Before looking at Islam's world-wide growth, we must
examine another critical development: the collapse of atheism
and the rise of faith. Almost everyone who has studied human history,
particularly its philosophical and social aspects, will agree
that the nineteenth century was an important period, for it was
during those years that the first steps were taken toward the
future spiritual collapse. Its most important characteristic was
the growth of atheism (i.e., rejecting God's Existence) as opposed
to theistic beliefs and religion, which had been generally dominant
in the world until then.
Although atheism has existed from ancient times, the
rise of this idea actually began in eighteenth-century Europe, with
the spread and political effect of the philosophy of some anti-religious
thinkers. Materialists such as Denis Diderot (1713-84) and Baron
d'Holbach (1723-89) proposed that the universe was a conglomeration
of matter that had existed forever and that only matter existed.
In the nineteenth century, atheism spread even further afield. Such
thinkers as Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-72), Karl Marx (1818-83), Friedrich
Engels (1820-95), Friedrich Nietzsche (1884-1900), Emile Durkheim
(1859-1917), and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) applied atheist thinking
to different fields of science and philosophy.
The greatest support for atheism came from Charles
Darwin (1809-82), who rejected the idea of creation and proposed
the theory of evolution, which gave a supposedly scientific answer
to the question that had baffled atheists for centuries: How did
human beings and living things come to be?
This theory convinced a great many people that there
was a mechanism in nature that animated lifeless matter and produced
millions of different living species from it.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, atheists
formulated a worldview that "explained" everything: The universe
had not been created, for it had no beginning and had existed forever.
They claimed that it had no purpose, that its order and balance
were the result of chance, and that Darwin's theory of evolution
explained how human beings and other living things came into being.
They believed that Marx and Durkheim had explained history and sociology,
and that Freud had explained psychology on the basis of atheist
assumptions. However, twentieth-century scientific, political, and
social developments disproved these views, for ongoing discoveries
in astronomy, biology, psychology, and social sciences nullified
the bases of atheist suppositions.
Karl Marx (1818-83), Emile Durkheim
(1858-1917), and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) applied atheist
thought to different fields of science and philosophy and
caused this view to be disseminated.
In his book God: The Evidence, The Reconciliation
of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World, American scholar
Patrick Glynn of the George Washington University writes:
Scientific, social, and political
developments in the twentieth century caused atheism to collapse.
Patrick Glynn deals with this process in his book God: The
The past two decades of research have overturned
nearly all the important assumptions and predictions of an earlier
generation of modern secular and atheist thinkers relating to
the issue of God. Modern thinkers assumed that science would reveal
the universe to be ever more random and mechanical; instead it
has discovered unexpected new layers of intricate order that bespeak
an almost unimaginably vast master design. Modern psychologists
predicted that religion would be exposed as a neurosis and outgrown;
instead, religious commitment has been shown empirically to be
a vital component of basic mental health…
Few people seem to realize this,
but by now it should be clear: Over the course of a century in
the great debate between science and faith, the tables have completely
turned. In the wake of Darwin, atheists and agnostics like [Thomas
Henry] Huxley [1825-95] and [Bertrand] Russell [1872-1970] could
point to what appeared to be a solid body of testable theory purportedly
showing life to be accidental and the universe radically contingent.
Many scientists and intellectuals continue to cleave to this worldview.
But they are increasingly pressed to almost absurd lengths to
defend it. Today the concrete data point strongly in the direction
of the God hypothesis.2
Science, which has been presented
as the pillar of atheist/materialist philosophy, turns out to be
just the opposite. As another writer puts it: "The strict materialism
that excludes all purpose, choice, and spirituality from the world
simply cannot account for the data pouring in from labs and observatories."3
In short, atheism suffered a sudden collapse in the
last quarter of the twentieth century at the hands of the very scientific
and sociological concepts from which its adherents had hoped to
receive the most support. In this chapter, we will look at its collapse
in the areas of cosmology, biology, psychology, medicine, and sociology;
later sections will discuss how this has prepared the foundation
for Islam's rise.
Glynn, God: The Evidence, the Reconciliation of Faith and Reason
in a Postsecular World (California: Prima Publishing, 1997), 19-20,
3. Bryce Christensen, in a review of Gerald Shroeder's
book The Hidden Face of God, "Booklist," March 15, 2001.