The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.
As an employee of a large corporate I have an important responsibility. Every year my boss gives me some papers on the top of which is written “OBJECTIVES”. My sacred responsibility as a faithful employee of this company is to put in my best efforts towards the achievement of those objectives every year. Like every year this year again my performance will be evaluated by my boss. I must prove to him that I did what was required of me as a minimum to pass annual evaluation. This is quite logical and acceptable.
My team members and direct reports go through the same process when I evaluate them. In the corporate heirarchy we work to prove our hard work, loyalty and achievements to make a satisfactory case in our favor. To me its more like a natural tendency for man to please his master to get what he deserves. With perhaps one exception.
When it comes to man’s relationship with God the equation looks inverted most of the time. This time its God who is required to prove Himself to His creation. We ask for proof of God while we know only too well we are not the creators of the universe. We ask for scientific proof of God, angels, heaven and hell. Its strange because with all the scientific knowledge within our armory we cant disprove any of that either. No scientist has ever been able to say “this is the evidence that we were not created by God but by someone else”. Not all scientists though.
Dr Eben Alexander is an elite scientist who followed his family trade as a neurosurgeon. With 25 years experience in some of the most prestigious medical schools in America Dr Alexander maintains a humble and easy to approach lifestyle. He teaches nurosurgery at the Harvard Medical School. I dont want to steal his words except for these few lines, “Modern physics tells us that the universe is a unity—that it is undivided. Though we seem to live in a world of separation and difference, physics tells us that beneath the surface, every object and event in the universe is completely woven up with every other object and event. There is no true separation”. Dr Alexander writes in Newsweek magazine about his journey and experience in the afterlife and how that is connected to God.
As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences. I grew up in a scientific world, the son of a neurosurgeon. I followed my father’s path and became an academic neurosurgeon, teaching at Harvard Medical School and other universities. I understand what happens to the brain when people are near death, and I had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death.
Although I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.
In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.
I know how pronouncements like mine sound to skeptics, so I will tell my story with the logic and language of the scientist I am.
Very early one morning four years ago, I awoke with an extremely intense headache. Within hours, my entire cortex—the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion and that in essence makes us human—had shut down. Doctors at Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia, a hospital where I myself worked as a neurosurgeon, determined that I had somehow contracted a very rare bacterial meningitis that mostly attacks newborns. E. coli bacteria had penetrated my cerebrospinal fluid and were eating my brain.
When I entered the emergency room that morning, my chances of survival in anything beyond a vegetative state were already low. They soon sank to near nonexistent. For seven days I lay in a deep coma, my body unresponsive, my higher-order brain functions totally offline.
Then, on the morning of my seventh day in the hospital, as my doctors weighed whether to discontinue treatment, my eyes popped open.
‘You have nothing to fear.’ ‘There is nothing you can do wrong.’ The message flooded me with a vast and crazy sensation of relief. (Photo illustration by Newsweek; Source: Buena Vista Images-Getty Images)
There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.
But that dimension—in rough outline, the same one described by countless subjects of near-death experiences and other mystical states—is there. It exists, and what I saw and learned there has placed me quite literally in a new world: a world where we are much more than our brains and bodies, and where death is not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey.
I’m not the first person to have discovered evidence that consciousness exists beyond the body. Brief, wonderful glimpses of this realm are as old as human history. But as far as I know, no one before me has ever traveled to this dimension (a) while their cortex was completely shut down, and (b) while their body was under minute medical observation, as mine was for the full seven days of my coma.
All the chief arguments against near-death experiences suggest that these experiences are the results of minimal, transient, or partial malfunctioning of the cortex. My near-death experience, however, took place not while my cortex was malfunctioning, but while it was simply off. This is clear from the severity and duration of my meningitis, and from the global cortical involvement documented by CT scans and neurological examinations. According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent.
