Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On God

 I am sometimes asked about my views regarding existence of God and invariably, unable to articulate my position vis-a-vis God, I end up saying that I am an agnostic. However, that's more because I am not really sure what it actually means to say that God exists. If what is referred to is some sort of physical existence then definitely I am an atheist (as, I suspect, every one else who will think rationally about it will be) as I haven't yet perceived any physical entity that can be called God nor have I got any reason to suspect its physical existence. However, most people don't talk of God in this physical sense, they talk of Him at a more spiritual and emotional level. They talk about the comfort and the sense of security they derive from the idea of God. Of course, there need not be any objective existence of God for such an emotional connection, a mere idea is sufficient. That placebos work is an established fact. And in so far as humans, almost universally and eternally, have had an idea of God, it's a truism that God (as an idea) exists. So, in this sense I believe that God exists.

But then in this sense the belief in existence of God is not any different than the belief in the existence of a point or a straight line. They are all concepts that reside purely in the ideal realm and are quite necessary and useful in their own way; being helpful approximations and aids to our understanding. And as I see it, God is a term man gave to the concept at which he arrived when he contemplated his limits and strove to see beyond them. When man got afraid of the nature and found it outside his control, he said nature was God. Then when he aspired to an ideal social order and found that human nature was not capable of attaining it, he invented Gods that were compassionate, just, honest and merciful. He saw in God what he desired in himself. (And isn't the same instinct at play when a particularly gifted sportsperson is termed 'God'?) It would not be stretching it too far to say that God is man's own reflection while he aspires to the impossible perfection.
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