Copyright © By Dr. Adel Elsaie, Book Title: "History of Truth, The Truth about God and Religions"
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Throughout time immemorial, man has been in search of the truth. The truth, relative to physical phenomena and spiritual experiences, has lead mankind to a winding course. Sometimes, confusion and disorientation of the principles of life, unfortunately, can taint this course. Religion and philosophy are the historical vehicles for the search of truth. While religion presents the Divine aspect of the purpose of life, philosophy is a human attempt to gain a higher intellectual knowledge of oneself, morality, and the underlying meaning of life. The current tendency to separate science and religion imposes disgraceful restrictions on science to achieve even more prosperous horizon. This book incorporates theology, natural sciences, and philosophy in an attempt to satisfy the eternal quest for the search of the ultimate truth.
It is easy to go through life avoiding difficult questions about our origin and our destiny. It is easy not to talk about dying, or why people suffer. However, life would not be the same if there were no questions and answers. It is important to have an accurate understanding of our origin, and yes, its pursuit is worthwhile. Everyone needs a sense of identity, purpose, and personal goals. This is impossible without a sense of origin. What a person believes about human origin will condition that personís life style and affect oneís ultimate destiny. Our origin goes back, perhaps, tens of thousands of years, and our destiny takes us from the present time to eternity. Although our life on this earth spans through, perhaps, 60 or 70 years, we are heavily involved with this short time while neglecting our origin and destiny.
Sometimes we have very interesting and yet vital questions that linger in our minds:
∑Why do humans suffer and how can one be happy?
∑What is the purpose of this life?
∑What will happen to us after death?
∑Does God exist?
∑Were we created or did we evolve from apes?
∑Why do we have this huge universe?
When one asks these questions to anyone, one gets different answers such as:
∑I do not care, and I just want to enjoy my life.
∑Leave me alone. I am trying to survive.
∑I do not know. I never thought about that.
∑I know that God exists, but I am confused with all those religions. I do not know which one is right. I will try to live a good moral life, and that is it.
∑I know that God exists, but I am not really doing a good job in preparing myself to meet Him. Maybe I will do that when I retire and have more time.
Only a small percentage of people know why they exist, and they are living their lives the way it is supposed to be. Those are the people who understand their priorities in life and act accordingly. Those are the people who appreciate human knowledge and know its limitation. Those are the people who realize the difference between science and reality. Einstein said "One thing I have learned in a long life - that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike... Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
In the present time, it seems that science and technology have an answer for everything. Consequently, many people may tend to think that they know everything. If you ask one of those persons about life and how it started, the answer will be quick, and most likely will be: life started as an organic substance that came to earth through a comet that collided with earth billions of years ago. Life after that evolved according to Darwin. Ask him again about human behavior, and he will start referring to Freud. Then, most people tend to think that we know all the answers about everything. The reality is that we know very little about few things. And if you donít believe this statement, just ask a pharmacist how aspirin works, a brain surgeon how the brain works, or a psychoanalyst how we dream.
One of the top priorities of anyone in this life, regardless of oneís wealth or social status, is to make oneís house comfortable. The English language provided the word "home" to emphasize a feeling of comfort, security, peace, and love in a house. Humans spend a lot of time and energy to change a house into a home. If someone plans to move to another house, he usually reserves his energy and money to the next house. However, everyone knows that all our homes are temporary, and sooner or later everyone will move to another house or home called "the grave." Should we not be wise and invest a little bit in making sure that this grave is a home? Should we not make sure that this home will have "light and heat"? Would we not like to have this grave as a piece of paradise? Ancient Egyptians dramatized this concept 5000 years ago. They did not just build graves; they built pyramids. The fourth dynasty pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops) built the great pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, as his tomb. The pictures of this tomb do not do the pyramid any justice. This pyramid is much larger than anyone would think. It covers 13 acres and contains more than 2 million blocks of stone. This proves that what the ancient Egyptians experienced in their daily life was just as important as what awaited them beyond the deathís gate. They firmly believed in an afterlife that was not all that different from the normal life. This concept of ensuring comfort in the afterlife, although practiced by polytheists, had its root in the original monotheist religion, perhaps by Enoch (Prophet Idris in Arabic). Some scholars believe that Prophet Idris was the same as the ancient Egyptian god Osiris.
