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Can Islam empirically be proven to be truer than other faiths?

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Northwest

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On 11/21/2022 at 3:23 AM, Northwest said:

In Islam the heart, not the mind, is the pivot of faith. The heart is regarded as primary: if the heart is sealed, nothing changes/happens; all else is futile. The Qur’ān does stress reflection, of course, but a reflection that takes place in the heart, from which all else flows. All else is secondary.

This is quite baseless allegation. 

How many times the word يعقلون is used in Quran? What is عقل? 

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18 hours ago, Northwest said:

Your example may not be the best. I don’t wish to stray too far from the topic at hand—empirical support for one’s faith—but I would like to draw attention to the fact that you mention the killing of innocents as evidence of a lack of refinement. Firstly, the bombing was justified at the time as a means to defeat to enemy while sparing Allied and even Japanese lives that would otherwise be lost during a protracted invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. Of course, fairly conclusive evidence has since come to light that the bombings were militarily insignificant, Japan’s defeat being inevitable due to naval blockade, and more of a show to intimidate the Soviets (Stalin) than anything else. (I do think that Truman decided to drop the bombs because he wished to deter Soviet influence.) Secondly, if one uses the preservation of innocent lives as a criterion of refinement, then one must also define innocence, as well as account for situations in which one’s own faith may justify offensive wars vs., say, nonbelievers, who may or may not meet the criterion of innocence. Otherwise, one may open oneself to charges of inconsistency.

Hi my example maybe not the best but on the other hand your mindset is the worst because  you think life an Asian or black human has lesser value than life a white blond europeans because according to your logic genocide of innocent peopel of Hiroshima & Nagasaki based on ruse of war & altered history of  American invaders  has been a good descision which everybody knows that nobody can trust to history of war which has been written by American invaders which whole of these stories of naval blockade & intimidation of Soviets (Stalin) by America has been just an American propganda because Soviets(Stalin0 has been greatest ally of Truman (Americans) which none of them could break resitance of Japanes also everyone knows definition of innocence or at least feels it which we don't have different innocence which according holy Quran Jews so therefore christians knew that killing an innocent human is eqaul to killing of whole of humans which in similar fashion saving life an innocent is eqaul to saving life of whole of humans so therefore America the great satan  based on it's wrong & unrefined  morality of killing lesser value people for saving bigger portion of european lives has killed whole of humanity because at least American nukes has killed at least one innocent human between Japanese .

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For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth. (32)

https://tanzil.net/#trans/en.pickthall/5:32

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1 minute ago, Ashvazdanghe said:

Hi my example maybe not the best but on the other hand your mindset is the worst because  you think life an Asian or black human has lesser value than life a white blond europeans because according to your logic genocide of innocent peopel of Hiroshima & Nagasaki based on ruse of war & altered history of  American invaders  has been a good descision which everybody knows that nobody can trust to history of war which has been written by American invaders which whole of these stories of naval blockade & intimidation of Soviets (Stalin) by America has been just an American propganda because Soviets(Stalin0 has been greatest ally of Truman (Americans) which none of them could break resitance of Japanes also everyone knows definition of innocence or at least feels it which we don't have different innocence which according holy Quran Jews so therefore christians knew that killing an innocent human is eqaul to killing of whole of humans which in similar fashion saving life an innocent is eqaul to saving life of whole of humans so therefore America the great satan  based on it's wrong & unrefined  morality of killing lesser value people for saving bigger portion of european lives has killed whole of humanity because at least American nukes has killed at least one innocent human between Japanese .

@Ashvazdanghe

I didn’t defend the decision to drop the bomb; I was merely explaining the “official,“ spurious rationale that was used (“justified” = excused) at the time:

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Firstly, the bombing was justified at the time as a means to defeat to enemy while sparing Allied and even Japanese lives that would otherwise be lost during a protracted invasion of the Japanese Home Islands.

As far as Stalin being an “ally” of Truman’s is concerned: if this is true, then why did Truman intervene to prevent the spread of Soviet communism in Greece (1946), Turkey (1947), and Italy (1948), to not mention South Korea (1950)? Why didn’t the U.S. let their Soviet allies take over all of Europe?

You also accuse me of racism. Perhaps you were alluding to this quote of mine:

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Secondly, if one uses the preservation of innocent lives as a criterion of refinement, then one must also define innocence, as well as account for situations in which one’s own faith may justify offensive wars vs., say, nonbelievers, who may or may not meet the criterion of innocence. Otherwise, one may open oneself to charges of inconsistency.

I wasn’t implying that the Japanese masses were guilty. I was merely pointing out that semantics are rather important. I am not entirely convinced that a Muslim power, being placed in the same situation, would have acted differently from the Americans, given that the Japanese were mostly not Ahl al-Kitāb. After all, the Americans also used napalm on many Japanese cities, thereby killing people who did not belong to the People of the Scripture.

