How do we know that God exists?
Everyone, even people who have concluded that there is no God, have asked themselves the same question: “Does God exist?” What drives us to ask this question is the God instinct, innate in all people.
Many people who claim to be atheists actually have faith in the unseen realm. Over 50% of Chinese atheists believe in hidden forces of good and evil, 20% of atheists in the UK believe in supernatural entities. Surely these people are not devoid of faith and spirituality. These so-called atheists are not ignorant and, on average, score higher in religious knowledge tests than others. They are not passive but actually appear to be searching for the unbiased truth without bias more than others. Perhaps, many faithful people without clear guidance have sunk into the disease of apathy.
We have lost connection with the old order our places of worship have been locked up but still adorned in gold with lavish carpets, echoing with psalms and hymns. Yet, at a time of crisis and social change, they are no longer a voice of support or seat of moral growth for a new generation. Perhaps in the end, we shall find our temple was inside us all along?
We have lost respect for ‘our holier than thou’ priests and vicars, who created the idea of a God sitting on a throne in the sky. They do not seem to represent us or even care about us, especially as they do not practice what they preach and twist the words of God, to suit their own desires. Why would they listen anyway? They exclaim hatred of outsiders and make us feel guilty for our mistakes made in ignorance. They want our worship, and say we are doomed to eternal hellfire if we do not submit. Fear is their motivation. All we need to do is memorise and recite a few words from a sacred text to get what we want from this life. There is no need to understand its meaning. Everything will be just fine. Televangelists use Sacred books for personal gain, with mega-churches like palaces, villas in the sun, a fleet of cars, and private jets to reach their flock. They expect us to roll out the red carpet for them. Perhaps, in the end, we will find the sacred knowledge we needed was within us all along?
It does not seem to make any difference what system of governance we submit to, since every ‘ism’ we choose seems to lead to more schism. Every choice seems to lead to greater confusion and self-delusion: communism, fascism, socialism – and even democracy. How is it truly the rule of the people when those in charge that we supposedly choose dictate their own will to us? We are battery cells for the machine. Did we ever sign up to give our hard-earned taxes to support wars against innocent people in far-off lands? Have we not chosen the sweet shop owner who gives us comfort and distractions rather than the wise doctor who gives us the bitter cure? With all this mismanagement, our problems have magnified. The wealth divide grows, more are on the breadline, debt servitude, less access to medical care, house repossession, more divorce, more racism. We feel more isolated and more despair. There is more depression and suicide. Perhaps, in the end, we will realise there is another way.
Now celebrity idols have encouraged us to fill this void with the religion of Thelema, as Alister Crowley said, ‘Do as thou wilt’, following our egoistic urges for selfish gain. This notion takes a multitude of forms: pushing for a higher status or salary; more sexual partners; more holidays; a bigger house; but it seems no matter what we attain, we always seek more. Such an attitude always seems to involve us hurting or manipulating those around us, and all this self-seeking often makes us feel hollow inside.
Some have sought to pursue seemingly selfless acts, such as meditation, yoga or alternative health remedies, traveling to appreciate and adjust to different cultures. We gain spiritual insights, but global dilemmas such as famine, war, disease, and injustice still persist. Why did all the messengers before speak of selflessness to progress on the path of enlightenment?
We believe that despite all of this welling up of hurt and frustration, a yearning remains inside us to find and bond with a higher truth. The following of personal material gain and cult of celebrity has not given us peace and calm inside – we still see hatred and injustice at the core of our lives. Yet, we still instinctively understand and respect the ‘Law of Karma’, looking out for our elderly neighbour, ensuring we do not hurt one another’s feelings. Why would we bother if we did not think we were accountable? We are warmed to see a clip of animals leap into a raging river to save another. What is the spark that is helping us realise and practice such morality? Is there perhaps a God instinct within us that urges us to follow the primal law that we should do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves.
Science has proven that many of those who label themselves agnostics believed, as children, in a supernatural God, who would know unseen matters. For instance He would know the unseen contents locked away in a safe. They recognised order and design to the world. 50% of all four-year-olds have an imaginary friend. Only as we get older and we go to school and work does this seem to, quite literally, get drilled out of us. If we are fair to ourselves, do we not need to go back within ourselves? The truth is, every single person alive has wondered whether God exists. This is evidence of a God instinct. Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip) has said:
“And if you go to the heart of the jungles and approach humans who had never ever heard of any religion, you shall see that they too, worship something that they consider to be the creator. In the end everyone reaches one point and that is there is a hidden power which is controlling and ruling this world.”
