The Story of a Precious Crown

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(From NINETEEN: God’s Signature in Nature and Scripture, Edip Yuksel, p. 274-275)

Assume that you have a precious crown that has been inherited within your family for centuries. This priceless golden crown with numerous diamonds has a strange inscription on it: “This is a unique crown and it is protected by its maker from tampering, from alteration, addition or subtraction. Fraudsters cannot touch this crown!” None of your parents, uncles, aunts, brothers or sisters had any question regarding this allegedly hoax-proof crown. As far as you know, the same was true about the previous generations. They all believed the claim on faith. You have learned that any of those who dared to question the authenticity of the crown and the veracity of its promise were either excommunicated or subjected by gangs of ignorant adherents to insults, injury or even death.

One day, you show the courage and wisdom to question the long-held dogma, the family’s faith in the authenticity of that crown and the truth-value of its promise for perfect protection. You take the crown to a jeweler nearby. You ask him to assess the authenticity of the crown. The jeweler finds the crown very interesting. The design of the little diamond pieces and their unique arrangement pulls his attention. He starts studying it by using his tools, including a microscope. After some time, he comes up with the news: “This is a very interesting crown. I have never seen something like this before. It is priceless. Of course, its gold and diamonds have great value. But its intricate design distinguishes it from all other crowns!” You are very excited to learn that indeed you have overall a priceless crown. You call your family inform them about the good news, that you have verified the claim through an expert testimony.

However, while the expert is still studying the crown with awe, he notices an anomaly. He asks you to give him more time to study further a cluster of diamonds. You take advantage of that moment and share the news with some of your friends who had similar doubts about the authenticity of the crown.

A few minutes later, however, the jeweler comes to you with a bad news. “I found a fake ‘diamond’ on the crown!” You cannot believe your ears. You make him repeat the news. “Indeed, this golden crown contains 361 real diamonds that are arranged according to an intricate geometric design. However, I am sure that this is not a diamond!” You are disappointed. Initially, you get angry with the expert. You feel like punching him in the mouth. But, you compose yourself and decide to act rationally. You ask for the evidence for his claim. Ironically, until recently neither you nor any of your family members had demanded for evidence for their affirmative claim regarding the authenticity of the crown and its inscription. You have accepted both claims on faith.

The expert jeweler does not ignore your demand for evidence by pointing at your family-size traditional inconsistency! He does not question your sincerity in respecting this antique crown, when he learns that some of your family members who lived centuries ago made up many fake rings, earrings  braces and necklaces and even crowns from fool’s gold and then they considered it equal or complementary to this unique and original crown. The jeweler provides you with plenty of evidence. For instance, he pulls your attention to one of the 19 hexagons surrounding the crown, each containing 19 little diamonds. A hexagonal diamond in the center is surrounded by six hexagonal diamonds, and those six are surrounded by twelve hexagonal diamonds, thereby creating a bigger hexagon with 19 diamonds. The expert then shows you a diamond on the corner of the 9th hexagon. “You see this one? This is not a real diamond. This is not made by nature; this is a piece of man-made glass! It is virtually worthless anywhere, and absolutely worthless on this crown! Come let me show you under the microscope and see the difference.” After showing the fake diamond to you, the jeweler makes an offer: “If you allow me I can easily remove this fake diamond from here. Even the glue used to attach it has poor quality. You do not need to pay me for this simple task”

You are shocked. You cannot believe that the inscription was a false promise. You feel confused and contradicted. On one hand, you know now, not on faith, but through knowledge and evidence, that the crown is unique and priceless; on the other hand you also know that it contains a fake diamond and a false inscription! What to do with this? While studying the issue with fear and curiosity, you come across an antique box called “sahih” containing some old papers. You find numerous stories told on that diamond on the corner of the 9th hexagon. Silly and stupid stories! The following question pops up in your mind: “Why did my ancestors made up such stupid stories to show that the diamond in question was indeed a real one?” Your suspicion increases even more.

When your extended family members learn about the bad news about the existence of a fake diamond, most of them call the jeweler a liar, and a heretic. Some fanatic zealots among them even suggest killing him for insulting the crown and the honor of the family members who always believed in the perfection of the crown and the authenticity of the inscription. You go to the jeweler and beg him for changing his verdict. But, the jeweler is a wise man. He tells you this:

“You must be an idiot. In fact, by allowing me to discover the fake diamond which was attached to it later by fraudsters, the maker of the crown proved both his creativity and his promise, beyond shadow of doubt. Indeed, this crown is unique and priceless. The inscription on it is now verified: it is protected by its peculiar design. It is protected not by your family or ancestors, but in spite of the fraudsters among your ancestors. It is protected by the ingenuity of the maker of the crown. You have now a reason, an incontrovertible reason to respect and trust the inscription on this crown.” And now you have equally disturbing reason to be suspicious of the immaculate reputation of your ancestors.

The news about the fake diamond in the crown becomes widespread in your town. People do not talk much about the ingenious design of the crown neither do they reflect on the jeweler’s words. The leaders of your extended family hold an emergency meeting. They decide that the jeweler confused many and he became an infidel by defaming their crown; thus, he should be killed. A few days later your cousins carry out the decision. The jeweler is stabbed to death in his jewelry store.