I’m back. I know, its been (looks at the date) a long time. Well…. let me tell you why.

I have been on a secret mission, which isn’t a secret anymore, now, but I took part of the John Locke essay competition. And I had to lay low (very low…) because my hands was tied.

I have been working very hard the past couple months on something so good (in my opnion) that I couldn’t post it on my blog. I had to wait till the competition was over, before I could post. or else my head was on a stick (wait, wrong story. ahmmm…)

What I meant to say. That the essay can’t be plagiarized (duhhh..) , which if I posted this essay of mine on my blog, then it could be considered a plagiarized work. And then I was fortunate enough to get invited by the John Locke institute, and had to wait even longer.

But now, the competition is over. And now you can read my essay submission to the john Locke institute .

“The John Locke Institute encourages young people to cultivate the characteristics that turn good students into great writers: independent thought, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis and persuasive style. Our Essay Competition invites students to explore a wide range of challenging and interesting questions beyond the confines of the school curriculum.”

From the john Locke website

Is faith anything other than uncertain belief on incomplete evidence?

Faith is belief without evidence and reason; coincidentally, that’s also the definition of delusion.” [1]

-Richard Dawkins

Is faith a blind leap into the unknown? As some, like Richard Dawkins, portray it to be? Or is there more to it? Believing in the divine is the foundation of all faiths. Then, is religion a source of blind faith? By expecting a man to believe in the unseen, faith, and reason appear to oppose each other. That is why we must understand the issue of faith vs. reason and the correlation between them.

 I want to make one cautionary point first. It is no secret that we frequently take precautionary rather than necessary steps. For instance, even if there aren’t any immediate threats from wild animals or thieves, we make arrangements for a night watchman when camping in a jungle at night. 

This is due to logic’s conclusion that hiring a guard won’t hurt us, and that security at night will undoubtedly be most beneficial to us in the event of unexpected danger. In conclusion, it is normal for us to take precautions, and everyone agrees that these precautions are beneficial and necessary.

Therefore, when we consider the existence of God in light of this principle, our reason concludes that believing in God is undoubtedly safer and more sensible than rejecting Him. Our faith in God cannot possibly harm us if there is no God and the universe was created by chance. But if there is a God, then having faith in him will undoubtedly be helpful and beneficial.

There are only two logical options for this dilemma: either the universe has a Creator and Master who has created it and is overseeing it, or the universe is self-propelled and came into being all by itself (God forbid). None of the third possibilities is suggested by our reasoning. Now, if we deny the existence of God, the possibility that He might exist could present us with serious issues; however, if we believe in a God who isn’t there, this has no dangerous consequences for us at all.

What harm can there be in having faith in God even if He doesn’t exist? What must we sacrifice if we trust in God? The actions that nature, logic, and the law of the land want you to give up anyway, such as adultery, murder, theft, robbery, falsehood, deceit, and fraud, must be avoided if you believe in God. What then has God got to lose from you believing in him? This belief in no way prevents you from fairly achieving any of your just desires. Belief in God does not prevent you from being free to engage in worldly activities such as eating, drinking, sleeping, waking up, sitting, standing, playing, relaxing, earning money, forming friendships, building homes, getting married, and having children.

To start, it is important to note that a lack of information or proof concerning a belief does not always  imply that it does not exist. It may exist, but it may be hidden in the unknown. Like atoms or bacteria, our human sensory system can not perceive their existence. We need the proper instruments to verify their presence.

Now, going back to the quote, Dawkins is not completely wrong. He appeals to our instinctive notion that our opinions should be justified in some manner. Where Dawkins made a mistake is to think that faith is without evidence. While you could certainly argue about the validity of religions, the premise of this paper is to show that faith isn’t evidence-less. It all depends on how you define evidence. Because there is the argument of Paley’s watch. Much like a watch, which is a complicated mechanism that someone has made, the cosmos, which is sophisticated and contains complex living forms, also require a creator [2]. Now, I cannot speak for all religions in the world; instead, I will focus on the Abrahamic religion, which is the dominant religion at the moment [3].

All Abrahamic religions acknowledge the existence of a supreme deity known as God. They only differ in their holy scripture. These scriptures have stories. Stories that explain where the world came from, where it is headed, and what or who is steering it. They capture the essence of humanity. They also document significant religious events, prophecies, divine inspirations, miracles, and the establishment of religious doctrines and rituals. So now the question arises: can you believe these scriptures? When it comes to prophets like Jesus, Muhammad and Moses, many people believe that they are just fabricated tales or stories, rather than actual historical figures.

There is written evidence that Jesus existed. [4]. The presence of Jesus is evidenced by the fact that St Paul and other early Christian writers were written within 25 years after his crucifixion, at the most. The New Testament Gospels, which were written roughly 40 years after Jesus died, include far more complete biographical material.

Fred Donner, Professor of Near Eastern History – University of Chicago [5] writes about the evidence for the existence of Muhammad: 

“Muhammad is not completely a fiction of later pious imagination, as some have implied; we know that someone named Muhammad did exist and that he led some kind of movement. And this fact, in turn, gives us greater confidence that further information in the massive body of traditional Muslim materials may also be rooted in historical fact.” 

