God is Dead

Sep 12th, 2008, in IM Posts, by

NietzcheIndonesian students of Islam encountering western anti-orthodox religion philosophy.

In an article from August 2008, Ahmad Sahidin, a former student of the Aqidah & Filsafat (Islam & Philosophy) faculty at IAIN (Institut Agama Islam Negeri) Sunan Gunung Djati (SGD) Bandung and now a teacher of the same discipline at IAIN, makes some reference to controversies at IAIN in 2004, where some students were recorded making provocative statements such as

God is dead

Achmad says that in studying Akidah & Filsafat students are taught about famous "western" objections to religious faith, such as those by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He says many pupils come from state schools and have little firm understanding of their Islamic faith, and are easily influenced by this new, secular, knowledge and like to show it off and appear cultured and clever.

Further, the critiques of European philosophers, he says, were often directed against the hypocrisy of middle class people in Europe who affected religious belief but whose lives and actions ran against the principles of their religion. Today in Indonesia students can see parallels with this, with many people who acknowledge themselves as Muslim being corrupt, or in the existence of an extremely wide gap between poor and rich - hence the fondness for the expression "God is dead", meaning something like "God is not in our lives (anymore)".

He defends IAIN Bandung against charges that it churns out atheists because of the contents of the Aqidah & Filsafat curriculum, instead he says most students' Islamic faith is strengthened by encountering the objections of western philosophy. However he has gone to some lengths to ensure that the teaching of western ideas is firmly balanced by instruction in Islam.

Finally he says the Cipadung area of Bandung, where IAIN is located, was once a "red" zone, there were no mosques, except on the campus. Now every neighbourhood unit (RT) has at least one mosque, and these mosques, and their attached kindergartens and study groups, are by and large run by IAIN graduates, he says, proof that the university is doing its job. ahmadsahidin.wordpress.com

Anjinghu Akbar

The "Anjinghu Akbar" video from IAIN, which Ahmad makes some reference to, was recorded on 27 August 2004, but has been here produced, edited and interpreted by a fundamentalist group. It shows some of the leaders of the faculty's student association, Himpunan Mahasiswa Jurusan (HMJ) Akidah Filsafat, making speeches at an orientation session for 2,000 freshmen, whether as some kind of prankish introduction to the course, or otherwise.

At the time police investigated the case tempo but as far as your scribe knows no prosecutions ensued.


43 Comments on “God is Dead”

  1. avatar Mach Jabber says:

    From the summary, I sense some serious subject-motive-shift fallacies. Why is it that disbelieving is always linked to “showing off” and “lacking understanding of the Islamic faith”? Rubbish. Sometimes people genuinely disagree each other.

    But the good thing is they started to talk about it openly. Anyways, cheers for these guys. : )

  2. avatar janma says:

    Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
    who was very rarely stable.
    Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
    who could think you under the table.
    David Hume could out consume
    Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,
    And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
    who was just as sloshed as Schlegel.

    There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach ya
    ’bout the raisin’ of the wrist.
    Socrates himself was permanently pissed.

    John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
    after half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
    Plato, they say, could stick it away,
    ‘alf a crate of whiskey every day!
    Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
    and Hobbes was fond of his Dram.
    And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart:
    “I drink, therefore I am.”

    Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
    A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he’s pissed.

  3. avatar janma says:

    having a monty day

  4. avatar janma says:

    ok, I’m sorry…. can’t help myself it seems…. it just all seems to fit so well!

    All things dull and ugly,
    All creatures short and squat,
    All things rude and nasty,
    The Lord God made the lot.
    Each little snake that poisons,
    Each little wasp that stings,
    He made their brutish venom.
    He made their horrid wings.

    All things sick and cancerous,
    All evil great and small,
    All things foul and dangerous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Each nasty little hornet,
    Each beastly little squid–
    Who made the spikey urchin?
    Who made the sharks? He did!

    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    All pox both great and small,
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Amen.

  5. avatar Calvin says:

    We know that everybody has a rational minds on their brain, but sadly we still found these cases. Majority of them still don’t know what about God. We should only believe and trust about God in our heart, about his greats, about his creations like people, nature, and so on, we can make everybody who has a “THEIRSELF” belief turn back to a good side and can walk on a straight path.

  6. avatar Rob says:

    God is dead presupposes two things; God existed and at some point God was alive. How do we know for sure that God exists?

    To each their own!

  7. avatar Rob says:

    A question…how does an omnipotent thing die?

  8. avatar timdog says:

    Thanks janma! 😉

  9. avatar Jabber says:

    @ Rob

    Hmm, indeed I don’t think Nietzsche meant that literally in the first place, sir.

