Jump to content
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!) ×
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!)
In the Name of God بسم الله

On Debating The Existence Of God

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

In the name of Allah, the most beneficient, the most merciful.

 

In the days of old, we often saw debates with regards to Gods existence not really taking a very complex form. Perhaps our Imams a.s answered people according to what they felt was sufficient knowledge (and the book on tawheed and hadiths by our imams a.s are quite deep in themselves, and not really basic).

 

The problem is, when you get into a debate with atheists, it goes into complexities. They flag up A and B theories of time, and then try to bring you into a corner where they want you to admit God is limited to time by intervening in the universe itself and by the first act of creation. The debate then goes into great depth, and arguments for Gods existence have taken very complex forms.

 

InshAllah, the more knowledgeable among us can inform us about this, however, i want to ask a simpler question.

 

To attain yaqeen, to sufficiently be able to have a degree of certainty with regards to the existence of God, is only a small ammount of conclusive, powerful rationality and reflection of the universe needed?

 

If to prove God, we need volumes of debates, surely, the average person can not prove his existence and do not attain yaqeen based on valid argumentation, but incomplete reflection, and so their faith can be shaken by any atheist who pushes them further, so it is a pseudo-yaqeen.

 

If so, how many of our sheikhs and speakers today and community leaders could hold a one on one with contemporary atheists on nuanced and complex debates on Gods existence?

 

I would love to hear the thoughts of atheists, theists, deists, and people of all religions on this matter.

Edited by Tawheed313
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Veteran Member

I think proofs for God can be of the intellect and of the heart. People can make logically deduced and complex arguments for the necessity of a creator and one with certain attributes, but it can also be something we know through the intuitive heart (which can sometimes be hard to give words to). Both are valid and reasonable because the human experience is by its nature a constant negotiation and reconciliation between heart and mind. I see 'faith' as the intuitive-heart 'knowing', not the intellectual knowing, but people usually need some aspect of both, one sometimes leading to the other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Veteran Member

There has been no definitive irrefutable proof for the existence of a god (especially a personal god) presented to this day that we know of.  Do not let people supposedly more sophisticated or with more sophisticated arguments convince you otherwise, we just do not know enough.  The same is true for most atheistic arguments trying to negate the presence of an eternal all powerful omnipotent force, but then again, this is not the goal of most atheistic arguments.  

 

Does this mean all this is necessary for you to achieve an adequate level of yaqeen to religiously follow religious guidelines on a possible path to paradise?  Of course not. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think proofs for God can be of the intellect and of the heart. People can make logically deduced and complex arguments for the necessity of a creator and one with certain attributes, but it can also be something we know through the intuitive heart (which can sometimes be hard to give words to). Both are valid and reasonable because the human experience is by its nature a constant negotiation and reconciliation between heart and mind. I see 'faith' as the intuitive-heart 'knowing', not the intellectual knowing, but people usually need some aspect of both, one sometimes leading to the other.

 

This is a very interesting point. Perhaps both are necessary, but i will come back to this post after my exams inshAllah.

There has been no definitive irrefutable proof for the existence of a god (especially a personal god) presented to this day that we know of.  Do not let people supposedly more sophisticated or with more sophisticated arguments convince you otherwise, we just do not know enough.  The same is true for most atheistic arguments trying to negate the presence of an eternal all powerful omnipotent force, but then again, this is not the goal of most atheistic arguments.  

 

Does this mean all this is necessary for you to achieve an adequate level of yaqeen to religiously follow religious guidelines on a possible path to paradise?  Of course not. 

 

Dear brother,

 

I would argue that there is indeed a definitive irrefutable proof for the existence of God. Had there not been a non-irrefutable proof, then it would have been unjust for God to create man with the facets of intelligence yet not give man the ability to definitively attain yaqeen in his existence.

 

By the nature of reality, everything has a refutation, even the age of the earth, despite it being conclusively older than say, 7000 years.

 

I personally think an atheist on the day of judgement would have a big argument against Allah swt, and simply say, you created me with a mind , a brain, and you never made this rational mind access the yaqeen in your existence as arguments for your existence was refutable.

 

I incline to what our scholars have personally shown, in that it is irrefutable. This does not mean it can't have a refutation.