The questions, that everyone should ask, are:
∑Should I invest heavily in a home that I will live in, perhaps, for tens of years, or in the home that I will live there for, perhaps, thousands of years?
∑How can I make this home for thousands of years extremely comfortable?
The Quran goes one step further than that by labeling life in the grave as only a visit, which indicates a short stay, compared to eternity.
Over thirty years ago after graduation from college, I found myself thinking about religion and God. I wanted to search for the ultimate truth. I wanted to know the true purpose of life. Taking answers for granted from someone was not good enough for me. I wanted to "feel" the answers, and not just "know" them. I wanted to have a strong faith based upon logic. A few times during prayer, I was wondering if I was just following a ritual. How do I make sure that God exists? How do I achieve strong belief? And, how do I know that I am following the right religion? My religion tells me that it is the true religion. This is also the same for Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and all the rest of the religions. I want to be sure that I am following the right religion. Humans have choices to select a religion, but they cannot control the consequences of their choices. Consequently, I started my search with an open mind and a total objectivity.
I started reading books that addressed the existence of God. To my delight, I found an Arabic book about God and the modern sciences written by Dr. Abdel-Razek Nofal. This book had a great effect on me throughout my life because it convinced me that God truly exists. This can be demonstrated by the numerous examples that show the perfect balance in the universe and the intricate design of the earth, its atmosphere, and its different life forms. Then I asked myself the next basic question; what is the right religion? I read about Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and Confucius. I excluded Judaism since it is not a universal religion and not just anyone can be Jewish. It is hard to believe that God, the Ultimate Just, has chosen only about 15 millions Jews as His people at the present time, and the 6 billion gentiles on Earth have no chance for salvation. A Muslim has to believe in Moses, his message, his miracles, as well as the Jewish and all other prophets. This makes the original Judaism included in Islam. I read the Bible and the Quran. I had so many troubles with the Bible. My first problem was the eternal confusion of the mystery of the trinity. Is God one, or two, or three? My Christian friends told me that God is one. But there is a statement in the Bible that says that Jesus ascended to heaven and sat on the right hand side of God. This makes them two separate beings. I was told that they are two but they are one, and I just had to have faith. Every time I discuss this subject with my Christian friends, we found ourselves involved in a Byzantine argument where no conclusion could be reached. It is interesting to note that the term Byzantine argument was coined in the second century AD, when Christians argued about the nature of God as compared to the nature of Jesus.
Next, the last words of Jesus on the cross are very confusing. First, there are four different versions of the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This raises major questions about the accuracy of recording a Holy Book. These verses are part of a Christian doctrine of divine inspiration. If God had inspired these four gospel writers, why did God inspire them to record different words? These verses are not just different words, but totally different concepts. It seems that the closest statement should be the one that Jesus said in his own Aramaic language:
"Jesus cried with aloud voice saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46, & Mark 15:34, though it is Eloi instead of Eli in Mark.) Which means God, God, why have you abandoned me?
It is hard to believe that Jesus said that God abandoned him. There are three possibilities:
∑He said that. Then, why did the son of God think that his father abandoned him? Jesus told the disciples that he would die and rise from the dead in three days. He knew that he would die and be resurrected, so how can that be called abandonment? If he is the son of God that came to save humanity with his blood, so how can that be called abandonment? If he knew his mission in life, so how can that be called abandonment? This statement simply contradicts all the New Testament. Many Christian scholars have the same trouble justifying this statement.
∑He did not say that. This means that Matthew and Mark were not accurate, and God did not inspire the Gospels, because God would not allow any inaccuracies.
