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Hey, I may not reply to your specific post from WAYY back when just yet, but I'm reading a book currently entitled "Hayy Ibn Yaqzan" by a long-gone Islamic philosopher named Ibn Tufayl. I thought you might like to read an excerpt. Just some background info:
- It's about a guy named Hayy ibn Yaqzan who was stranded on an island as a child and raised by a deer
- It's about how he discovers God. He's totally unaware of human civilization. He's just smart.
- It was written in the 1100s
- And it's a really influential book :)
Here goes... I have Lenn Evan Goodman's translation, published by gee tee bee books.
(PS: Please remember how long ago this was written, and be forgiving if the author has made any scientific errors or is rather simplistic in his explanations. The point still stands regardless.)
"...The moment Hayy realised that all that exists is His work, he saw things in a new and different light. It was as an expression of its Maker's power than he saw each thing now, marvelling at His wonderful craftsmanship, the elegance of His plan and ingenuity of His work. In the least of things -- not to speak of the greatest -- Hayy found marks of wisdom and divine creativity that exhausted his powers of admiration and confirmed his belief that all this could issue only from a Cause of consummate perfection -- beyond perfection! "Not an atom's weight escapes Him in heaven or on earth." [Qur'anic quote]
Hayy considered how the Creator had given each sort of animal its makeup and showed how these were to be used -- for if he did not teach animals to use their parts for their intended purposes, they would do the animals no more good than if they did not have them. From this Hayy learned that He is most good and mercifyl. From then on, whenever he saw a being that was good, or beautiful, or strong, or perfect in any way, he would recognize, on consdering, that this must be its Maker's work and stem from His overflowing abundance and liberality. Thus he knew that what He Himself possesses must be greater and more perfect, fuller, better, and more lasting out of all proportion, that what he gives. And so, continuing the sequence of perfections, Hayy saw that all belong to Him, proceed from Him, and are more truly predicated of Him than of any other being.
He surveyed the privations and saw that He is clear of them and transcends them all. How could He not transcend them when the vey concept means no more than absolute or relative non-being -- and how could non-b eing be associated or confused with Him Who is pure being, Whose essence is necessary existence, Who gives being to all that is? There is not existence but Him. He is being, perfection, and wholeness. He is goodness, beauty, power, and knowledge. He is He. "All things perish except His face." [Qur'anic quote]
Having gained an awareness of this eternally existing Being, Whose existence is uncaused, but Who is the cause of all existence, Hayy wished to know how this knowledge had come to him. By what power had he apprehended such a being? He counted off his senses [...] None of these could grasp anything but the physical or the attribute subsisting in it. [...] The senses, for this reason, can apprehend only divisible objects, i.e. physical things. For these faculties are spread throughout a divisible thing and their object must be capable of a corresponding division. Thus any faculty in a physical body can apprehend only physical bodies and their attributes.
But it was already quite clear to Hayy that this necessarily existent Being transcends physical attributes in every respect. [Explained earlier in a part not included in this excerpt; essentially since He creates physicality, He cannot be physical] The only way to apprehend Him, then, must be by some non-physical means, something which is neither a bodily faculty nor in any way bound up with body -- neither inside nor outside, neither in contract with it nore disjoined from it. Hayy had also realized that what had brought him his awareness of this Being would be his true self, and now that his understanding of Him was better, he recognized that this self too, by which He had come to know Him, was non-corporeal and not qualifiable by any physical predicate. The whole outward self, the objective, corporeal being he could perceive, was not his true self; his true identity was that by which he had apprehended the Necessarily Existent.
Was it possible that this other, nobler being, which was himself, could perish -- or was it everlasting? Disintegration and decary are, he knew, predicates of physical things indicating simply that they have taken off one form and put on another, as when water turns to air, or air to water, or when plants become soil or ashes, or soil becomes a plant. This is the meaning of breakdown. But the destruction of a non-physical being which does not depend for its existence on any body, and which completely transcends the physical, is utterly inconceivable.
Satisfied that his true self could not persih, he desired to know what its fate would be once it had freed itself of the body and left it behind. Clearly this being would not abandont he body until no further use could be derived from it as a tool.
Hayy surveyed all his powers of perception and saw that each works actually at one time, potentially at another. The eye, for example, when closed or averted from its object still sees potentially. [...]
Any faculty of apprehension which at no time actually perceives but remains 'forever potential', never desiring to grasp its appropriate object because that object has never been encountered by it, is like a man born blind. If such a faculty actually does perceive for a time and then relapses into potentiality, but even in that potential state still yearns for actual perception, since it has known its porper object and grown fond of it, then it is like a sighted man gobe blind who still longs for what he used to see. The more beautiful, whole, or good the objects he once knew, the grater his longing for them and grief at their loss. For this reason the sorrow of a man who has lost his sight is greater than that of one who has lost his sense of smell, for the objects of sight are higher and better than those of smell.... cont'd"
BTW, my google searches have just informed me that Ibn Tufayl was also a physician. Philosophers in the olden days were so cool.
