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In the Name of God بسم الله

I need clarification on the necessity of Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)

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Ahmad8888

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Salam,

I see aethiests often being up the argument that they can just live a life with good morals and because of this, they need no god to be moral. 

Now obviously there is a lot of problems with their claims. Like when they say they "we can live a good moral life using our basic common sense or empathy" the problem with this argument is that western values(which most aethiests beleive in) are not really basic human morals, for most of human history "common sense" or "empathy" was allowing slavery, human sacrifices, leaving the sick to die, being racist, etc...These are all behaviours humans naturally believed in.

 

Then what if they agree that basing morality on common sense and empathy isn't a good idea and then they just make the claim that they can just live in accordance with the harm principle but with some limitation/red lines so it doesn't devolve into moral anarchy like in western countries. Then what? They'll say that islam is not needed given this is a sustainable way to live. To them it will be ok to invent their morality.

 

 

how does our religion answer objections like this, more specifically from a twelver shia islam perspective? 

 

 

Edited by HusseinAbbas
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  • The title was changed to I need clarification on the necessity of Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)
  • 3 weeks later...
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Salam, 

You make some good points in response to the issue.

From my perspective, not necessarily a Shia Islamic perspective but it is my understanding of Islam, good deeds are almost valueless without the right intention and faith to base them upon. This article explains this point really well:

https://www.al-islam.org/intention-faith-and-virtue-shii-moral-philosophy-muhammad-legenhausen/intention-faith-and-virtue

Without faith in God it's impossible to have an intention for the nearness to or the pleasure of Him.

I don't think this will convince an atheist.

The framing of the question is very much based on the assumptions of an atheistic worldview in my opinion. If God doesn't exist then clearly there is no moral issue with just living a moral life (whatever that means in practice). If God does exist and wants us to have a relationship with Him how immoral would it be to live a "moral" life but with no relationship or connection with Him?

So I don't think this is a fruitful discussion between an atheist and religious person as there are very different presuppositions or assumptions underlying the question for each of them. The underlying assumptions should be addressed.

As an analogy it's discussing how the branches of a tree should be when there is no agreement on its roots.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/8/2023 at 8:54 AM, HusseinAbbas said:

how does our religion answer objections like this, more specifically from a twelver shia islam perspective? 

Religion doesn't specifically answers these sort of stupidity. Religion answers their rejection of the necessity of God. I think the best are the verses of Sura e Waqiah. 

So someone say "we can live a moral life without believing in God" doesn't negate the necessity of God at all. Why & how the one's who are saying this even exist? Their own being are the evidence of the necessity of God Almighty to avoid the infinite regression. The necessity of God is self evident, it is the Truth and atheist only used to deny that Truth. 

Wassalam!

 

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On 12/8/2023 at 8:54 AM, HusseinAbbas said:

I see aethiests often being up the argument that they can just live a life with good morals and because of this, they need no god to be moral.

how'd you define what's moral then? There would be no rational proof of something being `good` or `bad` then

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On 12/8/2023 at 8:54 AM, HusseinAbbas said:

"we can live a good moral life using our basic common sense or empathy"

this common sense also points to the existence of some being who created this universe as a thing itself cannot be its reason of its own existence. it sounds very dumb. i: e something created itself, or caused itself to exist etc

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4 hours ago, Syed Ali Mehdi Shah Naqvi said:

this common sense also points to the existence of some being who created this universe as a thing itself cannot be its reason of its own existence. it sounds very dumb. i: e something created itself, or caused itself to exist etc

Thats a good point.

Usually aethiests who make this argument mean as in "common sense" in modern time as in "post god world, science world" where everyone embraces secular liberalism. They usually make the argument that they don't need the "strict" islamic teachings to live a good life where they don't hurt themselves, etc...

 

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Also one more addition on the necessity of the existence of God. Life doesn't work on basis of absolute proofs. i: e like 2=2 is literally absolutely true.

