Civilization: East Vs. West

Please click here to read part one of this series of articles

| by Dr. Rifai

( November 17, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Though Eastern civilizations retained religious identifications and manifestation, the development of communist ideologies and doctrines restrained and restricted the religious identifications and manifestation particularly in parts of China and Russia. The communist ideologists argued that religion has no role to play in human life and they further contended that religion is an obstacle in the path of material development and progress. The Enlightenment era in the Western world generated a group of rationalists, agnostics, atheists and humanists people. Likewise, the communism generated communities of disbelievers and atheists who strongly objected religious faiths and practices. There is one common similarity between western rationalists and Eastern communists ideologists. That similarity is that both these groups rejected religion as a source of guidance to the humanity. Both of these groups argued that God has no place in materialistic world. The last few centuries thousands of atheist rationalists came out in Europe and Eastern world to argue against religious teachings. They produced rational and logical and scientific arguments against religious teachings. They produced books and researches attacking religious teachings. Their ideological contentions and polemic arguments influenced millions of people in the West and East.

In his study of communism, Edger Hoover argues that communism is based on three false premises: “communism has three underlying theoretical concepts: 1) a philosophy which is materialistic 2) a method called the dialectic 3) an application of this philosophy and method to history and social development (Historical Materialism)” (A study of communism.P.31). These are the basic philosophical principles on which communist ideologies are based. According to these principles communists perceive man as mere materialistic being that he/she does not have any spiritual/ethical needs. E.Hoover describes materialistic interpretation of communism in this way “They believe that whatever man does, thinks, or feels can be explained in term of dynamic matter alone, and that matter is the only thing that exists. They deny the existence of any spiritual being …. There is no Supreme Being or God responsible for either the creation or the preservation of the universe. ”.P.31. This denial of Devine existence and His authority over man is the basic principle of communism and consequently communists and western atheists interpret the entire human life in a materialistic way in accordance with animalistic instincts.

The intellectual argument, contention and debate between the believers and Non-Believers are not a new one in human history. There has always been argument on this subject throughout human history. Judeo-Christian, Islamic, Buddhists, Hindu and other religious leaderships have always been against such materialist interpretation of man, Universe and human life. The problem with atheists and communists of Non-Believers is that they do accept what is beyond their six human senses. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, whatever they feel, whatever they smell, whatever they touch, whatever they understand by their human intellect is all about this life and beyond these perceptions they do not accept in any unseen/ supernatural- existence and phenomena of this universes. They do not believe that there is one Supreme Being who created this universe and sustains and maintains it in very minutes. Because, they have not seen such a Supreme Being by their naked eyes, they have not touched him, or they have not experimented him in science laboratories. On this basis, they deny the existence of a Creator for this universe though this universe itself manifests artistic beautify and amazement of divine creation. Modern man’s argument is very much similar to that of people of Mosses who asked the prophet Mosses to show them God in front of them.
Contrary to this materialist interpretation, believers argue that man may have won the nature, he may have been to moon, he may have engaged in space race and he may have invented many scientific inventions. Yet, man is limited with his physical, mental, emotional, humanistic, social and environmental limitations. Man may think that he has reached his peak in knowledge and advancement yet; his knowledge is limited and confined with many factors.
Devine instructions tell us that certain aspects of truth about supernatural and unseen world cannot be attained by pure human knowledge alone and for this reason alone God Almighty sent different prophets at different time to teach man this type of knowledge that man will never gain without divine revelations. It is divine revelation that describes qualities and magnanimity of Almighty God. Such divine knowledge addresses about fundamental questions of man’s life and realities of this universe. Such divine revelation explains the inherent connection between God, Man and Universe. Such divine revelations speak about ethical and moral principles of good and bad. This divine direction alone could tell us what will happen to man when he dies? This divine knowledge alone can tell us about the worlds of Angels and devils. This divine guidance alone could show the right and wrong path for humanity. This divine guidance alone could decide fate and destiny of humanity. Whenever, man goes against this divine guidance he is bound to fall in the pit of errors and mistakes.
Yet, it is true that man has been bestowed with astounding depth of intellect to explore the wonders of this universe, to discover hidden natural resources and invent scientific and technological innovations. This physical world has been created for man’s exploration and inventions. God has bestowed man with talents, skills and knowledge to control this physical world and win over natural forces and resources of this universe. Man has been given free licenses to benefit maximum from this world using all his human faculties and skills. After all, this universe is created for man to benefit from it. It is natural instincts to learn about all world sciences and crafts and prophets were not sent to teach about these physical sciences and arts of worldly science rather they were sent to teach mankind some aspect of knowledge that man will never know without divine guidance. God does not need to send his prophet to teach man how to make planes or how to make satellites or how to make rockets. It is inborn quality of man to learn all these with his own knowledge and inventions.
The more man tries to be wiser and clever without divine guidance he is bound be make more mistakes and errors in the world: that is what exactly has happened in this modern world of capitalism and communisms. Mankind totally ignored all divine guidance in all aspects of life; consequently, this modern world suffers a lot despite of the fact that modern civilizations made tremendous achievement and advancements in science and technologies. We are living in a self-contradictory world today in human history. Today, we live in global village of our modern world yet; humanity suffers a lot proportionally because of poverty, wars and man made conflicts than ever before. We are boasting that we live in a modern civilized world yet, we see ever increasing conflicts and wars in our modern world, people in the West are proud of liberty, democracy, freedom of thought, and human right yet, basic rights of people are violated in this modern world than ever before in human history. The more we have human rights commissions the more human rights are violated today than ever before. Only 10% or less of population in the western nations own 80% of wealth and rest of the population have to work hard day and night to pay off bills.
Why do we see three months of Wall Street protests in UAS and London’s St Paul occupation? Why do we see a lot of protests all over the world against capitalism today? What went wrong with capitalism of western civilizations? Is it high time now to think about it? Is it a wakeup call for the people in western nations to think about the future of their children and next generations? Really people are frustrated with the capitalism of western civilizations. Thousands of houses are repossessed every month in these western countries; people are no longer able to keep up their mortgage payments. Millions of people struggle to pay their credit card payments. Millions of people are unemployed? Socio-political, economic and religious challenges and problems of western world are somewhat different from those of many countries in Eastern world. Some of the problems may be identical yet there are many differences as well. Let us discuss those issues and challenges in the coming weeks.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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