Society

Fall of Atheism, What If?

Great advances have been made in science and philosophy in the last 20 to 25 years. Atheism, which has held sway over those fields of study since the 19th century, is now collapsing in an inevitable way. Of course, atheism, the rejection of God’s existence, has always existed from ancient times. But the rise of this idea actually began in the 18th century in Europe with the spread and political effect of the philosophy of some anti-religious thinkers. Materialists such as Diderot and Baron d’Holbach proposed that the universe was a conglomeration of matter that has existed forever and that nothing else exists besides matter. In the 19th century, atheism spread even farther. Thinkers such as Marx, Engels, Nietsche, Durkheim, and Freud applied atheist thinking to different fields of science and philosophy.

Materialist philosophy that sought to use science for its own ends has been, in turn, defeated by science

The greatest support for atheism came from Charles Darwin who rejected the idea of creation and proposed the theory of evolution to counter it. Darwinism gave a supposedly scientific answer to the question that had baffled atheists for centuries: “How did human beings and living things come to be?” Darwinism convinced a great many people of its claim that there was a mechanism in nature that animates lifeless matter and produces millions of different living species from it. Towards the end of the 19th century, atheists formulated a worldview that they thought explained everything: they denied that the universe was created, saying that it had no beginning but had existed forever; they claimed that the universe has no purpose but that its order and balance are the result of chance; they believed that the question of how human beings and other living things came into being was answered by Darwinism.
In his book, “God: The Evidence, The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World,” the American scholar Patrick Glynn, from George Washington University, writes: The past two decades of research have overturned nearly all the important assumptions and predictions of an earlier generation of modern secular and atheist thinkers relating to the issue of God. Modern thinkers assumed that science would reveal the universe to be ever more random and mechanical; instead it has discovered unexpected new layers of intricate order that bespeak an almost unimaginably vast master design. Modern psychologists predicted that religion would be exposed as a neurosis and outgrown; instead, religious commitment has been shown empirically to be a vital component of basic mental health…
Few people seem to realize this, but by now it should be clear: over the course of a century in the great debate between science and faith, the tables have completely turned. In the wake of Darwin, atheists and agnostics like Huxley and Russell could point to what appeared to be a solid body of testable theory purportedly showing life to be accidental and the universe radically contingent. Many scientists and intellectuals continue to cleave to this worldview. But they are increasingly pressed to almost absurd lengths to defend it. Today the concrete data point strongly in the direction of the God hypothesis.1
Science, which has been presented as the pillar of atheist/materialist philosophy, turns out to be the opposite. As another writer puts it, “The strict materialism that excludes all purpose, choice and spirituality from the world simply cannot account for the data pouring in from labs and observatories.”2
For example, one of the areas of science that shatters the materialist myth and gives positive evidence for theism is quantum physics. Quantum physics deals with the tiniest particles of matter, what is called the sub-atomic realm. Atoms are made up of a nucleus and several electrons spinning around it. One strange fact is that all these particles take up only some 0.0001 percent of the atoms. In other words, an atom is something that is 99.9999 percent “empty.” An even more interesting fact is that when the nuclei and electrons are further examined, it has been realized that these are made up of much smaller particles called “quarks,” and that these quarks are not particles in the physical sense, but simply energy. This discovery has broken the classical distinction between matter and energy. It now appears that in the material universe, only energy exists. What we call matter is just “frozen energy.”
There is a still more intriguing fact: The quarks, those energy packets, act in such a way that they may be described as “conscious.” Physicist Freeman Dyson, on his acceptance of the Templeton Prize, stated: Atoms are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom.3 What this means is that there is information behind matter. Information that precedes the material realm. Gerald Schroeder, an MIT-trained scientist who has worked in both physics and biology and author of the famous book “The Science of God,” makes a number of important comments on this subject. In his more recent book, “The Hidden Face of God: Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth” (2001), Schroeder explains that quantum physics—along with other branches of science—is the tool for discovering a universal wisdom that lies behind the material world. As he puts it: It took humanity millennia before an Einstein discovered that, as bizarre as it may seem, the basis of matter is energy, that matter is actually condensed energy. It may take a while longer for us to discover that there is some non-thing even more fundamental than energy that forms the basis of energy, which in turn forms the basis of matter.4
John Archibald, professor of physics at Princeton University and recipient of the Einstein Award, explained the same fact when he said that the “bit” (the binary digit) of information gives rise to the “it,” the substance of matter.5 According to Schroeder: The matter/energy relationships, the quantum wave functions, have profound meaning. Science may be approaching the realization that the entire universe is an expression of information, wisdom, an idea, just as atoms are tangible expressions of something as ethereal as energy.6 This wisdom is such an omniscient thing that covers the whole universe: A single consciousness, a universal wisdom, pervades the universe. The discoveries of science, those that search the quantum nature of subatomic matter, have moved us to the brink of a startling realization: all existence is the expression of this wisdom. In the laboratories we experience it as information that first physically articulated as energy and then condensed into the form of matter. Every particle, every being, from atom to human, appears to represent a level of information, of wisdom.7
This means that the material universe is not a purposeless and chaotic heap of atoms, as the atheist/materialist dogma assumes, but is instead a manifestation of a wisdom which existed before the universe and which has absolute sovereignty over everything that exists. In Schroeder’s words, it is “as if a metaphysical substrate was impressed upon the physical.”8 This discovery shatters the whole materialist myth and reveals that the material universe we see is just a shadow of a transcendent Absolute Being. Thus, as Schroeder explains, quantum physics has become the point where science and theology meet: The age-old theological view of the universe is that all existence is the manifestation of a transcendent wisdom, with a universal consciousness being its manifestation. If I substitute the word information for wisdom, theology begins to sound like quantum physics. We may be witnessing the scientific confluence of the physical with the spiritual.9 The fact that the whole universe is pervaded by a wisdom is a secret that was revealed in the Qur’an 14 centuries ago. One verse reads: “Your god is God alone, there is no god but Him. He encompasses all things in His knowledge” (Qur’an, 20:98).
At this point, we must mention Social Darwinism, an atheist ideology which was among the causes for the outbreak of both the First and the Second World Wars. In his book, “Europe Since 1870,” Harvard history professor James Joll states that behind each of the two world wars lay the philosophical views of Social Darwinist European leaders who believed in the myth that war was a biological necessity and that nations developed through conflict.11
Another social consequence of atheism in the 20th century appeared in Western democracies. In the present day there is a tendency to regard the West as the “Christian world.” However, since the 19th century, an atheist culture has grown, and today there is a conflict between these two cultures in what we call Western civilization. And this atheist element has been the true cause of Western imperialism, moral degeneration, despotism, and other negative manifestations. In his book “God: The Evidence,” Glynn draws attention to this matter and, in order to compare the God-fearing and atheist elements in the West, he takes the examples of the American and French Revolutions. The American Revolution was carried out by believers and the American Declaration of Independence states that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Since the French Revolution was the work of atheists, the French Declaration of Human Rights was very different, with no reference to God, and full of atheist and neo-pagan notions.
The actual results of the two revolutions were quite different: in the American model, a peaceful, tolerant environment was created that respected religion and religious belief; in France the fierce hostility to religion drowned the country in blood and unleashed a savagery such as had never been seen before. As Glynn says, “there is an interesting historical correlation between atheism, on the one hand, and moral and political catastrophe, on the other hand.”12 Glynn notes that attempts to turn America into an atheist country have also caused harm to society. The fact that the sexual revolution (for example) that spread in the 60s and 70s caused immense social damage is accepted even by secular historians.13

