Recruiting the four Horsemen of Neo-atheism into Cavalry of Islam

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an 1887 painting by Victor Vasnetsov.

Christopher Hitchens died on December 15, 2011.  My condolences to his family and friends.  From here on any blunt reference by me to my four horsemen should be considered to the surviving three.

First a few words about the big picture. 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.

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 also, so they submit to the will of Allah and continue to serve Islam.  Read on, and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon’s advice, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”

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.  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.  I have examined this in one of my articles, Islamic theology starts with Deism: Why all Christians and atheists should be Muslims? 

My horsemen pick up weaknesses in Christianity and without evidence or knowledge attribute them to Islam also, purely on ideological grounds.  Even when their criticism of Islam is correct, it usually applies only to the Muslims of a particular sect and only exposes ignorance of atheists and their lack of rigorous scholarship about different schools and sects of Islam.
Never mind atheism, even Deism does not have a chance of winning ideology battles.  My horsemen do not fully appreciate the human psychological need for consolation.  They can use belittling labels for this need or vulnerability but they cannot wish it away.  President Thomas Jefferson predicted victory of Deism over Trinitarian Christianity two centuries ago but his predictions did not come true!  Why?  I believe it was precisely due to human need to be consoled and only a Personal God can offer that platform.  Additionally, it also stemmed from basic human craving to associate with fellow humans as equals, in rather democratic institutions like mosques and churches, rather than worshiping a few intellectual elites, who preach atheism for sake of their personal egos.

This collection is also an invitation to the atheists to consider the distinct possibility that they may have to live with some form of theism for centuries to come. So, why do not they spend some of their time and scholarship, directly without my help, in trying to tease out different forms of theism and get to have a say in what form of theism, they may end up sharing the planet with. After all, according to a recent survey only ten percent of Americans are satisfied with atheistic explanation of life on our planet. If the approval rating of a political candidate was 10%, we will not honor him or her with a second look!

I have a very simple, yet elegant perspective, which is that a genuine study of atheism and Christianity proves Islam! It may seem an extraordinary claim to some, but it is true and I am willing to provide extraordinary evidence to establish the claim. My 350 knols and ten different collections here, substantiate my claim from one angle or the other. I want to thank both my cavalry and my Christian sources for making my life so easy! My work would not have been possible before the internet revolution, so thanks to everyone, who contributed to this effort in one form or the other. And above all thanks to Allah for giving me and my horsemen this opportunity!

Now, as I discuss their work individually, let me drop my analogy of horsemen and cavalry and treat them with the fullest respect that they deserve for their excellent scholarship.  I thank them for the wonderful contributions they have made, in helping me, articulate my ideas and thoughts.

Let me continue on a note of agreement with Prof. Daniel Dennett of Tuft’s university.  I fully agree with his proposal to teach all religions in a neutral manner in all public schools, just the facts about them without arguing about their truth or lack there of.
In the following talk, however, he predicts a grand future for atheism, towards the end of the video, half jokingly suggests that the Vatican may become the European museum of Catholicism in decades to come and Kaaba may become Disney magic kingdom of Allah:
I would say it is false hope on his part, an opiate, not for the masses but for the so called intellectual elite, I won’t go so far to suggest that it is an atheist’s delusion as he may change his opinion, he certainly seems very open to logic and reason.  Different articles in this collection are meant to show different aspects of religion and atheism and my simple, yet elegant premise that if a smart Muslim moderator manages, an open and honest Christianity versus atheism dialogue, Islam gets an easy and clear victory, even without any significant advocacy.  All the reasonable observations that Prof.  Daniel Dennett makes in this lecture, are our own, for the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him advised, “The word of wisdom is the lost property of a Muslim, so that wherever he finds it, he should take it, as he is the most entitled to it.”[3]  Wherever, Dennett has astrayed and made unreasonable criticism of theism, a Christian apologist, Denish D’souza helps me out for suitable refutation.  In a debate between D’souza and Dennett, in Tuft’s university, a part of that debated is included below, the weaknesses of some of Dennnett’s arguments is successfully exposed by D’souza and the discomfort of our brave horseman is visible in the recording after his opening statement, when he was fully comfortable.  It seems that the comfortable had been afflicted when he comes back for his second round after his opening statement, in his home-ground of Tuft’s university.  There is a famous saying by a Social activist Mary Jones, “My business is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”  However, when D’souza preaches resurrection and Christian style miracles, he is denying well established science, a vulnerability not shared by Islam, as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Now, let me document some of the claims that I made in the beginning.  Atheists do not fully appreciate the human psychological need for consolation.  They can use belittling labels for this need or vulnerability but they cannot wish it away.  This is addressed in an article below, Longing for consolation: A Dilemma for Dawkins!  President Thomas Jefferson predicted victory of Deism over Trinitarian Christianity two centuries ago but his predictions did not come true![4]  Why?  I believe it was precisely due to human need to be consoled and only a Personal God can offer that platform.  Additionally, it also stemmed from basic human craving to associate with fellow humans as equals, in rather democratic institutions like mosques and churches.  This fact Daniel Dennett acknowledges himself in one of his other lectures.[5]  The masses are not served by worshiping a few intellectual elites, who preach atheism for sake of their personal egos.  This collection is an invitation to atheists to consider the distinct possibility that they may have to live with some form of theism for centuries to come.  So, why do not they spend some of their time and scholarship, in trying to tease out different forms of theism and get to have a say in what form of theism, they may end up sharing the planet with.  After all, according to a recent survey only ten percent of Americans are satisfied with atheistic explanation of life on our planet.[6]
To make my points further let me use some debates between the Christian apologists and atheists.  In a well attended debate in Mexico, in 2009, regarding evolution and religion, three of my horsemen, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett represented atheism and Dinesh D’Souza, Shmuley Boteach, Nassim Taleb advocating theism and neutral position was taken by Robert Wright. It provides me with materials to make a few points from my perspective, which is that a genuine study of atheism and Christianity proves Islam!  It may seem an extraordinary claim to some, but it is true and I am willing to provide extraordinary evidence to establish the claim.  My 350 knols and ten different collections here, substantiate my claim from one angle or the other.