    A question…how does an omnipotent thing die?

    I heard some really hardcore philosophy enthusiasts declare that death should be the sole wish of an omnipotent being (“the only thing It never tasted” or something).

  10. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Janma,

    Does that mean He made me ?

  11. avatar Rob says:

    Jabber…

    Probably not! Just playing around with the literal…

  12. avatar purba negoro says:

    Not possible.

    For God to die, God must existed as Rob stated.
    God grants eternal life to believers, God believes in self therefore his ‘death’ would be merely transition to greater Godliness.

    Atheism by definition must accept a state where God must exist, in order for His existence to be denied.

    So perhaps the ulutra Atheist is the greatest believer of all.

  13. avatar bukakelambu says:

    the expression “God is dead”, meaning something like “God is not in our lives (anymore)”.

    is more like the concept of god is irrelevant in todays lives (well at least mine lol), god has never existed; the concept that there is god had been, and nietzsche simply announces that

  14. avatar janma says:

    Does that mean He made me ?

    I reckon it does Achmad….

  15. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Btw- Mr. Patoengs,

    Very nice post. Well spotted. I think everyone would agree.

    Halo Janma !

    🙂

  16. avatar perseus says:

    Yes, Achmad, God made you.

    He is responsible for all your flaws (which are as countless as the sands on the beach).

    This is perhaps irrefutable evidence of His not actually being God 🙂 for there are those who claim that a perfect being could not create an imperfect world and certainly not a being so deeply flawed as your esteemed self 🙂

    Ignore the perverse peddlars of the snake oil of free will who seek to blame Man for all the evil in the world. A competent god would have proceeded directly to the creation of Paradise and skipped this pointless and perverse so-called trial of a life… A sadistic game in which the designer creates imperfect designs knowing that a percentage will fail and be burned in some pitiful display of cosmic justice.

    If god were an engineer working today his project would die on the drawing board… and deservedly so!

    God is not only dead. He is demonstrably incompetent and negligent as well 🙂 which is worse than being dead for a supposedly onimpotent and omniscient god…

  17. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Perseus,

    Very Seksi observations, but I think you’d agree you’re not the first one to make them, my friend 🙂

    Flaws, of which, yes, I have as many as the sands on ancol beach, or perhaps even the bacteria in the yeast infection of… um, er, never mind.

    Surely flaws are a matter of where you stand. Observer and object, that sort of thing. So flaws depend on the observers frame of reference.

    Seksi Friend, wouldn’t an omniscient being have a frame of reference far beyond our comprehension, multiple-dimensions, new laws of physics, time, space etc ?

    As a simple poet, pencak silat teacher and ukulele player I don’t understand such things.

  18. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Janma,

    Were you one of those hipper-than-thou arts students who hung out at the Uni bar and looked down on commerce and eco students, when you were at uni ? That’s right, the same crowd that went through a bit of soul searching when half of them did grad law.

  19. avatar perseus says:

    Achmad said:

    Surely flaws are a matter of where you stand. Observer and object, that sort of thing. So flaws depend on the observers frame of reference.

    Seksi Friend, wouldn’t an omniscient being have a frame of reference far beyond our comprehension, multiple-dimensions, new laws of physics, time, space etc ?

    As a simple poet, pencak silat teacher and ukulele player I don’t understand such things.

    Speaking as a hipper-than-thou arts student from Ostraya’s prestigeous Kenso Tech who regarded commerce/eco students as bourgeois sell-outs and who did the extra year to do honours in Philosophy and who has never done grad law and remains pure yea, even unto this day, except that I did f*ck a couple of law undergrads as an undergrad (a sin which is surely forgivable even by the Wahhabi god – I have a hadith from Aluang which permits the f*cking of kafir lawyers) I note you are wise indeed to note your acute limitations.

    Thinking with your ukelele or your pencat silat is no way to appreciate the subtleties of world domination or indeed the logic and responsibility of world creation especially when you populate said world with supposedly autonomous agents with very bodgy implementations of undocumented decision theories. Such reckless creations would be frowned upon even in slaughter-friendly environments such as medieval Japan let alone the more cultivated environment of the quasi mythical Mojo Imperium.

    Letting a supposedly responsible god with a blank slate create the present chaos of Earth is surely one of the major snafus of all time. I think the function of this world is to show the gods at god primary school how NOT to create 🙂 which is the only coherent example which can explain why the gods permit this chaos of a world to continue to exist.

    To answer your question – I think the above drivel proves beyond doubt I have a Philosophy degree – the question of omniscient being having a “frame of reference” far beyond our comprehension does not absolve Him or more likely Her/They/It from responsibility for the chaos and suffering they have created. God may be dead. He is certainly guilty.

