From Atheism to Belief: A Journey to Islam in North America

Dr. Jeffrey Lang is currently a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Kansas in the US. In this lecture, he narrates his story of conversion to Islam and also explains the verses of Quran which deals with the questions which he had as an atheist. Following are some key points from the lecture:

  • His mother was a very wonderful person – very caring and religious. During his childhood, he saw his mother being badly mistreated by his father. The sufferings of his mother lead him to reject the faith in God. He became an atheist at a very early age.
  • Later in his life he started reading an English translation of Quran. He got involved in the intellectual explanations which Quran has to provide on different topics related to Human existence.  The Quranic world view started making sense to him. As he got more involved in Quran, he had some spiritual experiences also. By the time, he finished reading Quran he was sure that this a message from God and he became a Muslim.
  • While reading Quran as an atheist, there were three topics in which he was most interested:
    • Intellect (why humans have intellect by which they can raise powerful questions against existence of God?)
    • Choice (why humans have choice by which they can make others suffer and go against the commandments of God?)
    • Suffering (why there is so much suffering in the world? why children have to suffer?)
  • He goes through the story of Adam in Quran and other verses to explain how it answers the above Questions.
  • He emphasized the following points in the Quranic story of Adam:
    • The mistake by Adam to eat from the forbidden tree was just a slip according to Quran, it was not a huge sin.
    • Contrary to Christianity, woman is not blamed for this mistake.
    • When angels asked God that why He is going to put a creation on Earth which will create lot of mischief, they basically raised the question of suffering.
    • The story demonstrates human intellect and choice before humans were put on Earth. The teaching of names to Adam signifies intellect while Adam eating from forbidden tree signifies choice.
  • Different religions have different concepts about human suffering. Some say we have to transcend it, some say its punishment primarily etc. The speaker explains that the Quranic concept of suffering comparing it with that of other religions.
  • According to Quran, humans should grow spiritually in this world, they should grow closer to God. To become closer to God we should become merciful, forgiving, generous etc. as God is the most merciful, most forgiving and most generous.

The lecture has 17 parts, last 5 parts (13 to 17) are the Q & A session.