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Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr on Science and Civilization in Islam
Posted: 07 June 2008 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 06 June 2008 08:14 PM

If this answer is not sufficient, please tell me exactly what sort of reasoning you expect that would indicate ‘intelligence’ as opposed to faith.

I expect the kind of intellectual rigour that most of us on this forum aspire to, even if we don’t always achieve it. Certainly not this kind of befogged stumbling around:

In short, Muslims don’t have the ‘clout’ you speak of because at this point in history they don’t deserve it - that is, most Muslims do not act as Muslims ought to act according to Islamic tradition.  And while the majority of people are not Muslim, most people I would think, nonetheless believe in God, which is, a sufficient place to begin.  Why most people don’t actually become Muslim is usually their own fault.  They usually haven’t made a serious and sincere effort.  Here in the West, people are too often distracted by bread and circus games, along with a lot of anti-religion propoganda to contemplate Reality.  But those who are blessed enough, that is those who make the effort, are drawn near to their Lord.  “Seek and ye shall find.”  And God knows best.

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Posted: 07 June 2008 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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mesomorph - 07 June 2008 04:22 PM
Jack Shooter - 06 June 2008 08:14 PM

If this answer is not sufficient, please tell me exactly what sort of reasoning you expect that would indicate ‘intelligence’ as opposed to faith.

I expect the kind of intellectual rigour that most of us on this forum aspire to, even if we don’t always achieve it. Certainly not this kind of befogged stumbling around:

In short, Muslims don’t have the ‘clout’ you speak of because at this point in history they don’t deserve it - that is, most Muslims do not act as Muslims ought to act according to Islamic tradition.  And while the majority of people are not Muslim, most people I would think, nonetheless believe in God, which is, a sufficient place to begin.  Why most people don’t actually become Muslim is usually their own fault.  They usually haven’t made a serious and sincere effort.  Here in the West, people are too often distracted by bread and circus games, along with a lot of anti-religion propoganda to contemplate Reality.  But those who are blessed enough, that is those who make the effort, are drawn near to their Lord.  “Seek and ye shall find.”  And God knows best.

What is so ‘befogged stumbling around’ about this?  Please elaborate.  Thanks.

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Posted: 07 June 2008 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 01:41 AM

I believe because it makes sense to given the reasons I’ve outlined in earlier posts.  You’ll have to dig them up if you care to know what those are.

Reasoning requires knowledge and demonstrable fact. It is not possible to reason over arbitrary postulates with no support in fact. Reasoning without knowledge is what we all know as bullshit. wink Lots of words with no content.

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Posted: 07 June 2008 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 04:42 PM

Please elaborate.

Sure.

Muslims don’t have the ‘clout’ you speak of because at this point in history they don’t deserve it

The non-Muslim world’s predominance is solely due to the rise of rational enquiry and freedom from magical thinking in the west and elsewhere. Everyone deserves to live in a world free from superstition, prejudice and unsupportable belief. People don’t deserve to be subjected to ideological incarceration - that’s cruel.

- that is, most Muslims do not act as Muslims ought to act according to Islamic tradition.

You are talking to yourself.

And while the majority of people are not Muslim, most people I would think, nonetheless believe in God, which is, a sufficient place to begin.

And end. Going from one unsupported belief system to another is not progress.

Why most people don’t actually become Muslim is usually their own fault. They usually haven’t made a serious and sincere effort.

That’s comical. The belief system of people who don’t deserve to live in the modern world is one we ought to make a serious and sincere effort to adopt?

Here in the West, people are too often distracted by bread and circus games, along with a lot of anti-religion propoganda

Western entertainment is largely about distraction, that’s true; that’s what entertainment is for. However, there is far less anti-religious propaganda than religious, especially in the USA, that’s why most people are still religious there.

to contemplate Reality.

Contemplation of reality is incompatible with the cultivation of ridiculous beliefs; the two things are mutually self-cancelling.

But those who are blessed enough, that is those who make the effort, are drawn near to their Lord. “Seek and ye shall find.”

You are talking to yourself again.

And God knows best.

How do you know?

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Posted: 07 June 2008 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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mesomorph - 07 June 2008 06:07 PM
Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 04:42 PM

Please elaborate.

Sure.

Muslims don’t have the ‘clout’ you speak of because at this point in history they don’t deserve it

The non-Muslim world’s predominance is solely due to the rise of rational enquiry and freedom from magical thinking in the west and elsewhere. Everyone deserves to live in a world free from superstition, prejudice and unsupportable belief. People don’t deserve to be subjected to ideological incarceration - that’s cruel.