∑The man on the cross was not Jesus! This may seem at first sight as an unreasonable idea. But if we know that the same sentence, word for word, exists in the songs of David, Psalm 22.1, one may be tempted to suggest that the man on the Cross was a Jew asking God for help from his Old Testament.
It is interesting to note that Christian theologians introduced a branch called Apologetics to provide answers to criticisms against Christian beliefs. Apologetics started early in Christian history to resolve many contradictions in the New Testament. It is no secret that the word Apologetics came from the Latin word "apology", and the Greek origin "Logos." Some apologists suggest that Jesus said all the above versions. This is in spite of the fact that no single Gospel included all the four versions. Analyzing the Apologetics reasoning of the above four versions of Jesusí last word does not present a satisfactory argument. Also, recent Apologetics advocates that historical and archeological evidences support early Christian history. That is a fair statement. However, historical and archeological evidences support the historical Jesus only, and cannot be extended to support the Christian belief about the nature of Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus always presented himself as the "son of man." He never said that he was the son of god. Forty years later, Paul made him the "Son of God," and in the first Ecumenical Council of Churches, 325 AD, Athanasius made Jesus of the same Divine "substance" as that of God.
The three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam originated in the Middle East. Islam and Christianity share many common beliefs and history that no other two religions may claim to share: Oneness of God, Day of Judgment, resurrection from the dead, eternal afterlife, and the moral values of peace, freedom and justice. While there are differences between Muslims and Christians about the nature of Jesus, (Pbuh i.e. Peace be upon him) there is no disagreement in the Middle East about the Name of God, or the status of many of the common prophets in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Noah (Pbuh), Abraham (Pbuh), Moses (Pbuh), and Jesus (Pbuh), are also prophets in Islam. The Quran declares Mary as the holiest woman ever (Chapter "Surah" 3, verse "Ayah" 42) - not Muhammadís (Pbuh) mother, daughter, or wife. One complete chapter in Quran is devoted to Mary with her name as the title of chapter 19. The Bible does not give Mary the same honor. The Quran mentions Jesus and Mary 34 time and Muhammad 4 times.
Arab-speaking Christians and Muslims recognize Allah as the only name of God. Any Arab-speaking Christian, when asked about the name of God, would answer Allah! The English Old Testament starts with: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth." The Arabic Old Testament starts with: "In the beginning, Allah created the heaven and earth." The name of God throughout the Arabic Old and New Testament is Allah.
It is ironic that the Western Christians are unaware of the name of God of their Arabic brothers. The differences in the stature of the prophets in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam involve only Jesus and Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Them. Jews do not recognize Jesus and claim that he was a false Messiah, and Christians do not recognize Muhammad and claim that he was a false prophet.
Moreover, some Christian may feel that the Quran has satanic origin, God forbid, because the Quran does not recognize the divine nature of Jesus (Pbuh). This is a false notion. Satan is rejected and accursed in many verses in the Quran. Also, Muslims have to seek the protection of God from Satan every time they recite the Quran.
After extensive readings and thinking, I became convinced that Islam is the righteous religion, and Islam has the answer to all our social, economic, and judicial troubles. That is when I decided to write this book with the only motive to make the truth known.
To try to reach answers about vital questions, assumptions and criteria have to be adopted. The guidelines followed in reaching conclusions in this book are as follows:
1. This book is for anyone, from any faith, who seeks the truth.
2. Not a single attempt was intended to offend any faith, or lack of, for that matter.
3. The search for knowledge should be approached with open mind, heart, and soul, and that search should not decrease or stop.
4. Our logical approach is real and meaningful, with no deception or arrogant ideas.
5. Divine Creation is not subjected to any or all the laws of physics.
In the present time, there are serious challenges to monotheism:
1. High-powered scientists, armed with tremendous marketing tools, promoting atheistic concepts that a layman has no way of challenging.
