myriad ways in which genes, fetal environment, and fetal/child/adult development affect it, is disregarding everything that's observable. Trauma to the brain, neurological diseases, and genetic disorders suggest that brain function is a very complicated natural phenomenon. Brain function runs the gamut, and thus explains the diverse ways in which people think, much better than an abstract soul does. On that point, whenever I've asked others how the mentally handicapped or ill are judged by their actions, the response has been that they're conventiently absolved to a large extent. Why?

Let's use the example of a radio here. A radio receives the signal, and performs. If you bash a radio up, it may not function so well and may not be able to adhere to some signals. That does not mean the signal is not there.

I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here.

My point is that causation cannot be proven even a physical level. David Hume championed this idea, and it has remained unsolved for 250 years.

"When we look about us towards external objects, and consider the operation of causes, we are never able, in a single instance, to discover any power or necessary connexion; any quality, which binds the effect to the cause, and renders the one an infallible consequence of the other. There is required a medium, which may enable the mind to draw such an inference, if indeed it be drawn by reasoning and argument. What that medium is, I must confess, passes my comprehension; and it is incumbent on those to produce it, who assert that it really exists, and is the origin of all our conclusions concerning matter of fact. This question I propose as much for the sake of information, as with an intention of raising difficulties. I cannot find, I cannot imagine any such reasoning. But I keep my mind still open to instruction, if any one will vouchsafe to bestow it upon me." (David Hume, 1737)

I shouldn't have said all right. I meant corrected for in the sense that all the variables (environment, genes, etc.) must be accounted for in order for God to judge each person according to his/her actions. And you're supporting me with your last couple sentences by saying that people are judged according to different standards. My point was that if everything is corrected for anyway, the actual process of doing good and bad becomes nearly meaningless in the sense that it all evens out. What is it that differentiates one person from another if it isn't some ratio of good/bad deeds? I think we're back at square 1 here, trying to find out what causes our actions. On a related note, do serial killers have a brain defect or are they simply evil souls corrupted by the devil? Science suggests the former, so how are those murders judged? Isn't the entire notion of good/evil completely voided if the former is true?

You can speak about genes and environment, it still doesn't explain where the thoughts for these actions are generated. Nature or nurture does not explain concepts. Nor does neuroscience.

I don't understand your point on correcting? Please rephrase it.

Again, talking about serial killers and brain defects, you're repeating yourself. Refer to the radio analogy.

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The soul comes into play as volition or free will.

But since both genetics and the environment are both outside our realm of control, you are arguing that our THOUGHTS (and decisions) are outside our control. In other words, you are arguing that you have no choice (or free will) in the matter of thinking about what you do.

That's exactly the issue. There is a disconnect between science and religion. Maybe it's because--what Shuayb said--the language of Revelation is a language of symbolism, or maybe it's something else. Regardless, because Islam claims universality (i.e. applicable to everyone in the entire world), I don't think it should be this difficult to understand.

Why not? There is an Islamic principle that goes ÅäãÇ ÇáÇÚãÇá ÈÇáäíÇÊ (Indeed one's deeds are based on intentions). If a poor/helpless person sincerely intends to do good, then this counts as if the good deed was actually performed by him, even if it wasn't in reality.

I've indeed heard that both intentions and actions are judged. However, it isn't possible for actions and intentions to be weighed equally, so there's still a discrepancy between those with means and those without. Actions and intentions are fundamentally different because, for one, in this life, intentions are temporal, while actions are permanent. What you intend may change from day to day, but without it being put into action, actual effects may differ substantially, and the consequences it has on other people do, too. For example, say someone intends to kill another person, but either the attempt fails, or the attempt never happens. The intention was to kill, but the effect on the would-be victim, his/her family, friends, etc. is completely different. Thus, intention can never be on the same level as action. On the other side of the coin, those who intend to do something good may never do it because they're too lazy, slow-witted, etc. Whereas the action may affect someone in reality, the intention rarely does.

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In order to follow, I have to understand--not everything--but enough to rid myself of this cognitive dissonance. Blindly following anything is never a good idea.

