• Q and A

    Questions and Answers from the Risale-i Nur Collection
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Which Part of Man Receives Education and Causes Differences of Character?


Our body experiences uninterrupted change throughout its existence. This change is directed toward physical growth and development until a certain period, gradually becoming stronger and more perfect. However, this growth stops at a certain point and decay begins. Unlike our body, we can grow continuously in learning and development, decay spiritually and intellectually, or stop and change direction while developing or decaying. Our moral, spiritual, and intellectual education does not depend on our bodily changes.

Furthermore, the moral, spiritual, and intellectual differences among human beings have nothing to do with their physical structure. Although all of us are composed of the same substantial, physical or material elements, we are morally and intellectually unique. What part of us receives moral and intellectual education, and what part is trained physically? Does physical training have any relation to learning or moral and intellectual education? Are physically well-developed people smarter and more moral than others? If not, and if physical training or development has nothing to do with one’s scientific, moral, and intellectual level, why should we not accept the spirit’s existence? How can we attribute learning and moral and intellectual education to some biochemical processes in the brain? Are those processes quicker in some than in others? Are some smarter because those processes are quicker, or are the processes quicker because some study and are thus become smarter? What relation do these processes have with one’s spiritual and moral education and development? How can we explain the differences regular worship makes to one’s face? Why are believers’ faces more radiant than those of unbelievers and sinners?

Despite all of our physical changes we do not change, in parallel with those changes, in character, morality, or thinking. How can we explain this, other than by admitting that the spirit exists and is the center of thinking and feeling, choosing and deciding, learning and forming opinions and preferences, and causing differences in characters?


The spirit feels, believes or denies

All people have innumerable, complex feelings: love and hate, happiness and sadness, hope and despair, ambition and the ability to imagine, relief and boredom, and so on. We like and dislike, appreciate and disregard, experience fear and timidity as well as encouragement and enthusiasm. We also repent, become excited, and long for various things. If we look through a dictionary, we find hundreds of words that express human feelings. Moreover, we do not all “feel” the same way. We may reflect on what is going on around us, the beauty of creation, develop ourselves through learning, compare and reason, and thus believe in the Creator of all things. Worshipping and following His Commandments causes us to develop morally and spiritually, until finally we are perfected. How can we explain such phenomena other than by admitting that each human being has a conscious spirit? Can we attribute them to chemical processes in the brain?


This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.