Reason is the King
Can we build a world civilization on shaky foundations? Can we erect the palace of human prosperity on lies?
The world is aching and its pain and anguish is augmenting day after day. The cause of its tribulation is disunity, apathy and intolerance. The symptoms of which are the wars that are taking lives, devastating families and shattering dreams. This small planet shall never see one day of peace and tranquility, until we learn to accept each other as humans and love each other as if we were members of one family. Our peace and security shall never be realized unless and until we abandon the doctrines that advocate hate. How can you promote tolerance let alone unity when people follow doctrines that ask them to hate?
Islam is not preaching peace but war. It calls the faithful to wage wars against the unbelievers, kill them and subdue them until Islam become the only religion in the world. Islam is not a religion that could allow diversity of thoughts and beliefs. It demands conformity and exerts control over the thought of its subjects. Any deviation is punished severely. All dictatorships are harmful but religious dictatorship is the worst of all. All political doctrines, whether leftist or rightist, once proven false, are abandoned, but religious fallacies endure, because they are believed to be from God and therefore infallible. “The heaven and Earth can pass but the word of God won’t”. Rational people are willing to accept its irrationality and philosophers endeavor to rationalize and legitimize them for intellectuals’ consumption. But lies are lies, no matter how elaborated they are and how long they have survived. General acceptance of a lie, dose not make it truth, nor universal rejection of truth would eclipse its splendor.
Some religions believe that snakes and cows are sacred beings, others believe in spirits. These seem illogical to those who don’t believe in them. Muslims accuse Christians for their belief in trinity that to them seems ludicrous. Yet they have no difficulty believing in the absurdities of Quran like the Jinns, the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam, the story of Noah or the splitting of the Moon. It is not clear why all other unreasonable beliefs are wrong but theirs is right!
If we do not use reason to distinguish which faith is the true one, how can we pick the right religion? There are myriads of faiths that are all irrational yet all say that their faith is above reason!
Even otherwise rational people are willing to accept the irrationality of their religion. They give preference to revelation wherever their faith and their reason collide. They maintain that revelation is the ultimate source of the Truth. This is basically the thesis of all religious people. If that were so, which revelation is the true one? Why do they differ? How can one be certain that her religion is right and others are not? If faith should be irrational, why should our irrationality be preferred over others?
Only through reason would we know which way is the right one. And when we test the religions with reason you find many of religious teachings do not conform. It requires a leap of faith and a great degree of mental gymnastic to believe in them Limitations of Reason
However, reason is not the only means of learning. Intuition and inspiration can take us where reason cannot. Some claim that through sudden flashes of inspiration, gates of knowledge are flung open in front of them and they can peep into a mystical world where they learn things they have not dreamed of. But this is very much different with the claims of the prophets who claim to have received revelations and demand that their utterly irrational and fictitious concoction of fantasies be accepted as the ultimate and undisputed truth.
Yes, inspiration is a powerful source of understanding, but this is not reserved for selected individuals. Almost everyone can develop this faculty and become the recipient of mystical knowledge. There is no difference between the idea of how to build a better car and unraveling the mystical realm. The source of all knowledge is one, we have compartamentized it However what we learn through inspiration is never illogical or irrational(it can be irrational and illogoical). If it is it is not inspiration but hallucination. Many scientists and inventors claimed to have received the answer to their questions intuitively. In fact still it is reason that would determine whether we actually had a true flash of inspiration or simply we let our imagination take over. Religious people dismiss logic when it contradicts what they believe to be the word of God. They say: “why rely on human logic that is proven to be fallible when we can trust the word of God that is infallible?”
The problem is how do we know that the words we believe are from God and how can we be certain that the god we believe in is the right one? How do we find the right path? How can we be sure that ours, and not the beliefs of hundreds of other sects, cults and religions that just like us claim to be the only right path to the Creator is the right one? Which one should we choose? To find that; we still have to rely on logic. But since we are aware that human logic is unreliable, how can we be sure that we are not following blindly a very wrong path?
