Epigraph: “In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. Say, ‘He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Independent and Besought of all. He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.’” (Al Quran 112:1-5)
Source: Alislam-eGazette, December 2010. Alislam-eGazette is a monthly publication of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, with a subscription of more than 40,000.
Prologue: As the Pope tries to convice the world of the truth of Christianity, we felt it is our responsibility to invite him to Islam.
BBC reported on November 21, 2012 that the third and final installment of Pope Benedict’s biography of Jesus is published. One million copies of the book, Jesus of Nazereth: The Infancy Narratives, have been printed in eight languages. It analyses the gospel narratives from the birth of Jesus to his presentation in the temple at the age of 12. The book is signed “Joseph Ratzinger Benedict XVI”, meaning that it is an academic work, rather than papal dogma that cannot be contradicted. Pope Benedict reaffirms the importance of the Christian belief in the virgin birth, that Jesus was not conceived through sexual intercourse but through the Holy Spirit. He argues that it, together with the resurrection, are “cornerstones of faith” because they demonstrate God’s power over matter. But he debunks several Christmas traditions, including the year of Jesus’ birth, which the Pope argues was miscalculated by a monk. Another sacred cow he tackles is the presence of animals at the birth in a stable in Bethlehem. He argues there is no evidence in the Gospel for that, but says images of oxen and donkeys have become such a staple part of the Nativity that they are now accepted.
Below, we have reviewed several of the Pope’s previous books, so we can extend him an invitation to Islam, in his own paradigm and in terms, in which he perceives reality. We believe that it will be useful for him or at least for the other 1 billion Catholics, God willing. The authors will be very happy to meet him personally in Rome and present these materials face to face, if he so chooses and extends an invitation. In the mean while, every one has access to these materials, through the internet. Let me take the liberty of making a suggestion to our Christian readers, read on, and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon’s advice, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”
In the beginning, we have also included a short book by the Muslim Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is now established in 200 countries of the world.
Fountain of Christianity
By Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
You should also consider that it is God’s eternal and established law that He forgives in response to repentance and penitence, and hears the prayers of His righteous servants which are offered by way of intercession. But we never observe in the Divine law of nature that ‘A’ hits his own head with a stone and this cures the headache of ‘B’. We are, therefore, at a loss to understand how people can acquire inner purification through the suicide committed by the Messiah. Is there any law or philosophy which can make us understand how the Messiah’s blood could have cleansed the inner impurities of other people? Our observation is, in fact, opposed to this principle, because, until the time when the Messiah decided to commit suicide, we find an element of righteousness and godliness among the Christians. After the crucifixion, however, their carnal passions burst forth like a river which breaks its banks and inundates the land.
There is no doubt that even if this suicide on the part of the Messiah was deliberate, it was quite needless. If he had, instead, spent his life in preaching and exhortation, he would have done a lot of good for God’s creation. But this act did not serve them in any way. Yes, if the Messiah had indeed come back to life after his suicide, and had ascended to heaven before the very eyes of the Jews, they would surely have believed in him. But, as things stand, the Jews, and all reasonable people, consider the Messiah’s ascension to be no more than a fable.
To read the whole booklet go to:
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Christianity: A Journey from Facts to Fiction
By Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad
He examines the doctrines of Christianity in light of reason and logic. He puts his conclusion on the back cover of his book in the words of a Christian theologian, Søren Aabye Kierkegaard:
“It is not the business of any Christian writer or preacher to dilute Christianity to suit the general educated public. The doctrine of the incarnation was to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, and so will it always be, for the doctrine not only transcends reason; it the paradox par excellence; and it can be affirmed only by faith, with passionate inwardness and interest. The substitution of reason for faith means the death of Christianity.”
What Kierkegaard could not foresee is the information age with millions of websites. It will be hard to hide behind the veil of ‘faith’ and run away from reason and rationality. It is self evident that faith cannot be divorced from reason. If man needed faith alone, any cult would be as good as any religion and all human affairs will completely collapse.
