Do all religions lead us to God?

Awoken2

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Well since you were talking to a Muslim, the Qur'an has a very powerful passage about this very topic:


Among the people are those who dispute concerning God without any knowledge or guidance, or an enlightening Book,
turning aside disdainfully to lead [others] astray from the way of God. For such there is disgrace in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection We will make him taste the punishment of the burning:
‘That is because of what your own hands have sent ahead, and because God is not tyrannical to the servants.’
And among the people are those who worship God on the [very] fringe: if good fortune befalls him, he is content with it; but if an ordeal visits him he makes a turnabout, to become a loser in the world and the Hereafter. That is the manifest loss.

He invokes besides God that which can bring him neither benefit nor harm. That is extreme error.
- Qur'an, 22:8-12
Thank you for your input. I struggle with religious writings to decipher what it actually means. I find it all very confusing so will steer well clear as a general rule.

Could you just translate the above into a statement or message in more simple terms? as I even struggle understanding English writing from a Bible so the Qur'an will just confound me even more.
 






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Thank you for your input. I struggle with religious writings to decipher what it actually means. I find it all very confusing so will steer well clear as a general rule.

Could you just translate the above into a statement or message in more simple terms? as I even struggle understanding English writing from a Bible so the Qur'an will just confound me even more.
Hello @Awoken

You will find the Quran not nearly as difficult to read. It is in fact very clear and direct.


If you click on this link, and then go to settings in the top right hand corner, you will see a list of translations. The easiest to follow are probably Abdul Haleem and Saheeh International.

Alternatively, the Quran can be listened to, and this has a different effect than if you are reading it from a page.

For instance, these are recitations of some of the chapters of the Quran, accompanied by English translations. The Quran has 114 chapter in all, some are long, and some are short.


 






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Red Sky at Morning

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No, I think you should read the quoted paragraphs form that book again, especially the last paragraph.

Stating the obvious fact that they all claim to worship the same God, doesn't make their particular doctrines and views on things identical, that is ridiculous. It is obvious that Christians believe in atonement, whereas Jews and Muslims believe in repentance. This is all to obvious.
Your doctrinal slant does not mean that such a false dichotomy as "either I worship X or so-and-so don't worship X". You both claim to worship the same God and the same ultimate defining theological characteristics, as well as Prophetic and historical associations.
It comes down to, especially in terms of trinitarian Christian POV, you offering an addition to the basic definition of the God of Abraham.
This is fine of course with reservations that it is readily admitted.
Who is "true" and "false" is not relevant to these categorical typologies which are strongly embedded in the theological foundations of these traditions.

I think for me, studying all of these traditions and their polemics against each other, I see strong tendencies with theologians trying to attack certain things in another religion and sect from the Abrahamic tradition, will often attack from a slant completely the opposite as another theologian. I find it quite revealing in terms of what various theologians are going for.
One example is that early on in Christian history before there was any sense of uniformity of doctrine and canon, the figure of Marcion held the view that "the God of the Jews" was a different God to the God of Jesus and therefore rejected the Jewish scriptures entirely.
The various Christian sects known as the "Gnostics" often held similar views but with much more complex theologies.
Whereas on the other hand many hysterical modern day Christians will often try to attack Islam as either having nothing to do with Judaism/Christianity, completely severing it from being a valid voice in the discussion, or in the contrary claiming that it is just a Christian heresy (which is a fringe orientalist myth with very little academic support).

Fundamentally, as Christianity tends to be the one who wants to be the lynch-pin. We have this; Jews worship YHWH. Jesus worshiped YHWH calling him "The Father". Christianity developed a theology known as trinitarianism which posits God as consisting equally of three 'persons', Father Son and Holy Spirit. The holy spirit being a concept referring to divine presence and revelation in the Jewish scriptures.
Islam on the other hand, upholding all three parts of the trinity with none of their connotations - 'The Father' (not termed as such) being just God (Allah), 'the Son' (Jesus) just being Jesus, and the Holy Spirit being the Angel Gabriel (present in Judaism and Christianity).

One can hardly say that the three general religions believe in different Gods, far from it, it is obvious that Christianity has a formulation that adds and changes correlations and definitions, in comparison to the meanings of it's terms within Judaism and Islam. Again, not speaking in terms of who and who isn't "true" but rather in terms of what is actually objectively being claimed by these traditions.

In terms of Semitic language too, whether you admit or not, it's pretty consistent that the Hebrew word "EL" is the general for "God" (and "Elah" which is the word in Hebrew for God in the singular). Jesus spoke Aramaic and the Aramaic word for God is "Alaha/Elaha" (you will remember his famous words "eli eli lama sabachthani"). Whereas, Arabic is related to both Hebrew and Aramaic, therefore the Arabic word for the singular-God is "Allah".
Please forgive the Socratic question and thank you for giving a detailed answer.

On the one hand we have a move towards concentrating on the commonality between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

e.g. the Tri-Faith initiative


The Abrahamic Family House…


Also expressed by Pope Francis a few


and more recently…


Set against this broad view is what is perceived increasingly to be the unbearably narrow one expressed by Jesus:-

30EE375D-3615-4272-9B89-734F6EFBB7F7.png
 






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Nikōn

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Please forgive the Socratic question and thank you for giving a detailed answer.

On the one hand we have a move towards concentrating on the commonality between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

e.g. the Tri-Faith initiative


The Abrahamic Family House…


Also expressed by Pope Francis…


Set against this broad view is what is perceived increasingly to be the unbearably narrow one expressed by Jesus:-

View attachment 57989
Your response to my lengthy post is a red herring (for universalism is not what I am tackling, nor what you were talking about in the initial post I responded to) and a potential strawman because of that.

The particular point being addressed comes back to is a car a car? is a bus a bus? is a tree a tree? is a bike a bike? is a snake a snake? does the number 2 designate 2 added values? is the sky the sky? is water water?