"..If there is a Being Whose perfection is infinite, Whose spendor and goodness know no bounds, Who is beyond perfection, goodness, and beauty, a Being such that no perfection, no goodness, no beauty, no splendor does not flow from Him, then to lose hold of such a Being, and having known Him to be unable to find Him must mean infinite torture as long as He is not found. Likewise, to preserve constant awareness of Him is to know joy without lapse, unending bliss, infinite rapture and delight.
Hayy had already realized that while He transcneds all privations, every attribute of perfection can be applied to the Necessarily Existent. He also knew that what in him had allowed him to apprehend this Being was unlike bodies and would not decay as they did. From this he saw that, leaving the body at death, anyone with an identity like his own, capable of awareness such as he possessed, must undergo one of these three fates: If, while in command of the body, he has not known the Necessarily Existent, never confronted Him nor heard of Him, then on leaving the body he will neither long for this Being nor mourn His loss. His bodily powers will go to ruin with the body, and thus make no more demands or miss the objects of their creavings now that they are gone. This is the fate of all dumb animals -- even those of human form.
If, while in charge of the body, he has encountered this Being and learned of His goodness but turned away to follow his own passions [this in Islamic terminology is called kufr], until death overtook him in the midst of such a life, depriving him of the experience he has learned to long for, he will endured prolonged agony and infinite pain, either escaping the torture at last, after an immense struggle, to witness once again what he yearned for, or remaining forever in torment, depending on which direction he tended toward in his bodily life.
If he knows the Necessarily Existent before departing the body, and turns to Him with his whole being, fastens his thoughts on His goodness, beauty, and majesty, never turning away until death overtakes him, turned towards Him in the midst of actual experience, then on leaving the body, he will live on in infinite joy, bliss, and delight, happiness unbroken because his experience of the Necessarily Existent will be unbroken and no longer marred by the demands of the bodily powers for sensory things--which alongside this ecstasy are encumbrances, irritants, and evils." [a whole bunch of pages that I can't be bothered to cite.]
So. :) Hope that was of use. I need to go back to Maths now...
Thanks! Interesting read, I know what you mean, I've got tons of schoolwork to do.
So I'm not going to try to prove that there IS a god... it seems like you believe there is one, but you doubt the nature of him/her/it.
I don't really understand your first paragraph, but oh well because your second one states the actually question. Why do we assume tht there is only us, the not omnipotent humans, and then an all powerful God and automatically dismiss any ideas of an entity existing in the middle? So what you mean here is, nobody believes in a non-human entity less than an all-knowing god but greater than a human. This is a false assumption. Some DO believe in an "entity" like this, they call it the Devil. In the Bible (and i realize i'm defending the bible by referencing it, but I'm just trying to disprove your assumption of belief) it says that the Devil is not all-knowing nor omnipresent, but that he has powers beyond human beings. So there you have it--an entity existing in the middle (including all angels).
Also, you said that "we", as in everyone, blindly trust the bible to tell us about god. But there are many super-smarty-pants philosophers out there with many theories about creation, god, etc. It is not prideful to believe that the ENTIRE UNIVERSE was created by an intelligent, powerful god (hello, complex scientfically-sound world with no reason to be so)... it just makes sense to some people. There's argument that says that our DNA acts like a manual to our lives (how we were made) and so logically there must be a writer behind the manual.
So if you believe there's a god who made everything we know of today, then why is it a huge leap that that same god would be all-powerful (he did make everything) and all-knowing (why wouldn't he know about what he created?)
:D You were interested enough in my thougths to necro my thread?!!! :D :D :D I love you.
Anyways, on topic:
I think you are kind of misinterpreting the point of this thread, and more specifically my second paragraph.
What I am trying to prove is that there is a possibility that "God" as we know him, is not actually all powerful or all knowing. When I asked for an entity in the middle I meant that there could possibly a being with the power to create humans and Earth, or even what we consider to be the universe, but not be an all powerful being that created all of reality.
Unless I'm mistaken, as long as you have Jesus in your heart and life, the Devil doesn't really have any power over you :) So your claim that the Devil would fit that description might be flawed in and of itself, regardless of the fact that it raises the question, "How do we know the Devil didn't create us then?", but I'm kind of hoping that question doesn't have to be asked :P
I don't see how the fact that philosophers exist has to deal with the fact that from a Christian standpoint, we are entirely dependent on the Bible for information. Your argument here is nonexistent :P
I wasn't saying that it's prideful to think that the entire universe was made by an all powerful God, you completely either misinterpreted or misrepresented my argument.
