Dare to be wise and think!
Dare to be wise and think!
After my last article, I get a serious response with two good questions. First, how can I say all religions are based on stories and how it is possible that due to the scientific knowledge I am able to deny or doubt about God? And second, if there is a God, what kind of that could be, according to my perception?
I will try to give an answer to both questions according to my knowledge and capacity.
As I wrote before, all religions are including Islam established through prevarication and utter calumniation. Religions demand the believer to accept their fables as truth without any hard substantiation at all. As a matter of fact, all religious stories entirely contradict what science has proven.
It is very difficult to know anything for sure about the first founder of the Notorious idea of the Religion. But it is obvious, one doctrine after another reshapes department of religion as a manifestation for veneration, imitation, and impersonation in the human societies all over the planet.
When a thinking person deals with the knowledge and facts of hard scientific proofs that entirely contradicts religious mythology, can take with unflinching courage, one of three following decisions:
1. Can concede proven facts and reject the invalidate.
2. Can accommodate and harmonize the two opposing perspectives by interpreting the religious stories as symbolism, allegory or as a metaphor, like, ‘The Mind is an Ocean’ and ‘the City is a Jungle.’
3. OR, simply choose to ignore the contradictions. And genuinely, the second option is really just a version of the third choice.
For instance, the deeply entrenched story of the first Man Adam and first Woman Eve has known the world over. In fact, all three Abrahamic Religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all teach and explain how mankind’s existence began on Earth and that Adam and Eve were the first humans created by God and that all humans have descended from them. The name ‘Eve’ is not actually described in the Quran, verily, ‘Eve’ is the name given to the first woman in the Bible. The Quran confirms that Eve was indeed created but without detail: “It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her in love.” Chapter 7, Verse 189. The Bible nonetheless states that Eve was created from Adam’s rib, which howbeit is not mentioned in the Quran, but supported by a Hadith (narrations) in Bukhari.
As many false and fabricated Hadith has been narrated that say similar lunatic and baseless things. For example, God says about Mohammed: “Were it not for you, I would not have created the universe.” Unconscionable, quoted by Mr. Al-Shawkani in Al-Fawaid Al-Majmoo’ah fi’al-Ahadeeth Al-Mawdoo’ah (p. 326).
A different version of this story appears in the Bible as well.
The Bible states that God created the first male human, Adam from the dirt and then the first female woman, Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. On the contrary, science has proven that contemporary humans evolved from earlier primates. The predicament or difficulty with interpreting the Biblical or Quranic account as parable or allegory is that Muslims and Christianity need their stories to be literal. Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam rest on the origin story being something that really happened!
Without the character of Adam and Eve, there is no Paradise or Eternal Garden, no Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or Tree of immortality, no tempting Serpent, no Satan, and no “The fall of man.” Without a fall, there is no need for a Savior or Messiah. Muslims are also waiting for a promised Messiah. In fact, if Humans evolved from earlier primates, there is no need of the characters of the first man Adam and first women Eve or any Messiah.
The Bible is pretty specific about Adam’s connection to Christ. Just look at Romans 5:19: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man, Adam, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man, Jesus, the many will be made righteous.” What does it mean? It is obvious that without a literal first Male Human Adam, the premise or ipse dixit for the literal Gospel story of Jesus Christ falls apart. This means no need for Mosques, Churches, and Synagogues or religious rituals like prayers before and after the meals or daily killing off each other on the name of the God, and no need to look for an invisible and unobtrusive Daddy in the up sky for directions.
I am not saying that the sciences until today have answered all very important and big questions conclusively. But whatever the answers the science do provide are proven conclusions and real. Contrary to the religion, there are accepted proven facts and applications across fields of study; such fundamentals as Hawking’s theory on time and black holes, Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity, and Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Now about the Second Question: Just imagine, had I been born in a few centuries ago in a different place on the planet, with plenty of Gods and Goddesses around me. Suppose I am in ancient Greece, sure, I am a devotee of the Great Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis, and going often to the beautiful Temples to worship including the Acropolis.
Suppose I am in India, in the era of the Great kings Samudragupta or Ashoka, I probably would have prayed often to Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganapati, Avatars of Vishnu, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Durga Devi.