It took me months to come to terms with what happened to me. Not just the medical impossibility that I had been conscious during my coma, but—more importantly—the things that happened during that time. Toward the beginning of my adventure, I was in a place of clouds. Big, puffy, pink-white ones that showed up sharply against the deep blue-black sky.
Higher than the clouds—immeasurably higher—flocks of transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamerlike lines behind them.
Birds? Angels? These words registered later, when I was writing down my recollections. But neither of these words do justice to the beings themselves, which were quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet. They were more advanced. Higher forms.
A sound, huge and booming like a glorious chant, came down from above, and I wondered if the winged beings were producing it. Again, thinking about it later, it occurred to me that the joy of these creatures, as they soared along, was such that they had to make this noise—that if the joy didn’t come out of them this way then they would simply not otherwise be able to contain it. The sound was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but doesn’t get you wet.
Seeing and hearing were not separate in this place where I now was. I could hear the visual beauty of the silvery bodies of those scintillating beings above, and I could see the surging, joyful perfection of what they sang. It seemed that you could not look at or listen to anything in this world without becoming a part of it—without joining with it in some mysterious way. Again, from my present perspective, I would suggest that you couldn’t look at anything in that world at all, for the word “at” itself implies a separation that did not exist there. Everything was distinct, yet everything was also a part of everything else, like the rich and intermingled designs on a Persian carpet … or a butterfly’s wing.
It gets stranger still. For most of my journey, someone else was with me. A woman. She was young, and I remember what she looked like in complete detail. She had high cheekbones and deep-blue eyes. Golden brown tresses framed her lovely face. When first I saw her, we were riding along together on an intricately patterned surface, which after a moment I recognized as the wing of a butterfly. In fact, millions of butterflies were all around us—vast fluttering waves of them, dipping down into the woods and coming back up around us again. It was a river of life and color, moving through the air. The woman’s outfit was simple, like a peasant’s, but its colors—powder blue, indigo, and pastel orange-peach—had the same overwhelming, super-vivid aliveness that everything else had. She looked at me with a look that, if you saw it for five seconds, would make your whole life up to that point worth living, no matter what had happened in it so far. It was not a romantic look. It was not a look of friendship. It was a look that was somehow beyond all these, beyond all the different compartments of love we have down here on earth. It was something higher, holding all those other kinds of love within itself while at the same time being much bigger than all of them.
Without using any words, she spoke to me. The message went through me like a wind, and I instantly understood that it was true. I knew so in the same way that I knew that the world around us was real—was not some fantasy, passing and insubstantial.
The message had three parts, and if I had to translate them into earthly language, I’d say they ran something like this:
“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”
“You have nothing to fear.”
“There is nothing you can do wrong.”
The message flooded me with a vast and crazy sensation of relief. It was like being handed the rules to a game I’d been playing all my life without ever fully understanding it.
“We will show you many things here,” the woman said, again, without actually using these words but by driving their conceptual essence directly into me. “But eventually, you will go back.”
To this, I had only one question.
The universe as I experienced it in my coma is … the same one that both Einstein and Jesus were speaking of in their (very) different ways. (Ed Morris / Getty Images)
A warm wind blew through, like the kind that spring up on the most perfect summer days, tossing the leaves of the trees and flowing past like heavenly water. A divine breeze. It changed everything, shifting the world around me into an even higher octave, a higher vibration.
Although I still had little language function, at least as we think of it on earth, I began wordlessly putting questions to this wind, and to the divine being that I sensed at work behind or within it.
Where is this place?
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Each time I silently put one of these questions out, the answer came instantly in an explosion of light, color, love, and beauty that blew through me like a crashing wave. What was important about these blasts was that they didn’t simply silence my questions by overwhelming them. They answered them, but in a way that bypassed language. Thoughts entered me directly. But it wasn’t thought like we experience on earth. It wasn’t vague, immaterial, or abstract. These thoughts were solid and immediate—hotter than fire and wetter than water—and as I received them I was able to instantly and effortlessly understand concepts that would have taken me years to fully grasp in my earthly life.