My argument is that it is prideful to think that it took an all powerful being to create US. And furthermore that the universe was created for our benefit (a belief a large amount of Christians hold).
As for your "argument that DNA is a manual for our life", I'm in 10th grade, and have taken biology and I assure you that it is more than an argument, it is an accepted scientific fact.
The argument that "there must be a writer behind the manual" is analogical. The "manual" is actually made up of proteins made up of 4 nucleotides, that's like an alphabet with 4 letters in it for reference, not an actual manual in the way you're thinking about it. Furthermore there is an author :) It's called procreation, or birth. :)
In conclusion to your last statement, maybe he would be all powerful or all knowing compared to us. But why do we assume that there's nothing beyond what we know? Maybe there's a larger hierarchy of some sort, maybe what we think of as "God" isn't the master of everything in existence, but just of what we know.
And finally, I just thought I'd explain why I'm using, and I quote, "complex, scientifically sounding word with no reason to be so". It's because your word "powerful" does not come close to describing God.
God is all powerful, or Omnipotent. Your opinion that using big words is "for no reason" or conceited is immature, words are used to describe things.
If you want to criticize my writing style or word choice, I'd prefer you did it out front and not in a backhanded comment.
Actually, Breece, I made the typo here, I meant to say "a complex world with no reason to be so." Not word. And you say my arguments have no validity but you don't say how. Christian philosophers use other things besides the bible to prove their faith, it's called Agnostics, and the word "prideful" consitutes an opinion which we can agree to disagree on. I was just trying to argue with you logically but somehow you managed to make my reply an attack on you.
P.s. I know that DNA is not actually a manual, I am also in 10th grade and am not an idiot. I was talking about how it WORKS like a manual (excuse me, I thought that went unsaid).
Typo #2: Apologetics not Agnostics. In my defense I just came from church which always makes me sleepy and brain-dead.
Mkay, your tone kinda sounded mean to me, sorry if I attacked without due cause. :)
On an unrelated note, church makes you sleepy and brain dead :/ , you should be paying more attention! :P
Also the reason I was saying your arguments are invalid is because they are what we call a "strawman" argument, meaning they are attacking a position that is not actually there. In other words, you are misinterpreting what I said in the original post of this thread and arguing against your misinterpretation.
Also I did explain how anyways -_-
Anyways, apologetics, by definition, are simply a combination of theology and natural philosophy that are used to defend a position, often religious.
Again, you make the mention of something like philosophers or apologetics who are often involved in defending religious positions, and then cite their existence as an argument.
That would be like if I said, "there are scientists who say God isn't real."
Is that statement true? Yes. Does it change this discussion at all? Nope.
You see the problem here, you're not actually arguing, I'm honestly unsure of how to respond :P
Also, if you meant to say "complex, scientifically sound-ing world with no reason to be so", I'm sorry if I sound mean, but, what does that even mean?
I don't understand "complex, scientifically-sounding world". You mean, like a world. That's too complex? Cause the world's pretty complex. I don't really understand what this means, or how it has any actual bearing on our discussion.
Also you didn't really reply on the DNA thing, you kind of agreed with me. So I guess we'll consider that one conceded?
Anyways, sorry if I sounded backlash-y in my reply, I just thought you sounded rude is all :P
Also, my "Thanks!" thing is just a kind of signature I do on every post to try and make it sound polite, but I can understand if you misunderstood it as cheeky.
This is Breece6, I just changed my name in accordance with a joke on another thread.
I MEAN I DO NOT KNOW WHO THIS BREECE6 IS. I AM SURELY NOT HE THOUGH, HE IS MUCH TO GOOD LOOKING AND COOL TO BE ME. *COUGH* *COUGH*
I wasn't trying to be rude (at least not in the first message, the second one my ego was crushed... mutual misunderstandings). So if I sounded rude that was an honest mistake. But as for the philosopher thing I merely meant to say that I am sure not smart enough to be completely soundproof in my reasons for believing what I do, and he fact that really smart people believe is good enough for me (which I agree really isn't a valid argument, but hey). If I misinterpreted your initial question/statement it sure wasn't purposeful, as I don't come on teen ink just to attack other people's ideas and have a good time being rude. I can do that other places. (Just kidding!btw) ... About the complex world thing, I meant that the fact that our world makes sense scientifically is astounding on its own, and that god must be the one behind that design (meaning his is omnipotent and all-knowing. There's a quote, by Albert Einstein I think, that says "the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it can be understood at all" (not a word-for-word quote here, sorry) ... And lastly, about the DNA issue, you said that "birth" is the manual-writer (I'm sticking with the original terms here, cuz I know I can be confusing), but that doesn't make sense to me. So I chose to ignore it, like you don't know how to respond to my statement about a complex world (which I agree was pretty random). Overall, I agree that my argumentative skills/tone need work, lol, and I definitely don't consider myself a philosopher nor as smart as you. (And that is not sarcasm, breece). I just wanted to voice my opinion, scientifically rock solid or not.
