Does God Exist?

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to hurt anybody’s sensibilities, however, if you are a staunch believer and are likely to get hurt by the very nature of the topic, you are advised not to read the following article.

There are two main issues at the concept level – God and Religion. The two may be closely linked but are not the same. One may believe in the existence of God but may not follow any religion and one may follow a religion (such as Buddhism) where belief in God is not a precondition or a part of the religion.

All the major religions, although most are based on an overarching concept of God, mainly lay down a code of conduct for their followers. The code of conduct is conveyed in a manner which (explicitly or implicitly) suggests that the same is God’s wish. The implementation of the code of conduct is ensured by using a mix of reward and punishment regime, again giving the impression, that these would be affected by the God himself.

The code of conduct is really comprehensive and deals with every aspect of the life starting from birth to death. Religions, rather religious leaders, play an important role at each important milestone of life and as a minimum birth, marriage and death.

However, the key issue is – Does God exist? Let’s approach it in a different way. The four major religions of the world – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism were all founded at least 2000 years back. Let’s count Buddhism out because it does not directly propose the existence of God in any form. The concept of God in Christianity and Islam are very similar and Hinduism is very complex where all beliefs including monotheism, polytheism and atheism are acceptable.

The highest common factor of the top three religions regarding the concept of God is that it is abstract in form and is omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power) and omnipresence (present everywhere). The question is if God is abstract then how we, the human beings, found out about his existence, his powers and his likes and dislikes. Christianity and Islam partially Hinduism as well, have used the concept of Messenger of God to explain this. The Messenger has acted as a conduit between the abstract God and mankind. So, except for the Messenger, no other human being can claim to have experienced the existence of God. It is worth mentioning here that no new Messenger was born since the last 2000 years.

This means that our knowledge about God is based on something that happened more than 2000 years back. Today this knowledge is available in the form of scriptures most of which are believed to have evolved over hundreds of years which must have resulted in significant distortions from the original form. Vedas are considered to be the oldest Hindu scriptures and are believed to have evolved over thousands of years. Bible similarly is believed to have been written by as many as 40 authors over a period of 1500 years starting from 1500 BC to 90 AD. Koran is said to have been first memorized by hundreds of followers of Mohammad based on his recitations and then recorded by many others before the final version was prepared in 653.

The interpretation of the scriptures has been passed on from one generation to the other over more than 2000 years and there might have been thousands or perhaps millions of people who would have contributed in shaping the interpretation that is available to us today.

Imagine a concept so subtle, so complex and almost impossible to comprehend that been passed on through thousands of years and through millions of people. Yet billions of people even today are ready to vouch for or even die for it. No one knows what the truth is. It is just that the belief is imprinted on our psyche since our birth by previous generations in the same manner their previous generation did to them and this chain has not been broken in most cases for more than 2000 years.

One doesn’t need any logic or argument to know the truth. A good and open minded understanding of the history of evolution of major religions is sufficient to give us a fair idea.

The problem is that the almost all the religion forbid questioning the concept and further evolution. This makes it virtually impossible to have a meaningful debate with a staunch follower. Further, such people would invariably start quoting from the same scripture that have propounded the concept. How can you argue with a person who is trying to prove God’s existence by telling you that God exists because the Vedas or the Bible or the Koran says so.

Followers of religion use a very convenient tool called FAITH. They claim that religion is a matter of faith and is therefore not open to arguments or debate.

To be fair, most of the prominent Atheists in the history have made the mistake of taking on the responsibility to prove that God doesn’t exist. This in my opinion, is a futile exercise because in spite of the amazing scientific developments that have happened so far, our knowledge is still grossly inadequate to know or to investigate a concept so abstract. The only way to refute the concept is to understand that if today we know so little about the nature and the universe, our knowledge must have been virtually non existent 2000 years back and therefore barring the possibility of a MIRACLE, there was no way for any human being to find out anything about the creation and creator of the universe at that point of time.

An important rider in the previous statement is the possibility of a MIRACLE. Interestingly, all religions thrive on the concept of miracle to prove the existence of God. What is a miracle? What we see today would have been termed as a MIRACLE not too long ago. Miracles have been used for thousands of years to prove the existence of God and more so the authenticity of so called Godmen. Even today, the rules of Church in fact official require a person to have performed at least one miracle to qualify for sainthood. Not too long ago, the Church had banned Copernicus’s famous book De revolutionibus on the ground that it was against the Holy Scriptures for proposing that the Earth moves around the Sun and that the Earth was not at the centre of the Universe. For the same reason Galileo was put under house arrest in 1633 until rest of his life.

There have been significant developments in all fields of knowledge. In this journey, we have not just made new discoveries but have also corrected and refined the knowledge of the past. The only field where further development, corrections or refinement had been prohibited from its very inception is religion. Even today, any challenge to the ideas proposed by religious scriptures invokes strong reactions from billions of followers most of whom have themselves not even read those scriptures.

The fact of the matter is that in spite of the huge progress made in the field of science we have just discovered the tip of the iceberg and we have a long way to go. The level of our knowledge is not sufficient to answer all the questions including that about the presence or absence of any Supreme Power or God which has created this Universe and which governs it. By the same logic, our knowledge about the Universe was much more inadequate or virtually non-existant 2000 years back and therefore a hypothesis proposed so far back is highly unlikely to be true. In fact, the inadequacy of knowledge in those times allowed such hypotheses to go unchallenged by counter logic. When challenged, brute force rather than logical explanations were used to suppress the challengers. The real progress in knowledge and science has been made in the last 2000 years which has made it almost impossible for any new entrant to start an entirely new religion. In stead, the new entrants have taken the easier route of starting new sects within the already established religions.

In spite of the flimsy grounds up on which religions were established, they have a bright side too. By establishing a comprehensive code of conduct, religions laid the foundation of a civilized society. Religions also helped people to get psychological support especially during troubled phases of their life. However, instead of clinging to the outdated codes of conduct, it is high time we review the same and make them suitable for today’s world. While most people today may not be bold enough to outrightly challenge the religions, but at the same time do not believe in and follow each and every aspect of the codes of conduct. The growing indifference to religion in the masses is a form of challenge that the custodians of religion would find most difficult to counter. If the same trend continues, all religions would gradually die a natural death at some point in future.

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Comments

  • Hussam  On March 31, 2011 at 6:48 am

    hi
    1- when relagen came to Humman for stand up his maind so he cannot left the right said of his live and get bater to reach his beheaver in good to God

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