>> Friday, March 4, 2011
I need some help. Sometimes, I wonder if I really am in the right religion. How do we know for sure that atheists are not wrong? How do we know that Allah is real? Or what about other religions? How do we know that Christians are not wrong? I know that Prophet Mohammed said some things and they really came to pass, but some times, I cannot shake these doubts off. I really wonder how do we know that God is really there. Please tell me how to have real knowledge and not blind faith. I want to be a Muslim because I believe in it and not because everyone around me is.
Feeling Totally Lost.
Dear Feeling Totally Lost,
You have hit on the mother of all questions. Seriously. Thank you so much for having the guts to ‘ask’ rather than live in doubt. I truly believe that you are not alone. So many of us “inherit Islam” –there comes a time, when these thoughts start to creep into our minds and we wonder how do we know that we are on the right path?
So yes, I really am glad you sent this in….
However, before I attempt to answer this question, I have a tiny favor to ask you. If this answer doesn’t satisfy you, can we make a deal? Will you ask other people/ search other Islamic sites/ etc. if you’re not satisfied with my answer? Does that sound fair to you? Because there are LOTS of amazing speakers out there who could easily answer your question and a lot better than me…Ok?
And one last before starting. I want to make it clear that I will be dividing my answer into at least two posts...
With that said, let's begin: Bismillah.
If He is real, there must be signs that point to His existence… Right?
In the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and day, and the ships which sail the seas to people's benefit, and the water which Allah sends down from the sky- by which He brings the earth to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind - and the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and earth, there are Signs for people who use their intellect. (Surat al-Baqara:164)
The reality is that this universe, with its perfection, is one gigantic sign that God exists.
The way the earth is just perfectly ‘situated’ in space so that it’s not too close to the sun and not too far that we’d freeze, the fact that we have an atmosphere that acts as a shield for our earth, the fact that we have water on this planet- as a matter of fact, that this water has such unique properties…
Yup. Think about it. The solid state of all liquids is always denser than the liquid state….except in water. Its solid state- ice- is lighter, which is the reason that ice is able to float. If water had been like all the other liquids: “it would freeze from the bottom up rather than from the top down, killing aquatic life, destroying the oxygen supply, and making earth uninhabitable” ( Quote from Hank Hanegraaff)
Since we’re on the subject of chemistry, let’s talk about carbon dioxide. We all know that plants need carbon dioxide in order to complete photosynthesis right? We also know that photosynthesis is necessary not just for plants to get their food, but for all of us to get our ‘food” (think of the food cycle) and oxygen (since a by-product of photosynthesis is oxygen).
Ok, so what am I getting at?
Well, I want us to look at the difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
The difference between them is just one tiny atom (carbon dioxide is made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, whereas carbon monoxide consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom) , and yet, while we essentially need carbon dioxide in order to live, we would die very quickly, if we were near too much carbon monoxide.
They’re just one atom different but that atom makes all the difference…between life and death. How perfect is that?
And wait! Since we’re on the subject, let’s reflect a little more deeply on the fact we just said: that trees ‘release’ oxygen and take in ‘carbon dioxide’ and we ‘release’ carbon dioxide and take in oxygen.
Talk about a PERFECT system…..
You might be thinking “Yeah, this world is perfect for us to live, but that doesn’t prove anything”.
Well, the question is:
Could this perfection really have just happened by itself? Could this world really have come by chance?
I mean, imagine if I showed you a beautiful picture or a really famous one like the Mona Lisa. Would you
believe me if I told you that the colors just happened to come together by themselves?
Could the Earth with all its synchronized balance really have come without a Creator?
Let’s ask the mathematicians, shall we? (And let me warn you that some of this stuff is super complicated...)
“Taking the physical variables into account, what is the likelihood of a universe giving us life coming into existence by coincidence? One in billions of billions? Or trillions of trillions of trillions? Or more?According to Penrose, the odds against such an occurrence were on the order of 1010123 to 1.
We can’t even understand what that number means. Really.
“In math, the value 10123 means 1 followed by 123 zeros.
But Penrose's answer is vastly more than this: It requires 1 followed by 10123 zeros.
