What good is faith (in these times)?


From the nineteenth century to the 21st century, a peculiar view of life in which spiritual values are no more than a mind sport and beliefs are categorized as “empty faith” still finds a significant place, especially in academic and literary circles. This trend is secularism, or worldliness. It is a “way of thinking”. It claims to be based on the “evidence-based world view” called positivism, which is a few centuries old, and prides itself on not giving importance to things that cannot be explained by reason, science and logic, and not believing in empty things. This is almost the official view of the elite in our country, especially in the Republican era, and its derivatives.

This basic view of life, which also prevails in the Western world, with the knowledge and power generated by science and technology behind it, eagerly sanctifies scientific observation as if it were the only real human activity, and is very quick to put everything based on faith out of the agenda. But we, the vast majority of the inhabitants of this planet, whether western or eastern, with any transcendental faith, do not have the time (or have not been taught how) to ponder much on basic logic and arguments of thought, We fail to realize how flimsy and unfounded this seemingly “rock-solid” worldview actually is, and most of us, when confronted with a challenge, either retreat into our shells, feeling like losers, or take refuge in the reflexes of radically rejecting and ignoring everything (science, technology, natural philosophy, etc.) that is offered to humanity in the envelope of secularism. However, the issue is actually simpler than we think.

Secularism says that it is not based on “faith” and that it does not accept anything other than what can be demonstrated by reason and science. At first hearing, this seems like a strong and courageous statement, but underneath it there are some terrible breaches.

First of all, the very existence of what we call scientific research is based on the presupposition that the physical interactions in the universe are based on rational rules. In other words, the universe, the world, life and everything else that science studies is a rational and logical way of being that can be understood by reason and is bound by immutable rules. Otherwise, that is, if we are here today as a result of “random material interactions and lucky accidents” as materialist positivism claims, the existence of an intelligible and consistent logic and set of rules in the universe loses its meaning. Because when we think that we can explain what we call thinking and consciousness with purposeless and accidental material interactions, we fail to realize that we are actually denying ourselves. Because this consciousness, this ability to reason and think is something that cannot be explained by random material interactions. This is not just me saying this; this is what is called “the hard problem” in science and philosophy. Anyone who is able to address the issue with a certain amount of seriousness, and not just for the sake of it, is confronted with this fundamental and unanswerable problem in one way or another, and gradually begins to realize how great the unanswerability is pregnant with answers.

Faith is the source of science

Where does science come from? Of course, science is an activity shaped by people who start from the presupposition that everything in the universe is created according to understandable rules, and who believe that the universe was created by a rational Creator. Almost all the great names of the scientific revolution, from Newton to Kepler, Maxwell to Darwin, Ptolemy to Einstein, were minds that set out to investigate “God’s rules of operation in the universe”, or in Islamic terminology, “Sunnatullah”.

They don’t tell us this in schools, but all of these great scientists, the architects of western science, wrote books and articles outside their fields of science to explain their thoughts on faith and the order in the universe. Of course, their predecessors, the Muslim scholars of the Bayt al-Hikma tradition, belonged to the same camp. So, tragically, science, which is the mainstay of today’s secular understanding, is itself an activity based on faith.

Those with a secular worldview secretly like to accuse people with a transcendent faith of “believing without knowing”. Believers can hardly find an answer to this. In fact, it is all a game of irrationality.

Atheism, the natural belief of the secular worldview, i.e. the belief that there is no creator, is itself baseless, blind and contrary to common sense.

If one morning you saw all the stones in the garden of your house lined up in such a way that your name and surname were written on the soil, you would immediately wonder “who did it”. Because not only the arrangement of the stones in a certain order, but also the “meaning” of the letters that emerge from the arrangement requires an intelligent being to have done it. “Design” is one of the easiest things we can know. To claim that such an arrangement is “spontaneous-accidental-chance” is only possible through stupidity or malice. But for example, our genes, written in the four-letter code of life found in the DNA that makes up our genes, have billions of letters and millions of “sentences”, each letter of which must be in its proper place in order to combine the 20 or so amino acids in the proper order and produce our proteins. The tendency to think that such a meaningful and functioning library came into existence “by itself” and by accident is one of the most sophisticated of deceptions. The same is true of the essence of those subtle rules and laws that appear in every line of physics, chemistry, geology and every other science you can think of. In short, belief is much more rational, rational, logical and conscientious than disbelief. Common sense says, “there is a Creator”; you would have to be thoroughly trained by modern secular education to be convinced otherwise.

Books by the leading representatives of modern militant atheism are currently selling out. Thinkers and scientists like Dawkins and Dannett have declared war on religion and faith. Of course, it is the duty of every decent person to wage war against the restrictive constraints of religious traditions (in fact, this duty has been given to believers by the Qur’an itself); but waging war against “faith” stems from ignorance of the fundamental rules of man and the universe, blinded by a positivist perspective. Frans de Waal, a renowned atheist and expert on ape behavior, says in the introduction to his important book The Bonobo and the Atheist that as an atheist he can never understand atheists like Dawkins who have “declared war on faith”. For, as de Waal well knows, faith is a necessary conclusion of the human mind, and if you remove it from human societies, there is nothing, yes nothing, to replace it. You can discuss the misapplications and limitations of faith, you can try to improve and change it, but no human being will be able to eliminate it on a societal level.

Because when you try to abolish faith, you end up replacing it with new religions that are highly man-made and ideologized. Today’s secularism is one such religion.