But we have no choice except to follow. If you dont follow then what other option do you have. If you say that we have the option to use reason or science, then you are still following (you are following the authority of your reflection and the authority of modern science. we can never not follow authority. when we 'see' we are actually following the authority of our eyes (which could lie to us). when we 'hear' we are actually following the authority of our ears (which also could lie to us). when we 'reason' we are following the authority of our reflection (which also could be very wrong). All these authorities could be correct and could be corrupt. Since there is no escape from following authority (whether it be the authority of our faculties or the authority of God) inst it wise to follow the authority of the Creator rather than the created? Isnt it wise or humble to follow the authority of one who claims to have knowledge from the Creator (i.e. follow a Messenger) rather than our own authority? This is what imaan is. Following God's authority rather than our own faculties.

take care

MK

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Let's use the example of a radio here. A radio receives the signal, and performs. If you bash a radio up, it may not function so well and may not be able to adhere to some signals. That does not mean the signal is not there.

Finish the analogy. The signal is what? The soul or Islam? Either way, the analogy isn't intuitive because I'm talking about humans here, not radios. If a radio can't receive the signal well, nobody cares. It's inconsequential. If the brain can't receive the "signal," then what? I'm asking for someone to bridge the gap between science and religion; this just further convolutes the subject.

You can speak about genes and environment, it still doesn't explain where the thoughts for these actions are generated. Nature or nurture does not explain concepts. Nor does neuroscience.

So you're saying that the brain is not involved in generating or understanding concepts?

correction factor that accounts for every single thing out of our control places everyone on the same standard. Put simply, receiving a score of a 100% on a 3rd grade math test is not the same as scoring 100% on a calculus midterm. A different standard was applied to each, and in order for you to judge who is better at math, a correction needs to be made.
But we have no choice except to follow. If you dont follow then what other option do you have. If you say that we have the option to use reason or science, then you are still following (you are following the authority of your reflection and the authority of modern science. we can never not follow authority. when we 'see' we are actually following the authority of our eyes (which could lie to us). when we 'hear' we are actually following the authority of our ears (which also could lie to us). when we 'reason' we are following the authority of our reflection (which also could be very wrong). All these authorities could be correct and could be corrupt. Since there is no escape from following authority (whether it be the authority of our faculties or the authority of God) inst it wise to follow the authority of the Creator rather than the created? Isnt it wise or humble to follow the authority of one who claims to have knowledge from the Creator (i.e. follow a Messenger) rather than our own authority? This is what imaan is. Following God's authority rather than our own faculties.

It's not as simple as saying there's no other choice. I would like nothing more than for everything to make sense. I'd follow without question. But as far as I've understood, if you have doubts, they need to be resolved. Otherwise, what's the point of following the religion? Science shouldn't oppose religion, and I certainly don't worship or "follow" science in that sense. Rather, science should strengthen your faith. I just fear the day that we clone a human being. How do we justify that?

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There is a disconnect between science and religion.

Correct.

Regardless, because Islam claims universality (i.e. applicable to everyone in the entire world), I don't think it should be this difficult to understand.

What part of Islam did you find too difficult to understand?

However, it isn't possible for actions and intentions to be weighed equally, so there's still a discrepancy between those with means and those without.

This is absolutely false. I've already posted a hadith that explains that good intentions are rewarded exactly like the performance of the associated good deed if the person making the intention is not capable of performing the deed due to elements beyond his control. Here, let me post it again:

Imam Sadiq [a] narrated: Indeed, the poor believing servant (of Allah) says, 'O Lord bestow upon me such and such so that I can do so and so good deeds.' If Allah, Mighty and Exalted, knows that his intention is true He will write down for him a reward (just for his intention) as if he had performed the deed; Indeed Allah is vastly generous.

