Why is Atheism so widespread?

Atheism means denying God’s existence, which of course involves rejecting His commandments, as well as religious reflection and seriousness, and believing in the possibility of total self-independence apart from God. As such beliefs negate the concept of sin, people imagine that they can live as they please. Therein lies in the corruption of people’s hearts and minds. Atheism spreads because education is misused, young people are neglected, and schools actually defend and foster it.

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Dialogue with the people of the book

The attitude of believers is determined according to the degree of their faith. I believe that if the message is put across properly, then an environment conducive to dialogue will be able to emerge in our country and throughout the world. Thus, as in every subject, we should approach this issue as indicated in the Qur’an and by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. God says in the Qur’an:

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Message concerning the September 11th terrorist attacks

I would like to make it very clear that any terrorist activity, no mat¬ter by whom it is carried out or for what purpose, is the greatest blow to peace, democracy, and humanity. For this reason, no one— and certainly no Muslim—can approve of any terrorist activity. Terror has no place in a quest to achieve independence or salvation. It takes the lives of innocent people.

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Regarding the information age and the clash of civilizations

As in the past, there are some conjectures being made about the future today as well. One of these is the claim regarding the future as an age of information. Those people who are discussing the future in this way are basically futurists. There are many who see the people who are making these kinds of conjectures as oracles of the second millennium. Yet, rather than being objective evaluations, some of the claims that are made related to the future in terms of historical cycles are efforts to develop ideas around some particular desires and therefore they carry no more value than any other predictions. In other words, I think that as a result of these claims, people form expectations in the same way that they expect an answer to a prayer. Thus, while saying that the expec¬tation produced by these types of claims that “the future will be like this” gives birth to certain efforts in that direction, these expectations eventu¬ally become goals and purposes. Once the goal has been determined, dif¬ferent strategies and policies will be produced to reach that goal and efforts will be made to fulfill it. I think this is the crux of the matter.

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The concept of science and technology

Despite the disasters caused by science and technology, their mistaken approach to the truth, and their failure to bring happiness, we cannot condemn them outright and become pure idealists. Science and technology do not bear the full responsibility for humanity being devalued, human feelings being diminished, and certain human virtues, along with health and the ability to think, being seriously weakened. Rather, the fault lies with scientists who avoid their responsibilities, who cause science to develop in a materialistic and almost purely scientific atmosphere, and then let it be exploited by an irresponsible minority. Many worrying conditions probably would not exist if scientists had remained aware of their social responsibility, and if the Church had not forced it to develop in opposition to religion.

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What we expect of science

Since “real” life is possible only through knowledge, those who neglect learning and teaching are considered “dead” even though they are still alive, for we were created to learn and to communicate what we have learned to others.

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Right decisions depend on having a sound mind and on sound thinking. As science and knowledge illuminates and develop one’s mind, those deprived of science and knowledge cannot reach right decisions and are always exposed to deception and misguidance.

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Those who are truly human continue to learn, teach, and inspire others. It is difficult to regard as truly human those who are ignorant and have no desire to learn. It is also questionable whether a learned person who does not pursue self-renewal and self-reform, and thereby set an example for others, is truly human.

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Science and knowledge should seek to uncover the nature of men and women and the mysteries of creation. Any knowledge, however scientific, is not true knowledge if it does not shed light on the mysteries of human nature and the dark areas of existence.

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Status and merit acquired through knowledge and science are higher and more lasting than status and merit obtained through other means. This is true for two reasons: Knowledge will enrapture its possessors, when they reach the other world, with the pleasure of the positions acquired while in this world. In addition, it will keep its possessors away from bad morals in this world and cause them to attain many virtues.

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Parents should feed their children’s minds of with knowledge and science before they become engaged in useless things, for souls devoid of truth and knowledge are fields in which all kinds of evil thoughts are grown and cultivated.

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The purpose of learning is to make knowledge a guide for your life, to illuminate the road to human perfection. Any knowledge that does not fulfill these functions is a burden for the learner, and any science that does not direct one toward sublime goals is only deception.

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Science is to perceive the reality of science,
Science consists in knowledge of the self;
If, then, you do not know yourself,
I wonder what kind of education you have had.

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Appropriate language is an inexhaustible source of blessing for the learner. Those who possess such a source are always sought by people, like a source of fresh water, and lead people to what is good. Knowledge consisting of empty theories and unabsorbed pieces of learning, which arouses suspicions in minds and darkens hearts, is like a “pile of garbage” around which desperate and confused souls flounder.

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Although science and all branches of knowledge are beneficial to almost everyone, one cannot possibly acquire all of them, for people’s life-spans and resources are limited. Therefore, learn and use only that which benefits yourself and humanity at large. Do not waste your life.

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True scientists base their study and research on true reports, correct expositions, and scientific experiments. As a result, they have peace of mind and solve their problems with ease. However, those who do not know the truth are buffeted constantly by changing aims and methods, and so are always disillusioned.

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People are esteemed and appreciated in proportion to the profundity and content of their knowledge. The knowledge of those who spread gossip and idle talk is nothing more than gossip and idle talk. On the other hand, truly valuable indeed are those who use their knowledge as a prism to perceive things and events, as a light to illuminate “space” to the darkest points, and to reach the most transcendent truths.

Science and knowledge

Avoiding the positive sciences fearing that they will lead to atheism is naivety, and seeing them as contradictory with religion and faith and as vehicles for the rejection of religion is prejudice and ignorance.

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Science and technology are beneficial to the degree that they guarantee human happiness and help us attain true human¬ity. If they are developed to harm humanity, they become devils blocking our road.

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At the beginning of this century, some short-sighted materi¬alists made science into an idol and sacrificed everything to it, while the most famous scientist of the century was criti¬cizing this tendency in a pleasant way by saying: “Science without religion is blind; religion without science is lame.” What would they have said if they saw those of today who are both blind and lame?!

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Claiming that the positive sciences are of no value is igno¬rance and bigotry; rejecting everything else outside their fields is a crude fanaticism. Realizing that there is still a great deal to be learned signifies true scientific mentality and sound thinking.

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All of us are travelers, and the worlds are multicolored exhi¬bitions and rich and colorful books. We were sent to study these books, increase our spiritual knowledge, and uplift others. This colorful and pleasurable journey is a one-time event. For those whose feelings are alert and whose hearts are awake, this journey is more than enough to establish a Paradise-like garden. But for those whose eyes are covered, it is as if they have lived but one breath.

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One who profoundly thinks about and evaluates nature and the laws of life will see the coquetry of eternal beauty in everything, and hear the consecration of Infinite Power in every sound—from flowers’ shining colors to swaying of tree branches, from frightening thunderclaps to sparrows’ harmonious songs. Such people see the traces and works of a Divine source manifested in the phenomena and laws such as light and heat, gravitation and chemical reaction, and the directing of animate beings.

What are the differences between the Islamic and the modern scientific points of view on knowledge (‘ilm)? How does The Qur’an regard “knowledge”?

Genuine knowledge (‘ilm) is a source of infinite light covered with truth, which leads enlightened people toward the righteous path. Modern science is built and developed upon existing information gained through experimentation and correcting previous errors. In general, science represents theories and hypotheses that we devise and pursue in order to acquire knowledge. From this point of view, knowledge and science are not the same and must not be considered as synonyms. For example, sometimes ‘ilm is mistranslated as science, because the translators do not take into consideration the genuine meanings of the words. This mistake can be excused when it is made by the general population, who might not be aware of the difference; however, we expect scientists and professionals to use these terms correctly, according to their core meanings, so that their different meanings become obvious and clear.

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