Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Islamic theology starts with Deism: Why all Christians and atheists should be Muslims?

Posted by

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD

Deism (pronounced /ˈdiːɪzəm/, us dict: dē′·ĭzm) is a religious and philosophical belief that a supreme being created the universe, and that this can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without the need for either faith or organized religion. President Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin were popular proponents of it. Many Deists reject the notion of Personal God, who intervenes in human affairs, for example through miracles and revelations.

On the other hand, both Christianity and Islam propose a Personal God. However, these two religions have different understanding of miracles, revelation and salvation. In a trilateral discussion between Deism, Christianity and Islam, I believe we can appreciate reality better and come up with better theology, especially if the discussion not only involves the Creator of the universe, but, also His complete Transcendence, Original Sin and evolution of life on our planet, Trinity and Eucharist.

Christian apologists want to make a case for Christianity based on laws of nature and science, by showing that there ought to be a Transcendent Creator, in one breath, and in the very next, deny all of science, by insisting on Eucharist, man-God of Jesus, who is not Transcendent, resurrection and miracles that violate laws of nature.

Atheists are right in exposing the irrationality of the Christian dogma. However, the Christians are right in as far as their claim that there needs to be a Creator of this universe, Who employed natural means to do His work. However, both parties in their self-conceit are not listening to how Islam resolves their conflict; Islam as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.


The Holy Quran urges us to reflect on the Laws of Nature. It draws examples from cosmology, physics, biology and medicine, as signs for all men of understanding. For example the Quran says:

Do they not then look at the camel, how it is created? And at the heaven, how it is raised high? And at the mountains how they are rooted, and at the earth how it is outspread? (Al Quran 88:18-21)

Seven hundred and fifty verses of the Quran (almost one‑eighth of the Book) exhort believers to study Nature, to reflect, to make the best use of reason in the search of the Ultimate, the Creator, the Almighty Allah.[1] This contrasts with 250 verses in the Holy Quran in regards to different legislation.[2]

When the Qur’an describes the origins of life on a very broad basis, it is extremely concise. It does so in a verse that also men­tions the process of the formation of the Universe. The verse is in Sura or chapter Anbiyya:

Do not the Unbelievers realize that the heavens and the earth were a solid mass, then We split them asunder and We made every living thing out of water. Will they then not believe? (Al Quran 21:31)

In this verse Allah makes some far reaching and profound claims. The precision of the claims and their accuracy in light of modern science is a proof of the truth of these claims. Allah then asks a rhetoric question that should not these accomplishments and His sharing of this information with the mankind, make them believe in His existence. Allah starts the description of onset of life with the mention of starting of the Universe with the phenomenon of the Big Bang. After the creation of the universe and the solar system through the natural mechanisms, God directed His attention to the creation of Life, and as always is the case with His creativity, the Omniscient and the Omnipotent resorted to the natural mechanisms. He utilized Laws of Nature for the creation of life on this planet earth.

The phrase ‘We made every living thing out of water’, means that every living thing was made of water as its essential component. It could equally mean that every living thing originated in water. The two possible meanings are strictly in accordance with scientific data. Life is in fact of aquatic origin and water is the major component of all living cells. Without water, life is not possible. When the possibility of life on another planet is discussed, the first question is always: does it contain a sufficient quantity of water to sup­port life?

Most organisms are made up of more than 50% water. In the case of humans, water makes more than 70% of the weight of the body. In some organisms like Jelly Fish their bodies are 98% water.

Big Bang theory is the widely held theory of the evolution of the universe. It’s essential feature is the emergence of the universe from a state of extremely high temperature and density. It is proposed that it occurred at least 10 billion years ago. Although this type of universe was proposed in the 1920s, the modern version was developed in the 1940s.

The Earth and the Solar system were formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago. As the earth cooled, water in the atmosphere condensed and the Earth was pounded with torrential rains, which filled its great basins, forming seas. The primeval atmosphere and waters harbored the inorganic components hydrogen, methane and ammonia. These substances are thought to have combined to form the first organic compounds when sparked by electrical discharges of lightning.

