mAvErIck spEAks

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Rationally speaking, is there a God…

Being a rationalist, I question everything before reaching to a conclusion. This involves a long process, in which questions are raised against popular beliefs and then these beliefs are tested for their rational quotient. Sometimes this process even involves upsetting some souls who have a blind faith towards an issue and don’t like an intrusion. They fear that ground beneath their belief might get a shake when rational arguments start investigating the reasons behind the age old beliefs.

Born into a devout Hindu Brahmin family means that since childhood, you are given a heavy dose of God and its existence and how furious he gets once you commit any sin and for this you are even punished on the doomsday. Another theory says that you get punished for your sins in the next life. Many anecdotes support these theories and you grow up with the images of God with many hands and heads and massacring Satan. Incidentally Satan too has invincible powers and physical characteristics similar to God, except the benign face and melancholic smile which God never fails to wear. We are also told about a furnace in hell with flames reaching sky high and that’s where you get fried or roasted, according to grossness of your sins - though makes little difference, once the God of Death decides to punish you.

I too grew up with these images in my mind and my parents or grand parents are no exception. I too was infused with this Sin and Virtue theory. I too was told about the God and Satan’s existence, until my rational spirit took over and started questioning these stories, beliefs and theories. Not that I didn’t commit any sin - if you call them Sin, I call them mistakes during learning process – still knowing these theories. I too had my share of mistakes and then learnt from them.

While growing up, when my rationalist spirit craned its neck and I started questioning about this whole God Business and was snubbed and brushed off many times by my God fearing, devout parents. Ultimately, when they couldn’t take it any more, they declared that “You are free to follow any line of thoughts – atheist or believer – we won’t question you and in return, you don’t question our faith”. Quite liberal, I say.

Since then, my mind has been into a constant tussle over whether there is a God or not. It oscillated between contradicting thoughts. All these people who believe on God must have some reasons behind that. And if there are no reasons, why must they really believe on a concept like God.

And perhaps then I reached to a point where this God puzzle appeared solved when I looked at it as a concept – a concept created by our very intelligent ancestors – now I really don’t know whether they had the same concept in their mind when they thought of God or it’s just my understanding of the whole God affair.

What I believe is that God, Satan, Sin, Virtues etc. are just concepts created by our system through which we have tried to bring and maintain an order among our fellow human beings.

Now just take a look at this – we are being told that there is The God who loves virtues and good deeds. And upon committing sins, we get punished. We are even told that we face a tribunal on the doomsday and get justice according to our karma. Our next lives will be the result of our present deeds.

We are told that God is omnipresent and omnipotent and he always helps us. Never hesitate to send SOS to God in difficult times. He’ll certainly help you if you are a gentle soul.

Now just analyze this whole concept once again. Doesn’t it appear like a very intelligent theory – a scheme to keep souls under control that they don’t get wayward, to guide everyone to lead a life according to socially prescribed manner?

What I am talking about is a concept which was developed to restrict the lawlessness, the licentiousness and free will. If someone commits something which is unacceptable according to norms laid by the society, it is labeled as a sin, and for sin one is punished. Then anecdotes are woven around the sin and virtues and we are told that God punishes the wrong doers and rewards pure souls. We can count on God in trouble, which is actually about counting on our good deeds. It’s a science working behind it. As they say, you reap what you sow; good deeds too bring good results.

No matter what a believer say on this, but I still feel that that as a rationalist too, this theory appeals me.

That’s my take on God and Satan, Sin and Virtue. God or no God, we still need a concept, a neat system to keep things going the right way.