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On 11/27/2022 at 7:45 PM, Northwest said:

By “empiricism,” I mean inductive reasoning that is based on the scientific method and verifiable, testable observation. So the underlined portion certainly applies to the gist of my statement(s). The problem is that every individual and his background—and hence subjective factors—are different, so that determining whether a prayer was or was not answered is difficult from an empirical perspective, and is further complicated by the fact that both Muslims and religious non-Muslims claim to have received answers to their supplications. Also, if a religious non-Muslim believed his supplication were answered, owing to his background there would be nothing obvious, at least superficially, that would lead him to automatically conclude that his religious perspective is wrong.

Well, it is true that prayer does not tell which religion is true and the divine religions does not say that acceptance of a prayer is the condition of a true religion. In Quran, Allah (عزّ وجلّ) says that in order to determine whether a path is true or not, examine the path that whether it is propagating goodness or evil. So, the only way to verify which religion is true, you have to ascertain whether it is logical or not because only in this case a religion can be good and beneficial to people.

 

On 11/27/2022 at 7:45 PM, Northwest said:

I can acknowledge this. The real issue is: where lies the threshold of faith? What degree of evidence is sufficient for certitude? If absolute proof of everything cannot necessarily be provided at every point, then how does one draw the delicate balance between a) blind faith and b) informed/reasonable faith?

In order to have certitude, first a person has to have faith that is what holy personalities of Islam say. First, we need to adopt a religion that preaches beliefs which are logically acceptable because a good start will surely have a good end and after then begins the journey to attain certitude in such religion which will off course require you to search more of teachings and be satisfied with complete code.

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On 11/24/2022 at 3:45 AM, Northwest said:

Okay, this goes back to the title of this thread. Is there a particular reason as to why empiricism cannot be more valid than other epistemologies? After all, even if empiricism fails to prove or disprove something at present, it may well succeed in the future. Nor does its present state render it ineffective or discredited.

What I wanted to say was that even 'empirically' demonstrable phenomena by themselves indicate little, unless we use reason to extrapolate from them. 

You may explain the harmful effects of narcotics on the human body empirically, but you will still need reason to demonstrate if it's a net good/evil. A postmodernist will, for example, argue back that while it is granted that drugs harm our health, why is a short life spent immersed in narcotics-induced euphoria and intoxication worse than a long and healthy life. You will then have to use reason to plead your case based off of your understanding of ethics etc, all of which are ultimately rational and not empirical truths. You cannot demonstrate what a good/happy life is through a lab experiment, nor can you grow happiness on a farm or produce it in a factory. Empirically/physically visible phenomena by themselves do not completely present the picture and a lot of metaphysical/rational principles underpin how we understand them. 

Likewise it cannot be solely empirically proven that God- if one exists- is One, and that He is the God of Islam, that hell heaven and the day of reckoning exist, that prophethood as Islam understands is true, that the vision for humanity that Islam espouses both in this world and the next is true. The case for these beliefs will have to be built using a combination of what can be rationally understood and what we know via our senses. 

Your methodology will have to consider rationally provable truths as well, and you will have to strike a balance between empiricism and rationalism 

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On 11/27/2022 at 2:45 PM, Northwest said:

@Borntowitnesstruth @Ashvazdanghe

By “empiricism,” I mean inductive reasoning that is based on the scientific method and verifiable, testable observation. So the underlined portion certainly applies to the gist of my statement(s). The problem is that every individual and his background—and hence subjective factors—are different, so that determining whether a prayer was or was not answered is difficult from an empirical perspective, and is further complicated by the fact that both Muslims and religious non-Muslims claim to have received answers to their supplications. Also, if a religious non-Muslim believed his supplication were answered, owing to his background there would be nothing obvious, at least superficially, that would lead him to automatically conclude that his religious perspective is wrong.

^ This goes back to the point that I mentioned above.

I can acknowledge this. The real issue is: where lies the threshold of faith? What degree of evidence is sufficient for certitude? If absolute proof of everything cannot necessarily be provided at every point, then how does one draw the delicate balance between a) blind faith and b) informed/reasonable faith?

 

@Northwest I'd like to attempt to address your core question ("real issue") which I will do, but first I'd like to comment on the first paragraph quoted here.

I think it is somewhat simplistic to expect the answering or not of prayers to be a criterion of empirical verifiability of a religion.  You do raise a relevant point though.  People of all backgrounds have their prayers answered, people of all backgrounds also have life changing mystical and religious experiences, often even due to taking psychedelic drugs.  Rationally speaking there is always room for doubt as to whether a specific prayer has been answered or if it was already going to happen.  Allah knows best.  We trust that when we call on Him, He responds and that is enough. 

I don't think the answering of prayers is a valid criterion.  I think examples similar to what I gave in my earlier post are more fair (obviously :D ).

We can however see the methodologies of hypothesis testing and falsifiability being used by Allah in the Quran on His own message.  With regard to hypothesis testing - when Allah states the disbelievers claim the prophet was a liar, a sorcerer, insane or a poet and then debunks each of these hypotheses is one example.  One example of falsifiability is the statement that if the Quran was from other than Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) we would find in it much discrepancy/inconsistency.  I'm sure there are many other examples.  It is quite profound and reassuring to see that the Quran has applied methods being developed and which are successful today to demonstrate the truth of its own message.

