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DENYING GOD, DENYING REALITY: WHY WE DON’T NEED GOD, HIS SIGNS ARE EVERYWHERE

This world has one God. He is its Creator and Master. The greatest proof of God’s existence is the existence of the world itself. Spread around us in all its vastness and complexity it bears witness to the existence of a great God who, in His infinite power, controls it. If we have no choice but to believe in the world, we have no choice but to believe in God as well, for the world would be meaningless if we did not accept the existence of a Maker and Master along with it. Look at how exquisitely the world has been fashioned. How can it be that it has no Maker? Look at the perfect order which it maintains. Could it really be that no one is controlling it? The answer, of course, is that it could not. The truth is that, just as man is bound to believe in the world around him, so also is he bound to believe in God.

EVIDENCE FOR GOD

Our Innate Nature (fitrah)

This whole idea of basic beliefs, of self-evident truths concerning God’s existence, is in line with the Islamic theological tradition concerning the fitrah. The fitrah is an Arabic word that essentially means the natural state, the innate nature, or the innate disposition of the human being. This innate nature acknowledges God and wants to worship Him.[1] As the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said in an authentic prophetic tradition, "every child is born in a state of fitrah. His parents then make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian…".[2]

DENYING GOD, DENYING REALITY: WHY WE DON’T NEED EVIDENCE FOR GOD

Does God exist? This is the question I’ve constantly discussed with Atheist academics. The discussion is often put forward in different guises but the premise is always the same; does God exist and what evidence is there to support this belief?

In fact, I would argue that we don’t need any evidence for God’s existence. So the question itself needs debating. It shouldn’t actually be "does God exist?", but rather "what reasons do we have to reject His existence?"
Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe we have many good arguments which support a belief in God. The point I am raising here, however, is that we don’t require any evidence for His existence: God is an axiomatic belief. In other words, God’s existence is self-evidently true. Also known as a ‘basic belief’ in the language of philosophy.

SCIENCE INCREASINGLY MAKES THE CASE FOR GOD

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a "God" to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 27 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

GOD’S BEING & THE LIMITS OF HUMAN IMAGINATION

Everything in our limited experience must have a beginning and end. We ourselves are born and we ultimately die. This is the case with our parents and forefathers as well as with our children and descendants. Such relationships permeate creation.

Some people, due to intellectual weakness or simplicity, assume that everything must be comparable to their own past experience. They rely on the imagination, which is really only capable of visualizing that which has in one way or another already been experienced. This is why the imagination is incapable of grappling with absolutes and with universal concepts.

Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was referring to the limits of human reason when he said:
"People will keep asking questions until they come to asking: ‘God created the universe, but who created God?’ Whoever has thoughts like this should simply declare: ‘I believe in God.’ Seek God’s help and desist from such thoughts."[1]

WHAT IS ISLAM? ISLAMIC WORSHIP

There are five simple but essential observances that all practicing Muslims accept and follow. These “Pillars of Islam” represent the core that unites all Muslims.

1) The ‘Declaration of Faith’
A Muslim is one who testifies that “none deserves worship but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” This declaration is known as the “shahada” (witness, testimony). Allah is the Arabic name for God, just as Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God. By making this simple proclamation one becomes a Muslim. The proclamation affirms Islam’s absolute belief in the oneness of God, His exclusive right to be worshipped, as well as the doctrine that associating anything else with God is the one unforgivable sin as we read in the Koran:
“God does not forgive anyone for associating something with Him, while He does forgive whomever He wishes to for anything else. Anyone who gives God partners has invented an awful sin.” (Quran 4:48)

WHAT IS ISLAM? THE ESSENTIAL BELIEFS OF ISLAM

There are many aspects of belief in which one who adheres to Islam must have firm conviction. From those aspects, the most important are six, known as the “Six Articles of Belief”.

1) Belief in God
Islam upholds strict monotheism and belief in God forms the heart of their faith. Islam teaches belief in one God who neither gives birth nor was born Himself, and has no share in His caretaking of the world. He alone gives life, causes death, brings good, causes affliction, and provides sustenance for His creation. God in Islam is the sole Creator, Lord, Sustainer, Ruler, Judge, and Savior of the universe. He has no equal in His qualities and abilities, such as knowledge and power. All worship, veneration and homage is to be directed to God and none else. Any breach of these concepts negates the basis of Islam.

2) Belief in the Angels

WHAT IS ISLAM? THE ORIGINS OF ISLAM

But where does the message of Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, fit in with the previous messages revealed by God? A brief history of the prophets might clear this point.

The first human, Adam, followed Islam, in that he directed worship to God alone and none else and abided by His commandments. But through the passage of time and the dispersal of humanity throughout the earth, people strayed from this message and began directing worship to others instead of or along with God. Some took to worshipping the pious who passed away amongst them, while others took to worshipping spirits and forces of nature. It was then that God started to send messengers to humanity steering them back to the worship of God Alone, which accorded to their true nature, and warning them of the grave consequences of directing any type of worship to others besides Him.

