Tell Me About God
Channel: Hamza Tzortzis
File Size: 33.96MB
Beautiful Speech at King’s College London.
Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim in Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was salam, ala rasulillah to proceed. brothers, and sisters, and friends, and everybody else, I greet you with the warmest Islamic greetings of peace as salaam alaikum Alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu.
For those who don't know, that means May the peace and blessings of God be upon you all. Brothers and sisters, today we are talking about God, the divine reality.
And there are so many things to talk about when you entertain the idea the concept of God.
But I want to plant some seeds, in your hearts, and in your minds.
And I thought the best way of doing this is by basically talking about three things. Number one,
life is absurd. Without God.
Number two, God is a reality.
And number three, which I think is the most important, God wants to liberate you.
God wants to liberate you, your mind, and your heart.
So let's take this journey together.
The first point
without God, life is absurd.
Brothers and sisters and friends, if we really think about it, can we have any true happiness without the divine reality, and all the other associated ideas around God?
Let me give you a few examples. Say every single one of you were sedated. And all of a sudden, you wake up on Emirates, the Emirates flight. First class, you have a foot massage, a back massage, a face massage, you have the goal may food, you have Entertainment haich D, you have the best type of music, radio cinema.
You have food on tap, drink on tap luxury on top. You see his flat bed actually, is just like sleeping on a fluffy cloud in paradise. You have an amazing window, the scenery, the Alps, sunsets, sunset, sunrise, you are in bliss.
Are you going to be happy?
Think about this. Are we truly going to have a sense of ultimate happiness? Now, let me tell you what I would do. I would eat and I would drink and enjoy the massage. But then after a few minutes, I'll think I don't have my passport. I just woke up in this reality.
Where did I come from? What am I supposed to do here? Where am I going? Just like the CRAN says, For a net of a boon. And where are you going?
That you may think Excuse me, sir. This is cliche.
I'm happy. I'm going to become a doctor. I'm going to be rich.
I'm going to get married. We'd have children buy a big house.
I have food. I have shelter, clothing. I have the iPod, the iPad.
I have the iPhone. I have technology I've holidays.
This type of happiness. Brothers and sisters and friends, is what I would call the drunk man happiness. Because in reality, you just drunk, you suspended the critical questions, and you're drunk by your senses.
And sometimes you wake up with a hangover.
And that equates to my Internet's not working.
She left me
I lost my job. I've gained two stone.
So from this perspective, I want you to be critical thinkers and understand the implications of these examples.
Because in reality, how can we claim that we have ultimate happiness?
And every human being has this form of self love.
And there's nothing wrong with loving yourself, because I want to prolong my existence. I want to be happy. I will pleasure.
But if we truly have self respect, I would argue humbly, that we have to answer those questions.
And God, and all the associated ideas around that concept.
Really answer those questions.
So without God, we can't truly be happy.
Without God, brothers and sisters, there is no ultimate meaning.
Now many of you are studying to become doctors.
I want to save humanity.
I want to heal the sick. I want to take care of human beings.
What difference does it make? If our lives just ending the grave? If we just become one buffet?
Doesn't make any difference? I can claim to want to establish world peace, you can claim to want to find the cure for cancer. Someone else may claim they want to run the mafia.
Who cares? Does it really make any difference? Ultimately, if our lives just end in the grave, then you may think so what we don't need any justification for meaning we could make meaning on top of this nothingness. But for me, intuitively doesn't make sense. It's like basically saying, Let's pretend to have meaning.
Let's pretend it's like a theater.
Brothers and sisters, I'm no actor,
and no are you.
So I think life is ultimately absurd, without the divine reality.
This leads to the second point, God
is a reality.
Brothers and sisters,
you are conscious,
you are conscious of your own conscious awareness.
You are conscious
of me being conscious, you will have this subjective experience, which is
your perception of my delivery, for example. And it's so different for every single one of you. Many of you have water or coffee on the tables.
You have a subjective experience of what it is like to be you having a coffee, I have a subjective experience, when I have strawberries on what it is like to have a strawberry for me.
This is what you would call an intuitive fact in consciousness. Namely, we have this subjective experience.
And this is something that requires explanation, not only neuroscience, but in the philosophy of the mind.
We have subjective experience. I have to articulate here that a materialistic account of consciousness by having neuro chemical correlates
to this subjective experience doesn't align because yes, neuroscience can tell us this man is having a coffee. He may even maybe tell us that this man is having decaffeinated coffee.
But the language of science and the scope of the method, if we study the philosophy of science, will never be able to tell us what it is like for a subjective human being to have a coffee for that self for that person.
Now there have been some ways of trying to deal with this issue. For example, we have a Type A materialism, which
has become famous because of Dan Dennett. Dan Dennett wrote the book in the 90s consciousness explained, and he said, You're not really conscious. You don't have a story.
subjective awareness, things like love is as equivalent to a large amount of chocolate. Things like volition, and freewill
is this illusionary your subjective experience on what it is like to have a strawberry? what it is like to fall in love? what is like to engage with your friends?
what it is like to feel pain. That doesn't exist. It's illusionary because we're just chemical robots. we're no different to our 2d tuned Star Wars.
Are those things that shout and scream, exterminate in Doctor Who, you know, different brothers and sisters? He said it's illusionary.
But there was responses to type a materialism for consciousness.
For many thinkers, neuroscientists, and philosophers of the mind and they said,
Dan Dennett wrote the book consciousness explained. But in reality, this book should have been called consciousness explained away.
Because he's not dealing with the questions. He's not dealing with the thing that requires an answer. He's ignoring the fact that we do have this subjective experience, that's undeniable, because we could have the same neurochemical realities then same neurochemical patterns, but we could experience two different levels of pain.
