@Craigart.....No way.....The mailman did it........
Well, you're assuming a "virgin birth" requires male penetration, which of course leads to further questions . . .
Hi Bertold......Actually, back in the day of Jesus Christ, I do believe that was the only way for a woman to get pregnant...Artificial insemination is a 20th century innovation......Which is why a virgin birth back then is so hilarious...
Also not very original; there were various gods prior to JC who achieved birth on earth sans sex, by hook or by crook, nudge nudge wink wink. They didn't have modern toilet seats then either, so this is the deepest of mysteries!
How about this for size?
We can not be utterly certain of the non-existence of any insane and contrived story so who gives a fuck if it there is some incalculable allowance for its coincidence with the story?
I am 100% sure, that if there is some kind of creator, it is not one described in any of the 'holy' texts through out the world.
I have not heard or read this Sagan piece before. It is powerful and so very timely. Thank you for sharing.
How would you like to be addressed? Visvakarman Svetasvatara-Upanish seems so formal!
You can just call me V if you'd prefer lol.
Yes God loves pink flowing gowns so maybe he is Gay.....
O man! You should be aware that there are certain phrases which are commonly used and imply unbelief. The believers also use them, but without realizing their implications. We shall explain three of the most important of them.
The First: “Causes create this.”
The Second: “It forms itself; it comes into existence and later ceases to exist.” The Third: “It is natural; nature necessitates and creates it.”
Indeed, since beings exist and this cannot be denied, and since each being comes into existence in a wise and artistic fashion, and since each is not outside time but is being continuously renewed, then, O falsifier of the truth, you are bound to say either that the causes in the world create beings, for example, this animal; that is to say, it comes into existence through the coming together of causes, or that it forms itself, or that its coming into existence is a requirement and necessary effect of nature, or that it is created through the power of One All-Powerful and All-Glorious. Since reason can find no way apart from these four, if the first three are definitely proved to be impossible, invalid and absurd, the way of divine unity, which is the fourth way, will necessarily and self-evidently and without doubt or suspicion, be proved true.
THE FIRST WAY
This to imagine that the formation and existence of things, creatures, occurs through the coming together of causes in the universe. We shall mention only three of its numerous impossibilities.
Imagine there is a pharmacy in which are found hundreds of jars and phials filled with quite different substances. A living potion and a living remedy are required from those medicaments. So we go to the pharmacy and see that they are to be found there in abundance, yet in great variet y. We examine each of the potions and see that the ingredients have been taken in varying but precise amounts from each of the jars and phials, one ounce from this, three from that, seven from the next, and so on. If one ounce too much or too little had been taken, the potion would not have been living and would not have displayed its special quality. Next, we study the living remedy. Again, the ingredients have been taken from the jars in a particular measure so that if even the most minute amount too much or too little had been taken, the remedy would have lost its special property.
Now, although the jars number more than fifty, the ingredients have been taken from each according to measures and amounts that are all different. Is it in any way possible or probable that the phials and jars should have been knocked over by a strange coincidence or sudden gust of wind and that only the precise, though different, amounts that had been taken from each of them should have been spilt, and then arranged themselves and come together to form the remedy? Is there anything more superstitious, impossible and absurd than this? If an ass could speak, it would say: “I cannot accept this idea!”, and would gallop off!
Similarly, each living being may be likened to the living potion in the comparison, and each plant to a living remedy. For they are composed of matter that has been taken in most precise measure from truly numerous and truly various substances. If these are attributed to causes and the elements and it is claimed, “Causes created these,” it is unreasonable, impossible and absurd a hundred times over, just as it was to claim that the potion in the pharmacy came into existence through the phials being knocked over; by accident.
I n S h o r t : The vital substances in this vast pharmacy of the universe, which are measured on the scales of divine determining and decree of the All-Wise and Pre- Eternal One, can only come into existence through a boundless wisdom, infinite knowledge and all-encompassing will. The unfortunate person who declares that they are the work of blind, deaf and innumerable elements and causes and natures, which stream like floods; and the foolish, delirious person who claims that that wondrous remedy poured itself out when the phials were knocked over and formed itself, are certainly unreasonable and nonsensical. Indeed, such denial and unbelief is a senseless absurdity.