Onto the real issue.  There is clearly blind faith and reasonable faith in the world.  The saying "There are no facts, only interpretations" comes to mind.

The reality of the matter is that most, if not all of our "knowledge" is taken on some level of faith or trust. One clear example of reasonable trust/faith is who my mother is. I did not see her give birth to me, I could have been switched at the hospital, I have not done a dna test. I trust her love and care for me, our resemblances and similar things, to come to reasonable trust or faith that she is my mother - not knowledge with absolute certainty.  Even if I did a dna test, the test could be wrong or faked etc.  There is almost always room for doubt, not necessarily reasonable doubt but doubt indeed.

Another example of a decision we make which is on reasonable faith (but perhaps less certain that who my mother is) is when we make a career or life decision. We do not know if it will turn out to be successful or correct. We do our research, speak to people, reflect, observe the world then make a decision and hope for the best.  It could and often does seem to turn out to have been the wrong decision. But it was usually reasonable at the time.

I'd consider superstitions because people have stated them to be true without any reasoning to be an example of blind and unreasonable faith. Or believing a religion, even if it is Islam, simply because we were born into it as another example. 

I agree with pretty much all of AbdusSibtayn's post below and have a couple points to add.

9 hours ago, AbdusSibtayn said:

What I wanted to say was that even 'empirically' demonstrable phenomena by themselves indicate little, unless we use reason to extrapolate from them. 

You may explain the harmful effects of narcotics on the human body empirically, but you will still need reason to demonstrate if it's a net good/evil. A postmodernist will, for example, argue back that while it is granted that drugs harm our health, why is a short life spent immersed in narcotics-induced euphoria and intoxication worse than a long and healthy life. You will then have to use reason to plead your case based off of your understanding of ethics etc, all of which are ultimately rational and not empirical truths. You cannot demonstrate what a good/happy life is through a lab experiment, nor can you grow happiness on a farm or produce it in a factory. Empirically/physically visible phenomena by themselves do not completely present the picture and a lot of metaphysical/rational principles underpin how we understand them. 

Likewise it cannot be solely empirically proven that God- if one exists- is One, and that He is the God of Islam, that hell heaven and the day of reckoning exist, that prophethood as Islam understands is true, that the vision for humanity that Islam espouses both in this world and the next is true. The case for these beliefs will have to be built using a combination of what can be rationally understood and what we know via our senses. 

Your methodology will have to consider rationally provable truths as well, and you will have to strike a balance between empiricism and rationalism 

When someone reasonably arrives at a rational or deductive conclusion of the truth of Islam, learns about the personalities and their teachings, and observes the miracles of Islam then starts acting on Islam bit by bit, this is reasonable trust in my opinion. 

The deductive truths could be based on incorrect premises for all they know or they may have reasoned with flawed logic.  They need to scrutinise themselves and their biases.  The stories of personalities could be made up and exaggerated for all they know,  there are so many personalities out there of other religions, is this person sure those of Islam stand out (I feel confident they do personally).  How do the teachings of Islam compare to others? which are more consistent, clear and universal? Consistent with science? However there are many teachings we cannot test or verify but much of the morality and wise sayings we can intuitively know to be true. 

I briefly described some ways to look at the miracles, but this could all be my biases or just that someone figured out a way to perform something other people can't and no one has been able to do so since. Maybe geniuses like Einstein or Nicola Tesla.

There is always room for some doubt for people like me. However, when there are strong arguments coming from our sense observations and rationality and heart, basically any and all tools of knowing we currently have available, then this is reasonable faith/trust to act on in my opinion.

Then I truly believe if we act sincerely on our reasonable faith (not absolute certainty) we may have personal experiences which cement that faith with a higher level of certainty (for ourselves only) such as synchronicity, realisations of the deep truths of certain teachings, true dreams, visions, voices etc etc... I accept people of all backgrounds can have these sorts of experiences, which is why if reason and observation go against these, they should be disregarded but if everything is in sync one can achieve a higher level of certainty.

Islam has many teachings in line with this.  the concept of Ilm-ul-yaqin (knowledge of certainty), ayn-ul-yaqeen (eye of certainty) and haq-ul-yaqeen (reality of certainty). Like seeing smoke and knowing there is a fire, seeing a fire and knowing there is a fire and then being in the fire itself and knowing there is a fire.  These are grades of knowledge and certainty Islam accepts.  I do believe most people who claim to have absolute certainty are not being true to themselves but who am I to even think that! - Allah knows best.

Another point to note is, why do prophets and Imams need revelation for their level of certainty?  Perhaps it implies that for absolute certainty revelation/inspiration/wahy is necessary, but Allah knows best again.  Even Prophet Ibrahim as who was certain, no doubt, asked Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) to show him how He resurrected a bird, to put his heart at rest - this was not without any reason. I do not know what was in Ibrahim (as)'s heart but he definitely gained something by seeing it with his own eyes. Otherwise it would be futile to ask to see it.

