“One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
This particular quote of the famous German philosopher Nietzsche has struck a chord with me. It sums up a recent piece published on BuzzFeed titled ’25 reasons why People stop Believing in God.’ The majority (if not all) of the reasons stated by the BuzzFeed community are emotional in nature and do not logically lead to the proposed conclusion that ‘God does not exist.’
The intention here is not to undermine the reasons stated; after all, we are emotional beings driven by feelings; that’s what makes us human. That being said, it is also important to realise that our emotions can cloud our ability to see the truth; hence it is essential to carefully analyse them and assess the beliefs that result from them, something I look to explore throughout this article.
Although 25 individual reasons were given by the BuzzFeed community, many of them are related to the same fundamental issue, that being ‘the Problem of Evil.’ Why is there evil and suffering in the world if a good loving God exists? This age-old problem seems to always take centre stage as a reason for people to deny God. Although a little pondering over the problem from the Islamic perspective soon results in the realisation that 1. the problem of evil does not deny the existence of God 2. once we understand the reality of life and the true nature of God, the problem of evil is no longer a problem, something we will explore further below.
There are other reasons in the post that don’t directly fall into this category; some are related to witnessing the poor character of supposed religious figures and others to one’s own ignorance of the true message of God. What I intend on doing below is to address some of the key reasons listed in the post from the Islamic perspective and highlight how rational, reasonable and balanced Islam is and how it is timeless, able to provide answers to those pressing age-old questions we all ask. I know, this may seem like a paradox based on what we have been told about Islam over the years, but I guess its an opportunity to clarify some things.
Before we proceed any further, let me make clear that in no way do I intend on undermine the views, thoughts and feelings of those who hold the reasons listed, I only intend on providing a different perspective and an opportunity for them and others to reconcile reality and realign themselves with the truth and their nature.
The Problem of Evil
1. Watching a loved one die:
“I never doubted God, until my grandma was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s when she was about 60. When she died, my mom said she would be singing with the angels, but I couldn’t understand why a loving God would have taken her voice away in the first place.” – lisaw40564b88c
3. Working in the medical field:
“I stopped believing when I began to work in oncology and end-of-life care. My faith was pretty rock solid up until then. Over the years, I’ve seen too many lovely people experience hideous pain and die before their time.” – l448f9f91c
4. Experiencing infidelity and divorce:
“I got married and took the vows we had for each other as a serious covenant with God. She had a child from her previous marriage, and four years into our marriage, she cheated on me with the child’s father. I told her about the pact we made to each other and to God, but it didn’t matter to her. I gave my life to God and the church, but he wasn’t able to save my marriage.” – therollster
7. Seeing a family fall apart:
“My parents got divorced, and things ended horribly for everyone involved. Ten years later, and we are still in court. I don’t live with my younger siblings anymore. Both of my parents and my siblings are incredibly depressed. If there was a God, he wouldn’t let children and good people go through this much pain.” – celestial82700
10. Seeing parents stay in a bad marriage:
“I was a kid, and I watched my parents stay in a marriage that was completely rotted from the inside. Knowing that God thought it appropriate to keep two people like that together forced me to stop believing entirely.”
13. Experiencing infertility:
“I felt like I was put on this earth to be a mother and was told I have unexplained infertility. That was a hard pill to swallow.” -isadear
We all experience difficulties, going through hardships, suffer and face trials; some of these experiences can be life-altering. These experiences can be very difficult to make sense of if we have grown up believing that God is only loving. How could an all-loving God allow for such suffering? Or as its put by —lisaw40564b88c above…
“…I couldn’t understand why a loving God would have taken her voice away in the first place.”
I have clustered together with the above reasons listed in the original post as they are all from different perspectives fundamentally dealing with the same underlying issue ‘the problem of evil’. If we assume God is only loving and good and that he created us to have fun, with the sole purpose of just living our lives out then it would be entirely natural for us to expect this life to be perfect, without any issues or problems. Hence when it does not, were left bewildered, confused and having no option but to blame God.