And another hadith:

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a), while explaining the utterance of God Almighty, "That He might try you (to see) which of you is fairest in works." (67:2) said: "It does not mean one of you whose deeds are more numerous but one who is more rightful in his conduct, and this rightness is nothing but fear of God and sincerity of intention (niyyah) and fear." Then he (a) added: "To persevere in an action until it becomes sincere is more difficult than (performing) the action itself, and sincerity of action lies in this that you should not desire anyone to praise you for it except God Almighty, and intention supersedes action. Lo, verily, intention is action itself." Then he recited the Qur'anic verse, "Say, everyone acts in accordance with his character (shakilatihi)", (17:84) adding, "That shakilah means niyyah." [Al‑Kulayni, al‑Kafi, vol. 2, kitab al‑ iman wa al‑kufr, bab al‑'Ikhlas, hadith # 4]

http://www.al-islam.org/nutshell/merits_soul/4.htm

What you intend may change from day to day, but without it being put into action,

That is irrelevant. If an intention to perform a good deed was sincere, the person will be rewarded for it regardless of whether he changes his intention later.

For example, say someone intends to kill another person, but either the attempt fails, or the attempt never happens. The intention was to kill, but the effect on the would-be victim, his/her family, friends, etc. is completely different.

Again irrelevant. Good intentions are rewarded even if the action is not carried out, but bad intentions are not punished until the action is performed.

From al-Kafi, vol 2., Zurarah said that Imam Baqir or Sadiq [a] narrated:

Allah, the Blessed and High, set for Adam in his offspring that whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, still (the reward for) one good deed will be written for him; and whoever intends to perform a good deed and actually performs it, (the reward for) ten good deeds will be written down for him. Whoever intends to commit an evil deed but does not do it, nothing will be written against him; and whoever intends to commit an evil deed and actually performs it, (only) one evil deed will be written against him.

On the other side of the coin, those who intend to do something good may never do it because they're too lazy, slow-witted, etc.

Which doesn't matter, since even then the intention alone (as long as it is sincere) counts as a good deed.

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Finish the analogy. The signal is what? The soul or Islam? Either way, the analogy isn't intuitive because I'm talking about humans here, not radios. If a radio can't receive the signal well, nobody cares. It's inconsequential. If the brain can't receive the "signal," then what? I'm asking for someone to bridge the gap between science and religion; this just further convolutes the subject.

You missed the point by a mile. The soul is the signal, obviously. I use the radio analogy because if fits perfectly. If you are trying to force a connection with science and Islam in every sense, you'll end up embarrassing yourself, like Harun Yahya.

So you're saying that the brain is not involved in generating or understanding concepts?

The brain is structured in accordance to the soul in order to produce the thought through a physical process.

It's not as simple as saying there's no other choice. I would like nothing more than for everything to make sense. I'd follow without question. But as far as I've understood, if you have doubts, they need to be resolved. Otherwise, what's the point of following the religion? Science shouldn't oppose religion, and I certainly don't worship or "follow" science in that sense. Rather, science should strengthen your faith. I just fear the day that we clone a human being. How do we justify that?

Doubting is the way you learn. Blind acceptance is stupid. Don't worry...

I don't see what you issue with cloning is? Just because the person is created through a non-traditional method, I'm yet to find a law that says this means it can have no soul or mind. If creation is the issue, the day man creates a person through his own substance and not the material of God, that's the day we'll have problems. As you may have realised, it's not possible.

Edited by Shia & Proud

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It's not as simple as saying there's no other choice. I would like nothing more than for everything to make sense. I'd follow without question. But as far as I've understood, if you have doubts, they need to be resolved. Otherwise, what's the point of following the religion? Science shouldn't oppose religion, and I certainly don't worship or "follow" science in that sense. Rather, science should strengthen your faith. I just fear the day that we clone a human being. How do we justify that?

A person will have to follow authority one way or another. Whether it is God's authority or the authority of our faculties (be it reason, or sense organs) we will follow authority inescapably. So, yes, it is indeed as simple as saying we don't have any other choice beside following authority. No matter how hard one reasons, no matter what conclusions one arrives at, he will NEVER be certain about them unless his conclusions are anchored and rooted in following God's authority (i.e. imaan) (but this anchoring comes only after having imaan. So i am not saying Science or Reason contradicts God's authority. Rather I am saying that we should not follow God's authority on the authority of our reason. We should not make our Reason or ourselves (our faculties) the basis for 'imaan'. We should make our-following-God the basis for 'imaan'.