If everything is not attributed to the All-Powerful and All-Glorious One, who is the Single One of Unity, and is attributed to causes, it necessitates that many of the elements and causes present in the universe intervene in the being of every animate creature. Whereas that different and mutually opposing and conflicting causes should come together of their own accord in complete order, with the finest balance and in perfect concord in the being of a tiny creature, like a fly, is such an obvious impossibility that anyone with even an iota of consciousness would say: “This is impossible; it could not be!”
The tiny body of a fly is connected with most of the elements and causes in the universe; indeed, it is a summary of them. If it is not attributed to the Pre-Eternal and All-Powerful One, it is necessary for those material causes to be themselves present in the immediate vicinity of the fly; rather, for them all to enter into its tiny body; and even for them to enter each of the cells of its eyes, which are minute samples of its body. For if a cause is of a material nature, it is necessary for it to be present in the immediate vicinity of, and inside, its effect. And this necessitates accepting that the constituents and elements of the universe are physically present inside that minute cell, a place too small even for the tip of its antenna, and that they work there in harmony like a master.
A way such as this, then, shames even the most foolish of the Sophists.
It is an established rule that, “If a being has unit y, it can only have issued from a single being, from one hand.” Particularly if it displays a comprehensive life within a perfect order and sensitive balance, it demonstrates self-evidently that it did not issue from numerous hands, which are the cause of conflict and confusion, but that it issued from a single hand that is All-Powerful and All-Wise. Therefore, to attribute such a well-ordered and well-balanced being which has unity to the jumbled hands of innumerable, lifeless, ignorant, aggressive, unconscious, chaotic, blind and deaf natural causes, the blindness and deafness of which increase with their coming together and intermingling among the ways of numberless possibilities, is as unreasonable as accepting innumerable impossibilities all at once. If we leave this impossibility aside and assume that material causes have effects, these effects can only occur through direct contact and touch. However, the contact of natural causes is with the exteriors of living beings. And yet we see that the interiors of such beings, where the hands of material causes can neither reach nor touch, are ten times more delicate, well-ordered and perfect as regards art than their exteriors. Therefore, although tiny animate creatures, on which the hands and organs of material causes can in no way be situated, indeed they cannot touch the creatures’ exteriors all at once even, are more strange and wonderful as regards their art and creation than the largest creatures, to attribute them to those lifeless, unknowing, crude, distant, vast, conflicting, deaf and blind causes can result only from a deafness and blindness compounded to the number of animate beings.
THE SECOND WAY
This is expressed by the phrase “It forms itself.” It too involves many impossibilities and is absurd and impossible in many aspects. We shall explain three examples of these impossibilities.
O you obstinate denier! Your egotism has made you so stupid that somehow you decide to accept a hundred impossibilities all at once. For you yourself are a being and not some simple substance that is inanimate and unchanging. You resemble an extremely well-ordered machine that is constantly being renewed and a wonderful palace that is undergoing continuous change. Particles are working unceasingly in your body. Your body has a connection and mutual relations with the universe, in particular with regard to sustenance and the perpetuation of the species, and the particles that work within it are careful not to spoil that relationship nor to break the connection. In this cautious manner they set about their work, as though taking the whole universe into account. Seeing your relationships within it, they take up their positions accordingly. And you benefit with your external and inner senses in accordance with the wonderful positions that they take.
If you do not accept that the particles in your body are tiny officials in motion in accordance with the law of the Pre-Eternal and All-Powerful One, or that they are an army, or the nibs of the pen of divine determining with each particle as the nib of a pen, or that they are points inscribed by the pen of power with each particle being a point, then in every particle working in your eye there would have to be an eye such as could see every limb and part of your body as well as the entire universe, with which you are connected. In addition to this, you would have to ascribe to each particle an intelligence equivalent to that of a hundred geniuses, sufficient to know and recognize all your past and your future, and your forbears and descendants, the origins of all the elements of your being, and the sources of all your sustenance.