However, this only happens due to our misunderstanding of the meaning of life and who God is. Once we understand the reality of this life, our purpose and the nature of God will make sense.
The Purpose of Life?
From the Islamic perspective, this life is a testing ground…
˹He is the One˺ Who created life and death in order to test which of you is best in deeds. And He is the Almighty, All-Forgiving. Quran 67:2
The most fundamental aspect of this test is to see if we can first recognise our creator and worship him alone.
I did not create jinn and humans except to worship Me. Quran 51:56
Worship entailing not only ritualistic acts but all actions done with the right intention. Once we grasp this, we realise that we aren’t here to party, have fun or to live perfectly pleasing lives void of suffering and hardships, but instead, we are here on a mission, to face and overcome obstacles hoping to attain the pleasure of our creator and his reward, paradise.
Surely those who believe and do good will have the Gardens of Bliss, Quran 31:8
This totally shifts our perspective, suffering and tests take on a whole new meaning. Tests and trials go from being things we dread to becoming precious opportunities.
Who is God?
Now let us understand who God is. The problem of evil is a result of not knowing God’s true nature. If you assume God is only loving or only good full stop, then your bound to run into problems. Islam informs us that God is indeed the most loving, the most merciful, every chapter of the Quran barring one begins with…
“In the Name of Allah—the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.”
He is also the source of all goodness (Arabic: Al-Barr) however God is also the all powerful (Al-Qadir) the all wise (Al-Hakim). God has many names and attributes which reconcile in his oneness and manifest in creation. Let us focus in on the fact that God is all-wise. This would allow us to understand that there is wisdom behind everything God has created, even the trials and suffering humans experience. Sometimes we get a glimpse into the wisdom behind certain events, and at other times we do not. What we need to understand is that being limited human beings, we will never be able to grasp the wisdom of God fully. Humility here is key; we need to rest assured in the knowledge that God wants the best for us and wants to facilitate our journey to him no matter what we go through. Hardships and trials are a means of getting us to our final abode. This is summed up by the greetings of the angels for those that make it to paradise…
“Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.” Quran 13:24
Let us not forget that along with the difficult times; there are many many good times which we all experience yet tend to forget and be ungrateful for. Keep in mind, life in and of itself is not the ends, life and all that it brings is a means and a stepping stone to our final destination.
The second group of reasons I want to look at are those dealing with the display of poor human character…
6. Knowing believers who weren’t compassionate:
“While at the funeral for a friend who had died from suicide, my mother held my hand and said, ‘He’s going to burn in hell for this.’ That was the day I decided I couldn’t believe in a religion that produces such hateful people.” —georgeryanr
9. Witnessing greed:
“When my grandmother passed away, my grandfather asked the priest to say a prayer to help her get to heaven safely. The priest then held his hand out to receive money for doing so. After that, I didn’t believe anymore.” —doodoo1988
19. Seeing faith do more harm than good:
“After learning of all the persecution and atrocities that had been committed in the name of Christianity, I came to the conclusion that the world would be a better place without religion.” —brooklyknight11
20. Being shunned by peers:
“I went to church on my own for years, until I started dating a boy who didn’t go to church himself. I was completely ostracised by my entire youth group. I couldn’t believe people who preached love would do such a thing, and I stopped going.”—heatherskittlest
The above reasons all deal with observing poor human conduct. No doubt, as human beings, we are deeply affected by how people treat us. We can all think back to a time when someone treated us really badly and from that day forward we made a commitment to avoid that person at any cost. So when it comes to religion and God it’s natural that if we were to have a bad experience with a religious figure or group we would want to avoid their company. God in the Quran makes note of this phenomenon….
