Why is religion feared?
In simple terms – several centuries ago, the clergy and the aristocracy used the powers of the Christian Church to manipulate the common people into accepting a miserable life for most people and a privileged life for the few.
A familiar state of affairs, you may think, though it’s no longer the Church doing the manipulating!
It is because of this abuse of power that today religion is feared as potentially recreating the tyranny of the past.
Why has religion become a joke?
Religion became a joke primarily due to political and historical reasons related to the abuse of Christianity. The intellectual arguments provided were incomplete and tended to avoid the issues being questioned.
The Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th Century was a cultural movement that, amongst other things, moved to overthrow the oppression by the church and the nobility. The movement was successful to some extent – but at a price.
In order to undermine church oppression – and the traditional ideas that were used by the Church to maintain their power – religious beliefs, the concept of God and the use of reason itself were all undermined.
With these traditional ideas (which had once been things people were certain of) gone, the only thing people were allowed to be certain of was that there are no fixed truths in life. So, any intellectual questioning about the origin of the Universe was sidelined.
Ultimately, today’s atmosphere developed such that religion and those talking about religion aren’t taken seriously.
How certain can you be about anything?
You can tell from someone’s behaviour what they are and aren’t certain about. However much someone says that you can’t be 100% sure that fire exists – you can be 100% sure that he or she isn’t going to put his hand on a hot stove and leave it there!
We live our lives being certain enough about some things in the physical world. Fire burns, so we don’t touch it. Cause leads to effect. Something can’t come out of nothing. If we didn’t believe in these things and more, we would be paralysed into inaction or burned by going against the evidence before us. Our minds and ANY arguments our minds produce rely on these things being certain.
Is religion irrational?
This depends on the arguments used. Certainly, there are many irrational arguments forwarded for various religions – just as there are many irrational arguments for atheism e.g. the universe simply popped into existence from nothing, without a cause!
But there is a rational argument for the existence of a Creator.
What is the intellectual proof for the existence of a Creator?
We have a companion leaflet titled ‘Does believing in a Creator make sense?’ which takes as its basis those observable things that wouldn’t be disputed by sane people. It has never been successfully intellectually refuted and it is not complicated.
Is there a clash between science and religion?
There shouldn’t be. Science examines how observable things might work by experimentation. It can’t explore how the universe came into existence from nothing (try doing an experiment on “nothing”). It can’t explore the meaning of life or the nature of human consciousness. Science is one part of an intellectual toolkit that includes our general powers of reasoning – without which scientific reasoning couldn’t exist.
What if the universe that the Creator has created is full of evil things we don’t like?
There are many people whose questioning of the belief in a Creator stops when they decide they don’t like the kind of world that the Creator has made. Not liking something is not an intellectual reason to stop believing in their existence. If some of us don’t like the world then a more intellectual approach would be to attempt to find out whether the Creator explains why the world is as it is. Whether or not we choose to like it, the Universe and the Creator exist.
What makes Islam different to other religions?
Islam demands intellectual acceptance as a basis for belief from its followers rather than emotional faith. That means that being a Muslim because your parents were Muslim or because you like the rituals or because you had an out of body experience is NOT acceptable as a basis for belief. It is more intellectual than any other religion in this respect.
Is that really what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did?
Absolutely! He directed people to use their senses and their intellect, the same thing the Quran directed people to do.
[Translation of Quran 2:164]
Isn’t it time you knew more about Muhammad?
(Peace be upon him)