Again imagine, I born to any of Native American tribes, like Cherokee, Navajo, Sioux, Chippewa, and Cheyenne or in the home of Tecumseh, Shawnee tribe, the Indian political leader and war chief, before the coming of the white Europeans, I would have felt close affiliation with great spirit, Wakan Tanka, Chebbeniathan, Gitche Manitou, Glooskap, Kiehton, Manibozho, Michabo. Nokomis, and Coyote, the trickster.
But as it happened, I had the great opportunity to be born in the era of Western culture, which is dominating the entire planet after the “Age of Reason or Enlightenment.” And at this juncture, it placed a lower limit on the size of my God.
In fact, I am living in an era when humans are free to use their reason to discover the universe, discard the Superstition and fear of the Medieval Period and Dark World. I am free to discover the natural laws which governed the universe led to scientific, political and social advances. Now I am free to examine the rational basis of all beliefs and reject the authority of Mosque, Madrasa, and Church. Humans are free to argue and challenge Mecca, Tehran, Jerusalem and Vatican City.
Now we will acquire some basic and necessary knowledge of the Science.
The Enlightenment was a great sea change in the way people thought about themselves and the world. I hold that it really began with the Geologists. Since the beginning of history, humans were very interested in precious metal, like ‘Gold.’ All over the planet humans have been digging mines for gold, copper, iron, and coal etc, and observing rocks, alluvium, and bedrock. But the first humans who really studied rocks with a different point of view were the first real Geologists. They drew, and measured the shape of the land and thought about how it could have come to be.
These Geologists wanted to know the age of this Planet, based on careful measurement of things like the rate at which a stream could erode a slope that the planet simply had to be very old, millions of years at least.
Before the Geologist's sincere efforts, nobody anywhere had a clue how old the Earth was. The only quantified and numeric appraisal and estimation anyone even attempted was by the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, James Ussher, most famous for his chronology that sought to establish the time and date of the Creation, around 1650. He added up the ages of every person mentioned in the Bible. By his estimation and calculations, he worked out that the date of Creation must have been around 6 pm on 22nd of October, 4004 BC, according to the Proleptic Julian calendar. This is the moment when God made the Garden of Eden, and so forth. Based on his careful and heedful probe and scrutiny of the Bible, he ascertained the age of our planet was a little under 6000 years old.
People paid engrossing attention to this revealing ingenious discovery. Because they pretty much acknowledged and believe the Bible as factual, authentic and precise history. Blind followers still do, despite holding degrees. But the Geologists of the 1800s shattered and smashed that discernment, not by arguing or lambasting, but by taking practically measurements of the real world. Rock Hunter's evidence-based picture of millions of years of history for the Earth just aghast and flabbergasted awestruck people of the day. Abruptly the Celestial Body on which we live, the Earth had a huge past, vastly profound, deeper and broad than anything in recorded human history.
The Geologists worked back and forth with the Paleontologists to study the fossils as a way of getting information about the history of life on earth and the structure of rocks, got started in the 1800s. They began to study fossils inquisitively, and thoroughly in a professional way, by measuring, drawing, and comparing fossils from around the planet. Putting them together in sequences, publishing and sharing information between various universities and museums. Indubitably, humans had collected fossils for centuries. It was common for rich people to have collections of bones and fossils along with other ‘inquisitiveness.’
Comparing bone shapes and measuring is assiduous, tedious and painstaking research work. Finally, the Paleontologists ultimately worked out that fossils had to be the remnant of living things that were now nonextant and vanished from the planet, yet related to species available currently at present day. Paleontologists began to set up a rough tree of life, in which most of the species that ever lived are long gone. They reciprocated data with the Geologists to get the relative ages of different animals. Based on the rock strata that the Geologists had dated, they could date fossils found in the strata. Then they could date new strata by the fossils found in them, and hither and thither but in a very organized manner.
Two above mentioned branches of science composed and described the description of a vast ancient history of the planet. By their efforts, today we know the age of Earth as 4.5 Billion years old. After 4.5, there are 8 zeros. If we write down history book of this huge period, with 10 million years on each page in this book, this book will contain 450 pages and 449 pages of history without humans! Humans have been around a million years, the modern form of humans only emerged about 200,000 years ago. Hence, we will come on the last page, from the Mesopotamia, ancient Babylonia, about 4000 BC, until today. All human history occupies the last word of the last sentence on the last page of that book. A tiny place in this book, tenth of a page, and ‘Civilization’ is the last word of that last paragraph. This is the real position of the Humans in the entire History and in discovered Universe, almost insignificant, not important or large enough to consider or worry about. Today we also know that the observable Universe, the part we can see until today, is about fourteen Billion years old.
