Friday, September 29, 2023

The Onslaught on religion Part Two

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Musa Bah

In our previous article on the same title, we looked at how religion is being attacked from outside and how it is being ridiculed as primitive and barbaric. Most of these attacks though emanate either form religious people or were caused by them. The existence of a Supreme Being who controls the Heavens and the Earth is widely accepted due to the manifestations of God, the Almighty.

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The challenge that proponents of religion face today is – or should be – more on the effort to ‘cleanse’ those within than warding off the attacks of those without. The actions of the ‘believers’ bring disrepute to religion and; its enemies capitalize on it to sway more people to leave religion and become atheists. To stem the flow of recantation therefore, we must look both within religion and outside it.

That means we must seek to find the cause of these behaviors and try to change the attitudes of the adherents of religion that come with it and make them behave in a more seemly and conformist manner to stop the flow of weapons (arguments) which we willingly hand over to the enemies of religion. The world needs religion; no doubt, because all other systems have failed to bring peace and tranquility to the world.

A little delving into the history of Communism will reveal that it has utterly failed in bringing the equality it was meant to bring. That inequality and the inevitable grudge and frustration that comes with it brought it to its knees. This was exemplified in the fall of the Soviet Union a few decades ago. It broke it up into many small and poor countries, many of which went away with a lot of anger directed at Moscow.

Capitalism on the other hand has the ability to present a farce – an illusion of equality – to the world. We are told that Capitalism offers everyone the chance to succeed and thus ultimately, equality will be attained. It projects giving power to the people by giving them the opportunities to improve their livelihoods. But we observe on a daily basis how even in the most advanced Capitalist countries, a large section of society is left to fend for themselves against many hurdles – both natural and artificial. The economic competition makes it almost impossible for them to pull themselves out of the bottomless pit of poverty and want. A little study of Hurricane Katrina will make this point clear.

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Thus, the only option left to save the world, to prevent a massive catastrophe which will consume the world, is religion. (In this writeup, religion means any Divine Religion that is based on the belief in the existence of God: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism and indeed all religions.)

Thus, it becomes quite clear that the argument has shifted from whether or not God exists, to what palpable effect(s) can be observed in the belief that God exists and what establishing a connection or link with Him can do for man on both the individual level and on societal level. That is why the study of the lives of the people who have primarily established a connection with Him should be studied and used as a basis to establish this fact.

Towards that end, we have to of course study the lives of these people before and after the connection was made. The Holy Qur’an gives a pointer to this when it said, ‘Faqad labistu fiikum umran min qablihii afalaa ta’qiloon’ (Say, O Muhammad, I have lived among you a whole lifetime before this (the claim to prophethood), wont you reflect?) Ch. (10 Verse 17) The Meccans were being told to reflect on the fact that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (thousands of blessings be upon him) lived an entire life among them before he claimed and yet, not a single one among them could ever point out anything wrong that he ever did. The question is; if he were false or evil, could he have hidden it all from them all a whole lifetime? The obvious answer is NO. One would therefore assume that if he did not lie about men, or his relationship with them, it would be farfetched to imagine that he would lie about God or his relationship with Him.

When the Meccans received this message, those among them who were gifted with insight accepted the message and became Muslims. In a short time, they were transformed from ignorant, vile people to pious and spiritual people who valued the relationship with Allah more than they valued their own lives. Within a short time, the land of Arabia was converted into a civilized society. This was why they were able to conquer the rest of the then known world and ushered in a new dawn of civilization.

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Observing the transformation brought about Islam, Dr. Michael Hart ranked Muhammad (thousands of blessings be upon him) number one among the world’s greatest men ahead of Moses, Jesus and others who brought about similar, but less, transformations earlier. It would appear that at that time (the time of the Prophets, if you like), this argument – the transformations that a belief in God can bring about – was powerful enough to turn the tide in the argument of the existence or otherwise of God in favor of religion.

Why then, one may ask, is the argument now almost in favor of those who say that God has no place in our ‘enlightened’ lives? The answer to this question is complex and will need a lot of details to even begin to satisfy modern man. However, it is enough to say that people – or most people – no longer seem to care much about values and morals, even among the so-called religious ones. That, therefore, is our next stop, so to speak. In the next instalment of ‘The Onslaught on religion’, we will seek to reveal how the deteriorating morality, the infights and bickering between and among religions has – and continues to – harm belief in God. Then we will attempt to give solutions from our own very limited knowledge of these and other complex issues.

All praise belong to Allah, Lord of the Universe!

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