Bismillahi ar-rahman ar-rahim
I recently came across what can only be described as the antithesis of this blog, the exact polar opposite – called “why there is no god”. It is just a singular page rebutting (or so the author tries) ten common theist arguments. Some rebuttals are valid and others not so much.
What I’ll do since the author listed each argument as a positive theist argument (for example: “The biblical god is real”) I’ll follow suit in the opposite direction with “The biblical god is not real” as a nice contrast and summary of the author’s stance on each argument. Of course, his arguments should be read in tangent with mine for contrast.
1) The Biblical God is not real
To be honest, starting off with this argument felt kind of cheap. A more meaningful discussion would have been the existence or necessity of God for our existence rather than a specific iteration of God in one specific religion. Having said that as a muslim I also don’t subscribe to the trinitarian view of God’s “personhood”. But the author missed a very important point: the concept of the trinity isn’t explicit in the Bible. In fact the God that Jesus (peace be upon him) follows and prays to is the same One that Moses (peace be upon him) spoke with. Jesus (peace be upon him) came to re-establish observance of the Law and proper worship of God.
The Biblical God who apparently orders raping women and killing babies is not real. That much I agree with. The Biblical God that orders charity, and regular prayers to Him is definitely very real. The question though is how do we know which passages in the Bible have been manufactured and which are the original revealed scripture? For a muslim, any revealed scripture that matches the Quran is truth and any that don’t is false. A great example is the passage where the daughters of Lot get him drunk and have sex with him. In the Quran Lot (peace be upon him) is an honourable and noble Prophet of God and would never do these disgraceful acts. So here, I would reject the Bible’s account of Lot having sex with his daughters and getting drunk. I of course don’t even know why such a falsehood was fabricated. What would motivate someone to write nonsense like that. Entertainment perhaps?
2) Biblical Jesus was not real
I’ve already dealt with this argument in my previous article, but basically it’s inconceivable that there would be traditions and stories about a man called Jesus if there was no Jesus.
Furthermore, the miracles of Jesus (peace be upon him) are corroborated by an independent scriptural source – the Quran. If two sources say the same things about a certain event, then this increases the credibility of the things being said. If the Bible mentions A, B and C and the Quran mentions B, C and D, and they are independent sources (havent influenced each other) then we can be more confident objectively with the veracity of details B and C, with A and D requiring further examination.
Jesus (peace be upon him) was very real, but was not God in any shape or form.
3) Miracles do not prove god exists
Well what miracles are (and I’m referring to the ones we’re of in the Bible such as the parting of the Red Sea, Moses’ staff becoming a snake, Jesus curing the blind, and turning clay birds into real birds) are signs of power over the natural world. The Creator has power over His creation and possesses ultimate control over it. When we see that power manifest, it is like seeing a broom move in mid-air but not the invisible ghost hand moving it, but of course the force behind the movement must exist. For the Jews who saw the parting of the Red Sea this must have caused a great shift in what they viewed as possible and normal and could only have bolstered their belief in the One God protecting them.
If a man claimed he is an instrument of God, a messenger of God, then the natural challenge is for that man to show his connection with God. The people will ask him for a miracle, a sign. They will ask him to communicate with God for them. If he passed that challenge this would have been a strong reason for one to accept the man as telling the truth. And if the man was telling the truth and a person rejected him despite seeing clear miracles this would count against the person in the end.
I already mentioned this in my previous article but any miracles that occurred in the past are completely inaccessible to us other than what has been related to us of them in scriptures. But God doesn’t just expect us humans, skeptical as we are to just accept Him at His Word (though if you did you are already well above any skeptic in nearness to Him), He provides arguments and miracles for us to ponder on. In the modern-day the living miracle is the Quran itself. It is unlike any other literature linguistically, and more importantly resonates with anyone exposed to it. Anyone listening to it finds it strangely alluring though they don’t understand a single word.
4) Morality evolved as a basis for a stable society
In the article the author tries to debunk the idea that we get our morality from God, and that really we don’t need God to explain this since evolution and sociology explains this well enough.
At first reading this part I thought the author was debunking the idea that God put a moral compass inside the psyche of human beings. But actually he was talking about how secular laws have superseded religious laws (i.e. morality from scripture) and morality is really just a mechanism that promotes our well-being, hence societies that are moralistic survive and less moralistic ones, survive less well if at all. This is obviously true: a harmonious moralistic society that abides by its laws will be relatively sustainable and stable.But as is apparent from the author’s own article, he admits to humans having an innate sense of right and wrong. I thought that’s what it actually meant when people used the argument that morals come from God (i.e. we were created with them). Also the other meaning is true, that actual moral guidelines have been stipulated in scripture, and of course anything revealed came from God, therefore God taught humans how to live proper moral lives in conjunction with their innate sense of right and wrong. I’ll go over this in another section but I want to focus on the idea that secular laws are somehow superior to “moralistic” laws.
