The world is far advanced now with enough proof. No need to hammer so hard over the point that if the world has a Maker. In fact, He is and can only be one Maker. God of Israel, God of China, God of Hindus and the God of Iran are not different. Neither is the God of Arabia, Afghanistan and that of Europe different.
He is one, even the law to which the world is subject is one law, and the system which links one part of it to the other is one system. Science is also developed on the belief that all natural and mechanical changes are entirely expressions of one law. This world has only one principle-motion, as the materialistic philosophers assert. Yes, it has one Maker. If this is the case, then expressions like the God of Hindus, the God of Arabs or the God of Israel are all meaningless.
Nevertheless, if God is one, why on earth should we have so many different religions? Were all these religions the outcome of the human brain? And if all these religions were not a human product, why and how came by the division between these religions? Was there ever a reason for this division? And if so, was it proper that the division should continue?
Well, first of all, for the question that states whether these religions were the product of human imagination/thought, the answer is that they were not for several reasons. All the various religions that were well established in this world reveal some common features.
To begin with, the Founders of these religions were all men of slender means according to all ordinary standards. They had no power or prestige. Still, they addressed themselves to the supreme among the people as well as the weak and in due respect, they and their followers rose from a humble to a high position in the world. This only is enough proof that yeah, they were indeed sustained and supported by a great Power.
Also, all the Founders of these religions have been people highly honored and well valued for the purity and transparency of their lives even by those who later became their enemies on the announcement of their claims. It is beyond belief that those who did not lie about men began suddenly to lie about God. The absolute acknowledgement of the purity of their lives before the announcement of their claims is a clear proof of the truth of these claims. The Quran clearly stresses this point:
…I have indeed lived among you a whole lifetime before this. Will you not then understand? (10:16).
The verse represents the Holy Prophet as saying to his accusers, “I have lived for a lifetime among you, as one of you. You had enough chance to observe me at close quarters; you have been witnesses to my truthfulness. How then dare you say that I have today suddenly begun to lie about God?” Allah Similarly stressed this in the Holy Quran:
Verily, Allah has conferred a favor on the Believers by raising among them a Messenger from among themselves… (3:164).
Yet, the same point is stressed in the verse:
“Surely, a Messenger has come unto you from among yourselves…” (9:128).
That is, “a Messenger to you, who is one of you, not one whom you do not know, but one whom you well know and of whose purity of character you have yourselves been witnesses.”
Even of Prophets other than the Holy Prophet of Islam, the Quran makes similar assertions. They were raised from among their own people. It could not be said of them that those whom these Prophets first addressed did not know them well enough. When the inmates of Hell are cast into Hell, God will address them by saying:
Did not Messengers from among yourselves come to you, reciting unto you the Signs of your Lord, and warning you of the meeting of this day of fours? (39:72).
O Company of Jinn and men! Did not Messengers come to you from among yourselves who related to you My Signs and who warned you of the meeting of this your day? (6:131).
On the Day of Judgment, the Prophets will point to themselves as visible proof of what God’s communications had done for them. God will put disbelievers to shame, saying, “See what My Prophet has attained to, and to what your disbelief has led!”
All the Prophets we are told, were raised from amongst their own people. The conditions under which each Prophet was brought up and the reactions of each Prophet to these conditions were well known to each people. Each people, therefore, were a witness of the piety and purity of its Prophet.
Furthermore, the Founders of religions did not possess those powers and accomplishments which ordinarily make them successful leadership. They knew little or nothing of the arts or culture of their time. Yet, what each of them taught turned out to be something in advance of his time, something pertinent and seasonable.
By adopting this teaching, people attained to a great height in civilization and culture, and retained the glory for many centuries. A true religious Teacher makes this possible. Yet it is inconceivable that a person innocent of ordinary accomplishments, as soon as he begins to lie about God, should come to have such tremendous powers that his teaching dominates all other teachings current in his time. Such a development is impossible without the help of a powerful God.
In addition, when we consider what these Founders of religions taught, we find that it has always been contrary to all contemporary trends. If this teaching had been in line with the practices of their times, it could be said that these Teachers only gave expression to those tendencies. Instead, what they preached was very different from anything they found current. A terrible contradictions and controversy ensued and it seemed as though the country had been set ablaze. Yet those who chose to deny and oppose the teaching were finally compelled to submit to it themselves.
This also proves that these Teachers were not a product of their times, but were Teachers, Reformers and Prophets in the sense in which they claimed to be.
Lastly, the Founders of religions have all shown Signs and miracles. Each one of them announced at the outset that his teaching would prevail and that those who might seek to destroy it would themselves be destroyed. They were without means and ill-equipped. Their teachings were contrary to firmly established beliefs and habits of thinking and provoked the fiercest opposition of their people. Yet they succeeded, and what they had foretold came to pass.
Why were their prophecies and their promises fulfilled? No doubt there have been others, generals and dictators, who have attained to apparently similar success. But it is not success which is in point. It is success which is foretold, which is attributed to God from the beginning, success on which is staked the Prophet’s whole moral reputation and which is achieved in spite of the worst opposition.
Napoleon, Hitler and Chingiz Khan rose high from humble positions. But they did not set themselves against any thought-current of their time. Nor did they declare that God had promised them victory in spite of opposition. Nor did they have to confront any wide-spread opposition. The ends they set out to achieve were adored by most of their contemporaries, who perhaps proposed different methods but not different ends. If they suffered defeat, they lost nothing. They still stood high in their people’s esteem, and feared nothing.
But it was different with Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Zoroaster and the Prophet of Islam. True, they did not fail. But if they had, they would have lost everything. They would not have been proclaimed as heroes, but would have been condemned as pretenders and intriguers. History would have taken scant notice of them and lasting disrepute would have been their reward.
Between them and men like Napoleon or Hitler, therefore, there is a world of difference, the same difference as there is between their respective successes. There are not many people who have regard or reverence for Napoleon, Hitler or Chingiz Khan. Some regard them as heroes and are completely carried away by their deeds. But can they command true loyalty or obedience? Loyalty and obedience are given only to religious Teachers, such as Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Zoroaster and the Holy Prophet of Islam.
Many millions of human beings throughout the ages have done what these Teachers bade them do. Many millions have denied themselves what these Teachers forbade. Their smallest thoughts, words, and deeds have been subject to what they were taught by their Masters. Do national heroes command even one iota of the loyalty and submission accorded to these Teachers? These Teachers, therefore, were from God and what they taught was taught by God.