Showing posts with label Opinions on God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Opinions on God. Show all posts

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Islam, Jesus, & the Cross

'And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them -' (4:157-159)

Qur'an al Kerim denies here an important topic in Christianity: The Crucifixion of Jesus. What thoughts may this lead to?

Here's a quotation of Wikipedia, which mentions the best known Muslim replies to questions about Jesus' crucifixion:

'The issue of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus (Isa) is rejected by most Muslims, but similar to Christians they believe that Jesus ascended to heaven and will return before the end of time. Most Muslims believe Jesus was not crucified, but was raised bodily to heaven by God. The general Islamic view supporting the denial of crucifixion was possibly influenced by Manichaenism (Docetism), which holds that someone else was crucified instead of Jesus, while concluding that Jesus will return during the end-times.[1]:41

Depending on the interpretation of the following verse, Muslim scholars have abstracted different opinions. Some believe that in the Biblical account, Jesus's crucifixion did not last long enough for him to die, while others opine that God gave someone Jesus's appearance or someone else replaced Jesus and the executioners thought the victim was Jesus, causing everyone to believe that Jesus was crucified. A third explanation could be that Jesus was nailed to a cross, but as his soul is immortal he did not "die" or was not "crucified" [to death]; it only appeared so (this view is rare). In opposition to the second and third foregoing proposals, yet others maintain that God does not use deceit and therefore they contend that crucifixion just did not occur.'

Islam may have a 1 - 0 setback behind Christianity, because the Crucifixion is a well-documented event, with many witnesses. Even though not all their stories fully match. But any police officer can explain us, that this is a classic issue of eye witness accounts: Contradictions. On one topic, there's no contradiction: many people were witness of Jesus' death on the cross; the empty grave next day; his appearances later; his ascension to heaven. His followers died for this story at the hands of authorities who couldn't believe their story.

What would be my suggestion? How to deal with this difference between Bible and Qur'an?

We are nearly twenty centuries later now. We notice a difference between both stories, but in all honesty, we can't explain it. We have no forensic evidence. I'd say, there's only one possible attitude: 

Do not judge.

It's one word against the other. It's very well possible, there's been a switch of men, just before captivity. Allah swt is the almighty and is most sure capable to introduce a stand-in. This may be anyone, even an angel. We also know, Qur'an al Kerim contains verses of unspecific meaning, as is mentioned in verse 3:7. It is possible to believe, that indeed Jesus didn't die at the cross. None of us know for sure, what exactly happened. Both Bible and Qur'an give reports of miraculous events. It's not up to us to dismiss them without evidence. And evidence, we don't have -- in the scientific, forensic sense of the word. Qur'an al Kerim doesn't give enough detail to give a scientific report of events. Shouldn't that be enough to abstain from filling in gaps.

There's perhaps a second aspect. The Qur'anic text mentions 'they' and 'we' killed the Messiah. It could mean, that humans have no say in life and death. They lack the authority here to claim taking the life of this important messenger of Allah swt.

USCatholic.org: What do Muslims think of Jesus?







Friday, November 3, 2017

Jesus and Trinity

Many of the World's religions, have, at least, some kind of monotheistic view on God, but it's a complicated multiplicity. God may have several personifications or manifestations, even when only one and the same god and creator is referred to. People have tried it, but haven't found out, whether their definition or concept was right. I'll try to give some kind of comparative parable and start with Christianity.

The Bible defines God as one true god, made up of three individuals: God the Father, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Here's a compilation of relevant Biblical verses: Genesis 1:1-2; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Colossians 1:15-17; Colossians 2:9; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 44:6; John 1:14; John 10:30; John 10:30-36; John 14:9-11; John 14:16-17;  1 John 5:7-8; Luke 1:35; Luke 3:21-22; Matthew 1:23; Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Romans 14:17-18; 1 Peter 1:1-2; Ephesians 4:4-6; and Philippians 2:5-8. God the Son, the Lord Jesus, wasn't just Prophet Jesus during his lifetime. The Bible says, there's 'one God, the Father from whom all things came and for whom we live', and there's 'one Lord, Jesus Christ, from whom all things came and for whom we live':

'For there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are in agreement.'
(1 John 5:7-8)

'I and the Father are one.' (John 10:30)

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’[a]? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?' (John 10:30-36)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

According Christianity, Jesus now sits at God the Father's right hand, next to His throne:

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51)

(He) who has gone into heaven and xis at the right hand of God, ywith angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (Peter: 3:22)

If I may take some liberty, while avoiding dogmatism ~ I'd say, Christian Trinity may best be explained as the devine force, the devine wisdom, and the devine creation, if we see devine creation as perpetual matter, and God as living and working within creation, with His wisdom. In this case, it's impossible to separate God, devine force, and devine creation from each other. The Son, the Father, and the holy Spirit are the same and forever. Also Jesus is forever, and, also today, very much alive. For me, it makes sense to see Jesus as creation as a whole, the universe. Then, also Eucharist makes sense, because the bread and the wine are part of Jesus, as much as is the rest of creation.

