Some "Godly" and other "not-so-godly" thoughts…

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Some "Godly" and other "not-so-godly" thoughts…
by Iqbal Latif
11-Dec-2011
 

"Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are."

Rumi

I think 'Religion' has been rightly called the opium of masses by Marx. Unquestionably, religious-based prejudices have led to disintegration and division of man over our short conscious history. I hold Providence's selectivity of information responsible for these divisions. It looks to me that God tends to be intentionally fickle in his stories; He told three different stories to His key messengers. I find it baffling that a simple matter of the creation of Eve, if she is from Adam's rib, or created independently could not be explained clearly and unambiguously by the Almighty in the Holy Scriptures. This inconsistent and vacillating behaviour of God troubles me a lot; why does He like to be so confusing when He talks to 'His Prophets?' At least the basic truth of creation could have been explained clearly. We are still being told that Noah's Ark was hanging around Mount Ararat a few thousand years back, or that we are just 6000 years old. That Moses was adopted by Pharaoh's wife (Sura 28:9) is contradicted by Exodus 2:10, where he was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter (otherwise he would also have been adopted by Pharaoh himself).

The Quran states that both the Torah and Gospel are revealed. But in contrast, it also claims that Jesus was not crucified: "They (the Jews) said (in boast), 'We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah', - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them ... " (Sura 4:157).

A very similar misunderstanding we find in the concept of the "Trinity", which according to the Quran is understood to consist of Jesus and Mary besides God, God being one of three (Sura 5:116). This is in no way in keeping with the biblical texts. Christians believe in what the Bible teaches. In both the Old Testament (B.C.) and the New Testament we know of ONE God only. ("Christians Answer Muslims, pp. 92 ff.). It is a tragedy that many Muslims think that Christians worship three gods. This is indeed not the case

Of course sometime you find a message common in three scriptures like Quran tells us, 'Mankind, we have created you male and a female. And we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.' The Talmud tells us, 'The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.' The Bible tells us, 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.'"

Since I was very young, it was difficult to absorb a system of beliefs that was wrought with contradictions. Something in me was reluctant to blindly and unquestioningly follow a school of religious thought which led to more queries than answers. A comparative study of religions only served to confuse me more. On the one hand, you have God, on the other, you have His selective imparting of information to our beloved messengers that are so contradictory. It leads one to think the seemingly blasphemous thought that someone has been making up stories. Such a statement would incite the wrath of the staunch "believers," who would readily call for excommunication. But I ask God why he has designed me in a manner which gives my mind the free flow of thought to wonder, to probe, to seek answers to the unexplained. Unfortunately, when you pose a question on religion, you become very unpopular in common society and run the risk of being labelled a blasphemer. Ironically, most new ideas, discoveries and inventions have emerged from "unpopular beliefs." In my opinion, "popular" will and belief without daring to seek more comprehensive answers leads to stagnation of minds.

My idea of religion is different. I believe if religion fails to turn your inside button of self-examination on, it is not worth it. You know what my religion is? It is as Abraham Lincoln said: When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion. Now writing about it is one thing, making it a part of your daily routine of self-equilibrium is reasonably an overwhelming challenge.

This is the test of religion I subject myself to every day. It is how often I feel bad, which I try my level best not to experience frequently. If the balance of self-examination is not hijacked by hypocrisy, one would feel bad the moment he commits an excess. This is the system one develops to maintain self-correction. Faith and hope are noteworthy elements of our life; they are definitely consistent. When hit with utter hopelessness, the two work wonders and give us elements that help us like a miraculous plank for someone who is drowning. Yet, Faith should not turn us into a bunch of ostriches; it is questioning that enlightens us.

Any Synagogue, Church, Mosque or Temple that falls short of revitalization and development of this key faculty of a dynamic self balance of living becomes a ritual or just an addictive drug. There is regrettably no final truth in this world; what was truth of yesteryears is no longer a certainty. The beauty of continual evolution of mind is that profound truth or a philosophy is exceeded by another rational fact.

The real test we face is adapting the world to our conditions; this is how inventions came about. If you read the scriptures and testaments with a completely neutral mind, they are disjointed, unclear in context of timelines and make no coherent sense; they are not in line with new science. Unfortunately, they have only encouraged the status quo and adapting to conditions that existed since eons. Progress of minds and self depends on challenging conventional wisdom. Those who do that regularly are known as mavericks or unreasonable, but it is the unreasonable provocations into realms of the unknown that has resulted in great breakthroughs of thoughts. God has gifted us with open horizons of minds and hearts that help one to seek enlightenment. The source of our very creation is not clear in the present scriptures, and would lead the "unpopular" to embark on a quest to find answers to events related unambiguously. As the world evolves and grows, new prophets of science and technology are answering questions and solving mysteries that help us overcome the trials and tribulations we are going through.