To attribute the knowledge and intelligence of a thousand Plato’s to a single particle of one such as you who does not possess even a particle’s worth of intelligence in matters of this kind is a crazy superstition a thousand times over!
Your being resembles a thousand-domed wondrous palace in which the stones stand together in suspension and without support. Indeed, your being is a thousand times more wonderful than such a palace, for the palace of your being is being renewed continuously in perfect order. Leaving aside your truly wonderful spirit, heart and other subtle faculties, each member of your body resembles a single-domed part of the palace. Like the stones of a dome, the particles stand together in perfect balance and order demonstrating the eye and the tongue, for example, each to be a wondrous building, extraordinary work of art, and miracle of power.
If these particles were not officials dependent on the command of the master
architect of the universe, then each would have to be both absolutely dominant over all the other particles in the body and absolutely subordinate to each of them; and both equal to each and, with regard to its dominant position, opposed; and both the origin and source of most of the attributes that pertain only to the Necessarily Existent One, and extremely restricted; and both in absolute form, and in the form of a perfectly ordered individual artefact that could only, through the mystery of unity, be the work of the Single One of Unity.
Anyone with even a particle of intelligence would understand what an obvious impossibility this is; to attribute such an artefact to those particles.
If your being is not ‘written’ by the pen of the Pre-Eternal and All-Powerful One, who is the Single One of Unity, and is instead ‘printed’ by nature and causes, there would have to be printing-blocks in nature not only to the number of cells in your body, but to the number of their thousands of combinations, which are arranged in concentric circles. For if this book, for example, which we hold in our hand is written, a single pen may write it relying on the knowledge of its writer. If, on the other hand, it is not written and is not attributed to its writer’s pen, and if it is said that it exists of its own accord or it is ascribed to nature, then, as a printed book, it would be necessary for there to be a different iron pen for each letter so that it could be printed. In a printing-press there have to be pieces of type to the number of letters in the alphabet so the letters in the book come into existence by means of them; pens to the number of those letters being necessary in place of a single pen.
As may be seen, sometimes a whole page is written in a single large letter from among those letters with a small pen in fine script, in which case a thousand pens would be necessary for one letter. Rather, if it took the form of your body, with all its components one within the other in concentric circles, there would have to be printing-blocks in each circle, for each component, to the number of the combinations that they form.
Now, see, if you claim this, which involves a hundred impossibilities, to be possible, then again if they are not attributed to a single pen, for those well-ordered, artistic pieces of type, faultless printing-blocks and iron pens to be made, further pens, printing-blocks and letters to the same number as themselves would be necessary. And they too would have to have been made; and they too would have to have been well-ordered and artistically fashioned. And so on. It would carry on in succession ad infinitum.
There, you too understand! This way of thinking is such that it involves impossibilites and superstitions to the number of particles in your body. O denier of God! See this, and quit the way of misguidance!
THE THIRD WAY
“Nature necessitates it; nature makes it.” This statement contains many impossibilities. We shall mention three of them by way of examples.
If the art and creativity, which are discerning and wise, to be seen in beings and particularly in animate beings are not attributed to the pen of divine determining and power of the Pre-Eternal Sun, and instead are attributed to nature and force, which are blind, deaf and unthinking, it becomes necessary that nature either should have present in everything machines and printing-presses for their creation, or should include in everything power and wisdom enough to create and administer the universe. The reason for this is as follows:
The sun’s manifestations and reflections appear in all small fragments of glass
and droplets on the face of the earth. If those miniature, reflected imaginary suns are not ascribed to the sun in the sky, it is necessary to accept the external existence of an actual sun in every tiny fragment of glass smaller than a match-head, which possesses the sun’s qualities and which, though small in size, bears profound meaning; and therefore to accept actual suns to the number of pieces of glass.
In exactly the same way, if beings and animate creatures are not attributed directly to the manifestation of the Pre-Eternal Sun’s names, it becomes necessary to accept that in each being, and especially animate beings, there lies a nature, a force, or quite simply a god that will sustain an infinite power and will, and knowledge and wisdom. Such an idea is the most absurd and superstitious of all the impossibilities in the universe. It demonstrates that a man who attributes the art of the Creator of the universe to imaginary, insignificant, unconscious nature is without a doubt less conscious of the truth than an animal.