By an act of mercy from God, you [Prophet] were gentle in your dealings with them- had you been harsh, or hard-hearted, they would have dispersed and left you- so pardon them and ask forgiveness for them. Consult with them about matters, then, when you have decided on a course of action, put your trust in God: God loves those who put their trust in Him. Quran 3:159
God perfected the character and conduct of his Prophet and made him mercy for humanity…
We have sent you ˹O Prophet˺ only as a mercy for the whole world. Quran 21:107
So that there would be no barrier in us receiving and accepting the message. Being merciful to humanity is an integral part of being a Muslim, time and time again, Muslims are reminded of the importance of being merciful as in the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)…
“The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” 
We can all appreciate how important it is to treat people with love and how much of an impact that can have on one’s judgment of certain realities. However, we need to ask ourselves, are one’s character and behaviour really good enough reason for us to deny God? Should we blame God for someone’s shortcomings? I would argue no, and I’m sure you would agree. Most of the religious individuals who display weak character need religious counsel themselves. If you have had a bad experience with a religious person, try to overlook that as weakness on the part of that individual and not what they claim to follow. As we have seen, when it comes to Islam, it encourages humans to emulate the Prophets and to develop the best of characteristics. Its objective is to reform humans to become beacons of light and become moral and ethical role models, something we would expect a religion from God to promote.
It’s all Doom & Gloom!
11. Feeling restricted:
“It happened when I was 13. My family belongs to the Christian Reformed Church, and some of them are extremely religious. I was constantly told I was going to Hell for the smallest things, like playing with a Magic 8 ball or reading Harry Potter.”—tkayeg
15. Feeling uncomfortable:
“Religion just kind of drifted out of my life as I got older, and when I tried to revisit it recently, I found it to be anxiety-inducing and a bit cultish.”—allisonistired
23. Feeling overwhelmed by guilt:
“My mom was never pushy with us as kids, but we were told about heaven, hell, and sin, which made me worried and obsessed about everything I did. Guilt is not what religion is supposed to be about, so I decided to have faith in myself.”—annar453f68dd0
25. Experiencing constant fear:
“I realised that, for my whole life, I had only ‘believed’ out of fear of getting in trouble or going to Hell. It didn’t seem like a great belief system to have. So with the help of two amazing boyfriends, who were non-religious, I was able to separate from the church.”—erinleat
The next sub group of reasons I want to focus on are those related to a negative dreary perception of religion. I cannot speak for Christianity but Islam is a religion of hope, one which reminds humanity of the love and mercy of God and the status of the human being and our purpose. It awakens us to the reality of life, moves us to take positive action and encourages us to live positive upright lives in the service of humanity.
Of course Islam to makes mention of Heaven, Hell, sins, punishment and reward but the objective is not to create anxiety lead to dispair but instead to warn, remind and encourge us to stay on the straight path.
The excessive fear mongering is not unique to Christianity, Islam to has its fair share of fear mongerers. To resolve this issue we need to really think about how we should approach the warnings given by God and by extension, how we should convey them to others. If we can appreciate God is the most merciful who reminds us to never give up hope in his mercy…
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” Quran 39:53
And we keep in mind that he is more merciful to us then a mother is to her child…
Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that a captive woman was once [frantically] searching until she suddenly found a small boy among the captives. She pulled him to her stomach and breastfed him, at which point the Messenger of Allah said to us, “Do you think this woman would throw her child into a fire?” We said, “No, O Messenger of Allah, not while she is capable of not throwing him.” The Messenger of Allah said, “Allah is certainly more merciful with His servants than this woman is with her child.” 
Then automatically the warnings given by God take on a different flavour, no longer do we see God as an evil being wanting to catch us out at any given opportunity; no different from the speed cameras on any busy highway but instead; as a caring merciful creator looking out for us and constantly reminding us of the pitfalls we can easily fall into. It’s all about your perspective – but that can only change when your knowledge of who God is increases.