One of the spokesmen for Atheism or Agnosticism, Prof. Richard Dawkins acknowledges that a reasonable case for Deism can be made from our scientific information and in my opinion President Thomas Jefferson and one of the Founding Fathers of USA, Thomas Paine did exactly do that. I have a separate article on Thomas Paine’s book the Age of Reason. Here let me introduce a short ten minute clip from a debate by Prof. Richard Dawkins, with a Trinitarian theist, Has Science Buried God?” – Richard Dawkins vs John Lennox debate. where in while conceding that a reasonable case could be made for a Deist God, Dawkins very nicely articulates what is terribly wrong with the Christian understanding of God:

Prof. Dawkins partially approves the Deist God of Einstein and Paul Davies but then goes onto criticizing the understanding of Trinitarian God of John Lennox. He in the very beginning exposes Lennox’s understanding of miracles by claiming that even though he is a scientist, yet he believes that Jesus literally converted water, that is the molecules of H2O into alcohol with all the chemical ingredients in alcohol. Dawkins exposes the irrationality of vicarious atonement by saying, “John Lennox believes that the Creator of the Universe, who devised the laws of physics, the laws of mathematics, the physical constants, who created the billions of light years of space, billions of years of time, this Paragon of physical science, this Genius of mathematics, could not think of a better way, to rid the world of sin, then to come to this speck of cosmic dust and have Himself tortured and executed, so that He could forgive Himself. That is profoundly unscientific, not only unscientific, it does not do justice to the grandeur of the Universe! It is petty and small minded! And that is the Christian God, John Lennox believes in.” The point of this article is that the weaknesses of Trinitarian theology terribly weakens the case for Theism and it begins to show in many a debates between Christians and atheists. For example, Christian theists build their case on the hypothesis that there is a Creator, Who has made the Universe, made it biophyllic, He has a purpose in His mind, He has made the Natural Law that has done His work since the Big Bang, including the creation of life, suggesting theistic evolution. What was not said, however, as there was no Muslim theist there, that an Omniscient and Omnipotent God, after having created such harmonious Natural Laws had no need to then quickly violate them with phenomena like resurrection or Christian style miracles, which are alleged to be supernatural and suspend the laws of nature. If an Omniscient God has created the universe, then one can be certain that in keeping with His infinite entity, He would have left innumerable ways to influence the universe. So that His divinity is not suspended in any way at any time. Science is possible only because the Law Giver honors the Law, otherwise there will be total chaos and anarchy. Atheists even when unable to defend their positions are very easily able to poke holes in theology filled with resurrection of dead and miracles that are in violation of the natural order and harmony! The basic understanding of miracles in the Christian tradition is flawed because of the historical baggage and limitations of the Bible. The Christians invariably understand miracles to be violation of natural laws and that immediately sets them up against the insightful scientists and introduces an unavoidable conflict between the Christian religion and science. If we accept the Christian premise that there ought to be a Creator for our universe, then given the vulnerabilities of Christian dogma, the only reasonable theology of Theism, left standing is that of Islam. If we rationally define our paradigm as I am in this post then the only game in the town of Monotheist religions available to all of us is that of Islam.

Islam and the Holy Quran are above and beyond such criticism that applies to Trinitarian Christianity. The Holy Quran builds its case of Transcendent Being starting off with recognition of Deism and at no point requires its reader to believe in supernatural in violation of the natural order. Even when arguing a case for accountability and hereafter, it argues from the tangible to the intangible and presents the natural law as a proof for the hereafter, rather than presenting it as supernatural and insisting belief on force of authority:

Allah is He Who raised up the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then He settled Himself on the Throne. And He pressed the sun and the moon into service: each pursues its course until an appointed term. He regulates it all. He clearly explains the Signs, that you may have a firm belief in the meeting with your Lord. (Al Quran 13:3)

The Holy Quran addresses the issue of hereafter in greater detail in the following verses in the chapter Yasin, adding the domain of biology to that of astronomy as the argument is built further:

