Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Question of God

I usually step aside debates with no end, and the question of existence of God is one such thing. However, this is one debate very difficult to run away from, particularly in today's world where God is making a comeback. In every debate he keeps springing up, everyday news and big debates of the day centre on him and he definitely has the full support of almost all governments in the world. So, if I am asked whether I believe in the existence of God, it is very difficult not to have an answer.

The answer could be quite straightforward. Most people who know me will know that I am quite a 'practising' Hindu, reading up some of the ancient texts and sprinkling my conversations with references from what I learnt in my childhood. I am not the temple-going kind, neither do I pray much publicly; but then there is a temple I go to if I am feeling restless and downbeat. This inevitably makes me believe in the existence of God, surely.

However, like everything else with me, I am afraid, the answer is less straightforward than that. An honest answer will be that while I am deeply Hindu, I accept this as a culture and a way of life, not as an immutable version of idol worshipping. I have learnt, through my life experience, the negative aspects of Hinduism too. For example, I believe that some of our Hindu practises, particularly to casteism and lack of dignity of labour, is the primary reason why we see so much squalor and poverty in India.

Above all, though, I believe that men have invented God and it is not the other way round.

In short, I put God at the same pedestal as science, which is another human invention of sorts. Both of these 'concepts' liberate us at times, offer convenient explanations, as well as blind us at other times and make us go after each other. Considered this way, God seems to be a perfectly logical conception, a sort of 'black hole' which suck away the current realm of unknown and of complexity; with a touch of anthromorphism, one can think God is actively seeking to spread new human knowledge so that he has to do less. All the readings of complexity theory, which essentially explains why it is so difficult to connect everything in a simple cause-effect explanation, point to the necessity of God. The concept of God can provide a simple explanation to unbearable complexity of our lives and free us from impossible moral problems that will arise if things can not be explained at all.

So, to reiterate, I believe that God is an idealized concept which human beings have formed. In a way, it is consistent with my Hindu belief: There are a multitude of Gods, and each of us has a heavenly manifestation within ourselves.

To think of it, this refers to the bit of goodness in each of us. When I pray to God, I pray to my good self: When I want success, I appeal to that bit of myself who want to get up in the morning and believe in hard work. When I want happiness, I appeal to that bit in me who is kind and enjoy being with others and feel good with other people feeling happy. It is a complex concept made simple with a humanistic representation of The God.

So, no blasphemy - I can argue I believe in God, though all my prayers are silent and private ones. I never see any use of organized religion, which, to me, is a political formation of a bygone era. The fact that the organized religion (and not God) is making a comeback today because we are struggling with our cognitive limitations and are now more willing than ever to give up thinking. It is easy to lump our failures into easy explanations built on blaming others, and, indeed, in the end, race into unnecessary wars. That's all noise trying to submerge our private conversation with our individual deities, and to steal our perspectives that we can gain by looking at ourselves.

Shall I wait for deliverance or bring it about myself?

1 comment:

Sherri said...

"That's all noise trying to submerge our private conversation with our individual deities, and to steal our perspectives that we can gain by looking at ourselves."
-- brilliant. thanks for a thoughtful post.

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