Does God Exist?

DOES GOD EXIST? (Haven Bradford Gow) The most fundamental and important question of life is this: Does God exist in objective, extra-mental reality? Dr. Peter Kreeft, a Boston College philosophy professor, points out in his contribution to Does God Exist? (Thomas Nelson Publishers) that ‘The idea of God has guided or deluded more lives, changed more history, inspired more music and poetry and philosophy than anything else, real or imagined. It has made more of a difference to human life on this planet, both individually and collectively, than anything else ever has.’ According to Canadian philosopher Dr. Kai Nielsen, people may have ‘religious’ experiences, but these experiences do not necessarily prove God’s existence, or that one has experienced God. Dr. Nielsen, who is an atheist, says: If you use the causal argument to say, I know from experience; I had these experiences and that leads me to postulate God, that is not a direct awareness of God. That is to argue for certain experiences and try to explain them by postulating God. There are, however, alternative ways of explaining those same experiences, including some purely secular ways.’ Dr. Nielsen insists that ‘belief in God is irrational,’ that ‘is irrational for someone who has a good scientific and philosophic education (to beh’eve in a Supreme Being ).’ However, Islamic scholar S.M. Shahab Ahmad insists that common sense and reason lead one to know that God exists. He observes: ‘All things and beings depend upon God and He isIndependent ‘and Besought of all. All have need of Him and He has need of none. He needed the help of no being or material to create the universe. That every thing other than God is dependent is not a hollow claim. The following examples support it: Animals, including man, need food, water, air, heat, light, etc. The earth is dependent upon the sun, the moon and a number of stars, which provide heat, light ,etc. to the earth. The sun, in order to maintain its volume, needs gases which it takes from other stars. In fact,nothing in the universe is complete in itself, not even the smallest atom. Nothing is self-subsisting; everything depends upon some other things. In short, every thing in this world or in other worlds needs a Creator and Sustainer, and he is God.’ The Islamic scholar adds: ‘A.G. Bilmore, a Christian philosopher, has taken the good nature of man as a proof of the existence of God. He says that we are 3H RKVIHW OF RELIGIONS attracted towards beauty and good things, but we do not know who has implanted such desires.’ Perhaps the most reasonable, persuasive and formidable arguments for the objective, extra-mental reality of God were put forth by St-Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274); indeed, Islamic scholar S.M. Shahab Ahmad’s arguments for God’s reality were previously articulated by StThomas. One of St. Thoma/arguments is that in the universe natural bodies that lack intelligence nonetheless act intelligently for a purpose. This is clear because they always or normally act in the same way so as to achieve the best end; therefore, it cannot be by chance, rather, it must be by purpose. However, things lacking intelligence cannot act for a purpose, or tend to a goal, unless they are directed by some intelligence, even as the arrow is directed by the archer. Consequently, there is some intelligence by whom all natural things are ordered to an end. That intelligence is God. Are St. Thomas and Islamic scholar SJVI. Shahab Ahmad right when they maintain that it is rational to believe in-a Supreme Being, does it makes sense to say that God exists? To that question, Boston College Professor of philosophy Dr. Peter Kreeffc provides this response: ‘The idea of God is either a fact, like sand, or a fantasy, like Santa. If At is a fantasy, a human invention, it is the greatest invention in all of human history.’ (from page 33) Thus the Promised Messiah refuted from Christian sources the calumny that the ancestors of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, were not; sinful people. There is no such allegation concerning him in any standard Islamic book or history, while the Bible contains statements to th effect that we have mentioned which are admitted by Christian scholars. Whatever the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, wrote about the Jesus of the Gospels was not from himself but was drawn from Christian sources which he cited. No objection can, therefore, be taken to whatever he wrote in this context. The calumny against the mother of Jesus is well known. It is the Holy Quran that cleared her of it.

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