In practical terms, in mathematics, a probability of 1 in 1050 means "zero probability". Penrose's number is more than trillion trillion trillion times less than that. In short, Penrose's number tells us that the 'accidental" or "coincidental" creation of our universe is an impossibility. 1
In fact, he clearly states that mathematically there must be a Creator and that He must have had a very precise aim when ‘designing’ the universe. 2
Okay, so you want some more proof.
Let’s get out a video called "Deep Thinking"
Let’s take a look at our own bodies…
Look at our eyes with all their intricacies. In fact, Darwin himself stated:
“To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree possible.
Now, for the record, though, Darwin then went on to ‘justify’ his beliefs, but as biochemist Michael Behe explained in his book “Darwin’s Black Box,” the problem was that Darwin was living in a time where they didn’t even understand how our eyes work. The way our eyes truly function was beyond Dawrin’s understanding. In fact, Michael states at the end of his book:
“There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled 'intelligent design.' To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. “ (“Darwin’s Black Box, Michele Behe, p193)
Still need some more convincing?
Ever heard of protein molecules? They’re basically tiny organic stuff (gotta love that word) that we need in order to function properly. So anyways, they’re made up of tinier molecules known as amino acids.
But here’s the thing.
In order for a protein molecule to work, “the amino acids have to be together in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence. If they are not in the right sequence then the protein molecule won't work.” 3
What are the chances of that ‘sequence’ randomly coming about? Umm, let’s take a look at this experiment.
In an experiment using 10 similar coins numbered 1 -10, chance will succeed on the average only once in 10 billion attempts to get the order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 5
It’s just not possible. So how then, do our amino acids have the right sequence? How then are we so perfectly designed?
What about our own ‘internal conscience’ that we have? Think about what happens when we lie. Our bodies physiologically protest, although lying is an activity that has nothing to do with our physical bodies (meaning we make up the lie using our mind, but it is our bodies that naturally go against us when we do so, with our heart rate increasing, blood pressure acting up, respiratory rates changing, etc.)
Why does this happen?
Because we have a Creator who programmed us to know what is right and what is wrong.
Hmm, still not so sure?
Well, let me ask you a question. In the context of ‘survival of the fittest’ and no actual Creator, how can we explain animals (usually mothers) that display great acts of sacrifice?
There are so many different examples. "One type of female mother bird who sees an enemy approaching will quietly leave her nest, (actually) place herself in front of the enemy, and start to flutter on the ground, striking it with a wing, making painful cries, and trying to convince the enemy, while staying beyond its reach, that she is helpless (so that it will come to HER!). As the enemy tries to catch her, it gets farther away from the nest (her little babies). Finally, when the enemy is far enough away, she stops her imitation and escapes before the enemy can catch her." (Quoted from here)
I hope inshaAllah these satisfy your mind and that you can see that the universe, our bodies, and the world around us all point to some Creator.
But you know what? If we took the time to examine our lives thoroughly, we would also find many signs that prove God’s existence. Have you ever had something happen to you that simply was too ‘weird’ to be a ‘coincidence’?
I’ve had some interesting stories… like the time I was in the Haram at Mecca and it was the 27th night of Ramadan (which many people think is “Layatul Qadr”). I got ‘lost from my family’. My purse was taken. I had no mobile to call anyone. I didn’t have any one’s number memorized. I didn’t even know where our hotel was. But I knew that the ‘dua’ of the fasting supplicant is always answered. So I made dua…and after two hours or so, I bumped right into my little brother. Right into him. Can you imagine? There are 99 doors in the Meccan Haram. And there were literally a least a million worshippers there. For me, to have come out of that door, at that exact moment, and bumped right into my brother…..it just couldn’t have been a coincidence.
We have so many of these events in our lives, but we just don’t examine them enough…
And how many a sign within the heavens and earth do they pass over while they, therefrom, are turning away. (Surat Yusuf: 105)
InshaAllah, in a few days, I'll put up part 2 and answer how we know that Islam is the right religion. In the meantime, feel free to comment on this post and ask other questions, etc.
Readers- you know the drill. Help us help her, inshaAllah.