My experience from life is that one is a product of his surroundings, if you argue with a fool, you end up becoming one. Therefore the best route is to maintain a companionship that inspires you. We need to know that consciousness of self-ignorance is the key to any success. Unfortunately some scriptures take you on the road to self destruction as they implant a streak of self-righteousness and false proportions of intellectual grandiosity and nearness to deity. This race to nearness to 'God' is also a one way ticket to the bottom sadly.

Inspiration is the product of incessant probing of mind. A society that is religious is a society that is not safe - first of all, it is judgmental, and secondly, an unpopular view is damned in such a society. Vision and imagination rarely comes from books and plans; it is something you develop by breaking the norms and searching for facts. One can claim investigation of truth as a preamble, but if investigation of truth leads to a 'truth' that is indigestible, it leads to ostrich-like omission of intellect. A thought that does not encourage examination of multitude of facts where nothing is sacrosanct is not worth its while.

We need to understand that, as we grow in our intelligence and understanding of creation, we will realize that the 'God' is within us. It is our own behaviour towards others that determines the virtues and goodness that we expect to spread from us. Fear of "judgment" instilled in us does make us God fearing, yet no amount of prostrating and praying makes us a better human being. It is our goodness inherent within us, our intellectual understanding of love and harmony and global humanity that helps understand the difference between good and evil which makes us such a unique creation.

In future, as our understanding of simple issues grows, and we don't complicate life with complexities of God, the present contradictions and dichotomies of scriptures that we happily overlook will not be so flippantly treated. It is not a question of one jacket fits all. That is not possible. The philosophical dissent is between the self-righteous "godly" radicals who dare not question God and the "ungodly" who want an intelligent God who created man "in his image" and bestowed him with the gift of free will and thought to pursue knowledge. We are becoming secular not because we are becoming worldly but it is only because scriptures fail to answer questions that confront us in our daily life.

A sign of a vibrant society is one where iconoclasts need to be respected or, in other words, one feels safe and respected when ostracized. These conditions unfortunately do not exist in the kind of scriptures I read, therefore I benefit from the profound truths of open-minded investigation and keep questioning the sacrosanct nature of our beliefs; it gives me immense satisfaction and also the hope that perhaps we will find the holy grail of perpetual peaceful existence.

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Rea

Marx was right about religion

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I'd only add: the prophets themselves must've used some powerful cocktails, lol.


Iqbal Latif

Incoherence of the Incoherent!!

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Incoherence of the Holy Scriptures in events and personalities is at sharp contrast to rejection of ideas with reason and logic. Sciences progress with the death of an idea and a funeral takes off a new.

I will enigmatically point out to a strange dichotomy that I have written about a lot, i.e. the Prophets. The next prophet never discarded the principles of the old rather rehashed them and redefined the geography and incidences with his own juxtaposition.

What consumes my mind is the void and slow pace of human history and phase of discovery from 500 BC to 1600/1800 AD and the huge exponential growth from 1600 to 2011. I am obsessed with discoveries that led to the causes and origins of that massive exponential increase in rate of growth of our knowledge spectrum. If you want to discover those nations who failed, and those who progressed, just see the names from where the prophets of knowledge appeared in between ‘1600-2000.’ In between 1000-2000 AD, "Medieval theologians" have been singlehandedly responsible for the arrest of growth of knowledge in some geographical regions of the world.

Ideas should be rewarded, not persecuted. The idea-man should be loved, not condemned. When Galileo was condemned and arrested, the emphasis of science moved from Italy to Northern Europe. When in 1200 AD Ghazali arrested free will over philosophical dialogue of Averroes and introduced the concept of predestination as the favourite strain of Allah’s ideology, Middle East descended into a chaos which it has not recovered so far. History takes time but grinds very fine and destroys those who deny the flow of knowledge. 

The holy scriptures in succession tend to wean authority from the previous and tend to support the incoherence of the myths, though supportive of fables, but defining them for their own geography. The stories of Torah, Bible and Quran are not supportive of each other rather contradict each other, Newton negation of Aristotle made Aristotle even the greatest of beings.

http://iranian.com/main/blog/iqbal-latif/power-knowledge-buck-stops-here 


Iqbal Latif

There is no final word in our world!!

by Iqbal Latif on

 Newton proved Aristotle wrong but the greatness of Aristotle stays in the mind of man and is part of cultural folklore.