2. Global education system that fails to stimulate a comprehensive thinking process, but rather introduces subjects such as history, physics, and life sciences in a fabricated form to exclude God from our lives. Again, students have no way of challenging their teachers.
3. Overwhelming western culture that promotes fake images of success. Again the layman anywhere on earth has no chance but to accept the western image for success.
Having watched all that, I feel compelled to agree with John Calvin, the Protestant theologian, who said:
"I would be a coward if I saw that Godís truth is attacked and would remain silent, without giving any sound."
I tried to study the approaches taken by the true scientists, such as Newton and Einstein, along the history of humanity. I admired tremendously their reasoning and logic because their goal was knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and not for business, publicity, or marketing by twisting facts. Accordingly, this book represents a scientific attempt to answer the following questions:
Does God exist?
Should there be a universal religion and what is that right religion?
How can one be constantly sure that his or her conclusion is accurate?
The first question is the most difficult one if we do not know where to look. Therefore, I will answer the first question by examining the known facts about the universe and life. I will attempt to present these subjects in a simple context and not just as pure scientific abstracts. The divine Law of Repetition will be introduced. This law simply states that because common guidelines exist, in all living organisms or physical objects, then the Designer or the Creator of all living and non-living objects is the same. With humility and open mindedness, we should believe that God exists. He, then, has to make somehow this existence known to everyone. Some people adopt the arrogant idea of believing in god, but not in any organized religion or any messenger of god. Those people may think that god should communicate directly with them, and they have reached the level of the prophets. How else will they know what god wants from them. Examining the monotheistic religions that believe in One God will follow. Next, one conclusion should become obvious after that: because God is one, then there should be only one religion for this whole universe at any time and any place. This is the essence of monotheism. This is accomplished by establishing criteria for accepting a religion, and then apply these criteria on the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
It is important to note that I am not writing this book as a biologist, cosmologist, physicist, or theologian. I am writing this book as a human being searching for the truth and purpose of life. In doing so, I am following two religious commands in Islam; first to seek knowledge, and second to spread knowledge. Also, I would ask you to consider the contents of this book with an open mind, because this information could prove to be of greater importance to you than you might yet realize.
In writing this book, technical information has to be introduced and could not be avoided. I tried to make the presented information simple and readable for the average reader. Also a glossary section is added to present definitions of technical or religious terms.
This book is an attempt of recording the Truth, which is one of the Names of God, and is mentioned in the Quran 226 times. It is not about faking lies about Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad (Peace be upon them), who are loved, honored and respected by all Muslims. Some Jewish and Christian "scholars" made it their business to spread unsubstantiated lies about the life of Muhammad, quoting obscure references or preaching half the truth. The main references in this book are the Bible and the Quran, thus it should be easy for the reader to check these references. Also, a good part of the information on Christianity in this book was obtained from Christian authors and friends. Allah addressed mankind to get to know each other, Surah 49, Ayah 13. Consequently, as a Muslim I had to form my ideas about Christianity from its sources. That is something that most of the critics of Islam never tried.
Religion is a serious business. In the present time, there is a statement that declares that all religions lead to One God. Well, I do not accept that. I cannot believe that worshiping a cow or a statue leads to one God. Humans make choices everyday in their lives, but they cannot control the consequences of those choices. It should be a matter of utmost wisdom for everyone to think and plan for the Day of Reckoning. Our faith will lead us to our destiny. Everyone in every faith should be prepared to face God, the Ultimate Judge. Humans will be asked about their faith, and will have to acknowledge the Truth, regardless of their faith. This Day of Judgment is like a court scene, where the Judge knows all, even more than people can tell. As such, this book is also my attempt to do my best to search for God and a religion. I started researching and writing this book in 1992. I believe this time is well spent since this book can be my defense on the Day of Judgment. I will beseech God:
"I did not ignore the important questions about my origin and my destiny. I tried, I thought, I researched, and this is the best within my capacity."
This is the reason I started the first chapter of this book with a question to the reader: "My defense, what is yours?"