Does not man see that We have created him from a mere sperm-drop? Yet lo! he is an open quarreler! And he coins similitudes for Us and forgets his own creation. He says, ‘Who can quicken the bones when they are decayed?’ Say, ‘He, Who created them the first time, will quicken them; and He knows every kind of creation full well. He Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, and behold, you kindle from it. Has not He Who created the heavens and the earth the power to create the like of them?’ Yea, and He is indeed the Supreme Creator, the All-Knowing. Indeed, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!,’ and it is. So Holy is He, in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things. And to Him will you all be brought back. (Al Quran 36:78-84)

References

  1. Professor Abdus Salam. Islam and Science – concordance or conflict. Review of Religions; 90(3): 26-40, March, 1995.
  2. Dr. Mohammad Iqbal. Life: its meaning and origin. Review of Religions; 88(2): 26-30, February, 1994.
Posted by on December 23, 2011. Filed under Agnosticism,Atheism,Buddhism,Christianity,Hinduism,Islam,ISLAM,Judaism,Religion,Religion & Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

8 Responses to Islamic theology starts with Deism: Why all Christians and atheists should be Muslims?

  1. Zia H. Shah

    December 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Recruiting the four Horsemen of Neo-atheism into Cavalry of Islam
    Christopher Hitchens, Prof. Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Prof. Richard Dawkins have been called the four horsemen of neo-atheism. That is old news. The latest is that I have just recruited them as volunteers for army of Islam; they form my meager cavalry, which will establish the philosophical superiority of Islam over Christianity. They will work hard for every day of their God given life, for the cause of Islam, without any worldly compensation from me.

    Every time they make a good case for evolution, for common lineage of all life forms on planet earth, they establish the truth of Islam as opposed to the dogma of Christianity. In my previous writings I have shown, how evolution, by showing that Adam and Eve were not the first human couple, strikes a death blow to the dogma of Original Sin. I appreciate the clarity of thinking of my cavalry, except in the areas of their blind spots, where they are blinded by their ideology, so I will continue to use their scholarship suitably. With this army of only four, I will fight in all directions, East, West, North and South, by the Grace of Allah. We will fight not with swords or arrows, not even with pen, just one mouse and a key board, which I bought for twenty dollars of my hard earned money! My mouse and key board will just properly direct their words. To make sure that my horsemen do not double cross me and start fighting their own battles, I will need to suitably expose their blind spots of understanding, so they submit to the will of Allah and continue to serve Islam.

    It is not politically correct to condemn Deism, after all it was the religion of the Founding Fathers of USA and of the celebrated Albert Einstein. In God Delusion, one of my horsemen, Prof. Richard Dawkins applauds the religion of Einstein and in a debate with John Lennox, says that a plausible case could be made for a Deist’s God.[2] But, when it comes to Theism, Christianity and Islam my horsemen use a broad brush and condemn both equally, without realizing that Islam is much closer to Deism than Christianity.

    http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/recruiting-the-four-horsemen-of-neo/1qhnnhcumbuyp/390#

  2. Zia H. Shah

    December 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Were Jesus’ disciples ‘illiterate peasants?’
    The dogma of resurrection is based on the eye witness testimony recorded 2000 years ago. But what if the Biblical account is not by the eyewitnesses, then it falls in the category of hearsay. CNN examines with reference to a recent book by Bart Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are:

    Ehrman doesn’t confine his critique to Paul’s letters. He challenges the authenticity of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. He says that none were written by Jesus’ disciples, citing two reasons.

    He says none of the earliest gospels revealed the names of its authors, and that their current names were later added by scribes.

    Ehrman also says that two of Jesus’ original disciples, John and Peter, could not have written the books attributed to them in the New Testament because they were illiterate.