IranFirst

Wrong Science in Barbaric Arab Islam

by IranFirst on

 Just few examples (there are many)

A Qur’anic Understanding of the Universe

In the Qur'an, the entire universe is very small and contains
simply the earth and its surrounding heavens. There are no galaxies,
other solar systems, or such a thing as “outer space.” The earth is the
top-most of seven, flat discs, surrounded by the seven solid concentric
domes of the heavens. The celestial objects that do exist (sun, moon,
stars and planets) are quite small, very close, and they follow
semi-circular paths within the innermost of the seven heavenly domes.
When they are not in the sky above the earth, they are resting somewhere
underneath it, except while petitioning Allah’s permission to return
the following day (or night). Paradise exists between the seven heavens,
and hell exists between the seven earths. All of this is submerged in a
cosmic sea, above which is the throne of Allah.

The Flat Earth

As should be apparent by now, the Islamic faith stifles scientific
progress and nothing demonstrates this as well as the modern-day belief
that the Earth is flat. As recently as 1993 the supreme religious
authority of Saudi Arabia Sheik Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baaz declared "The earth is flat. Whoever claims it is round is an atheist deserving of punishment."and in a televised debate aired on Iraqi Al-Fayhaa TV (October 31, 2007), Muslim Researcher on Astronomy Fadhel Al-Sa'd
also declared that the Earth is flat as evidenced by Qur'anic verses
and that the sun is much smaller than the Earth and revolves around it. 
As devout Muslims, they have good reason to conclude the Earth is flat;
the Qur'anic verses 15:19, 20:53, 43:10, 50:7, 51:48, 71:19, 78:6,
79:30, 88:20 and 91:6 all clearly state this. While many apologists have
attempted to explain away this 'oddity' to fellow Muslims and
Westerners, they prey on their listeners ignorance of the Arabic
language. As such, their apologetic claims have been easily refuted by
native Arabic speakers. There is no escaping the fact that, according to
the Qur'an, the earth is flat as a pancake.

The Motionless Center - Planet Earth

This article examines the evidence for Qur'anic geocentric cosmology.
Some may confuse geocentricism with the the idea that the Earth is
flat. This is not the case. These are two different ideas. Geocentrism
simply is the notion that the earth is the (immovable) center of our
universe, thus all celestial bodies mover around it. According to the
Qur'an, the Sun (and the moon and the five known planets) follow a
curved (rounded) course (a Falak). This falak starts in the east (where
the sun goes up), goes high above the earth and ends after sunset with
the Sun resting at night at a hidden place. All this took place around
an earth that was spread out and had a firmament built on invisible
pillars above it. This was a common belief at the time. Sahih
(authentic) hadiths affirm this geocentric cosmology (so Muhammad or at
least the people around him agree with it), and great ancient, and even
modern-day, Muslim astronomists agree that the Qur'an is geocentric. In
ancient times, many people - but certainly not all - did not know any
better than what they seemed to observe everyday: the sun appeared to be
going around the earth through our skies. We cannot blame a 7th
century Bedouin for not knowing this, but should not the omnipresent,
omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe know better?

Sun Sets in a Muddy Spring

The precise meaning of the opening phrases in verses 86 and 90 in the 18th
chapter of the Qur’an, Surah al-Kahf, or “The Cave”, is a matter of
considerable controversy. These verses occur within an account
concerning a powerful figure called Dhu’l Qarnayn, “the two-horned one”,
who Allah guides on a series of three fantastic journeys in Qur’an
18:83-101. They are controversial due to Muslim sensitivity to claims
that they have Allah saying that the sun sets and rises in physical
locations on or at the edges of Earth.

Our analysis shows that the various interpretations that have
been proposed for verses 18:86 and 18:90 in the Qur’an to reconcile them
with scientific facts do not stand up to detailed scrutiny. The
evidence overwhelmingly supports the clear and obvious interpretation
that this is intended to be understood as a historical account in which
Dhu’l Qarnayn traveled until he reached the place where the sun sets and
actually found that it went down into a muddy spring near to where a
people were, and that he then traveled until he reached the place where
the sun rises and actually found that it rose up above a people who
lived close to the place where the sun rises.