If two people believe in a figure called Abraham and believe in an infinite, transcendent single deity who has revealed through figures known as Prophets variously known such as Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon and so forth, then categorically are they speaking about the same infinite, transcendent single deity?

Reason dictates obviously yes, a duck is a duck. This doesn't result in universalism or prove that any of the groups are true (let alone one) merely on that basis - only that they all worship the same deity and have a common overlapping shared history of sorts, which is quite historically obvious.
 






Awoken2

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Hello @Awoken

You will find the Quran not nearly as difficult to read. It is in fact very clear and direct.


If you click on this link, and then go to settings in the top right hand corner, you will see a list of translations. The easiest to follow are probably Abdul Haleem and Saheeh International.

Alternatively, the Quran can be listened to, and this has a different effect than if you are reading it from a page.

For instance, these are recitations of some of the chapters of the Quran, accompanied by an English translation. The Quran has 114 chapter in all, some are long, and some are short.



Hey thanks but it's just not for me. I think if people have faith then that's great but it should be something you keep private, something just between you and your God. I feel it's when people then try to spread the word of their beliefs this is when we encounter conflict.

Maybe one day my feelings will change towards this.
 






Red Sky at Morning

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If two people believe in a figure called Abraham and believe in an infinite, transcendent single deity who has revealed through figures known as Prophets variously known such as Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon and so forth, then categorically are they speaking about the same infinite, transcendent single deity?
You hit on the point perfectly here @Nikōn

If God is real, and if He has had particular dealings with mankind through history, it logically follows that at least some of these will have been recorded accurately.

Picture Abraham Lincoln - a real man who lived, interacted with world events and left an impression on history. Various biographies of Lincoln exist but are all of them equally true simply because accounts share characters, events and commonalities?

If they are not equally true biographies, what tests would you apply as an historian to separate truth from error?
 






Nikōn

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You hit on the point perfectly here @Nikōn

If God is real, and if He has had particular dealings with mankind through history, it logically follows that at least some of these will have been recorded accurately.

Picture Abraham Lincoln - a real man who lived, interacted with world events and left an impression on history. Various biographies of Lincoln exist but are all of them equally true simply because accounts share characters, events and commonalities?

If they are not equally true biographies, what tests would you apply as an historian to separate truth from error?
Once again you basically repeat the same thing as before. To which I already responded:

Your response to my lengthy post is a red herring (for universalism is not what I am tackling, nor what you were talking about in the initial post I responded to) and a potential strawman because of that.

...........

Reason dictates obviously yes, a duck is a duck. This doesn't result in universalism or prove that any of the groups are true (let alone one) merely on that basis - only that they all worship the same deity and have a common overlapping shared history of sorts, which is quite historically obvious.
Now stop playing the "universalism or my view is true" card, these tangents of red herrings are not helpful and are in our particular stream of replies, entirely off-topic.

What is trying to be tackled here is, whether a duck is a duck, or if isn't.
 






Red Sky at Morning

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Once again you basically repeat the same thing as before. To which I already responded:



Now stop playing the "universalism or my view is true" card, these tangents of red herrings are not helpful and are in our particular stream of replies, entirely off-topic.

What is trying to be tackled here is, whether a duck is a duck, or if isn't.
I don’t think you have understood my response but I will not labour the point.

For me, Christianity stands or falls on the real life, works, words, death and resurrection of Jesus.

I am presently reading a very interesting book on the subject:-


Product Description

If you ask people about the existence of Christ, they usually fall into one of three camps: the faithful who sing his praises, the atheists who consider him a mythological creation, and the skeptics who fall somewhere in between.

But regardless of your personal feelings about Jesus of Nazareth, little doubt remains that he was a real person who once walked this earth. A wealth of historical accounts exist to assure us of this—with many of the most compelling coming from nonbelievers themselves.
Hostile Witnesses is an examination of the best historical evidence for Christ’s existence, particularly the evidence provided to us by the most unexpected of sources. From the pagans of ancient Rome, to Jewish and Muslim writings, these accounts create a solid fact-based history of Jesus’s life on earth…one that believers and nonbelievers will find equally compelling.
Whether you are established in your beliefs or just now embarking on a journey of faith, join author Curtis Grant Parker as he reveals the truth about the historical Jesus—and discover the opportunity to make your own decisions about his status as Lord God and Savior.
 






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Hey thanks but it's just not for me. I think if people have faith then that's great but it should be something you keep private, something just between you and your God. I feel it's when people then try to spread the word of their beliefs this is when we encounter conflict.

Maybe one day my feelings will change towards this.
Every entity, whether individual or political will seek to spread their beliefs and impose them on others, or will at least hold to the superiority of their belief system (hence you told me I ought to keep my religion a private affair - this is an opinion informed by a secular liberal worldview).

Case in point, the United Nations enforces certain global standards of justice. The United Nations has its own religion, or religion by another name, in the form of a set of values and beliefs about the nature of the world, good and evil, and the human condition. The UN causes other nations to abide by its regulations, such as the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by force. They enforce their beliefs via diplomatic sanctions (e.g. Venezuela and Iraq), starving and blockading the 'disbelieving' nation until it submits to them; and through military intervention, bombing the disbelieving nation into submission.

NGOs are the missionaries of this religion, they go to various countries that need to be "enlightened" and "civilized", and seek to inculcate them with their first-world values. They think their values and beliefs are the epitome of good, and are universal. They don't consider that not every person subscribes to their same values and perception of the world. But the "disbelievers" don't have a choice. Its either submit or die, "you're either with us, or you're with the terrorists."


Screen Shot 2021-06-24 at 12.24.31.png

Other examples: America and its allies enforce their global hegemony by any means necessary, whether by toppling governments of sovereign countries, overturning the results of democratic elections, or establishing proxy states like Israel.

So really, whichever way you look at it, through the lens of religion, or through the lens of politics, no one keeps their beliefs private, and everyone seeks to impose their values on others.

So the question is not, "is it wrong to spread your beliefs", it is "which beliefs are correct, and which are wrong?".


