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  #1  
Old March 12, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Default Angels

Here I will try to propose a few questions regarding Angels. We know that in the Quran angels are unseen creatures of light.

Thus if we link up our understanding of time and space, they must be travelling at the speed of light (or greater - if there is such a speed) in order to follow Allahs commands.

It takes many lightyears to travel from our galaxy to the next closest galaxy... travelling at the speed of light.

Thus if we assume that Angels are beings of light, then a question arises... are they travelling at the speed of light?

If so then it would take them many lightyears to convey the messages from Allah to his prophets. Consequently, this could mean that Heaven is actually closer to us, or otherwise Angels travel at a greater speed than the speed of light.

It could be neither of these cases and we would assume that they have such powers given by Allah in order that they are able to carry out his commands without the restrictions that we place on time and space.

Then there is this other subject of Angels taking on any form... The Quran states that Angels are able to take on any form they wish.

It is a well known scientific fact that matter and energy can be conversely created. If you have energy (light) you could create mass, likewise you can create energy from mass. I find this quite remarkable - this link between the Quran and modern physics.

Does anyone have their own opinions?

Forgive me if my questions are a little vague. And please, do not post another flame here, if you are offended by my inferior intellect, please do not bother posting, I am just trying to find out what other people think about Angels.

Thanks

[Edited on 12-3-2004 by Unknown]
  #2  
Old March 12, 2004, 01:24 PM
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there is no point hypothesizing about the nature of angels, the devil, jinn or God Himself. it's a pointless exercise, because we don't have the technology to verify the existence of any of the above. the point of religion is to accept all of them on faith. philosophical and hypothetical discussions won't get us anywhere.

what IS important, however, is to keep an open mind and, above all, make the story of angels, the devil, jinn, etc, palatable to the modern, educated human intellect. too many muslims still talk in terms of fairy tales and take those fair tales literally. for example, i know of too many people who go on about how they saw jinn, that somebody is possessed by a jinn, etc. these are grotesquely naive and unscientific narrations. also, they go on about how angels interact with humans, as if we are reading the mahabharata with all its fantastic stories of multicoloured, multi-organed, super-strong, super-sonic gods and goddesses. personally, i think these people are hallucinating. we should not trivialize God's creations in such ways. there are most likely very scientific explanations for all these phenomena.

however, the fact is, we don't have the necessary technology to prove any of this. for now, we will just have to either accept it on faith, or reject it outright.
  #3  
Old March 12, 2004, 01:46 PM
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You are right in a sense.

"...there are most likely very scientific explanations for all these phenomena."

I agree there must exist a scientific explanation but I suppose I made a hypothesis - which I should not have done, as that was not the point of my post.

My aim was to merely link the facts found in the Quran regarding angels (ie unseen beings of light) to the scientific attributes of light itself.
  #4  
Old March 12, 2004, 02:31 PM
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I don't think there is any scientific explanation for the actual existence of an angel. Because there probably isn't any.

Last night I dreamt that I was driving a superfast mach-4 car on a Formula 1 circuit. It was almost real. But science doesn't have to explain why my dream car must exist in reality.

Bujruki has no place in science.
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Old March 12, 2004, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
But science doesn't have to explain why my dream car must exist in reality.
Arnab, that's probably because you know / or think with 100% certanity that your dream is a dream.

We don't know that about the Quranic stories.

Again, at the risk of meandering from Unknown's initial purpose here - It can be said that too often we dismiss religious statements only for not being able to scientifically prove them. Maybe that is our deficiency, and not the holy books'.
  #6  
Old March 12, 2004, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
We don't know that about the Quranic stories.
Yes, we do. They are simply outrageous even in terms of dreams. Beings made of light? Give me a break.

According to your logic, it's my "deficiency" that my dream car isn't really real. Right.

[Edited on 12-3-2004 by Arnab]
  #7  
Old March 12, 2004, 04:49 PM
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arnab, you have a weird habit of judging books by their covers. you're barely scratching the surface of something that may indeed not be a fanciful idea. things in the quran, or in any other religious text, have been laid down in very simplistic language. the mistake you're making is the same one islamic fundamentalists make: they take the stories literally. by doing so, your 'superior' intellect naturally wants to reject something that sounds like a fairy tale. angels made of light should not be taken literally, just as humans made of clay shouldn't be taken literally.

as for your mach-4 speed car...it's not impossible to conceive. in the distant future, i'm certain technology will allow us such luxuries. if you want to realize that dream, eat healthy, exercise daily and don't smoke...try to make it to your 5000th birthday.