If beings, which are most well-ordered and well-measured, wise and artistically fashioned, are not ascribed to One who is infinitely powerful and wise and instead are attributed to nature, there has to be present in every bit of soil as many factories and printing-presses as there are in Europe so that each bit of soil can be the means for the growth and formation of innumerable flowers and fruits, of which it is the place of origin and workshop. The seeds of flowers are sown in turn in a bowl of soil, which performs the duty of a flower-pot for them. An ability is apparent in the bowl of soil that will give shapes and forms which differ greatly from one another to all the flowers sown in it. If that ability is not attributed to the All-Glorious and All-Powerful One, such a situation could not occur without there being in the bowlful of soil immaterial, different and natural machines for each flower.
This is because the matter of which seeds, like sperm and eggs for example, consists is the same. That is, they consist of an orderless, formless, paste-like mixture of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen. Together with this, since air, water, heat and light also are each simple, unconscious and flow against everything in floods, the fact that the all-different forms of those flowers emerge from the soil in a most well- ordered and artistic fashion self-evidently and necessarily requires that there are present in the soil in the bowl immaterial, miniature printing-presses and factories to the number of presses and factories in Europe so that they could weave this great number of living fabrics and thousands of various embroidered textiles.
So you can see how far the unbelieving thought of the Naturalists has deviated
from the realm of reason. And although brainless pretenders who imagine nature to be creator claim to be men of science and reason, see just how distant from reason and science is their thought, so that they have taken a superstition that is in no way possible, that is impossible, as a way for themselves. See this and laugh at them!
I f y o u a s k : If such extraordinary impossibilities and insurmountable difficulties occur when beings are attributed to nature, how are those difficulties removed when they are attributed to the Single and Eternally Besought One? And how is the difficult impossibility transformed into that easy necessity?
T h e A n s w e r : We saw in the First Impossibility that the manifestation of the sun’s reflection displays its radiance and effect through miniature imaginary suns with complete ease and lack of trouble in everything from the minutest inanimate particle to the surface of the vastest ocean. If each particle’s relationship with the sun is severed, it becomes necessary to accept that the external existence of an actual sun could subsist, with a difficulty at the level of impossibility, in each of those minute particles.
Similarly, if each being is ascribed directly to the Single Eternally Besought One, everything necessary for each being can be conveyed to it through a connection and manifestation with an ease and facility that is at the level of necessity. If the connection is severed and each being reverts from its position as an official to being without duties, and is left to nature and its own devices, it becomes necessary to suppose that, with a hundred thousand difficulties and obstacles that reach the degree of impossibility, blind nature possesses within it the power and wisdom to create and administer the universe so that it might bring into existence the wonderful machine of the being of an animate creature like a fly, which is a tiny index of the universe. This is impossible not just once but thousands of times over.
I n S h o r t : Just as it is impossible and precluded for the Necessarily Existent One to have any partner or like in respect of His Essence, so too is the interference of others in His dominicality and in His creation of beings impossible and precluded.
As for the difficulties involved in the Second Impossibility, as is proved in many parts of the Risale-i Nur, if all things are attributed to the Single One of Unity, all things become as easy and trouble-free as a single thing. Whereas if they are attributed to causes and nature, a single thing becomes as difficult as all things. This has been demonstrated with numerous, decisive proofs and a summary of one of them is as follows.
If a man is connected to the king by being a soldier or an official, by reason of the
strength of the connection he may perform duties far exceeding his individual strength. He may, on occasion, capture another king in the name of his own king. For he himself does not carry the equipment and sources of strength necessary to carry out the duties and work he performs, nor is he compelled to do so. By reason of the connection, the king’s treasuries, and the army, which is behind him and is his point of support, carry his equipment and sources of strength. That is to say, the duties he performs may be as grand as the business of a king, and as tremendous as the actions of an army.