Jesus will return, says the Bible, and at His arrival, Resurrection starts:

'For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.' (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

'... and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.' (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

Islam doesn't recognize Trinity. Islam sees God as the perpetual creative force behind creation and the holy Spirit. This, because creation is a systematic structure of separate items, each with a temporary lifespan; they all are, directly or indirectly, made by God, even if people, or other creatures, function as productive intermediaries. They are God's protected property. God doesn't resemble creation in any way imaginable. To humans, and other creatures, creation and the holy spirit are tools, and a tool has to answer to God the same way as that humans have to.  Qur'an looks at creation as Allah SWT's immediate property, directly linked to Him. Thus, it's not possible to worship creation. Creatures are created to serve, not worship, each other. Reality is, that people are inclined to worship one item, or a person in creation, as a God, or manifestation of God. This would injustly favor one creature over other creatures, or a human-made concept, and that would create chaos, unjustified competition that's bound to be lost by the human-made god figure, or distortion. It would cause a wound to it all. Jesus was elavated alive, towards Allah, in heaven, without being crucified. Note well, that Jesus, Isa, is the only living prophet, now. The Holy Spirit is God's wisdom, which is revealed in the scriptures, including Qur'an; to the prophets, including Mohammad; and to the faithful. Qur'an al Kerim says:

'Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.' (2:255)

'And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them -' (4:157-159)

'O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! - Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. The Messiah will never scorn to be a slave unto Allah, nor will the favoured angels. Whoso scorneth His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him; ...' (4:171-172)

'They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather turn unto Allah and seek forgiveness of Him? For Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how We make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away! Say: Serve ye in place of Allah that which possesseth for you neither hurt nor use? Allah it is Who is the Hearer, the Knower. Say: O People of the Scripture! Stress not in your religion other than the truth, and follow not the vain desires of folk who erred of old and led many astray, and erred from a plain road.' (5:72-77)

'Say: The holy Spirit hath revealed it from thy Lord with truth, that it may confirm (the faith of) those who believe, and as guidance and good tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah). (102) And We know well that they say: Only a man teacheth him. The speech of him at whom they falsely hint is outlandish, and this is clear Arabic speech.' (16:102-103)

'They will ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little. (85) And if We willed We could withdraw that which We have revealed unto thee, then wouldst thou find no guardian for thee against Us in respect thereof. (86) (It is naught) save mercy from thy Lord. Lo! His kindness unto thee was ever great. (87) Say: Verily, though mankind and the jinn should assemble to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof though they were helpers one of another.' (17:85-90)
'And she (Maryam) who was chaste, therefor We breathed into her (something) of Our Spirit and made her and her son a token for (all) peoples.' (21:91)

Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any God along with Him; else would each God have assuredly championed that which he created, and some of them would assuredly have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above all that they allege. Knower of the Invisible and the Visible! and Exalted be He over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)! (23:90-91)

Lo! Allah is the Knower of the Unseen of the heavens and the earth. Lo! He is Aware of the secret of (men's) breasts. He it is Who hath made you regents in the earth; so he who disbelieveth, his disbelief be on his own head. Their disbelief increaseth for the disbelievers, in their Lord's sight, naught save abhorrence. Their disbelief increaseth for the disbelievers naught save loss. Say: Have ye seen your partner-gods to whom ye pray beside Allah? Show me what they created of the earth! Or have they any portion in the heavens? Or have We given them a scripture so they act on clear proof therefrom? Nay, the evil-doers promise one another only to deceive. Lo! Allah graspeth the heavens and the earth that they deviate not, and if they were to deviate there is not one that could grasp them after Him. Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving. (35:38-41)

'When thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to create a mortal out of mire, (71) And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, then fall down before him prostrate,' (38:72)

'The Exalter of Ranks, the Lord of the Throne. He casteth the Spirit of His command upon whom He will of His slaves, that He may warn of the Day of Meeting, ...' (40:15)