Please do share any thoughts you may have on this. Jazakallah.

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On 11/24/2022 at 9:58 AM, VoidVortex said:

then what about two twin brothers or two twin sisters? a dynamic is not added here.

What do you mean there is no "dynamic added here"? Do you claim that there is no dynamic in place between two sisters or two brothers before they decide to walk into a relationship with each other? 

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1 hour ago, khizarr said:

What do you mean there is no "dynamic added here"? Do you claim that there is no dynamic in place between two sisters or two brothers before they decide to walk into a relationship with each other? 

salam brother I should have worded it accurately, I should have said there is no power dynamic between twin sisters compared to a relationship between a father and a daughter.

It was in response to your objection here:

On 11/24/2022 at 12:20 AM, khizarr said:

Once you add on a dynamic, like a father and his daughter, or a teacher and their student, you are changing the entire question and there is an obvious and uneven power structure - so these examples therefore cannot be used as an argument against homosexuality. It's like comparing two different classes of society. You can, right now, imagine all of the things that a heterosexual couple does and even if you flipped one of the genders, you can still imagine them doing all of the same things. You can't possibly conjure up the same imagination if you flipped "normal couple" to "doctor and patient" or "father and daughter" or "policeman and victim" because one side has a clear authority over the other.

 

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22 hours ago, VoidVortex said:

salam brother I should have worded it accurately, I should have said there is no power dynamic between twin sisters compared to a relationship between a father and a daughter.

Ws.

Right, but an uneven power dynamic is not my only objection to an incestuous relationship. Society has a vested interest in protecting the family structure and incest puts a significant strain on that structure. Homosexuality doesn't. A government would much rather have people fall back on family members than file a claim for a shelter. In the case of two twin siblings, there is a net harm as it puts more important and integral relationships at risk. If we start allowing siblings to date and marry, we must also understand that they'll break up and get divorced. Dynamics of lust, jealousy, and one-sided attractions will poison familial bonds. This is why we can't compare homosexuality with incest - they're not parallel as far as the question of relationships go. They're both addressing two different classes. And the grounds upon which we criminalize incest cannot be used to argue against homosexuality. 

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On 12/1/2022 at 3:53 PM, AbdusSibtayn said:

What I wanted to say was that even 'empirically' demonstrable phenomena by themselves indicate little, unless we use reason to extrapolate from them. 

You may explain the harmful effects of narcotics on the human body empirically, but you will still need reason to demonstrate if it's a net good/evil. A postmodernist will, for example, argue back that while it is granted that drugs harm our health, why is a short life spent immersed in narcotics-induced euphoria and intoxication worse than a long and healthy life. You will then have to use reason to plead your case based off of your understanding of ethics etc, all of which are ultimately rational and not empirical truths. You cannot demonstrate what a good/happy life is through a lab experiment, nor can you grow happiness on a farm or produce it in a factory. Empirically/physically visible phenomena by themselves do not completely present the picture and a lot of metaphysical/rational principles underpin how we understand them. 

Likewise it cannot be solely empirically proven that God- if one exists- is One, and that He is the God of Islam, that hell heaven and the day of reckoning exist, that prophethood as Islam understands is true, that the vision for humanity that Islam espouses both in this world and the next is true. The case for these beliefs will have to be built using a combination of what can be rationally understood and what we know via our senses. 

Your methodology will have to consider rationally provable truths as well, and you will have to strike a balance between empiricism and rationalism 

@AbdusSibtayn

While the underlined and italicised portions are not wrong, I do wish to clarify some aspects of the discussion. The central question is: Should metaphysics operate at the expense of empiricism, or be prioritised over the latter? More trenchantly, should metaphysics be subject to logic, or vice versa? After all, even if something is logical, its veracity is still open to question. For example, I may form a logical hypothesis about the nature of being, but the hypothesis could still be wrong, due to missing data. Many things may therefore be simultaneously logical and untrue. Yet truth cannot be verified without the use of empiricism. In other words, logic must be testable. Metaphysical logic, however, is not necessarily testable, so it cannot be verified via empiricism, as you have stated. The thrust of my argument is that religious applications of metaphysics tend to put logic above empiricism, and therefore, paradoxically, undermines the purpose of logic. Logic and empiricism must go hand in hand so that a religious perspective on metaphysics may be sound.

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^ In relation to the above, I might add that the typical “religious“ mentality in various traditions is centred on a) a blind trust in “experts” who confer tradition and b) the belief that rational argumentation must always affirm revelation. The Salafi “Muslims” are but an extreme exemplar of this. The common theme is a distrust of independent reasoning. Of course, not all religious believers share the mentality, but many do. These typically derive a metaphysical argument from their respective traditions’ “revealed” sources and deny the importance of independent evaluation. This also serves, in part, to uphold the primacy of revealed metaphysics over empiricism. Crusaders and Salafi militants, among others, have even killed rivals over metaphysical doctrines. Many people seem to prefer a mentality that does not require them to think deeply about anything and even encourages violence on the basis of metaphysics. Of course, there are more “empirically”-minded currents within all religious traditions, especially (Shia) Islam, but the fact that all religion prises metaphysics implicitly opens the door to the neglect of empiricism.