This shows that materialism doesn't account for something which is so key in consciousness, which Professor David Chalmers calls
the hard problem of consciousness.
So not only do you have type A materialism, but we have type B, materialism, we have monism, we have dualism, but now's the time to discuss every single one, and show that they have failed. But I would argue brothers and sisters, the best, most rational explanation for the very fact that you have an awareness of your own conscious awareness, and the very fact that you
have a subjective experience, that you have a what it is to be like to have a coffee to have a friend to fall in love.
That itself is best explained by theism
by God, because if the whole history of the universe brothers and sisters was take a chunk of matter, and another chunk of matter, and another chunk of non conscious matter, and just rearranged in all of a sudden, you have a conscious human being, or you have something that is conscious.
In the beginning of the universe, all you have is matter, then everything from that should just be matter. But since we have mind, then surely what was before matter, must have been mind,
namely, a conscious, eternal deity.
Obviously, there's more to discuss. This is an introduction just to make you think that if you reject the divine reality, it's like rejecting your own self.
Maybe this is why God in the Quran says, If you forget God, God will make you forget your own cells.
The famous poet of the East, a cabal, he said,
people have been wondering about a particular question, particularly in the east. And that question is, Does God Exist? But I have another question for them. And that question is, does men exist?
Because in reality, if you reject God, you're rejecting your own self.
Something to think about.
Another reason why God is a reality is because he is not a concept. He is a precept
is not something that you conjure up like the spaghetti monster.
He is a preset he's necessary for all other rational concepts. No only consciousness, but the very fact that we can reason and we can articulate and the very fact that we have logical structures in building our minds, one plus one is equal to two on Earth.
Mars in this universe or any universe, it transcends empirical realities then necessary metaphysical truths.
And the reason I'm saying God is a precept is because God
is what you would call a properly basic belief. You don't need to prove his existence, he is to deny, then there is nothing.
And properly basic beliefs are not alien to the Western empirical tradition.
Take the real world, for example, the real world is the real world. But no one in this room can prove to me that the real world is actually real.
someone the other day, when I was in Ireland delivering a lecture, he said, my brother, I want you to give me the absolute answer. For the Absolute Truth of Islam, says my brother, think about who's asking the question. You can't even prove your absolute existence.
How do you know that you are real? Maybe your brain is on Venus. And there's an alien with probes in your brain, making you think and feel what you're thinking and feeling. Now.
philosophers of science
understood that this is a properly basic belief. It's a self evident truth. It's a rational axiom that is required in order to develop other rational truths. God is a properly basic belief, just like the real world is the real world. So to reject God is like rejecting the real world.
Why am I saying this?
Take for instance, various studies in psychology and sociology. Take Oliver Petrovich.
In one of her journals, she discusses the psychology of religion and says the empirical evidence out there shows that human beings have a natural disposition to acknowledge the divine. And in actual fact, atheism is forced on humanity. The irony
that atheism according to some academics, is forced
on the psychological psychological disposition of the human being.
Take for instance, Professor Justin Barrett, who studied children, he's a evolutionary sociologist. And he said that after long studies, based on children from atheist and theist backgrounds,
that children who believe in supernatural agency, because when they ask the question who created the universe, they know they can't be something within the universe because of the logical absurdity. There must be a metaphysical cause.
So we have psychological and sociological evidence to support that the idea of God is natural, it's self evident.
But we see this in anthropological studies as well take atheist, China and atheist Russia, you have huge statues of Stalin and Lenin and Mao. And there's this type of sanctification of these statues, almost like a form of worship, as if it's the sanctification instinct, and this instinct is well known in our society. Just take Justin Bieber's an example. Believers, right.
Can you sign my hijab, please?
We look up to these people. This avid materialistic culture is in a way, just a manifestation of the innateness and the human being, to want to sanctify to want to worship something that we're searching for meaning
we're searching for meaning.
Now, this idea of a properly basic belief is also well known in academia, you have Professor Alvin plantinga, who actually discussed this at length.
Now there is a contention, and they might say, what about fairies? fairies, they're properly basic beliefs, or the spaghetti monster is a properly basic belief, but they've misunderstood the argument. A properly basic belief is a belief that does not require information transfer. If I were to take you as a child on a desert island, without any other information, you would develop that belief, namely, that the sun is real, that the trees are real, and that supernatural causal agency is also real. Because what created and caused the desire
Can't be within the desert island
by ideas such as a fairy, or Spaghetti Monster, or ideas that require information transfer. So that deals with that contention.
So God is innate. And this is why in Islam we have the concept of the fitrah, which shares the root the Arabic root with other words such as photron, and Fatah who, that something has been created within us to acknowledge and worship the divine reality. And according to prophetic tradition of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam upon him bpce.
He said, that every human being is born in this natural state. But there is a socialization effect that deviates them away from this worship of this acknowledgment of the Divine in line with modern academic studies, as we referenced, Oliver Petrovich. So from this perspective, brothers and sisters, what do we see? We now see that God is self evident. The onus of proof, according to what we just discussed, is known the theist, but on the atheist, so when someone says, prove to me God exists, in actual fact, you should be saying, will you prove to me he doesn't? Because it's like saying, prove to me that the chair exists that you're sitting on, or prove to me that you have a
consciousness? Excuse me, sir, I think the onus of proof is on you to try and disprove that I don't have a consciousness.
You see how powerful this idea is. And give you another argument to why God is the reality.
Premise number one, this universe began, I don't think we have to talk about the actual infinite and the potential infinite and the qualitative, infinite, and the quantitative, infinite, and they kind of have an actualized infinite in the real physical world. It's irrelevant. We don't have to talk about Big Bang cosmology, all the different theories, the oscillating model, the quantum fluctuation model,
I think is well known now that t is equal to zero. The universe has a spatial temporal boundary.
