The Refutation of Atheism

Over the past several years there has been a growing trend, people defining themselves as atheists. Here in the UK, the population of atheists is escalating and is significantly outweighing the Christian population. In 2014, a survey was conducted by the Nat Cen’s British Social Attitudes regarding the population of atheists, which reached 48.5% in the UK and has outnumbered the people who define themselves as Christians.

The question that now arises is: Why do Atheists have such a huge influence in our society and why do they deny the existence of God? Living in the 21st century, where science has developed immensely, people of Europe believe that science can tackle and answer all questions which influence human intelligence. Thus, leading them to become more sophisticated.
The main reason why they deny the existence of God is because according to them there is not enough evidence to support His existence. The subject itself is a topic of debate in the philosophy of religion and in our society. There are numerous amounts of books that have been written on this subject and some of them deny God’s existence. They are the people that call themselves Agnostics and have taken the stand that they have no evidence of the existence of God and they themselves have no proof of His non-existence. Victor John Stenger, a strong atheist debater who is known for his book called “God the failed hypothesis”, writes that

“If we have no evidence or other reason for believing in God, then we can be pretty sure that God does not exist.”

In this article, I will try to refute some of the arguments, which include some of the strongest believing atheists such as Richard Dawkins.

Firstly, I would like to respond to an argument that has been presented by Victor John Stenger stating that there is no evidence of His existence; I’ll tackle this allegation through logical arguments, scientific discoveries and prophecies.

In today’s society, we can see that not just worldly leaders but millions of people have forgotten their God. They are moving away from their religious teachings and have become absorbed in worldly pleasures.

The first argument that I would like to present is from the Holy Qur’an chapter 6 verse 82 that:

فَأَيُّ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ أَحَقُّ بِالأَمْنِ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“Which, then, of the two parties has greater right to security, if indeed you know?”

This verse makes it clear that denying God’s existence can potentially be harmful whereas believing in His existence brings a man no harm.

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" states in his book “Our God” whilst quoting this verse said:

“You may ask why you should believe in God without evidence. My answer is that you should adopt this as one more of the numerous precautionary measures you take in this world. In any case, when there is a possibility of gain and no risk of loss in believing, but there is no possibility of benefit and a risk of harm in denial, then think which option is nearer to peace and prudence? Obviously, those who deny God only do so because according to them there is no evidence of God’s existence, not because they have evidence that God does not exist. In such a case then, every sensible person, being circumspect, would decide that it is safer to believe in God.”

Further on he says:

“If there is no God then all are equal and belief in God is unlikely to cause any harm. However, if there is indeed a God, then the believers will be at an advantage and disbelievers will have to think for themselves about their fate.”

When we study our universe, we see the plethora of galaxies that exist. Astronomers present their research that the universe contains more than 100 billion galaxies, and according to some astronomers, the number goes as far as two trillion. Now a person can reflect upon how many planets exist in our universe. If we study this magnificent system, it amazes us how each planet orbits along its own circuit whilst it being impossible for one to collide with the other.

With regards to this, the Holy Qur’an which was revealed to our beloved master Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" thousands of years ago states:

لَا الشَّمْسُ يَنْبَغِي لَهَا أَنْ تُدْرِكَ الْقَمَرَ وَلَا اللَّيْلُ سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ وَكُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ

It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day. All of them float in an orbit.

The Holy Quran – Chapter 36, Verse 41

It is also mentioned in Surah Al-Anbya that:

وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ

And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each gliding along in its orbit.

The Holy Quran – Chapter 21, Verse 34

A claim which was made thousands of years ago by Allah the Almighty at a time where people were unaware of this phenomenon, however, today science supports the claim made by the Holy Qur’an.

Unfortunately, people like Richard Dawkins are not willing to accept it, as he writes in his book ‘The God Delusion’:

“The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself. In the case of a man-made artefact such as a watch, the designer really was an intelligent engineer. It is tempting to apply the same logic to an eye or a wing, a spider or a person.”

