DBN: Mirage of Atheism
The number of people who identify themselves as atheist is on the rise. Atheism is growing in many communities. Atheism is in now fourth place in the world after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Within a few years there will be more than 1 billion atheists. One sixth of the world. Muslims and the Islamic world have not been spared. Atheist organisations have emerged in many Muslim countries.
However this is not a numbers game.
Atheism has grown due to its emergence as a global movement. Many of its academics have written best-sellers that have been translated into many languages. Its speakers have spoken at sold-out venues. Its message permeates the media, YouTube popular and academic literature. Its organisations have grown. Its presence has catapulted on university campuses. In many countries atheism is the fastest growing worldview amongst university students.
Date: 23-24 July 2016
Register online: here
This course will cover:
Atheism: Past, Present and Future:
• The definition of atheism
• The history of atheism in Western and Islamic history.
• What is ilhad?
• Who were the dahriyya?
• How did our scholars respond to them?
• Statistics and academic analyses on the contemporary atheist movement.
The Absurdity of Life Without Allah.
• No hope: “Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” Qur’an 12:87
• No ultimate value: “And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion?” Qur’an, 57:20
• No ultimate purpose: “God did not create all these without a true purpose; He explains His signs to those who understand.” Qur’an 10:5
• No ultimate meaning: “Then is one who was a believer like one who was defiantly disobedient?
They are not equal.” Qur’an 32:18
• Explains Nothing! “Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm Belief.” Qur’an 52:36
• No true happiness: “And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” Qur’an 20:124
Allah, Worship and Freedom.
• The correct context: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.
• Tawhid ar-Rububiyya,
• Tawhid al-Ibadah
• Tawhid al-Asma was-Sifat.
• Are you free? Allah presents an example: a slave owned by quarrelling partners and another belonging exclusively to one man – are they equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah ! But most of them do not know.” Qur’an 39:29
Allah Deserves Our Worship.
• What is worship?
• Why does Allah deserves our worship?
• Kindness and gentleness
• No harshness
• The Prophet’s soft heart
• No useless debates
• Key principles
The Argument from Nature (fitrah).
• What is the fitrah?
• Scholarly views
• Psychological, sociological and anthropological evidence.
• How to awaken the fitrah?
• Properly basic belief
The Argument from Dependency.
• Defining dependency
• Everything we perceive is dependent.
• Why is Allah the best explanation for all dependent things?
• The necessity of Allah: “Allah is free/independent from need of the worlds.” Qur’an 3:97
• Responses to contentions.
The Qur’anic Argument for Allah’s Existence.
• The Qur’an makes you think
• “Or were they created by nothing? Or were they the creators (of themselves)? Or did they create heavens and earth? Rather, they are not certain.” Qur’an 52:35-36
• Did the universe begin?
• Created or brought into being by/via nothing?
• Self created?
• Created by something else created?
• Created by something uncreated?
• Allah’s Oneness, Power, Will, Transcendence, Knowledge
• Responses to contentions
The Designed Universe.
• “The sun and the moon [move] by precise calculation. And the stars and trees prostrate. And the heaven He raised and imposed the balance.” Qur’an 55: 5-7
• The universe must have exactly the right set of laws and physical constants in order for (highly complex) life to exist.
• Chance? Physical Necessity? Multiverse? Design?
• Responses to contention.
The Argument from Consciousness.
• The hard problem of consciousness
• A Summary of Failed Biological Explanations
• A Summary of Attempts to Explain Consciousness in the Philosophy of Mind
• Near Death Experiences
• Consciousness is best explained by theism
• “Do they not contemplate within themselves?” Qur’an 30:8
• Responses to contentions.
Know God, Know Good: Allah and Morality.
• What is objective morality?
• No Allah = no objective morals
• Biology? Social pressure? Moral realism?
• Euthyphro’s dilemma
• Why is Allah good?
• “If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil befalls them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.” What is wrong with these people that they do not understand any word?” Qur’an 4:78
The Islamic Response to the Problem of Evil & Suffering.
• Summary of the problem of evil and suffering
• The problem of evil and the design argument
• Three daring assumptions: 1. That Allah is just Good and Omnipotent. 2. That Allah doesn’t have good reasons to permit evil. 3. Evil is objective.
• Breaking down the assumptions
• Tafsir of Moses and Khidr (Qur’an 18:65-82), and, Allah and the Angels (Qur’an 2:30)
• The emotional and spiritual argument
Does Science Lead to Atheism?
• What do scientists believe?
• Definition of science
• Limits of science
• Problems with induction
• The limitations of empiricism
• Naturalism: the wrong lenses
• Islam is pro-science
• “Do they not examine the realm of the heavens and the earth and whatever God has created?” Qur’an 7:185
The Linguistic & Literary Miracle of the Qur’an
• What is a miracle?
• What is the Qur’an?
• The intellectual challenge of the Qur’an
• “And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah , if you should be truthful.” Qur’an 2:23
• Classical Arabic literary forms: saj’, mursal, maqamah, al-bihar, poetry
• What form is the Qur’an?
• Analysis of Surah al-Kauthar
• The challenges: past and present
• Philosophical implications
• Inference to the best explanation
• Deductive argument
• Responses to contentions.
The Qur’an and Science: A Multi-layered Approach
• Background to the scientific miracles narrative
• Growing counter narrative
• Key issues
• The new approach: multilayered approach
Is Religion a Force for Good?
• Religion poisons everything?
• Religion and altruism
• Religious give more
• Mental distress
• Well being and self esteem
• Membership of volunteer organisations
• Moral motivation
• “No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward.” Qur’an 4:114
Responses to Academic and Popular Contentions.
• Responses to more contentions
• Extensive question and answer