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Doubting is the way you learn. Blind acceptance is stupid. Don't worry...

It is much more blind to follow the authority of our reflection than to follow God's authority. It is sheer arrogance to think one can be certain by using mere reflection.

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Correct.

What part of Islam did you find too difficult to understand?

Uhh, everything I've written about thus far?

However, it isn't possible for actions and intentions to be weighed equally, so there's still a discrepancy between those with means and those without.
This is absolutely false. I've already posted a hadith that explains that good intentions are rewarded exactly like the performance of the associated good deed if the person making the intention is not capable of performing the deed due to elements beyond his control. Here, let me post it again:

Imam Sadiq [a] narrated: Indeed, the poor believing servant (of Allah) says, 'O Lord bestow upon me such and such so that I can do so and so good deeds.' If Allah, Mighty and Exalted, knows that his intention is true He will write down for him a reward (just for his intention) as if he had performed the deed; Indeed Allah is vastly generous.

And another hadith:

Imam Ja�far al-Sadiq (a), while explaining the utterance of God Almighty, "That He might try you (to see) which of you is fairest in works." (67:2) said: "It does not mean one of you whose deeds are more numerous but one who is more rightful in his conduct, and this rightness is nothing but fear of God and sincerity of intention (niyyah) and fear." Then he (a) added: "To persevere in an action until it becomes sincere is more difficult than (performing) the action itself, and sincerity of action lies in this that you should not desire anyone to praise you for it except God Almighty, and intention supersedes action. Lo, verily, intention is action itself." Then he recited the Qur'anic verse, "Say, everyone acts in accordance with his character (shakilatihi)", (17:84) adding, "That shakilah means niyyah." [Al‑Kulayni, al‑Kafi, vol. 2, kitab al‑ iman wa al‑kufr, bab al‑'Ikhlas, hadith # 4]

http://www.al-islam.org/nutshell/merits_soul/4.htm

This hadith says they're weighed equally, whereas the hadith below says they're weighed unequally. What does this say about the accuracy/authenticity of the ahadith? Regardless, citing hadith is fine and all, but because there's so much debate about the truth of them (each sect differs), there's little benefit in using it as proof that what you say is true. That's like a Muslim having a debate with a Christian, each using their holy books as evidence for their arguments. It goes nowhere.

That is irrelevant. If an intention to perform a good deed was sincere, the person will be rewarded for it regardless of whether he changes his intention later.

Again irrelevant. Good intentions are rewarded even if the action is not carried out, but bad intentions are not punished until the action is performed.

From al-Kafi, vol 2., Zurarah said that Imam Baqir or Sadiq [a] narrated:

Allah, the Blessed and High, set for Adam in his offspring that whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, still (the reward for) one good deed will be written for him; and whoever intends to perform a good deed and actually performs it, (the reward for) ten good deeds will be written down for him. Whoever intends to commit an evil deed but does not do it, nothing will be written against him; and whoever intends to commit an evil deed and actually performs it, (only) one evil deed will be written against him.

Which doesn't matter, since even then the intention alone (as long as it is sincere) counts as a good deed.

If you say so.

You missed the point by a mile. The soul is the signal, obviously. I use the radio analogy because if fits perfectly. If you are trying to force a connection with science and Islam in every sense, you'll end up embarrassing yourself, like Harun Yahya.

What was the point? The radio analogy fits perfectly? I'm not sure about that. With that analogy, you're merely suggesting that the soul exists, not that it has any affect on thought process. And unless you can explain it a little better, it doesn't answer anything about that serial killer example I gave earlier. Btw, I'm not trying to force a connection. The connection should exist by itself.

The brain is structured in accordance to the soul in order to produce the thought through a physical process.

Interesting theory. So you're proposing that the soul is a physical thing that changes the structure of the brain? Thus far unproven, but it's at least somewhat plausible.

I don't see what you issue with cloning is? Just because the person is created through a non-traditional method, I'm yet to find a law that says this means it can have no soul or mind.

I beg to differ. I think cloning is the type of thing that shakes the very foundation of religion b/c of its far-reaching implications and the many unanswerable questions that would arise. In-vitro methods of fertilization is one thing, but cloning humans is another thing altogether.