-Goal of the Wise, Aba Al-Sadiq (fhip), ch.22
Many atheists who live well-ordered lives still have a profound belief in supernatural beings. Iceland is one of the top 10 atheistic nations, yet more than half believe in ‘Elves’ or nature spirits. They enacted laws to prevent roads passing through ‘Elven’ lands. In Ireland, a survey recorded at least one-third of citizens still believe in leprechauns or trickster fairies. In Irish sacred texts, fairies reside in burrows under hills. While in China, 90% of atheists believe in ancestor spirits, performing rituals with incense offerings. Is faith in unseen beings and the belief that dead ancestors are alive spiritually a link to a spiritual realm?
Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip) has urged Atheists to ponder the following:
“Let the atheists and those who doubt God leave everything and leave every proof and think only about this, they will find themselves in front of two options, “As you do, it shall be done to you”. This is enough even for the atheists, who is the bringer of this justice? They will find themselves in front of two options, either to believe in the bringer of this justice and this is the truth, or to fool themselves while they know within themselves that they are lying to themselves. You for example disrespect your parents then the Creator responds to you with the likes of your own actions. Or a person who fornicates or transgresses against the honor of the people, God returns it to him and comes and transgresses against the honor of the transgressor and as such. “The fornicator shall marry none except a female fornicator or a female associator; (i.e. one who associates other with Allah) and the female fornicator, none shall marry her except a fornicator or a (male) associator; (i.e., one who associates other with Allah) and that is prohibited for the believers”. Fornication is a debt upon you, and you must pay for it from the people of your household. How could this be without a leader, or judge? Does nature for example implement this justice? He is the Just. He is God whom there is no God but He, the Eternal and the Living. This is enough for all fair individuals and for everyone who is sincerely searching for truth. Let them think of this equation. They shall know that there is a Creator. The one who is bad to his parents and the fornicator and I seek refuge with God. “As you do, it shall be done unto you”. This is enough even for atheists, who is the owner of this justice? And perhaps one of them might say “What is the evidence for ‘As you do, it shall be done unto you’, someone may fornicate and no one of his family members fornicates, where is the statistic and the evidence?” I swear by God Almighty, this will not be, but God covers the mistakes, He is the Coverer, even if the fornication was hidden, God forbid. Whoever disobeys his parents, then his children or one of them will disobey him, this matter will appear no matter how much the children of Adam will try to hide it. In any case, God handles the affair of the one who disobeys his parents, and he has warned that the killer shall be killed, whoever kills somebody will be killed. This is a third proof. If there is no God, then who does this? Who is the Avenger who takes revenge? By God there is no sane person who respects his mind who would doubt the existence of the Creator. From these three proofs, one does not need to explain to the atheists anything except what I mentioned, it is sufficient for everyone who is truthful in his words.”
– Sayings of Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (PBUH), p.21-22, hadith 15
Today many travel to the Far East and learn about Hinduism and Buddhism as they teach us about reincarnation. The concept of reincarnation is reassuring in a world where there seems to be not so much finality, no real justice. In this world, little seems to be unfair. For example, a child born into a war-torn nation dies young, and another into monarchy lives a long life. The science of reincarnation has cataloged since the 1970s, 1000s of cases of children reincarnating with birthmarks indicating they died in a certain way and in a place and with people they had no way of knowing about that investigators later prove to be true. Perhaps we will realise that the soul is more important than the body and begin to treat it as such.
We are a religion of peace and light, with our doors wide open to everyone who has had enough and is determined to change things for the better. We believe many of the beliefs that these so-called ‘atheists’ hold dear are, in fact, true, verifiable, and part of the core tenets of our faith. We believe in humanity before religion, that the God instinct has been suppressed but is still alive within us. We believe the soul never dies and returns again until we overcome our mistakes and ascend. Once we let go of our old systems of belief and imposed egoistic focus, the soul can reawaken in us to help us pave the way for a world with justice and harmony for all.