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Light: Believers and Non-Believers

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2012 by Star-Light

This post is not about taking sides (which should be familiar to you by now); instead, it aims to show you some discursive tangents that might expand your own ideas on the topic.

How might one prove the objective existence of something? And how might one then negate that proof? In the past, superstition and science were interchangeable. Opinions passed as facts and vice versa. In the Greco-Roman Empire, the birthplace of Western Philosophy, thinkers struggled to represent reality through language. One line of thought, made popular by Plato, was that the tangible world (the things we see, touch, hear, taste, and smell) is merely a faulty copy of an ideal world—one that exists outside of the realm of the real world. His own student, Aristotle, argued that in fact our method of deduction should be the other way around: in order to prove if something exists or not one should first rely on his empirical faculties to prove if it exists or not. And since we cannot prove that an Ideal world exists beyond this Real world, the Ideal world doesn’t exist.

Note: In the past, religious scholars used to use “wind” as an example. They said, you cannot see the wind, but you can see its effect on the leaves as it rushes by. This is their “proof” of God’s work on earth. Technically, you can “feel” the wind, even if you cannot see it with your naked eye, which constitutes another empirical fact for its existence. Then of course science created tools to help break down air into molecules and atoms. Another example is, “If a tree falls in the forest, and you neither see it nor hear it, does it really fall?” Today there are satellites in outer space monitoring the planet. This is still all highly empirical, and thus, cannot connote the existence or the hidden work of the Ideal.

This battle continued over the ages, wreathing and intertwining with other ideologies and ways of life. For instance, the Christian scholars of the Dark Ages admonished science due to its resemblance of and proximity to witchcraft. But the Arab/Islamic scholars of the same period figured out an equation to maintain their religious faith and cultivate science’s new discoveries. Simply put, they advocated science in every field and scope. But they maintained that Islam, while grounded on the historical tangibility of the life and teachings of Prophet Mohammad, is also founded upon “faith.” The five elements in which faith is necessary are: the belief in God, his angles, his holy scriptures (The Torah, the Bible, and the Koran), his prophets, and in judgment day. None of the aforementioned elements warranted scientific proof for them. Being a Muslim meant that you had to “believe” in their verity (and of course to perform the rest of the religious teachings). All else was open for questions and doubts, such as: did the earth move around the sun, or what is the other way around? Are we meant to cure the sick, or is that God’s punishment for them? Should we control the weather? And so on.

European Enlightenment intended to break away further from the clutches of religion. They wanted science to be the determiner of all things. They thought that the mere belief in God’s teachings meant that we were reducing our knowledge. In some ways they have succeeded. Today we do ask whether God created Adam and Eve as humans, or whether they evolved over time. In other ways they haven’t. For instance, religious thoughts are still quite dominant in many areas of the world, including the West’s main superpower: America.

Today’s raging debates include many offshoots of Platonic or Aristotelian views (Materialism VS Spiritualism). Should one live life according to one’s own senses in relation to the material and tangible quality of the world? Or should we acknowledge the shortcomings of science and rely on a higher power, an ideal, unprovable creator and controller of all things “real.”

Science can almost explain what happened when the world began (The Big Bang Theory). But they cannot explain how that itself began. What created the nothingness from which the bang emerged? And how was it that these elements merged and collided and became planets and stars and gravity and life? How they follow specific rules and mathematical projections? How is it that, while this world is well-structured, it also suffers great bouts of pure chance and coincidences? What happens to us after death? What were we before death? What is a soul? How can we make one, if that is even possible?

Atheists tell believers “God doesn’t exist.” But in all honestly, they cannot “prove” that, just as much as believers cannot “prove” His existence either. Atheists say “There’s nothing after death, it’s just darkness,” but they cannot prove that, just as much as believers cannot prove their narratives of life after death.  Believers can tell you what God had said about life after death, and since they never question the verity of God’s scriptures, they take that as a point of beginning (kind of like Plato: they start with what they believe to be true, then use their material senses to prove it in real life). Atheists are also certain because they realize that they will never be able to prove something exists in the Real world if, technically, it exists outside of the real world.

There are some who separate God the creator, from God the controller. They think that, while it may be possible that something powerful created this world, it is not possible, considering all the bloodshed and evil, that there is a divine power overlooking and controlling the world. But the question is: can they prove that distinction? No. Others believe in a multiplicity of Gods, but they cannot prove any of their existences.  They are countered by those who say, “If there was more than one God then the world would be in chaos because a ship cannot have more than one captain.” Technically, the world is and always has been in chaos. And second, that is not a “proof” that only one God and not more than one exists.

So believe that God exists if you are a believer. And believe that God doesn’t exist if you are an atheist. Because neither of you has yet produced tangible proof for your own views.

Light’s out.

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One Response to “Light: Believers and Non-Believers”

  1. I’m high and internet browsing/stalking until I came upon this site of yours, thank you. This article was quite stimulating. Love to see other people who can discuss religion in Kuwait while still be able to sit on the fence and not take sides ❤

    Oh and keep up with the good writing, going to be following this.

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