There was one more key piece to the Enlightenment: In the late 1700s humans eventually and ultimately successfully invented a credible and proper Telescope, the empyrean heights of the imagination. Now the sky is in the human reach, a human domain. They started really watch and study surreptitious secrets and mysteries of their blue vast colossal roof, the sky, and the tiny bright and shining stars in the endless firmament, with their naked eyes! Celestial and heavenly bodies and Brobdingnagian Spheres are now within the reach of humans.
Now a new branch of science emerges, Astronomy, and Astronomers again taking careful measurements and sharing what they observe. It was Frederick William Hershel, a British Astronomer, in 1774 he constructed his first powerful Telescope, after which he spent Nine years delve into the sky, detailed surveys to divulge the secrets of the starry sky. He was the pioneer to prove first time by measuring the distance to a few other stars and disclosed that our Solar System was moving through Space among the Stars.
William Hershel shakes the staggering and enervated religious hierarchy; it was generally accepted phenomena that the Earth was the exact center of the Universe and that everything rotated around it under the shell of the endless firmament. The ancient Egyptians conceived the heavens to be an arched iron ceiling from which the stars were suspended by means of cables (Chabas, LÆAntiquiteÆ Historique, Paris, 1873, pp. 64-67). In the same fashion, the Babylonians assumed the sky was an Immense Dome, forged out of the hardest metal by the hand of Merodach (Marduk) and resting on a wall surrounding the earth (Jensen, Die Kosmologie der Babylonier, Strasburg, 1890, pp. 253, 260).
According to the notion prevalent among the Greeks and Romans, the sky was a great vault of crystal to which the fixed stars were attached, though by some it was held to be of iron or brass. The Hebrews wined and dined similar feast appears from numerous biblical passages. In the first account of the creation, Genesis1, we learn that God created a firmament to divide the celestial from the terrestrial waters. The best conjecture, assumption, and supposition based on Bible passages were that the starry sky was a fixed, hollow shell termed Firmament. The glittering stars were considered to be little lights or pinholes on the inner surface of this solid shell, and the luminous of heaven was shining in through these pinholes. If readers are interested they can go through Psalm 93:1, 96:10, 104:5, Chronicles 16:30 and Ecclesiastes. The idiosyncratic details, gist, and quiddity of the references are that the World is firmly established, it cannot be moved—The Lord set the Earth on its foundations; it can never be moved—And, the Sun rises and sets and returns to its place. Before F W Hershel, nobody had a clue about the nature of the glittering sky, same as in the case of the age of the Earth.
In 1540 Nicolaus Copernicus, an Astronomer and Mathematician formulated a model of the Universe where he placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the Universe. He pointed up and highlighted, and advised his contemporaries to take cognizance of a lot of observations. It would make more sense if the Sun was at the center and the Earth moved around it, but nobody enthralled, and he not got much attention and appreciation.
Galileo Galilei, an Italian Philosopher, and Astronomer considered seriously his Theory of Heliocentric in 1650, based on his Astronomical observations. He got in hot water for that, and the Church made him publicly recant because to move the Earth away from the center of the Universe would create a conflict with some Bible passages. According to the popular and accepted norms, Galileo was prosecuted as a suspect of Heresy due to his offending research work, which directly conflicts with the Church and challenge to the Bible.
Now Powerful Telescopes revealed millions of Galaxies containing Billions of Stars each, millions more Heavenly Bodies than humans had ever been able to imagine or to see with their naked eyes, at distances Astronomers can calculate and measure, and those distances are huge, more than Billions of kilometers. The Universe abruptly went from minuscule and diminutive scale to inconceivably and mind-boggling huge scale, and it is also proved that Earth is not at the center, but our Sun was just another star floating through emptiness like one snowflake in a gale. The Hubble volume or the Observable Universe has a diameter of approximately 92.94 billion light-years, centered on the planet Earth. Each different portion of Space has its own viewable and visible Universe.
Just think about deep Time and Huge Space, full of stars and animals and the allure of the Universe and complexity but no Humans, a wonderful Universe just perking along fine without Humans. This enlightenment changes our perception and the way we look around us, indeed Broaden our Horizons.
