My thoughts on god ,religion and atheism

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Going by the dictionary definition,’Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to the supernatural, and to spirituality’.Most of the  religions in the world believe in some  supernatural power or life force.However , few  religions do not believe in a deity in particular but they do  believe in a soul,after-life,incarnations and many other metaphysical concepts(a lot of pseudo science). Many people in the world  would like to believe in a personal god who is omnipotent,omnipresent and omniscient.For them he is the start and end of this world.But it is someone that they believe  exists.That does not prove he really exists.There is no scientific evidence for it.He is as imaginary as  ‘space aliens’.

But  how did this ‘Hypothesis of God’ became the ultimate power in this world of real people?At the time when the human civilization has just started evolving and when there was no scientific discovery, the man was yet to find the answers to so many questions.He had no idea how this world came into being.He could not understand the patterns of the natural occurrences like rain,thunderstorm,landslides,earthquake etc.Therefore he started  attributing these to be the whims and fancies of some imaginary god that had the power to create and control the whole universe.He started performing rituals , sacrifices and offerings to keep the gods pleased.This notion of God was passed on from  one generations to the next generation till it got completely absorbed in people’s psyche.And from here began the politics of Religion.

Intellectual People from every region propounded their own philosophies on god and compiled them into some rule book(now known as the sacred book).The commoners had to abide by the rules written in the book due to the fear of being punished by their revered god/gods. These fears,beliefs and dogmas that continued to be passed from one generation to other generation   got so deeply embedded in people’s beliefs  that today religion is considered as something ‘Sacred’ .By ‘Sacred’ I mean something that cannot be questioned.Why it cannot be ‘questioned? Because it should not be questioned.Why it should not be questioned? Because it shouldn’t be questioned.That’s all.

With the advancement of science ,now we have found answers to many questions.Charles Darwin propounded a scientific explanation about complex world of living things that had nothing to do with a ‘Higher Being‘.With the theories like ‘Big Bang‘,we have been able to explain the evolution of cosmos.Despite all these scientific achievements of ,people have not been able to let go of the religion. Still a person,commonly known as  atheist ,who views the world with common sense and rational mindset and rejects the notion of any supernatural power that he cannot experience in the real world, is perceived as a ‘misfit’.It is really sad to see the creationists in a world wherein now  a new human being can be created without the involvement of sexual intercourse.It is really frightening to see students in the faith schools  being taught the evolution with the help of religious mythology.

Many religious fundamentalists denounce ‘evolution’ as it goes against their ‘Sacred Book’ .It is very sad to see women in many countries have been deprived of their reproductive rights in the name of religion.It is highly disappointing to hear absurd things about homosexuality and birth control from a revered religious head.It is terrifying a group of religious fanatics declaring ‘religious-wars’.All this is happening because it has been sanctioned in the ‘Sacred books’.Those ‘Sacred’ books that were written thousands of years back by some people who did not even know that the earth revolves around the sun and it is not the other way round.But unfortunately many people today think those authors then were more evolved than we are now.

So why is it that so many people are still holding on to ‘God’ and religion ignoring the evidence that lies in front of their eyes? Why do people not question the omnipotence of god in case of the death and destruction caused by natural disasters?.Every year many Hindu pilgrims in India  disappear(or actually die) on their pilgrimage to ‘Amarnath’ Shrine or ‘ Kailash Mansarovar ‘ due to landslides or earthquakes.Why does not God comes to save their lives?Of course ,many religious and spiritual people will come up with some vague and metaphysical explanations that are based on no evidence that it was part of the plan by god or by soul etc.

One major reason is they cannot let go of the great emotional comfort that religion offers especially in the situation of death and mishaps.People would like to believe that there is life after death ,that life is something god has planned for us ,that ‘Everything happens for a reason’  ,that god takes care of everything etc.But is it wise to find emotional comfort on  assumptions?

Death as the ultimate end  is fearsome for many people.They can’t accept that as something  natural.Every living being that is born will die .Every living being has a life cycle in order to maintain the ecological balance in this world.But we being a sentimental species, would like to add a special meaning to it  .

Why don’t we adopt a new perspective towards life ?We all will die eventually and that is fixed.But we will die because we were lucky enough to get a life,a life that  we got completely by chance when one particular sperm out of millions fertilized one particular egg. Among all the permutations and combinations of the possibilities of birth that could have taken place,we got the chance to experience this beautiful and amazing world . Isn’t that a gift in itself.Does not that makes us realize the value of life more than  the religious notion of life being sacred as ‘it is a gift of God’.?

