Recently there was an email discussion on an internal alias in my company about the question of God, religion, and whether God really does exist. Quite obviously, there were moderate to extreme views from both sides – the believers and the skeptics. Or shall I say, the Mulders and the Scullys!
Personally, I don’t believe in God. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I don’t believe in our interpretation of God.
I am willing to buy the idea that there is a supreme force somewhere, most probably not of material form, that drives the universe and has been doing so from its creation. The reason for that is the big question mark that presents itself when it comes to our understanding of our origins and the nature of our universe. How vast is the universe? Where does it end? What lies beyond that horizon? And what was the world like before the Big Bang? How many billions of years did the universe exist before the Big Bang, and what was happening then? So many questions, and no answers as of now.
But I simply don’t believe in God in the manner that most Indians choose to believe he/she exists. Are the deities that we worship really Gods and Goddesses? I doubt so. Let’s say they really did exist at some point in time. But even so, perhaps they were simply inspirational men and women of great character, morals and leadership skills. Ordinary humans, who left an indelible mark on generations to come – not Gods. Or perhaps they are nothing more than figments of mythology. Who knows.
In any case, I am not really interested in the history of religions. I am simply intrigued by the way we follow our respective religions.
I believed in God as a kid, thanks to my conservative and religious father. But over the years I came to realise that most of us follow religion in much the same way as students follow their textbooks. We diligently follow our customs without understanding their meaning or reasons.
How else can we explain the fact that despite being one of the most religious societies in the world, we also happen to be one of the most corrupt societies as well. Think about it. There must be millions of people in our country who wake up and pray religiously in the morning, only to go out and take bribes, eve tease women, break laws for their convenience, bad-mouth other people behind their backs, and so on. Can these people really be called religious? How can they even pray to God after all that they do?
Ironically, religion was introduced to instill a fear of wrongdoing in man. It was supposed to make people more tolerant, understanding and compassionate towards others. But in reality, I see that the more religious someone is, the more orthodox and intolerant of any contrary views they become.
Religion, as we follow it, is nothing but sheer hypocrisy. We have mastered the art of maintaining the highest religious standards together with the lowest moral standards, with consummate ease. We are most comfortable accepting bribes right under a photo of Mahatma Gandhi. Not to mention the number of riots and amount of violence we’ve had in the name of faith.
Those who kill in the name of religion have probably not understood its true meaning.
I personally believe more in spirituality rather than religion. That is, if you do good things, then good things will happen to you. Simple as that! You don’t need to perform a puja or visit temples to bring prosperity or ward off evil. God is not so gullible as to overlook all our mistakes simply because we remember to pay him/her a visit. On the other hand, God would certainly note the good deeds we did, even if we didn’t pray to him/her.
Lastly, I’d like to share this wonderful cartoon that illustrates my feelings superbly:
Your thoughts and comments please…