Around an hour into this debate Rabbi Shmuley Boteach nicely lays it for the atheist debating panel that their morality comes from religions.  We can argue the bragging rights for different Abrahamic faiths in my other Google-knols, but here is the bottom line that the atheists have not come up with an agreed upon gospel or basis of their morality in evolution or whatever else they would like to base it on:

Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens had nothing to say to refute the Rabbi but Prof. Daniel Dennett did try to refute, by following the principle that when evidence is slim, rhetoric should be loudest.  He certainly obfuscated the issue for the lay audience, by his commanding position given his achievements in science and philosophy, telling the Rabbi that he has a lot of reading to do about evolutionary biology.   In my opinion, we can certainly find some clues for morality in evolution and animal kingdom.  Most mammals and birds exhibit wonderful maternal instinct, for example.  However, even if there are no true biological missing links, and I do believe that the common ancestry of all life forms on our planet is a fact, to jump from chimpanzee wars to sacredness of each and every human life is a huge jump and shall we call it a missing link, to use the evolutionary vernacular.
To give some credit to Sam Harris, most of what he said in this debate about Christian dogma or doctrine was true. I accept all of that as my evidence to demonstrate that Islam has better theology and teachings than Christianity.  As regards some of the other claims by Sam, in an attempt to link religion especially Islam with terrorism, I would suggest that in this very debate, Robert Wright nicely pushed back Harris’ loud rhetoric to just superficially link religion with terrorism, by the force of repeated propaganda.   I also have a collection on Islamophobia and another one titled, Islam, Politics and Human Rights!
For those Christians, who have surrendered their reason to unreasonable faith, rather than a faith which starts and is grounded in firm reasons, allow me to present a quote from the legendary, Thomas Paine:

It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]

The blind spots and unreasonability of the Christian theologians, at times, is no bar for me to benefit from their work and ideas, when they are right.  In this spirit, let me bring out the following clip from a different debate with Daniel Dennett, where Denish D’souza nicely articulates some of the crimes of atheist and communist regimes:
Epilogue

My thesis is very simple, my horsemen, recently recruited in the cavalry of Islam, try to obfuscate one aspect of the truth and the Christian apologists obfuscate a different aspect of the truth.  If you hang around long enough in the neighborhood of my articles in the Muslim Times, you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

Think of the sum total of the Muslim and the Christian theology as A + B.  ‘A’ is true and is common between Islam and Christianity.  ‘B’ is simply false and make belief and consists of Christian dogma or doctrine that are unique to Christianity.  My horsemen nicely expose ‘B,’ but at the same time they try to obfuscate ‘A.’  The Christian apologists nicely present ‘A,’ but when it comes to ‘B,’ they dance around the bush or obfuscate it.  God said, let there be light and there was internet and the Muslim Times!  May God give all of us wisdom! Amen.

 

References

  1. Evaluating Original Sin against scientific discoveries
    http://knol.google.com/k/evaluating-original-sin-against-scientific-discoveries#
  2. “Has Science Buried God?” – Richard Dawkins vs John Lennox debate (preview)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxD-HPMpTto
  3. The Forty Gems of Beauty.
    http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Forty_Gems_of_Beauty-20080905MN.pdf
  4. President Thomas Jefferson — Was he a monotheist?
    http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/president-thomas-jefferson-was-he-a/1qhnnhcumbuyp/26#
  5. Daniel C. Dennett on What Should Replace Religions?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5tGpMcFF7U
  6. Original Sin explained in scientific light
    http://www.muslimsunrise.com/dmddocuments/2008_iss_2.pdf#page=21

 

14 replies

  1. Atheism and purpose of life!

    Bertrand Russell, a famous British atheist, wrote in a Free Man’s Worship:

    “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

    The modern atheists are not so candid about relationship between atheism and purpose of life and universe.

  2. King David glorifying God the Creator, without knowing an iota about Jesus

    In the Psalms we can read time and again, how the King or the Prophet David glorifies, God the Creator or God the Father, without knowing anything about Jesus, as he preceded him by seven centuries. David prays:

    LORD, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
    You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
    Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
    When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
    What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

    (Psalm 8:1-4, New International Version)

    To know God, we do not need to necessarily know about Jesus Christ and he forms no part of Divinity, as we can see His Majesty in the prayers of David, without any reference to Jesus!