___________

Secular liberals enjoy touting their tolerance and acceptance, which they consider superior to Islam, for example, but in fact, they are the most intolerant of all.*

For all the talk of equality and rights, liberalism suffers from what Bikhu Parekh calls a deep narcissism; If you do not conform to the dominant consensus, you do not deserve equal recognition. This consensus is both intellectual and cultural. Those that refuse to embrace the values of liberal universalism and who do not represent the cultural attitudes of the dominant group have all too often been marginalised by liberal idealists, pushed to the fringes of societies. Both theory and practice, as well as an informed reading of history, attest to the chauvinism that has all too often been associated with liberal ideology.

Liberal toleration developed in the throes of European religious conflict in the seventeenth century. John Locke initially sought to devise a philosophy to remove conflict from the society that came from competing versions of the ‘good life’. To do so, what was needed was a neutral state that would act as a mediator, rise above the fray and not take sides. In theory, at least, citizens would be free to pursue their own version of what made them happy. This approach was reaffirmed by John Stuart Mill, whose ‘harm principle’ set out a criterion for individuality to flourish.

...

The state could not intervene in the personal realm or indeed the public realm unless real harm resulted from an activity. Both Locke and Mill and others built the contours of a society that would preserve and widen a free and liberal polity. In this political environment, all people would flourish.Strikingly illustrated by Paul Gray in his book, Two Faces of Liberalism, liberalism has always been torn between two contradictory ideals; one where it acts as a benign mediator and another where it advances a project of universalism. All too often, it is the proselytising mission of liberalism that has dominated the liberal state.

This crusading spirit of liberalism is unsurprising. The ideology was closely associated with a Darwinian belief that both Europeans and their culture had a duty to civilize and tame the savagery of other world civilisations. This is why the “white man’s burden” was embraced by liberals at home like William Gladstone and later David Lloyd George, and why John Winthrop’s ‘city on the hill’ stood tall as an example for supposedly lesser cultures to imitate. Besides, liberalism from its very first days was less a neutral arbiter and more a neo-religious executioner. It demanded something in return for its toleration. Even when you were ready to give everything up to be embraced by the polity, your colour, cultural mores, and creeds meant that acceptance was always going to be contingent on your gratefulness and recognition of your inferiority and status.

...

The post-cold-war era may have hailed, on paper at least, a period of cosmopolitanism and free trade, but it also gave space to a more muscular assertion of international liberalism, what became known as liberal interventionism. When President Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright declared, “If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation,” she echoed the same hubris woven into the liberal fabric. The resulting wars in Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003) and Libya (2011) were all fought to free beleaguered people from tyranny, only to devour the Muslim world into a fire pit of sectarianism and terror. The language of human rights and exporting democracy were the new instruments of this liberal crusade. When it went wrong, it was because the natives were not ready to run their own affairs and embrace liberal democracy. Niall Ferguson opines in his book Colossus, if only America had the stomach to stay the course like all empires, possibly fifty to a hundred years, then it could turn around a country like Iraq. This would allow the spread of “American values to Iraq’s mostly undemocratic neighbors.” The liberal world order created after 1945 was never a genuine attempt to create a free and equal world, but a means to consolidate American power. Even liberal institutions, such as the World Bank and IMF, readily played their role to undermine the sovereignty of developing nations and to forcibly open up their markets to the rabid appetites of the modern multinational corporation.

At home, liberalism claims to create a neutral space to host divergent views, yet liberal neutrality remains illusory. Instead, liberals require the embrace of a thick layer of values before acceptance into the public square. These include individualism, liberties, liberal democratic norms, secularism, and toleration of all moral positions. Most liberals see this as common sense because most liberals believe these are “self-evident” truths. Yet those communities that are hesitant to, say, accept the denigration of their religious prophets or believe parental rights supersedes the autonomous rights of a child are marginalised until they submit to these universal truths.



* Whereas liberalism enforces its values on others and demands that they conform to its standards, Islam permits freedom of religion within its polity within a certain framework. Hence the treaty of Medina was the first agreement for co-existence of its kind, the pact of Umar permitted Christians to practice their religion in Jerusalem, and Salahuddin al-Ayyubi permitted Eastern Christians and Jews to remain after his conquest of Jerusalem.
 






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Don't you think this is pretty harsh on disbelievers who turned out to be genuine, sincere and kind people?


Isn't that again just a little bit sadistic? Extending the life of evil people who inevitably go on to kill or rob or harm good people who believe in him. I don't see any logic whatsoever in this statement, sorry.


Yes I lost my mum at 5. I could also see this as a test, because it was, but it also could just be an unfortunate set of circumstances, which it was. My mum was very religious...prayed every day....dead at 27 leaving her children with a womanising alcoholic. Did God answer my mums prayers there then?

I will leave it there for now I know you have a very strong set of beliefs, but so do I. Your's come from a book....mine cones from my life.
Awoken, you were also asking earlier about whether hell is just. Abdullah al Andalusi wrote a comprehensive answer to that here.

IS HELL JUST? A Response to Secular Liberals and Atheists

By Abdullah al Andalusi on May 26, 2018

In today’s world, the main objectors and doubters to the concept of hell and God’s justice are Secular Liberals. This is because of their belief in Liberalism, which ultimately leads and requires its devotees to doubt God’s justice as revealed in revelation in the first place. They like to call these doubts ‘rational’, and proudly croon that they are simply ‘rationalists’ against the ‘irrationalists’ of religion – but the reality is that they are the most irrational of all, yet they perceive it not. Doubting the justice of God is, unfortunately, the inevitable conclusion of Liberalism’s assumptions about the world, and the reason many people who are influenced by its ideas begin to doubt and reject God, or any religion about God.

This is because, although Liberalism is defined as a political ideology, it is based upon the creed (Aqeedah) of Individualism. The creed is broader than a political ideology because it posits that the natural state of the ‘individual human’ is to be sovereign over themselves, and therefore nothing can be higher than individuals, whether society, culture or religion/belief [read: God].