Ramadan and the North and South Poles

 According to Islamic
rules, the length of a fast is governed by the rising and the setting of
the sun. This can cause a huge problem for those who live close to
these poles. The closer we get to the poles, the longer our days or
nights become. They can eventually extend for up to several months each,
making the fourth Pillar of Islam impossible to practice without
starving yourself to death. Obviously Muhammad was unaware of the poles.

Islamic scriptures and scholars have much to say in regards to the cosmology of the universe.

It
is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah
(may peace be upon him) one day said: Do you know where the sun goes?
They replied: Allah and His Apostle know best. He (the Holy Prophet)
observed: Verily it (the sun) glides till it reaches its resting place
under the Throne. Then it falls prostrate and remains there until it is
asked: Rise up and go to the place whence you came, and it goes back and
continues emerging out from its rising place and then glides till it
reaches its place of rest under the Throne and falls prostrate and
remains in that state until it is asked: Rise up and return to the place
whence you came, and it returns and emerges out from it rising place
and the it glides (in such a normal way) that the people do not discern
anything ( unusual in it) till it reaches its resting place under the
Throne. Then it would be said to it: Rise up and emerge out from the
place of your setting, and it will rise from the place of its setting.
The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said. Do you know when it
would happen? It would happen at the time when faith will not benefit
one who has not previously believed or has derived no good from the
faith. Sahih Muslim 1:297

 


Iqbal Latif

Science backs god with numbers?

by Iqbal Latif on

 

@Science backs god with numbers.

In ''Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe.'' Rees 


Our whole Universe is governed by just six numbers, set at the time of the Big Bang. Alter any one of them at your peril, for stars, planets and humans would then not exist.
These six numbers constitute a 'recipe' for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be 'untuned', there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator? I take the view that it is neither. An infinity of other universes may well exist where the numbers are different. Most would be stillborn or sterile.

In ''Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe,'' Rees states that he does not interpret the fine tuning of universal constants to an intelligent designer but rather supports the notion of a "multiuniverse". Just Six Numbers is a well-written introduction into the forces that shape our existence. The book focuses on 6 fundamental constants in the universe and how key the values of these numbers are towards the universe and life ever coming into being.

Our religious convictions are the product of our birth. Born to a Hindu family we would probably be a Hindu or in a Muslim family mostly a Muslim. In science, one is not born in a region to adhere to a certain definite belief set. There is no region of the world where you can see mindless predominant following of Aristotle, Newton, or Einstein. Yet, those regions where science helped to develop tools of progress are regions where theories of sciences and philosophy are well treasured. Where Newton is respected, logic and rationalism has survived and progressed by leaps and bounds, toleration in those regions is admirably better. Regions, where pre-dominant thinking and learning of scriptures is considered as divine progress, stand still, and with poverty of mind that dominates the landscape material hazards make the life of inhabitants miserable.

''I searched for God among the Christians and on the Cross and therein I found Him not.


I went into the ancient temples of idolatry; no trace of Him was there.


I entered the mountain cave of Hira and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not.


With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Caucasus and found there only 'anqa's habitation.


Then I directed my search to the Kaaba, the resort of old and young; God was not there even.


Turning to philosophy I inquired about him from ibn Sina but found Him not within his range.


I fared then to the scene of the Prophet's experience of a great divine manifestation only a "two bow-lengths' distance from him" but God was not there even in that exalted court.


Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else."


Rumi

 Renaissance can only be possible if minds are free; renaissance is about freedom of expression in literature, architecture, arts, deconstruction of myths and chiselling of the marble to exquisite forms. Michelangelo was icon of such freedom.

Sistine Chapel 'Creation' or 'David ' could only be created through the 'freedom of mind' ; an enslaved mind cannot be an artist or a creator. Enslaved man can be a revolutionary and many a enslave people have helped changed the world but their minds were free they accepted death instead of compromise with totalitarian or dogmatic despotism of clergy.

Michelangelo was icon of such freedom. Sistine Chapel 'Creation' or 'David ' could only be created through the 'freedom of mind' ; an enslaved mind cannot be an artist or a creator. Enslaved man can be a revolutionary and many a enslave people have helped changed the world but their minds were free they accepted death instead of compromise with totalitarian or dogmatic despotism of clergy.

 

 

 


A as Abbas

Paraphrased statement of Karl Marx

by A as Abbas on

{"Religion is the opium of the people" is one of the most frequently paraphrased statements of Karl Marx.  It was translated from the German original, "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" and is often referred to as "religion is the opiate of the masses."}

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_people