Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What should I believe in?

I recently finished reading "The GOD Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. In this book he tells you why a super natural creator almost certainly does not exist and that belief in a personal GOD is actually a delusion.

I do not believe in the all mighty, all knowing god. I have my personal reasons for that. I became an atheist long before I had even heard about Dawkins. But few things in this book, if they are true (they seem 100% true) got me thinking.

Few doubts and questions were raised in my mind. To be frank (and to give due credit to Dawkins) these doubts were always there in my the back of my mind, this book gave me the strength to express them here.

Natural selection or Super natural creation?
Do we actually believe that human beings and all other living creatures are created by a super natural god. All of us must have read Darwins' Evolution theory during our school/College days.It has been proved beyond doubt that complex living organisms actually evolved from simple organisms over a (long) period of time.

Now please do not get my question wrong. I am not asking where did the simple organism came from. All I am bothered about is do we really believe that we are created by god and evolution has nothing to with it. I certainly don't agree.

Indra:King of gods?
I find this one very funny.
The only reason I am stating Indra (a Hindu god) is because, that's the one I am most familiar with.Now I have not read any scriptures. Television and internet has helped me to form a notion about Indra, king of Hindu gods. Again, let me make it clear that I have not done any research on this topic. And my idea about it is very minimal.

I find Indra an incompetent, Jealous, coward kind of person. Who is more interested in alcohol, girls and luxury (which are sometimes called earthly pleasures , and he resides in heaven). Tell me will you ever hire such a person to work for you or for your company?  And he is the king of gods. Irony.

Just and Impartial?
This one pains me the most.
If god really created all the living beings, why doesn't he/she/it treat them equal?  In case of human beings why are people from certain caste/color/religion are more preferable to god than others. Why does certain living creatures has to be sacrificed at the altar of god?

Do we really believe that god is all knowing and omnipresent? Why do we have to go to temples/mosque/church and other places to offer our prayers? Why cant we just sit where ever we are and offer prayers? What I am asking is why are certain places considered more holier than others?

I am not saying believing in god or praying to god is bad. Certainly not. What I believe is praying to god has same affect as sharing your problem with someone whom you trust.Talking to someone you trust calms you down, clears the thought process and helps you concentrate.All I believe is if you want that someone to be god, so be it. But is it necessary that someone has to be a super natural entity?

Dawkins puts it beautifully in his book. He says there is a gap in our understanding of this universe. And we tend to fill that gap by using an all powerful god. But why not feel that gap using science. True, science does not have answer to lot many things currently. But it does not mean that science will never have the answer.

*image taken from http://lukenixblog.blogspot.in/2011/11/scientific-method-proof-and-skepticism.html


  1. The topic of choice this time books a lot of opportunity for never ending arguments. And I love to argue from both side of this topic.
    Darwin's theory of natural selection and evolution is great and probably most stable theory at this moment. However there are countless arguments against it also.
    What I have understood from my many atheist friends is that they all disagree with the God concept where God is portrayed in human form with limit less super natural powers. I would blame Ramanada Sagar's ramayana for this and also the Amar Chtra Kadhas that we read as children. And probably an atheist argument in this is right. It is unlikely that there is a supernatural police sitting up in heavens to monitor your good and bad and maintain a detailed record to reward/punish you.

    But the concept of God in Hinduism (keeping my counter argument also based on it) is far from this 'humanisation'. The human form Gods including all names that you normally hear about are just characters in stories written with only one theme 'the good wins over the bad'. All these stories were probably written with intention of setting guidelines for the general public who does not have the time and patience to do a 'truth seeking'

    Coming to specific characters like Indra you will find many humanly weaknesses as required by the larger plot of the stories. On another note Intra is not King of Gods but the King of Devas- I leave it to you to figure out who Devas are. But they are definitely not Gods (means the real men like Vishnu, Shiv and Bhrahma does not report to Indra).

    At its core Hinduism talks about a God concept (Bhrahman (not to be confused with the four headed, much disliked, always old creator Brahma))which is unlike anything talked about in these stories. I cant write the whole concept here since its very vast. But in a crisp note it says God is 'that' what has 'manifested' as this world including every living and non living thing. The manifestation theory is something unique to Hinduism and answers a lot of questions including his omnipresence. This model is again theories that many people over several centuries developed many many 1000s of years before, like the Darwins theory. At the core of it does not ask to workship any form or idol, does not ask you to go to any places of worship, does not ask for any offering, does not come in your dreams, does not get you promotions, does not even ask you to believe in anything called a creator or God. But it asks to lead a life of truth.

    Equality, casts, sacrifice etc are human creations and many times men have used religions for creating these and hence they are flawed. But the omnipresent is not a police or judge.

    I told you I love this topic...

    1. Loved your reply.. Might be bigger then the post itself...

      I am no expert in this matter, Neither I was trying to force my idea onto anyone..All I wrote was my thoughts(doubts in fact).. Believe me I really want to know people if people who are aware of darwin's theory (agreed its just a theory) still believe we were created by god only because they believe god exists.

