Blog Posting # 100 – Understanding Islam
Be Familiar with and Understand Other Viewpoints
My first Blog on Understanding Islam was written December 6, 2009 as an Introduction to this subject. Everyone should be familiar and understand other points of view and religions (more a Christian way of thinking; Islamists do not want any Muslim to even think about another faith, let alone rationalize their own.)
What has followed is a series of discussions on Islamic sects, women in Islam, the Quran, the History of Islam and Muhammad, Allah vs. God, Sharia Law, Images, Influences on Muhammad’s Thinking (or lack thereof), Killing Christians, Blasphemy, Strategy of Conquest, Eurasia, Virgins, and Why A Virgin, Lying, Deceit, The Ideology of Islam, Love, Freedom, Teaching and Training, Pride (How Big is your Zabiba), Morality, Religion of Peace, Abrogation, Veiled Women, Envy, Ethnic Policies, Community (micro and macro Umma’s), Islamist’s Politics, Attitudes Toward Sex, Comparisons to the Bible (Why Study the Bible), Internal Conflict among Muslims, Separation of Mosque and State, Patriotism, Sharia Law and the Constitution and most recently Death for Apostasy. Current event issues were discussed such as Cordoba House, Egypt, and other newsworthy items.
Through the process much has been learned. Certainly I have gained a respect for moderate Muslims, yet I am concerned for their future as the more dogmatic Islamists have historically destroyed the people and the scholarly writings of moderate, logical, reasonable and objective Islamic scholars. Burning the documents was the destructive method of choice.
I have not been convinced this is a religion I would choose, seeing it more ideological and fraught with internal conflict as to who is the true Muslim. The methods of the Islamists concern me also and have been discussed in many of the Blog postings. Their penchant towards ‘revelation’ over ‘reason’ is confusing and limiting when growth, except by destructive, imperialistic means, is considered. That is productive growth, job creating growth, is not part of the programs they offer in countries where Sharia dominates the legal landscape.
Islamists Dismiss Use of Reason
A major concern is that dogmatic fundamentalists rely on scholars who dismiss ‘reason’, yes ‘reason’, even the simple act of ‘thinking’ freely when considering any facet of life. Heaven forbid any doubts as to Allah (pun intended). That leaves scientific exploration, philosophical discussions, and progress behind. They believe that all has been ‘revealed’ by the Quran; the Quran is ‘uncreated’, as Allah is ‘uncreated’, or uncaused, and each second of each day is a miracle of revelation of Allah. You never know what the next instant can bring as Allah can do and be what he wants to be when he wants to be. So why do anything. Just wait – in an instant there may be food on your table, water to drink, and funds to spend as Allah will provide and his revelation supersedes any need to plan or consider the future as that is the will of Allah.
As a reasonable, rational, thinking and free human being I don’t get it. There are Islamic scholars that have encouraged a reasonable approach, such as the Mu’talizites, but they were outnumbered, or killed off, their writings burned by the Ash’arites (which are now predominantly Sunni) in the 800-900’s CE (est. of dates). There remain schools more liberal in their thinking or interpretation, but it has been difficult for them to become the voice of the people of Islam. I’d say the voice of ‘reason’, but such would be seen as heretical in the eyes of the Islamists.
More Questions – More Learning
There remain many questions and more learning. I will continue my Blogs, but not as frequently as one per week or more. I want to spend more time on my Christian faith. So there will be Blogs on UI (Understanding Islam) as well and the Christian Faith. The books I have written, Wake Up! Wake Up! The Testimony of a Layman, and The Proven God will be emphasized along with additional writing I enjoy. (Both books are available at http://www.TomBalderston.com) What I read is mostly non-fiction books concerning the Bible and the Christian faith. The last two years I included reading the Quran and many associated documents on the subject of Islam. I will continue my quest to be enlightened by Islam, although I must admit what I have seen is greater darkness in a culture that dismisses logic, for the Christian the concept of the Logos, than an eye-opening justification to find salvation through Allah.
In the two future Blogs on UI I will summarize what I have gleaned first on the Muslim or Islamist (Part 102) and then present a summary on The Christian (Part 103), together they are to provide a comparison. In another future Blog on Understanding Islam ( #104 – Revelation vs. Reason) I will attempt to dialog more on the illogical, or the Islamic logic (but how can there be logic as it implies thoughtful consideration) of excluding ‘reason’ from the mind of the Muslim human, called by many writers ‘intellectual suicide’ for Islam.
With prayerful thought given to all who wish to be free in their thinking and understanding of the world that surrounds, to their role in life, to their purpose for living and to perceiving what God does and does not reveal. To engage the mind into making the cosmos for all, to include our world, this terra, a better place, peaceful, useful, productive and meaningful, only makes sense; how can it not? Can someone provide a cogent, not a fixed, mindless and entrenched belief that the future of the next step in a process cannot be foreseen, even if that process has been repeated over-and-over, observed, studied and made known, recorded and predictable? If may be willed otherwise, but by observation what can happen next, in all likelihood, would be as happened in the past.