'And thus have We inspired in thee (Muhammad) a Spirit of Our command. Thou knewest not what the Scripture was, nor what the Faith. But We have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of Our bondmen. And lo! thou verily dost guide unto a right path, (52) The path of Allah, unto Whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Do not all things reach Allah at last.' (42:52-53)

'Were We then worn out by the first creation? Yet they are in doubt about a new creation. We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. When the two Receivers receive (him), seated on the right hand and on the left, He uttereth no word but there is with him an observer ready.' (50:15-18)

'Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan. As for such, He hath written faith upon their hearts and hath strengthened them with a Spirit from Him, and He will bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. They are Allah's party. Lo! is it not Allah's party who are the successful?' (58:22)

'On the day when the angels and the Spirit stand arrayed, they speak not, saving him whom the Beneficent alloweth and who speaketh right. That is the True Day. So whoso will should seek recourse unto his Lord.' (78:38-39)

'Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him.' (112:1-4)

There is a disclaimer ~ Thank God, it's not up to us, to decide whether the difference between Bible and Quran is only words and naming, or whether there's a genuine difference in meaning. I'd say, Qur'an and Bible describe God and His creation as one cluster, created in wisdom, but the Bible gives a bigger place to Jesus, 'Isa. There's no compulsion in religion, because we can't picture or perceive God. Allah SWT knows, and we don't. We can let loose reason on the unseen, but miss observation to back up our reasoning. This isn't always necessary, when logic is used properly. But in this case, our logic can't reach far enough to get to the truth. And, it's better to live and let live, instead of trying to falsify religious teachings about their very core. Nevertheless, what's my conclusion? Islam, accepts only one, unambiguous God. God has defined creation, but not the other way round.

Both the Bible and Qur'an say, Jesus is alive and in heaven now and, at the Day of Resurrection, Jesus will testify for, or against, each one of us. Jesus' present and future role matters, to those who believe. Qur'an and Bible resemble, and should be taken at heart, though we may question Trinity.

Sources:
Bible Study Tools https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-the-trinity/
Quran Explorer http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran/
GotQuestions.org https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-in-Heaven.html
BibleInfo.com http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/second-coming-jesus#when
BibleGateway.com https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thessalonians+1%3A7-10




Monday, October 14, 2013

Why-Questions For Ourselves

The oldest question in the world. It has general and personal aspects.

Honestly, I think we can't answer the general aspects. We don't know beyond doubt where we came from. Religions have all their own answers, sometimes in full contrast to one and other. I have gradually learned to rely on myself. "Why am I here", "Where am I going", are questions usually approached in a moral fashion by religions. It may be a help cord for humanity to hold on to, but is it an answer to the question? The role of humanity in the scheme of things on Earth, is seen as a task, by religions. And its future is determined by the way humanity carries out this task. The problem then lies, again, in the differing, sometimes contrasting answer furnished by religions. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism basically say, though in differing ways: The human soul is forever; its future in the afterlife is determined by how the living man or woman behaves during life. And there's an invisible, omnipotent creating God who creates, decides for and judges us, and everything else. But the stories of these religions are different, and so is their worship. Buddhism says: there is no invisible world behind this, this is all there is and has been, there is no creation, and the human soul isn't immortal. Personally, I think that all religions cast their light on an aspect of the truth that was revealed to their spokesmen, usually referred to as prophets. Why the stories differ, is an answer God only knows;) Or only some answers can be proved to be true or false. Islam still is my own religion, but I can't confirm that the prophet Muhamed, pbuh, really met archangel Gibryl, and that Gibryl truly came with God's word. We can't prove it, no matter how valuable and truthful its content may be. That is faith: Acknowledging something to be truthful or valuable, without having falsifiable evidence. The consequence is, that none of us have the right to forcefully impose our non-falsifiable convictions on other people. That also goes for atheists.

I think, that Buddhism has a point here, it's view can be retrieved with Ibn Rushd, for those who like to know if there's a parallel with Islamic views somewhere. I agree with them and think there was no first creation. Mass cannot have emerged from the non-existent. That's technically and absolutely impossible. Non-existence isn't empty space, because space is existence. Therefore, mass must always have been there, which doesn't mean there has never been empty space. Empty space is always mass-related. Like Ibn Rushd, I think, that God is working within the universe, as the force within it. God may be time, the law or force of nature, an abstract concept. God cannot be compared with anything at all, says the Qur'an. There's no god, there's just the law or force of nature, but that's not god, atheists say. When the Bible says, that "the earth was without form, and void", it may say there was a first creation of our present planet and the other celestial bodies, but Genesis leaves open whether it must have been a remould of something else, another mass. The story in Genesis may sound contradictory to scientific knowledge and even to itself. An aspect not irrelevant to the age-old question, is that other religions have their own stories, that may also be impaired and proven-untrue.