 

The problem wth this is, for myself personaly, do the smaller more traditional arguments for Gods existence suffice? If yes, is yaqeen easily obtainable, but built upon by futhering in debates, or is early yaqeen on simpler argumentation pseudo-yaqeen that can be shaken once someone - an atheist- challenges it with the next wave or level of arguments?

 

I totally appreciate what you are trying to say here brother , by the way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think proofs for God can be of the intellect and of the heart. People can make logically deduced and complex arguments for the necessity of a creator and one with certain attributes, but it can also be something we know through the intuitive heart (which can sometimes be hard to give words to). Both are valid and reasonable because the human experience is by its nature a constant negotiation and reconciliation between heart and mind. I see 'faith' as the intuitive-heart 'knowing', not the intellectual knowing, but people usually need some aspect of both, one sometimes leading to the other.

 

After reflecting, surely love in ones heart should be complementary once the mind has solidified something through reason?

 

People justify Christianity by saying it's all about 'feeling the holy spirit in your heart', and surely such a subjective thing as emotion can not be the main way one comes to the truth.

 

Surely, only after air-tight solid reasoning should emotion also be added as a natural complementary element?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Veteran Member

^ When i say 'intuitive heart' i dont mean emotion as such. I mean the sense of ‘knowing’ that you have without really knowing how you know. It may be a form of sub conscious reasoning that creates a kind of state from which we are moved to act, but I think its more than that and is best described as the fitra. It has to do with a kind of integrity, some people might use the term ‘highest self’. For me, when i meditate its that spacious, open feeling where compassion wells up from.  Its what we experience before the mind kicks in. So for instance, when someone is begging for money or you see images of migrants being rescued from capsize boats, its the part of you that immediately wants to reach out and just give, to just stop the suffering - that’s the only goal. Then the mind kicks in and starts negotiating 'do i have to give the £50?...£10 seems reasonable enough...probably more than most people give...although i have some change here, they'd be grateful for just this bit of change' and ' they should really send them back to their own countries though, countries in Europe are struggling enough, we dont need more people claiming benefits' etc etc. The heart reaches out and the mind says ‘whoa, wait a minute’. The same thing can happen when people are exposed to religion or God concepts. They may feel that something being said resonates with their experience, but the mind goes ‘hey! Its not smart to start getting into all that kind of stuff, that isn’t who you are…’ etc etc.

The reconciliation between the way the heart wants to direct you and the mind wants to direct you can bring you to a reasonable middle ground. When the mind takes over it can make you small-minded, stubborn, insecure, stingey etc. When the heart takes over it can make you potentially irresponsible and lead to undiscerning choices that maybe aren’t the best/healthiest approach. The position the two bring you to together depends on your particular struggles/challenges (particularly how you deal with fear I think). We’re all searching for that perfect balance that leads to the best approach, the best action.

When I say one leads to another, keep in mind that the heart is always open and that it’s the mind that closes it or negotiates its expression. If a person is only concerned with intellectual argument it can stop them from ‘feeling’ the reality of what the arguments are pointing to. If they allow for that opening it can then give the mind permission to quiet down a bit and accept its habits/biases and current limitations. Sometimes when people are intellectually thorough, and not mostly concerned with defending their worldview, it can lead to doubts regarding the positions they take in opposition to God concepts and religious ideas and that can lead them to the experience of the intuitive heart and open them up to a different way of talking about things and understanding and experiencing.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Veteran Member

A child dying of hunger after every 4 seconds in the world is the  first proof that God does not exist .

 

How is that a proof that God doesnt exist?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

How is that a proof that God doesnt exist?

Because All Merciful God can't allow such a thing  (Why not?), thus it is probably that Such a God can't exist. Indeed in logic it can be valid, but the premises are debatable.

Edited by Dhulfikar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To attain yaqeen, to sufficiently be able to have a degree of certainty with regards to the existence of God, is only a small ammount of conclusive, powerful rationality and reflection of the universe needed?

If to prove God, we need volumes of debates, surely, the average person can not prove his existence and do not attain yaqeen based on valid argumentation, but incomplete reflection, and so their faith can be shaken by any atheist who pushes them further, so it is a pseudo-yaqeen.