And after you realize that  there is no after-life and  it is only one life that you get ,doesn’t that propel you to make most  of it?

Who says atheism brings ‘despair’?

What do you think?

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17 responses to “My thoughts on god ,religion and atheism

  1. Swati…whatever you wrote..were your thoughts and perceptions…There are some lines i agree with and some disagree.But that does not make much difference as truth will remain truth irrespective of our approval or disapproval…Religion is a matter of realization. Its completely personal.Its to make us know that we all are divine.Divinity is our potential and whatever helps to manifest this divinity comes under religion.Obviously, there are sacred books , theories,temples ,churches,mosques and gurudwaras..etc.But all are secondary..they in itself are not THE GOAL, they just are means to make us realize that we are divine..We are spiritual beings in human body.Either we are theist or atheist does not matter much to God…He loves all of us.

    We give too much importance to what some western intellectual has said…but when it comes to our Rishis or Great saints who were spiritual scientists…we call them fool,superstitious,false…

    This is the fault , we dont believe in ourself, in our ancestors,in our science and spirituality..We first need to have faith in ourselves irrespective of our present situation in life.

    At the end, I will quote one of the great ancient Rishi of “Bharatvarsha”….Truth is One but Pandits or intellectuals call it by different names or ways..

    Thank You.
    Ankit Joshi

    • Hey Ankit.Thanks a lot for taking out your precious time to read my post and commenting on it in detail.I appreciate your sense of spirituality and respect for your culture.But I want to clarify few things.

      Atheism is not a western concept(there are indeed many deeply religious people in west).Atheism is a logical way of thinking.It is about accepting things on the basis of evidence and not because it has been mentioned in some sacred scriptures.There have been many atheist in India in past.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism_in_India

      There were school of athiest philosophies in ancient India like Mimansa and Samakhya

      Even great saints like Buddha and Mahavira denied a divine authority.

      No matter what the general mentality of people in a particular culture is there are always some people who like to think logically.There have always been non believers in every culture.And thank God we have had them.Just imagine where would the human civilization be standing now if all people would have been content with the idea of God.That would have been the end of scientific inquiry.We would not have come so far.

      As I mentioned God is a hypothesis that man proposed in order to explain the creation of life when he did not have any answers to it.As time passed by science discovered many answers to the unanswered question.Charles Darwin succeeded in giving a ‘evolution’ as a logical alternative to ‘creationism’.What science has never been able to prove is ‘God’.

      you said we are spiritual beings in human body.Science has never been able to prove the existence of a soul that lasts the body.
      If something really exists then it should have an evidence in its support.Absence of evidence is the evidence of absence.If anything that lasts forever is ‘matter’ and ‘energy’ that can neither be created nor be destroyed.

      • That is very true, even great thinkers like Buddha and Shankara tried so hard to explain the true principles of hinduism. Hinduism is actually an atheism in disguise. Infact the very principle of advita annihilates the meaning of a greater god.

  2. Swati…I would like to end up this conversation by saying that each one is different in approach to religion and spirituality.Its like 5 blind men touching an elephant at 5 different places and describing the elephant in their own sense of touch…for few elephant is like a curved trunk.for others its like a tail with hair…and so on.Spirituality or religion is after all a matter of realization…its completely personal. Each one take it up and realize it sooner or later in his or her own ways.

    Anyways thanks that you are trying to take it up in your own way…Jnana Yoga….May God Bless You!!!

    Ankit…

  3. @Sureshquest…thanks for your reply.But I don’t think Hinduism is atheism in disguise as there have been many theist schools of philosophy.Hinduism is actually the religion of Vedas and not the religion of God.A Hindu is someone who follows Vedas.He may or he may not seek God.Vedas are compilations of many philosophies that includes theism,pantheism,agnosticism,atheism etc.There are many kind of philosophies in Vedas.Even the atheist school of thoughts like Mimansa and Samakhya are considered under atheism because they accepted ‘Vedas’ as sacred and the ultimate authority.They believed that vedic rituals should be performed in order to maintain the cosmic order.They considered Vedas as infallible.
    However there was one school of atheistic philosophy called ‘Carvaka’ that questioned Vedas and found many fallacies and contradictions in Vedic texts.They did not believe in soul ,incarnation etc.It rejected all the metaphysics of the Vedas.Hence they were secluded from Hinduism.

