Parallel Evolution vs Common Descent: An analogy

Photo: Scene from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, by 20th Centruy Fox 
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The Ahmadiyya Muslim understanding of evolution is that it is intelligently guided and not random, and that different species, though sharing many features with each other, did not necessarily have a common ancestor. Man has always been human right from the very first cell he is descended from. The following is based on an interesting analogy shared by Rizwan Khan, a spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in the United States. He can be followed here: @Rizwan1770

Here is an analogy that may make our position on evolution easier to understand:

From the moment the sperm meets the egg, it is written in the chromosomes that the child will be either male or female, even though that difference only becomes noticeable half way through the pregnancy. An uninformed observer may say that the fetus is neutral for half of the pregnancy and then it randomly branches off to become a male, but we would explain that the fetus has always been male from the time of conception and that this has been written into its chromosomes; it only became observable at a certain point. Although we are both observing the same phenomenon, our understanding of how that phenomenon unfolded is very different.

Likewise, we may have been similar to other species of life at different stages of our evolution, and we may have appeared indistinguishable to the uninformed observer. Such an observer would say that we were apes and then we randomly branched off to become human beings at the point that those differences became apparent. What we argue is that we were always human. Just as with a fetus, where there is a certain point in gestation at which the effects of the male chromosome become distinctly observable, similarly, there was a certain point in our evolution where the effects of our human DNA became distinctly observable.

Also, it would be absurd if someone said that a fetus randomly branches off to become a male and then simultaneously develops all of the male organs in perfect harmony and in a short period of time out of random variance. These changes are guided by what was already written into our chromosomes. Similarly, we argue that it is absurd to say that apes randomly branched off and then went through very rapid, simultaneous advancements in perfect harmony, in a short period of time, out of random variance. These changes were guided by what was already written in our DNA.

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More on the Saudi man sentenced to 10 years in prison and 2000 lashes and fined twenty thousand Riyal, after posting about his atheism on Twitter

Daesh Saudi

According to an Al-Watan report, “religious” police in charge of monitoring social networks in Saudi Arabia have claimed to have found more than 600 tweets denying the existence of God, making fun of Koranic verses, accusing prophets of lies and saying that religious teachings fuelled war.

The 28-year-old behind the tweets admitted being an atheist and refused to recant, saying what he wrote reflected his beliefs and that he had the right to express them.

Once again, the Saudi regime has demonstrated its Wahhabi ideological affinity to Daesh (ISIS/ISIL), shamelessly trampling on human rights guaranteed by the Qur’an. It is a matter of great concern that so many non-Muslim nations around the world are perfectly willing to do business with these barbarians, while they continue to persecute their own citizens with such cruelty. Even more alarming is the fact that, not caring one bit about the future suffering of all those who would fall into the claws of such an evil ideology, the United States actually encouraged the spread of Saudi Wahhabism around the world, as per Hillary Clinton’s own testimony (apologies for the poor video quality):

So, what DOES Islam say about apostasy, or abandoning Islam publicly? A former Judge at the International Court of Justice, in the Hague, the Netherlands, opens up this important issue HERE. The time has come for Muslim-majority nations to shake off the influence of Wahhabism imposed upon them by false champions of Human Rights, and to return to the reasonable and peaceful teachings of their Holy Book.

The “End of Atheism” team explain who they are!

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Are you a theist, and have you benefited from EndofAtheism’s videos and blog posts? Would you like to suggest topics for future ones?

Or are you an atheist or agnostic, and have comments and/or questions for the EndofAtheism team?

Contact www.endofatheism.com.

 

 

Can You Be Good Without God?

Can You Be Good Without God-

Say, ‘O Allah! Originator of the heavens and the earth; Knower of the unseen and the seen; Thou alone wilt judge between Thy servants concerning that in which they differed.’ (Qur’an 39:47)

“A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true” – Socrates

Why is hurting people termed “wrong”? Ask yourself this question and you will find that it is not easy to answer. The answers you may come up with may be along the lines of “you wouldn’t want to be hurt, so why do it to others?” or “doing good to others promotes social cohesion”. However, neither of these two statements answer the question. Why then should you not hurt others, just because you wouldn’t want to be hurt? Why is social cohesion desirable?