I continued moving forward and found myself entering an immense void, completely dark, infinite in size, yet also infinitely comforting. Pitch-black as it was, it was also brimming over with light: a light that seemed to come from a brilliant orb that I now sensed near me. The orb was a kind of “interpreter” between me and this vast presence surrounding me. It was as if I were being born into a larger world, and the universe itself was like a giant cosmic womb, and the orb (which I sensed was somehow connected with, or even identical to, the woman on the butterfly wing) was guiding me through it.
Later, when I was back, I found a quotation by the 17th-century Christian poet Henry Vaughan that came close to describing this magical place, this vast, inky-black core that was the home of the Divine itself.
“There is, some say, in God a deep but dazzling darkness …”
That was it exactly: an inky darkness that was also full to brimming with light.
I know full well how extraordinary, how frankly unbelievable, all this sounds. Had someone—even a doctor—told me a story like this in the old days, I would have been quite certain that they were under the spell of some delusion. But what happened to me was, far from being delusional, as real or more real than any event in my life. That includes my wedding day and the birth of my two sons.
What happened to me demands explanation.
Modern physics tells us that the universe is a unity—that it is undivided. Though we seem to live in a world of separation and difference, physics tells us that beneath the surface, every object and event in the universe is completely woven up with every other object and event. There is no true separation.
Before my experience these ideas were abstractions. Today they are realities. Not only is the universe defined by unity, it is also—I now know—defined by love. The universe as I experienced it in my coma is—I have come to see with both shock and joy—the same one that both Einstein and Jesus were speaking of in their (very) different ways.
I’ve spent decades as a neurosurgeon at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in our country. I know that many of my peers hold—as I myself did—to the theory that the brain, and in particular the cortex, generates consciousness and that we live in a universe devoid of any kind of emotion, much less the unconditional love that I now know God and the universe have toward us. But that belief, that theory, now lies broken at our feet. What happened to me destroyed it, and I intend to spend the rest of my life investigating the true nature of consciousness and making the fact that we are more, much more, than our physical brains as clear as I can, both to my fellow scientists and to people at large.
I don’t expect this to be an easy task, for the reasons I described above. When the castle of an old scientific theory begins to show fault lines, no one wants to pay attention at first. The old castle simply took too much work to build in the first place, and if it falls, an entirely new one will have to be constructed in its place.
I learned this firsthand after I was well enough to get back out into the world and talk to others—people, that is, other than my long-suffering wife, Holley, and our two sons—about what had happened to me. The looks of polite disbelief, especially among my medical friends, soon made me realize what a task I would have getting people to understand the enormity of what I had seen and experienced that week while my brain was down.
One of the few places I didn’t have trouble getting my story across was a place I’d seen fairly little of before my experience: church. The first time I entered a church after my coma, I saw everything with fresh eyes. The colors of the stained-glass windows recalled the luminous beauty of the landscapes I’d seen in the world above. The deep bass notes of the organ reminded me of how thoughts and emotions in that world are like waves that move through you. And, most important, a painting of Jesus breaking bread with his disciples evoked the message that lay at the very heart of my journey: that we are loved and accepted unconditionally by a God even more grand and unfathomably glorious than the one I’d learned of as a child in Sunday school.
Today many believe that the living spiritual truths of religion have lost their power, and that science, not faith, is the road to truth. Before my experience I strongly suspected that this was the case myself.
But I now understand that such a view is far too simple. The plain fact is that the materialist picture of the body and brain as the producers, rather than the vehicles, of human consciousness is doomed. In its place a new view of mind and body will emerge, and in fact is emerging already. This view is scientific and spiritual in equal measure and will value what the greatest scientists of history themselves always valued above all: truth.