  3. One of my horsemen, Prof. Richard Dawkins about objective or absolute moral values

    Dawkins writes:

    “Not all absolutism is derived from religion. Nevertheless, it is pretty hard to defend absolutist morals on grounds other than religious ones.”

    Ref: Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. Page 232.

    Implication being that if you believe that incest, holocaust and rape are objectively and absolutely wrong, then there has to be an absolute standard, a Law Giver, I suggest that is God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, John the Baptist and Muhammad, may peace be on them all.

  4. Quotes of Robert Jastrow

    For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

    Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world … the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same. Consider the enormousness of the problem : Science has proved that the universe exploded into being at a certain moment. It asks: ‘What cause produced this effect? Who or what put the matter or energy into the universe?’ And science cannot answer these questions.

    There is a strange ring of feeling and emotion in these reactions [of scientists to evidence that the universe had a sudden beginning]. They come from the heart whereas you would expect the judgments to come from the brain. Why? I think part of the answer is that scientists cannot bear the thought of a natural phenomenon which cannot be explained, even with unlimited time and money. There is a kind of religion in science, it is the religion of a person who believes there is order and harmony in the universe, and every effect must have its cause, [but still believes that] there is no first cause.

    This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control.

  5. Is the Resurrection of Christ Provable? (Western Baptist College Debate, 2008)

    The top two comments for this video in YouTube reveal the whole situation; Firstly:

    “In all fairness Mike Licona seems like a really nice guy but what annoyes me EVERY TIME in these debates is that the Christian speakers, whomever they may be, just keep repeating the same vague non answers and side step the real subject altegether. This is not debating it’s just making dogmatic statements about the christian faith.”

    Secondly:

    “I feel bad for Mike Lacona! His voice sounds really bad, hope is better by now. Further, Prof. Ehrman brought arguments to the stage, Mike Lacona unfortunately only half-baked thoughts. So props to Ehrman, Christian history once again failed to convince. (And thereby the religion as a whole.)”

    I appreciate this second comment also, except for the last line, which reveals the vulnerability of the commenter and also of my four horsemen, namely, finding a weakness of Christianity and attributing to Islam also or to all religions! Islam does not suggest any resurrection and only suggests a full time Transcendent God and not part time Transcendence!

  6. Trinitarian Christians alternate between Transcendent and a physical God, like a Hindu idol:

    If we look at the hard sciences of physics and chemistry, the main reason humanity has made great progress in the last few centuries is because we have found that laws of nature are constant and unchanging, which has made our science possible.

    The Christian theists, when arguing with atheists build their case on the hypothesis that there is a Creator, Who has made the Universe, made it biophylic by fine tuning several physical constants and parameters, 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. In the next breath they start talking about exceptions or violations of the laws of nature, in the form of miracles and resurrection etc. From a Transcendent Law Giver God they quickly go to a physical palpable God of Jesus Christ. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

    The most interesting observation is that the frequency of miracles is directly proportional to the scientific ignorance of the age. In times of Jesus we also had demons infesting human bodies which have gone extinct as we have developed our physics and biology.

    As a Muslim theist, I believe 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.

    Let us believe in truly a Transcendent God, which is beyond time, space and matter and not in part time transcendence of Trinitarian Christianity. If you see my point then by the power vested in me and all of us by the Transcendent God, I now pronounce you to be a Muslim!

  7. Bait and switch strategy of the Trinitarian Christians
    The Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, explained Christians’ attempts to describe God, in the following words:

    These days, concept of God and genuine understanding of monotheism are under fire. The Christians have written a lot about God, but, whatever genuine account they have given is about the true and the living God of Islam and not about a dead, crucified and a humble god. I can declare it with fullest confidence that whoever, will attempt to write about the attributes of God, his or her hand will be forced to come to the God of Islam. This is because each and every particle of our universe gives testimony of this God and the imprint of the God of Islam is also in every human heart and conscience. So, whenever humans endeavor to find God, they are lead to the concepts of Islam. (Malfoozat volume I/V page 52.)

    The Triune God, with one of the three persons of Jesus in the Trinity, himself having two natures, human and divine, one eternal and one finite born in 6 BC, welded together miraculously, actually makes the Triune God an incomprehensible Tetrad! It is not even a Trinity! But, who is doing the counting? No wonder atheists have an easy day taking Trinitarians to task, when many of them cannot even count! The Trinitarians, however, expound the Muslim and the Jewish God and then bait and switch to their Trinity.

    Read more about Religion, Science and Metaphysics:

    http://www.alislam.org/egazette/egazette/february-2011-egazette-metaphysics-religion-and-science/

    Is God the Father the Creator, the Trinity as a whole or are there three Creators?

    http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2011/11/religion/islam/is-god-the-father-the-creator-the-trinity-as-a-whole-or-are-there-three-creators

    A post and its comments, which is very relevant here:

    http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2011/12/religion/philosopher-sticks-up-for-god#comment-49181

  8. 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!

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