It wasn't always there. We've gone beyond the 1950s and 60s, people, the universe, and urged it is more than the language in Islamic thought meaning it came into being It is my look, it was created. So since the universe came into being, there are full, logical explanations to explain why. And this is based on the Quran By the way, Chapter 52, verses 35 to 36.
What are the logical implications? What are the logical possible explanations? Number one, since the universe began emerged, it was created from Avaya nothing, number two, it created itself. Number three, it was created by something else created. Or number four, it was created by something uncreated. So this is just the first point, if the universe came into being it was creativity emerged, whatever language you want to use, could it come from nothing? Of course not. Because metaphysically as a principle, regardless of empirical justification, when you have nothing, with a little bit more of nothing, and a little bit more of nothing, all you're going to have is nothing.
Nothing, times 1000 is nothing.
And what we mean by nothing is the absence of something, or the absence of the thing that we're talking about. Because we do have the likes of Professor Lawrence Krauss, who wrote the book, the universe from nothing, but his nothing actually means something by the way.
As he says in his lecture, mind, nothing is something physical. A bit bizarre, isn't it? It's like me coming here and saying, last night, I had an amazing meal. And it was nothing.
Or actually, for breakfast, I had nothing with a little bit of whipped cream.
It doesn't make sense. It's wild called linguistic gymnastics, actually called the police. He's murdered the English language.
And he says in his book, that he may not have enough empirical justification to what he's talking about. He also says in his book that essentially, is is plausibility and that he's changed the word nothing to mean something, which is no time and space. But there is some
thing, and it's physical, confused? Well done. That means you have a correct mindset, you have an intellect.
So it's not that nothing that we're talking about.
But some people may argue, wait a minute, you have these quantum physicists and these atheists who think they know quantum physics, and they say something can come from nothing. You have subatomic happenings or particles emerging from a quantum vacuum. If you don't know what the quantum vacuum is, just imagine this, I have a cosmic Hoover, and I suck away all particles in the universe, what's left would be the vacuum. Okay. And they say that nothingness you have things emerging. Frankly, this is a mistake, because the quantum vacuum is something. It's a rich structure. It obeys the laws of the universe. And it is a sea of fluctuating energy. So it's something
so we can say the universe cannot come from nothing.
The second point, could the universe created itself? Or to use philosophical language, non religious language? Could the universe come into being by its own being?
This is impossible, right? Let me make you understand this with a question. Could your mother give birth to herself?
It's a very messy idea. I appreciate it's impossible, because that implies that she was in existence and non existence at the same time, because to say the universe came into being by its own being, it means he was not there before it was there because it began, but it was actually there before it wasn't there in order for it to be there after it wasn't there. Confused? Exactly. Now, you do have some biological arguments, I had a interesting discussion in Birmingham University with the head of the humanist, the British Humanist Association, his name was Andrew competent. And I gave him this argument, he said, Look, you're wrong, the universe can create itself. And he said, look at asexual
reproduction. In biology, you have a single cell, and it splits. I started to laugh, hopefully not arrogance, because I said your example, has justified our position. Two points.
This is single cell in order for it to split. It requires energy outside of itself.
So for the universe to appear, it requires energy outside of itself. The second point is, you're assuming that there was always a first cell there was always a first universe, that assumption can't be made, because this universe began, it once wasn't there at all.
So that deals with that contention.
The third point?
Could the universe be ultimately created by something else that was created or using more philosophical language? Could this Cosmos the very beginning that has a spatial temporal boundary? Could it be created by something else that was also created, or by something else that emerged? Well, for me, this is quite difficult. As even taymiyah, the 14th century theologian said, you have an absurdity, because you can't have an infinite regress of causes.
For instance, if this universe that began, was as a result of another universe that also began. And that universe was as a result of another universe or another material entity that also began and that material entity or universe was as a result of another material entity or universe. And that goes on forever. Will we ever have today's universe? No.
It's impossible. And that's why he addresses the idea of who created God, you know, this kind of, I call this an outdated atheist cliche. It's like, I mean, when are we going to grow up in our discussions you see on YouTube, in the books, even Richard Dawkins talks about it. It's like, Come on, let's move on with the discussion. Because when you say who created God, which by definition is an uncreated being, which is a paradox in and of itself, but let's entertain it, if you say, Who created God, then who created the God that created God? Wait a minute, then who created the God that created the God that created the God? One more second, you created the God that created the God that
created the God that created the God, one second, my friend, he created the God that created the God that created the God that created the God that created the God that created the God that created the God. If I go on forever, we will never have a god we will never have a universe.
So from this perspective, an infinite regress of causes is impossible. By rational necessity, we end up with a fourth option, which is this cosmos, this universe was
created or brought into being by something that wasn't created. And that's something that wasn't brought into being. And by the way, this is not a problem for anybody, theists or atheists. As the philosopher Abraham Varghese says, we both agree on something, theists and atheists, that something must be eternal side of the universe, or energy or matter, or what created it, take your choice. But since the universe began, then it must be what created the universe.
Now, this doesn't mean God exists, it just means is an uncreated creator. But when we use our brains, sometimes I call this conceptual analysis. When we think about this deeply, we see that we will derive some attributes that are in line with the divine reality. Namely, he must be powerful. Why? Well, there's 10 to the power of 80 atoms in this universe. Take one atom, Hello, Miss atom, how you doing? I'm just going to split you for a moment. Yeah, say we split this atom, what happens? a release of energy, say we can infer by great to reason, using a footer I argument, we're using an argument from greater reason that it must be also powerful.