God, in my opinion, wants man to know how our universe works, all its components, and Our Creator will make known what needs to be made known as necessary. But man will discover and is needed to make those discoveries. Probability is a mathematic tool of significant importance. The Scientific Method is used to confirm observations and establish facts, repeatable events, that enable future findings to ensue. Neither are used to judge God’s decisions, but to provide man tools to determine elements of the future that are not totally mysterious. God wants His mysteries understood to aid man in better knowing and having a stronger relationship with Him. God reveals his mysteries to those who get to know Him.
Grace and Peace
6 thoughts on “UI – Part 100 – No Reason to Believe in Islam”
You need to follow my future blogs and catch up on many written in the past. Thank you for your inquiries and dialog.
I have raised “questions…about Islam.” You appear a rational Muslim, if indeed you are Muslim. If not, my error. If you are you can assist in providing clarity. I am not challenging as much as questioning Islam. The ‘Islamists’, as labeled, are seen as the traditionalists, those whose interpretation of the Quran is rigid, caught in the historical past. They show no compassion for anyone who wishes to consider for themselves other pathways to the eternal kingdom, even to have a union with a person whose internal purpose and heart for God may vary. The moderates may be objective, but less willing to stand-up and lead the Muslim world. Examples of those who, as the Mu’tazilites, stood up for reason applied, were relegated to apostate status, their materials incinerated. Where is the objectivity? Does it remain behind closed doors?
Are you a traditionalist in Islam? Have you considered the divinity of Christ? There is an overwhelming quantity of evidence for the Risen Lord, including hundreds of eye-witnesses. Proof is inherent in the actual events. How do you regard philosophy and science? Has it been useful? Have these disciplines benefitted society? Why is Christianity denied a voice in the Muslim world? What about taqiyya and dawah? How can one distinguish the truth when a Muslim speaks if they are guided by their Holy Book? Can a Muslim apply reason to the Quran and still be seen by Allah as faithful?
You may have the answers.
Grace and Peace.
First of all let me again appreciate you for believing in and encouraging a rational and logical approach towards religions. Especially the last paragraph of your comments above. Let me re-write it and feel it through the depth of my heart.
“Open all the religious books in all areas of the world and encourage all the people to read, learn and understand each other. Would it not be better to use the books and not weapons, to enable the mind of man, our greatest gift from God, to intelligently select one’s path, have diversity and exchange ideas in harmony and a forum of objectivity. We may not all choose the same religion, it should be faith-based and not ideological, but we will choose freedom and a want for all people to have rights and receive the same protections.” Quote ends
No doubt the approach of the Western Christian world towards reliogns is based upon liberty and freedom of choice. But there are a few things which have been creating disparity amongst the two sides
1. Irrational and traditional approach of a great majority of the muslims.
2. Their Traditionalism and belief that they are already on the right path and need not any further investigations.
3. Their failure to accept the challeneges towards islam and consequesntly failure to respond the challenges upto the entire satisfaction of the challengers.
4. Continious and dramatic decrease of common christian’s interest towatds religion. Majority of christians are only christians by name. They only know about reliogns (what was told by priest, as like muslims). Religion is not a practicle part of their life.
Although all the questions/challenges ever raised by christians and other religions on websites are replied by the muslims, but that woun’t satisfy you because there is difference between Islam (as laid down in Quran and as practised by majority of muslims).
As I have pointed out earlier, If you want to know the Islamic Point of view about any issue you should not see what muslims do in some part of the world or what a few muslims follow in this world. If you are a true rational person you will agree with me.
If you realy want to challenge some things about Islam and realy want to prove for your readers that Islam is irrational. Let raise some questions in this debate about Islam.
Similarly if you actually want to prove your belief is rational please accept my challnges and answer them accordingly.
May God bless you with peace and kindness
I do realy appreciate your sincere effort which is evident from your comprehensive reply. I can hope this debate will further strengthen our relationship to OUR GOD, THE LORD.
What I was expecting that you will define the rationalsim first. Then discuss the dimensions, scope and limimitation of Rationalism in general and afterwards the concept of rationalism as applicable to religions and beliefs.
It is also appreciable that you are frequesntly referring to the Scriptures. Bible and Quran directly. But my question was a bit of practicle nature. Now I can divide my questions in following parts.
1. Do the billions of christions on the earth living today derived their belief thru a proper rational excercise or thru a tradional inheritense ( they are following christanity only because their parents/society were christions)?