<:figure style=”DISPLAY: block” jQuery17206130544335219017=”70″>This new picture of reality will take a long time to put together. It won’t be finished in my time, or even, I suspect, my sons’ either. In fact, reality is too vast, too complex, and too irreducibly mysterious for a full picture of it ever to be absolutely complete. But in essence, it will show the universe as evolving, multi-dimensional, and known down to its every last atom by a God who cares for us even more deeply and fiercely than any parent ever loved their child.
I’m still a doctor, and still a man of science every bit as much as I was before I had my experience. But on a deep level I’m very different from the person I was before, because I’ve caught a glimpse of this emerging picture of reality. And you can believe me when I tell you that it will be worth every bit of the work it will take us, and those who come after us, to get it right.
You may like or dislike the shiite clerical regime of Iran but you will find it difficult to deny their ability to talk straight about some of the most critical socio-political problems of the region.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are the regional cold war players competing for supremacy in the heartland of Islam. Being shii Iran is viewed with bias and unfairly suspected by many sunni intellectuals. The correct approach would be to assess the matter from Islam’s universal view based on Muslims’ real need, which is freedom, independence and brotherhood.
I am reblogging parts of a speech given by the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khamenei at the international conference of Islamic Awakening held in Teheran on 11/12/2012.
I hope my respected readers will be kind enough to make a few comments on it.
Thanks in advance…
“Were they created by nothing? Or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay they have no firm belief.” [Quran 52:35-36]
The Islamic Belief and subsequently the Islamic way of life has an intellectual basis. Therefore, Islam is neither a religion nor a set of values and rituals that arise from Blind Faith. Rather, Islam is an intellectual belief from which emanates a comprehensive system of life, be it for individuals or society. To understand the unique system that Islam offers necessitates the explanation of the Islamic belief i.e. the belief in God, Allah (swt) in Arabic, and the Word of God, the Qur’an.
Arguments For & Against God.
Today if you mention God then you’ll probably get a negative reaction. It has become a trend to get on with life and not to bother to ask the question whether there is a God or not. In fact this question was not even asked much in the days of old, when you simply had to believe in God or be persecuted. Therefore it is not surprising that people find it easy to believe that the existence of God is a myth, simply because they have never thought deeply about the idea.
It is because people continued to believe in God blindly, i.e. Blind Faith, rather than use ration, that science and its attempted explanations of universal phenomena was hailed as the ‘new God’.
But let us deal with both arguments – for and against the existence of a Creator – from a rational perspective. A common argument by many Christians and some other religions is that God is the God of many abstract attributes such as Love, Peace, Mercy which indeed are admirable qualities for human beings to aspire to. This characterisation of God is based on an implicit assumption that God can be likened to human beings thus the attempt to understand God in a human framework. Accordingly, we find in some societies, such as early Greek, that individual gods were used to represent single human attributes, and in other cultures gods have the quality to reproduce.
The question this begs is whether the essence of an unlimited Creator is understandable through a limited, imperfect human mind when God lies beyond our perception? Rational thought would dictate that if God exists then knowledge of God’s attributes can only come from Itself. Therefore, famine in the world leading to the deaths of millions would not deny the Justice, Mercy or Love of God as the Governor and Controller of the universe. This is the failure of Christianity and indeed all religions as their belief becomes a matter of Blind Faith. Consequently, they allow themselves to be plagued by rational contradictions which inevitably lead to intellectual refutation.
With regard to the opposing view proposed by scientific theories to disprove the existence of God. Are these arguments valid? To understand the validity of any proposed argument the premise should be examined. Science is concerned with the methodology of processes in the physical world i.e. it deals with ‘how’ and not ‘why’. Thus scientists are not concerned with why gravity exists but how gravity influences bodies to shape the universe.
The scientific method is limited in that it can only deduce rules by repeated observation of physical phenomena. This question of the existence of God does not and cannot fall into the realm of scientific thought because science deals with the mechanisms of events and phenomena within the universe, i.e. the tangible and not the intangible. To test the hypothesis to apply scientific proof for or against God, one would effectively have said that God is ‘testable’. Therefore, logically one would conclude God to be within the universe since God must be physically tangible and contained within the universe. God must be limited and therefore cannot be God.
