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Moral Degeneration in Disbelieving Societies


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Moral Degeneration in Disbelieving Societies
Harun Yahya

Swerving from the real purpose of life is, in a way, losing one's values. Indeed, one does not expect those to have elevated values who believe that the world is the one and only place in which to live and that all persons, including oneself, will cease utterly at death. Similarly, one does not expect humane qualities in someone who does not think he is being tested in his deeds in this world and that he will be paid in full according to them in the hereafter.

It is unavoidable that those communities clinging to such distorted philosophies will experience spiritual idleness. In this short life, individuals are mostly concerned about gaining personal benefits and satisfying their own desires, with the basic objective of leading a life for which they do not have to be responsible. Meanwhile, their ambition is never to attain perfection of character, believing that this will not add anything beneficial to their life. On the contrary, on the basis of their distorted outlook on life, they consider helpful, conscientious, compassionate and indulgent people somewhat "foolish." Their rationale commands the strong to exert pressure on the weak and use violence against them, without respecting any of their rights.

Allah, in the Qur'an, stresses that those having no faith in the hereafter and the Day of Judgement see no limits to committing wrong actions:

Woe that Day to the deniers: those who deny the Day of Reckoning. No one denies it except for every evil aggressor. (Surat al-Mutaffifin: 10-12)

These people, who have drifted from the religion aspire to possess more and they instil this ambition into the minds of others around them, predisposing them to disobey the limits of Allah.

We are living in a time when those who have entirely abandoned religious values are in the majority. Not content with what they personally do, these people are willing also to cause others to drift along this dark path. This is the time when all forms of immorality are being revitalised: not seeing any limits in committing wrong actions, violent aggression, spiritual idleness, moral degradation, prostitution, inciting to "avarice" as in the words of one verse, perverted sexual orientations, drug addiction, gambling

Indoctrination of Immorality

A disbelieving person as well as a person who has poor faith in Allah and the hereafter readily commits fornication, gambling or theft, deeds made unlawful by Allah. Disbelief actually lays the basis of this inclination. This rationale maintains that human beings came into existence as a result of chance and that thus man does not have to feel responsible toward his Creator. The Theory of Evolution, which ideologically nurtures disbelief, holds human beings to be a developed form of animal. In this sense, nothing should be a matter of concern for us, except meeting our own needs. As for meeting the desires of the wicked side of his soul, we do not have to observe any limits; we can act just like animals. In brief, such philosophies, which do not contain any spiritual dimension, fail to recognise moral values.

Indeed, renowned materialists and advocates of Darwinism clearly express how disbelief sees moral values. William Provine, a professor from Cornell University, explains how materialism assesses morality:

Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with mechanistic principles. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable... Second, modern science directly implies that there are no inherent moral or ethical laws, no absolute guiding principles for human society. Thirdly, human beings are marvelously complex machines. The individual human becomes an ethical person by means of two primary mechanisms: heredity and environmental influences. That is all there is. Fourth, we must conclude that when we die, we die and that is the end of us...

As this scientist, a materialist himself, puts it, disbelief allows no faith in the hereafter. People simply believe they will perish with death. This perverted belief of disbelievers is related in the Qur'an as follows:

What is there but our life in this world? We die and we live and we will not be raised again. (Surat al-Muminun: 37)

Those not believing in the resurrection from the dead, observe no limits and see no harm in immorality. For these people, there is no reason a man should exert his willpower. This is why disbelief is the foremost reason accounting for moral degeneration, as is also affirmed by the aforementioned words of W. Provine. The distorted thoughts and moral values of a disbeliever are evident in these words.

It also deserves mention that not everyone engaging in immorality does this having Darwinism or materialism in mind. However, one should remember that these ideologies and their disbelieving mentors instil these distorted notions into the minds of people and, consequently the majority of people feel greedily attached to this life rather than leading their lives with the hereafter in mind.

The understanding of those of the 60's generation who seized upon sensual liberation was also a consequence of seeing no limits to behaviour. They are remembered for all forms of immorality such as free sex, drugs, arrogant independence and rebellion. Three decades later, today, many of those 60's iconoclasts are either ruling countries or teaching at schools. The parents who raised today's youth also belong to the same generation. Today, we observe an immorality that is almost unprecedented in world history. One cause of this is the existence of a highly degenerated generation, who were raised by disbelieving parents. Allah, in the Qur'an, mentions the community who are unaware of the religion because their fathers were not warned:

(You are one of the Messengers) so that you may warn a people whose fathers were not warned and who are therefore unaware. (Surah Yasin: 6)

As is also stressed in this verse, the generations who are born to disbelieving people become irreligious and devoid of moral values like their parents.

Today, the main cause of moral degeneration pervading the world, from America to Holland, Far East to Russia, is the existence of people who because of their disbelief assume themselves not to be answerable for their actions and to be independent. Because disbelief is so widespread in our day - as never before in world history - homosexuality has become a social norm. For the same reason prostitution, paedophilia, gambling, fraud and bribery are out of control. The rot in society is self-evident with distrust everywhere - even among immediate family members - evil habits becoming a matter of prestige, pre-marital and extra-marital sex becoming a defining characteristic of "modernism". Again, disbelief accounts for people's loss of virtues such as modesty, shame and good conduct. People are steadily encouraged to adopt behaviour as a norm that was morally unacceptable only a few decades ago.

It is undeniable that disbelief brings immorality. Yet, there may be people claiming to be moral, albeit disbelieving. They assert they do not get involved in any of the aforementioned immoral behaviour. Indeed, it is all possible that a person having no faith might never become involved in any form of corruption, and that he could be determined to remain so. Yet, this does not indicate that he is a morally good person. A person who displays virtuous conduct only because he has fear of Allah remains consistent in his manners no matter what the circumstances. A disbelieving person, who claims he has never received bribes, can readily lie if it serves his interests. Alternatively, the same person admits to receiving bribes to pay his son's hospital bills. In brief, as conditions change, under the pretext of "compelling circumstances", a disbelieving person may well commit things he himself accepts as wrong. For instance, a disbelieving person who deems murder unimaginable may one day give in to his anger and commit it.

Having good values, however, demands patience and willpower. No matter how compelling the circumstances, one has to strive for good character. To display such unyielding patience and willpower, one needs to have a purpose. Believers manage this because they have an ultimate aim in life: to attain the good pleasure of Allah, His mercy and the Garden. They know that as the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, "There will be nothing heavier in the balance of the believer on the Day of Rising than good character." To this end, they take every opportunity to strive for excellence. A disbelieving and purposeless person, on the other hand, has no reason to persevere in patience and willpower. For instance, those earning their living by prostitution claim that it is the only way they can support themselves. If they had faith in Allah and the hereafter, however, they would never tend to such a shameful way of earning a living. Being aware that they will not be able to give an account for it, they would meticulously avoid it with great fear.

Satan threatens you with poverty and commands you to conduct unseemly. Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara: 268)

As indicated in the verse, because of the fear of impoverishment, a majority of people dare to indulge in all forms of immorality. On the other hand, even the thought of living immorally does not occur to the mind of a person hoping to earn the mercy of Allah. In one verse, Allah stresses that the fear of Allah that believers have makes them strive with good character:

Those who join what Allah has commanded to be joined and are afraid of their Lord and fear an evil Reckoning; those who are steadfast in seeking the face of their Lord, and establish salat and give from the provision We have given them, secretly and openly, and stave off evil with good, it is they who will have the Ultimate Abode (Surat ar-Ra'd: 21-22)

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