[Edited on 12-3-2004 by Shubho]
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Old March 12, 2004, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shubho
the mistake you're making is the same one islamic fundamentalists make: they take the stories literally.
...
angels made of light should not be taken literally, just as humans made of clay shouldn't be taken literally.
bravo.. well said!!
  #9  
Old March 12, 2004, 05:50 PM
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If we do not take it literally how do we take it? When Allah commands you to pray five times a day, you take it literally and do so. So if the creator says that angels are unseen beings of light why can't you take that literally?
  #10  
Old March 12, 2004, 06:11 PM
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Haha! Unknown raises a very interesting question.

So, what DO you take literally and what do you NOT take literally, eh? Who decides that? What is the rule to go by?

Look, being intentionally vague has a place in subjectice art and poetry, even if it is almost 1500 years old. I have no problem with that. But don't try to call it "scientific". Being as clear as possible IS "fundamental" to what science is.

The mistake YOU are making is you are trying to have a vague reconciliation between science and faith, which is not possible. You are not aware how science works. Or, may be you are, but just doing it for mental peace since you can't de-brainwash yourself. Or else why would you want me to believe that I will live 5000 years to drive my imaginary mach-4 car? That remark proved my point exactly. That there could be angels is as realistic as me surviving 5000 years. Neither is gonna happen, and I say that with 99.99999999....% certainty. I take that kind of certainty to be enough to reject the existence of angels, or the possibility that I will live 5000 years.

[Edited on 12-3-2004 by Arnab]
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Old March 12, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Since matter and energy are related by e=mc^2 - you can create energy from mass, and mass from energy. Why would it be hard to comprehend beings of light?

We naturally assume that beings must be made of mass, because that is what we see around us.

But let me say this to you... have you ever seen an electron or a quark?
  #12  
Old March 12, 2004, 06:14 PM
Arnab Arnab is offline
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Unknown, I am also very interested to see where this discussion goes. So, lets take this one step at a time, ok?

First off, please list all the qualities/properties of "angels" that you can think of, using Quran and hadith sources .
  #13  
Old March 12, 2004, 06:17 PM
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Arnab dude you need to chill for a bit... you realise dont you that humans are falsable... not everything you say is absolutely 100% correct.

EDIT: I will get some sources for you, but please try not to dismiss anyone elses argument so readily.

[Edited on 12-3-2004 by Unknown]
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Old March 12, 2004, 06:20 PM
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I am as "chill" as the labatte blue in front of me, dude. Why don't you do what I said?

I have not dismissed any argument. Because nobody has presented any yet. I am trying to HELP you establish a clear logical argument. Then we will see where it goes.
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Old March 12, 2004, 07:16 PM
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arnab, the difference between you and me is the difference between closed-mindedness and open-mindedness. you are trying to refute the existence of angels, while i'm trying to show that they MAY exist, but not necessarily.

I have the following points to make:

a) no-one can prove that angels exist
b) no-one can prove that they don't exist

you either take it on faith, or you don't.

my other point is, if you want to take the quran literally, then a lot of intelligent people would not subscribe to this religion, because a lot of things simply do not (usually) make sense when taken literally.

thirdly, there is the question of context. in my opinion, the quran wasn't meant to be a science book, a history book or a novel. its purpose was to convey the message of God to mankind, nothing else. so, you cannot expect people to disbelieve simply because the quran does not explicitly state newton's laws or the heisenberg principle.

fourthly, i'm not trying to convert you, so don't get defensive. i'm just trying to point out that it isn't stupid to believe in angels, just as it isn't stupid not to believe in them. furthermore, no matter how highly you may regard your intellect, there is always the possibility that you may in fact be wrong (just as muslims may be mistaken that angels exist). you should bear that in mind.

finally, yes i do take some things literally, and others not so literally, just as i take some things you say literally, and others with a pinch of salt. that is the beauty of religion: there is lots of room for interpretation. more often than not, i do not follow the quran to the letter. but then that is because i don't believe God wanted us to live like we did 1500 years ago. eventually, what you take literally and what you don't depends upon your interpretation.

i fear you are always too quick in dismissing ideas. things are not always that black and white. expand your mind, friend.
  #16  
Old March 12, 2004, 07:48 PM
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A "rational mind" dismiss the concept of angelic truth or it's any slightest relation with modern science.