It must be knowing or intelligent, because we have established laws in the universe. If I were to drop this pen, it falls down because of the law of gravity. And a little given implies an intelligence or knowledge.
We know it must be eternal. Why must it be eternal? Because it wasn't brought into being.
So you see, now we're deriving some attributes that are in line with the monotheistic tradition, on who and what God is powerful, knowing, intelligent.
So there are three good arguments we just discussed now that God is a reality. So let's end on the most profound point. God, brothers and sisters and friends actually wants to liberate you. He wants to liberate your heart and your mind, because at the end of the day, God, especially in the Islamic tradition, is Alva dude. He is the excessively loving. We have a prophetic tradition from the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he says, God loves you. God loves me more than a mother loves her child. Think about this tradition. Think about it for a moment, brothers and sisters.
Is there any greater love in this universe than the love of a mother? It shows how transcendent God's love is.
And now His love and His urashima His compassion. And that word comes from the word the womb.
And that's where there's a connection between God's love and mercy, with femininity with with what it means to be a woman.
So, why his mercy and His compassion? God wants to liberate you?
Do you know why brothers and sisters and friends?
Let me ask you some questions. Brother, what's your name?
His name is Bilal
I'm going to ask him a question. I don't want him to answer. I don't want you to answer but only in your mind. Let's go through this existential journey, what it means to exist.
Did Bilal choose his name?
Did Bilal choose his gender?
Then below, choose his parents? Did you choose your parents? Then below choose his siblings? Did you choose your siblings? Did bill owl choose his ethnicity? Did you choose your ethnicity? Did you choose your place of birth? Did you choose your teachers? Did you choose your schools? Did you choose
the social economic environment in which you were brought up?
Did you choose any of these things? did you choose this avid materialistic culture that gives us a reductionist view and beauty
and an egocentric one as well. laurio because I'm worth it.
Did we choose these things? Did he choose his own DNA? Did he choose his biology? Did he choose his psychological disposition? Some people are born with different levels of inclinations towards things. He had no choice. You had no choice. I had no choice. We had no choice over these matters. And you have the audacity to call yourself free.
Just because you can walk into a shop and choose between Gucci and Prada, you think you're free.
Just because you have this illusion of choice, you think you're free, I'm free. I can choose between a dentistry degree or medical degree, I can choose between Gucci and Prada and Nike and Adidas. I can choose between a galaxy or an iPhone.
And you think you're free.
You're not free brothers and sisters, let me give you a story. I used to work as a program office manager for the government.
I worked on nathless, which is called the National automated fingerprint identification system.
And one of the workers in our office was a PA, a personal assistant. And she was a really nice lady. I was very intrusive, with my questions, a typical Greek thing to do.
And I would ask a questions like, I really liked your cat heeled shoes. It was the same thing at that time.
your heels are bleeding. And there's quite a few pluses on them. Why are you doing this? And she looked at me in thinking this guy's weird.
Which is true, different story, though.
And she said, Well, they make me feel better. Well, you're committing foot terrorism at the moment. You're not feeling better at all? Well, they made me look nice. Why do you think they make you look nice. And then I was questioning her. And she ended up by saying,
people think I look nice.
So you know, when we she walked into a store, and she said, I have a choice between the green cat hills, or the flat black shoes. She thinks she was she thought she was free. But in reality, that kind of subconscious construct the social construct the avid materialism, defining beauty, defining beauty,
by what others tell us, especially those
who want money.
She thought she was free but she's not free.
So we are thrown into context, just like the existential philosophers, Heidegger and kaika God, they developed this concept conferred oneness that were thrown into society with no choice.
So we're not free brothers and sisters. We are not free. Our minds are not free. Your hearts are not free. I don't care you come from the land of the free and the home of the brave, or any part of the free world.
I'm not having a political discussion. I'm having an existential discussion. What it means to be me what it means to be you were not free people were shackled.
Well, actually, twice shackled. I rather have shackles on my arms. At least I know where my slavery is. But you think you're free but you're actually enslaved. I coronations emotions, dispositions are all shaped by society. With the works of Vivienne bear the social constructionist, she wrote a book published by Rutledge called Social constructionism. People who carry the power to shape the discourse and making you think and feel in a way that you are
working to the prison,
It is no wonder an American writer once wrote that being born, my birth your birth, our births, is a being kidnapped and sold into slavery.
So how do we liberate our minds and our hearts?
There's a clue in the Quran.
The Quran has a word for soul. It's row.
This word the law shares the same route for the word urahara. Which means serenity, peace, Liberty. So it's as if the row is seeking this liberty is seeking this peace, this serenity.
And brothers and sisters and friends, the only way to achieve this
is by changing your slavery.
You have hundreds of slave masters, your wife, your parents, your children, society, your job, your boss, your boss's boss, the politicians, the media, the television, celebrity culture, the magazines, they all want a piece of you. They all want a bit of your blood.
And they think they know what's good for you, but they don't. And they think they know you, but they don't.
But God is saying, free yourself from the slave masters, and slave and be at service to the one who knows you better than you know yourself. And the one who truly knows ultimate goodness, and the one who actually loves you, and the one who nurtures you, and the one who takes care of you, and the one that works best for you. Take your choice people, you can't escape slavery. You're either in slave to all of these slave masters, or to the one that really cares for you.
It is no wonder the poet cabal said
this one frustration, you find too difficult, frees you from 1000 prostrations.
Brothers and sisters God
have a loving relationship with you. Because now in Islam worship is not just binding down.
It's very hard to very intimate.
And this is why the 11th century theologian and polymath elive azali.
He wrote a book on love.
