Is God Failing Us?


While atheists try to disprove God referring to the closure of houses of worship amid Covid-19 concerns, a simple analysis of their claims exposes the flaws in their ‘logic’ and lies in their ‘facts’.


Husam Ahmed

MARCH 29, 2020

It is not so often that a highly contagious epidemic holds the entire planet in its grasp. While such events can be very much frightening, they also do a great deal in bringing humanity closer.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, although people are physically being separated from one another, they are becoming increasingly caring and kinder towards each other. While people around the globe are coming together, cutting across divisions, however, atheists seem busy attacking religion and God.

Opponents of religion allege that God has failed human beings at a time when He is most needed. Referring to the closing down of mosques and other places of worship, it is being argued ‘when human beings are in peril, gods flee first’[1].

Given that avoiding mass gatherings is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus, were not religions setting an example by being the first to restrict congregations? Then why deplore a commendable act?

An unbiased person would find it no difficult to spot the prejudice behind such allegations. However, it is essential to point out the flaws in their ‘logic’ and lies in their ‘facts’.

Doctors treat, God heals

Atheists argue that it is doctors and scientists who will save us from this deadly disease and not God. Otherwise, why would religious people depend on medical science instead of putting their faith in God?

This whole idea is built upon the wrong premise that belief in God demands a complete abandonment of physical means while it is God who created them. There is no doubt that scientists are working hard to find a cure. While the whole world is staying safe in their homes, these scientists are sacrificing their comfort and ease for the sake of humanity.

But does this justify ignoring God who put that remedy in nature at the first place? In fact it is God who brings forth the ultimate result of human efforts. When a farmer carefully irrigates his crops, it is God who makes those crops to fruit. Hence, it is as foolish to ignore the physical means as it is unjust to ignore God who created them.

Religious structures are not Divine; God is.

Rather than disproving the truth of religion, the current situation has made it clear that it is God whom the religious people worship and not the buildings. Almost every religion believes in the Omnipresence of God. However, Islam presents a clearer picture stating that God is completely separate from the physical world, hence cannot be confined into any physical structure; not even the physical space of the whole universe.

Then why build mosques at all? It should be remembered that man is a social creature and spending time with fellowmen is an inevitable part of his life. How can a religion be deemed to be perfect if it leaves this important aspect of human life unmentioned?

Hence, it is for this reason Islam has laid great stress upon the significance of praying at mosques in congregation. Thus to imply from the closing of mosques and temples that ‘gods are fleeing’ can either be the result of ignorance about true religious teachings or prejudice towards them.

Religion itself calls for the closing down of houses of worship

It has also been argued that COVID-19 has forced religious institutions to make amendments in their rituals. This again comes from sheer ignorance about religious teachings.

Although it is highly preferred to go to mosque to pray, the Holy Prophetsa has clearly explained at what circumstances one should avoid going to mosques. He had instructed his followers to pray at homes during severe rain or under unfavorable climate conditions.  He is reported to have asked the Muazzin (one who calls for prayer) to include the words “pray at your homes” in the Azaan on such occasions[2]. Unfortunately, this has been mistaken by many for a ‘new Azaan’.

Many atheists have also referred to the banning of Umrah to argue that religious institutions are forced to bow down before the coronavirus. But they choose to ignore the fact that the Holy Quran clearly instructs that Hajj and Umrah are only to be performed in a state of security.

They should not forget that Muslims follow a prophet who laid an exemplary model by agreeing to the unjust demand of the disbelievers to abstain from performing Umrah, despite the fact that he had already travelled hundreds of miles.

Atheists do not have the monopoly on science; Nobody has

Ernest Hemingway once said, “All thinking men are atheists.” This is the widespread notion commonly endorsed by the opponents of religion who think they possess the monopoly on science and reason. Religion is always presented by these people as a rival to science.

But this is a mere assumption, which is not supported by any historical facts. Even a person with minimal knowledge of scientific history cannot ignore the great contributions to science done by the followers of religion. In fact, many of the greatest discoveries were done by scientists who had deep religious convictions.

That is not to say that atheists were sitting idle. Indeed they have their fair share in scientific contributions. It is just that science cannot be monopolized by anyone; neither atheists nor believers.

Religious structures: A refuge for the distressed

Some atheists also call for the repurposing of religious structures so that they can be used for the ‘betterment of people’. Given that freedom of religion and peaceful assembly are among the basic human rights, calling for the shutting down of houses of worship is simply a violation of those rights.

How can one ignore the fact that these mosques and temples have always acted as a refuge for the distressed? How many times have we witnessed the doors of mosques being opened for the flood-stricken or victims of calamities?

Last year, in Kerala, amid difficulty in shifting the bodies of landslide victims to a hospital, a mosque in Malappuram district was converted into an autopsy room[3]. Hence, when these structures are already working for the betterment of people, what do atheists want to repurpose them into?

Criticism is important as it guides towards truth. This is why Islam has always presented itself into the merciless hands of criticism. But when it is tainted by prejudice, it will only lead a person to ruin.

References

[1] https://theprint.in/opinion/mecca-to-vatican-covid-19-proves-when-human-beings-are-in-peril-gods-flee-first/382851/

[2] Bukhari Kitab al Azan

[3] https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/autopsies-in-malappuram-mosque-as-humanism-triumphs/article29095543.ece

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