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23 hours ago, Northwest said:

@AbdusSibtayn

While the underlined and italicised portions are not wrong, I do wish to clarify some aspects of the discussion. The central question is: Should metaphysics operate at the expense of empiricism, or be prioritised over the latter? More trenchantly, should metaphysics be subject to logic, or vice versa? After all, even if something is logical, its veracity is still open to question. For example, I may form a logical hypothesis about the nature of being, but the hypothesis could still be wrong, due to missing data. Many things may therefore be simultaneously logical and untrue. Yet truth cannot be verified without the use of empiricism. In other words, logic must be testable. Metaphysical logic, however, is not necessarily testable, so it cannot be verified via empiricism, as you have stated. The thrust of my argument is that religious applications of metaphysics tend to put logic above empiricism, and therefore, paradoxically, undermines the purpose of logic. Logic and empiricism must go hand in hand so that a religious perspective on metaphysics may be sound.

 

21 hours ago, Northwest said:

^ In relation to the above, I might add that the typical “religious“ mentality in various traditions is centred on a) a blind trust in “experts” who confer tradition and b) the belief that rational argumentation must always affirm revelation. The Salafi “Muslims” are but an extreme exemplar of this. The common theme is a distrust of independent reasoning. Of course, not all religious believers share the mentality, but many do. These typically derive a metaphysical argument from their respective traditions’ “revealed” sources and deny the importance of independent evaluation. This also serves, in part, to uphold the primacy of revealed metaphysics over empiricism. Crusaders and Salafi militants, among others, have even killed rivals over metaphysical doctrines. Many people seem to prefer a mentality that does not require them to think deeply about anything and even encourages violence on the basis of metaphysics. Of course, there are more “empirically”-minded currents within all religious traditions, especially (Shia) Islam, but the fact that all religion prises metaphysics implicitly opens the door to the neglect of empiricism.

The issue is being unduly complicated here, when it has already been said that neither reason not sensory experience stand in isolation from each other. No belief-system can be proved true by reason alone or empiricism alone. 

There are arguments for Islam which involve reason, empirical data and even a combination of both. What are the parameters according to you, which a religion must conform to in order to be true? 

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On 12/7/2022 at 3:12 PM, AbdusSibtayn said:

The issue is being unduly complicated here, when it has already been said that neither reason not sensory experience stand in isolation from each other. No belief-system can be proved true by reason alone or empiricism alone. 

There are arguments for Islam which involve reason, empirical data and even a combination of both. What are the parameters according to you, which a religion must conform to in order to be true?

@AbdusSibtayn

In my view, metaphysics and empiricism should be given equal weight. That is, one should not be prioritised over the other. Metaphysics must also be based on testable knowledge. If a metaphysical claim cannot ultimately be tested, then it should be treated with some skepticism. Empiricism, as a form of independent reasoning, must be able to confirm or deny metaphysical rationalism. Metaphysical claims must therefore be subject to empirical verification. If they cannot, then they should be treated skeptically. Otherwise, religion, like any other approach, may tend toward unfounded extremism.

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Empirical method: scientific proofs using the mind a(physical)

Spiritual method:  witnessing using the Eyes of the heart.

We as humans have two means of looking at realities that simultaneously exist in the world, using our mind (brain and senses) to logically making sense and the heart to witness unseen realities beyond physical parts.

There is a faculty that is embedded in human that can interface with both methods and making right decision.  That faculty is "Aqal".

Aqal can translate the empirical and spiritual experiences into truth or bathil.

We must strike a balance between both empirical and spiritual methods using our Aqal.

What is عقل? 

al-Kāfī, mentions that the first intelligent sentient being Allah created was Al-ʿAql (i.e. Universal Intellect)...and Allah saw it (i.e. Al-ʿAql) was obedient, submissive and good...on the authority of Abu Jaʿfar Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him)..."When Allah created Al-ʿAql He tested and tried it...He commanded it to come forward and it came forward...then He ordered it to move back and it went back...then Allah said: "I testify by My Power and Majesty that no creation of Mine is dearer to Me than you are...and I have only made you perfect in those whom I love...Behold! To you are My decrees and prohibitions addressed, And for you are My rewards and retributions reserved."

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By definition, empiricism asserts that "all knowledge is based on experience, derived from the senses."

Do you agree with this assertion @Northwest, that "all knowledge is based on experience"?

Next question would be whose experience? For instance, you have experienced something which non other experienced, what would you call that? Knowledge or hallucination? 

If you believe that all knowledge is based on experience, how could you accept "lam yalid wa lam yulad"? This cannot be experienced by any human being. 