And then, how about thinking of where we're headed to. The afterlife. Is there nothing, or is there a retribution, where justice is restored? It's always been approached from a moral point of view, even by atheists. We should live righteous lives in order to attain a good afterlife. Or, vice versa, we don't need to... etc. The only thing not eagerly considered, is the possible preparation to a bad afterlife. A life in Hell. If Hell is forever, shouldn't we learn now how to live in pain, or at least in unpleasant conditions forever? Shouldn't we learn to accept evil as part of a whole that may have good in it, simply because the whole 'needs' this aspect. We're not taught to deal with an eternal painful retribution. (How we should, is another issue.)

All things considered, I think it's better to keep things personal. It leads to always-relevant and tangible answers to the age-old questions. Why am I here? Where do I go? I stick to things I know. I came from two parents and a long line of ancestors. I live here, because I was born nearby. I have children, they have my genes. Why do we live somewhere? Because of family, a partner, or friends cherished enough to be counted as family. Because I like the town I live in. Because of a job. But I think that most people tend to find their livelihood near family and friends. The chance is realistic, that I'll stay here too, because it's not easy to leave and then live away from family. Why do people leave the vicinity of family and friends? To be with a partner. It may be uniting with an existing partner, or traveling to a country or town where a partner is likely to be found. It may also be necessity. If it's impossible to find a source of income or affordable housing in the vicinity of family and friends. Yet, I think that most people hesitate to leave their country or city for work only, no matter how tempting the prospects may be. There should be someone or something else too, to make it worthwhile to live alone in an apartment far away from home. That's how it works for me. In all honesty -- a partner, or family and trusted friends somewhere else will make me move away more easily than only a great writing gig. The chances are realistic, though. And it's best to recognize that I'm not sure what will happen after death, and try to do my 'best' as is recognized as such in my community, including not causing harm to others.

With thanks to fellow blogger Izaakson.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Am I God?




A while ago, I read somewhere: 'Are you God yet?' A thesis meant for further thought or discussion. The topic interests me particularly, so I want to try and answer. The word yet intrigues me, because it apparently allows the concept of a temporary God.

The idea that you and I could be God, is unfamiliar to those raised in Jewish, Christian, or Islamic traditions. The Christian idea of God resembles most that of a human, male artist who 'makes' everything from matter, perhaps aided by utensils, see top image. In Jewish and Islamic thought, the hands ought to be removed. Perhaps the knife can stay, but the Jewish and Islamic concept don't allow a human God-figure. [112.4] And none is like Him, says the Qur'an. In these three religions, God is not to be identified with His/Her/Its creation; God is the force behind it. But if we don't know God's nature, what's against thinking that God indeed is everything? This is what my fellow blogger must have thought, and there's a point in it. The entire top image could be seen as God. But then enters a complication many people may dislike: It can only mean, that God is neutral and imperfect. This is because all creatures have an enemy in creation, and because people are prone to discontentment. People are inclined to set norms for themselves and others, and they are inclined to failure in living up to norms. Religious people are not brought up with a neutral god. God sets the norms and decides in the end who have done their best to stick to those norms, and who haven't. Some kind of retribution then follows. (For Muslims a big issue, because not-following the rules is disobedience, and partly not-following them may be hypocrisy, an even worse sin).

It is useful to study other religions and philosophies than your own, because you see your own ideas in a broader perspective and might be inclined to see other people's true thought contributions to this world. And the world has several religions –– with conflicting or matching theories and norms. For instance, Islam says that every person has but one life. After death, we wait in the grave till judgment day. Then will be decided who goes to paradise, and who goes to hell. Yet, Hinduism and Buddhism say that after death we all get a new life, or become another creature. Only Buddhism doesn't recognize a self-existent, eternal soul, and doesn't believe in creation by an omnipotent god. The concept of me and you being God would probably best fit into Buddhism. But do these thoughts justice to the question 'are you God yet'? I doubt it, because there's more to it.

