Saturday, 19 May 2007

The Best Within Us

This train of thought has been started off by reading the first post on my brother's new blog. Why do we need to believe in a superior being and how do we explain this to our rational selves (forgive me for paraphrasing)?

Any discussion on God always sets me thinking. Let me explain why. I don't like going to temples, I don't pray and I positively detest religious rituals. Part of this aversion is due to the religious intolerance that I have seen and read about. I don't think "God" meant for any of this to happen in his/her name. The other part of this aversion comes from the discomfiture that rituals cause me - hot, sweaty, noisy rooms is not my idea of spirituality or inner peace.

When most people ask me, I say I am atheistic because God is commonly associated with religion. I find atheistic an easy way to explain the above. But in actuality I think God is a matter of perspective. Whether one believes in God or not depends on what one defines as God. If God were to be, carte blanche, defined as a supernatural being, then yes I am atheistic.

In his post, my brother offers a slightly different definition. I am going to take the liberty of twisting it around a little. Throughout history, prophets of different faiths, have demonstrated the ability to rise above their peers in their outlook towards human civilization and individuals. To me it is this ability that is God. For it is this that makes civilization possible. The ability that each of us have to better ourselves, to reach beyond the given, has been the foundation of progress. It has allowed the human race to evolve instead of stagnating in the caves. This quest to resolve the unknown, to accept, embrace and better.

And that is why we need to believe. We need to believe that we can move beyond, and surpass our ancestors. Learn from them and take that knowledge further. To me it is the best within us that is God. And yes, to believe in the best within us is not so much a question of faith but an act of necessity and human nature.

P.S: I seem to be blogging with a vengeance today

1 comment:

Nikhil said...

Firstly, I completely see your point about feeling averse to the anthropomorphic concept of God that most of organized religion today has - that is really one of the reasons why so many people move away from religion. To me, the whole concept doesn't really make sense, and I see it as a corruption of those divine teachings. The way I think of God, however, is slightly different from what you stated - I see God as this unknowable essence, the force behind all that happens on this earth. What God truly is, we shall never are, are not even capable of knowing. However, what we can know are the attributes of God - and it is this that we learn of from these great teachers. And these same attributes of God are very much present in us - but in a potential form, while these divine teachers are the perfect exemplars of these qualities. So all we can strive to know, through our search for the truth, really, are these attributes of God, and aim to exemplify them to the extent possible.

Look out for my next post....