Since Individualism believes that each human is a self-sovereign of themselves, it posits that they have “freedom” to do as they desire, with the only limitation being the equal freedom of another “individual” to do as they desire also. Of course, this (over) simplistic understanding of humans, doesn’t agree with nature or the reality of human beings. Humans depend on each other for nourishment, help, knowledge (both theoretical and practical), emotional comfort, reproduction and protection. Humans can also affect each other beyond physical violence. All these phenomena have caused a lot of problems for Liberal theorists, policy/lawmakers who desperately try to make more and more laws to rectify Liberalism’s inadequacies, in a Sisyphean attempt to turn a square into a circle – but without wanting to eliminate any sides.

If people wish to believe that Liberalism is limited only to a political ideology [i.e. a principle for ordering government of societies], they are quite mistaken. This is because a political ideology needs principles and a basis to make laws. Laws are rules based upon judgements of ‘right’ and wrong’ (e.g. morals). This then requires the creed of Liberalism, Individualism, to come up with an understanding of right and wrong – a Liberal moral system; which it has. In Individualism, humans are “free”, which is defined as “sovereign” or “owners” over themselves and therefore “independent” of any obligations to others, and only their desires are the arbiters of right and wrong. Therefore the only “sin” in Individualism, is for one individual to perform an action upon another individual (or their property) without their agreement.

This belief seems purely of political implication at first, but not if you take it to its logical conclusion: if humans are “free”, independent, and owners of themselves:

1) What ‘right’ does God have upon humans to ask them to do anything for Him (SWT), or punish them when they don’t?

2) If humans desire to reject God, or associate partners to Him (SWT), without physically harming any other humans (and because it cannot harm God), how is it morally ‘wrong’? And if not morally wrong, how can they be punished for it?

3) The punishment for humans who have harmed other humans should only be incarceration in prison for the purpose of removing their interaction with non-harmful humans (i.e. “protecting society”), not punishing with pain – which is wrong because (even if they are criminal) it is a violation of the owner of the body, the individual himself.

4) If humans live a finite life, and can only harm each other by a finite amount of action, how can ANY of them deserve an infinite punishment in hell?

Liberals argue that for God to put people in an eternal hell is unjust because people’s lives are finite, and putting someone in hell is, according to them “an infinite punishment for finite crimes”.

This last argument is not specifically only used by Liberals, but as the belief in an eternal hell is so fundamental to many religions, that to knock down this pillar helps them weaken the others pillars too, causing doubt in the rest.

These arguments against God’s justice have led to three schools of thought amongst Liberals about how to confront revelations of God that go against Liberal morality. One school simply rejects or doubts God exists (this category are the Liberal Atheists or Agnostics). The second school are the Deists, who believe God exists, but doubt any theology (i.e. religion) about Him (SWT). The third school are those who want to maintain their public identification as “believers” in a particular religion, but have changed their understanding of God’s nature [i.e. theology] to be consistent with Liberal morality (this category are people who believe in what’s know as Liberal Theology (theology which is consistent with Liberal morality). Muslims better know them as ‘modernists’).

Up to now, the discussion here has been on the context of Liberalism’s doubts against hell and God’s justice. Now let’s move on to why the Liberal arguments against hell and God’s justice, are irrational (i.e. unjustified and inconsistent) and therefore wrong – followed by a demonstration of how the Islamic understanding God’s justice and hell is consistent, justified, and – importantly – just.


What is Justice? The Underlying Problem with Liberal Contentions Against Hell

If we subject the arguments of Liberals against God’s justice and hell to closer examination, we find that the first problem with such contentions is that Liberals simply cannot produce a definition of justice that has any meaning or basis, other than simply making assertions of their tastes. For example, to base justice on equality seems fine enough, until we ask the question “equality of what?”. If Liberals were to argue that “all humans are equal”, we must then ask them upon whose authority? or what basis? Humans are different from each other, in temperament, personality, intelligence, health, life experience and ability – how can we ever have any basis to claim equality exists, when ‘nature’ clearly doesn’t make everyone the same?

The only definition of justice that could make any sense is, 1) to give what is deserved, and 2) to be consistent in applying what is deserved. But this still leaves us with the question “What is deserved”, and “who decides what everyone, or everything, deserves?”

So any contentions or questioning of whether God’s creation of hell is just as meaningless to a Theist. However, what can be discussed is whether God is consistent with His (SWT) actions towards his creation i.e. in His judgement and punishment. So when God has declared in His revelations that He will not be unjust, then this means that no one will be dealt with in an unjust manner.

In response to these objections, I will demonstrate four things:

  • God indeed has the right to hold humans to account
  • God is always just (and additionally merciful where He wills) in His judgement
  • God is just in punishing by pain or torment
  • God is just in punishing a specific group of humans for eternity
1. The Right of God to hold Mankind to Account

Before we expound upon God’s justice, we first need to expose the underlying bias behind this discussion; this bias comes from the irrational ideology of Liberalism. Liberalism’s bias originates from the following ideas:

  • Man is totally free [by right] of any control
  • Man exists to seek happiness (pleasure)
  • Man is the best arbiter [judge] of his own pleasure
  • [Therefore] man is the decider of his own purpose and destiny

We need to challenge this underlying concept because it portrays God as an interfering interloper that we have no need of. Therefore, His judgement and punishment of us would be deemed to be unjust according to do the ideas derived from Liberalism, since man would be according to Liberal theology, in effect, a separate god, who exists as equals with God!

Liberalism believes the pleasure is good, and that man’s purpose is the pursuit of pleasure (as a right and its good).

‘Things then are good or evil, only in reference to pleasure or pain. That we call good, which is apt to cause or increase pleasure, or diminish pain in us; or else to procure or preserve us the possession of any other good, or absence of any evil. And on the contrary, we name that evil, which is apt to produce or increase any pain, or diminish any pleasure in us; or else to procure us any evil, or deprive us of any good’

John Locke (considered to be the father of Liberalism), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

It’s because liberalism believes this, that it abhors the concept of hell. This is why you’ll probably never hear of any public debates discussing whether paradise is just, only hell.