I have no doubt that people are sincere in their search for Truth. No one chooses to be misled willingly. It is foolish to assume that people instinctively know the truth and choose to rebel because they have pride in themselves. As absurd as this thought may be, this is what Muslims believe of those who do not believe in Islam. Muslims are convinced that people are either ignorant of Islam or they reject it due to their pride. What a foolish thought! To what extent of irrationality these people are willing to go to beguile themselves and keep their irrational faith alive is beyond me. The fact is that people everywhere, sincerely and honestly, take wrong paths and clash with each other, are willing to sacrifice their own lives for it (except for Muslims who prefer to sacrifice the lives of others first) because they do believe that they have found the Truth. Then one may ask: “If they are all sincere why don’t they all follow the same religion?” It is because their understanding is different. They rely on their own logic (or they rely on other’s logic). Since they are humans and their logic, just like yours and mine, is defective, they choose wrong paths, they follow a wrong guru, and they pray to a wrong god. If every one else is prone to such mistakes why should you or I be exempt? This is an important question. This humbling realization that the Truth is much greater to be understood by an imperfect human being like me makes me accepting of other people, listen to what they have to say, be less arrogant and more aware.
Of course, if I had to choose between following a clear, defined laws of an all Knowing and Wise God on one hand and charting my life on my own single-handedly and without any guidance, on the other, I would not hesitate to follow God. I am aware of my limitations, I know that I may be wrong, I struggle to find the right way and despite all my pure intentions at the end I discover that the road that I chose wasn’t the best. So why not leave my affairs in the hand of God and why not follow his religion? The answer is that unfortunately, in practice, the choice is not that clear. If it was so clear why there are so many sects, cults and religions? The question that still remains is which God to follow? Though people say that there is only one God, they do not agree that all ways lead to him. So even if I admit that it is preferable to have a Supper-mind telling me what to do, I still have to find Him.
I cannot believe people based on the intensity of their beliefs. Everyone has faith in his own religion, but not all of them can be right. So what should I do? Even if I want to find the true God I have to use my own logic. I have to question, and make sure that I am not being misled. This is an important decision, if I have to give my entire control and my will to a god, shouldn’t I ascertain that he is the right one? How can I do that if I don’t question and use MY OWN logic? I say my own logic because I am responsible for my own life and I cannot follow another human being blindly for he too may be following someone else blindly. However, when I bring into the equation my logic to evaluate these sects and religions to find the true God, I realize that none of them can withstand the test of logic.
The so-called prophets claim that it is not up to man to test God but it is up to God to test man. But if we don’t question the validity of their claims, how are we supposed to know that they are not impostors? How would we know whether these self-proclaimed prophets are not con artists and swindlers? Yet so many, otherwise intelligent people, let themselves be fooled by this bogus intimidation. In the old and new testament it is considered wrong to follow false prophecy. The point is that those who follow false prophets are not aware of it.
As scary as it may be, we are left alone to chart our own lives and make our own decisions. Do we make mistakes? Of course we do. But we correct them and we move forward. On the other hand imagine the incalculable harm that would befall us if people followed blindly, not your God, who is of course the “true one”, but another version of deity preached by another cult, (e,g, Sun M. Moon, Children of God, Temple of Sun, etc.). Which route is safer? When I choose to follow God (assuming there is a God who has send me a messenger to show me the right way) I am playing the Russian roulette. And since there are thousands of denominations, each selling salvation, all of them but one leading to perdition, my chances of finding the right one is pretty slim. You see why logic is the king? You have to test your god with logic first before submitting yourself to him. And since no religion or doctrine has presented a god that can hold firm to a good logical probing, I reject all of them as fancies of human imagination and products of our own making.
The evolution of the human society is not unlike the evolution of one of its members. We evolved through adaptation and nature’s test and trial . Genes are constantly changing and each change brings a new mutation. Most of these mutations fail, but those few that succeed are the triumphs of Mother Nature. The same thing happens in our society, we make laws based on our particular needs, and change them when they are no more needed. Some laws are good, some are not. But they are made by us and they are for us. Religious laws are made by men who lived eons apart from us. They did not have a clue of the needs of our time. Their social teachings look repressive to us and the rest of their message is illogical. Which one is better? Which one to follow? Unless you prove, through logic, that your religion is different, and your god is the real one, you are also following a cult.
The truth is one although it has infinite facets. Because each person’s mental capacity, social and cultural background is different, that same Truth for each person has a different flavor. The variety is not in the Truth but in its containers. Who can decry the facet that someone holds true and dear to his heart?
Take for example the rays of the sun. It is all pure white. But when it hits the Earth it manifests itself in millions of colors. The differences are in the capacity of the objects reflecting the rays of the sun. If you mix together all these colors of light, you get back the pure white again.
Likewise, the Truth manifests itself in the world of humanity in different hues. When we become united, not adopting one color as religions propose, not under the banner of a religion or belief, but maintaining our individual hues, the brilliant light of Truth will shine in humanity and humankind will be illumined with the light of God.