    “According to Acts 4:13, both Peter and his companion John, also a fisherman, were agrammatoi, a Greek word that literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate,’ ’’ he writes.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/13/half-of-new-testament-forged-bible-scholar-says/?iref=obnetwork

  3. Zia H. Shah

    January 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Einstein’s God according to Michael Shermer
    Albert Einstein famously opined, “God is cunning but He is not malicious.” And: “God does not play dice.” When asked his motivation for doing physics, Einstein replied: “I want to know how God created the world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.” In the final weeks of his life, when Einstein learned of the death of his old physicist friend Michele Besso, he wrote the Besso family: “He has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubborn illusion.”

    What did Einstein mean by “God” playing dice, or “us believing physicists”? Was he speaking literally or metaphorically? Did he mean belief in the models of theoretical physics that make no distinction between past, present, and future? Did he mean belief in some impersonal force that exists above such time constraints? Was he just being polite and consoling to Besso’s family? Such is the enigma of the most well-known scientist in history whose fame was such that nearly everything he wrote or said was scrutinized for its meaning and import; thus, it is easy to yank such quotes out of context and spin them in any direction one desires.

    When he turned 50, Einstein granted an interview in which he was asked point-blank, do you believe in God? “I am not an atheist,” he began. “The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”

    That almost sounds like Einstein is attributing the laws of the universe to a god of some sort. But what type of god? A personal deity or some impersonal force? To a Colorado banker who wrote and asked him the God question, Einstein responded: “I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals or would sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we can comprehend about the knowable world. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”

    http://www.bigquestionsonline.com/columns/michael-shermer/einstein%E2%80%99s-god

    Shermer is painting a picture of Einstein being a deist, like President Thomas Jefferson and many of the Founding Fathers of USA. This is helpful as it defies the claim of some atheists that Einstein was one of them. Einstein denied Personal God but all his life continued a deep involvement with the Jewish tradition, so in some subtle ways he subscribed to the Personal God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aron, David, and Jeremiah.

    I have provided a more complete and detailed analysis of Einstein’s religion in a different article:

    http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2011/12/religion/albert-einsteins-search-for-god

    Once a seeker properly understands Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aron, David, and Jeremiah, he or she is ready to appreciate Jesus and Muhammad, in their true colors. May peace be on all the Prophets of Allah!

  4. Zia H. Shah

    January 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Sir David Attenborough on God
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8DL-o-POcU&feature=related
    Sir Attenborough certainly stands in awe of the majesty of nature but raises the question of suffering to deny God. Let me quote here the concluding paragraph, in the later editions of the legendary book of Sir Charles Darwin, on the Origin of Species that can make one quickly conceptualize the role of suffering in the grand scheme of things:

    From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been breathed, by the Creator, into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

    Once the question about suffering is understood as a tool for evolution, as Charles Darwin suggested, then one is ready to fully appreciate the beauty of God’s creation as suggested by many of the verses of the Holy Quran.

  5. Harry Riley

    May 7, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Well given your view on Deism, Then what is your view on Shariah and all these schools of Islam?

    Then Brother I would tell you what my belief is.

  6. Zia H. Shah MD - Twitter: @ZiahShah1

    May 7, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Regarding Shariah Law let me say that I believe in complete separation of Mosque-Church and State, for every country of the world. We can draw our inspirations from any scripture but those have to go through the civic process, which should uphold universality of human rights.

    American constitution could serve as a template for constitution of every country and at a more developed and evolved phase, I would applaud a world government enforcing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I hope this helps.

  7. Harry Riley

    May 16, 2013 at 3:54 am

    I have never seen the concept of Shariah in the Qur’an. It would seem the concept of Shariah started with a type of Deism which later schools of thought transformed it into the instrument of oppression that it is today. I think I am wrong, some one correct me if I am in this line of thought.
    The Idea of a natural law G-D created Creation with would fit the true definition of Shariah. I would equate true Shariah with the all of the scientific and mathematical fields put together.
    I would like to see a government model based exclusively on fairness and not to just keep a select few in power or wealthy.

  8. carmelli

    October 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Not sure why this article was dredged up and republished – or why people were directed here from the comments section because there is nothing current. That being said, I’m Christian; find every reason to remain Christian and will continue praying for your non-Christian souls, like it or not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>