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A Cordial Invitation to the Pope Benedict XVI to Islam
By Zia H Shah MD
Human memory leads to the illusion-of-truth effect, meaning that we are more likely to rate those statements true that we are familiar with, regardless of their veracity. As such familiarity impairs judgment and prevents people from noticing, let alone accepting the obvious limitations in their views. The Pope Benedict XVI and the Christian readers appear to be the victims of such familiarity. That is why they are unable to readily appreciate the excellence of Islam over Christianity, with respect to unadulterated concept of One God. In the preface to Edward Gibbon’s History of Christianity, we read: “If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by Paganism. The pure Deism of the first Christians . . . was changed, by the Church of Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the trinity. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief.” If what Gibbon says be true we have all the reasons to try to shed our illusions and biases and carefully examine Christianity and Islam side by side. So, let me suggest to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI , at the very outset, to read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”
Jesus did not become god until the last canonical gospel, the Gospel of John. Almost 60-70 years had passed since Jesus was put on the cross. The first two generations of the committed believers had died. More and more pagans were joining Christianity. The stage was set to elevate Jesus to divine status. However, the earlier gospels, Mathew, Mark and Luke, known as the synoptic gospels, as they are similar to each other, were written earlier and did not exaggerate Jesus’ status, as much. The very contrast between the synoptic and the non-synoptic Gospel of John should be an epiphany to any open minded Christian and especially to you sir, the leader of more than a billion strong, Catholic Christians. Several reasons can be outlined for reading the four Gospels separately and independently rather than conflating them. Here, let me present one simple reason before we move on with the rest of the discussion. When the Gospel of Mark was written, the author meant it to be an independent testimony, as for 15-30 years there was no Matthew, Luke or John. It was an independent book and not an addendum or appendix to anything else!
Any mention of Jesus’ divinity even in the Gospel of John is also only implicit and not explicit and there are many verses in John as well from which lack of Jesus’ divinity can be argued. Nowhere in the Bible, has Jesus taught the disciples to worship him!
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Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam
By Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) and Marcello Pera
Reviewed and refuted by Dr. Naseer Tahir
This book is a compilation of a dialogue between his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and Marcello Pera, a former professor of Philosophy of Science at University of Pisa and elected President of the Italian Senate. The aim of the dialogue is a polite and seemingly civilized attempt to reach to an intelligent audience, with the hope of convincing them of exclusivity of Christianity and Western culture. The premise being that the present state of affairs in the world, the apparent superiority of Western culture, is historically unique and Islamic culture and its followers are relics of the past. It also makes an appeal to Europeans in general and Americans in particular to stay away from Relativistic attitudes. Stated simply: do not allow Islamic ideas to flourish because they are a danger to Western culture, Democracy and Christianity. The book stipulates interestingly, that the Western culture and Christian religion are to be seen as one and the same thing. The comparison is then drawn between Islamic religion and Western culture, and in so doing has compared apples and oranges. Conclusions are based upon fictitious ideology that present day Europe is entirely a product of Christianity and thus based upon teachings of Christianity. Islam and its followers are far removed from all this. The Pope writes on the page 80 of this book:
“We do not know how things will go in Europe in the future. The Charter of Fundamental Rights may be a first step, a sign that Europe is once again consciously seeking its soul. Here we must agree with Toynbee that the fate of a society always depends on its creative minorities. Christian believers should look upon themselves as just such a creative minority, and help Europe to reclaim what is best in its heritage and to thereby place itself at the service of all humankind.”
The key question is whether the Catholic Christianity or the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the ‘creative minority,’ for the future of mankind? To repeat the words of the Pope, “Here we must agree with Toynbee that the fate of a society always depends on its creative minorities. Christian believers should look upon themselves as just such a creative minority, and help Europe to reclaim what is best in its heritage and to thereby place itself at the service of all humankind.” To state the obvious, with 1.3 billion Catholic Christians in the world, the Catholic Church is no minority and her reactive history for centuries, as it has been a timid follower rather than a leader, especially in the last few centuries since the Enlightenment and European renaissance, does not leave her with creative credentials. Therefore, the role of rescuing mankind does not belong to her.
We believe that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is that creative minority, given its 125 year non-violent tradition, its constant emphasis on Universal Brotherhood, its genuine interpretation of pluralistic message of the Holy Quran and the rich tradition of annual Hajj in Islam. This is also a Divine promise.
For further details click here.
Seeking Ethical Foundation in the Pluralistic world
By Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Reviewed and refuted by Atif Munawar Mir
In his book, The Dialects of Secularization, the Pope discusses the need of world ethos in a pluralistic world that transcends all religions. His analysis is insightful but is limited due to his unfair assumptions about all major religions particularly Islam. He wrongly assumes that Islam and other religions did not come from the same God. He also does not acknowledge that religion sometimes require a fresh revelation, not always the reason, to purify itself. Finally, when the Pope says that reason and religion are not naturally complementary to each other, he seems to be ignoring the reality that the golden age of Islam – when Europe was in dark ages – was due to the partnership of reason and revelation, a partnership that is integral in Islam.