  4. Dear Swathi
    With all respect i would like to make few points here.

    Yes Darwin did establish some theories on complexities regarding the evolution. But nevertheless Evolution in itself never explained the beginning of life satisfactorily. Thousands of doctors and scientists have autopsied, dissected and otherwise examined millions of dead bodies. No one—not even modern researchers with highly technical instruments—has been able to find any chemical or physical element missing from a dead body that was previously present when the body was alive. The dead body has every physical and material component the living body had. All of the cells are still there. The entire DNA is still there. All the nerves, the organs, the brain and central nervous system—every physical molecule and cell—are still resident in the cadaver. But what is that thing which differentiates a dead from alive is, still a nightmare to all so called advanced science. Its this basic question that needs to be answered even taking up evolution and survival the fittest concepts.

    “With the theories like ‘Big Bang‘,we have been able to explain the evolution of cosmos”
    A point in the article mentioned above in colons which, claims that the mysteries regarding the evolution of Cosmos has been demystified by Big Bang is wrong.
    The Big Bang in itself has not been able to explain how did the “Big Bang” happen to take place in the first place.
    All it explains is what happened once there was a Big Bang.
    And there are ample theories along with Big Bang, such as String theory, M theory etc which are suffering to answer the basic questions regarding the evolution and presence of cosmos.

    Finally i would like to end with few words by Einstein

    a person who is religiously enlightened appears to be one who has, to the best of his ability, liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts, feelings and aspirations to which he clings because of their super-personal value. It seems that what is important is the force of this superpersonal content … regardless of whether any attempt is made to unite this content with a Divine Being, for otherwise it would not be possible to count Buddha and Spinoza as religious personalities. Accordingly a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance of those super-personal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation … In this sense religion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and extend their effect. If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible.

    • @viniamogh thanks for stopping by and sharing your precious knowledge.I totally agree with you that science has not found all the answers and the origin of life and universe is still a mystery.But is it wise to attribute all these things to the miracle of a supernatural god?I What I don’t like is the idea of a personal God ,a big daddy in the sky who interferes in everybody’s life and either rewards them or punishes them.

      • Mere absence of evidence for god in the case of spirituality, doesn’t prove the theory wrong, it just means you need to search more for the evidence (example; Before the discovery, when a person had claimed that there is a kind of ray know as x-ray , the scientific community did not discard his claims saying none of the spectrometers detected its presence, its just that they had to invent a new detector which could have detect it, like a photographic plate). But the problem with scientific community is they are still struggling to come up with a theory, let alone proving it. As you said, the origin of life and universe is still a mystery. But that is in accordance to science, not spirituality. And as you say a big daddy in sky, that is not exactly how it is. A supreme soul(Brahman) is what one cannot realize until he is opaque to it. Do you really feel it wise enough to undo the concept of god what our ancestors had established and that too undo it without a valid replacement from so called science ? do you really think our ancestors were so dumb ?. Our civilization (Indus valley or Indus-Sarasvati Civilization) is at-least 6000 years old based on Archaeology (of course even this part of science is still in its adolescence) and i don’t think its wise to brand our ancestors as fools (from your article: Therefore he started attributing these to be the whims and fancies of some imaginary god that had the power to create and control the whole universe) based on 50+ years of modernization.

        Please go through the link below and think over is it not very early to say that, what ever our ancestors did ware whims and fancies.

        http://www.ipcbee.com/vol30/017–ICEST2012_N20012.pdf

        Yes of course every theory has exceptions and what our ancestors have established might not be 100% true, but its our responsibility to go to the depth of the matter and analyse the real reason behind (like the person in the scientific article above). And only then we have the right to reject or preserve whats right and whats wrong. But this has to be done with utmost care.

      • Viniamogh with due respect and appreciating your sense of spirituality,I would like to say that it is not wise to believe in something just because it has been established 6000 years back.At that time people did not even know that earth revolved around the sun and it is not the other way round.If a theory is established it has to be done on the basis of evidence.It has to be tested and verified.Scientists have not been able to validate such claims.Neither did our ancestors provided evidence on the basis of which the theory of ‘brahman’ can be tested.The theory of ‘brahman’ is the theory in Hinduism.Similarly other religions also have some or the theory about God.None of them has been tested and validated.IMHO,it won’t be appropriate to consider a theory that is established without evidence as a convincing one.
        Science is about reality.Whatever exists in this world must has some proof of its existence.