You know that? Well, you don't hear often in the Islamic tradition.
Which is weird because it should be part of our tradition, as in the female Josie or the 14th century theologian said, where you see mercy, you should see Islam.
Because the Prophet Mohammed upon whom the peace said,
Be compassionate. If you put compassion in something elevates it, if you remove compassionate degrades it so brothers and sisters,
God, Allah, the day T the one deserve it of all worship and love, once to have a loving relationship. And this way, Alexander, he wrote the book on love. And in this book, he says before obedience comes love. Because if I was your professor, and I said, by tomorrow morning, write a 20,000 word essay on type A materialism as an explanation for consciousness. You be like, excuse me, you might do it, reluctantly.
But if you truly loved me, you would give me 40,000 words, and I have fruit on my table,
you will show love.
And this is why we must engage with the Islamic tradition of the idea of God in this loving way. Because, as Alan has already said, If you love yourself, and we all do, we want pleasure when a prolonged existence, we want happiness, if you truly love yourself, than the one with an intellect and the one with a sound heart would by necessity, will by necessity, love God. Why?
Because why on earth are you how on earth are you? Who created you, who maintains you, who sustains you, who created love in the first place, who created the capacity for you even to love yourself?
It was the divine reality.
So by loving yourself, you should really ultimately love God at the end. And elegance that he says if someone loves themselves and doesn't love God, then he's obsessed by the senses.
So God brothers and sisters, wants to engage in a loving relationship with you, but we just have a choice, we have a choice, being slave to all of these slave masters of free yourself from the shackles of the ephemeral world, and enslave yourself to the one who deserves worship, love. And by doing so, it freed yourself from all of the world's calamities like peer pressure, his pressure, her pressure, their pressure.
And it also allows you to love the world. Because if someone claims to love somebody or something, and they don't love God, they don't really know what love is. Let me end on this brothers and sisters. And this is like a metaphor. God has created every single one of you with a hole in the heart.
And sometimes we fill it with our husbands or wives or children. Sometimes we fill it with technology and you can a degree
a sense of self worship. I want to be successful. I'm the man I'm the powerful
but when we do that, we have another hole in our heart
and another one in another one. But brothers and sisters, the moment you feel
Hold the love of God, the love of Allah.
You won't have any holes left.
And you might be poor.
You might have no dignity.
According to other people's perceptions, you might not look right. You might not speak right?
If you unwrap yourself with all of this linguistic rapping, I'm Pakistani, I'm Jewish. I'm Caucasian, I'm a businessman, I'm a teacher, all of this linguistic wrapping. When you unwrap yourself,
you'll find the love of God, you won't find nothing.
And you have true peace in your life.
So fill that hole with God's love.
It's like the boat in the ocean. You know, the boat,
floats nicely and doesn't sink on the ocean as long as the ocean or the water is not in the boat.
The boat is our hearts. The ocean is the ephemeral world, the more of the water, the ocean is in our hearts, it will sink.
It doesn't mean you can't be successful, of course, be successful. But just align your heart in the right way.
And brothers and sisters and friends I beg you just read the Quran is the spiritual medicine. Because the Quran aims to break the ego because the ego is the barrier to divine love. It's as simple as that people. It's as simple as that. That's why sometimes even if you're not Muslim, and you read the Quran, like I was non Muslim, about 10 years ago, when I read the Quran, I was like, Oh my God, who is this person. I don't want to worship this person. I don't want to love this person. He wants me to do things just for him. But I don't do things for me. By God, someone told me before I was Muslim in my living room.
We don't do things for other people or ourselves or our ego, we do things for God, I felt sick in the toilet, and he felt sick. And that was my arrogance. The Quran was giving me the medicine. It was shaping me because the crane does this it makes you wake up to reality and says, You think you're someone you think you're self sufficient, but you will not for 10 min. Many newer drop of fluid from a pieces from a drop of semen. If you have this on your hand, you're like Ah,
this should be in your photo album. That blob honestly, to break your ego to break your ego. The Quran talks about birth and the cycle of life. You're a baby, you could even keep your neck up. You could even wipe your own backside. You can even feed yourself and you think you could take over the whole world. arrogance, arrogance. And the Quran also says could do nothing the acquittal mode, every soul is going to taste death you're going to become one buffet. You're going to meet your master.
It's so simple brothers and sisters and friends.
When you love the world, you lose real love. When you love Allah, you gain absolute love. God was to liberate your minds used to free you from the slavery and liberate your hearts. We've gone through a nice journey.
I love you guys.
I do because the Prophet Muhammad upon him up said, you will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe in you love one another.
God bless you. I think this q&a Solomonic.
I deliberately did that because there's a lecture on Wednesday on the Quran itself that will focus on that. And what I want you to do is really focus on something that I think is a primary attribute of God, which is mercy and compassion and love. So I spoke about how God wants to free you from this. Now, if you want to go a little bit into detail about who God is in Islam, he's essentially he is transcendent. As the Quran says Lisa committed he Shay, for example, if I were to create this water bottle, I don't become the water bottle right?
He is powerful, as you mentioned. He is loving his compassionate he has
a number of names and attributes. But I think the cool thing is that differentiates Islam with other spiritual traditions is very simple, is what I would call a purified form of monotheism which is in line with our natures as we discussed something about the nature of ourselves in acknowledging the transcendent being so without getting into too much argumentation.
Quran says clearly could have Allah who had a low summit let me lead with him you lead with me aku
ahead, say God is uniquely one,
he is self sufficient.
He begets not known as he be gotten and there is nothing like unto him. Now these principles which you can understand in the English language actually filters out most spiritual traditions in my humble view, for example, Buddhism doesn't have a foot in the door, because it doesn't really acknowledge the divine as a reality that should be discussed.