Now, when we realize our position in this Universe and Time, we start to think from a different point of view and perspective about other humans. We realize that humans are not important in this big picture. Yes, I also feel, some sort of humility and abasement, and finally more patience with my fellow humans. But do not forget, we are all just beginners, new tenants of this beautiful planet. The ants and the bees have had millions of years to work out the right way to live as a community in harmony, and we have done better than they in just a few centuries. And we humans, a newly born creature are just infants, only starting out. In our infancy, we have done wonderful and amazing progress. We have enlightened so much in just a few centuries. We haste as if we are at the end of history and human civilization reached its climax. But in fact, our history has only just started.
Did you realize, until now humans have achieved all such astounding and astonishing success in a very short period, BUT without the concept of the any God or Goddess? Church, Mosque, Temple, and Shrines have not any share or contribution in any human Accomplishment. They contribute just in destruction, annihilation, and fear.
Now since we gained enough knowledge about our History, Universe, Space and Time, one thing must change; our Conception, Perception, and Apperception of what a God must be. We must be introspective, thoughtful, a bit more self-analytic, and digging around. The concept of God as advanced by Aristotle as a primary Cause or ‘Mover’ of all the motion in the Universe, the “Unmoved Mover.” If the universe has a Creator, or as renowned ‘the God,’ that thing, whatever it might be, should be larger than its 93 Billion Light Years. And older than its Universe, and in some sense, senior to 14 billion years.
To be honest, such a thing, such a being, is beyond my Imagination, Ingenuity, and Insight. A thing older and bigger than the Universe, what could it be like? I have not any clue, inkling or trace; this is the reason that I am an Agnostic, not an Atheist.
But one thing I can say with confidence, tenacity, and certainty that I did not find any God, and Goddess of any religion, including Islam (my parental and ex-religion) nowhere near big enough. In contrast to the enormous and stupendous Space and Time, the Religious God is tarnished and eclipsed.
The prominent quality of the Religious God is a being that feels Jealousy and Rage, full of the sentiments of Revenge and Vengeance, all distinguished human ignoble characteristics. The God, with big exaggerated claims and promises; He will send to Sinners to live and suffer, burn and choke in the Eternal Fire of the Hell, which is full of fire, smoke, burn, torture, anguish, scream and cry, forever and ever, until the end of the Time—but he still claims, He Loves You! How this God could forget that Ignorance, Insolvency, Pauperism, Indigence, and/or Poverty are the greatest Sins on this planet. Very strange and a weird being that took sides between one tribe and another. A being that could without the reluctance and qualm drown millions of living creatures that it had made because they disappointed it. Religious God or Deity that knock down the tower of Babel because he said that humans could ascend to the Heavens and learn the Secrets of the Universe.
How Omnipotent and Omniscient God forgets that one day these humans conquer the Space and will go beyond the Solar System? This God was unaware of the human strength in the form of the Large Hadron Collider. The God, who created this Universe, could not figure out how to be “Merciful” until his own Son committed Suicide in His presence to bring Him out of the dilemma, and change His mind. If this is the Omnipotent, Omnificent and Almighty God can do, I am neither impressed nor convinced, and results like these do not belong in the resume of a Supreme Being.
I concede and admit that I am not competent to put my contemplation in fine words. I am also not a Politician who can invent neologisms and use words in a very imaginative way. But one thing is confirmed and part of my faith that the God I was being told about by my Muslim Parents, Mullahs, Muftis could not reach even near of the authentic and original creator of the Universe that Science introduced me. So what do you call Holy Books including Quran and Hadits those narrate dramatic stories that cannot possibly be true? Yes, I can call them fantasy with a very incompetent God. I read lots of them, like Three Little Pigs and Humpty Dumpty. It was obvious that all Religious Holy Books are just another fantasy novels, and the God of all religions are made-up with fictional characters. I know them very well because out of respect for my Biological Mother and Father I used to go also Mosque and Madrasa every day until I left their home, but there was no chance that I believed in what I heard ridiculous tales.
And since then Science broadens my horizon, I have never read or heard any description or depiction of a God that equal to the extent and ratio of this magnificent Universe. And I have never strike a justification or exegesis how a God who did correlate to that proportion could have the infinitesimal interests in being admired and adore in the form of worship, five times a day, prayers of Muslims before and after the meals, And special services of prayers on Friday, Saturday or Sunday in the special particular Buildings, Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca and Madina, Fasting, and animal even human Slaughter. Or really could have the little concern or interest about what I thought about it or anything else.
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