Lol, and btw my dad is a pastor, so on Sundays it's weird to have your dad preach at ya... I kinda just zone out. See, I know what I'm thinking in my head but it doesn't always come out right in writing. I swear all my thoughts are connected, somehow. Thanks for giving my second reply attention, anyway, cuz it was pretty defensive. I was really shocked to hear your first response, to be honest. I was curious about another persons beliefs and how they would coincide with my own.... So I'm going to stop rambling now, goodbye:)
I always love people with good attitudes like yours :) There's way too many jerks out there, especially when it comes to religious topics. It's always nice to meet someone who is sensible and polite :)
I understand about the philosophers and apologetics thing, it does make sense to extent that if some people believe it then there must be something to it. I just wouldn't be overly dependent on other people's opinions, but that's something that we can all agree applies to almost every part of life.
I do appreciate the thing about how the fact that our universe can be explained is astounding. However I think that if we assume at all that the universe couldn't be explained, nothing makes sense at all, even the notion that nothing could be explained wouldn't make sense. So in that regard (if you somehow managed to follow my rambling train of though) it kind of makes a certain sense that we can explain the universe.
Me mentioning "birth" as the manual writer was sort of a backhanded way of saying "Natural Selection". I know some people get really antsy at the terms "Natural Selection" or "Evolution" or whatever, so I was trying to find a correct way to say it that also sounded fairly simple and religiously neutral. Regardless, an easier way to describe the writer of the manual would be "The Environment", because it is largely responsible for what animals survive or end up carrying on their genes.
However I don't believe that evolution or genetics disproves God in any way. After all God (I'm referring to the Christian one) wills every moment in space and time to exist, saying that anything happens apart from His will is false on its own.
In other words, just because something can be scientifically explained, doesn't mean God isn't behind it.
Aww, thanks for calling me smart :D You're smart too, and really nice, you should definitely consider posting more on the TeenInk forums in general, it'd be nice to have another voice on here.
Ah, having your Dad preach to you would be kind of weird.
Nice talking to you!
Lol, okay conceding point: but our universe does make sense, so your argument is somewhat irrelevant because the double negative (whatever tricky concept you mean) doesn't apply. Also, I believe in evolution too, but natural selection acts on existing DNA. Where did the DNA come from?
Nice talking to you too:)
Okay I think we r off subject now lol, we r trying to prove that god exists, not about your original thread O.o
I CAN GO OFFTOPIC IF I D--- WELL PLEASE.
lol, yeah though, we did get a little off track.
I don't care, as long as there's something to write about I'm fine :)
What I was actually trying to say about the universe thing was that if it didn't make sense, things would be so screwed up even the very idea that nothing made sense itself wouldn't make any sense.
So in other words, it makes sense that the universe makes sense because how could it not?
There's actually what is practically an entire science devoted to finding out where the first cells and DNA came from. It's called Abiogenesis, and describes the various theories and subsequent experiments explaining how life can come from inorganic matter.
Here's a helpful link on it :)
ht tp://en.wikipedia.o rg/wiki/Abiogenesis
^ Just remove the spaces I put in the "o.rg" and "ht.tp" parts. TeenInk filters out website links (among other things) so you have to put spaces so the filter doesn't catch them.
I should, however, mention that I disagree with the notion that just because something can be explained by science means that it somehow isn't "special" or "divine". Just because life's origins can be explained doesn't mean God doesn't exist or even didn't cause them to happen.
After all, who are we to judge God's methods?
Just some food for thought :)
I guess if you can believe that life can come from something inorganic then that makes sense, but I can't wrap my brain around that. Never could. I mean, abstractly speaking, sure you can form a body like every other material thing in the world. But after that its just an empty shell right? There's something that sets sentient beings apart from a rock, and I don't think science has anything to do with it. Call it a soul, a spark, whatever, but I think when the bible says god breathed life into Adam it was talking about his soul. And don't write me off for misunderstanding your comment, lol, because I'm tryin here. You said there are experiments explaining how LIFE is formed... I just don't see it. Even talking about DNA. Do you know what I mean even a little bit? I think we might be agreeing on the part that god has something to do with creation, but somehow it's different. Idk.im tired. Buenos noches!
Damn autocorrect. It's hard typing on an iPad. My Spanish is better than that:)
Sure, I could agree with the fact that there's certainly something different and that the possibility of a soul exists. I even agree with it.
I just think our "bodies" can be explained scientifically and created by evolution and abiogenesis.
I the scientific definition of life can be reached through abiotic means, although perhaps the soul is something unique to humans and is more than just a physical reality.
Anyways, all this is speculation at this point, nice talking though!