    Prosecution rests 🙂

  20. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Oh, Friend. (Playing the ukulele), tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, thank you. My head is spinning. I need a teh pociand the soothing sight of shapely female forms swaying before me in sarungs as they return from the rice fields.

  21. avatar janma says:

    Were you one of those hipper-than-thou arts students who hung out at the Uni bar and looked down on commerce and eco students, when you were at uni ?

    TKW susu macan…. ijasah SD pengelaman…

  22. avatar William Blake says:

    Waow… Dionysus is coming to Indonesia… Is that to say those people ever read even more than three words by the Great Poet and Philosopher from Sils-Maria? Then what about the words coming after “God is dead” where Nietzsche wrote “and we are the ones who killed him”… Never forget that “to believe is refusing to create”.

  23. avatar korrill says:

    Atheism by definition must accept a state where God must exist, in order for His existence to be denied.

    Atheism, by definition, is the un-belief in the supernatural or in supernatural entities. Atheists do not accept the claim that there is a god since there is no evidence to support the claim that a god exists. They don’t “deny” god’s existence. They declare that there never was any gods in the first place.

    The only “existence” an atheist acknowledges is the people’s belief in gods.

  24. avatar Labelle says:

    We know that everybody has a rational minds on their brain, but sadly we still found these cases. Majority of them still don’t know what about God. We should only believe and trust about God in our heart, about his greats, about his creations like people, nature, and so on, we can make everybody who has a “THEIRSELF” belief turn back to a good side and can walk on a straight path.

  25. avatar Betty Rowan says:

    It is right God id Dead in Indonesia. God here is only a means for pretending, and he is just used to orchetrate a nation called the people of Indonesia and that let all the people of Indonesia, the less educated Moslems and even most Indonesan cicil servants, be obidient to what they called their God. God by the Indonesian regime is intentionally cretaed to remain in their hearts by any religious ceremonies in which the President is dillgent to participate in, but all is just for the crooks to feel safe as if God will not have them thrown into the Neraka, the promsed hell. Now most of the people the civil servants, the legislative members and the government officers as well judges are stealing the state money. Worse, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. tolerates them. Even with KPK, the anticorruption cimmission, he just asked it to pretende that it launch corruption probe seriously, insetad it is not. Should KPK do launch the war against corruption, Yudhoyono’s son’s father in law, Pohan, also should be found guilty in the Central Bank case, and put in jail. But why Pohan is not. God is Dead as Yudhoyono does not afraid of God. Everyday he just plays as an actor in governing Indonesia. Everyone even in the West knows him act like that. There will be time he will be put into international court of justice also as he even let Munir death case not uncovered. He is responsible for his death as Munir was killed with poison shortly before Yudhoyono’s presidential election. God is Dead is in the eyes of Yudhoyono even though he practises prayer everyday. Worse, most people of Indonesia do not realize that Yudhoyono is part of the Indonesia’s actors whatsoever.

  26. avatar Oigal says:

    Assmad:

    Does that mean He made me ?

    Janna:

    I reckon it does Achmad….

    Well there goes the “Infallible Super Being” theory..I mean cockroaches, leeches, slugs but ASSMAD ..What God in his right mind would fess up to that..sheesh..

    BTW.. To all the nutbag christians and Muslims out there (and by nutbag I mean those wankers who feel the burning need to save/or burn my soul) I am not an atheist ..I just believe in one less GOD than you!

    I did like the ODE TO ASSMAD THO..That was a nice touch..

    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    All pox both great and small,
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
    The Lord God made them all

  27. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    @ All,

    Alot of people this month appear to be believing in a Supreme Being.

    @ Oigal,

    Thanks for the thought, but there are unwritten codes of conduct on forums like this, like no personal insults. I’ll leave you to fantasize about emptying your MP-5 into defenseless aboriginal settlements in the Northern Territory. Or RPG. Hey, it’s your fantasy.

  28. If one is led blindly to a religion can they really considered to have faith? Is faith not the leap that one must take after being exposed to all the views of the world and deciding that their religion is true? Teaching alternative views is indeed a way of emboldening one’s faith. It in fact makes their faith true. Yes, you may have people stray when they are first exposed to new ideas. Yes, some of them may not come back to their original faith. To me though, it is preferable to have a mosque (or church, or synagogue, etc.) filled with fewer people who truly understand why they believe, than a multitude of sheep (no offense to sheep intended).

  29. avatar concerned says:

    Nietzsche : “God is dead.”
    God : “Nietzsche is dead.”
    😀

  30. avatar dragonwall says:

    How can God be dead when there are that many people playing God.

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