These may seem like absurd questions, and on some level, they are. The reason for this is because everyone, universally it seems, knows that hurting people is wrong. Even the hardened thief who has convinced himself that his thievery is justified, would feel aggrieved and wronged if someone stole from him – thus demonstrating that though he has made excuses for his own thievery, he still knows it to be wrong. Yet, if everyone knows that doing wrong is bad, and undesirable, then why do people do it at all? The answer is found in the above example – the thief who justifies his own actions to himself:

Can he, who was dead and We gave him life and made for him a light whereby he walks among men, be like him whose condition is that he is in utter darkness whence he cannot come forth? Thus have the doings of the disbelievers been made to seem fair to them. (Qur’an 6:123)

Thus, a system of morality such as Humanism, which tells people simply to “be good” and “promote the wellbeing of others” not to “hurt others” without defining what “good”, “hurt” and “wellbeing” mean, is a totally meaningless system of morality. The reason for this is that everyone who does wrong, does it, believing it to be good. What is needed in a system of morality is not the end goal, but actually clear directives on which actions are right and which are wrong, covering all conceivable contexts. This is what the Qur’an in particular, claims to achieve.

A Book, the verses of which have been expounded in detail — the Qur’an in clear, eloquent language — for a people who have knowledge… (Qur’an 41:4)

This is what Socrates is talking about when he refers to “relative morality” as an “illusion” and a “thoroughly vulgar conception”. Very strong words – but are they warranted? They are, because what Humanism achieves is that it makes the concept of “right” and “wrong” malleable; with each person free to define “good” and “evil” however they wish, thus giving license for every evil to be conducted under the guise of “goodness”. As pointed out above, this is precisely what happens when a person does evil or harms others; they justify it to themselves and call it “good”. Humanism is therefore no more than a formalised system of convincing yourself that what you are doing is for the betterment and wellbeing of others. People try to claim that it is religion which is utilised as a pious front for the doing of evil, and that more people do evil in the name of God than for any other reason. This may be the case but there is a difference here – people do evil in the name of God, in spite of the clear teachings of various religions on which actions are right and which are wrong. Humanism on the other hand has no teachings which could act as a buffer against the evil done in its name.

It is also worth asking the question that “what makes a good, moral person?” Hitler is famously known to have been a vegetarian, because he believed that eating animals was cruel. Ridiculous as it may sound, it demonstrates that Hitler strived – in his own mind at least – to be, what he thought of, as a good person. We find it difficult to imagine that a person who has committed and authorised such atrocities as he did, loved animals, and, no doubt, loved people also – friends and family etc. Does this make him a good, moral person? Of course it doesn’t, and the reason is obvious: loving one’s friends and families, is a natural condition that is even found among animals. Among animals too, there are many example of creatures that have shown extraordinary love and sacrifice for other animals, both of their own species, and otherwise. A simple search on YouTube would show many filmed examples. This does not make animals moral. This is because a moral quality is defined when reason and reflection are brought into play, and a person acts after deliberated thought. A mother who jumps in front of a car to save her baby has not behaved morally – she has behaved instinctively, on the basis of a natural impulse. Thus, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad explains in the following excerpt:

When (natural qualities) are regulated and are used on their proper occasions, under the direction of reason, they acquire a moral character. Before they are controlled by reason and understanding they have not the character of moral qualities, but are natural impulses, however much they might resemble moral qualities. For instance, if a dog or lamb displays affection or docility towards its master it would not be described as moral or good-mannered. In the same way a wolf or a tiger would not be described as ill-mannered on account of its wildness. A moral state emerges after reflection and regard for time and occasion come into play.(1)

Humanism however, conflates natural impulses with moral actions. As Humanism gives no directives and no instruction on what action is right in which context and which action is wrong in which context, it totally falls short of defining morality. It therefore does not seek to give direction to our natural impulses, thereby converting them into moral qualities, but rather seeks to term our natural impulses of love for our friends and families, and the expression of that love, as moral actions. This is totally erroneous and betrays a fundamental misunderstanding on what morality is.