  5. Swati, when it comes to science of Archaeology. Absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence for absence. I am not asking anyone to believe in a theory established by our ancestors, at the same time its not wise to even reject one without even having a clear perspective. And people did know about our planetary system to a great extent in this part of the world (assuming you are in India) where we come from. The Surya Siddhantha composed at-least 3000 years back i.e 1000 BC (as per carbon dating) speaks of not just sun or earth rotating around sun, it explains in-depth
    1 The Mean Motions of the Planets
    2 True Places of the Planets
    3 Direction, Place and Time
    4 The Moon and Eclipses
    5 The Sun and Eclipses
    6 The Projection of Eclipses
    7 Planetary Conjunctions Of the Stars
    8 Risings and Settings
    9 The Moon’s Risings and Settings

    It speaks even about the concept like theory of relativity(by Einstein) and that too 3000 years back.

    I am not sure of what other religions or their scriptures say. But This part of the world was far ahead both scientifically and spiritually.

  6. Swathi In Archaeological Science. Absence of evidence doesn’t mean Evidence for absence. I am not asking anyone to believe in what our ancestors said, but at the same time i don’t think its wise that anyone undo the concepts without a clear perception. The ancient India knew lot more than what we think they knew. As far as your argument that people did not even know that earth revolved around the sun and it is not the other way round. Its absolutely wrong. The Surya Siddhantha which is dated back to at-least 1000 BC i.e 3000 years back(could be much older, since In India, the practical formulae of Surya Siddhanta are orally preserved and are regarded as sacrosanct by traditional scholars of this field) speaks of not only sun or earth revolving around it, but goes it depth and speaks of many aspects what modern science wouldn’t have imagined such as

    1 The Mean Motions of the Planets
    2 True Places of the Planets
    3 Direction, Place and Time
    4 The Moon and Eclipses
    5 The Sun and Eclipses
    6 The Projection of Eclipses
    7 Planetary Conjunctions Of the Stars
    8 Risings and Settings
    9 The Moon’s Risings and Settings

    I am not sure of other religion or scripts. but when it comes to our civilization without complete knowledge, undoing the knowledge and beliefs by our ancestors is not wise for sure.

    http://www.wilbourhall.org/pdfs/suryaEnglish.pdf

    Please find the text surya siddhantha in the above link

    • Viniamogh,thanks for the above pdf of ‘Surya Siddhanta’.Seems interesting.Will definitely go through it when have time.But the starting paragraph of this book itself seems hilarious and has fallacy of logic,’Salutations to the Supreme Being which is of inconceivable and imperceptible form’.They established a very bog fact that the Supreme Being is imperceptible without establishing any evidence in its support(and we are not talking about archeology here).Even archaeologists start their research when they get any indicator of the existence of any previous civilization.There has to be at least some indicator.

  7. Swathi, a scientist traveled to sun, infact they can never, still they claim that the distance between earth and sun is 149,600,000 km. did you ever ask them how did they arrive at this number, no you just accept it and they too prove this by mathematical calculations and in mathematics rules starts with assumptions. so did you question them why do they have to assume something before arriving at the answer?

    And the work by this person who writes this Surya Siddhantha happens to be so precise and closely matching with modern science, that everyone believe the content in it to be extremely true. And when it comes to the part where he speaks of the supreme soul? you don’t believe. if a person of such high knowledge who could explain the entire solar system and its working so precisely thousands of years back, has spoken something of the supreme authority. then it is not to be neglected or laughed at. In fact a wise person will ruminate on it and think of how he arrived at that knowledge and on what basis and could his claims be true?

    A great mathematician of this century, one who has even stayed in universitie of cambridge, Ramanujan, credited his acumen to his family Goddess, Namagiri of Namakkal. He looked to her for inspiration in his work and claimed to dream of blood drops that symbolized her male consort, Narasimha, after which he would receive visions of scrolls of complex mathematical content unfolding before his eyes. He often said, “An equation for me has no meaning, unless it represents a thought of God.” And even his colleagues Hardy and others from cambridge do not laugh at this claim, based on the fact that he is a self thought genius who never had formal education.