- that is, most Muslims do not act as Muslims ought to act according to Islamic tradition.

You are talking to yourself.

And while the majority of people are not Muslim, most people I would think, nonetheless believe in God, which is, a sufficient place to begin.

And end. Going from one unsupported belief system to another is not progress.

Why most people don’t actually become Muslim is usually their own fault. They usually haven’t made a serious and sincere effort.

That’s comical. The belief system of people who don’t deserve to live in the modern world is one we ought to make a serious and sincere effort to adopt?

Here in the West, people are too often distracted by bread and circus games, along with a lot of anti-religion propoganda

Western entertainment is largely about distraction, that’s true; that’s what entertainment is for. However, there is far less anti-religious propaganda than religious, especially in the USA, that’s why most people are still religious there.

to contemplate Reality.

Contemplation of reality is incompatible with the cultivation of ridiculous beliefs; the two things are mutually self-cancelling.

But those who are blessed enough, that is those who make the effort, are drawn near to their Lord. “Seek and ye shall find.”

You are talking to yourself again.

And God knows best.

How do you know?

It is noteworthy that on one hand, you attribute the rise of the West with freedom from religion and on the other hand you say that there is a lot of religious propoganda in the West and that’s why most people are still religious.  Which one is it?  Either religion stifles progress or it doesn’t.  Which one is it?

I suspect you may try and argue that the ones that are actually responsible for the ‘progress’ in, and subsequent predominance of, the West are non-religious (i.e. the scientists).  Well that is not true.  Not today, nor yesterday.  There have always been believing scientists.  Please refer to the list of scholars on the right side of the following webpage and after examining it, let me know how many of those scholars were hindered by religion: http://www.muslimheritage.com/day_life/default.cfm

Furthermore, ‘progress’ however you define it, does not always determine ‘predominance’.  Consider many European countries and Japan where certain forms of progress is arguably greater then in the US, yet the US maintains its predominance.  Anyway, the longest known empire in the history of humanity was Islamic, and if you think it collapsed due to its ties to religion, you are sadly mistaken.

Certainly, a more reliable view is that religion is a tool that when used inappropriately, say as an ideology, stifles progress, much like anything else.

Anyway, I asked you to elaborate on what type of response you would find acceptable, and you have not said anything substantial in your response.  Besides, it seems like you do not want an answer, or will only accept the answer that fits your preconcieved view.  Sorry, I refuse to play that game.

[ Edited: 07 June 2008 03:02 PM by Jack Shooter]
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Posted: 07 June 2008 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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mesomorph - 07 June 2008 06:07 PM

The non-Muslim world’s predominance is solely due to the rise of rational enquiry and freedom from magical thinking in the west and elsewhere. Everyone deserves to live in a world free from superstition, prejudice and unsupportable belief. People don’t deserve to be subjected to ideological incarceration - that’s cruel.

Ideological incarceration….Yes, something like that. We can see in Jack’s writing how very much he needs to believe in belief itself. A lack of belief must be frightening rather than liberating to those whose consciousness appears to be lost in space….the nowhere man….spinning circles .....trapped in an infinite loop….rationalizing nonsense.

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Posted: 07 June 2008 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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eucaryote - 07 June 2008 06:55 PM
mesomorph - 07 June 2008 06:07 PM

The non-Muslim world’s predominance is solely due to the rise of rational enquiry and freedom from magical thinking in the west and elsewhere. Everyone deserves to live in a world free from superstition, prejudice and unsupportable belief. People don’t deserve to be subjected to ideological incarceration - that’s cruel.

Ideological incarceration….Yes, something like that. We can see in Jack’s writing how very much he needs to believe in belief itself. A lack of belief must be frightening rather than liberating to those whose consciousness appears to be lost in space….the nowhere man….spinning circles .....trapped in an infinite loop….rationalizing nonsense.

Or so you think.

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Posted: 07 June 2008 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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eucaryote - 07 June 2008 05:25 PM
Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 01:41 AM

I believe because it makes sense to given the reasons I’ve outlined in earlier posts.  You’ll have to dig them up if you care to know what those are.

Reasoning requires knowledge and demonstrable fact. It is not possible to reason over arbitrary postulates with no support in fact. Reasoning without knowledge is what we all know as bullshit. wink Lots of words with no content.