Maybe it helps to first look which parts of traditional religions could be seen as plausibly, reasonably true theories. It is plausible, that there is an invisible force behind everything around us. It is plausible, that everything around us has always and eternally existed –– after all, where could matter have come from? It's also plausible, that everything we know, both matter and the forces and abstractions behind them, all-in form 'God'. Calling only the force behind everything 'God', however, is equally plausible. So 'God' can very well be just a matter of definition –– taste? It makes it possible to debate, whether God is eternal. If you and I are a little piece of God, God as a concept may be eternal, but God in you and me perhaps isn't. Consequently, it is plausible, that God has created/revealed different religions, philosophies, and societies. But how plausible is it, that one is superior over the other? That is a matter of forensic archeology and text falsification. It is plausible, too, that phenomenons people may refer to as 'ghosts', spirits, or souls, do exist. Yet, it's also plausible that they may not exist. What else is plausible? That God is omnipotent and perfect, or is omnipotent and perfect only in certain fields. In other words, it's even plausible that God is not omnipotent and perfect. It casts another look on our imperfect behavior and emotions of discontent. If we're God, as our imperfect selves, we must live with the fact that we may not like ourselves and our sins, and that we need to find the tools towards acceptance. Buddhism traditionally is strong at that issue. And it's plausible, that time and the law of nature have some link to God.

Secondly, it also helps to look at those parts of traditional religions that remain out of sciences' reach: The issues we don't know and, at best, can believe in. The hereafter and divine sanctioning are those issues. We don't know –– and usually don't like the thought –– if God is neutral towards his/her/its creatures, or if God sanctions them. We can't dismiss the thought of divine sanctioning, yet, stumble upon the differences between religions. We don't know if spirits are souls of the deceased, nor if they have eternal existence. Another issue we don't know, is if our soul is eternal and self-existing, or temporary. The question if at all we were created, by who and how, is another we have no answer to. So it's hard to fill in those questions for others and impose them, yet it's often been done. It's disliked that people with harmful behavior get away with it unsanctioned. And people like to exercise power. But then, comes the largely unanswerable question of honesty. How honest are religions, when they try to give answers? Truth is, that it's unknown if the prophet Muhammad truly received revelations from God via archangel Gibril. This in spite of good documentation of the prophet's words. Even the prophet pbuh, technically speaking, had to trust his instincts. If we want to successfully pass honest judgment, it's best to stick to that which is plausible, without imposing it on others.







Therefore, from an honesty-point of view it's plausible to wonder: "Am I God?" It's possible to label everything as God. Or to make one's own definition of God. Last weekend, I confronted my family members with the issue. My brother said "we don't know, but people will always try to gain power over their group and then use religion as a tool". My brother-in-law said "I don't like the thought of a neutral God, and for the rest I don't know. But to me, your sister is God. For me that's enough". I find it a great answer. No more words needed.

@HM



Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Truth?


'To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single People, but (His Plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.' (5:48)

This verse -- in my opinion perhaps the most difficult verse in the entire Qur’an -- tells us, in a nutshell, what belief in a Creator is and why the various believers do not come nearer to each other. The way of conduct and the open path refer to the relation between Allah swt and each individual of His creatures, but also between Allah and the entire community of men. Every person has his or her own relation with Allah. However, there also is a Scripture that not only addresses itself to the individual, but also to all other people. Except for this Scripture, Qur’an, there are other scriptures, where communities other than the Islamic umma listen to. Therefor, we may conclude: It is simple, there is only one physical truth; yet it is not simple, as man has received only a very limited view on this physical truth and has obtained the right to make his own idea of it. So there is one truth; yet, everybody has their own truth. Not is said here, who precisely is correct. Not without reason, Islam means peaceful surrender to God and man has received the needed tools from the Prophet, but also the option of choice. Precisely because we have only a limited view on the truth, there can never be compulsion in religion. The last Scripture, Qur’an, contains the truth. Yet, it may be true, that other paths to the truth may be acceptable. And truly acceptable, not just second best. Allah knows best.

Then, second aspect is, that discussions between believers, non-believers or otherwise-believers, usually don’t lead to much result in the sense of convincing others of who's right. Islam has said: Allah decides whether a person believes or disbelieves, and if so, in what precisely. The separation of minds leads to different religious communities, but also to different individual religious views, and those usually strongly persist within firm outlines. Discussions on faith, therefore, are not always and everywhere possible or desirable. People don’t come nearer to each other, and it is better to respect that and find a common ground in earthly matters that are nearer every day’s experience.