Indeed, through being an official, an ant destroyed Pharaoh’s palace; through the connection, a fly killed Nimrod off; and through the connection, the seed of a pine the size of a grain of wheat produces all the parts of a huge pine-tree.2
If the connection is severed and the man discharged from his duties as an official, he will be compelled to carry the equipment and sources of strength necessary for his work himself. He will then only be able to perform duties commensurate with the sources of strength and ammunition he is able to carry. If he is required in this situation to carry out his duties with the extreme ease of the first situation, it will be necessary to load on his back the sources of an army’s strength and the arsenals and munitions factories of a king. Even clowns who invent stories and superstitions to make people laugh would be ashamed at this fanciful idea.
2 Yes, through this connection, the seed receives an order from divine determining and displays those wonderful duties. If the connection were to be severed, the creation of the seed would require more equipment, power and art than the creation of the mighty pine-tree. For it would be necessary for the pine-tree out there on the mountain, which is the work of divine power, to be physically present together with all its limbs and parts in what is only the potential tree within the seed and is the work of divine determining. For the mighty tree’s factory is the seed. The determined, potential tree within it becomes manifest in the external world through divine power and becomes a physical pine-tree.
I n S h o r t : To attribute all beings to the Necessarily Existent One is so easy as to be necessary, while to attribute their creation to nature is so difficult as to be impossible and outside the realm of reason.
The following two comparisons, which are included in other parts of the Risale-i
Nur, explain this impossibility.
A wild savage entered a palace which had been built in an empty desert and completed and adorned with all the fruits of civilization. He cast an eye over its interior and saw thousands of well-proportioned and artistically fashioned objects. Out of his boorishness and lack of intelligence, he said: “No one from outside had a hand in this, one of the objects from inside must have made this palace together with all of its contents,” and he started to investigate. But it did not appear possible even to his untaught intelligence that anything he had looked at could have made those things.
Later, he saw a notebook in which had been written the plan and programme of
the palace’s construction, an index of its contents and the rules of its administration. For sure, the notebook too, which was without hand, eye, or implement, like the rest of the objects in the palace, was completely lacking the ability to construct and decorate the palace. But since he saw that in comparison with all the other things, the notebook was related to the whole palace by reason of its including all its theoretical laws, he was obliged to say: “There, it is this notebook that has organized, ordered and adorned the palace, and has fashioned all these objects and set them in their places.” He transformed his uncouthness into ludicrous jabber.
Thus, exactly like this comparison, a boor who subscribed to Naturalist thought, which denies God, entered the palace of the universe, which is infinitely more well- ordered, more perfect and everywhere full of miraculous instances of wisdom than the palace in the comparison. Not thinking that it was the work of art of the Necessarily Existent One, who is outside the sphere of contingency, and shunning that idea, he saw a collection of the laws of divine practice and an index of dominical art, which are like a slate for writing and erasing of divine determining in the sphere of contingency, and like a constantly changing notebook for the laws of the functioning of divine power, and are extremely mistakenly and erroneously given the name‘nature,’ and he said:
“These things require a cause and nothing else appears to have the relationship with everything that this notebook has. It is true that reason will in no way accept that this unseeing, unconscious and powerless notebook could carry out this creation, which is the work of an absolute dominicality and requires infinite power. But since I do not recognize the Eternal Maker, the most plausible explanation is to say the notebook made it, and makes it, so I shall say that.” To which we reply:
You mistaken unfortunate! Your foolishness exceeds anything imaginable! Lift your head out of the swamp of nature and look beyond yourself! See an All-Glorious Maker to whom all beings from particles to planets testify with their different tongues and to whom they point with their fingers! Behold the manifestation of the Pre- Eternal Inscriber, who fashions the palace and who writes its programme in the notebook! Study His decree, listen to the Qur’an! Be delivered from your delirious raving!
Second Comparison: A rustic bumpkin entered the bounds of a splendid palace and saw there the uniform actions of an extremely well-disciplined army carrying out its drill. He observed a battalion, a regiment and a division stand to attention, stand at ease and march, and open fire when commanded as though they were a single private. Since his rude, uncultured mind could not comprehend, so denied, that a commander had been given command by the country’s laws and by royal decree, he imagined that the soldiers were attached to one another with strings. He thought of what wonderful string it must be, and was amazed.