World is extremely complex = Knowledge we can both agree on
Reason why world is complex = Beliefs we disagree about

Belief #1 about why world is complex = Random, no purpose
Belief #2 about why world is complex = Intentional, purposeful

Evidence for belief #1 = None, at best, personal experience
Evidence for belief #2 = Scripture, prophets, history of religion, personal experience

Evidence to believe the world is a random accident is less compelling then the evidence to believe the world has a purpose.  What is your reasoning as to why you believe the world is a random accident?

Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion, and He is Able to do all things.

Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving;

Who has created the seven heavens one above another, you can see no fault in the creations of the Most Beneficent. Then look again: “Can you see any rifts?”

Then look again and yet again, your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation and worn out.

The Qur’an, Chapter entitled The Dominion

[ Edited: 07 June 2008 03:21 PM by Jack Shooter]
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Posted: 07 June 2008 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 07:17 PM

World is extremely complex = Knowledge we can both agree on
Reason why world is complex = Beliefs we disagree about

Belief #1 about why world is complex = Random, no purpose
Belief #2 about why world is complex = Intentional, purposeful

Evidence for belief #1 = None, at best, personal experience
Evidence for belief #2 = Scripture, prophets, history of religion, personal experience

Evidence to believe the world is a random accident is less compelling then the evidence to believe the world has a purpose.  What is your reasoning as to why you believe the world is a random accident?

Jack, these are all just false dichotomies. Regardless of it’s relative likely-hood of occurrance, the world, as you put it, is a natural phenomenon.
Niether your arbitrary postulates nor those of others constitute evidence of what you call intention.

Because your biology supports what you call a mind with purpose, (the intentional stance) you project that purpose onto completely mindless events, like the “world”.

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Posted: 07 June 2008 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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eucaryote - 07 June 2008 08:35 PM
Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 07:17 PM

World is extremely complex = Knowledge we can both agree on
Reason why world is complex = Beliefs we disagree about

Belief #1 about why world is complex = Random, no purpose
Belief #2 about why world is complex = Intentional, purposeful

Evidence for belief #1 = None, at best, personal experience
Evidence for belief #2 = Scripture, prophets, history of religion, personal experience

Evidence to believe the world is a random accident is less compelling then the evidence to believe the world has a purpose.  What is your reasoning as to why you believe the world is a random accident?

Jack, these are all just false dichotomies. Regardless of it’s relative likely-hood of occurrance, the world, as you put it, is a natural phenomenon.
Niether your arbitrary postulates nor those of others constitute evidence of what you call intention.

Because your biology supports what you call a mind with purpose, (the intentional stance) you project that purpose onto completely mindless events, like the “world”.

What complete and utter nonsense.  And you feel comfortable with this kind of escape from the crux of the matter?  You believe the world is a ‘natural’ or random phenomenon, without any reasons.  I believe the world is a purposeful phenomenon based on the reasons I outlined.  Again, where is the logic behind your belief that the world is completely random without purpose?

And this time please try and be conscise in your explanation, as I have trouble understanding sophistry.

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Posted: 07 June 2008 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 09:49 PM

You believe the world is a ‘natural’ or random phenomenon, without any reasons.  I believe the world is a purposeful phenomenon based on the reasons I outlined.  Again, where is the logic behind your belief that the world is completely random without purpose?

Jack, I don’t indulge in belief at all. There’s no point in postulating things I cannot know. To do so only takes my experience away from here and now. I experience the world as a natural phenomenon. This natural phenomenon is apparent despite it’s appearance to us as unlikely. Natural is not equivalent to random.

If the world is the purpose of some entity, then what entity intends that entity? And so on…..

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Posted: 08 June 2008 04:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 06:49 PM

it seems like you do not want an answer, or will only accept the answer that fits your preconcieved view.

Not much point in making that accusation, Jack, since that is precisely what you are doing! I concede your point about religiosity in the USA, but that doesn’t really help your case, as the USA is not a Muslim country and doesn’t look like becoming one any time soon.

As for your apologetics: like other Muslim moderates, you are trying to lead the discussion towards a position from which Islam can appear benign. If Islam were benign, that exercise would not, of course, be necessary. The reason Hamza Yusuf, Sayyed Hossein Nasr and others do a reasonably good job of painting Islam in a good light is they don’t keep shooting themselves in the foot by quoting from the Qur’an.

Islam is not and never has been a benign force per se, although during its history the peoples that it has conquered have exerted a temporary benign effect on it. The flowering of Islamic culture from around the 9th to the 14th century CE took place largely because of the absorption into the Muslim community of Persia and Syria, ancient cultures that brought creativity and knowledge to an empire established by largely ignorant Arabs. The military power of the Arabs was soon exhausted in political infighting, and ideological repression eventually killed off the creativity and inquiring spirit of those early centuries.

