An Ex-Muslim explains why real Truth cannot be found by Faith

Copied from:  Nairaland Forum

Until few years ago I used to think that my faith in Islam was not based on blind imitation but rather was the result of years of investigation and research. The fact that I had read a lot of books on Islam, written by people whose thoughts I approved of and delving into philosophies that were within my comfort zone, emphasized my conviction that I had found the truth. All my biased research confirmed my faith. Just like other Muslims I used to believe that to learn about anything one has to go to the source. Of course the source of Islam is the Quran and the books written by Muslim scholars. Therefore, I felt no need to look elsewhere in order to find the truth, as I was convinced that I had already found it. As Muslims say ” Talabe ilm ba’d azwossule ma’loom mazmoom “. The search of knowledge after gaining it is unnecessary.

Now I realize this was a mistake. What if we want to learn the truth about one of these dangerous cults? Is it enough to depend only on what the cult leader and his deluded followers say? Wouldn’t it be prudent to widen our research and find out what other people have to say about them? Going to the source makes sense only in scientific matters, because scientists are not “believers”. They do not say something because they have blind faith. Scientists make a critical analysis of the evidence. It is very much different from the religious approach that is based entirely on faith and belief.

                                                                                                                   –Ali S.

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4 thoughts on “An Ex-Muslim explains why real Truth cannot be found by Faith

  1. Ali has a problem. He has reduced knowledge to what can only be had from a 'scientific inquiry.' Ergo, no other sources of knowledge are legitimate. At least Bertrand Russel allowed for two sources of knowledge, knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge-about.

    Ali has to be careful with what appears to be his reliance upon logical positivism. If the only knowledge he can acquire is through direct experience via a 'scientific inquiry' then what about history? How can he say that he knows Julius Caesar was a real person in history? Russel's solution to the problem of having historical knowledge was to allow for a category of knowledge through acquaintance. One must be acquainted with a set of facts corresponding to a proposition such as “Caesar was a man” in order to be justified in belief that Caesar was actually a historical figure. Obviously we can't travel time and sample the DNA of someone claiming to be Caesar in order to 'prove' Caesar existed. We have to sift through documentary evidence to be justified in our belief about Caesar and for most people it is enough to take a history class in order to form our justified belief that Caesar ruled the Roman empire in history. We don't need to acquire physical evidence for ourselves in order to justify our belief concerning Caesar. Only a hyper-skeptic requires direct sensory experiences such as seeing, tasting, hearing, or feeling an object to justify a belief.

    The point is that we don't have to “make a critical analysis of the evidence” to arrive at a justified belief that gives us knowledge as Russel points out.

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  2. I'm talking about reality, not history. The scientific method has given us a very reliable method of evaluating, understanding, and relating to our world. The scientific method cannot disprove the supernatural, but it can disprove superstitions, and it has disproved many, many Biblical superstitions. The scientific method has a much better track record of accuracy than does your ancient, middle-eastern holy book.

    We make decisions in life based on probability: “Should I drive over the upcoming bridge on the road? What is the probability that the bridge ahead of me will collapse when I drive over it?”

    We can apply our daily experience of making probability decisions to supernatural claims: How many unicorns have I seen? How many leprechauns? How many men walking on water? How many dead men walking out of their tombs?

    Just as I cannot be 100% sure that the bridge on the road ahead is structurally sound, I cannot be 100% sure that dead men do not walk out of their graves, but I can make a decision based on probabilities that the chances that one dead man, 2,000 years ago, did walk out of his grave, is very, very, very low.

    That is my reality. You are welcome to base your reality on the belief that ghosts and ghouls control the universe, I choose not to.

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  3. Gary nobody but those suffering from an acute case of OCD runs probabilities through their head when making everyday decisions. What is the probability that the door on my house is going to fall off its hinges when I open it? Oh gosh it's 2%! Well, I will be very careful opening the door!

    What a load of phooey!

    You don't make such evaluations. That is besides the point I am making.

    You failed to interact with my points which is there are different sources of knowledge and scientific inquiry is but one of many sources. Your response makes you look like a science fundamentalist. Do you worship the periodic table of elements? Do you burn incense to a shrine of the laws of thermodynamics? Science has become your religion!

    And you quip “The scientific method has a much better track record of accuracy than does your ancient, middle-eastern holy book” which makes no sense at all. The track record of science is not one of certainty but uncertainty. Science is about falsification. We're not even sure if the speed of light is a constant anymore. Science can't tell us if the laws of nature hold in different regions of the universe and this is particularly true in the case of “black holes.”

    You certainly have a romantic view of science. Science is your faith.

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  4. We make decisions based on probabilities all day long.

    I never said that my view of reality is the only view of reality. I asked viewers which view they wanted to follow: Science and Reason vs. Ghosts and Ghouls.

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