WHAT IS ISLAM?THE CORE OF ISLAM

Among the blessings and favors that God has bestowed upon humanity is that He endowed them with an innate ability to recognize and acknowledge His existence. He placed this awareness deep in their hearts as a natural disposition that has not changed since human beings were first created. Furthermore, He reinforced this natural disposition with the signs that he placed in creation that testify to His existence. However, since it is not possible for human beings to have a detailed knowledge of God except through revelation from Himself, God sent His Messengers to teach the people about their Creator Who they must worship. These Messengers also brought with them the details of how to worship God, because such details cannot be known except by way of revelation.

WHY ISLAM?

Let’s talk frankly. Almost never do non-Muslims study Islam until they have first exhausted the religions of their exposure. Only after they have grown dissatisfied with the religions familiar to them, meaning Judaism, Christianity and all the fashionable “-isms”—Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism (and, as my young daughter once added, “tourism”)—do they consider Islam.

Perhaps other religions do not answer the big questions of life, such as “Who made us?” and “Why are we here?” Perhaps other religions do not reconcile the injustices of life with a fair and just Creator. Perhaps we find hypocrisy in the clergy, untenable tenets of faith in the canon, or corruption in the scripture. Whatever the reason, we perceive shortcomings in the religions of our exposure, and look elsewhere. And the ultimate “elsewhere” is Islam.

THE PLEASURES OF PARADISE (PART 2 OF 2)

The Eternalness of the Hereafter
The Pleasures of this world are transient whilst the joys of the hereafter are lasting and eternal. In this life when a person enjoys something, it is only a short while before they get bored with it and proceed to search for something they feel is better, or they may not feel a need for it altogether. As for the delights of Paradise, a person will never feel bored with anything, but rather, its goodness will increase each time they indulge in it.
Also, the life of this world is very short. Humans only live on this earth for a short while, and very few people reach the age of seventy.

“…Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is (far) better for him who fears God...” (Quran 4:77)
As for Paradise, people will live forever. God says:
“...its provision is eternal and so is its shade…” (Quran 13:35)
“What is with you must vanish, and what is with God will endure …” (Quran 16:96)

THE PLEASURES OF PARADISE (PART 1 OF 2)

The reality of Paradise is something which people will never be able to understand until they actually enter it, but God has shown us glimpses of it in the Quran. He has described it as a place essentially different to the life of this world, both in the very nature and purpose of life, as well as the types of delights which people will enjoy therein.

Core Teachings of Prophet Muhammad

Classical scholars of Islam have condensed the teachings of Prophet Muhammad into a few statements. These comprehensive statements touch every aspect of our lives. Some of them are:

one) Actions are judged by the intention behind them.

2nd) God is Pure and does not accept anything unless it is pure and God has commanded the faithful with what He commanded the prophets.

3) Part of a person’s good observance of Islam is to leave aside what does not concern him.

4) A person cannot be a complete believer unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.

5) One should not harm himself or others.

6) Don’t let your focus in this life be to amass worldly gain and God will love you. Don’t be concerned with what people have, and they will love you.

Core of Islamic Law or Shariah

The core of Islamic Law is preservation of:
one) Religion
2nd) Life
3) Family
4) Mind
5) Wealth

Core Values Of Islam

It is difficult to limit all of Islam into a few core values. Nevertheless, the most important beliefs and religious practices were identified by Prophet Muhammadhimself. Thus, there is general agreement on them among all Muslims. It provides an interesting comparison since modern Jews and Christians do not have similar uniformity in their belief systems. Christians, for example, have numerous creeds[1] and Jews do not have any agreed upon beliefs. Modern Jews mostly agree over the 613 commandments that Maimonides, a Jewish rabbi from Muslim Spain, recorded and classified in the 12th century.

Additionally, Muslim scholars, past and present, have also identified and in certain cases agreed on the core teachings of the Quran, of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and the ‘essentials’ of Islamic Law (Shariah).

Core Islamic Beliefs: Six Articles of Faith

Seven admirable things about Islam

I have lived for some time among Muslims in the Middle East during the 1980s and 1990s–and taught many of them here in the USA since the late 1990s. This contact has begotten enormous admiration for them. My colleague, Mike Parker, suggested that I post some reasons why I admire them. I thought that this was a grand idea. The only problem I have is choosing only seven reasons (Mike suggested five.). I won’t have space for many more. This list is in no particular order:

1. Islam asks for alms of 2.5% of Muslims’ income to care for the needy. As you know, we Latter-day Saints fast for two meals per month, then give a fast offering, for the same purpose. As our Prophets and Apostles and other authorities ask for a generous fast offering, I think the Muslim 2.5% level is a good benchmark in determining generosity of offerings.

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