Castles built on rotten foundations

Dawkins’ The God Delusion is the work of an author who is totally dedicated to fighting religion and the belief in God. The basic argument of the book is simple: To posit God, something more complex than the universe, to explain the existence of the universe is a tautology, and it is not really an explanation, Dawkins says. So God, who must be complex far beyond the complexity of the universe, is an unnecessary addition and we need to get rid of this delusion. Because, for some reason, there is a belief that the explanation has to be simpler than the thing it is trying to explain. The laws of physics are cited as an example, as if they have some explanatory value. John Lennox, another scientist and a defender of the Christian faith, demolishes Dawkins’ argument in a debate with this simple sentence: “The book The God Delusion was written by an author called Dawkins, who is much more complex than the book” (you can watch it on YouTube). Proponents of atheism who dismiss the concept of God as “an unnecessary assumption” and “unexplained” are missing the point about levels of explanation. Again in Lennox’s words, there are two different levels of explanation for the existence of the Ford automobile engine. The first is the “mechanism” explanation in terms of the working principle of the four-stroke engine and other physics-engineering mechanisms; the second is the “agent-agent” explanation in terms of “produced by Henry Ford”. Both are necessary and indeed complementary explanations at different levels. From this perspective, it is pointless to try to pit faith and knowledge, or religion and science, or in other words, God and human knowledge, against each other. Because both are based on beliefs, both explain different areas, and only by evaluating these explanations together can the great question we call “meaning”, which we wish to answer, sometimes at the cost of our lives, be answered to some extent.

Another innocent and seemingly logical question of Dawkins can be summarized as “If God created the universe, the next question should be, what created God?”. If you know a little logic, this question, which is often asked by children as early as elementary school, is not a “question”, it is nonsense, because when you ask “what created” something, there is an implication in the question that the object is “something created”. So the question of who created God is based on the assumption that God is a created thing, and no religion is based on a “created God”. As such, the question is a logical disaster, but even a modern mind like Dawkins, a proponent of intellectual enlightenment, can easily fall into this childish trap. Is it because he is stupid? No; it is mainly because belief is the first and only requirement of all logic, so that it is difficult and pointless to avoid it.

The mind lowered to the eye blinds both the mind and the eye.

Time to stick the needle in ourselves

If the arguments are so flimsy and baseless, why are there still atheists and people who defend the secular worldview? Are their minds as dull as mine? Or are they so dishonest as to defend what they don’t believe? No, it is none of these things. The real reason is what the majority of “believers” in this world believe.

One of the most important problems of today’s religious people, no matter what religion they belong to, is that they silently share a very important tenet of secular belief: If an occurrence, an entity, an event can be explained by science, then there is no need for the concept of God. Using this logic, the secular system and positivist science are eager to invalidate the belief in God as “an irrational attempt to explain things that cannot yet be explained by science”. This concept also has a name: God of the Gaps. The vast majority of believers, just as positivist minds expect of them, are not at all interested in the advances of science and the knowledge it reveals, but like to spend their lives preoccupied with the unknown, with what is beyond the limits of science and reason. Remember how many people who claim to adhere to the Holy Qur’an and Islam, the holy text that emphasizes knowledge and “knowing” the most, did they not think that seeing the Arabic word “Allah” in watermelon seeds or honeycombs, finding a crack in the moon from the miracle of the “Shakk-ı Kamer”, and being preoccupied with the torment of the grave and the afterlife to the extent that they were not interested in any other issue in the world were the hallmarks of their faith? Just recently, didn’t a famous preacher of our televisions spend hours on the screens talking about the completely fabricated and comical news of “a rift found in the moon” as if it were real news and a “miracle”? Didn’t they start to believe in dhikr formulas whose meaning they don’t even know, repeating traditional rituals unquestioningly, often almost blessing ignorance, instead of doing useful things in this world, researching and knowing how to be saved in the hereafter?

The foundations of the Islamic faith are based on the fact that not a single particle in this universe, past, present or future, can move independently of Allah’s knowledge. All creation, all that has been created, all that is being created and all that will be created, is possible only through His creation. He is also the One who has given us the guarantee in His Book that “we will find no change in His Sunnah”. In other words, we are entrusted with the task of understanding the Divine (physical) laws of the universe on the basis that they will not change. What science finds is Sunnahullah. It may sometimes get it wrong, but correcting it is only possible through knowledge and research. The only place the Qur’an directs us to “know” is the “created signs”, that is, this magnificent universe. And it is only those who “know” who truly fear Him, who truly respect Him… All of these last statements you have just read are mentioned in the Qur’an in various forms.

My argument is simple: The moment the Quran meets Muslims who live by its meaning, Dawkins and his ilk will have no valid arguments to make. I am not one of those who see them as enemies or rivals to be defeated. On the contrary, today’s scientific atheists are the best examples of what is missing in our faith. They are the people who, because they do not know the Qur’an and true Islam, have to wage war on the concept of God along with all “churchified” beliefs. Because there are so many annoying worldviews in this world that for a decent person not to reject them with the back of his hand is contrary to his existence and the purpose of his creation. Surely you have witnessed some of these beliefs; if you honestly search your memory, you can see that such beliefs are not so far away.

Anyone who wants to build a “new civilization”, anyone who dreams of it, especially those who feel the responsibility of raising the next generation, should think seriously about these fundamental problems.

Which one is your religion?


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