A rational mind is not even atheist in the sense that it would exhaust itself in demonstrations of the non-existance of quranic angel or it's god. It declares, rather, that even if angel existed that would make no difference from its point of view.

Not that a rational mind believe angel or god does exist, but rather thinks that the real problem is not that of it's existance. Thus what MAN needs is to find himself again and to UNDERSTAND that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existance of angel, angelic force or even of god, for that matter.
  #17  
Old March 12, 2004, 08:25 PM
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I will deviate a little and ask you if you think there is a greater speed than the speed of light...

Please do not reply with a "shows how intelligent you are, of course there is no greater speed than that of light".

I am strictly looking for opinions not flames whether someone is right or wrong. Remember opinions are just that, they do not necessarily have to be right or wrong!

Back to the belief in angels, well, its the same as believing in God or not. Atheist disbelieve because they cannot sense a God, but as I pointed out earlier, can you sense an electron or a quark?

Just because we do not have the techology or otherwise cleverness to make measurements or sense things (beyond what we can now) does not mean that they are non existent.

For example if someone screams at the top of his voice fifty miles away from you, but you fail to hear, does not mean that the person didnt not scream. You just failed to sense it.

BTW did any of you guys read on Shrodingers Cat?
  #18  
Old March 12, 2004, 08:32 PM
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Shubho, read carefully the points I make:

"Being open minded" has nothing to do "Believe something on faith". Just because you "believe in angels on faith" doesn't make you more open minded than me. Look, there are psychological patients who think they are drinking blood or seeing ghosts. Does that mean they are more "open minded" than I am?

I define open minded as being open to ideas that are consistent with whatever scientific knowledge we gathered so far. Something that can be provable by Science. Or something that science can logically pursue in near future. God or Angels aren't remotely scientific ideas. Believing in them require a tremendous departure from scientific notions, so much so that if you believe in them, you basically reject whatever science stands for.

On to your second point, if taking Quran literally makes a lot of intelligent people NOT subscribe to the religion, then so be it. What is your problem? Why does Quran HAVE to make sense? Why do you feel the need for this to happen? Why do intelligent people have to forego their intelligence and dumb down to find a mixture of symbolic and literal meaning to MAKE Quran work for them?

Third point, Quran wasn't meant to be a science book. Of course! That's why I vehemently disagree with anyone who tries to prove that Quran is "scientific." Whether Quran is really the mesage of God to mankind is a whole another issue.

On your fourth point I disagree. Let me give you an analogy. Let's say I claim that the sun will not rise in the east tomorrow. Now, it's not entirely a false claim. Maybe some cosmic catstrophe will happen between now and tomorrow's sunrise and may be the sun won't rise tomorrow. But the chance of it happening is VERY small, about 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000......00001 %
The possibilty of the sun rising in the east tomorrow is 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999. ...99999%

Both these claims are not "stupid" per se. But one of them has such an overwhelming possibility of happening that it is entirely rational to reject the other. My view on God/angels' existence follow the same probability scenario.

As for your final point, you are entirely at liberty to interpret the quran in whatever way you do. You think it's the word of God, to be taken semi-literally and semi-symbolically, according to the scenario of the age you live in. I don't think of Quran that way. I think it's jsut another "holy book" in a long line of religious scriptures form all around the world from different ages and I don't feel the need to interpret it just like I don't feel the need to interpret Torah, Bible or the holy scriptures the tribes of Papua New Guinea go by. I am not being close-minded. I have given them a fair chance before. And I reject them. Just as I reject the notion that the sun will not rise tomorrow or that right after reading this post, a god will strike you dead right in front of your pc to prove its existence to me.