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The God of Jesus Christ: meditations on the Triune God
By Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Reviewed and refuted by Zia H Shah MD
Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Hebrew Scriptures: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4). There are several subtle confessions in the present day Christianity that the dogma of Trinity is a fallacy. For example the Encyclopedia Britannica states, “By the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea, … the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since. It is accepted in all of the historic confessions of Christianity, even though the impact of the Enlightenment decreased its importance.”
Polytheism was in the air as the Christianity was being formulated under Paul’s directions, many of us do not appreciate that Judaism was a small minority in the Roman Empire, forming perhaps 7% of the population. Majority of the Empire was polytheist and it was in those circumstances that Paul was trying to create a politically correct Monotheistic religion and we were given ‘three in one’ rather than multiple gods or One God of Judaism, Unitarian Christianity or Islam!
What caused the Monotheism of Judaism be distorted into Trinity can perhaps be imagined from a few verses in Genesis, which show the polytheistic residuals even in the monotheistic tradition of the Old Testament and Judaism:
“When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.’
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:1-4)
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Simon – not Simon Peter
By Sardar Anees Ahmad
St. Peter’s Cathedral
Simon was no Peter, or rock! Despite Christ instructing Simon to “strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32) and Simon boldly declaring that he will stand beside Christ whatever the circumstance, Christ famously prophecies that Simon will disown him three times before the cock crows (Matthew 26:33-34; Mark 14:29-30; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:37-38). And Simon did not disappoint (Matthew 26:71-75; Mark 14:50, 66-71; Luke 22:57-59; John 18:15-18, 25-27). While those denied Christ’s company weep at being denied such a blessing, the man upon whom the church was to be founded could not muster up enough courage to declare his loyalty to Christ – a loyalty he had previously so boldly declared! Simon’s actions not only disrespect Christ, but also contravene the message of every prophet of God – to abstain from appeasing the masses when it requires the sacrifice of truth.
Prior to the crucifixion, Jesus is extremely perturbed and repeatedly prays that he avoid the crucifixion (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42). Despite being removed by 2 millennia, today one can still sense the anguish with which he is offering these prayers. But what do we see of his contemporaries, namely Simon? We read when Jesus takes him to Garden of Gethsemane he repeatedly falls asleep, rather than pray for Christ’s safety (Matthew 26:40, 43, 45; Mark 14:37-41, 40-41; Luke 22:45). Note the disappointment in Christ’s words: “”Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?” (Mark 14:37). The night before the crucifixion, Jesus has yet to earn the most basic respect from Peter, or any of the other disciples! Moreover, Simon, along with the rest of the disciples, abandoned Jesus at the crucifixion (Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:40; Luke 23:49; John 19:25). A dog exhibits more loyalty to his master than Simon did at this moment.
Based upon the Gospel narrative, it is incredible to allege this man exhibited the qualities upon which one should found a new world order. It seems Christ’s utterance of ‘Satan’ indicates a far more severe assessment of Simon than Pope Benedict XVI admits in his book, Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church.
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St. Paul: the thirteenth Apostle
By Dr. Amtul Qadoos Farhat
“He never walked with Jesus of Nazareth, yet he traversed the Roman Empire proclaiming him the divine Christ,” Jeffery L. Sheler, freelance journalist who has covered the American religion scene for nearly two decades writes, “He never heard Jesus teach, yet he became Christianity’s most influential expositor of doctrine. He spoke little about Jesus’ life, yet he attached cosmic significance to his death and Resurrection. The Apostle Paul, some scholars now believe, was more instrumental in the founding of Christianity than anyone else–even Jesus himself.”
Paul teaches a new religion, a Christology, a religion different from that of Jesus, may peace be on him, a religion about death of Jesus on the cross, rather than the religion that Jesus practiced in his life time. A simple proof of these claims is the fact that there is very little information about Jesus’ life or his sayings in the thirteen letters attributed to Paul in the New Testament.