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On 12/9/2022 at 7:17 PM, Northwest said:

@AbdusSibtayn

In my view, metaphysics and empiricism should be given equal weight. That is, one should not be prioritised over the other. Metaphysics must also be based on testable knowledge. If a metaphysical claim cannot ultimately be tested, then it should be treated with some skepticism. Empiricism, as a form of independent reasoning, must be able to confirm or deny metaphysical rationalism. Metaphysical claims must therefore be subject to empirical verification. If they cannot, then they should be treated skeptically. Otherwise, religion, like any other approach, may tend toward unfounded extremism.

Depends on the situation. There are many rational truths/possibilities that are not empirically verifiable eg infinity, a zero-friction plane etc. Of course there are many other nuances involved. 

What parameters in your view must a religion qualify to be proved true? 

On 12/10/2022 at 5:32 PM, Cool said:

By definition, empiricism asserts that "all knowledge is based on experience, derived from the senses."

Do you agree with this assertion @Northwest, that "all knowledge is based on experience"?

Next question would be whose experience? For instance, you have experienced something which non other experienced, what would you call that? Knowledge or hallucination? 

If you believe that all knowledge is based on experience, how could you accept "lam yalid wa lam yulad"? This cannot be experienced by any human being. 

The OP is a deist. 

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On 12/12/2022 at 3:51 PM, AbdusSibtayn said:

Depends on the situation. There are many rational truths/possibilities that are not empirically verifiable eg infinity, a zero-friction plane etc. Of course there are many other nuances involved.

@AbdusSibtayn

I am not concerned with “scientific” theories that border on the metaphysical plane, e.g., infinity and zero friction. I am concerned with rational truths/possibilities that can be independently and empirically verified. For example, using a solar filter I can determine that the Sun’s apparent size stays the same throughout the day. Still and sequenced photographs can be taken that confirm this, eliminating the subjective factor, at least to a degree. Based on this, I may conclude that certain flat-Earth (FE) theories are possibly incorrect because the Sun should shrink as it passes by the observer on a flat plane. However, someone might cite his preferred holy Scripture to argue that FE may be true but cannot be empirically verified, so one should simply trust Scripture and intuition (the heart) rather than observation and measurement. This is the kind of religious approach that I tend to question.

On 12/10/2022 at 6:36 AM, layman said:

Empirical method: scientific proofs using the mind a(physical)

Spiritual method:  witnessing using the Eyes of the heart.

We as humans have two means of looking at realities that simultaneously exist in the world, using our mind (brain and senses) to logically making sense and the heart to witness unseen realities beyond physical parts.

There is a faculty that is embedded in human that can interface with both methods and making right decision.  That faculty is "Aqal".

Aqal can translate the empirical and spiritual experiences into truth or bathil.

We must strike a balance between both empirical and spiritual methods using our Aqal.

@layman

The problem, then, lies in the fact that religion, like the improper use of “science,” relies on a certain acceptance of subjectivity. For example, it is far easier for me to reasonably believe in a Primal Cause/Creator than to accept either a) the illogical premises of atheism or b) the minutiae of beliefs about the Creator’s preferred ritual(s). Going beyond the broadest principles—e.g., that belief in a Primal Cause/Creator can be logically supported—I am hard pressed to accept, say, a particular religion’s claims about its worldview, practice, etc. My Deism tends strongly toward monotheism on rational grounds, but does not really go further. There is no way to empirically prove metaphysical truths about the “good life.” For instance, I avoid certain beverages or foods because my rational understanding and knowledge, applied to my personal situation, suggests that the negative side effects may outweigh the potential benefits. But all this I base on empiricism that is tailored to my own situation, so I do not rely on metaphysics per se or claim to speak for others.

On 12/1/2022 at 3:53 PM, AbdusSibtayn said:

You cannot demonstrate what a good/happy life is through a lab experiment, nor can you grow happiness on a farm or produce it in a factory. Empirically/physically visible phenomena by themselves do not completely present the picture and a lot of metaphysical/rational principles underpin how we understand them.

The problem is, once one goes beyond the general and delves into the specific, choosing a religion on anything other than empiricism seems a risky undertaking. I would personally go by that which can be tested and demonstrated, using that as a basis for my choice(s). So far anything more than a monotheistic Deism, at least in my mind, invites a clash between competing metaphysical assertions. Going by the “eyes of the heart” invites a bit too much subjectivity, whereas empiricism tends to keep me grounded, at least on a starting point. On the other hand, proving the following—

On 12/1/2022 at 3:53 PM, AbdusSibtayn said:

that prophethood as Islam understands is true, that the vision for humanity that Islam espouses both in this world and the next is true

—is essentially impossible from an empirical viewpoint. It also involves too many variables that are otherwise not present in general considerations. One can conclude that a Primal Cause/Creator exists without having to accept metaphysical judgments about a particular prophet’s or ritual’s veracity. Accepting a prophet or a ritual involves too much dependence on testimony and/or miracle rather than either a) strict empiricism or b) a rationalism that is very closely tied to empiricism. At least b) allows me to believe in the existence of a Primal Cause/Creator and to conclude that such a Being would far more likely be One than many. On the other hand, neither a) nor b) can really help me determine whether a particular mode of worship is appropriate, insofar as doing so involves a degree of metaphysics that strays farther from empiricism.