But your daily life would collapse if you apply this kind of standards to everything. I'll give put example on myself. Lets say i want to know who my parents are.
How can i objectively prove that my parents are my parents? i cannot. idk what DNA test is, idk how it works, IDK person who is testing is credible and if i believe he's credible what's objective proof of his credibility etc.  What if someone forged it? What's the proof they took my dna to labs? bla bla I can keep making it up.

My point is, that in normal life, we get certainty when the probability of something is very high. Similarly, the probability of the existence of God is very very high and things don't make sense without accepting this. i: e lets forget about akhirat, if there's no God, there's no right/wrong. So to live a good life that's backed up by some concrete definition of what's right and what's wrong, one needs to believe in a higher authority.

And btw if you (they) go absolutely against hurting others as a standard, then quit killing plants/animals and drive yourself to extinction. Don't hurt the plants, don't walk on earth and you might step on some, also take care of women by not making babies as it makes them go through pain. Don't kill/hurt animals. Soon humanity would perish like this.

Who's going to define those exceptions/standards when it comes to hurting others or causing pain to others? And if one does, what makes those standards a hujjah on us?

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12 minutes ago, Syed Ali Mehdi Shah Naqvi said:

the probability of the existence of God is very very hig

Salam Shah Jee!

But God is more than just mere probability. He is al-Haqq as we know Him. 

I remember a hadith e qudsi, although not present is our famous books but fuqaha sometimes refer that hadith in their lectures. I am not going to quote the full hadith, quoting just a beginning phrase:

من طلبني وجدني

(Whoever seeks me finds me)

A sincere seeker always find Him as the hadith says. Everything depends on the sincerity of our طلب. The hadith further says;

و من وجدني عرفني 

(And whoever finds me knows me)

و من عرفني احبني

(And whoever knows me loves me)

...... and so on!

Wassalam!

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16 minutes ago, Inspector said:

من طلبني وجدني

(Whoever seeks me finds me)

@Syed Ali Mehdi Shah Naqvi, Shah Jee, the above is a very profound phrase. There is no فقد in the Arabic text to understand the phrase like;

و من يطع الرسول فقد اطاع الله

Everything is hidden within the طلب, a sincere seeking with the presence of heart takes you directly to Lord Almighty. 

Interestingly, the معرفة الله is a stage that comes after finding Him. 

من وجدني عرفني

 

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On 12/7/2023 at 10:54 PM, HusseinAbbas said:

Salam,

I see aethiests often being up the argument that they can just live a life with good morals and because of this, they need no god to be moral. 

Now obviously there is a lot of problems with their claims. Like when they say they "we can live a good moral life using our basic common sense or empathy" the problem with this argument is that western values(which most aethiests beleive in) are not really basic human morals, for most of human history "common sense" or "empathy" was allowing slavery, human sacrifices, leaving the sick to die, being racist, etc...These are all behaviours humans naturally believed in.

 

Then what if they agree that basing morality on common sense and empathy isn't a good idea and then they just make the claim that they can just live in accordance with the harm principle but with some limitation/red lines so it doesn't devolve into moral anarchy like in western countries. Then what? They'll say that islam is not needed given this is a sustainable way to live. To them it will be ok to invent their morality.

 

 

how does our religion answer objections like this, more specifically from a twelver shia islam perspective? 

 

 

The problem is that morality, without an objective standard, is subjective and so basically anything can be justified using a subjective standard. 

There are many examples of this, but one very recent example that most here know about is the Zionists and what they are currently doing in Palestine. 

Zionism is a secular political philosophy. It is not based in Jewish Law (religion). Herzl, the founder of Zionism was not a religious person. The Zionists, like Netanyahu use the subjective morality of Zionism to justify what they are doing in Gaza. If you ask them if what they are doing is moral (killing children, causing mass starvation, blowing up whole neighborhoods when the houses are occupied) they will say it is and they are not just saying this, they actually believe it. They believe that they are justified in doing this because they were attacked by Hamas on Oct 7, so anything they do in response to that attack is ok because they are 'defending themselves'. Even if they wipe 2 million people off the face of the earth, most of whom had nothing to do with Oct. 7, this is still 'self defense' according to their subjective morality. 