The Dawn of the Post-Atheist World

The facts that we have briefly summarized to this point show clearly that atheism is undergoing an inevitable collapse. In other words, humanity is — and will be — turning towards God. The truth of this assertion is not limited only to the scientific and political areas. There are many people who have seen the truth and have come to believe in God after having lived for years as atheists. Patrick Glynn, from whose book we have quoted, is one of these ex-atheists. Surely, the fact that the atheist worldview has been shaken means that another worldview – belief in God – will come to prevail. Since the end of the 1970s, (from the beginning of the 14th century according to the Muslim calendar) the world has seen a rise in religious values. Like other social processes, this does not happen in a day and the majority of people may not notice it because it has been developing over a long period of time. However, those who evaluate the development a little more carefully see that the world is at a major turning point in the realm of ideas.
Secular historians try to explain this process according to their own principles but just as they are in deep error with regard to the existence of God, so they are greatly mistaken about the course of history. In fact, as the following verse reveals, history moves as God has determined: “…You will not find any changing in the pattern of God. You will not find any alteration in the pattern of God” (Qur’an, 35: 43). It follows, then, that history has a purpose and unfolds as God has commanded. And God’s command is the perfection of His Light: “They desire to extinguish God’s Light with their mouths. But God refuses to do other than perfect His Light, even though the disbelievers detest it” (Qur’an, 9: 32). This verse means that God has sent down His Light upon humanity through the religion that He has revealed. Those who do not believe want to extinguish this light by their “mouths”— intimations, propaganda, and philosophies, but God will ultimately perfect His Light and give dominion to religious values on earth.

Conclusion

We are living at an important time. Atheism, which people have tried for hundreds of years to portray as “the way of reason and science,” is proving to be disappointing to them. Materialist philosophy that sought to use science for its own ends has been, in turn, defeated by science. A world rescuing itself from atheism will turn to God and religion. And this process began long ago. It is clear that believers have important duties in this period. They must be aware of this major change in humanity’s way of thinking and interpreting the world and nature, make good use of the opportunities that globalization offers, and effectively represent the truth along this road. They must know that the basic conflict of ideas in the world is between atheism and faith. It is not a struggle between East and West. In both East and West there are those who believe in God and those who do not. For this reason, faithful Christians, as well as faithful Jews, are allies of Muslims. The main divergence is not between Muslims and the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians), but between Muslims and the People of the Book on the one hand, and atheists and pagans on the other. Of course, we must not show hostility to such people but view them as people who need to be rescued from their error. The time is fast approaching when many people who are living in ignorance with no knowledge of their Creator will be graced by faith in the impending post-atheist world.

Harun YahyaAuthor

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