On 12/12/2022 at 3:51 PM, AbdusSibtayn said:

What parameters in your view must a religion qualify to be proved true?

It has to start with empiricism as a baseline. Rationalism must be (re-)formulated in close consultation with empiricism.

On 12/10/2022 at 1:02 PM, Cool said:

By definition, empiricism asserts that "all knowledge is based on experience, derived from the senses."

Do you agree with this assertion @Northwest, that "all knowledge is based on experience"?

Essentially, yes—even in a religious sense. Technically, for instance, even the revelations that were given to the Prophet Muhammad were part of an experience. However, not every experience is verifiable, because there are subjective elements involved. The subjective factors may not be able to be tested, because each individual and his situation is unique, subject to ever-changing variables. I think that even religious perspectives would agree with this assertion, which is why one cannot really account for the hows and whys of miracles. On an individual, case-by-case basis one can neither prove nor disprove them, though one may accept the possibility of events that a) contradict one’s accepted understanding of reality or b) are out of the ordinary. However, the chemical composition of wood can be tested and proven in a laboratory. It can be independently demonstrated.

On 12/10/2022 at 1:02 PM, Cool said:

Next question would be whose experience? For instance, you have experienced something which non other experienced, what would you call that? Knowledge or hallucination?

If you believe that all knowledge is based on experience, how could you accept "lam yalid wa lam yulad"? This cannot be experienced by any human being. 

@Cool

Well, I would ask whether the experience can, under any circumstance, be empirically tested, if possible via replication. If not, no definitive conclusion can be reached.

On 12/12/2022 at 3:51 PM, AbdusSibtayn said:

The OP is a deist. 

This is correct. There was simply no option for me to freely enter in my belief, so I was forced to choose Agnosticism as a proximation.

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1 hour ago, Northwest said:

Based on this, I may conclude that certain flat-Earth (FE) theories are possibly incorrect because the Sun should shrink as it passes by the observer on a flat plane. However, someone might cite his preferred holy Scripture to argue that FE may be true but cannot be empirically verified, so one should simply trust Scripture and intuition (the heart) rather than observation and measurement. This is the kind of religious approach that I tend to question.

You may find this to be of interest:

 

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8 hours ago, Northwest said:

@AbdusSibtayn

I am not concerned with “scientific” theories that border on the metaphysical plane, e.g., infinity and zero friction. I am concerned with rational truths/possibilities that can be independently and empirically verified. For example, using a solar filter I can determine that the Sun’s apparent size stays the same throughout the day. Still and sequenced photographs can be taken that confirm this, eliminating the subjective factor, at least to a degree. Based on this, I may conclude that certain flat-Earth (FE) theories are possibly incorrect because the Sun should shrink as it passes by the observer on a flat plane. However, someone might cite his preferred holy Scripture to argue that FE may be true but cannot be empirically verified, so one should simply trust Scripture and intuition (the heart) rather than observation and measurement. This is the kind of religious approach that I tend to question.

'Bordering on the metaphysical plane' doesn't falsify them. There are many mathematical truths not demonstrable in a lab setting, yet nothing from advanced algebra to computer programming can work without them. Besides, different observers interpret the same empirical finding differently, and such cases defy counting. What you are espousing here is a naturalism of a very crude variety (not visible and tangible= false) which even the most hardcore of the materislists no longer identify with. 

Islam doesn't abide by the circular logic of appealing to its own sources to prove itself true. If whatever is observable by the senses conflicts with the scripture, it is either that the natural phenomenon has been wrongly understood, or what the scripture says has been wrongly understood. Reason and revelation cannot, and do not contradict each other. Apparent conflicts can be resolved pending expansion of human knowledge, and there are instances of the same too, just in case. 

9 hours ago, Northwest said:

The problem is, once one goes beyond the general and delves into the specific, choosing a religion on anything other than empiricism seems a risky undertaking. I would personally go by that which can be tested and demonstrated, using that as a basis for my choice(s). So far anything more than a monotheistic Deism, at least in my mind, invites a clash between competing metaphysical assertions. Going by the “eyes of the heart” invites a bit too much subjectivity, whereas empiricism tends to keep me grounded, at least on a starting point. On the other hand, proving the following—

 

9 hours ago, Northwest said:

—is essentially impossible from an empirical viewpoint. It also involves too many variables that are otherwise not present in general considerations. One can conclude that a Primal Cause/Creator exists without having to accept metaphysical judgments about a particular prophet’s or ritual’s veracity. Accepting a prophet or a ritual involves too much dependence on testimony and/or miracle rather than either a) strict empiricism or b) a rationalism that is very closely tied to empiricism. At least b) allows me to believe in the existence of a Primal Cause/Creator and to conclude that such a Being would far more likely be One than many. On the other hand, neither a) nor b) can really help me determine whether a particular mode of worship is appropriate, insofar as doing so involves a degree of metaphysics that strays farther from empiricism.