If you examine the various laws in each nation there is a foundation or core that originates from a moral value system inherent in that country’s people since its establishment. America and Europe have a core of Christian values (equality of men before God, forbiddance of murder and money fraud, restrictions on sex and alcohol, forbiddance of cheating and lying). In Japan there is a basis of Bushido and honour and social harmony that gels society together. In China the values of family and wisdoms of Confucious builts the framework the society functions with. And of course in the arabic-speaking countries Islamic Sharia is a large part of how people inform themselves in how to conduct their religion and behaviour.
Now of course there are aspects of law which have nothing to do with morality and you could say are totally secular such as the age for voting, how the goverment regulats itself, how commerce is regulated, how immigration is regulated and so on. In fact these issues are debated about and are regulated differently in different countries and are usually never informed by what scripture might say about such issues. In this way most countries have secularised their laws and regulations. But does that mean they are stable, hapy and harmonious societies? Far from it.
I get the impression that the atheist’s benchmark for harmony is lack of violence and murder or a minimal level of them. But they forget adultery, they forget the slums, the drug abuse, the alcohol abuse, theft from samll time car thieves to rich bank executives and even British MPs. We have laws to regulate these things but yet that doesn’t seem to be an incentive for these people not to commit those crimes. In some countries certain practices which are immoral by scriptural standards have been enshrined as legal in secular law. For example prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. One should ponder on the lives these women live through and think whether their lives of sexual service holds any real meaning or merit.
What atheists forget is that moralistic laws weren’t only based on the harm principle of harming others (the idea that you can do whatever you like as long as you don’t harm others) but also took into account the harm you are doing to your spiritual selves. Something may seem harmless (watching porn as an example) but even if it didn’t adversely affect your physical body and other people (and even if the people were consenting in the videos) this doesn’t mean you aren’t hurting your very soul.What would this harm actually look like for those atheists wondering?
These immoral acts over time desensitize you to these things, but not only to acts of sexual immorality but to acts of violence, acts of sexual deviancy (incest and bestiality as examples), acts of corruption. The more corrupt the soul, the more the person doesn’t care about the outward corruption in the world and becomes more and more self-centered with its own small world. That’s what it means to have a hard heart. When you stop taking the time to help an old person on the street. When you stop taking the time to be kind to an animal. When the majority of words out of your mouth are cuss words and telling people to kill themselves. For some people they may only experience one or two of these vices very deeply, and for others they exhibit the total spectrum of corruption. But the important point is that a small act of corruption makes it easier and natural to commit the next small act of corruption until you realise how much innocence you lost since your childhood.
5) People don’t need to believe in God to avoid doing bad things
I want to make an important distinction here that the author completely misses. You can be a real believer and still do bad things (even things we all agree are universally bad like murder and rape) and you can be an atheist and not feel the need to do these things. No, belief in God by itself cannot stop immorality or “doing bad things”. What DOES stop immorality is fear and awe of God and especially submission to God. In fact these are stages in belief in God or the relationship that you have with God.
A believer can be someone who acknowledges the existence of God but doesn’t want to follow any of his prescriptions or rules. This kind of believer is of the lowest level. The next level is a believer who is very afraid of Hell and of God’s Wrath and punishment. He believes in the reality of Hell and therefore avoids sins in order to stay out of Hell. This believer obeys God out of fear of Him. The level above that is the one who avoids sins and asks for forgiveness a lot and does good in order to enter Heaven. This is like someone who does his dues to get his due reward. The highest of these levels is the believer who only seeks the love of God and seeks to increase his own love for God. He dares not disobey God in the least, and disdains to be distracted from God by daily life. God is his goal and purpose of living.
In the article the author mentions how the fact that religiously free societies with proportionately more atheists are generally peaceful is proof of the fact that you don’t need to believe in God to avoid doing bad things. But as I mentioned in the previous section that just avoiding being violent, argumentative and killing does not a peaceful society make. The society could still be riddled with broken marriages, single parents and abused children, corrupt polititions and poor people with huge debts and lack of employment. Violence and murder aren’t the only antithesis of peace and harmony. But if a society consciously and conscientiously followed and applied religious moralistic values in economics, sex, immigration, work, government and education the diseases of modern societies (such as drug and child abuse, pornography, money and political corruption) would be stamped out. This is certainly idealistic but not untrue.