Thus, a basic moral system requires two things, to make it a valid system that both makes sense and also works effectively:

1) A perspective of absolute morality – a belief that “right” and “wrong” exist outside of our own minds. In religion, “right” and “wrong” are defined by God – and it is God’s perspective that is the only perspective that matters. His perspective can be accessed both through scripture, or on a more basic level, by looking into our own conscience, to the inbuilt signposts God has given us. Humanists can also look to the human conscience, but in doing so, they are admitting that morality is a universal and absolute concept.

2) Teachings that define which actions are right in which context, and which are wrong. This is important, because, giving the end goal of “to promote happiness” is a meaningless statement, without teaching people which actions will lead to that end goal. In this regard, many religions also fall short of this ideal. Christianity, for example, which has done away with the “law” of saying which actions are right in which context and which are wrong, by accepting St. Paul’s notion that all you need is “faith” to enter heaven, and actions are not necessary, has undermined this second principle which would uphold a system of morality.

Humanism falls short on both these two principles. Humanism does not advocate that the notion of “right” or “wrong” exist outside of our own minds, nor does it give any specific teachings on which actions are right and which are wrong. Ironically however, the very existence of Humanism is a wonderful proof of the existence of God. How so? Humanism is an example of a group of people (atheists) who believe that there is no God – and therefore no absolute concept of morality, and yet feel an urging within their own hearts to unite on some common values of what is right and what is wrong, and thereby create an artificial concept of absolute morality based on the consensus of a community. They demonstrate by their actions that morality must have some degree of absoluteness, and that relative morality is – as Socrates points out – no morality at all. Thus they prove the need for an absolute perspective on morality and thus prove the need for the existence of God, for a code of morality to exist. This is all the more so because, despite their attempt at creating an artificial basis for absolute morality through common consensus as a community, they know well that just because a community endorses a particular moral action or view, does not make it right or wrong. Many communities there have been in history who collectively, with consensus, perpetrated genocide on other peoples. Does their consensus as to the rightness of their actions, change the fact that their actions were evil?

In short, humanists hear the call of their hearts of what is right and what is wrong, yet, having renounced God, they do not understand where this call is coming from, despite being unable to resist its pull. Indeed, Man admits the existence of God – Who is the basis of morality – despite professing disbelief in Him.

So set thy face to the service of religion as one devoted to God. And follow the nature made by Allah — the nature in which He has created mankind. There is no altering the creation of Allah. That is the right religion. But most men know not. (Qur’an 30:31)

The present article has been reproduced from the End of Atheism website. End of Atheism is a direct response to the New Atheist movement that began with Sam Harris’ book ‘End of Faith.’ You can find more material here:  www.endofatheism.com

 

World Crisis & the Pathway to Peace

World Crisis and pathway

The world is passing through very turbulent times. The global
economic crisis continues to manifest newer and graver dangers
almost every week. The similarities to the period just before the
Second World War continue to be cited and it seems clear that
events are moving the world at an unprecedented pace towards
a horrific third world war. There is an overwhelming sense that
things are quickly getting out of control and the people are looking
for someone to step on to the stage to offer concrete, solid,
guidance in which they can have confidence and that speaks to
their heart and mind alike and gives them hope that there is a path
that can lead to peace. The consequences of a nuclear war are so
catastrophic that none dare even think about them.
Here, in this book, we have gathered the guidance put forth
by Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Head of the worldwide
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Over the past several years, as
events have unfolded, he has been fearless in announcing to the