‘Paul,’ as described in the Book of Acts that is written by the author who also wrote the Gospel of Luke is at constant odds with the ‘Paul’ described by Paul himself in his letters in the New Testament. Prof. Bart Ehrman explains:
“In any event, even though Luke saw Paul as his hero, in many respects he portrayed Paul in ways unlike Paul’s portrayal of himself. In Acts, Paul preaches that God overlooks the ignorance of pagans who worship idols; in his own writings, Paul claims that God knows that pagans aren’t ignorant at all but commit idolatry in full knowledge of what they are doing, and so sends down his wrathful judgment upon them. In Acts, Paul meets with the Jerusalem apostles right after his conversion in Damascus, to show that they all stand in agreement on every major issue of the faith; according to Paul, he explicitly did not meet with the apostles after his conversion, showing that he did not receive any instruction in the gospel from them. In Acts, Paul is portrayed as being in complete harmony with Peter and the other apostles; according to Paul, he had major disagreements with the Jerusalem apostles, especially Peter, in an ugly confrontation in the city of Antioch over significant implications of his gospel message. In Acts, Paul preaches that God forgives those who have sinned and does not mention that the death of Jesus was an atoning sacrifice for sin; according to Paul, God requires blood to be shed to pay for sin, and his entire gospel is that Jesus’ death is, in fact, an atonement. In Acts, Paul is portrayed as never doing anything contrary to the dictates of Jewish law; according to Paul, when he was with Gentiles he ‘lived as a Gentile.’ In Acts, Paul has the Gentile Timothy circumcised so as not to offend other Jewish Christians; according to Paul, he refused to have the Gentile Titus circumcised despite Jewish-Christian insistence, because for Paul this would have been a violation of his entire gospel message.”
Paul has given repeated messages regarding an ‘easy fix’ for Justification and salvation and called it ‘Gospel’ or ‘Good News’: (Galatians 3:10-14, Ephesians 2:15). According to him believing and confessing is enough for salvation: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9) This is called atonement- Jesus will piggyback all the Christians to heaven!
Justification without law and accountability is very hard to conceive for a normal mind. Jesus never proposed this doctrine and neither ‘vicarious atonement.’ Instead his message was, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil the law.” (Matthew 5:17-20)
According to Deuteronomy 24:16, Ezekiel 18:20-21, and Micah 6:7-8, a man is responsible for his own sins.
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A Turning Point for Europe
By Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Reviewed and refuted by Arif Humayun
In his book, The Turning Point for Europe?, Joseph Ratzinger, or Pope Benedict XVI, considers Europe to have midwifed the development of the current secular political system which then propagated around the world. He feels that religion did not form part of that system and cites that as the reason for its collapse. His prescription is to first reintroduce religion to Europe, which would result in the development of a more sustainable system of governance and would consequently propagate to other parts of the world.
However, in the Holy Quran, Jesus, may peace be on him, is a Prophet for the Israelites to explain the Jewish Law. (Al Surah As-Saff 61:7) The Quranic paradigm can still be traced in the Bible despite the centuries of distortions and embellishments.
Two of the four canonical gospels carry the story of a woman who asks Jesus to exorcise a demon from her daughter. Unfortunately for her, she isn’t from Israel. (She is ‘Canaanite’ in one gospel, ‘Syrophoenician’ in another.) Jesus takes this into account and replies, with one of his less flattering allegories, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Pathetically, the woman answers, “Yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table,” (Matthew 15:27) after which Jesus relents and tosses her some crumbs by tossing out the demons.
Defenders of Jesus might say he was just driving home the fact that Gentiles can find salvation through faith. Indeed, that is the way the story plays out in Matthew, as Jesus exclaims, ‘Great is your faith!’ But in Mark, the earlier telling of the story, there’s no mention of faith. What wins Jesus’s favor, it seems, is the wom¬an-master-dog metaphor; with the woman bowed before him, Jesus answers only, ‘For saying that, you may go – the demon has left your daughter.’ (Matthew 15:28 and Mark 7:29)
Defenders of the traditional idea of a Universalist Jesus might point out that, at the end of Mark, Jesus tells his disciples, “Go into the entire world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved.’ But it turns out that this passage of almost 12 verses in the conclusion of the Mark were added well after Mark was written, and this is broadly accepted fact in the scholarly Christian circles and is fully acknowledged in the New International Version of the Bible.
Robert Wright writes in his book the Evolution of God, “Bringing word of Israel’s god to the world doesn’t necessarily mean grant¬ing foreigners the status of Israelites. Second Isaiah had wanted the world’s people to witness Yahweh’s grandeur, and thus find a salva¬tion of sorts, but the idea was that they would then bow to Zion in subservience to Israel’s god and hence to Israel. In fact, when Jesus says, in Mark, ‘Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ he is alluding to a passage in which Second Isaiah envisions foreigners being brought to God’s house in Israel ‘to be his servants.” (Isaiah 56:6 & Mark 11:17 is quoting Isaiah 56:7)
For our Global village we need a thoroughly Universalist message, a panacea of Islam as revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The Holy Quran states about him, “We have sent thee as a mercy to the whole mankind.” (Al Surah Al-Anbiya 21:108)
To read more click here.
