Who has blind faith?

Often, what turns people away from religion is an incorrect or inadequate concept of God.

The discussion of [the true] God in this series is based on the Islamic monotheistic concept of God: The One and Only God, Absolute, Non-human, Who “begets not and is not begotten,” Indivisible, Ever-living, Transcendent, the First and the Last, Omniscient, the One Who created, destined and guided each creation to its function, Who sustains everything in existence, to Whom we belong and to Whom we will return, the One God of Adam, Noah, David, Solomon, Abraham, Ezra, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and all other prophets.

According to our Hadith, hundreds if not thousands of prophets have been sent across the ages to the various peoples of mankind in several tongues with one main message: a call to worship the One Creator — directly and without any intermediaries or detours.

And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities)…  (Quran 16:36)

“Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad) as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him; We (also) inspired Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and  the twelve sons of Jacob, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Zabur (Psalms).    And messengers We have mentioned to you before, and messengers We have not mentioned to you, – and to Moses Allah spoke directly” (Quran 4:163-164)

Atheists —those who deny or question the existence of a Creator, Sustainer, Provider God— typically look down on theists as being on the wrong side of Science and knowledge.  Theists, they believe, are locked into ‘blind faith’ in a fictional superior Being who can give them comfort and hope in their daily lives. Atheists view such faith as baseless ignorance which goes against the scientific consensus on our physical world.  Their conviction that nothing but matter exists forces them to deny the existence of any type of Unseen realm —which includes God— as they have no way to observe and measure non-material things through the tools developed by Science.
Therefore, our abiding question in this series will be: “Who are the ones with blind faith: theists or atheists?”

True, for many, faith in God is an instinctive feeling. They do not require empirical evidence or philosophical argument. They see the existence of a Creator as a self-evident truth. In fact, for them it is the only logical comprehensive explanation for this universe and its inhabitants.

Others are “sunshine” believers. When things are going well, God exists. But when misfortune befalls them, they question the wisdom of God —or His existence.

Others believe that advances in scientific discoveries and technology leave no room for God.

There are various explanations for the existence of this universe and its inhabitants. Why is there something rather than nothing? How did that something come to be? Why is the whole universe and its parts fine-tuned to extreme precision?

The renowned English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking asks this question:

“…What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science, of constructing a mathematical model, cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?” (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/4104-even-if-there-is-only-one-possible-unified-theory-it)

One explanation is that the universe and its inhabitants are eternal. This means there is no possibility of an explanation, nor even a need for one.  They just are. This was the prevailing theory until it was invalidated by the scientific discoveries of the recent past decades:

  • Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) was an American astronomer and cosmologist, who is credited with starting the modern exploration of galaxies beyond our own Milky Way galaxy. In 1929 he discovered the phenomena of RED SHIFT,  which indicates that galaxies are moving farther apart and that the universe is expanding.

“And the heavens We [God] constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander.”  [Quran 51:47]

“Astronomers see red shift in virtually all galaxies. It is a result of expansion in the space between Earth and the galaxies. This expansion stretches out the light waves during their journey towards us, shifting them towards the red end of the [light] spectrum. The more red-shifted the light from a galaxy, the faster the galaxy is moving away from Earth.” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zstb8mn/revision/)

Since the expansion is still ongoing, astronomers have come to the conclusion that the universe must have had a beginning point in time and a beginning point in space.

  • The second law of thermodynamics involves ENTROPY, which is more or less a measure of chaos. It states that the natural trend of all systems is to go into disorder. If the universe were infinitely old, it would now be in a state of total chaos. But it is not. This indicates a finite age, and therefore a beginning.

The universe is moving to a condition where all heavenly bodies will reach extremely low temperatures. Since this condition has not yet been reached, the universe has an age: it cannot be eternal.

In his 2005 book, A Briefer History of Time, Hawking writes:

The old idea of an essentially unchanging universe that could have existed, and could continue to exist forever was replaced by the notion of a dynamic, expanding universe that seemed to have begun a finite time ago, and that might end at a finite time in the future.  (https://brieferhistoryoftime.com/chapters/6  Last Paragraph)

Paul Davies is an English physicist who won the 1995 Templeton Prize, the 2001 Kelvin Medal, and the 2002 Faraday Prize awarded by The Royal Society. According to him:

“The Big Bang theory, according to which the universe has been expanding out of an extremely hot and dense state for the past 13.8 billion years, is now widely supported among scientists.” (https://www.ft.com/content/f2479d9a-4cc5-11e3-958f-00144feabdc0, paras. 1-2)

Steven Weinberg, winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics, in his book, The First Three Minutes, writes:

“A theory of the early universe has become so widely accepted that astronomers often call it ‘the standard model.’  It is more or less the same as what is sometimes called the “Big Bang Theory.” (https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/steven-weinberg/the-first-three-minutes/9780465024377/, p. 14, paras. 1-2)

Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) is an English astronomer, mathematician and writer, who formulated the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis.   In his 1983 book, The Intelligent Universe: A New View of Creation and Evolution, he sums up very nicely the implications of a universe with a beginning:

“The big bang theory requires a recent origin of the Universe that openly invites the concept of creation.” (p. 237)

So, current science tells us that the universe must have had a beginning. In what follows, we discuss the various hypotheses for the origin of the universe and its inhabitants.

In this regard, the Quran poses several rational questions:

Were they created by nothing, or did they create themselves? [Quran 52:35]

Did they create the heavens and the earth? [Quran 52:36]

Or do they have a deity other than God? [Quran 52:43]

We will discuss these questions in detail in Part 2.

…To be continued in Part 2

 

Dr. Raida Jarrar

Dr. Raida Jarrar is a Palestinian American who holds a Doctorate of Engineering from Cleveland State University. Following a career of over twenty-five years in the fields of engineering and aviation IT, she worked as a volunteer at one of the largest Islamic centers in the Middle East, where she interacted with visitors of different religious backgrounds and diverse cultures. The series she writes for Al-Jumuah analyzes and encapsulates her discussions with the atheist visitors, presented in a question and answer format for clarity and ease of reference. The answers are sourced from research, discussions with colleagues and mentors, and personal thoughts. Dr. Jarrar also volunteers as a translator for Islamic content and hosts the Aslamt youtube channel, which is dedicated to answering common questions about faith. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiUK0Tcqdb2GNeoqnxIcXtw

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