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About God

I want to say something about God. I think most people see God as something that acts on the universe from outside. I see God as something that acts from within, “unfolding” in the universe and in organisms like a flower unfolds. In other words, God is like the DNA of the universe—not determining it in every detail, but conditioning it. I think this mistake most people make about God is why their ideas of God and destiny don’t make any sense.

I chatted with a friend yesterday about religion, and was a little disappointed. He’d just come from prayer so I asked him, “What does religion add to your life?” He said he isn’t a Muslim just because the people around him are Muslims—his parents didn’t even pray while he was growing up—but because it gives him a feeling of completeness, his spirit is well adapted to it, and he is extremely happy in his belief. I asked him whether he believes everything in the Qur’an, and he said yes—not because the Qur’an says so, but because he has thought about it on his own and reached conclusions that validate what is in the Qur’an.

He accepts that doubting is part of the human condition, and he allows himself the freedom to explore any ideas or options, but he says by following his own free will he can see that Islam is best. He calls this “spontaneous programming.” I guess he is a lucky man, perhaps the only lucky man on earth, because he has both complete freedom and certainty in his belief. I used to like this about him, but today I’m not satisfied, because as I told him, how can you evolve toward a point that is already known? If you know you are in the best spot before setting out, why even go?

One thing he didn’t want to talk about was judgment after death. He believes in it, and he believes that Islam applies to all humans—though he describes this as an opportunity and not an obligation. He didn’t want to say what happens after death to people who refuse Islam, because he isn’t qualified to judge such matters—only God knows. I sensed some discomfort here, though perhaps he was just tired of dicussing religion because we’ve done it off and on for the past three years.

Comments

Comment from Jill
Time: March 18, 2007, 09:30

I think most people see God as something that acts on the universe from outside.

Really? I suppose I’ve never thought about how most people see God, but I most certainly don’t see God that way. I certainly don’t see God as one who requires orthopraxy.

Nevertheless, re: your question (how can you evolve toward a point that is already known?), that’s precisely why I reject “organized” religion. I can’t get behind any of them when either only one could be correct, or none, or all, in which case, what’s the point?

My husband (who is Muslim) gets really tired of talking about this with me. I get really sick of hearing “the Qur’an is right because it contains science.” I don’t think most people like to discuss the inside points of their faith, really.

Comment from Abdurahman
Time: March 19, 2007, 04:46

… And (remember) when Ibraheem said: “My lord show me how you give life to the dead?” He (Allaah) said: “Do you not believe?” He Ibraheem said: “Yes (I believe) but to be stronger in faith.” Quran

Comment from eatbees
Time: March 19, 2007, 11:37

@Abdurahman — That’s just the thing isn’t it? If we could clearly see the life of the spirit after death, then how we spend our time here on earth would be conditioned by that expectation, and we would be spontaneously drawn to seek knowledge of the Real (through religion, philosophy, science…) as my friend said.

Plato, quoting Socrates, famously said “All knowledge is remembrance” (dhikr) but remembrance of what? Remembrance of the Real, or (to use more of the Islamic names of God) the Living, the Knowing, the One.

My own feeling, unsupported either by reason or by a literal reading of the Qur’an is that we are not “from” here—we are not our bodies or even our selves, our personality. All that must pass away and waking from the dream, we return to where we came from which is pure knowledge, pure light. So while I believe in the resurrection and the immortal life, I don’t believe we return to our physical bodies, or continue as ourselves—because the “self” is just a primitive adaptation that helps us survive in this material world.

The question is why we aren’t able to live our lives here in this world with a clear vision of who we were before we came here—because then we wouldn’t need holy books or the rituals of religion to help us remember. Sadly, living the Real while walking the earth seems to be the preserve of prophets and saints, and the rest of us experience it only in the briefest of flashes.

Comment from Hashmat Moslih
Time: March 26, 2007, 10:00

Dear eatbees,

“I think most people see God as something that acts on the universe from outside.”
Outside, inside, here, there, nowhere, all related to time and space, so what is time and what is space? These are questions that have baffled all of the thinkers. Islam says that man has been given knowledge but only little. Throughout history man has been trying to visualize and conceptualize God however visualization and conceptualization are only possible through thinking and thinking though silent, still depends on language. So when we think of an apple our thoughts pronounces apple silently which gives us the concept and visualization of that object therefore, we think with language. Language and everything else is created by God and it is impossible for the created things to fully represent the creator, therefore all created things cannot be likened to God they are only a sign from God. The Quran says “nothing is like onto Him (ALLAh)”.
“how can you evolve toward a point that is already known? If you know you are in the best spot before setting out, why even go?”
I would like to ask, is this question only applicable to those who believe in something or could it also be extended to those who believe in “unbelief”. Is there a difference in the supposition of two individuals, one who would say “I know I am lost” and the other who says “I know I am not lost”? You see, how do you know you are lost if you do not know where is the place to be found? The philosophical path is like peeling onion, after perusing it you will be left with tears in your eyes and a pile of deconstructed things in front of you, and you would wonder if there was an onion in the first place? But what is sad is that while you may doubt the existence of the onion the tears could not be doubted.
Certainty uncertainty is certain, no mater how practicing Muslim we may be it should not make us arrogant because we could do something wrong worthy of hell and end up there. So we must constantly be vigilant of our actions and those around us. As for those who are not Muslim and die in a state of unbelief they will go to hell. But the problem is, we could not certainly say that we know of their last moment and that which went in their heart. Only Allah know the secrets of the hearts. Since we do not know that which is in the heart we are only obliged to have a “scientific” position on the matter. We have to have a position (judge) with the known facts, Islam teaches that those who REFUSE to accept Islam will go to hell. But those who did not know of Islam will be judged by their action. And those who are righteous their reward is with Allah. Everything boils down to knowledge and our knowledge of things determines our position, and Allah says “We give man knowledge but little”. Allah know best.
Finally, I found your discussion to be about Islam more so than about God.

By the way I read your reply to Abdurraman and I like to add that I love my clay origin, it is both a cause for my pride and humbleness. I am no different to my surrounding I am dust, you may call me primitive and yet The Light upon Light addresses me and bestows on me His favor.

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