Last Friday, the imam gave a twenty-minute khutbah that can be reduced to just one sentence: “Those who use their brains will know that Islam is the true religion.”
Well, I am surprised he doesn’t know that millions of intelligent people have used their brains, and have decided that religions other than Islam are “true.” He doesn’t know that Christians have constructed a complex and convincing theory for their trinitarian god. Hindus and Buddhists have used texts more ancient than the Bible for informing their concepts about ultimate reality. All religions provide an intellectual framework through which followers can navigate, contemplate and reaffirm basic tenets.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is no less convincing than Mohammed’s journey through the heavens. Both religions maintain belief in the virgin birth of Jesus, and who can reaffirm that by using their brains?
My brain tells me that babies don’t get started without sexual intercourse, and that the live body does not levitate through the sky except by way of an airplane. My brain tells me that the body stays dead after death. To believe otherwise requires a leap of faith which inactivates the brain rather than uses it. Indeed, believers who wonder about religious “facts”, or dare to question them, are taught that their faith needs strengthening.
That is absolutely true. One’s faith, not one’s brain, must take the lead in deciding which religion is “true”. Once you are there, your brain must remain inert. Faith and Intellect are mutually exclusive, at least with regard to the daily lives of ordinary people.
One reads nowadays that certain scientists are finding ways to meld — not merely reconcile– their intellectual development with faith. Quantum physics shows us that matter and non-material reality exist as a continuum, not an absolute, and that previously illogical concepts can actually become logical, under certain conditions.
This is where using one’s brain will reaffirm religion. Until science can establish the possibility that religious “facts” could have indeed occurred as taught by religion, my brain will not be in use with regard to faith. My brain and my faith live in different realities. I daresay I speak for the majority of “believers”. The imam would do well to address his next khutbah on the necessity of suspending intellectual function, rather than using it, as a means to decide which religion is “true.”