Most liberals don’t question the justice of humans being given eternal pleasure and paradise as a reward for a finite amount of good deeds, but only the existence of pain and punishment.

Furthermore, because traditional Western religion (Christianity) believes “God is good”, Liberals, therefore, have to surmise that if punishment (and worldly suffering) exist, it must mean that either God is unjust, or (more likely according to their logic) God doesn’t exist.

The reality is God is not an interloper who exists on equal terms with us (as liberals would view the relationship) – he’s an infinite creator and maintainer of everything that exists.

When we look at reality as we observe it, the universe and even the animal world are certainly not liberal – there is endless change, involving destruction, death, pain and suffering. This causes some Liberals to doubt God’s existence because they refuse to question the assumptions of Liberalism]. Perhaps the universe get didn’t get the memo?

Liberalism is philosophically contradictory, irrational and unwarranted by the evidence of creation itself.

The purpose of the creation of man and free will, is responsibility and duty – not autonomy [i.e. to do what they wish] and hedonism i.e. to focus only on whatever pleases them.

God has a right to define our purpose – just like he defined our existence. If something creates other things for no reason, then this creator has no will and is just random. But if a creator possesses intentionality (i.e Will), then that which he creates possesses purpose (i.e. intention behind it).

This purpose constitutes the establishment of the relationship between us and our creator. This constitutes what is “good” or “bad” since a car is created with the purpose of transporting people. A car that breaks down a lot, or has no engine, is a “bad car” because it cannot fulfil its purpose. Whereas a car that works just fine is a “good car”. Therefore “good” and “bad” can only be defined by either following or resisting our purpose, and nothing else.

We, therefore, are God’s own creation and his property (of which he exercises the right of disposal – i.e. the right to do with as He pleases).

God has defined (our “good”) that He should be worshipped by us – and as a minimum, this takes the form of [us] recognising Him as the infinite and unlimited being that initiated the heavens and the earth. He is thus the sole reference point for our belief and action.

“Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” S. 23:101-115

Therefore, it is just that God possesses the right to hold humans to account for the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of our purpose.


2. God Is Just In His Accounting of Humans


God not only has the right to hold humans to account but is fair to humans by holding them to account also. God has revealed:

  • The presence or ‘Mens Rea’ – humans held accountable will be aware (to some extent) of the gravity of the actions they undertake
  • Breach of Covenant – all humans agreed to undertake the trial of fulfilling their purpose autonomously (i.e. fulfils criteria of contractual justice by consent)
  • The Right of Disposal – Humans are the Property of God – Not ourselves
  • Merciful Mitigation – God mitigates His accounting of humans with consideration of human tendency to be ignorant, make mistakes and relapse into behaviour influenced by strong conditions in our environment
The Presence of ‘Mens Rea’ – That all Humans held accountable are aware of the gravity of the actions they undertook

We know that for judgement to be fair, all humans held accountable must be aware (to some extent) of the gravity of the actions they take (In Western legal systems, this is called ‘Mens Rea’, which means ‘guilty mind’, and is needed to establish that a criminal had bad intention, before they can be prosecuted (although not for all crimes in the West)). Therefore, no one should be punished without being reminded, and forewarned (or having access to forewarning), and given chances with the truth. The people being sent to hell will be asked:

‘And those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in groups until, when they reach it, its gates are opened and its keepers will say, “Did there not come to you messengers from yourselves, reciting to you the verses of your Lord and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say, “Yes, but the word of punishment has come into effect upon the disbelievers. [To them] it will be said, ‘Enter the gates of Hell to abide eternally therein, and wretched is the residence of the arrogant’ [Quran 39:71-72]

As for humans who had no Messengers come directly to them, they would’ve needed to have searched out the purpose of life and have some awareness of morals (that were inherited or influenced from a past prophet) within their society, upon which to be judged by. Liberals cannot argue that wilfully ignorant people should be excused judgement because even in Western legal systems, they have the principle ‘Ignorantia Juris non excusat’ [ignorance of the law does not excuse].

‘Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?’ [Quran 23:115]
Breach of Covenant – Humans agreed to undertake the trial of fulfilling their purpose autonomously

It seems that God has anticipated the argument that some humans would make by claiming “it is not fair for us to have such a weighty responsibility this responsibility to worship you of our own free will, which we didn’t consent to ”, by giving all of mankind a chance to accept or reject the responsibility of worshipping God out of our own free will.

‘Truly, We did offer Amanah (the trust or moral responsibility) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah’s Torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant’. (Quran 33:72)

In another verse of the Quran, God mentions specifically all the descendants of mankind:

‘And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.”‘ (Quran 7:172)

If anything, it is not God’s judgement that is unjust, but we humans who have been unjust to ourselves.
The Right of Disposal – Humans are the Property of God – Not ourselves

Now God doesn’t need us to consent to anything, because He (SWT) created us, and we are His property – of which He (SWT) has the right of disposal over. In Arabic, He is ‘Al-Malik’ (the sovereign and possessor), and we are His possession.

Additionally, He didn’t create us independent from himself, he actively sustains our existence – because we are not (and cannot be) self-sustaining beings, and therefore we cannot argue that we should be let alone to “live our own lives” like children who have grown up and leave the parents house (in Liberal culture).

Therefore, God didn’t only create us, He (SWT) is sustaining us. If God “cut us off” from Himself (i.e. stopped sustaining us), we’d cease to exist. To use the phrase that even Liberals have to accept, if you’re living under someone’s roof, eating their food, drinking their water, warming yourself from their hearth, using their bathroom, you have to follow their rules. And we are not only living in God’s property, and living off His (SWT) property, we ARE God’s property. However, as the case is, God did ask us, and we readily took it.