Just as the west is now in the ascendant for as long as it is not dominated by Christian theology, Islam became great for a time because its core teachings were either not applied at all, or applied very selectively. For example Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, an 11th century Muslim jurist who had learned the Qur’an by heart at an early age, quoted from it during his talks. He only ever quoted the same half-dozen or so verses, whereas his talks fill several books. Why, if he could have quoted the whole Qur’an from start to finish? Presumably because he found only half a dozen of its verses useable.

What virtue there is in the history of Islam is there despite, not because of, the Qur’an. Its core teachings are by today’s standards largely ignorant, incomprehensible, or cruel. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and it really is not worth the effort of trying.

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Posted: 08 June 2008 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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eucaryote - 08 June 2008 12:22 AM
Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 09:49 PM

You believe the world is a ‘natural’ or random phenomenon, without any reasons.  I believe the world is a purposeful phenomenon based on the reasons I outlined.  Again, where is the logic behind your belief that the world is completely random without purpose?

Jack, I don’t indulge in belief at all. There’s no point in postulating things I cannot know. To do so only takes my experience away from here and now.

But you claim to be an athiest.  An athiest believes that there is no God.  In other words, an athiest postulates what cannot be known.  Are you perhaps an agnostic?

I experience the world as a natural phenomenon. This natural phenomenon is apparent despite it’s appearance to us as unlikely. Natural is not equivalent to random.

What is the natural equivalent to if not random?  What is your definition of natural, what does natural mean?  Please indulge me.

If the world is the purpose of some entity, then what entity intends that entity? And so on…..

No one created God.  That is why He is God.  Atheists call this a major cop-out.  But it’s not, they just can’t seem to appreciate that the very description of God is that which is Infinite, the One, the Uncreated, the Source, the First Cause, the One with no begninning or end.  When one realizes that it is impossible to fathom the reality of this entity, one has come to understand God.

But atheists seem to get caught up in Satan’s trap.  I’m remembering here the words of the prophet (peace be upon him): “Satan comes to one of you and says, ‘Who created so-and-so? ‘till he says, ‘Who has created your Lord?’

[ Edited: 08 June 2008 11:51 AM by Jack Shooter]
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Posted: 08 June 2008 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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mesomorph - 08 June 2008 08:37 AM
Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 06:49 PM

it seems like you do not want an answer, or will only accept the answer that fits your preconcieved view.

Not much point in making that accusation, Jack, since that is precisely what you are doing! I concede your point about religiosity in the USA, but that doesn’t really help your case, as the USA is not a Muslim country and doesn’t look like becoming one any time soon.

I genuinely would like answers to the questions about morality that I have posed (see other threads), but have also said that I didn’t suspect I would get satisfactory answers (i.e. answers that were not contradictory), and indeed I haven’t.  The answer I gave you did not contradict anything I have been saying, it simply wasn’t satisfactory to you, without any good explanation as to why.  When I asked you to elaborate, you revealed certain assumptions, and I refuted them (i.e. the one about religion halting progress, and about predominance).

Anyway, as to your point about the USA becoming, Muslim, God willing it will one day.  Twenty thousand converts a year since September 11th is a good sign.

As for your apologetics: like other Muslim moderates, you are trying to lead the discussion towards a position from which Islam can appear benign. If Islam were benign, that exercise would not, of course, be necessary. The reason Hamza Yusuf, Sayyed Hossein Nasr and others do a reasonably good job of painting Islam in a good light is they don’t keep shooting themselves in the foot by quoting from the Qur’an.

Islam is not and never has been a benign force per se, although during its history the peoples that it has conquered have exerted a temporary benign effect on it. The flowering of Islamic culture from around the 9th to the 14th century CE took place largely because of the absorption into the Muslim community of Persia and Syria, ancient cultures that brought creativity and knowledge to an empire established by largely ignorant Arabs. The military power of the Arabs was soon exhausted in political infighting, and ideological repression eventually killed off the creativity and inquiring spirit of those early centuries.

Just as the west is now in the ascendant for as long as it is not dominated by Christian theology, Islam became great for a time because its core teachings were either not applied at all, or applied very selectively. For example Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, an 11th century Muslim jurist who had learned the Qur’an by heart at an early age, quoted from it during his talks. He only ever quoted the same half-dozen or so verses, whereas his talks fill several books. Why, if he could have quoted the whole Qur’an from start to finish? Presumably because he found only half a dozen of its verses useable.