6)Atheists can know the difference between right and wrong but may choose to follow their desires or best interests anyways
The author admits we have an innate sense of right and wrong (for example most people have an aversion to murder and rape). In Islam this innate sense is called our fitrah which you could say is our natural way of being. Whenever we are not living life according to our natural sense of being there usually is a feeling of unease and this can lead to feelings of depression, feelings of being oppressed from doing what you want as well as a general feeling of unfulfilment. The Ten Commandments and the Sharia laws are ones that complement the fitrah, and the more balanced we are within ourselves the more we feel at peace following these scriptural laws, the more we feel at peace when submitting to God.
When there is unbalance (when we are in the depths of lack of submission to God and His Way) there is confusion on what is what, you stop taking care of your health and house, you are temperamental, irritable and resort to all sorts of addictions (from watching too much Netflix to abusing drugs and alcohol). A really great example of this is in a video by “treegoddesredneck” where this woman spouts off her ideas that he earth is a flat square or at least not a flat circle, the sun is electricity and everything is just vibration. But what was really interesting was that at the beginning of the video she complains about how messy the house, how messed up her mind has been and so on. And then we’re supposed to take her word for the rest of the nonsense she spouts? It was so clear to me that she was so confused about everything that for her sanity and stability she became obsessed about how “other people” are not realising the “truth”, that they should “dig deeper” and not just “believe everything they’re being told. Does this lady have a mirror, because I think she needs one real bad. She also seems to believe in God. Again proof that belief by itself is meaningless if you aren’t interested in what God has to say about your life and how you should live it.
7) Lots of people believing in God dun mean he eggzist -_-
The author makes a valid point here. So I guess we’ll leave it at that. It is indeed stupid to base your beliefs or opinions on another person’s beliefs or opinions, unless you know they know more about the topic or issue than you do. In fact that’s really what humans do in general: we learn from whoever we think knows best. This means that certain “facts” become widely accepted when there’s no basis for it other than such and such a person promoting it. You can even get the opposite which is an acceptance of the “fact” but without understanding it. This is the case with things like gravity, atoms and evolution. Most people undergoing a western style education learn about these models and “facts” about reality but they don’t really understand the proofs or the premises.
In my opinion being able to understand why you believe what you believe rather than grunt through everyday life without thinking is much much better.
There are 3 more arguments after this but I’ll just finish this article with one more and write a couple more arguments focusing on the last two more in-depth.
8) Prayers don’t work therefore there is no deity answering our prayers
This is one area which I can’t use “proof” that a skeptic would be convinced by. However, I and any sincere believer who prays, finds their prayers answered.
The author makes a weird argument about “moving mountains” and “growing amputated limbs”. If someone genuinely asked for that they’re kinda dumb for doing so. But with regards to the subject of amputated limbs – what does the author think of the existence of prosthetic limbs? Could that have been God deciding it was time that the human race could be provided with the means to replace lost limbs? Food for thought.
God would logically have to have the quality of answering prayers because otherwise humans could be allowed to supplicate to anything. But because He reserves the right for supplication only for Him then he reserves the right to answer our prayers.
We have in Islam a powerful phrase that we recite or say regularly: “there is no might or power except by God”. The deep meaning here is that any power or action we see manifested in front of us or to us or indeed from us has its source from God. God then gave us this gift of free will to form intentions with. Our life becomes the interaction between our limited free will with the Divine Will, and prayers and supplications are a form of this direct interaction taking place. In essence we are asking the one we know is controlling everything to please have such and such happen to us. Ultimately supplication is submission.
There is also an etiquette with regards to supplications which are:
- Confidence in the fact that the prayer will be answered
- Not expecting immediate answers
- Glorifying God and praising him prior to actually voicing the request
- Not demanding or ordering God
- Being mindful with the heart and mind and not distracted with other things while asking God
So you can imagine that if the etiquette isn’t followed you might not have your prayers answered. Also you might get more than you wished for. For example you ask God to increase your patience and belief. Then a calamity befalls (let’s say your parent gets diagnosed with cancer). This calamity provides the catalyst to help you build your patience and belief in God. It could also make you lose them. The calamity is a test for you but it was also the answer to your prayers.
It is also a good idea when praying for something (like that new job you’re interviewing for) to also ask to get it only if it is good for you. We with our limited perspective don’t really know what is good for us. Hence it is better to leave everything in God’s more than capable Hands.