Richard Dawkins presented an argument, which has no logic behind it; rather he himself presented this argument in our favour. I totally agree with his argument that every man-made artefact such as a watch has been created. However, a person cannot be convinced of the fact that a watch came into existence by itself. However, they cannot accept the fact that there is a Creator Who created us and the universe? To believe that the universe came into existence by itself portrays a weak argument. The reason behind this is if we ponder upon our universe, it demands that we should believe in a higher being as billions of galaxies cannot just ‘be’. We cannot conclude that the laws of nature and the laws of cause and effect operating in the universe are so perfect and elaborate, but there is no need for some form of higher being or creator. Thus, having such a perfect law, a higher being is still required because it demands a Sustainer.

It is mainly because of their ignorance they make objections against the existence of God, and these are the people on whom the Holy Qur’an says:

أَفِي اللَّهِ شَكٌّ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ

Are you in doubt concerning Allah, Maker of the heavens and the earth?

The Holy Quran – Chapter 14, Verse 11

Richard Dawkins also presented an argument in his book with regards to evolution saying:

“The most ingenious and powerful crane so far discovered is Darwinian evolution by natural selection. Darwin and his successors have shown how living creatures, with their spectacular statistical improbability and appearance of design, have evolved by slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings. We can now safely say that the illusion of design in living creatures is just that – an illusion.”

The notion that everything in this world came into existence through gradual stages is fully supported by Islam. In the Holy Qur’an Allah the Almighty said that:

مَا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارًا

What is the matter with you that you expect not wisdom and staidness from Allah?

The Holy Quran – Chapter 71,Verse 14
وَقَدْ خَلَقَكُمْ أَطْوَارًا

And He has created you in different forms and different conditions.

The Holy Quran – Chapter 71, Verse 15

The Holy Qur’an supports the opinion that man was born through an evolutionary process. In fact, it speaks of the birth of man through stages. According to the Holy Qur’an at every point of time and whichever form it took, the capacity to become human was present. But to support Darwin’s theory that a man was a descendant of lower animals is a false notion. Those that are in support of this theory are wrong, as there are other scientists who are not in favour of such a theory.

Hazrat Musleh Maud raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" wrote in his book Hasti Bari Ta’ala on page 290, refuting Darwin’s theory:

“Nevertheless, we argue that irrespective of the view one subscribes to, the concept of evolution itself disproves atheism. Why? Because even those people who believe that lower animal species evolved into humans say that initially a few animals were born, then they developed and other animals came into being and along with this progress, the mind also continued to develop until finally the highest form of human life came into existence. At this point, physical evolution came to a halt but the human mind continued to evolve. We say that this very fact is prove of the existence of God. For if nature had been the creator of all things and not God, then physical evolution would have continued as well and something after humans would have come into existence. However, it is obvious that physical evolution has come to a standstill, while a system for the strengthening of the soul and its progress still continues. What mind could accept the fact that nature maps out an objective and then alters its course in the acquisition of that objective?

The fact that physical evolution came to a halt after the birth of humans, while mental and intellectual evolution still continues, demonstrates that the originator of this entire system of evolution is a Being Who has created this entire world with a specific purpose and objective. When that objective was fulfilled, He brought an end to these advancing waves of evolution. If God Almighty did not exist then various species should have continued to evolve after the birth of humans, and new and unique animal species should have continued to be born. However, we see that when that animal was born who was able to absorb the attributes of Allah the Exalted and spiritually advance, the wave of evolution took a turn and instead of physical evolution a purely mental evolution began. In other words, at this stage, the objective was fulfilled and physical evolution was no longer required to give birth to human beings.”