Empirical Evidence for God
8. Not having any evidence:
“I was raised in a strict Catholic family. When I was 18, I came to reject religion. I needed empirical evidence, and there simply was none.” —ragatty01
There is a common misconception that one needs ’empirical’ evidence to believe in God or anything for that matter when the truth is you don’t. There are many things that we believe in that are not based on empirical data. Take, for example, our belief in the existence of certain countries that we have not visited and empirically validated. Yet we believe they exist! Think of a country you haven’t yet visited for a second; you are convinced it exists yet you haven’t been there, so what is your conviction based upon? You may say I have seen pictures, but how do you know those pictures are an accurate representation of reality? There’s no way of really knowing. You believe that country exists based on testimony which is an alternative root to knowledge. In fact, one could argue testimony is the most fundamental root to knowledge. The science which deals with the realm of empirical data itself is heavily reliant upon testimony. Point being, empirical data is not the be-all and end-all of attaining truth. There are other roots to knowledge.
That being said when it comes to the question of God, it is a metaphysical question, God is beyond his physical creation hence not limited to empirical observations. Then how do we know God exists? Through reason and introspection, there are many good reasons which lead us to the reality of God.
Take a moment to focus your attention on the computer or smartphone you’re reading this on right now; it’s an amazing piece of kit which allows us to connect with the world. What would you say if I suggest that the device you’re using right now is a product of chance, that it somehow created itself or came into being from nothing, what do you make of this? I’m sure you’re thinking that’s crazy! That’s silly! And indeed it is, as rational human beings, we can appreciate that something that has a purpose and is relatively complex has a creator or designer. It would be absurd to suggest that it could come from nothing or be a product of chance. Well, what about the entire universe? Isn’t that far greater than your laptop or smartphone? Isn’t the universe in all its complexities required for us to have these devices in the first place! Then if our device requires a creator, the universe must surely have a creator!
Or were they created by nothing, or were they the creators [of themselves]? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they are not certain. Quran 52:35,36
Simple reasoning can lead us to the truth of God, remember as humans were not limited to observations we have been blessed with faculties that elevate us above the animal kingdom.
Why aren’t my Prayers Answered?
14. Having unanswered prayers:
“After graduating from junior college, I fell into a huge state of depression. I prayed a ton for a sign or something to let me know I wasn’t alone, but it fell on deaf ears. I managed to eventually crawl out of the pit of despair and start to feel more like me. The silence from a supposed merciful and loving God just made me lose my faith.” —jessih405a2947e
This particular reason does tie in with the problem of evil addressed above; however, I wanted to touch upon this individually as there’s a very important point we need to appreciate here. What is the objective of prayer? From the Islamic perspective, it is a great act of worship, to call on God in need and to ask him for help alone. The amazing thing is you are rewarded merely of asking God and turning to him. That being said, God answers all prayers…
Your Lord says, ‘Call on Me and I will answer you… Quran 40:60
But how he chooses to answer them is up to him and in line with his divine wisdom. As outlined by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)…
“There is no Muslim who calls upon Allaah with words in which there is no sin or severing of family ties, but Allah will give him one of three things: either He will answer his prayer soon, or He will store it up for him in the Hereafter, or He will remove something bad from him that is equivalent to what he is asking for.” They said, “Then we should make a great amount of du’aa’.” He said, “Allah is greater.” 
We also need to keep in mind that at the end of the day we are the ones in need, we are the creation of God, and he is the creator; hence we need to adopt a position of humility and practice the virtue of patience while we await the perfect response from God…
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The du’aa’ (supplication/ prayer) of any one of you will be answered so long as he is not hasty in seeking a response and does not say, ‘I prayed, but I have not had a response.’ 