Take, for instance, Hinduism, some forms of Hinduism, they have this concept of pantheism, but is within the universe, which I would argue is counter to our reason, take even contemporary forms of Christianity. Christianity, a certain conception of Christian theology says that Jesus upon him VPS had a center of consciousness, and he had a human nature and the divine nature, I find that problematic for rational, spiritual reasons. I don't think it's in line with the majesty of God. I don't think it's in line with reason, per se, it might be logical. You could define it mathematically. But I don't think is reasonable. Because, I mean, you're doing medicine. I don't
offend anybody. But if someone has two natures, that quite distinct, there's a term for that. Yeah. So from that perspective, and obviously, we don't have time to get into huge discussion about this. But I would say just looking at 112 chapter on the Quran, it becomes a filter for most spiritual traditions. And I'm saying this from a humble way, because Islam as a claim has a monopoly on the truth. I mean, if Muslims come across that way, then that's wrong. We just pay we have an unbroken chain of narration. That's all we say. That's all we're saying. We're saying we just what is the right conception? other traditions talked about oneness. Most traditions talked about oneness. But
they got it wrong somewhere, like even the Jewish tradition, if you study the Talmud, you see, for example, rabbinical saints almost become like a source of Revelation. For us as a form of polytheism. As for the Quran, says, Have you seen those who take the monks and rabbis as their roads, because what they say now is almost like a divine authority. We can't accept that. Because that is associating divinity to anything other than God. So the point is, when you do the critical analysis on all spiritual traditions, in my humble view, if you believe monotheism in this form, to be pure and part of your nature, and you use these principles from the 112 chapter in the Quran,
then you would see that
the most reasonable and loving and natural decision is to say,
I'm going to worship the God that deserves to be worshipped, which is the one that has sold divinity, and it's not shared with anything or anyone else. So that would be my view, and a summary and action to be honest, that's all you need. And that's the seed for you. And if that seed is planted, is up to go to water that seed or not, via his wisdom and his mercy, so I hope that helps john?
Well, you I think you can understand and can have a meaning behind the names and attributes on who God is? Can you fully understand? No.
But can you fathom Can you appreciate Of course, because for instance,
take love, you can appreciate the love of your mother, God says his love is greater. So you started with us with a form of appreciation because you know what the love of your mother is?
No, what we're saying is that God transcends that. But as long as you know the type of love that you feeling from your mother, then you have a sense of fire, we'll never totally appreciate God's wisdom, or God's love or God's mercy. But I get it, I get it, in the terms of is greater than my mother's. That's the point.
So yes, you're right, you can never totally fully, fully understand and fathom the divine reality, by definition, otherwise, he wouldn't be divine, or it would mean your divine. Right. So the point is, I totally appreciate that. But there is a sense of meaning that we have because the logical, necessary conclusions from your perspective is that the things that the Quran says is totally meaningless. So when God says he's loving, it's meaningless. When God says, He is the Creator is meaningless when when he says he is the wise, it's meaningless because you can't understand it. No, we have an element of understanding, but we can't fathom. Let me give an example the word wing. If I
give you the word wing, what comes to mind?
You obviously don't do medicine, right? Because the wing of a hospital
and the wing of a bed. So the point is, you have what you'd call it.
Common meaningful denominator for a certain meaning that you can't explore in a physical sense, because the wing itself, the wing, the term wing itself, has no ontological export, meaning, you can't take that meaning and exported to the real world unless you give it a modality, such as a wing of a bird, the wing of a hospital. So that's the type of appreciation we have about God, we have the common denominator, but we can't give it a modality, we can't really say that we can give it a physical manifestation. So yeah, you can appreciate but can you fully understand? No. And I think the wing example is probably the best example I can give you for now. Chava. Thank you.
Evolution, marketing. Evolution is a huge debate. I don't even know why we have this debate is very simple. For me, anyway, I think we should approach this from an epistemic perspective. What do I mean by that? epistemology is the study of knowledge. Now, when we study the philosophy of science, we come to an understanding brothers and sisters that
it's not the gospel truth, right? It's not 100% true. Let me give you a crude example, science uses induction as a thinking method, or as a way of making conclusions. What is induction practically, induction is you take a limited number of observations. And you conclude for the next observation, which is called weak induction, or the entire set of observations, which is called strong induction. The point is, your conclusion is not necessarily necessarily true. It ranges from a probability of 0% to 99%. So when you question any sincere scientists, you say have you had? Or do you have an infinite number of observations for your conclusion? Like, golly, no, of course not. So from that
perspective, is not 100% true. So there is an element of doubt things can change.
So when you have a conclusion from science, such as evolution, and a conclusion from theology that says, Yes, we may accept animal evolution, but not human evolution, or there's a big discussion or there's some kind of irreconcilable difference. What do I do? I say find this go to the epistemic approach. What is the source of the Quran, I believe to be from the divine, it's divine knowledge and wisdom. And I could show that outside of the empirical realities using reason, using other arguments. Science is great, it's a blessing from God is one of the manifestations of His mercy. We're encouraging the CRAN, to look into the empirical realities. But we also understand that God
has the picture, we have the pixel. And every census scientist says this. So what I would say is, as a believer who doesn't necessarily accept evolution, theologically, as for example, if I was a scientist, I would say, it's the best we have. It's amazing, isn't it? Wow. Let's keep on working with it.
And keeping doing the science, but do you accept as part of your credo framework? No, because you know, that you have an alternative method of tentative source of knowledge, you think, which is higher epistemically in terms of its epistemic value, its value of knowledge, then the method of science because it's based on induction, zero to 99%. So say evolution is around the 95%. Mark. It's still not the gospel truth, if you like, we believe this to be the Quranic or gospel truth. So therefore, we take one over the other, but it doesn't mean you reject the science, you're saying is the best that we have with our current observations, and we're working with it. And maybe we'll
catch up to what the Quran says.