Salam,

We cannot be certain about God because God Himself is certitude of Himself.

There is faith (iman) and then there is reason. Faith is a divine knowledge. Faith is not blind emotional sentimental belief! Faith is also not reason! Faith is a God given knowledge. If God does not give someone faith then no matter how rational a man is, he will not have faith! One can have a perfectly rational argument against God's existence just as one can have a perfectly rational argument for His existence. Rational arguments are pretty useless in giving man any sense of certitude. Certitude comes from iman. And the truth of what I am saying can be verified in your heart if you ask yourself what makes you a believer. If you imagine that your rational arguments makes you a believer then you are seriously deluding yourself. You should ask yourself what makes you even trust your rational arguments for His existence? And the answer is that it is your faith that makes you trust in the arguments you may have for His existence. And what is responsible for that faith? The argument? No! Where did that faith come from? Why is it there? God put it there.

Edited by eThErEaL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • Basic Members

Salam,

We cannot be certain about God because God Himself is certitude of Himself.

There is faith (iman) and then there is reason. Faith is a divine knowledge. Faith is not blind emotional sentimental belief! Faith is also not reason! Faith is a God given knowledge. If God does not give someone faith then no matter how rational a man is, he will not have faith! One can have a perfectly rational argument against God's existence just as one can have a perfectly rational argument for His existence. Rational arguments are pretty useless in giving man any sense of certitude. Certitude comes from iman. And the truth of what I am saying can be verified in your heart if you ask yourself what makes you a believer. If you imagine that your rational arguments makes you a believer then you are seriously deluding yourself. You should ask yourself what makes you even trust your rational arguments for His existence? And the answer is that it is your faith that makes you trust in the arguments you may have for His existence. And what is responsible for that faith? The argument? No! Where did that faith come from? Why is it there? God put it there.

we can attain yaqin, but attaining yaqeen, we first need to do Islam, and after we do Islam , we practice Iman, and after we practice Iman, we practice Taqwa, and after we practice Taqwa, we attain Yaqin. To practice Islam, you state the Shahada, you fast, you pray. This is where initial "faith" comes in: La ilaha Illallah, Muhamamdan rasoolullah. Then comes the walayah of God, which is the Walayah of Ahlul bayt, and by doing Ziyarat, Dua, and living our lives sincerely, we attain Iman and eventually Taqwa, where we truly fear Allah, not just through our tongues, but through our hearts, and finally, the goal, is Yaqeen, attaining this objective, certitude of Allah. How are we able to go through this process: through prayer, through reflection, through ziyarat, through dua. one cannot only understand this knowledge, yet not apply it. We need to pray not just because God told us to but because we know that is the only way to get closer to Ahlulbayt, to become cognizant of Allah. The more we pray, the more we are under their protection, under their guardianship or Walayah, the more we live our lives the way we are supposed to live. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Veteran Member

(salam)

These discussions really interest me and I think they are extremely important especially for those living in the West. I have been reading up a lot on it since the past year or so, but the ocean is vast and there is a lot more that I need to look into. Generally speaking though, I believe a few things should be well researched and taken into consideration when debating present day Western-atheists:

 

1) The history of Western modernity and the impact it has had on the way the Western world thinks (and this can be seen in places in the East, where the Western world has had an influence)

2) The distance it has achieved away from a more sincere form of philosophy, by either discarding it all together, or polluting it. In other words, their epistemological basis is corrupt (by considering empirical methods superior to rational methods)

3) Properly understanding the arguments that we ourselves make for the existence of God - what are they actually proving and what are their limitations

 

As for attaining certainty in God, one needs to define and understand certainty properly first. In Islamic philosophical discourse, certainty means something completely different than what the general people define it as. For example, the readers reading this with their eyes will tell themselves that they are certain that they are reading this, however this is not classified as true certainty in Islamic philosophy (and I don't mean to be talking on behalf of Islamic philosophy, but this is what many of the present day Shi'i philosophers believe in, I don't know much about this view in terms of its historicity). To put it simply, if for a proposition you can give a rational possibility of being incorrect (even if the possibility is a 0.00001%), this would not be classified as true certainty. So based on this, only a few restricted channels can bring you true certainty, when there is nُo rational possibility of it being incorrect (like the awwaliyat for example - generally translated as priori).

