Monday, July 14, 2008

384)John Templeton's legacy of humility, a man of science and religion; Quotes of Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan III and Albert Einstein.

"......The Quran tells us that signs of Allah’s Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation - in the heavens and the earth, the night and the day, the clouds and the seas, the winds and the waters...."(Aga Khan IV, Kampala, Uganda, August 22 2007)

This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives. Of that I am certain"(Aga Khan IV, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, August 17th 2007)

"In Islamic belief, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) and that which man discovers by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation"(Aga Khan IV, AKU, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)

"Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God's signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order. Even in the Ayeh of Noor, divine is referred to as the natural phenomenon of light and even references are made to the fruit of the earth. During the great period of Islam, Muslims did not forget these principles of their religion. Alas, Islam which is a natural religion in which God's miracles are the very law and order of nature drifted away and is still drifting away, even in Pakistan, from science, which is the study of those very laws and orders of nature.……Islam is a natural religion of which the Ayats are the universe in which we live and move and have our being………..The God of the Quran is the one whose Ayats are the universe……"(Aga Khan III, April 4th 1952, Karachi, Pakistan)

"Islamic doctrine goes further than the other great religions, for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state, in all existence in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God. "(Albert Einstein, circa 1950)

Templeton's Legacy of Humility
By David Waters
July 10th 2008

Billionaire investor John Templeton, who died Tuesday at age 95, might have had more money than God, but he knew better than to mistake wealth for wisdom.

"We should admit that no human being has ever known one percent of the infinity of God. We are terribly ignorant," Templeton told me in 2002.

Humility is a wonderful trait in a billionaire, or any person of faith. How do we find more of it? Templeton spent a good deal of his fortune trying to figure that out.

The Wall Street Legend was the first and only billionaire I ever met. I interviewed him in his hometown, Winchester, Tenn., better known as the birthplace of Dinah Shore.

I wanted to ask him for a stock tip. He wanted to talk about science and religion. Just my luck.

"When new discoveries are made about science, do we not merely discover more about God?" he said. "All of nature reveals something of the Creator."

I've always thought so. Like Templeton, I've never thought of science and faith as rivals. Science can tell us how, faith can tell us why. Science deals with facts, faith deals with truths.

But I didn't grow up in the shadow of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, which pitted religion against science a mere four counties east of where Templeton was being raised in the Cumberland Presbyterian church.

Templeton said he was fascinated by the trial, but he was equally enthralled by the natural wonders around him. He began to wonder Why couldn't God create an evolving universe that operated on both physical and spiritual laws.

After he made his fortune, he set out to make a contribution. In 1987, he established the John Templeton Foundation to encourage the use of scientific methods to discover more about the spiritual realm. Foundation grants are being used to study such virtues as forgiveness, gratitude and humility.

What Templeton wanted more than money was meaning. What he wanted more than certainty was wisdom -- knowledge tempered by humility.

"I grew up as a Presbyterian," he told Business Week in 2005. "Presbyterians thought the Methodists were wrong. Catholics thought all Protestants were wrong. The Jews thought the Christians were wrong. So what I am financing is humility. I want people to realize you shouldn't think you know it all."

That's more valuable than any stock tip.

From the Economist magazine
July 17th 2008

But most of all Sir John went long on God. As a lifelong Presbyterian with a devout and curious mind, he reckoned that the market price of the creator of the universe was probably 1% of its actual value. The crowd might have lost interest in this underrated stock, so dully and unerringly recommended by theologians and priests down the centuries, but Sir John bought it up on the firm expectation of stellar future earnings. Indeed the divine, he once said, if approached in a humble spirit of inquiry, might turn out to be 3,000 times more than people imagined it was.

Love and money

The Templeton Foundation, set up in 1987 and now endowed with $1.5 billion, was another sort of growth fund, monitoring God’s performance in various religions and seeking proofs of divine agency in every branch of science, from chemistry to astrophysics. Scholars helped by Sir John’s money investigated whether prayer and health were connected, whether water was fine-tuned to promote life, whether purpose guided the universe. (Intelligent Design was embraced, then abandoned.) The Templeton prize, a neat $1m, was awarded for individual achievement in “life’s spiritual dimension”. Sir John made sure it surpassed the Nobel prizes, in which spirituality was ignored. His asset might be infinite, but he meant to build it up, doing whatever he could to “help in the acceleration of divine creativity”.

Sir John revered thrift and had a horror of debt. His parents had taught him that in small-town Tennessee, instilling it so well that in his white-columned house in the Bahamas, overlooking the golf course, he still cut up computer paper to make notebooks. But he made an exception for love, which needed spending. You could give away too much land and too much money, said Sir John, but never enough love, and the real return was immediate: more love. The Institute for Unlimited Love, founded with his money, was set up to study this dynamic of the spiritual marketplace. His own charity, though, was harder-edged. On earth a free capitalist system was the only way to enrich the poor. No safeguards were needed: an unethical enterprise would fail, “if not at first, then eventually.”

Critics of Sir John considered him a God-obsessed right-winger. It was noted that, for all his selflessness, he fled to the Bahamas and took British citizenship in 1968 to avoid American taxes. Yet Sir John gave his money to individuals, not governments. And, with his restless, buoyant curiosity, he resisted pigeonholing. Interviewers found that they were peppered with questions and keenly listened to, and to the end the analysis was sharp: in 2003 Sir John foresaw the housing crash, and pronounced the stockmarket “broken”.

From his sofa decorated with butterflies (“None of us know what’s going to happen after we die, any more than that caterpillar knows”), he continued to yearn for the reconciliation of science and religion. And in the mornings he took to the sea again, striding against the flow.

Easy Nash

The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql)(Prophet Muhammad, circa 632CE)