Thus scientists are falling into the same trap as the blind followers of religion, that is they are implicitly defining a role to God as the ‘one who makes things work’. Since scientists have explained how things work the question of God does not arise. Those who argue from this angle have falsely assumed an attribute/essence of God in the same way Christians say God has a son or is Love. To prove or disprove the existence of a Creator we need to go beyond the limitations of the scientific method and proceed rationally for it is only rational thought which has the ability to deal with an issue like this.
The Rational Thought
Man progresses as a result of his thoughts concerning everything around him. Thoughts are what distinguish man from other animals and without them man would be lost. Thought occurs when man receives information about something through his five senses. He then distinguishes it by linking it to previous information and experiences he has encountered. For example, a person comes across a plant. He knows that it is a plant due to his previous knowledge of what a plant looks like. But only when he links it with previous information on the various types of plants will he be able to tell if it is edible or poisonous.
Hence, just receiving information is not enough. It will only remain as information that we cannot appreciate or understand. However, the process of linking it to previous information and distinguishing the information is the process of thought and the key of understanding and progressing.
Consequently, when a man becomes convinced of the correctness of a thought, it becomes the concept which he carries, thus, affecting his behaviour. For example, if we carry the concept of dislike of someone, it will affect our behaviour towards that person. So we see that carrying false ideas has serious implications for a person and if such false ideas are carried widely it has serious implications for society
Thus the idea and question of God has serious implications because the answer obtained becomes the very basis by which we understand the creation and purpose of man, life and universe.
Therefore, the method used should not only be the rational thought but the comprehensive and agree with reality. Anything hypothetical or emotional should be rejected since their basis disagrees with ration and reality.
The Rational Proof of God
When we look around us at everything we can sense one factor is shared by these things, and that is that they are all limited. By limited we mean that they have restrictions, a starting point and an ending point, and they have definable attributes i.e. they are all finite.
Man is born and he dies. There is no-one alive who will not die. During his life span, he will grow to a certain height, weight and volume.
The universe is defined as all the celestial planets. All these objects have certain mass, shape, volume and so on. The life span of a star may be very long, but a point in time will come when it will cease to exist.
The universe is large, but still a finite space. No scientist could ever prove using hard facts that the universe has no bounds. In fact when we say that the universe arose from the Big Bang and expanding they inherently admit it is finite in size, otherwise it could not expand!
There is nothing in reality which is unlimited. No matter how hard we try, man is unable to find anything unlimited around him. All he can perceive is the finite and limited.
A further attribute of everything around us is that they are all needy and dependent in order to continue existing. They are not self-sustaining or independent. Man has needs. He has to satisfy in order to survive. He has organic needs. Man must eat and drink if he is to survive. If he does not he will die. We see the need and dependency in plants and animals. They depend on other parts of the food chain for their existence. The water cycle is dependent on the sun, which is dependent on the laws of the galaxies and of burning mass, and so on… Nothing man can perceive is self-subsistent. So things exist, but do not have the power of existence. They cannot control when they die or when other bodies die.
Thus what we see is that everything around us is limited and finite. Everything that is limited and finite is dependant and everything that is dependant is dependant upon something greater than itself.
Applying this to everything we see will bring us to a conclusion. If everything in the universe is dependant because it has not the power of being in existence on its own accord, and is also finite and limited, then what is everything dependant upon for its existence? Hence, two possibilities exist, that is either all finite and limited objects depend upon each other in an infinite chain of inter dependencies (infinite regression). Or there is a first cause a sole creator upon which everything depends. To explain this further we can understand this by way of analogy. Consider a set of dominoes for example, for the final domino to fall it is dependant upon the domino before it, and for that domino to fall over it is dependant upon the domino before it. Now imagine if there was an infinite number of dominoes…… would any of the dominoes fall over?
