Article appeared Friday, January 18th, 2013 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (262)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

Superstition: Do we say we believe in the Creator and at the same time make sure we follow the local superstitions, just in case? Let us pause for a moment, and think about this situation. If we pray to the Creator and at the same time follow local or cultural superstitions what are we doing? Could it be a case of hedging bets – just in case there is a creator or just in case the superstition happens to become true? Do we actually believe in either or do we believe in both? That is, does the superstition hold power or is it the Creator who holds all the Power? Or should both wield power? The Creator has gone to the trouble of designing and making us. He has given us existence, an environment to operate in, faculties, facilities and opportunities to enjoy the good things of our lives. Together with knowledge He has given us the intelligence to evaluate prevailing ideas or concepts as well as evaluate our own thoughts, our sense of justice, our intentions, and the things that we do as well as evaluate personal beliefs. Given that each has been made a unique individual and given a personal sense of justice, should one evaluate prevailing beliefs and superstitions or simply follow what everyone else is doing? Can superstitions be evaluated? As a case, we can look at superstitions over black cats. To confirm our suspicions a variety of questions may be asked. The difference between other cats is simply the color of the coat. So is it the color of the coat which carries some sort of power or are all cats powerful? If it is the color, do black dogs and black cars also have power? As a test, we may take a black cat into a laboratory and make other animals cross the path of the black cat. Do things start going wrong whenever a black cat gets on its feet and starts walking? We may collect data on what happens every time a black cat starts walking on earth to confirm our hypothesis. As Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626), the English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, and author who established and popularized inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry {1}, pointed out, “The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.” {2} So, whether or not superstitions are true or hold any power can be scientifically established by collecting a variety of data and carrying out inductive reasoning. Equally, can we use inductive reasoning and collect data on the work of the Creator? Just as the information content in a binary computer program cannot randomly occur, the information content in DNA cannot be random. In addition, the irreducible complexity {3} of biological life forms indicates the existence of highly intelligent and purposeful design. Such purposeful complexity negates the possibility of any random occurrences. For example, random numbers generated by a dice or a pair of dices do not have a purpose in mind. In addition, data may be collected from our environment and personal lives. For example, what do scientists look for when they do research? Do they look for ‘laws’ that govern behavior? Can purposeful laws be attributed to randomness? Also, what kind of data can we collect on the blessings in our personal lives? Who could be responsible for timely and purposeful blessings? In addition to all of this, scriptures provide independent data on the Creator. Again, as the celebrated author Francis Bacon points out, “Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.” {4} During their time prophets also faced prevailing superstitions and beliefs that had no basis. Using their intelligence they worked out the truth as did Abraham. He challenged the then prevailing beliefs and collected data on each. Consequently, based on his search and

exploration, he discovered the truth and reality of the Creator for himself. In return, our Creator gave him the honor of being the ‘father of many’ nations {5} and called him ‘Abraham’. “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations!” [Genesis 17:4, NLT] {6} The Bible calls the search for the Creator and establishing the correct relationship righteous: “Clearly, God's promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God's law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.” [Romans 4:13, NLT] {7} So, by pursuing superstitions, what type of faith does one declare to the Creator? The most recent Revelation, the Qur’an, therefore strongly deprecates superstitions. The following Verses point out unjustified superstitions over food, animals and children.

6.136 “Out of the produce and the cattle He has created, they assign a portion to God, saying: “This is for God” — or so they pretend — “and this is for the partners we associate [with Him]”. Whatever they assign to their partners never reaches God, but that which is assigned to God does reach their partners. How ill they judge!”
Does the Creator need food that He Himself has made?

6.137 “Thus have the partners they associate [with God] made the killing of their own children seem goodly to many idolaters, seeking to bring them to ruin and to confuse them in their faith. Had God willed otherwise, they would not have done so. Leave them, then, to their false inventions.” 6.138 “They say: “Such cattle and crops are forbidden. None may eat of them save those whom we permit” — so they falsely claim. Other cattle they declare to be forbidden to burden their backs; and there are cattle over which they do not pronounce God’s name, inventing [in all this] a lie against Him. He will surely punish them for their inventions.” 6.139 “They also say: “That which is in the wombs of these cattle is reserved to our males and forbidden to our women.” But if it be stillborn, they all partake of it. He will punish them for all their false assertions. He is wise, all-knowing.” 6.140 “Losers indeed are those who, in their ignorance, foolishly kill their children and declare as forbidden what God has provided for them as sustenance, falsely attributing such prohibitions to God. They have gone astray and they have no guidance.”
---------{Notes}: {1} http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bacon {2} http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/francisbac136015.html {3} http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/832 {4} http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/francisbac165287.html {5} http://www.behindthename.com/name/abraham {6} http://bible.cc/genesis/17-4.htm {7} http://bible.cc/romans/4-13.htm

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