Slave to Oneself
- All humans, in the Qur’an’s own words, have a god – even if the god is the person himself.
“Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire?”
- To say it differently, there are no real atheists. All humans take some god. All humans worship something and cling to it as the focus of their adoration and servitude. It could be wealth, objects, pleasure, prestige, or power, as expressed by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Miserable indeed is the slave of Dinar, Dirham, and Khamisa (money and luxurious clothes).” There is no possibility of a human worshiping and serving nothing. As the novelist David Foster Wallace put it: “There is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”
- The Russian novelist Dostoevsky poignantly wrote: “To live without God is nothing but torture... Man cannot live without kneeling... If he rejects God, he kneels before an idol of wood or of gold or an imaginary one... They are all idolaters and not atheists. That’s what they ought to be called.”
- Worship of the creature rather than the Creator is contrary to the Creator’s design and can never satisfy the human soul. The soul, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Where God is removed, something must move in to fill the emptiness and take His Place. The vacuum may be filled — with nothing in particular — with desperate attempts to obliterate the emptiness. Yet, whatever substitutes for God are used to ease the void, they only work for a while, just as narcotics do, before the emptiness returns, amplified by the awareness that nothing can really obliterate the incessant aching emptiness and provide satisfaction in this life. Humankind’s substitutes for God always leads to frustration and restlessness. Even enjoying the good things in life cannot be satisfying without God’s presence. Only God can provide satisfaction and rest.
“Verily, in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest,”
says the Qur’an
- Humans are created with the capacity for a relationship with God that makes them desire God. Since God created humans with such a longing, they cannot find peace or meaning without Him. What can only be found in God can never be sought in anything less. Famous atheist philosopher, Bertrand Russell, admitted this in his autobiography: “The center of me is always and eternally a terrible pain – a curious wild pain – a searching for something beyond what the world contains, something transfigured and infinite, the beatific vision – God. I do not find it, I do not think it is to be found, but the love of it is my life … it fills every passion I have. It is the actual spring of life in me.”