Motives for Materialism - Summary and Key Ideas

The book "Motives for Materialism" explores the historical, social, and philosophical reasons behind the trend towards materialism, particularly in Europe, and its relationship with religion, science, and human instincts. It also discusses the impact of materialism on societal structures, its connection with socialism, and its role in resistance and heroism.

The target group of the book are individuals interested in the philosophical, religious and historical aspects of materialism, particularly those seeking to understand the motives behind materialistic trends and the relationship between materialism and monotheism.

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Motives for Materialism

Key ideas


Materialism, as a philosophy that denies non-material existence and metaphysics, gained popularity due to various factors.


Materialism has historical roots dating back to ancient times, predating modern science and even observed in pre-Islamic eras.

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Materialism is viewed as a deviation from the natural human tendency towards monotheism, often based on skeptical assumptions rather than factual understanding.

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The rise and fall of materialism, distinct from the progress of science, reflect a complex interplay of historical and social factors, demonstrating that scientific knowledge and spiritual beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

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The church's simplistic portrayal of God and authoritarian practices, along with the rise of scientific knowledge, led to a decline in its influence and a reevaluation of the relationship between faith and science.

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Perceiving God as merely a part of the world subject to scientific discovery is flawed; instead, God should be understood as the creator of the entire universe, with everything in it, known or unknown.

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Comte's division of human history into divine, philosophical, and scientific stages oversimplifies the evolution of thought, as Islamic philosophy suggests that these explanations can coexist within a single thinker's worldview.

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European philosophy's limited engagement with theological issues has led to the rise of materialism, whereas Islamic philosophy offers a more comprehensive understanding of existence and causation.

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The perceived conflict between monotheism and evolution stems from misunderstandings and can be reconciled; scientific theories, including evolution, are not absolute and can coexist with religious beliefs.

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The Quran offers a reconciliation between fate and free will, suggesting that while God's will guides, humans possess the freedom to make choices, challenging the view that belief in God negates free will.

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In Europe, the association of religious belief with political despotism led people to equate faith with a lack of freedom, fueling a shift towards materialism.

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Religion should guide, not suppress, basic human instincts like procreation and the pursuit of knowledge and wealth, to maintain a balance between spiritual and material life.

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Summary & Review

"Motive for Materialism" by Murtadha Motahari is a comprehensive exploration of the historical, philosophical, and societal factors that have contributed to the rise of materialism. The author argues that materialism, which denies the existence of non-material entities and restricts existence to the material world, is a trend that has been influenced by various factors including intellectual, social, and political concepts. He emphasizes the importance of presenting divine thought in a correct, verified, reasonable, and scientific method, and argues that the survival of humanity depends on belief in God.

Murtadha Motahari

Murtadha Motahari was an influential Iranian philosopher, theologian, and one of the main architects of contemporary Islamic thought in Iran. He was a prominent figure in the Islamic revolution in Iran and was assassinated in 1979.

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