 

From the readings I have done so far, the majority of the scholars do not expect certainty in the existence of God (or even other matters of belief) with its philosophical meaning (I said majority, because I read that Qadhi Tabatabaee was of the opinion that you do need to attain that level since it is possible, can get the reference for anyone who is interested). So philosophically speaking, when the jurists say you need to attain certainty, they are referring to nothing more than a high level of satisfaction and assurance. Some don't even say you need a high level, rather even a little leniency towards the belief is sufficient (just a lower form of itminan in other words). I think this is pretty obvious, given that one of the most used proofs in the Qur'an is the Argument by Design, which suffices as something that brings satisfaction to a person - so initially it seems that even God is not expecting such a high level of certainty from us laymen.

 

Now the question is, can we reach that level of certainty in the existence of a God with the meaning of certainty that the Islamic philosophers are presenting? The answer is yes, and one of the most strongest ways (upon which no doubt can be cast) is through knowledge by presence (which is 100% certain and has no possibility of being incorrect). We have knowledge by presence (Western philosophers, like Russel for example, understand this differently than Islamic philosophers) of a number of things, and one of them is the knowledge an effect has towards its cause (which would be God in our case) - of course this knowledge can be weakened due to our attention being elsewhere so we may not even be aware of it at all (like our knowledge of pain, but if our attention goes elsewhere, the feeling and awareness of pain diminishes even though it still exists). This is a really detailed discussion and I have not fully understood it myself, but the point is that it is possible to attain such level of certainty in God. Some say that this is in fact the only way to attain true certainty in God, as He [swt] is beyond rational deductions and ontological arguments.

 

Also it is very possible that a person may use a certain argument to convince others or maybe even themselves, but their true belief is dependent on another weaker proof. For example, one may use the Argument from Cause to prove Necessary Existence to someone else, but their faith in Allah [swt] it self is dependent on Argument by Design because that is what is sufficient for them. So because of this another issue that roots out is the difference between believing that God exists due to such and such argument, versus truly having certainty in the conclusions [imam Sadiq: إِنَّ الْيَقِينَ َأفْضَلُ مِنَ اْلإِيمَانِ] and letting them have an impact on you. When you look at some of the traditions (al-Kafi, Volume 2) and how they explain the consequences of certainty (another subject I want to look into), such as the highest level of piety being the lowest level of certainty, it doesn't seem like most of us even possess close to the type of certainty that the Imams are describing.

 

For general reading (although it is a tough read), I'd suggest reading A Commentary on Theistic Arguments of Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli [i've only read a few chapters and if someone knows Farsi, they are probably better off reading it in Farsi].

 

My post may seem vague at times and maybe not trying to answer questions that were asked in the previous posts. My intent was not to answer them to begin with, rather just point out a few matters that I have read up on, for further research and reading for those who are interested.

 

Wassalam

Edited by Ibn al-Hussain
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(salam)

x

 

JazakAllah khayr, a very insightful post that brings a new dimension to the topic. I will in due time - inshAllah- try to form my own reflections based on what you have said. I think i need to reflect on this issue a bit more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

if i could share my perception, i undoubtedly say God does exist even based on science and logic. For any educated brothers and sisters i think we would know the Universe is governed by 4 great universal laws. As far as laws go, they are not materialized they just exist and these could not possibly be produced from a 'materialistic' big bang so with my limitation of knowledge i would say they were made to be there before the big bang took place which would ultimately have been done by God.

 

The second thing is looking at the Laws of Thermodynamics, for a reaction to take place you need either a reactant and a change in environment (which there was no environment and no reactant before the universe) and either 2 reactants, now some way or another whatever reacted, or the pure energy that reacted, to cause the universe to begin would have needed to be present before the universe in which i say again i believe they would to be made by God.

 

Now lets assume that God didn't even create the initial materials and as the Theory claims it was all from pure energy. Well that energy would have needed to do something to cause the big bang and that would only be capable of happening if there were specific laws of reactions that the energy had to abide by which i rule again that i think God would be behind this.

 

Disclaimer: This is me using my own knowledge and what i have studied and read into the matter, i am aware that some of what i say might be wrong and if you could correct me that would be great.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...