2. I feel that most of the discussion/comments you have given above are just traditional and lack rationalism? This is what christions believe tradationaly?
3. Attitude/Belief of the people might be different from what is wirtten in the holly books. So while comparing Christanity with Islam I expect you to compare what is writeen in Bible with what is in Quran and Compare What chrstions do viz a viz what mislims do.
May God bless you with peace and kindness
Rationalism (defined): 1. the belief that thought and action should be governed by reason, 2. the belief that reason and logic are the primary sources of knowledge and truth and should be relied on in searching for and testing the truth of things. (From Encarta Dictionary)
My reference to scripture was to provide you the foundational elements for the Christian faith which calls for reason applied to God’s revelation to enable progress.
Traditional inheritance is an interesting consideration. Most people inherent from their parents, at least to the extent they were born into a household holding such beliefs, the environment, the country, the traditions, the prejudices and the religion of their family. But should that cast such biases into concrete? There are families that resist any attempt by a child to defer to other considerations or traditions, thus restricting their freedom to choose.
In the Christian household objectivity and love of neighbor is emphasized, treating others as you would want to be treated also (Biblical), leading to a more open religion which allows, if the child so decides, reason to apply in an effort to affirm one’s own, personal, path. God accepts challenges as His confidence, I contend, is based on what God has revealed will be made known; the application of logic, understanding cause and effect, will increase wisdom and awareness of the hand of God in all we do.
Let us apply some thought (logic and reason). Assume you are born in a home without a religion, a vacuum of faith, a humanist household, and as you grow you, observing the world around you, sense the greater unknown and thus want to know more and seek God. You are being rational so you approach the major world religions and their history with a desire to learn about each and to choose the path in which you discover the Truth. You become knowledgeable in Hindu, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christian understanding. You compare one to another. You discuss each religion with leaders, scholars, and disciples of each. You question their history, the leaders, the prophets, that which is written, and attempt to decipher the facts. You attempt to separate the human, the personal from the divine. A practical objective is to find harmony and a peace in the world and uncover the religion that clearly encourages such an outcome. Your traditional biases are not a factor. It can then only be reason that arrives at the Truth.
Christians allow their religion to be challenged. Muslims do not. Why? Most religions allow questions to be asked and the adherents, most, do not consider doubts raised, depictions offered, or negative commentary as persecution. They may be dismayed and object to overt acts by ignorant claimants, yet they are more prone to encourage research and discovery and an open dialog in an effort to thwart the abuser. They see it more as denial, resistance, and an aversion than practical objective thought. It becomes more political than rational, more selfish than selfless, more inconsiderate than open-minded. Why are Christians not allowed to be disciples for their faith in a Muslim dominated area, to build or rebuild churches, or to practice their religion openly without being a dhimmi, free and loving? Is that reasonable?
In the example provided the student attempting to find his pathway to an eternal salvation may for his own reasons come to accept there is no God; his life is what it is in the 50-85 years on earth and that is it – to be followed by becoming dust.
Are all who believe taught to believe because that is what they want to believe? That would be nice. If those who believe, believe because that is what they are told to believe, must believe, or are subject to punishment by man should they choose to believe otherwise, are they truly believers? God is the ultimate judge, and that is not on earth. It is not the ritual but the heart and mind that opens-up to what God has revealed; then man can move forward being responsible for bettering and preserving God’s handiwork done for the purpose of humans alone.
Open all the religious books in all areas of the world and encourage all the people to read, learn and understand each other. Would it not be better to use the books and not weapons, to enable the mind of man, our greatest gift from God, to intelligently select one’s path, have diversity and exchange ideas in harmony and a forum of objectivity. We may not all choose the same religion, it should be faith-based and not ideological, but we will choose freedom and a want for all people to have rights and receive the same protections.
Grace and Peace,
Mostly muslims are tradionalists who agree to the Tradational belief of islam rather than accpting the challenge of rationalism.
What is your research in christanity and Judaism in the case of Rationalism. Does the concept of trinity and other basics of Christinity are rational?
The question you ask might be rephrased, “Is Christianity rational and can it withstand scrutiny?”
Another question could be, “What is the source of wisdom? Or how do we obtain wisdom?”
Analytical philosopher Antony Flew states that to the person who is searching, religious assertions incapable of being tested objectively are meaningless.
Isaiah 1:18 (NASB) – “Come now, and let us reason together, Says the Lord.” This comment makes religious practitioners potentially hypocrites if they go through the motions and are not committed. Observances, required practices, and/or adhering strictly to dogma God suggests, through the prophet Isaiah, does not make anyone ceremonially clean before God. The careful observance of daily or scheduled ritualistic practices are meaningless without the proper attitude, feeling and heart for God. Hypocrisy exists in the person; people are in error, if they believe that they can simply apply ritual and be right with God. “Inward righteousness must accompany outward ritual to mean anything to God,” according to John Walvoord. Also what you do should make sense to you, be logical and thus be convinced that God is correct.