[Edited on 13-3-2004 by Arnab]

[Edited on 3-13-2004 by chinaman : Please do not post too many characters in one line]
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Old March 12, 2004, 09:00 PM
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Let me clearly and eloquently express my opinions regarding this with the help of Richard Feynman. I agree with every word of the following to the 't'. His opinion is my opinion:

Quote:
If you expected science to give all the answers to the wonderful questions about what we are, where we're going, what the meaning of the universe is and so on, then I think you could easily become disillusioned and then look for some mystic answer to these problems. How a scientist can take a mystic answer I don?t know because the whole spirit is to understand - well, never mind that. Anyhow, I don't understand that, but anyhow if you think of it, the way I think of what we're doing is we're exploring, we're trying to find out as much as we can about the world. People say to me, "Are you looking for the ultimate laws of physics?" No, I'm not, I'm just looking to find out more about the world and if it turns
out there is a simple ultimate law which explains everything, so be it, that would be very nice to discover.

If it turns out it's like an onion with millions of layers and we're just sick and tired of looking at the layers, then that's the way it is, but whatever way it comes out its nature is there and she's going to come out the way she is, and therefore when we go to investigate it we shouldn't predecide what it is we're trying to do except to try to find out more about it. If
you say your problem is, why do you find out more about it, if you thought you were trying to find out more about it because you?re going to get an answer to some deep philosophical question, you may be wrong. It may be that you can't get
an answer to that particular question by finding out more about the character of nature, but I don't look at it [like that].

My interest in science is to simply find out about the world, and the more I find out the better it is, like, to find out.

There are very remarkable mysteries about the fact that we're able to do so many more things than apparently animals can do, and other questions like that, but those are mysteries I want to investigate without knowing the answer to them, and so altogether I can't believe these special stories that have been made up about our relationship to the universe at large because they seem to be too simple, too connected, too local, too provincial. The earth, He came to the earth, one of the aspects of God came to the earth, mind you, and look at what's out there. It isn't in proportion. Anyway, it's no use arguing, I can't argue it, I'm just trying to tell you why the scientific views that I have do have some effect on my belief. And also another thing has to do with the question
of how you find out if something's true, and if all the different religions have all different theories about the thing, then
you begin to wonder. Once you start doubting, just like you're supposed to doubt, you ask me if the science is true.
I say no, we don't know what's true, we're trying to find out and everything is possibly wrong.

Start out understanding religion by saying everything is possibly wrong. Let us see. As soon as you do that, you start sliding down an edge which is hard to recover from and so on. With the scientific view, or my father's view, that we should look to see what's true and what may be or may not be true, once you start doubting, which I think to me is a very fundamental part of my soul, to doubt and to ask, and when you doubt and ask it gets a little harder to believe.

You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different
degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here, and what the question might mean. I might think about it a little bit and if I can't figure it out, then I go on to something else, but I don't have to know an answer, I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is so far as I can tell. It doesn't frighten me.
  #20  
Old March 12, 2004, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Unknown
I will deviate a little and ask you if you think there is a greater speed than the speed of light...
UnKnown Bhai, Yes I believe there is a greater speed. Its called the 'human mind'. The human mind can have any speed it can imagine.

What is faster then the wind? -- Mind
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Old March 12, 2004, 09:04 PM
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Reread that and you will see that guy[Richard Feynman] is self contradictory and hypocritical...

[Edited on 13-3-2004 by Unknown]
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Old March 12, 2004, 09:11 PM
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Unknown, I hope you know who Richard Feynman is. But that's not the main point. I don't see anything hypocritical or contradictory in what he said.
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Old March 12, 2004, 09:13 PM
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If you are assuming that everything is wrong in the first place, then your assumption "everything about religion is wrong", is wrong. Contradictory.
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Old March 12, 2004, 09:16 PM
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Haha! No it isn't. Even the assumption that "everything in religion is wrong" COULD be wrong. That's exactly what he is saying. There is nothing contradictory in there.
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Old March 12, 2004, 09:19 PM
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That is contradictory, becuase that statement would evaluate to: "everything in religion is right"... okay stay on topic.

[EDIT] Hypocritical part is where: if he believes everything is wrong, there is no use of believing in anything then: since he does not know any answers for certain.

[Edited on 13-3-2004 by Unknown]
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