There's another way of looking at this is by looking at the Quranic discourse and saying, The words are quite ambiguous with multi layered meanings. Maybe we can correlate that has been tried to be done. I think it's failed, because there are some issues which are quite definite, such as the fact that Adam did not have any father or anything prior to him that was alive. So that's a big issue. You could claim as a miracle, you could accept evolution and claim that Adam upon MVPs is a miracle. Of course you can. But these are some ways that I've been trying to deal with this. I've written an essay on this called how we misunderstood evolution. He goes through the epistemic approach. I don't
even talk about the science because I'm not scientist. I have no idea. I just took it from a conceptual perspective to give you the tools to try and understand this, and it's on my website Hamza dodges.com.
Let me just correct that before we get the question, but do you appreciate the other forms of Christianity such as unitarianism there are some forms of Christianity that's not Christianity.
We have the pope in the room.
No, no, no, I appreciate that. The only thing is, is because I do, I do try and do some wider reading. And I do appreciate there are some people who accept Jesus as a very special person. As let me give you some advice, right?
There is an amazing book by Professor James D. Dunn is Billy I believe it's called what the early Christians believed? Or did the early Christians worship Jesus? And he makes an amazing point. And he said, he analyzes the whole Bible for himself. And he says,
The early Christians, and study this for yourself, don't take my word, Don't believe me? You don't know me from Adam. Right? Just Just take, just take the reference. He argues and says, When he's engaged with the text, he sees that the early Christians never saw Jesus as an object of worship. They saw him as an MC. And I know Greek is called ecorner. And a corner is an icon. theologically an icon is a window to the divine, not the divine himself. But what happened over time, Jesus became an object of worship. So that book may be interesting for you to understand that he claims to be a Christian. And he says, my analysis of biblical Christianity is this. Do you see? So maybe you're
right, maybe I'm wrong, but I just want to give you that reference. So your question, please.
we as Christians disagree with
he said, because you're doing something when we're not doing it.
I think I gave an answer to john.
My question was, Why? What good reason, would you give us Christians to reject Christianity?
For me, and it's my reasons, not yours, obviously. For me, I would give the answer give to john about the idea and the concept of God because I find it very counter intuitive to believe that God became a man or a man had a sense of consciousness. He was who's had human nature and a divine nature, I find that incoherent. Okay. So I would say, Can you explain that to a five year old? No, then we can explain to anybody, frankly, because God is not unjustified. Right? And not just I know, that's a crude example. But you know, it's, to this day, I have not met, I have not met any philosopher theologian has given me a coherent view on the nature of Jesus and even the Trinity. For
example, you know, I used to refer to the likes of Professor William Craig. He's an amazing apologist for Christianity. His example was a non real examples and mythological example, and he gave the example of Trinity a three headed dog, right. I know you follow Him, you don't put up for anybody, but it sounds right. He's no creases, he's no creases. He's no Christian. He's only me. Yeah. What are you kidding? I'm only kidding. So I did it. So you're saying but the point is, is incoherent. But if you want to rule if you want rational reasons, it will be the concept of God as I mentioned, but it's also be based on scripture. At the end of the day, my beloved friend, you
believe what you believe because it's biblical. If the Bible said explicitly in a certain chapter, take Timothy or Deuteronomy or whatever, and it said, on Fridays, say you said Jesus said on Fridays, you must wear leather jacket and rollerskate, I'm telling you on Friday, you'll be doing that. If the Quranic Chapter Two says Hamza, always give flowers to your mother on a Wednesday, I'll be giving flowers to my mother on a Wednesday, right? If the Quran said on chapter five, for example, that walk barefooted, one mile a day, I'm going to walk barefoot in one one mile a day. So I don't think our discussion our beloved friend shouldn't be unnecessarily worried teachers,
necessarily. Our discussion should be the source of those teachings. So let's go to the source. Now. Why do I reject the Bible as it is today? We don't reject the in G because we know the Quran refers to the gospel. Whether it is preserved or not, is a different question. But we reject the today's Gospel. And I'll tell you why. And it's just based on reason, my beloved friend,
from my humble analysis, I know not to be Greek as well, Greek. So it's easy.
When you look at the 5000 plus New Testaments in the Greek language, from say, around 100 150 200 years after the so called resurrection of Jesus to the 19th century, you have not one of them in total congruence with each other ingredients. Okay?
Many Christians have a good argument. They say, well, that's in minor form, agreed. But there are other major problems in certain chunks of certain chapters. Okay? For me, I find that problematic because you can't verify Is this the Word of God. Namely, we can't even verify who were the authors of the gospel, Mark, Luke, etc. We don't have any valid historicity because when you study the old tradition, the early Christian tradition was based on an oral tradition. Islam is based on oral tradition. But the oral tradition wasn't scientific. For example, we didn't know people in the chains of narration, necessarily. We had no biographies attached to these people in the chain of the
narrative. We don't know that from Adam. We don't know the second names, for example, they just emerge all because if you say in my humble opinion from the science of history, or you can safely say is this, these books are a product of the early Christian community. Can you say the divine?
That's stretching a bit, stretching a bit, because, you know, you have the concept of the historicity of the Bible, which is problematic if you read the works of Bruce Metzger, Bart Ehrman, and others, read it, read it for yourself, you know what, forget authorities pick up the Greek manuscripts yourself and just compare them. It's physical in your face, it screams at you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So look at them and say, okay, there's an issue. So that's one point. But I do appreciate that Krishna has not been based on rationality. 100% is based on a relation with the divine. Okay, because I know many Christians say, I don't care about reason. I have a relationship
with the divine, I feel the Holy Spirit within me, right.