Edited by JackWallabee

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It is much more blind to follow the authority of our reflection than to follow God's authority. It is sheer arrogance to think one can be certain by using mere reflection.

That makes no sense. What you're saying is follow the authority of a God who you aren't convinced exists?

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It is much more blind to follow the authority of our reflection than to follow God's authority. It is sheer arrogance to think one can be certain by using mere reflection.

I'm uncertain. That's why I'm here. But last I checked, if you believe in God, God gave us a brain. If he didn't want us to reason, he wouldn't have given us a brain capable of reasoning. Or am I being set up?

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What was the point? The radio analogy fits perfectly? I'm not sure about that. With that analogy, you're merely suggesting that the soul exists, not that it has any affect on thought process. And unless you can explain it a little better, it doesn't answer anything about that serial killer example I gave earlier. Btw, I'm not trying to force a connection. The connection should exist by itself.

I don't see what part of analogy you missed. You earlier questioned how the soul ties in to people who are mentally challenged(brain damage etc). My point was that the physical damage prevents the thoughts being presented in a physical format. If a radio is bashed up, it can't play the channel, the channel is there nevertheless. This applies to both, the soul and thought.

Interesting theory. So you're proposing that the soul is a physical thing that changes the structure of the brain? Thus far unproven, but it's at least somewhat plausible.

No. I'm saying the soul is a non-physical substance, and brain is structured accordingly. Let's not get back to interaction, we've already dealt with it.

I beg to differ. I think cloning is the type of thing that shakes the very foundation of religion b/c of its far-reaching implications and the many unanswerable questions that would arise. In-vitro methods of fertilization is one thing, but cloning humans is another thing altogether.

Why? I ask out of interest.

Edited by Shia & Proud

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Uhh, everything I've written about thus far?

Too bad. It's pretty clear to me.

This hadith says they're weighed equally, whereas the hadith below says they're weighed unequally.

That's because the hadith are referring to two different circumstances. The first one is where the person does not have the means and provisions to perform the good deeds, hence they are weighed equally. The second one is where the person does have the means and provisions to perform the good deed, but still changes his mind and doesn't do so. Hence the difference.

What does this say about the accuracy/authenticity of the ahadith?

Not much.

Regardless, citing hadith is fine and all, but because there's so much debate about the truth of them (each sect differs), there's little benefit in using it as proof that what you say is true.

If you're asking for the Shi'a perspective then naturally you will receive Shi'i hadith in the the explanation since they form a fundamental part of the Shi'a creed. If you don't want Shi'i hadith, then ask this question in a non-Shi'i forum.

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That makes no sense. What you're saying is follow the authority of a God who you aren't convinced exists?

there is one thing Muhammad's message guarantees that the rest of our faculties dont. certainty provided one follows the Law.

so if one doesnt see certainty at the end of the tunnel while following the Law, then its a different story. then someone converts.

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I'm uncertain. That's why I'm here. But last I checked, if you believe in God, God gave us a brain. If he didn't want us to reason, he wouldn't have given us a brain capable of reasoning. Or am I being set up?

was it said that God doesn't want us to use reason? Reason is the completion of knowledge. But reason is the branch of the root of imaan.

first comes imaan (root). then, later, comes reason (branch).

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One thing that's hard to reconcile is science and religion. We've all heard arguments about nature versus nurture, but from a religious perspective, there is more than that, right? We believe in this metaphysical, yet-to-be-proven entity called the soul. And don't we believe that it is the soul that distinguishes us? Don't we believe that it is the soul that allows us to be judged according to our actions? But the question is, where does the soul actually come into play? From a scientific perspective, all of our actions are a result of electrical/chemical signalling in the brain. If the way in which we THINK is due to the wiring in our brain, which came as a result of both genetics and environment (both of which are directly attributed to random chance), how is it that we can be judged according to our good and bad deeds? How does the soul factor into how we act? Because, according to science, a soul has yet to be discovered. And certainly, if there is a soul, I think it's important for God to outline its involvement in the process of thinking and acting.