Maria: Pope Benedict XVI on the Mother of God
By Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Reviewed and refuted by Khaula Rehman MD
Michio Kaku is a Japanese American scientist and science communicator who is Professor of Theoretical Physics specializing in string field theory at the City University of New York. He writes:
“”One day in Sunday school we studied Genesis. To read about God thundering from the heavens, ‘Let there be Light!’ sounded so much more dramatic than silently meditating about Nirvana. Out of naive curiosity, I asked my Sunday school teacher, ‘Did God have a mother?’ She usually had a snappy answer, as well as a deep moral lesson to offer. This time, however, she was taken aback. No, she replied hesitantly, God probably did not have a mother. ‘But then where did God come from?’ She mumbled that she would have to consult with the minister about that question.” If we bring the sincerity of the questioner and the teacher in examining the question of the mother of Jesus, considered to be god by the Trinitarian Christians, we will be ready for enlightenment.
If we are to understand Jesus in the Trinitarian Christian mind set as a perfect human and a perfect God then he should have a total of four parents, a human couple and a divine couple. Instead, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI suggests only two in his writings, especially in his book, Maria: Pope Benedict XVI on the Mother of God. A perfect man has 46 chromosomes half of which he gets from his father and half from his mother. His Holiness does not attempt to fully unveil the motherhood of so called God, Jesus, in Maria: Pope Benedict XVI on the Mother of God, he nevertheless claims, “Holy Mother of God, pray for us, just as at Cana you prayed for the bride and the bridegroom! Guide us towards Jesus-ever anew! Amen!” Now, Maria is claimed to be Mother of God but no explanation is offered, we are not told whether she is mother of the human part of Jesus or of divine part of Jesus and what about his other mother for the second part. The paper jacket of the book under consideration makes another tall claim that the Pope Benedict XVI is widely recognized as one of the most brilliant theologians and spiritual leaders of our age. The ‘most brilliant’ makes many claims and suggestions in his book but offers no reasons how a woman could be mother of God? For example, His Holiness writes, “In Mary shines forth the eternal goodness of the Creator, who chose her in his plan of salvation to be the Mother of his Only-begotten Son.” Unlike the elusive style of His Holiness, the Holy Quran not only makes claims but alongside them furnishes satisfying proofs as well.
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Religion and science: Eucharist
By Zia H Shah MD
It is said that the English expression of hocus pocus had its origin in Eucharist, no less authority than Professor Cray mentions it in his lecture series History of Christian Theology. It is said that the etymology of the word can be traced to a distortion of hoc enim est corpus meum—”this is my body”—the words of consecration accompanying the elevation of the host at Eucharist . . . mocked by Puritans and others as a form of “magic words.” In all probability those common juggling words of hocus pocus are nothing else but a corruption of hoc est corpus, by way of ridiculous imitation of the priests of the Church of Rome in their trick of transubstantiation in Eucharist.
Eucharist being celebrated
This is an article to show that ‘Eucharist’ is indeed the best example of paradox par excellence because it has been said that the best way to become thoroughly convinced that Eucharist or ‘transubstantiation’ is not true is to have someone try to convince you that it is true.
Pope Benedict XVI in his prolific style has authored at least two books on the subject, the Heart of Life and the Eucharist (Spiritual Thoughts) and God Is Near Us: The Eucharist. God is indeed near us as the Quran says, “And assuredly, We (Allah) have created man and We know what his mind whispers to him, and We are nearer to him than even his jugular vein.” (Al Quran 50:17)
The Quran gives a detailed description of the attributes of Allah and also says that there is nothing like Him. Eucharist is like making an idol and Jesus may peace be on him will not approve of it. When a teacher of the Law of Moses asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important one is this: ‘Hear O Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one. Love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:28-29)
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“For Plato (c. 428–c. 348 BC) and Kant, ethics is a matter of pure reason gaining pure insight into eternal truth,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica, “But Hegel argued that human beings are too deeply embedded in history to attain such purity and that their grasp of the right and the good is mediated by the laws and customs of the societies in which they live.”
In line with Hegel’s prediction, people in the East as well as the West are boxed by their traditions and history. I invite the Christian brethren and sisters not to be boxed, cribbed or cabined in the ‘either’ / ‘or’ choices of Christianity or atheism, as presented by the popular media. Prove Hegel wrong and rise unto Plato’s and Kant’s ideal, mentioned above. Islam is clearly a third liberating choice. All of us have the responsibility of broadening our horizons. Read some more about true Islam rather than letting media cook it up for you. Muslims for Peace website: click here