    • “a scientist traveled to sun, infact they can never, still they claim that the distance between earth and sun is 149,600,000 km. did you ever ask them how did they arrive at this number, no you just accept it and they too prove this by mathematical calculations and in mathematics rules starts with assumptions. so did you question them why do they have to assume something before arriving at the answer?”

      the below link illustrates the calculation of the distance between earth and sun.The only statement of assumption I could find was ‘So, let us assume that the distance between Earth and the Sun is “a”. ‘

      http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=400

      and I don’t buy this ‘in mathematical rules starts with assumptions.’ If you think so please elaborate with some examples of the mathematical rules based on assumptions.

      “And the work by this person who writes this Surya Siddhantha happens to be so precise and closely matching with modern science, that everyone believe the content in it to be extremely true. And when it comes to the part where he speaks of the supreme soul? you don’t believe. if a person of such high knowledge who could explain the entire solar system and its working so precisely thousands of years back, has spoken something of the supreme authority. then it is not to be neglected or laughed at.”

      It is just like saying how can we doubt the absurd comments regarding historical facts given by someone who is a great biologist.

      “In fact a wise person will ruminate on it and think of how he arrived at that knowledge and on what basis and could his claims be true?”

      That is what I am precisely thinking of as to how did he arrive at this conclusion.He established the theory without establishing the evidence it seems.Why he did not give the proof and illustrations in his work?What stopped him?Whenever a scientist establishes a theory he does it by on the basis of proof .So why did not he?

      • Swati, since you asked for example for assumptions, here they are, Starting from complex numbers in mathematics to Schrodinger wave equations, every where you can find the imaginary number “i” and all waves have one real and one imaginary part (remember our text books taught the same) and remember this are the same wave equations that are used in calculating distance between earth and venus(radio waves receivers, which is intern used to find the distance between earth and sun in the very same link that you have given above.

        And when you speak of atomic orbitals, scientists say D orbitals are in 5 dimensional space and F orbitals are in 7 Dimensional space. have you ever been able to imagine a 4th or fifth dimensional space(in fact no human can imagine or create any visualization for the same). and again all these are established based on a wave equation which is imaginary.

        And the so called quantum theory, based on which the entire modern physics is standing on including the bigbang, is totally imaginary and full of assumptions. And are you fine with such bizarre and unimaginable dimensional spaces.

        And please do comment on Ramanujan, are his claims also hilarious ?

  8. @viniamogh I appreciate your knowledgeability. But I would like to end this discussion here by saying that it seems we are two people having different mode of thinking.I do not believe in anything without evidence.I do not think that just because some intelligent person has said that there is God then it cannot be denied even if it lacks proper evidence.

  9. Firstly, it is heartening to see a young adult breaking the chains of religion and dogma and question Society and its belief, in this fading republic. Kudos!
    Religion, as you said is deeply rooted in the subconscious of many as parents ensure the drilling is hard and deep right when the brain is vulnerable to bullshit.
    As you pointed out again, for our ancient ancestors who were living in forests and caves among wild beasts, strange things like flood and thunder and earthquake and volcano was hard to comprehend and understood it as magic and then linked it to non-conformity i.e. anyone who is the odd man out (degenerate, individual thinkers, trans, witches etc). So either whims of Gods or its the sins of mortals.
    All this i can understand, if i put myself in their shoes and in their time.
    The question that begs attention is why are we , 21st century folks still dont see the evil aspect of Religion?
    A very complicated subject, that requires a lot of research and understanding. However here’s what i dont understand, when people defend religion, they talk so confidently and when they hit a dead end or a complex situation…ive noticed that they tend to make up stories as though they know what God meant to do or what his divine plan is.
    Human beings are just out of incubation, when it comes to the journey of Knowledge in my humble opinion. I strongly believe that our minds are not capable of understanding even other people yet, let alone, earth, Sun , moon, Galaxy, universe, multiverse …. GOD.
    we dont yet understand each other, we dont yet respect the planet, we cant feed our children, we cant take care of the people already here on this planet, yet we continue to make more and more people. Such is our hypocrisy and ignorance.

    Our brain has this feature, to pretend to know stuff, when in reality it has no information of the subject – i forget what its called, need to look it up. But it may provide valuable insights into this.

    Anyway in closing, Religion once did serve a purpose. Maybe originally its intention was good. However now its an excuse for people to remain ignorant, cling to the comfort of their stereotypes. The pyramid of Religion now, is big sharks use it save taxes, as a safe haven for black money and to keep masses under control not just for vote bank but for manipulation as well. Its a powerfull tool.

    This is all in my opinion only 🙂
    Peace:)

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