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Uddin Mahmood Ahmad raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" – Khalifatul Masih II
Author of ‘Hasti Bari Ta’ala’
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad M.A. raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them"
Author of ‘Our God’

It is worth mentioning that proving the non-existence of God through laws of nature cannot be considered as solid proof of His non-existence. Our belief is that there are two different sets of laws in this world and not just one. One is the law of nature which is related to the universe which comprises of the system of cause and effect. The second law is the Shariah which mainly relates to the moral action and spiritual aspects of a man which is revealed through Prophets and Messengers of God and everyone would be held accountable according to their actions which will be experienced in the hereafter, whether they would be rewarded or punished. To reiterate, these two different laws that Islam has taught us are completely different to each other, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" in ‘Our God’ gives examples of these laws:

Consider, for example, if a roof collapsed on two people, one pious and the other a sinner: in accordance with the law of nature, both will die or both will survive depending on the way the roof fell. It would not simply be the case that the pious one is saved and the evil one dies. Similarly, if a pious and God-fearing person, who does not know how to swim, jumps into deep water, he will not be saved from drowning merely because he is pious. His piety related to the law of Shariah and water is under the law of nature. The law of nature normally is not influenced by the law of Shariah.

After explaining this to an atheist he would argue that if there was a God, then why does he cause natural disasters and suffering? But before answering these arguments, it is important to tackle a question that is often asked and has been put forth by Richard Dawkins that:

“The temptation is a false one, because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.”

This question is often raised by Atheists saying that if there is a God who has created us then who created God?

If we were to determine that there is someone who created God, then this chain will be infinite and wouldn’t have any conclusion; so therefore, we are obliged to determine that there is only one God.

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has said with regards to how the system would work if we were to determine that God has been created. It states:

مَا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ مِنْ وَلَدٍ وَمَا كَانَ مَعَهُ مِنْ إِلَهٍ إِذًا لَذَهَبَ كُلُّ إِلَهٍ بِمَا خَلَقَ وَلَعَلَا بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ

Allah has not taken unto Himself any son, nor is there any other god along with Him; in that case each god would have taken away what he had created, and some of them would, surely, have sought domination over above that which they allege.

The Holy Quran – Chapter 23, Verse 92

The reason for that is His attributes because logic demands that God should be Self-Subsisting, Eternal and Omnipotent without any interference. The universe exists because of His attribute of being Divine Throne. However, if we were to determine that He has been created then all of His attributes cannot be accepted.

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" sahib writes in his book “Our God” that:

“If God is created, he cannot be eternal and we will have to believe He is recent. A Created God cannot be immortal and we will have to believe that He is Mortal. He cannot be self-subsisting and he would have to be sustained by one who is His creator and master. If God is created, he cannot be omnipotent and we will have to believe that His powers are limited and that the one who is his creator and master can interfere in his works as and when he likes.”

Thus, if He has been created then all of His attributes become invalid and He would appear as a being that needs support from His creator.

An Atheist would raise an allegation, that if there is a God then why does he cause natural disasters. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Khalifatul Masih IV rhabbreviation for "May Allah have mercy on him/her/them" answered this question:

“First of all, you must understand the philosophy of natural disasters, as understood by human beings, is just an incomplete story. The true story reaches far behind in history. The true story extends to millions of years of man’s evolution or in various stages. When you are trying to understand that they are not useless and meaningless, they have played a very important role in the history of human development or development of life. And they have been a blessing in disguise as far as progress goes. So whether you understand a local disaster in the context of human values or not, if you look back in the history of evolution of life you can understand easily that these disasters are a part of the general scheme of things under which the whole is created. And they have fair part and they are not meaningless. So for the sake of a larger interest, smaller individual interests are always sacrificed. This is the principle. So because these disasters play an importance in the scheme of things and in the stream of evolution of life and progress of life so they cannot just be discarded as meaningless just because some individuals suffer.”

Another allegation that is often raised by Atheists is regarding God allowing suffering and poverty. If He is Merciful why are there so many babies born with disabilities?

With regards to suffering the Holy Qur’an states that:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنْفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ

And We will try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives, and fruits; but give glad tidings to the patient.

The Holy Quran – Chapter 2, Verse 156

The Promised Messiah asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" explains this verse;

“Sufferings which He imposes upon us are a means of perfecting our knowledge through experience.”

Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV rhabbreviation for "May Allah have mercy on him/her/them" in his book “Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth” states that:

“Suffering could only be considered objectionable if it were created as an independent entity with no meaningful role to play in the scheme of things. But without the taste of suffering or an awareness of what it means, the feeling of relief and comfort would also vanish. Without an encounter with pain and misery, most certainly, joy and happiness would lose all meaning. Indeed, the very existence of life would lose purpose, and the steps of evolution would stop dead in their track.”

From this quote, we learn that if suffering is reduced it will ultimately result in the feeling of pleasure and happiness also being reduced; because through suffering our knowledge undergoes perfection, which allows science to have a better understanding of providing remedies. For example, vaccinations are carried out for months when a baby is born, so the baby is protected from catching any viruses because as time has progressed, the diseases that were not curable in the past are now being treated and many lives have been saved from it. Therefore, every logical person would say that this has been achieved as a result of suffering and this is mainly through God’s Grace; where He increases our suffering, he also provides us with the remedy through our intellectual minds.

Another question that is often raised by Atheists is that if God is so Loving and Merciful, why do children suffer?

We have to conclude that living in the 21st century, where science has developed immensely, it has been clearly proven that the reason why disabled children are born is because of the environment and possibly as a result of genetics. A child inherits the qualities and the diseases that the parents carry. From science it is also proven that there are numerous effects when the couple is involved in immoral habits such as smoking, using illegal drugs and drinking alcohol, and due to this, there is a chance of their child inheriting the diseases.

Take the example of a pregnant woman, the mother is instructed to take certain steps to protect the child’s health and avoid such habits that would be dangerous for the child; because during pregnancy everything you eat, drink or take into your body affects you and the baby.

Take the example of alcohol, specialist say that:

  • it affects your baby’s size.
  • it affects how your baby’s heart, lungs, and brain work.
  • it causes lifelong learning, emotional, and physical problems for your child.

Having these problems in front of us therefore does not prove the non-existence of God. He is Merciful and because of this attribute, He has provided us with the medicine to cure these illnesses. Islam teaches us that the children who are born disabled, God will keep them in view and will not hold them responsible for their disability.

I reiterate, our God is Beneficent and Sovereign. He provided us with clothing, food, shelter and other resources for our comfort.

Another question that is often raised by Atheists is that, if God is Merciful and Sovereign then why does poverty exist?

Statistics show that there are more than a billion people living in extreme poverty, but is God to blame?

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty states:

إِنَّ لَكَ أَلَّا تَجُوعَ فِيهَا وَلَا تَعْرَى

It is provided for thee that thou wilt not hunger therein, nor wilt thou be naked.

The Holy Quran – Chapter 20, Verse 119

The next verse states:

وَأَنَّكَ لَا تَظْمَأُ فِيهَا وَلَا تَضْحَى

And that thou wilt not thirst therein, nor wilt thou be exposed to the sun.

The Holy Quran – Chapter 20, Verse 120

The Holy Qur’an does in fact highlight that Allah the Almighty has provided enough resources for each one of us; but how avaricious are those countries that do have the potential to provide enough food and water to countries that are living in extreme poverty, yet they fail to do so.

In remote parts of Africa, millions of people are living in extreme poverty. Where food and clean water is not available and yet there are countries that have the potential and enough resources to solve their problems by providing them with their needs and necessities. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tonnes per year.

So, in this case, humanity at large is responsible and their responsibility is to notice and provide the unfortunate with their basic needs. It is the responsibility of countries that are living their life in comfort to come forward and share the same burden.

Today another way to prove the existence of God is through prophecies. There are many prophecies that the Holy Founder of Islam saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him", the Promised Messiah asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" and other Prophets made and all of them were fulfilled; but for the sake of argument, I will only present two.

At the time of the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him", travelling long distances would take months and no one would have thought that a time would come when travelling long distances would be a matter of few hours.

