In the last article, I had delved into the subjects of religion, life, and freedom, and I had written three articles explaining these concepts, bringing us to where we left off.
Now, where was I heading? The destination is deism, atheism, agnosticism, which represent the nature of belief in God, where the existence of God cannot be known, hence it is equally possible that He exists or not, and can be briefly explained as a denial of God’s existence. These topics are influential in shaping the beliefs of many in today’s world. So, here we are at that point.
How will I approach this multifaceted issue? The answer to this question is also crucial for outlining the framework of the article. Based on my observations, many people who have no knowledge of philosophy or theology, not even the basics of these two disciplines, can confidently state their belief identity as “I am a deist, agnostic, or atheist,” and they believe that this choice impinges on every aspect of their lives, taking away their freedom to live as they wish and determine the order of their lives. In other words, adhering to a belief system and fulfilling its requirements, especially rituals, can restrain people with this mentality from living freely, leading them to adopt a stance like “God exists but… God’s existence cannot be known… or God does not exist,” just to live as they desire. Therefore, in this extensive series of articles where we explore the reasons why our young people distance themselves from religion, I will attempt to approach the subject solely from this perspective.
As I mentioned earlier, but I reiterate due to its importance, these three concepts, and if we add Apateism, which we can translate as “God indifference,” these four concepts and the thoughts they represent have been discussed throughout human history. There’s no need to look far. A brief literature search on Google will reveal libraries filled with books written solely about atheism. Furthermore, contributing to the philosophical and theological debates on these issues, making criticisms, and introducing new ideas surpasses the capabilities of the author of these lines, and I am well aware of this.
This might come as a surprise to some. In fact, the futuristic vision for the year 2050 that I presented in the first article of this series garnered hundreds, and I’m not exaggerating, of feedback emails via email. Right afterward, in the subsequent article, I categorized these feedback emails into three separate categories and explained them. Let me add one more thing; the reason for initiating this series of articles was, in a way, the pleas of parents, especially those with a high level of religious sensitivity.
Allow me to begin; what I have observed in my close and distant circles, in my discussions with young people who identify themselves as deist, agnostic, or atheist, is their objection to the understanding and practices of “institutionalized religion.” I have already addressed this in previous articles and provided examples from the values, principles, commands, and prohibitions that religion addresses in social life.
As we all know, as far as we can tell from the history of religions, all religions are doctrines that have social dimensions beyond the creedal aspect that exists between the Supreme Creator and the individual, and they take their place in the societal dimension. This is because all religions have emerged within a society and have continued to evolve in close connection with the events occurring in that society. The same applies to religions that have received divine revelation, as well as beliefs and religions that are not products of revelation.
What does this signify? The dialectical relationship between religion and the society in which it originated and the events that shaped that society. Yes, there is indeed such a dialectical relationship between religion and society. Let’s examine the Qur’an from this perspective, if you will. All its normative rulings are limited to the events that took place in the Makkah and Madinah communities between 610-632. When we scrutinize its content, we notice that it either presented direct commands and prohibitions to its audience, which we refer to as real politics, or it outlined ideal politics, that is, goals. The same applies to hadiths, and if we take it a step further, it also applies to jurisprudential rulings. So, can we say this; the society shaped itself with religious rulings, but religions were also influenced by the society in which they originated. There is no doubt about that.
However, in immediate response to potential objections, let me state this: this situation does not prevent Islam from being the final religion and its messages from having universal and transcendent qualities. What occurred is what was meant to occur. It centered on its audience, their daily lives, specific problems, and their level of comprehension, and conveyed its universal and transcendent messages through them.
To be continued.”