world where things are heading—not to create alarm but to prepare
them to think about how the world has arrived in this state
of being and how it can avert disaster and chart a course to peace
and security for all the people that inhabit this global village. He
has forthrightly proclaimed that the only way to insure peace is
for the world to adopt the ways of humility and justice and to
humbly, submissively, turn to God; for man to become humane;
for the strong to treat the weak with dignity and respect and
justice and for the weak and poor to also to show gratitude and
adopt the ways of truth and righteousness and for all to turn to
their Creator in utter humility and total sincerity.
Again and again he has reminded one and all that the way
back from the brink of disaster is for nations to make justice an
absolute requirement of their dealings with each other. Even if
there is enmity between them they need to still observe justice
because history has taught us that this is the only way to eliminate
all traces of future hatreds and thus build a lasting peace.
This is the teaching of the Holy Qur’an that he has emphasized
in his letters to the leaders of the world:
And let not the enmity of a people, that they hindered
you from the Sacred Mosque, incite you to transgress.
And help one another in righteousness and piety; but
help not one another in sin and transgression. And fear
Allah; surely, Allah is severe in punishment. (ch. 5: v. 3)
In his letter to the Prime Minister of Israel, he wrote:
Hence, it is my request to you that instead of leading

the world into the grip of a World War, make maximum
efforts to save the world from a global catastrophe. Instead
of resolving disputes with force, you should try to resolve
them through dialogue, so that we can gift our future generations
with a bright future rather than ‘gift’ them with
disability and defects.
To the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, he admonished:
There is currently great agitation and restlessness in the
world. In some areas small-scale wars have broken out,
while in other places the superpowers act on the pretext
of trying to bring about peace. Each country is engaged in
activities to either help or oppose other countries, but the
requirements of justice are not being fulfilled. It is with
regret that if we now observe the current circumstances of
the world, we find that the foundation for another world
war has already been laid.
To President Obama, he stated:
As we are all aware, the main causes that led to the Second
World War were the failure of League of Nations and the
economic crisis, which began in 1932. Today, leading economists
state that there are numerous parallels between the
current economic crisis and that of 1932. We observe that
political and economic problems have once again led to
wars between smaller nations, and to internal discord and
discontentment becoming rife within these countries. This

will ultimately result in certain powers emerging to the
helm of government, who will lead us to a world war. If in
the smaller countries conflicts cannot be resolved through
politics or diplomacy, it will lead to new blocs and groupings
to form in the world. This will be the precursor for
the outbreak of a Third World War. Hence, I believe that
now, rather than focusing on the progress of the world, it is
more important and indeed essential, that we urgently increase
our efforts to save the world from this destruction.
There is an urgent need for mankind to recognise its One
God, Who is our Creator, as this is the only guarantor for
the survival of humanity; otherwise, the world will continue
to rapidly head towards self-destruction.

To Premier Wen Jiabao of the State of the People’s Republic of
China, he wrote:
It is my prayer that the leaders of the world act with
wisdom and do not allow mutual enmities between nations
and people on a small-scale to erupt into a global
conflict.
And to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he wrote:
It is my request that at every level and in every direction
we must try our level best to extinguish the flames of
hatred. Only if we are successful in this effort, will we be
enabled to guarantee brighter futures for our generations
to come. However, if we fail in this task, there should be

no doubt in our minds that as result of nuclear warfare,
our future generations everywhere will have to bear the
horrific consequences of our actions and they will never
forgive their elders for leading the world into a global catastrophe.
I again remind you that Britain is also one of
those countries that can and does exert influence in the
developed world as well as in developing countries. You
can guide this world, if you so desire, by fulfilling the requirements
of equity and justice. Thus, Britain and other
major powers should play their role towards establishing
world peace. May God the Almighty enable you and other
world leaders to understand this message.

It is our sincere prayer that the guidance collected herein may

prove a source of guidance for mankind in this time of great
danger so that by acting on the principles of justice and humility
and by turning to God, man may be blessed with a lasting peace.

http://www.alislam.org/library/books/World-Crisis-and-Pathway-to-Peace.pdf

The Review of Religions

DECEMBER 2015 ISSUE http://www.reviewofreligions.org/

Click here for the PDF: http://www.reviewofreligions.org/wp-content/pdf-downloads/RR201512.pdf 

  • The Blame Game: Is Religion Truly the Cause of Disorder in the World Today?
  • Responding to Paris
  • Three Gradations of Doing Good
  • Apartheid of Ahmadis in Pakistan
  • Forgiveness of the Holy Prophet Muhammad
  • Women’s Responsibilities
  • The Economic System of Islam

RoR in Jan 2016