Freedom of Religions

Introduction from ‘Jesus in India’

The introduction to this masterpiece is as relevant today as it was at the time of its writing over 100 years ago. The misconceptions of both Muslims and Christians concerning the life and death of Jesus( a s ) and his bodily ascension has caused much confusion. However, the expectation of a bloody Messiah is a false belief of shortsighted scholars.

Belief in the existence of God defines one of the great divides in the world today. It is an issue that divides the secular West and North from the religious East and South, that in Europe divides the increasingly atheist native Europeans from the larg e l y devout recent immigrant communities and that in the United States is at the heart of many current socio-political controversies such as gay marriage rights and the teaching of evolution in schools. It is an enormously important question that has profound ramifications for our view of life, how we conduct ourselves and how we deal with others. On examining the various arguments for and against the existence of God, it becomes clear that the issue of Creation lies at the heart of the matter. If you take the general principle of cause and effect to its ultimate conclusion we are left with the question: is there an Ultimate Cause, a Cause that has no prior cause and that we recognise as the actions of the Creator of the Universe, or do we only have an original self-existing effect? Is life in the Universe as we know it a result of Divine design or the outcome of a long line of random, chance occurrences? The article ‘Is there a God?’ by Dr. Tariq Anwar Bajwa attempts to address some of these issues by drawing from the Holy Q u r’an, the teachings of the Promised Messiah( a s ) and the writings of the fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim C o m m u n i t y, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru). M r. Jonathan Miller recently presented a documentary series on the ‘History of Disbelief’ on BBC television, beginning with ‘Shadows of Doubt’ (on Greek mythology: 30 Oct); followed by ‘Noughts and Crosses’ (how disbelief re-emerged in 15-16th century Christianity: 1 Nov) and ‘The Final Hour’ (on Thomas 2 The Review of Religions – December 2004 Editorial Paine and Darwin’s theory of evolution: 2 Nov). It is obvious that disillusionment at the rigid interpretations of natural law by Christianity has caused many to abandon their traditional reli- gion. ‘The Review of Religions’ shall be examining some of the issues raised by this series in its future editions. Those who deny the existence of God declare that belief in God is at best unnecessary and at worst detrimental to living as a ‘moral’ being. On the other hand, it is clear from the behaviour of many of those who declare that God exists, that belief in an abstract concept of God alone is not sufficient to live a ‘moral’ life. The perception and under- standing of God varies widely among ‘theists’ (those who believe in God) from those who regard God as a sort of absentee landlord Who, having created the Universe and set things in motion, makes little interference in day-to-day human affairs, to those who see God as being fiercely attached to their particular group of humanity with little care for the rest of humankind. Muslims believe the Holy Qur’an to be the best path to a true understanding of God and the key to communion with Him. By delving deep into the treasures of the Holy Qur’an we become closer to God and also gain a richer understanding of ourselves and the Universe around us. In this issue of ‘The Review of Religions’, Dr Abdul Majid and Dr Shahab Ahmad (authors of ‘The Holy Qur’an answers four Questions on Education’) illuminate Qur’anic teachings and wisdom on the topic of education and learning. Mahmood Hanif – UK 3 Editorial The Review of Religions – December 2004