Matthew 22:37 (NASB) – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” This response by Jesus to a question asked clearly suggests man’s mind be engaged in his faith and pursuit of God. The concept of an open heart also encourages a person to be receptive to the Word of God, not just blindly follow.
Philippians 1:7 (NASB) – Paul wrote: “It is only right for me to feel this way about you…since …in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers of grace with me.” To defend your faith is to accept challenges and present the reasons why one believes as they do, encouraging others as a result to do the same, applying the same logic.
Romans 1:19-20 (NASB) – “because that which is known about God is evident within them (humans); for God made it evident to them. For since creation…His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse.” Man has no excuse and cannot be excused for a rejection of the truth. Evidence that one can comprehend is before every one of us. The mind of man engaged for God’s purpose to get to known Him and develop a relationship with Him.
Man is made in God’s image, not God, however inherent in his image is the ability to conceptualize, consider facts, ingest and digest information, and be creative. Man was given the responsibility to care for the universe created by God, created for man, using the abilities gifted by God.
Can we objectively attain and know ‘truth’? As to God, it is plain to the eye, the visual experience of the Creation. Our daily lives and our experiences, to include that of the birth of a child, all reveal his glory and give us much to think about. My book, Wake Up! Wake Up! The Testimony of a Layman discusses my personal realization of God’s presence in my life. I then pursued a greater understanding, erasing doubts along the way, confirming my faith. My obedience to the Lord was not a matter-of-fact and required practice, but with understanding (possibly wisdom) it became a voluntary, committed and desired practice.
The Bible, the Word of God, itself has been questioned as to its accuracy, by the Quran itself, suggesting the Quran as the corrected copy. God compelled man to make no alternations to his Word. He informs us also the Word is inspired, not written by God, but inspired. Man, the authors, the scribes, the stenographers used materials, facts, history, actual events and so much more to reflect on God’s nature and make God known, through them, so all can know Him. We are used by God for God’s purposes.
Questioning, considering points made, doubting is normal; it is how we think. In my Wake Up Wake Up book I present a means to ‘erase doubts.’ It is a healthy exercise applicable to the Christian, Jew and to the Muslim. God wants to be questioned as the answers will reveal his Glory.
God will reveal his mysteries as necessary allowing for scientific discovery and more. Deuteronomy 29:29 (NASB) reads, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of the law.” This allows for cause and effect, the study of repetitious actions and reactions, and the ability to draw conclusions and apply what is learned, and thus revealed to improve the world for mankind. We can learn for the laws of nature, the natural laws, but know always divine law controls and enables.
You asked about the Trinity, the logic that applies. This could take an entire reading of the Old Testament and the Gospels of the New Testament. To be brief will not do justice to my claim, but I will try. The O.T. revealed the rebellious nature of man, their inherent inability to be perfect followers and obedient to God. God’s wrath was amply demonstrated; the promises made were subject to being reneged. God could not be just; all mankind sinned and required punishment. It was not a question of good exceeding evil. Even one evil act deserved to be punished. No one was righteous. The solution was God coming to earth and living among his people, god-man incarnate. To restore justice this god-man was to serve the sentence, receive the punishment for all the sins of mankind, past, present and future, so that as a follower, believing in God alone, and repenting man would have a pathway to salvation before him. God would make man right-with-God, justified by their faith. As insurance God allowed for His spirit to dwell within the followers, a reminder and assurance that God is with them and will remain. His steadfast love overcame the obstacle created by Adam. A new Adam, God incarnate, arrived to cleanse us all of our rebellious nature, our penchant to turn our backs on God.
The logic of the Trinity is in the Oneness of it all. God is One, divine, in body and in Spirit. We can know God; for the Christian God is knowable and a relationship with Him is possible. When you pray with a heart for God, God will hear your prayer. During the time of the O.T., before Christ, the spirit of God would dwell temporarily in those chosen by Him. After his representation on earth and His ascension, His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, would dwell permanently in his followers.
Not only are the basics of Christianity rational, the foundation of the universe, God’s creation, was laid before the humans for whom it was formed to ‘subdue’ and tend for the honor and glory of the Lord. The free will of man disrupted God’s plan to have righteous people on earth (or enhanced it – a good discussion topic), requiring a personal visit and a correction to the impediments man suffered at the behest of the evil jinn Satan. God showed his unconditional love for mankind by making a sacrifice no man could possible consider, the killing of one’s own God-man-child for the crimes of others. The new Adam, Christ, god-man, was the cleansing solution that today enables believers to be righteous, doing good deeds as a matter of their faith and the Spirit within. Thanks be to God.
Grace and Peace.