The answer is no, none of the dominoes would fall over. Now to view any aspect of the universe we would see that something is already in existence in essence the last domino has fallen over. Thus meaning that finite things are not dependant upon each other in an infinite chain. Therefore, there needs to be a first cause or a sole Creator upon which everything depends and itself being independent. Now, we have noted that everything that is finite and limited is also dependant, hence, for something to be independent it would need to be infinite and unlimited. This is whom we Muslim call Allah (swt) the sole Creator, self subsistent, and completely unique and different from creation. And
Allah (swt) says
“Declare, Allah is one and only,Allah is self sufficient (needy of nothing but upon which everything depends), Neither Allah begets nor was he begotten, And there is nothing equal to or comparable unto Allah” [TMQ 112]
The only rational and intellectual solution to the question of creation is that there is a Creator that has accounted for all that we see and perceive. Ration tells us that nothing can be created without a creator. Ultimately, there must be a Creator who is unlimited in every aspect.
Belief in Allah is not a superstition nor a mythology, but is a definite fact that is established upon the use of the mind and is felt within every person. Hence, looking at any planet in the universe, contemplating on any phase of life, or comprehending any aspect of man provides a conclusive evidence for the existence of a Creator, what Muslims call Allah (swt).
“Verily in the Creation of the heavens and the Earth and the alternation of the night and the day the are indeed signs for a people who depth and thinking” Quran [TMQ 3:190]
Each religion has its own position regarding how one comes to believe and, as such, instructs its followers to come to believe according to this way as the optimum way.
Islam also directs people on this matter. In the Quran, Allah (God) invites people to reflect and think, ponder and contemplate on the things around them.
It is through such reflection that leads Muslims to come to an understanding that the universe and everything in it was created by a Creator.
Many verses of the Quran state this invitation, such as:
“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alteration of night and day, these are indeed signs for men of understanding” (Quran chapter 3, verse 190)
“Behold! In the creation of heaven and earth and the differences of night and day, and the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men, and the water which Allah sends down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and in the ordinance of the winds, and the clouds obedient between heaven and earth are signs for people who have sense.” (Quran chapter 2, verse 164)
Belief is not through blind Faith
This means that Muslims do not have a blind Faith in a religion that they cannot prove.
Muslim can rationally prove to themselves that God exists through thinking and contemplation.
Blind Faith was the European Christian solution to the questions of belief that the clergy could not answer.
Blind Faith is dangerous, for why would someone believe in something that cannot be proven. Adherence to such a belief would be shaky and weak, built upon doubtful ideas.
In addition, one who believes through blind Faith closes his mind to various facts and observations around him in this Universe.
Islam is not a theory, or a possibility, but a belief that should and can be proved, definitely and conclusively.
Islam is a belief that asks humankind to approach it by thinking so as to do away with blind Faith and doubt, so the very foundations of belief are strong, like a knot which cannot be broken.
A Shared Personal belief
When Muslims gather together, they have a commonality; a shared belief, arrived at by contemplation. So Islam is a communal belief, not merely a personal matter for an individual to follow and not care about others. Such a shared experience in belief further binds people together and even acts as a point of discussion enhancing our understanding in a shared belief in a Creator.
Can you prove God exists by Experiments?
Can one find God in a laboratory? science and its theories cannot prove the existence of God, neither can they disprove it. So some scientists believe in God, and some do not.
The existence of Allah is established, and can be proved by reason – by thinking about the environment around you.
You don’t need to be a scientist in a white coat or a professor to do this – just a normal person who begins to critically question what life is all about.
How certain can you be?
Muslims are 100% sure of the existence in Allah. Muslims are as certain as they are of anything in life.
That certainty nurtures a concern for humanity and the hope that others would one day arrive at these conclusions about life through thought.
This unshakable belief creates a harmony in a person, so that life is not merely huge peaks and troughs of happiness and depression. The Islamic belief creates a stable character that should be constant in his mental and physical well being.