  • (Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, 53).

Even though it has been more than thirty centuries, there is some proof of Moses’ existence.[6]. Archaeologists have discovered no reference to Moses in Egyptian historical sources. However, archaeological evidence supports the Exodus events [7]. Demanding further proof of Moses’ existence would be unreasonable. It is especially ridiculous to expect first-hand evidence from centuries ago to remain.

This is important because these scriptures also hold prophecies, more specifically, science-based prophecies. If faith is not supported by evidence, then these scriptures could not have foreseen modern science. This proves that faith is not an uncertain belief on incomplete or missing evidence. 

Because science can hardly predict, with the margin of error, what the weather will be like in a week or two. How could anyone predict what would happen in the future, decades, and centuries later? That is why these prophecies are a fantastic piece of proof to discern God’s words. Let us remember that the oldest fragment of the Quran is 1370 years old [8], and in 21:105 in the Quran, it says [9]: 

“Remember the day when We shall roll up the heavens like the rolling up of written scrolls…”

This verse says that the cosmos is not everlasting. It tells us of a future where the heavens will be wrapped up in the same way that a scroll is folded up.

Or in the Bible. In Isaiah 40:22 [10]: 

“It is He Who sits above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers”

The Bible tells us that God, who made all the scientific facts we take for granted, sits on top of the circle of the earth. Early man thought the earth was flat as a pancake [11], but the Bible says it is not so!

 Also, the Torah at its outset says, 

“In the beginning, God created.” [12]

It has long been said that the universe had a beginning. Alexander Friedmann, a Russian mathematician [13], solved Einstein’s equations for the entire universe shortly after he developed his general theory of relativity (in 1915) [14], demonstrating that those equations indicated that the universe was expanding; if this were the case, it would have had to expanding from somewhere, some beginning—thus, it cannot be eternal. After that, Einstein made the biggest blunder of his career. He changed his equations to show that the universe is static and eternal. [15].   

If Einstein had studied the Talmud, he would have come across the following paragraph:

“When the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the world, it continued to expand….” [12]

Today, we are used to the Big Bang Theory, but many people believe that science has always viewed the universe as having a beginning. But what we see here is that this prevalent theory of the cosmos is relatively recent in science [16]. The Torah, on the other hand, has always said that the cosmos had a beginning.

Because of their views of the night sky, physicists like Einstein used to believe that the cosmos had lasted forever and was unchanging. This viewpoint, of course, contradicted the “origin” or “creation” tales of most major faiths, which claim that the cosmos had a beginning. It is hardly strange, then, that a Catholic priest, Georges Lemaître [17], was one of the first significant proponents of a new scientific theory that the cosmos had a beginning. Of course, Lemaître was also a brilliant mathematician and scientist, and his conviction was founded not just on his religious beliefs, but also on fresh experimental data from Hubble.

So now, with all this evidence, going back to Richard Dawkins’s quote. No, faith isn’t without evidence. Sure, you can always Google for answers, but there are still questions that humans can’t perceive as does science. Science is like the top of a glacier. Faith is the bottom of that same glacier. On the top, you can study and learn. The bottom is out of reach, but you know it’s there. So, you study the top, till there is nothing left, all while believing there is more. And just like Schrödinger’s cat, the bottom is full of endless possibilities, defined only by your faith. 

The common argument from atheists is that theists are not presenting any scientific argument. The next step would be to explore the statistical likelihood that extremely sophisticated organs such as the brain, eyes, and so on arose on their own. But before we begin, I’d like you to understand what the numbers below signify.

  • 30 billion years contain 10^18 seconds
  • Scientists believe that there are 10^82 electrons (a 1 followed by 82 zeros) in our entire observable universe.  [18]
  • 10^100 Is a number called a googol, which is followed by as many zeroes as it would take for someone to get tired of writing them. It is bigger than the sum of all particles in the Universe—even if you could write out each atom, it wouldn’t fit in the Universe.  [19]
  • Thus, 10^388 is far too big to put anything in perspective. This number means that humans couldn’t exist on earth randomly, and it is far too low, basically zero chance.  [20]

Chemist-physicist Ilya Prigogine, the winner of two Nobel Prizes in chemistry, wrote: “The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.” [21] 

 Professor Francis Crick, who won the Nobel Prize for discovering DNA, wrote the following: 

The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (1020)^2000= 10^40000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. [22] 

Finally, I want to discuss scientific uncertainty. There is a theory called cause and effect. That is, if we look closely, we will notice that the entire cosmos is linked together in a system of cause and effect. This effect is at the heart of all knowledge.

No component of creation is not a part of this system. Some things are the roots of others, while others are branches. A reason can be main or secondary, or it can be the result of another cause, which in turn can be the result of still another cause, and so on. Not it’s not feasible that in our finite universe for this pattern of cause and effect to have no end and to be infinite. That’s why we are compelled to say that it must terminate with some ultimate cause. The ultimate cause is God.

Simply take anything and ask the question. What, how, and why? 