If God desires us to do something He made us for, and we refuse, He is well within His (SWT) rights to dispose of us as He wills, whether it is punishment or forgiveness.

‘If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise’ (Quran 5:118)
Merciful Mitigation – God mitigates His accounting of humans with consideration of human tendency to be ignorant, make mistakes and relapse into behaviour influenced by strong conditions in our environment

Humans are affected by their environment, and many do make regrettably repeated mistakes (even with foreknowledge). It could be asked: If the human condition is heavily slanted towards our environment, is the afterlife fair?

Well firstly, God assures us that no human will be tested beyond the capacity He (SWT) knows is within us:

‘Allah does not charge a soul beyond its capacity’ (Quran 2:286)

That being said, God does understand the human propensity to be swayed by our environment and social conditioning, and takes it into mitigation in his judgement, by His mercy, in that our Good deeds are weighted in multiples, while bad deeds being weighted by one.

‘He that does a good deed shall be rewarded ten times the like of it, and he that does evil shall only be rewarded the like of it, and they shall not be wronged’ (Quran 6:160)

All the mercy we have ever observed, in every facet of creation, is only 1% of God’s mercy He (SWT) has apportioned, and He (SWT) will show the remaining 99% of His mercy on the day of judgement.

Salman Al-Farsi reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah has one hundred portions of mercy. From one portion the creation has been given mercy between themselves and ninety-nine portions are reserved for the Day of Resurrection.” (Sahih Muslim 2753)

In addition, God has promised that He (SWT) will forgive whole swathes of sins for the ransom of just some good deeds, or a small but consistent deed.

‘Those who believe and work righteous deeds, from them shall We blot out all evil (that may be) in them and We shall reward them according to the best of their deeds’ (Quran 29:7)

Furthermore, God helps humans by guiding humans on earth by means of a revealed law system – to create environments that limit public temptations to commit evil, and establish socially reinforced values and ethics to aid psychological maturity. This is why Muhammed (SAAW), who brought the revealed guidance, is called a mercy to all mankind.

“Indeed, in this [Quran] is notification for a worshipping people. And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Quran 21:106-107)


3. The Right of God to Punish with Pain or Torment

Why is there pleasure or pain in the afterlife? This is for the same reason there is pleasure and pain in this life. Pleasure and pain are experienced by living (created) beings as motivations and consequences. We need ‘feelings’ to move us, and we need feelings to reward us for fulfilling a motivation that was part of how we live our purpose (like contentment after sexual reproduction), and to castigate us when we don’t (like guilt), or warn us of danger (like feeling heat when putting your hand too close to a fire). The necessity of their existence emanates from our created purpose.

Thus, in the afterlife, we will be accounted for our adherence to our purpose, by recompense using these same two types of sensations. Pleasure for those who have fulfilled their motivations according to their purpose and pain for those have fulfilled their motivations contrary to their purpose. Pleasure and pain are tools God willed to exist for His creatures as part of their purpose during their lives, why should the afterlife be any different?


4. The Justice of God in Punishing Some for Eternity


Let us first ask the question, what do we mean by justice?

Justice is giving to someone what they deserve based upon what they are, or what they have done, i.e. their intrinsic value, or the value of the actions they have done. E.g. In the human world, a person works hard in a job, so they deserve payment. A baby is a vulnerable human being that intrinsically deserves care and sustenance. So justice must involve giving what is deserved.

This leads us to two possible just uses for God’s creation of Hell.


1) Hell as a recompense for Sins


A sin is an action done by a created being, which is contrary to the commanded purpose of that being. As stated earlier, God has the right to define the purpose of created beings, and hold them to account for choosing to fulfil or not fulfil that purpose.

Hell will be used to settle the balance of sins for unrepentant sinners who have not been recompensed with sufficient punishment during their lives – who will then be granted Paradise after their unforgiven sins are punished with a commensurate term and/or degree in hell. The term ‘unrepentant’ is used, because a person who repents by feeling guilty, making a commitment not to repeat the sin, and asking God to forgive it – is a deed that worships God, and the person – in effect – does not become the same person who willingly undertook the sin in the first place. If God chooses to forgive the person, it would be just (because it would, in a way, no longer be the same person who committed the sin).

The Messenger of Allah (SAAW) is narrated to have said: “The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin.”

[Ibn Majah, at-Tabarani in al-Mu‘jam al-Kabeer, Abu Nu‘aym, al-Bayhaqi]

God’s forgiveness is – at the same time as well – merciful, for God could always choose not to balance the sin with the good deed of a person’s repentance and punish the person instead. God could’ve chosen to keep the repentance as a good deed to be rewarded separately, but still punish the person anyways. This is like human/earthly courts who do not pardon convicted criminals even if the person has made up for a crime with a good deed later. Therefore, if God punishes, He is just. And if God forgives, He is merciful, but still just at the same time.

People do not have a problem, generally, with a finite punishment in hell. However, they claim hell produces an infinite punishment for finite Sin. This has been typically raised as a philosophical argument against hell’s Justice for having permanent inmates.

But hell is not Infinite, as only God is infinite, nor does it punish to an Infinite degree of pain, even at it’s lowest levels i.e. the inmates of Hell are not punished with infinite pain.

Hell is everlasting (by God’s Will), not infinite. What this means is, that it simply continues to exist, yet it does not exist for infinite time – as the passing of an infinite time could never be reached.

What is generally argued, is that the eternal dwelling of some people in hell is disproportionate to the limited time they lived committing sin. The fallacy of this argument will be demonstrated as follows.

Now let us appreciate the difference between an action and a sin. An action does not equal sin, because sin is the VALUE of an intentional action, not the action itself e.g. Using a knife to cut skin is an action, but depending on whether it was used by a surgeon to help a patient, or used by a serial killer to murder their victims – the action would carry completely different values.

A bad action can cause a greater length of evil than the time or effort it took to commit it. e.g. taking 10 seconds to take someone’s life away by murdering them – clearly does not deserve only 10 seconds of punishment in jail.

