Hi there again,
I’m enjoying this conversation by the way. I think through civilised discourse you can get to understand and appreciate different perspectives.
“O mankind, indeed We have… made you into peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of ALLAH is the most righteous of you. Indeed, ALLAH is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Qur’an 49:13)
1. The Mission: A Very Important Choice
I fully agree with you that “one must first establish the validity of the text as a source of knowledge.” (See point 6, below.) Firstly, what I like about Islam is that our mission is to spread the word about Islam but not to compel anyone to it.
“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the deen (way of life, religion). The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut (corruption, evil) and believes in ALLAH has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And ALLAH is Hearing and Knowing.” (Qur’an 2:256)
“So if they argue with you [O Muhammad] , say, “I have submitted myself to ALLAH [in Islam], and [so have] those who follow me.”… “Have you submitted yourselves?”… but if they turn away – *then upon you is only the [duty of] notification*. And ALLAH is Seeing of [His] servants.” (Qur’an 3:20)
This is because the rapport each one of us has (or the lack thereof) with The Creator is something between us (individually) and Him, at the end of the day (i.e. the Last Day – i.e. the Day of Judgement).
In which case, consider the adage: ‘Don’t shoot the Messenger.’
There was a series of conversations on the ‘Why Evolution is True‘ site, on the post about ‘Gary Wills whitewashes the Qur’an‘. The thread I’m referring to is:
“The gist of the Quran is that God will torture for eternity those who reject him or his prophet, or oppose his plans. The same idea appears in the story of Moses. Both, the threat of eternal punishment and the story of Moses are repeated endlessly. I don’t know what’s wrong with people that don’t find the idea of eternal punishment repellent.”
John Lynn Harvey said:
“I believe the Sunni’s are the strictest on the damnation of all non-Muslims. Shia Islam and Sufi Islam are much looser on this.
Roughly one-third of the Koran is concerned with the Last Judgement, which is a much higher percentage than the New or Old Testament.”
MWM (That’s me) said:
“If there were a God who promises those that do good, eternal good and those that do bad, eternal bad that’s His perogative. He’s God. He sets His rules. He’s sent prophets time and again to warn us of a Judgement Day and to guide us to His revealed way. “… And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).” (Qur’an 17:15). Why would He do that unless He cared?
Moreover he’s given us our minds and our will to make up our own minds, which is a bonus; they are aids to help us to that end. “[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving” (Qur’an 67:2). The danger is we anthropormorphise God, which results in us thinking He’s a tyrant. But tyrants are men acting/pretending /thinking they’re like God. They’re not. “And none is comparable to Him.” (Qur’an 112:4) Only God has the right to act the way He does; that’s the definition of being God. And yet His guidance is good for us. “And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that ye may receive mercy.” (Qur’an, 6/155) and “The Qur’an as a guide to mankind also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong)…” (Qur’an, 2/185).
An Excellent article by Justin Parrott:
In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful
Knowledge of God’s existence is often taken for granted by believers. The authentic religious experience—affirmed again and again in a Muslim’s daily life—makes faith in God feel so natural as to be assumed. But belief in God and the quest for existential truth is not an easy prospect for many people, especially in a social environment in which faith is derided as superstition, wishful thinking, or even as a dangerous fantasy.
In the Islamic tradition, the case for God’s existence is solid in terms of its rational foundations as well as the purpose, meaning, comfort, and guidance that it gives to our lives. The Quran inspires conviction by appealing to the aspects of the inner life of human beings, namely, to the heart and the mind. Intuition and experience work in tandem with logic and reason to arrive at a state of certainty in faith.
The atheists talk (in this video) about the need for evidence(s) for God, which is a good and reasonable point. And because of a supposition that, “there is none”, they conclude: there is no God.
(See God Focussed or Self Focussed to see how Evidences for (or against) God can be (or can’t be) gleaned based on our perspectives. How can we be conclusive about the answer to this question? (See a later post, pending.) But the point that must be acknowledged is that there are evidences being proposed; not that there are no evidences for God.
ALLAH, Most Exalted, says:
“And on the earth are signs for the certain [in faith]
And in yourselves. Then will you not see?
And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised.
Then by the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed, it is truth – just as [sure as] it is that you are speaking.” (Qur’an, Adh-Dhariyat 51: 20-23)
On Paul Willilams’ site, Blogging Theology, there was a conversation in the comments section of one post about the veracity of the (early) hadith tradition (which was very interesting) begun by a chap named Graham:
Allah, subhana wa ta’ala’s name
What follows is a continuation of a conversation discussing God, continued from the last post…
“And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason.” Qur’an (16:12)
When the God-focussed people observe phenomena, God’s integral role as its Master/Controller (in recognition of His mighty handiwork) is evidential-clear even via our man-made (finite) parameters of Science – to be confirmed (in either case) by revelation (which are His words about Himself to us).
When the Self-focussed people observe phenomena (impressed by the ‘might’ of their personal conjectures – and some possible angst), God’s apparent absence is presumed, assumed and “deduced” by implication – to be confirmed by what our man-made (finite) parameters of Science can ever possibly reveal about The Infinite via such interpretation.
*** Continue reading