That's why you disagree with many things.
That's good. That's a sign of a very assertive man.
So the point I'm trying to say is, if there is
weak rational grounds to accept this text as divine itself, then how can I accept everything it says about who God is, and about who I should be? And what I should do in my life. In contrast to that, we have what we call the Quran.
And obviously, this is the last question right? Now, for me, the Quran is while calling a miracle, what do I mean by a miracle? I don't mean what David Hume said, it's a violation of a natural law. Because natural laws are just patterns we perceive in the universe, if something goes against the pattern, maybe it was part of the pattern, maybe we haven't been looking hard enough.
Whereas in Islamic theology, a miracle essentially, is that you can't find a physical naturalistic causal link between the event and the nature of the event. Okay, for example, if I were to take this water bottle,
take the lid, put it back on, give it a shake, and I create this bunch of flowers you would like, hey,
as we say, in Hackney wagwan
Yeah. What's up, man? Yeah. What's going on here? Right. I was born in Hackney, by the way. And I was brought up there, as you could tell. So this is the miraculous event bunch of flowers. This is the event that happened, but what's in the flowers is not in the water bottle. So there's no physical causal connection between the nature of the event and the event itself. So you need super naturalistic explanations. Once you've exhausted naturalistic explanations, applying it to the Quran. There's an array of arguments my bro that the Quran gives you and shows that it is miraculous in nature from my limited understanding.
The Quran is in the second chapter 23rd verse we're in quantum theory the amendment is Elena Allah Edina had to be sort of in the middle he was also had acumen dooney let him consume sada Kane. Quran says, if you're in doubt, actually entertaining the doubters. Yeah. If you doubt this book,
that we have sent down to our servant referring to the Prophet Mohammed upon the peace and bring one single chapter like it and Konya, witnesses reporters besides God, if you're truthful in your claim, and this opens an array of arguments, you have a linguistic miracle, you have a coherence miracle you have a historical miracle. And I'm just give you some seeds in your mind. So you go research further.
Go to one reason to org you get some of these arguments then a basic form the linguistic miracle see the Quran describes the Arabic language isn't totally unique structural form. And yet it came from the Arabic language but when we go to the Arabic language, we use human agency. So the human agency and capacity with the finite 20 letters of the Arabic language, the finite grammatical rules, the finite classical words, and we exhaust them using our human capacity. We can't produce the literary form of the Quran, which is not like Shakespeare, by the way, because Shakespeare didn't have a unique literary form he had
I am big pentameter the Turkic verse a blank verse which we use by other contemporaries, like Christopher Marlowe. So the Quran there, by definition is a linguistic miracle why it's the event which is the Quran
doesn't have a causal physical link with its nature, which is Arabic because when we exhaust the Arabic using our human capacity, we can't produce the literary form of the Qur'an. A final point just to get you more thinking, there are certain historical evidences in the Quran nuances that I would argue that not only correct the Bible, by the way, but also show that there is no naturalistic explanation because take the Bible and the Torah they mentioned
a certain title for the leader of the Egyptians, but the Christ quite specific, using two titles and specific for two different places. It says Pharaoh, Pharaoh own for the time of Moses upon MVPs, Malik King, for the time of Joseph Yusuf Alayhi Salam upon whom the peace doesn't conflict them. Interestingly, at the time in the seventh century, the hieroglyphs to understand the pictorial language of the Egyptians was a dead language. The historians of the time didn't know we don't have inscriptions sayings, oral traditions, the Bible didn't mention it no to the Torah.
And this breaks down the boring theory that Mohammed opponent is borrowed from the Quran, well, how could that bone from the Bible How can be the case, he must have known what was wrong and corrected it. Because what we do now know is when we go to 19th 20th century, find the Rosetta Stone, and we can translate the pictorial language. And we find in the old Middle Kingdom at the time of Joseph, the title veneration for the need of the Egyptian was king. And they changed it around the time of Moses. And they called him the great house, which was the pharaoh such minute detail.
The Prophet Mohammed upon upon VPS was an historian and naturalistically we don't have any evidence anywhere, that people have no knew that information, even in China. So from from that perspective,
we only find out in the 19th 20th century, so it shows to me there is no naturalistic explanation, which by definition is a miracle and a miracle means it's from the divine. Now, some may argue some Christians do this to me. I agree with you Holmes's roses, the crowns a miracle, but it's from the devil.
That's a very interesting argument. I had this at the School of Oriental and African Studies, I gave a similar argument. He stood up and said, he stood up and said, we could be from the devil. I said, Well, let me take me to white con. I said, prove to me the devil exists. And he said to me, your currency. So also you believe in the crown, do you? So let me give you another chance. Well, my Bible says so. Well. Now the onus of proof is on you to prove to prove the Bible, because you're using an unseen source that you can't verify. And this is based on scripture. So that would be my argument why I think you should embrace Islam, but to be honest, at the end of the day, bro, these
are intellectual gymnastics. I really think if you if if a human being is sincere, he does his best to diminish his ego as best as possible. We're not all there. Obviously. I'm not. No one is, well, maybe they are but who knows? And that's a barrier to divine love. And I think if you ponder upon the crank the Quran says affiliated Brunello Qur'an does not reflect upon the crown or the locks on the hearts meaning the more you ponder, the more your heart becomes unlocked to receive the message and guidance of God you do that you engage with it? Hopefully you'll be guided. If not, maybe we'll be guided. God bless you. It was a great day. Love you guys.