      I also believe Ramayana and Mahabharata are work of some smart guy(s). Again no idea how much the television version is diff from the actual one.But what i don't believe that you have to follow them blindly. If someone says living creatures(human beings) can not be just and good without these scriptures or god, than i beg to differ.

      Also I might tend to agree to the funda of non supernatural god. But if we don't need a supernatural god, isn't it better we give that coveted position to someone more closer to you.

      And thanx for correcting my mistake about Indra. But still King of Devas is also a quite big responsibility :).

  2. As far as belief in God goes, I think there are atleast 2 levels. At one level there are people who do things you mentioned above to "please" the God(s) and believe God will repay them. If you please God, your earthly existence will be comfortable. In short, they visualize God as a merely a human, albeit a very powerful one, or as the word is so often used- omnipotent human.
    At the other level are the ones who are mature enough to understand that if God really is God, you need not and cannot please him or piss him off. They know that going to places of worship, fasts, sacrifices,etc are futile.Just go about your life doing what you believe your karma is. I think these people choose to have faith in God to have an entity outside of them, from where they can draw hope/strength/happiness from in times of distress.I think these are the ones who turn into the eternal optimists :). Faith the existence of such an entity comforts them and we have examples to see how powerful faith, howsoever illogical, can be.

    1. I just wish most of us fall in the 2nd category...

      Again I agree when you say "I think these people choose to have faith in God to have an entity outside of them, from where they can draw hope/strength/happiness from in times of distress"..

      Sounds perfect.. but few ppl used this to achieve their own goals and we all know what that has lead to..

      Thats why I said.. If we do not need a need a super natural god.. replace it with something else.. If science can not comfort you.. then believe in some one you idolize.. Some one you look upto.. someone you can talk to.. more importantly.. he/she should be able to talk to you back.. :) :)

  3. BTW.. Here is a link which helps to understand to what level Darwin's theory have been scrutinized... and how it answers almost all the questions posed by Intelligent Design..


  4. I believe that Science and God need not be mutually exclussive. It will appear mutually exclussive if your God is like a magician.

  5. I sometime wonder why suddenly we all our turning atheist? For me the reason (that you quoted too) is that (1)we are surrounded by sufferings and inequalities.. let me not complicate, just see the inequality between men and women, rich and poor.. then the question stands, IF GOD CREATED THIS WORLD, why is it so biased?

    Another tendency m pointing here, (2)the tendency to ask 'WHY?'
    The most obvious question: Why Life? Its purpose? Many religions tries to address it, but fail.. and we lose faith, which is justified to every extent..

    I will not add more WHYs.. but I feel there a need is of a bigger vision, there are things that we are asking now.. but the sad part is, we may be asking these a decade later too.. so if there is this opportunity called life, that may or may not be part of any bigger truth, best is to experience it to full..

    Karma still should not be forgotten.. you may not be able to please any deity by your good deeds, it will still be a better experience of life.. at the end we are brainy machines which have psychic angles to deal with :)

    1. :) perfect.. Live life to the fullest.. do your duty....
      It takes care of everything... You are having a great time.. and does not saddens anyone... :) :)

  6. apologies for getting to your blog so late. things have been kind of messy :)
    First of all i would like to take the full credit for recommending you the book. You can thank me as much as you want ;-).

    Well about god. Hmm. Anyways if you read Vedas (I happened to venture into that territory some time back), from where Hinduism originates, it is a way of life. Nowhere it mentions about God as such. It says how you should be leading your life and give rational for doing the same. It talks about the problems we all face in our lives whether related to parents, professional life, love-life, marriage, society, etc. and how should they be dealt with. Although written thousands of years back, the problems it talks about are still at the core of what we see around and what we experience. It is like asking has the humanity not changed in last few thousand years ? Probably not. For instance, all the controversies surrounding sex and fatal attractions: You will find even the demigods from ancient world dabbling with the same problem as each one of us do today. (Another controversial topic and probably it always will be!).

    Well talking about other religions, if you end up looking into the history of religion itself (There is a scope for lot more research than I have done), most of them started during a given period because someone found something missing in the way people are living their lives. so they come up with few core concepts that help "treat the malaise" of the world at the time and "build a religion" around it. Of course, over time it gets stretched, mangled, misinterpreted, polluted in a way that goes against few other things. Although the founders didn't want it that way, it just ended up being that way. And hence, atheists are born ;-). Instance: nowhere in the original text, the caste system has being talked about the way it has been preached in our country. What's wrong with categorizing people into classes after they have decided what they want to do for the rest of their lives? (soldiers are kshatriyas!) But slowly down the line, it became a matter of inheritance. you were what your parents were rather than what you chose to be and then the entire class of people were stamped permanently and … :( :(

    On personal front: I think I am agnostic who loves going to temples. Contradictory right ? Not sure. Because I don't even know what being religious actually means.

    Btw sorry for making this so long. I am in a 5-hour flight with nothing else to do ;-)


    1. So shall I copy paste my reply also here?? :) :) :)