So the moral value of an action determines the magnitude and significance of the action and consequently, the magnitude of the punishment required.

Rejecting the rights of someone has a negative value equal to the degree the right has been denied. If I denied someone’s right to peace and security by physically bullying him, this is greater in degree than if I denied his right to peace and security by verbally harassing him.

Equally, the object we commit the offence (crime) against also plays a part in the moral value of the action. To show ingratitude to one’s grandmother by insulting her, would be far worse than to show ingratitude to one’s best-friend by insulting them, even if the best-friend had seen more of you – and done more for you – than your grandmother.

As I have shown, God is ultimately our sole creator and sustainer, has the right to be worshipped alone i.e. be exclusively recognised by us as our creator, and His commands made the sole criteria for all moral values of our actions.

To reject God, or associate partners to Him, is to claim a limitation against His power and being – as the existence of equals to Him would constitute a limit to His power and existence i.e. it would be a rejection of God Himself.

So tell me, what do you think is the gravity or magnitude of denying the infinite being of God and defaming his infinitude by associating partners equal to him that share His power, or denying him completely?

The gravity of that action would be tremendous in the extreme.

In fact, this crime is so severe, that it merits from God an inexhaustible punishment – for how much time, or to what degree of punishment could ever be counted out that exhausts the cost of the crime of denying an infinitude of the creator – using the very things He created by His infinite power to turn against Him? In essence, How much is God’s rights worth? Anything less than perpetual punishment is an injustice to God’s Right over us.

God used the same word for the magnitude of the crime of those associating partners with/rejecting Himself, as the word He uses to describe one of His names.

‘Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; less than that He forgives to whomsoever He will. Whoso associates with Allah anything has indeed forged a mighty (Adheem) sin’ (Quran 4:48).

God describes himself in the Quran as ‘Al-‘Adheem’, the Most Great (2:105) (2:255) (42:4) (56:96).

Thus the Quran confirms the gravity of the sin of Shirk.

They ask ‘how can God punish Associators and Rejectors forever?’ – I ask: ‘why should he not?’

Now for the second use of hell.


2) Hell as a residence for people who intrinsically deserve it


‘Purpose’ is the measure not just of our actions, but also of the intrinsic worth of humans. If humans not only commit sin, but they become in their very being, intrinsically against their purpose by becoming a rejector of the ultimate truth, such that it becomes the very nature of who they are – then these humans can be called intrinsically evil humans.

The words “Good” and “evil” only make sense when used to describe whether a human submits to their purpose, or instead actively choose to resist it. A person who not only does actions against their purpose, but chooses to reject their purpose, is called a ‘Kafir’ (a rejector of truth, Arabic lit. “One who buries”) on the Day of Judgment. Such humans will be judged to deserve to have their rights to fulfilment permanently rejected [as they permanently rejected/made associates with God in their lives], by means of permanent frustration in hell.

The rejection of God, by these people, is perpetual and without end – it’s who they are, their ‘true colours’ – so why shouldn’t their deserved residence also be without end?

It is because rejecting truth is part of who they are, if these same rejectors were given freedom again, they would revert back to themselves and turn back to rejecting God:

‘If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were sent back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the Ayat [signs] of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!” No, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned, they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.’ (Quran 6:27-28).

In the afterlife, those who recognised God in their lives (showing their true colours), would be given eternal paradise (as a reward) and they would continue to be grateful in paradise, as they were in their life. But those in hell, because they only turn to God when it suits them, they will, therefore, be kept perpetually in Hell begging God to leave it – because that is the only place they would ever turn to, or recognise God as their sole lord. The Quran reports the rejectors confessing their faults and sins because they are in Hell:

‘We confess our sins, then is there any way to get out (of the Fire)?” (It will be said): “This is because, when Allah Alone was invoked (in worship, etc.) you disbelieved, but when partners were joined to Him, you believed! So the judgement is only with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great!” (Quran 40:11-12)

The Quran also reports that the rejectors will ask God’s angels who guard Hell, to intercede with God to destroy them (instead of perpetual punishment):

‘And they will call, “O Malik (keeper of hell), let your Lord put an end to us!” He will say, “Indeed, you will remain.'” (Quran 43:77)

You may ask, why doesn’t God just destroy them? But if they were destroyed, this would allow them to escape their sentence. Many people even justify their criminality by saying “I don’t care if I get punished for this, it won’t last forever”. Therefore, how could God let a rejecter leave Hell? Since how many rejectors of God would gladly spend millions of years in hell if it allowed them the chance to do what they wanted in this life?

Therefore, Hell is the only place in existence where a rejector of truth would perpetually willingly accept to recognise God and willingly regret what they did – even if it is only because the circumstances provide an overwhelming desire in them to do so.

In the end, everyone serves God – His plan in this life, willingly or unwillingly, and in the next life, all will turn to Him willingly. There is no escape for those who reject Him.


Conclusion: God’s Justice, and the Justice of His Creation of Hell


As can be seen, the Liberal contentions against God’s justice is baseless and contradictory (i.e. irrational), and they fail to show that God’s justice is in any way inconsistent in His (SWT) accounting of humans, punishing them as He (SWT) Wills, and putting those who reject Him (SWT) into hell for eternity. In Summary,

  • God indeed has the right to hold humans to account
  • God is always just (and additionally merciful where He wills) in His judgement
  • God is just in punishing by pain or torment
  • God is just in punishing a specific group of humans for eternity

As God reminds us:

“And fear the Day when ye shall be brought back to God. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned, and none shall be dealt with unjustly” (Quran, 2:281)”
 






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Red Sky at Morning

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“And fear the Day when ye shall be brought back to God. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned, and none shall be dealt with unjustly” (Quran, 2:281)”
We ALL deserve justice and all need mercy.

Romans 6:23
King James Version


23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 






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Nikōn

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We ALL deserve justice and all need mercy.

