This was around 3 or 4 years back. I don’t remember the exact year but dates do not mean much in this context. The incident means, the feeling means and the lesson I learned from my endeavors to learn about the physical and metaphysical facets of the nature, do mean a lot to me.
I was born in a Hindu, Brahmin Family. Even as a young boy, I was never a staunch believer in God. I just kept swinging to and fro over
the middle line of rationality and irrationality. Lingering between the shadows of belief and disbelief, like that character in the movie ‘’Deewar’’,
Vijay who was an atheist. When his mother used to go to the Temple, he just stood outside its perimeter, smoking a cigarette, sweating in the sun with that grudge on his face and anger in his eyes. It looked cool and I myself used to do that many a times when my family used to go to the temple.
But nevertheless how cool defying the social order felt, I wanted to hold on to some kind of belief. Belief, that was not irrational but was rather based on evidence.
That time, I got an internet connection and I started reading about other religions in the world. One of my theories was that, either all religions were true or none of them were. But maybe some religions had just changed over the course of time, corrupted by the evil minds of men. I knew a little about Christianity as I have studied in a Catholic school. Now, I wanted to learn about Islam.
I bought a Quran and started reading articles on the internet. I was really impressed with the knowledge and wit of Sheikh Deedat
and Zakir Naik, the two famous apologists of Islam. [Yes, Fellows, I did once fell for Joker Naik. Eat me!]
One of the most impressive things I liked about Islam was that its preachers (like Naik) used to give evidence for God. They said that Quran contains many verses which are scientific and these things could not have been known to the writers of Quran, 1400 years ago.
Like this verse for Big Bang.
Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass (ratqan), then We clove them asunder (fataqna)?
I flipped the pages of my Quran and checked. Yes! He was right. The verse did say about Big Bang. I checked many other verses that are allegedly scientific in Quran. All of them seemed right.
So there is a God and he is Allah, All merciful and praise worthy.
There was this night, I was feeling so depressed with all the pressures of exams and my personal life. I was staring at my study table. The golden pages of my Quran were shining under the light of my table lamp. Suddenly I had this strange feeling that maybe the only true book on my study table was this Quran only. Maybe it was the eternal truth and everything else was just false. That was the time when I seriously started to give some thoughts on converting.
Meanwhile, I kept researching more and more. My first point of discontent with Quran was that it didn’t talk about evolution of human beings. All it said was that we were descendents of Adam. But I was a student of Biotechnology. I had done experiments on tissue culture and DNA. I had read a dozen books especially dedicated to genetics and evolution. I had read in details about the different phyla, class, genus and species of animal and plant lives. I had seen the pictures and read the details of how a single flaw in chromosome pairing or separation during Meiosis in germ cells could lead to fatal genetic aberrations in new born children. Evolution is a fact, so somewhere or the other Quran was wrong.
I listened to a lecture by Zakir Naik on Quran and Modern science. I was waiting to hear his response on the question of Evolution. When the moment came, I was shocked with the utter lies and crazy bullshit that he started talking. As you all can understand, I believed in the theological and other points given by Naik in his earlier speeches because I was a naive in those fields. But in case of evolution, I was not going to take any bullshit. I was and still am an intellectual badass in that field.
So, if I had found Naik to be completely wrong in the field that I was a student of, was he then also wrong in the other fields that I knew nothing about? Maybe he was just lying all the time. I started to read more and more. Water cycle is not really given in Quran, different layers of embryology was directly plagiarized from the works of Greeks, Earth doesn’t looks like an Ostrich egg, Mountains do not prevent earthquakes (infact, they are created because of them). But what about the verse related to Big bang? Have a look at this answer:-
Now, even If someone tries to shoehorn Quran and modern science, one can always feel that the alleged science in Quran and the ambiguous way in which it is written is not magnificent enough to prove Allah. Why couldn’t God just write a better book in which his signs were mentioned in a
more clear way? Afterall, it was his last book for the centuries and millennia to come. If there was so much science in Quran then why couldn’t the Muslims decipher those verses and progress in science as we have done in the last century. Or is it that when modern scientists discovered things like Big Bang, some of the Muslim apologists just started to re-interpret the verses in Quran as if they were talking about that scientific discovery only.
I can’t take Quran or Joker Naik seriously now. In the quest for truth, I did try and tested Quran. It has failed my test. Now time to move on. What I have learned from this quest is that whenever a new theory or idea is put before you, you must test that idea under the highest levels of logic and scrutiny. We human beings are fallible and therefore we cannot always rely on our senses. Therefore we need a fool-proof method and we must be ready to acknowledge that we can be wrong. Science is a better method because it is always ready to correct itself. Theology on the other hand, stands on the high levels of certainty and dogmatism. So any claim of religion requires the maximum levels of criticism and analysis to verify whatever they say. Until we do that, we shouldn’t give any credibility to any religious claims.