This is the natural human tendency when the morality is no anchored by guidance from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) the Knower of the Unseen and Knower of all things. Human being cannot see the bigger picture and they will always get 'tunnel vision' and focus on their own situation, and maximizing their pleasure and minimizing their pain and surviving in the situation they are in. Without guidance to see the bigger picture and balance their needs and wants against the needs and wants of others that they share this earth with, they will almost never do this, and if they do it a few times, this tendency that they have has a very low probability of being transferred to their children. So even if you happen to have a person or even a generation who, for some reason, fights their strong innate tendency toward selfishness without guidance from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), this tendency will not reproduce over time. So in a generation or so we will be back in the same situation. 

It's happened over and over again in human history and it is happening today, even more than ever. Someone comes up with a system in their own mind that they think is 'moral' and then starts applying it in their life, most of the time with disastrous consequences. There are so many examples of this that it would take me volumes of books just to scratch the surface of this. Another (non historical) example that we can all related to is the issue of hijab. Every single lady who doesn't wear hijab has some subjective moral justification for not wearing it. They believe that by not wearing hijab, they are being 'moral'. There are trivial ones like 'my hair is too beautiful for me to cover it' to things like 'I live in the US and there are Islamophobes here who attack women in hijab. I don't want to be attacked / discriminated against, so I won't wear it' that seem plausible until you examine these subjective moral stances in detail. These ladies are muslima, but they adopt subjective morality in the areas of religion which they don't like to follow, leading to bad consequences for them in this life and the next. 

For example the 'I will be attacked because I wear hijab thing'. This is an excerpt of an actual conversation I heard outside the masjid. Brother 'Sister why don't you wear hijab?'. Sister 'I will be attacked if I wear it, don't you know that hijabis are being attacked right and left'. Brother ' Sister you live in Irvine, the last lady wearing hijab who was attacked in this area was in 1993 and she had no injuries'. 

 

 

Edited by Abu Hadi
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Philosophically, there are two separate questions here. 

(1) The question of the existence of a self-sufficient Being with certain characteristics as the foundation of reality. 

-and-

(2) The question of whether to take specific moral guidance from or base actual laws of the land on one specific set of religious books or another. 

Atheists are going to be no on both counts, but there are tonnes of secular religious people who are yes to the first but no to the second. 

As for the argument that perceptions of common sense right and wrong evolve over time, most atheists are going to acknowledge this, but they would also have a counter to this objection. They would observe that a key development in the modern stage of evolution of moral consciousness is that we are now consciously aware that moral consciousness is evolving. We know that what we understand now will probably not be the final word, that people of the future may notice injustices and unfairnesses that we didn’t. But we strive forward in an iterative way as a continuous project, recognizing that it’s never going to be complete and that’s OK.

One can argue about parts of this. But there is something to this point of view. 

In addition, using the “subjectivity and time variation of common sense moral perception” as an argument for scripture-based law as some “more objective” alternative is somewhat problematic. Because the scripture doesn’t read itself. Humans need to interpret what it means. There is a subjectivity to that process. And then the same critique applies. People are going to inevitably bring their present time “common sense” biases into the interpretation whether they try to or not. It creeps in regardless. 

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4 hours ago, kadhim said:

In addition, using the “subjectivity and time variation of common sense moral perception” as an argument for scripture-based law as some “more objective” alternative is somewhat problematic. Because the scripture doesn’t read itself. Humans need to interpret what it means. There is a subjectivity to that process. And then the same critique applies. People are going to inevitably bring their present time “common sense” biases into the interpretation whether they try to or not. It creeps in regardless. 

Most of the time when muslims talk about objectivity theyre talking about the basic stuff in islam, by definition it's objective. There are subjective and objective verses in the quran.

For example, worshipping Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is a morally good thing to do in islam and refusing to do so is morally bad and a major sin, but aethiests don't see it that way, because "we don't need to worship him to be good". You get my drift. 

It's like 1+1 = 2, it's objective, if some fool thinks 1+1=3, then it's still not subjective, his interpretation is illogical and not based in reality. 

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