God answers all prayers in keeping with his divine wisdom and knowledge; he knows best as to when our prayers should be answered and how they should be answered. If it was up to us and all our prayers were answered immediately that may actually be detrimental for us. If—jessih405a2947e depression was removed immediately, for example, he or she could have missed out on some key life lessons and an opportunity to grow and develop through that experience which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
This understanding if anything should make us extremely grateful, as God Himself, is taking care of our needs and providing for us in the perfect way. One way to think about this is wouldn’t you rather have the best financial expert in the world take care of your finances for free so that you don’t have to worry about them any more?
To Ask or Not to Ask?
18. Having unanswered questions:
“I grew up in Salt Lake City, where everyone I knew was Mormon. In my teenage years, I started to realise some things didn’t add up, and that this ‘faith’ was truly blind. I would get in trouble for asking questions about dinosaurs and the earth’s timeline. They preach and preach but never get to the hard questions.” —d4ea205bf0
Islam as opposed to Mormanism here encorages questioning and thinking, God constantly encourages us to think, to ponder and to reason…
Do they not then reflect on the Quran? Had it been from anyone other than Allah, they would have certainly found in it many inconsistencies. Quran 4:82
…Say, ‘Is a blind person like one who can see? Why will you not reflect?’ Quran 6:50
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“Verily, the only cure for ignorance is to ask questions.” 
One of the outstanding qualities about Islam is that it satisfies the human on all levels; emotional, spiritual and intellectual, again something you would expect from the true religion of God.
Are all Non-Muslims going Hell?
22. Meeting people of different faiths:
“It happened when I backpacked through Southeast Asia. I refused to believe all the people I met would be condemned to Hell for having a different faith.” —stephanier4608d931a
Here I’d like to touch upon two things, 1. Islam is a universal way of life for all people; it is not limited to a certain group or sect, its for everyone. 2. Islam does not maintain that all Non-Muslims will go to Hell automatically. The correct understanding is that those who do not hear the message of Islam or hear a distorted version of the message will be tested on the day of judgment before their fate is determined…
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
There are numerous reports which state that in the case of a person whom with the message did not reach in this world; a messenger will be sent to him on the Day of Resurrection. 
no one will be wronged as God is the Most Just (Al-Adl) and Most Merciful.
The Question of Preservation
Researching the roots of religion:
“I started to doubt the existence of God when I learned in high school that the Bible is entirely written by humans and not by some divine creator. Then in college I learned about other religions and came to accept that religion is a man-made concept.” —jennya433dd49b5
The same historical issues do not apply to the Quran. Firstly, the Quran is not a compilation of biographies written by people nor the words of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Quran is the literal word of God sent down to the Prophet Muhammad. The Quran was preserved primarily as an oral tradition; it was recited and memorised by the companions of the Prophet and repeated every day during the prayers rendering it impossible to be altered. The Quran, since its inception, has been taught from teacher to student with chains that can be traced back to the Prophet Muhammad himself. Along with the oral tradition the Quran was codified, it was written down on parchment, bone and leather during the lifetime of the Prophet and then compiled soon after the Prophets death. Both these modes of preservation have ensured that we have the same Quran today as was being recited by the Prophet Muhammad himself. It is as God says in the Quran that it is under his own protection…
It is certainly We Who have revealed the Reminder, and it is certainly We Who will preserve it. Quran 15:9
I appreciate all the reasons given by the BuzzFeed community. These answers are widespread as they are based on genuine concerns and unanswered questions many people have. I hope that through this article I’ve given you some food for thought, a different perspective and an insight into the deep intellectual and spiritual tradition of Islam one which unfortunately does not reach the general public. I would encourage the reader to educate themselves on Islam further. That they studied the Quran and read some of the amazing and insightful Prophetic teachings known as ‘hadith’. I’m sure you will find an ocean of wisdom and guidance in Islam and a guiding light to accompany you through the difficult times, eventually becoming the means of reaching your real home, paradise.
 Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1924 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Tirmidhi
 Collected by al-Bukhāri (5653) and Muslim (6912).
 Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3573; classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi and others.
 Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5981; Muslim, 2735
 Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 336 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani
 End quote from Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (17/308)