What exactly is a human? 

A human is a primate of the Homo genus. 

Was there anything before that? 

For this, we have Darwin’s theory. 

How did life on Earth begin? 

Theories have been proposed that life originated from microorganisms found in the seas. 

How could something come from nothing? How can life occur? How can microorganisms come from nothing? 

​​If we keep asking such questions, we eventually will arrive at a point where either we will have to believe that against all mathematical and scientific improbability something came from nothing or that there is a heavenly force outside of our realm of existence which triggered the cycle of our creation. 

Although sceptics often assume that religion has no space for reason, and vice versa, 

“Reason is a matter of faith in and of itself. To declare that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all is an act of faith”

Theology requires reason to better grasp the “realities about the cosmos and mankind”, but without faith, these truths have little influence and become meaningless. Regardless of how a person’s religion manifests itself, the choice to combine faith with reason allows us to create a framework for understanding our place in the universe. 

Reference

[1]: Manning, E. (2019, August 14). Are you defining faith the same way Richard Dawkins does or The way Jesus does? Is Jesus Alive? Retrieved April 9, 2022, from: https://isjesusalive.com/faith-are-you-defining-it-the-same-way-richard-dawkins-does-or-the-way-jesus-does/ 

[2]: StudyCorgi. (2020, April 6). “Watch and the Watchmaker” by William Paley. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/watch-and-the-watchmaker-by-william-paley/

[3]: What Are The Abrahamic Religions? [online] World Atlas. Available at: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-are-the-abrahamic-religions.html [Accessed 8 May 2022].

[4]: “What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died….”. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died. Accessed May 1, 2022.

[5]: “Fred M. Donner | Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.” Accessed May 6, 2022. https://nelc.uchicago.edu/faculty/donner.

[6]: Did Moses exist? | GotQuestions.org. [online] GotQuestions.org. Available at: <https://www.gotquestions.org/did-Moses-exist.html> [Accessed 13 May 2022].

[7]: Is there any evidence of the exodus? https://www.gotquestions.org/evidence-of-the-Exodus.html [Accessed 15 May 2022]

[8]:  Coughlan, S., 2022. ‘Oldest’ Koran fragments found in Birmingham University. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/business-33436021> [Accessed 10 May 2022].

[9]: Tahir Ahmad, M., 1998. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth. London. (book). https://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation

[10]: Isaiah 40:22- Articles. [online] BioLogos. Available at: <https://www.biblehub.com/isaiah/40-22.htm> [Accessed 9 May 2022].

[11: ]The Other World The Societies and Governments of the Moon, translated by Donald Webb: http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue29/cyrano5.html [Accessed 9 May 2022]

[12]:  “In the beginning God created…”

“When the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the world, it continued to expand…”

https://www.sefaria.org/Chagigah.12a.15?ven=William_Davidson_Edition_-_English&vhe=William_Davidson_Edition_-_Vocalized_Aramaic&lang=bi [Accessed 9 May 2022].

[13]:  Physicsoftheuniverse.com. 2022. Alexander Friedmann – Important Scientists – The Physics of the Universe. [online] Available at: <https://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/scientists_friedmann.html> [Accessed 7 May 2022].

[14]: NASA. 2022. Einstein and General Relativity. [online] Available at: <https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/history/images/the-art-of-gravity-probe-b/einstein-and-general-relativity.html> [Accessed 11 May 2022].

[15]: Springer Science+Business Media. “Einstein’s conversion from a belief in a static to an expanding universe.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140217102545.htm (accessed May 10, 2022).

[16]:  Spaceplace.nasa.gov. 2022. What Is the Big Bang? | NASA Space Place – NASA Science for Kids. [online] Available at: <https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/big-bang/en/> [Accessed 9 May 2022].

   [17]: Encyclopedia Britannica. 2022. Georges Lemaître | Belgian astronomer. [online] Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Georges-Lemaitre> [Accessed 9 May 2022].

[18] : How many atoms are in the observable universe?

https://www.space.com/how-many-atoms-in-universe [Accessed 19 May 2022].

[19]:A Sentimental Journey to the Googolplex

https://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/books/1994-05-sentimental-journey-to-googolplex.php [Accessed 20 May 2022].

[20] : Probability For Life On Earth

https://reasons.org/explore/publications/articles/probability-for-life-on-earth [Accessed 20 May 2022]

[21] I. Prigogine, N. Gregair, A. Babbyabtz, Physics Today 25, pp. 23-28. https://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/did-life-form-by-accident#_1

[22]: Did Life Form By Accident? https://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/did-life-form-by-accident/#_2 [Accessed 20 May 2022]

Books: 

Fred Donner (Professor of Near Eastern History – University of Chicago), (Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, 53)

(John Barrow, Impossibility: The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits, Oxford University Press [1998], 218–231)

Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 2009.

Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth. By Mirza Tahir Ahmad. https://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/

The philosophy of the teachings of islam. By Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Published in 1896. 

Essay end

Now, what did you think about my essay – write it down on the comment? My essay was awarded a high commendation. But this competition taught me a lot about how to write a good essay that can convey my message on only few pages.