With regards to the body/soul, actually it may not be as you (and many others) have been told in regards to our religion's perspective on. If we look at the work of the early Shi`i scholar, Sharif Murtada (ar), and go into the works of kalam in this period, their understanding of what defines the person is rather different than what we often hear about from religious people nowadays. That is, he said (I'm not directly quoting here) that the person is the summary of what we see before us. It is incorrect according to this to look at some outside entity called a soul and postulate that as the "real" person. Now, this doesn't actually deny some reality of "ruh", but the dualism we hear elsewhere of the body being a mere vehicle controlled by a soul who is the real person is seen as incorrect. Personally (though I don't have certainty on this), I tend to understand the ruh to be something like a dynamic (like reeh, wind) life principle, something that is difficult for me to pin down exactly what it is, but is the distinguisher between a living person and a dead one. In other words I also don't believe in the immortality of the soul, when the person dies, unless provided with some other means for it's continued existence by Allah it "dies" too.

This is very different from what the falasifa believed in who influenced by Hellenistic philosophy talked about this dichotomy of soul/body, with heavy influence on the soul as being the real person. However, it seems to be more in accord with the observations you mention. For instance, if one alters the chemicals of a person's brain, damages a part of it, etc., then the personality of the person can be dramatically altered. Can we say that the soul has thus been altered? If not, then what is the willing agent in the person if a physical alteration can effect them so? Now from the perspective of religion on the other hand, if the body is nothing but a temporary vehicle to house the soul, the real person in this view, why then the heavy influence on the necessity of a _physcial_ resurrection in this very body, even to the point of it being kufr to deny it? And the mi`raj of our Prophet (pbuh), why is it so important to say it was physical, and not a dream or some astral projection of his soul? If the body is nothing but a temporary vehicle, why would there be such a need for it to be resurrected? But if instead, the person is the body and the body the person (again, not denying some role or reality to ruh in this composed whole), then this emphasis makes a lot of sense. You are that very thing we see before us, so if one was not really resurrected in body, then the person themselves would not really be getting resurrected. Kind of gives one a bit more humility when you think about it, that you are this limited and very mortal biological being, and not some ethereal cosmic soul.

As to the issue of free will, as Imamis we don't actually believe in either complete free will or complete compulsion. Total free will brings with it a number of problems and objections both logically and theologically, and so does complete compulsion, both on a theological level of God punishing people for things they have no control over, but also on the intuitive level (do you really think you have absolutely no choice or control over anything you do?) So the reality has to be something between the two, whatever that is.

al-hamdu lillahi ahsanu 'l-khaliqeen.

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With regards to the body/soul, actually it may not be as you (and many others) have been told in regards to our religion's perspective on. If we look at the work of the early Shi`i scholar, Sharif Murtada (ar), and go into the works of kalam in this period, their understanding of what defines the person is rather different than what we often hear about from religious people nowadays. That is, he said (I'm not directly quoting here) that the person is the summary of what we see before us. It is incorrect according to this to look at some outside entity called a soul and postulate that as the "real" person. Now, this doesn't actually deny some reality of "ruh", but the dualism we hear elsewhere of the body being a mere vehicle controlled by a soul who is the real person is seen as incorrect. Personally (though I don't have certainty on this), I tend to understand the ruh to be something like a dynamic (like reeh, wind) life principle, something that is difficult for me to pin down exactly what it is, but is the distinguisher between a living person and a dead one. In other words I also don't believe in the immortality of the soul, when the person dies, unless provided with some other means for it's continued existence by Allah it "dies" too.

