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Leaps Of Logic

"A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if no one believes It."
                                                                                                                                         -- Anon

Arguments on the existence of God are age-old and have been extensively discussed by philosophers, theologians and even most ordinary people. In spite of all the different points of view, I don't believe that any human being has any " privileged" information on this question. The highest scholars at Al Azhar University in Cairo, the highest religious scholars in Saudi Arabia or the Pope and all the 100 bishops in the Vatican could not possibly know more on this specific issue than any other human being on this earth. As for the absolute truth on this subject, it is only fair to state that we live in a world where the blind leads the blind.

For this reason, I don't oppose any belief system that people may choose to follow, including all known and unknown religions. I don't have the answer and you don't have the answer and nobody else has the answer. I don’t claim to know more than you do, and you could not possibly know more than I do. If a human being wishes to worship a God, a river, a rock or simply worship nothing, then it should be his/her sacred right to do so. There should be no intimidation, coercion or any form of violence, physical or verbal. There are no rights or wrongs here, and any way of being is just another way of being

Several writers on libya-watanona such as A.A. Omar, Haroon and Abu Zar Al-Leebi attempt to use science to support their religious beliefs. But faith, by definition, is a belief that is not based on evidence. While science is knowledge based on measurements, experiments, observations and logical arguments. Scientific predications must undergo testing, and if they don't satisfy the tests they are rejected. In essence, science and religion are mutually exclusive. Therefore, using science in the Quran as evidence to support the validity of religion is simply futile. I do recognize that religions can give people cohesive cultures and give meaning to their lives. This is an important aspect of all religions. But when one makes leaps of logic and uses science to justify the unjustifiable, then he should also be brave enough and principled enough to live with the outcomes, including outcomes that come in direct conflict with his religious beliefs.

Cultures that have managed to place religions in their proper historical context have done much better than some Islamic cultures that insist on living in the 7th century. There is no shame in having inaccurate information in the Quran, Hadeeth or other sources of Islamic heritage. All these sources of Islamic knowledge have a historic context, and may come in conflict with modern information and newly discovered facts. The assertion that the Quran is cast in concrete, and that contradictions and errors are impossible, is simply incorrect, illogical and could not endure any level of scrutiny. The same holds true for the Torah and the Bible. But when we insist that "all" words in the Quran are accurate and valid today and for billions of years from now, then we are simply wrong. Let us put one of the facts in the Quran to this modest examination and reasoning. Read and form your own judgment.

(Luqman 31:34) says: "Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He Who sends down rain, and He Who knows what is in the wombs. Nor does any one know what it is that he will earn on the morrow.."

In this verse the Quran attempts to prove the supremacy of God by assigning him "alone" the power to know the gender or other traits of the unborn baby. 1400 years ago knowledge of gender or other traits of the unborn fetus was a physical impossibility, but is no longer true. At that time it made sense to assign this physical impossibility to God. It was something that no one can prove or disprove. We can presume that if God alone is capable of knowing the hidden secrets of the womb, then his knowledge must be "exclusive", and should remain so forever. If this knowledge is not exclusive, then it is worthless and meaningless. It is obvious from (Luqman 31:34) that the Quran assigned this "exclusive" knowledge of the womb to God in order to illustrate the power of God. There was no other reason to state it. Additionally, it says, right here, in black and white, "No person knows that which is in the wombs" . This is simply inaccurate and is no longer true. So how do we resolve this dilemma!

With the advancement of electronics and genetic engineering it became possible to probe inside the womb through the analysis of amniotic fluid or by electronic means and form an accurate assessment of the fetus inside the womb. In fact, three-dimensional sonogram with real-time movement can produce a remarkably accurate image of the baby inside the womb. This probing inside the womb can reveal the gender of the unborn baby and accurately predict several genetic conditions or chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, Sickle-cell disease, Cystic fibrosis, etc. Several methods are employed in this probing such as Amniocentesis, Ultrasound or Chorionic villus sampling (CVS).

Muslim apologists use the most perplexing logic to defend the indefensible. They explain this obvious contradiction by stating, for instance, that God could know what is inside the womb at an earlier stage than what is humanly possible. But how can any sane person give this explanation! There is nothing in Luqman 31:34 that makes this finer distinction. There is nothing in the entire Quran that makes this finer distinction or any distinction at all. The Quran simply stated what was indeed a physical impossibility at that time, and continued to be that way until about 35 years ago. There are many other contradictions and inaccuracies concerning planets, the sun, the moon and the stars.

Mr. A. A. Omar, in his article titled "The Atheist And His Trivial Mind" recited several traits of a good Muslim such as:

"The good Muslim is one who constantly seeks to gain knowledge. The good Muslim is someone who is kind and courteous. The good Muslim is generous and forgiving. The good Muslim is one who stands against oppression and does not oppress."

I don't disagree with Mr. Omar that some Muslims do possess these traits. I also don't disagree that Islam had contributed to the establishment of cohesive rational system of government. The once vast Islamic empire was a testament to this success. But again, even Mr. Omar falls in the same logical trap where he equates any good that may come out of Islam, with the fact that Islam is the true word of God. It takes leaps of faith and leaps of logic to make this connection.

For those who are hypnotized by the language of the Quran and the beautiful images and metaphors, they should take the time to explore the beauty of the human mind and its infinite powers. They should take the time to explore the mind of Isaac Newton, a man credited with being the most influential scientist in history. Or explore Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the most significant composer of classical music, whose musical ability was noticed as early as the age of three. How about Edwin Hubble, the man that discovered that the red shift of distant galaxies is due to the expansion of the universe, a discovery that is a cornerstone to modern astrophysics. The list goes on and on of men and women who have unlocked the most complex mysteries and wonders of the universe.

There is no shame in practicing anything we wish to practice, and no shame in worshiping anything we wish to worship. If there are mistakes, then let there be mistakes. But we should be brave enough and wise enough to walk with our heads up high. And we should also be brave enough to place all books and all events in their proper historic context.

Ziyad B.

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