Romans 6:23
King James Version


23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I think another relevant Qur'an quote, given the great verse Pescatarian shared, would be:

O you who have faith! Take recourse in patience and prayer; indeed God is with the patient.
And do not call those who were slain in God’s way ‘dead.’ Rather they are living, but you are not aware.
We will surely test you with a measure of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits; and give good news to the patient
—those who, when an affliction visits them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to God, and to Him do we indeed return.’
It is they who receive the blessings of their Lord and [His] mercy, and it is they who are the [rightly] guided.

- Qur'an 2:153-157

Really beautiful, powerful sentiment anyway.
 






SnowFall

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Personally I think only Christianity leads to God, and only Catholicism is the true form of Christianity.
 






Daze

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Personally I think only Christianity leads to God, and only Catholicism is the true form of Christianity.
Crazy how Christians have so many varied beliefs all under one umbrella.
Red said it best, "we can't both be right", while Tidal says Catholics are not Christians at all.

Which flavor of Christianity leads to God? Seeing there are 45,000 paths in Christianity alone.

I'm not really sure why you feel the need to attack Muslims Snowfall other then the devil only having one enemy. Did you know the Quran calls Jesus righteous while there is an entire chapter in the Quran named Mary?


Watch it, even if for only a few moments. Perhaps it will benefit you.
 






recure

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Which flavor of Christianity leads to God? Seeing there are 45,000 paths in Christianity alone.
You ignored the second part of his statement to ask this question but you just couldn't resist another opportunity for your asinine rhetoric of misrepresenting Christianity. The organization cited in the article for the 45,000 denominations claim is the Center for the Study of Global Christianity which in its research lists four "Christian Traditions", Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Independents. That means that those "45,000 paths" would have to belong to one of these four traditions, and as to which one is the most fragmented, that is basically answered in the article.
But after the Protestant Reformation in 1517, the number of denominations really began to multiply.
 






SnowFall

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Crazy how Christians have so many varied beliefs all under one umbrella.
Red said it best, "we can't both be right", while Tidal says Catholics are not Christians at all.

Which flavor of Christianity leads to God? Seeing there are 45,000 paths in Christianity alone.

I'm not really sure why you feel the need to attack Muslims Snowfall other then the devil only having one enemy. Did you know the Quran calls Jesus righteous while there is an entire chapter in the Quran named Mary?


Watch it, even if for only a few moments. Perhaps it will benefit you.
Sure, but Catholicism can be traced back to Christ! from Christ to St Peter the first Pope.

I’ve no interest in attacking Muslims personally but they are simply wrong!

Muslims may call Christ Righteous but they deny his divinity and that he died for our sins.

they may have a chapter on Mary but they don’t honor her as Queen of Heaven and earth!

I’m sorry but I’m not going to watch the video you have posted.
 






Red Sky at Morning

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Sure, but Catholicism can be traced back to Christ! from Christ to St Peter the first Pope.

I’ve no interest in attacking Muslims personally but they are simply wrong!

Muslims may call Christ Righteous but they deny his divinity and that he died for our sins.

they may have a chapter on Mary but they don’t honor her as Queen of Heaven and earth!

I’m sorry but I’m not going to watch the video you have posted.
… In the original Greek the word translated as "Peter" is Πέτρος (Petros) and that translated as "rock" is πέτρα (petra), two words that, while not identical, give an impression of one of many times when Jesus used a play on words. … The traditional Catholic interpretation has therefore been that Jesus told Peter (Rock) that he would build his Church on this Peter (Rock).​
… Some Protestant scholars disagree with this interpretation on the basis of the difference between the Greek words. In classical Attic Greek petros generally meant "pebble," while petra meant "boulder" or "cliff." Accordingly, taking Peter's name to mean "pebble," they argue that the "rock" in question cannot have been Peter, but something else, either Jesus himself, or the faith in Jesus that Peter had just professed. …​
Wikipedia, Saint Peter (accessed Mar. 25, 2009; emphasis added).​

Suppose that the author of the Greek text fully intended to use the term pebble and not rock. That would have Jesus saying, “upon this pebble I will build my church.”

When I read this, it immediately brought to mind the parable of the mustard seed in Matt. 13.31-32: "Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree ...." And then in Matt. 17.20, Jesus tells his disciples, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

So maybe Jesus fully intended to call Peter a pebble, not a rock, and to declare that just as a tiny mustard seed grows into a tree, on such a pebble would his church be built.

As for the question "are Catholics really Christians?" I know some Protestants can get on their high horse. There are many unbiblical doctrines that have crept into both Catholicism and Protestantism over the years. C.S. Lewis did a great job in "Mere Christianity" to identify and expound the doctrines of real Christianity, perhaps because one of his close friends, Tolkien was a Catholic.

Inasmuch as a person looks in faith to Jesus as their Lord and Savour, accomplishing what we could not ourselves on the cross - the finished work of salvation (literally "Tetelastai" Paid in Full) and receiving it by grace, you are a Christian, whatever label your church has our the side.
 






Daze

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I’ve no interest in attacking Muslims personally but they are simply wrong!
Islam has many proofs. Have you ever looked into them? I made a thread showing only a few a little while ago. Check it out if you like.


Muslims may call Christ Righteous but they deny his divinity and that he died for our sins.
Jesus himself denies divinity.
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (Mark 10:18)

Did you know Jesus prayed to God with his head on the ground?
"he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, My Father,"... (Matthew 26:39)
Does this sound like a Lord or a servant?

It is not my desire to chastise you, only to open your eyes. But honestly none will find truth until the Almighty allows it.

they may have a chapter on Mary but they don’t honor her as Queen of Heaven and earth!

I’m sorry but I’m not going to watch the video you have posted.
Sad, because i think you would have really liked the voice. He's one of my favorite reciters. Granted the video 19 minutes long if you listened to the chapter in its entirety, but no one asked you to do that.


Muslims do not worship Mary, nor Jesus. Indeed God is one, alone without partner.

May God guide you.

Peace.
 






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