Later, he continued on his way till he came upon a mosque as magnificent as Aya Sophia. He entered it at the time of Friday prayer and watched the congregation of Muslims rising, bowing, prostrating and sitting at the sound of man’s voice. Since he did not understand the Shari‘a, which consists of a collection of immaterial, revealed laws, nor the immaterial rules proceeding from the Lawgiver’s command, he fancied the congregation to be bound to one another by physical string, and that this wonderful string had subjected them and was making them move like puppets. Coming up with this idea, which is so ridiculous as to make the most ignorant roar with laughter, he went on his way.
Exactly like this comparison, an atheist who subscribed to materialist thought,
which is denial and pure brutishness, entered the universe, which is a splendid barracks of the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity for His innumerable forces, and a well-ordered mosque of that Pre-Eternal All-Worshipped One. He imagined the immaterial laws of the ordering of the universe, which proceed from the Pre-Eternal Monarch’s wisdom, each to have material and physical existence; and supposed the theoretical laws of the sovereignty of dominicality, and the rules and ordinances of the Greater Shari‘a, the Shari‘a of Creation, which are immaterial and exist only as knowledge, each to have external, material and physical existence. But to set up in place of divine power those laws, which proceed from the divine attributes of knowledge and speech and only exist as knowledge, and to attribute creation to them; then to attach the name ‘nature’ to them, and to deem force, which is merely a manifestation of dominical power, to be an independent almighty possessor of power, is a thousand times more low-fallen ignorance than the ignorance in the comparison.
I n S h o r t : The imaginary and insubstantial thing that Naturalists call nature, if it has an external reality, can at the very most be work of art; it cannot be the Artist. It is an embroidery, and cannot be the Embroiderer. It is a set of decrees; it cannot be the Issuer of the decrees. It is a body of the laws of creation, and cannot be the Lawgiver. It is but a created screen to the dignity of God, and cannot be the Creator. It is passive and created, and cannot be a Creative Maker. It is a law, not a power, and cannot possess power. It is the recipient, and cannot be the source.
To Conclude: Since beings exist, and as was stated at the beginning of this treatise, reason cannot think of a way to explain the existence of beings apart from the four mentioned, three of which were decisively proved through three clear impossibilities to be invalid and absurd, then necessarily and self-evidently the way of divine unity, which is the fourth way, is proved in a conclusive manner. The fourth way, in accordance with the verse quoted at the beginning:
Is there any doubt about God, Creator of the heavens and the earth?
demonstrates clearly so that there can be no doubt or hesitation the Divinity of the Necessarily Existent One, and that all things issue directly from the hand of His power, and that the heavens and the earth are under His sway.
O you unfortunate worshipper of causes and nature! Since the nature of each thing, like all things, is created, for it is full of art and is being constantly renewed, and, like the effect, the apparent cause of each thing is also created; and since for each thing to exist there is need for much equipment and many tools; there must exist a Possessor of Absolute Power who creates the nature and brings the cause into existence. And that Absolutely Powerful One is in no need of impotent intermediaries to share in His dominicality and creation. God forbid! He creates cause and effect together directly. In order to demonstrate His wisdom and the manifestation of His names, by establishing an apparent causal relationship and connection through order and sequence, He makes causes and nature a veil to the hand of His power so that the apparent faults, severities and defects in things should be ascribed to them, and in this way His dignity be preserved.
Is it easier for a watch-maker to make the cog-wheels of a clock, and then arrange them and put them in order to form the clock? Or is it easier for him to make a wonderful machine in each of the cog-wheels, and then leave the making of the clock to the lifeless hands of those machines? Is that not beyond the bounds of possibility? Come on, you judge with your unfair reason, and say!
And is it easier for a scribe to collect ink, pen and paper, and then using them proceed to write out a book himself? Or is it easier for him to create in the paper, pen and ink a writing-machine that requires more art and trouble than the book, and can be used only for that book, and then tell the unconscious machine: “Come on, you write it!”, and himself not interfere? Is that not a hundred times more difficult than writing it himself?