 

9 hours ago, Northwest said:

It has to start with empiricism as a baseline. Rationalism must be (re-)formulated in close consultation with empiricism.

On 12/10/2022 at 5:32 PM, Cool said:

It is strange that you are saying this in a post-Kuhn world. Do you realize how much the 'empirical' is a creation of the 'rational'? Empirical 'facts' don't speak for themselves. 

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@Searching for truth @AbdusSibtayn

Okay, I can accept the premise that rationalism is a necessary precondition for the practice of empiricism. My point is that miracles, prophetic claims, etc. can’t necessarily be tested or measured according to rational principles such as those that empiricism enshrines. Maybe a better argument is: given that different religions appeal in part to phenomena that cannot be measured in, say, a laboratory, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to prefer one religion over another, if one has decided to use miracles as one set of criterion. Miracles tend to reinforce people’s belief in a particular religion, so it becomes problematic to claim that Islam’s miracles prove that Islam‘s is true while those of Hinduism, Christianity, etc. do not. You may detest the so-called “crude naturalism,” but once you leave it you end up with this near-insuperable conundrum. The following further illustrates why I am a Deist:

^ In the above you have religious Trinitarian Christians such as @Leslie P who rely far more on authority and revelation than reason. If religion relies on a combination of faith and reason, why do most of the average believers place far more weight on authority and revelation than reason? They believe on the basis of what their family, pastor, scholar, etc. say and on the basis of personal experience with the supernatural, mystical, miraculous, etc., however subjectively perceived. Trying to convince these people that some of their beliefs, e.g., Trinitarianism, are false never seems to work. In the above thread I used reason and evidence to disprove the Trinity but did not convince the Trinitarian. Also, if belief in the Trinity were so “irrational,” which I think it is, one would have expected otherwise-brilliant minds such as those of Saints Augustine, Thomas, et al. to have discarded it. Again, these luminaries were neither ignorant nor unintelligent, and could argue well on many aspects of faith and reason.

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12 hours ago, Northwest said:

Okay, I can accept the premise that rationalism is a necessary precondition for the practice of empiricism. My point is that miracles, prophetic claims, etc. can’t necessarily be tested or measured according to rational principles such as those that empiricism enshrines. Maybe a better argument is: given that different religions appeal in part to phenomena that cannot be measured in, say, a laboratory, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to prefer one religion over another, if one has decided to use miracles as one set of criterion. Miracles tend to reinforce people’s belief in a particular religion, so it becomes problematic to claim that Islam’s miracles prove that Islam‘s is true while those of Hinduism, Christianity, etc. do not. You may detest the so-called “crude naturalism,” but once you leave it you end up with this near-insuperable conundrum. The following further illustrates why I am a Deist:

Of course miracles alone are not the criterion for a faith being true. I wasn't talking about miracles, but about reason as a tool beyond the merely visible, tangible. 

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Another point of difference with Christianity - Riba / Usury

The following text argues how the charging of interest has been viewed negatively amongst not only the Abrahamic faiths, but also e.g. in Buddhism. However the authors argue that only Islam that has maintained its unequivocal stance.

The relevance to this thread is that given the broader impacts of charging interest at both the individual level and societal level - these Islamic injunctions display a better understanding of economic systems than other religions (in my opinion).

Worth discussing as a separate issue is what happens to the accumulation of capital and usage of capital in a society where it is not possible to charge interest by lending out that capital?

Quote

 

However, there are differences too. The first, and most obvious, concerns the central scriptural authority. In the case of the Bible, there are enough ambiguities – New versus Old Testament, Mosaic versus later Hebrew law, and a very parabolic parable ‒ to keep an army of scholars employed (as indeed they did); whereas the injunctions in the Holy Qur’an are forthright. Second, while canon law and scholastic philosophy sought to augment scripture, the essential feature of that source was that it could – and did – change in response to the temper of the times and new religious thinking; whereas the Holy Qur’an provided a fixed and certain point of reference. Third, to the extent that Christian doctrine rested on an Aristotelian foundation, it was vulnerable to the charge of being, at heart, anti-trade and commerce. Aristotle adopted the view, later followed by the Physiocrats, that the natural way to get wealth is by skilful management of house and land. Usury was diabolical and clearly the worst way of making money. But there was also something degraded about trading and exchanging things rather than actually making them, as summed up in the medieval saying, ‘Homo mercator vix aut numquam Deo placere potest’ – the merchant can scarcely or never be pleasing to God. By contrast, the Holy Qur’an endorsed trade, so long as it was not usurious.

On all three counts, where Christianity was somewhat equivocal in comparison with Islam, its stand on usury was subject to erosion. Perhaps ironically, the one aspect on which it was more forthright than Islam undoubtedly served to reinforce that trend. This was in the area of punishment.

 

Lewis, M.K. and Kaleem, A., 2019. Attitudes of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to usury. In Religion and Finance (pp. 40-74). Edward Elgar Publishing.
Vancouver  

 

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