What virtue there is in the history of Islam is there despite, not because of, the Qur’an. Its core teachings are by today’s standards largely ignorant, incomprehensible, or cruel. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and it really is not worth the effort of trying.

First of all, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Syed Hossien Nasr are lovers of the Qur’an.  In Muslim circles, you will often find them quoting from it extensively.  Secondly, with all due respect, I don’t believe you know much about Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (May God be pleased with him) if you think he found even a single verse in the Qur’an to be irrelevant.

As to your sweeping claim that “what virtue there is in the history of Islam is there despite, not because of, the Qur’an”, you are very badly mistaken.  Here is one of the many proofs as to why: Jalaluddin Rumi, America’s top selling poet.  Look him up if you haven’t heard already.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/people/rumi_1.shtml

I am the servant of the Qur’an as long as I have life. I am the dust on the path of Muhammad, the Chosen one. If anyone quotes anything except this from my sayings, I am quit of him and outraged by these words.

Rumi’s Quatrain, No. 1173

Please consider this deeply.  America’s number one poet today, is a poet who is known for making love poems.  Look at his words.  His source of inspiration was the Qur’an, and his love for the beloved (peace be upon him), so do you not think you ought to reassess your understanding of the Qur’an and the prophet (peace be upon him)?  How could the Qur’an, and the prophet (peace be upon him), which are so allegedly violent, inspire so much love in one man such that even American’s today are tasting its fruit?  May God guide us all.

[ Edited: 08 June 2008 11:53 AM by Jack Shooter]
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Posted: 08 June 2008 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Jack, I have never claimed to be an atheist or to believe in atheism. I don’t believe that there is no god just as I don’t believe that there is. I don’t believe that the world is a random event or not. There is a difference between believing, thinking and knowing. There is no point in believing that which you cannot know. You are free to perceive and cognise and think and conjecture and contemplate and reflect and reason and even know without invoking belief at all.

Now, we all build a functional map of the world in our “minds”, for reference, but it’s important not to live in it, as the map is not the territory. It’s extremely important not to festoon it with imaginary features that have no counterpart in the real world. There is simply nothing in our experience, no reason to even think about “god”, much less install such an imaginary creature as a permanent resident. Believing in things that aren’t true is not healthy. Your belief in god is just like a dog that barks at unseen sounds, impugning in them some, (usually sinister), intention, one such as they themselves might display.

The world is natural, not random, but mindless and without purpose. Even though evolution occurs, there is no direction to it. You are no more the pinnacle of evolution than you are the progeny or intention of (a) mysterious universal being(s). These are not beliefs but observations of the facts of our existence.
You are on a rock in the middle of deep space, in the deep, dark vacuum of nowhere. The rock has a green scum on it that formed from the energy of a nearby star and the materials of which the rock is made. You are part of that scum. The fact of your existence does seem extraordinarily unlikely, yet, here you are. Try to enjoy the ride and remember to pay attention.

Jack Shooter - 08 June 2008 12:30 PM
eucaryote - 08 June 2008 12:22 AM
Jack Shooter - 07 June 2008 09:49 PM

You believe the world is a ‘natural’ or random phenomenon, without any reasons.  I believe the world is a purposeful phenomenon based on the reasons I outlined.  Again, where is the logic behind your belief that the world is completely random without purpose?

Jack, I don’t indulge in belief at all. There’s no point in postulating things I cannot know. To do so only takes my experience away from here and now.

But you claim to be an athiest.  An athiest believes that there is no God.  In other words, an athiest postulates what cannot be known.  Are you perhaps an agnostic?

I experience the world as a natural phenomenon. This natural phenomenon is apparent despite it’s appearance to us as unlikely. Natural is not equivalent to random.

What is the natural equivalent to if not random?  What is your definition of natural, what does natural mean?  Please indulge me.

If the world is the purpose of some entity, then what entity intends that entity? And so on…..

No one created God.  That is why He is God.  Atheists call this a major cop-out.  But it’s not, they just can’t seem to appreciate that the very description of God is that which is Infinite, the One, the Uncreated, the Source, the First Cause, the One with no begninning or end.  When one realizes that it is impossible to fathom the reality of this entity, one has come to understand God.

But atheists seem to get caught up in Satan’s trap.  I’m remembering here the words of the prophet (peace be upon him): “Satan comes to one of you and says, ‘Who created so-and-so? ‘till he says, ‘Who has created your Lord?’

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