This is very different from what the falasifa believed in who influenced by Hellenistic philosophy talked about this dichotomy of soul/body, with heavy influence on the soul as being the real person. However, it seems to be more in accord with the observations you mention. For instance, if one alters the chemicals of a person's brain, damages a part of it, etc., then the personality of the person can be dramatically altered. Can we say that the soul has thus been altered? If not, then what is the willing agent in the person if a physical alteration can effect them so? Now from the perspective of religion on the other hand, if the body is nothing but a temporary vehicle to house the soul, the real person in this view, why then the heavy influence on the necessity of a _physcial_ resurrection in this very body, even to the point of it being kufr to deny it? And the mi`raj of our Prophet (pbuh), why is it so important to say it was physical, and not a dream or some astral projection of his soul? If the body is nothing but a temporary vehicle, why would there be such a need for it to be resurrected? But if instead, the person is the body and the body the person (again, not denying some role or reality to ruh in this composed whole), then this emphasis makes a lot of sense. You are that very thing we see before us, so if one was not really resurrected in body, then the person themselves would not really be getting resurrected. Kind of gives one a bit more humility when you think about it, that you are this limited and very mortal biological being, and not some ethereal cosmic soul.

As to the issue of free will, as Imamis we don't actually believe in either complete free will or complete compulsion. Total free will brings with it a number of problems and objections both logically and theologically, and so does complete compulsion, both on a theological level of God punishing people for things they have no control over, but also on the intuitive level (do you really think you have absolutely no choice or control over anything you do?) So the reality has to be something between the two, whatever that is.

al-hamdu lillahi ahsanu 'l-khaliqeen.

seconded.

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With regards to the body/soul, actually it may not be as you (and many others) have been told in regards to our religion's perspective on. If we look at the work of the early Shi`i scholar, Sharif Murtada (ar), and go into the works of kalam in this period, their understanding of what defines the person is rather different than what we often hear about from religious people nowadays. That is, he said (I'm not directly quoting here) that the person is the summary of what we see before us. It is incorrect according to this to look at some outside entity called a soul and postulate that as the "real" person. Now, this doesn't actually deny some reality of "ruh", but the dualism we hear elsewhere of the body being a mere vehicle controlled by a soul who is the real person is seen as incorrect. Personally (though I don't have certainty on this), I tend to understand the ruh to be something like a dynamic (like reeh, wind) life principle, something that is difficult for me to pin down exactly what it is, but is the distinguisher between a living person and a dead one. In other words I also don't believe in the immortality of the soul, when the person dies, unless provided with some other means for it's continued existence by Allah it "dies" too.

This is very different from what the falasifa believed in who influenced by Hellenistic philosophy talked about this dichotomy of soul/body, with heavy influence on the soul as being the real person. However, it seems to be more in accord with the observations you mention. For instance, if one alters the chemicals of a person's brain, damages a part of it, etc., then the personality of the person can be dramatically altered. Can we say that the soul has thus been altered? If not, then what is the willing agent in the person if a physical alteration can effect them so? Now from the perspective of religion on the other hand, if the body is nothing but a temporary vehicle to house the soul, the real person in this view, why then the heavy influence on the necessity of a _physcial_ resurrection in this very body, even to the point of it being kufr to deny it? And the mi`raj of our Prophet (pbuh), why is it so important to say it was physical, and not a dream or some astral projection of his soul? If the body is nothing but a temporary vehicle, why would there be such a need for it to be resurrected? But if instead, the person is the body and the body the person (again, not denying some role or reality to ruh in this composed whole), then this emphasis makes a lot of sense. You are that very thing we see before us, so if one was not really resurrected in body, then the person themselves would not really be getting resurrected. Kind of gives one a bit more humility when you think about it, that you are this limited and very mortal biological being, and not some ethereal cosmic soul.

As to the issue of free will, as Imamis we don't actually believe in either complete free will or complete compulsion. Total free will brings with it a number of problems and objections both logically and theologically, and so does complete compulsion, both on a theological level of God punishing people for things they have no control over, but also on the intuitive level (do you really think you have absolutely no choice or control over anything you do?) So the reality has to be something between the two, whatever that is.

al-hamdu lillahi ahsanu 'l-khaliqeen.

(bismillah)

In Sura Al-Saad verse 72

ÝóÅöÐóÇ ÓóæøóíۡÊõåõ ۥ æóäóÝóÎۡÊõ Ýöíåö ãöä ÑøõæÍöì ÝóÞóÚõæÇú áóåõ ۥ ÓóÜٰÌöÏöíäó (٧٢

"And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, then fall down before him prostrate"

The above explains the logic of Ruh.

Hope this helps.

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