The prophecy that was revealed to our beloved master saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" was that in the distant future, camels would be abandoned and a new mode of transport would be brought forth. One may ask that what would replace these transports.16 The Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" gave a beautiful example thousands of years ago of a donkey. He said that the donkey would be huge, he would eat fire, people could go in the donkey’s belly through its door and come out of it, and they will be seated with great comfort. He would be exceptionally fast. The donkey’s two ears would be thirty yards apart and between its two legs, there would be a distance of a day and a night’s journey. The Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" said that the donkey would stop during his travelling and the public would be allowed to have a chance to come into its belly. Every time the donkey would leave, its departure would be loudly announced to the people so that they may know. It is also mentioned that this incredible donkey would grow larger while travelling on the ocean because it would transport “mountains of food” upon its back across the oceans.

Now every logical person would agree that the prophecy has been fulfilled and every one of us is a testimony of what modern development it is referring to.

The second prophecy is about revolution in the world that was caused by the First World War.

In 1904 the Promised Messiah asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" prophesied about the Great War and the end of the Czar, at a time where no one could fathom that such a calamity could take place. He said:

“A mighty earthquake was impending, which would cause great loss of life and destruction of buildings. Consternation would be caused in the whole world, and travellers would be put to great trouble. Rivers of blood would flow and the calamity would come all of a sudden. Young men would be turned grey by the shock. Mountains would be blown up and many people would go mad. The whole world would feel its effects, but the Czar’s plight would be particularly miserable. The foundations of Governments would be shaken; naval fleets would be on the lookout for enemy fleets and would scour the seas in search of enemy vessels; there would be naval duels; the earth would be turned upside-down and God would appear with His hosts to punish the transgressors and the oppressors. The calamity will also affect the birds of the air”.

History bears testimony to how clearly and powerfully this prophecy has been fulfilled. The prophecy highlights that the World War would start suddenly because of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The calamity did not just affect the governments but also the travellers who confronted hardships in foreign countries. The prophecy also mentions that the Czar’s plight would be miserable, and history also bears testimony that he had to undergo painful sufferings.

Prophets that are commissioned by Allah the Almighty are informed of such events during a time where not even a single person could imagine it. It is through Allah the Almighty, prophets are informed of such events that would take place at a distant future. Which not just proves their truthfulness but also the existence of God. Today these people try to prove arguments through scientific discoveries and have taken the stance that science has proven everything. However, if one were to ponder upon a book which was revealed to our beloved master the Holy Prophet Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him". They would find that these discoveries were mentioned thousands of years ago.

An Atheist would not deny the Big Bang theory which was introduced by an astronomer named Georges Lemaître in 1927. However, it would surprise you that this discovery was also foretold to our beloved master, the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" thousands of years ago. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

The Holy Quran – Chapter 21, Verse 31

Thus, living in a sophisticated society, to believe in the existence of God would be difficult for these people. Because believing in God’s existence demands us to leave all the habits that could have had a bad effect on our morals and social behaviour. As believing in God’s existence demands us to leave all such things such as alcohol, adultery and gambling etc.

I want to conclude my article with an extract from a book of the Promised Messiah asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him":

“How unfortunate is the man, who even now, is unaware that there is a God who has power over all things. Our paradise lies in our God. Our highest delight is in our God for we have seen Him and found every beauty in Him. This wealth is worth procuring though one might have to lay down one’s life to procure it. This ruby is worth purchasing though one may have to lose oneself to acquire it. O ye, who are deprived! Hasten to this fountain as it will satiate you. It is this fountain of life that will save you. What am I to do? How shall I impress the hearts with this good news? What sort of a drum am I to beat in the streets in order to make the announcement that this is your God, so that people might hear? What remedy shall I apply to the ears of the people so that they should listen?”

Disclaimer

This article was originally published in the Annual Printed Edition of Majallatul Jamia

Azhar Ahmad

Azhar Ahmad

Student Jamia Ahmadiyya UK

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