On religion and Gods – My response to Shri Prithvi

Varta continued–

I have tried to encapsulate my response to Shri Prithvi’s reply rather than take it point by point. However, I have made certain no point is missed or brushed aside.

The main burden of Shri Prithvi’s argument seems centered on the premise that religion per se is bad for Man and Society. Arguing from this premise it seems simple enough to look at all religions as the same or equal to each other.

The other and to some, more important premise is the presumed non-existence of Gods and Goddesses. I say ‘presumed’ because for all the sophisticated arguments made for such a view there simply is no credible way one can deny something one cannot fathom.  In other words how can a proclaimed atheist experience the presence and therefore vouch for his Gods and Goddesses? How can one who denies expressly, the existence of Gods and Goddesses, contemplate upon them? How does one measure or confirm Gods and Goddesses with tools that help measure and confirm material objects when one does not even know for sure if God is material? All this is akin to early man thinking the Earth flat, but knowing better once he got round to exploring with an open mind. But since I have not yet heard Shri Prithvi’s argument for against the existence of Gods and Goddesses, I will have to see what he brings to the table.

So that’s two broad premises and a third. All religions are bad and Gods and Goddesses do not exist. The third being, atheism is the cure for Man’s misery.

How various religions behave has a lot to do with how they perceive their Gods and Goddesses. It must be noted that there are religions that do not perceive a Goddess at all. So if I perceive my God to be the only one to whom I shall bow and obey then my religion will be shaped accordingly. I have wishes to cater to. Wishes of ‘my’ God.

But if I have many Gods and Goddesses to whom I can go to in times of need and upon and to whom I can contemplate or ‘talk’ to, then my religion shall be shaped accordingly.

So human experiences shape our perception of Gods and Goddesses. Human experiences are shaped by the environment respective human societies live and grow in. There is a reason why Christianity grew in the West as a major political force with Constantine. There is also a reason why the same religion was less to nil political in its place of birth. There is a reason why pagan Rome that was outwardly quite similar to Hinduism succumbed to Christianity and Hinduism did not. Similarly there are reasons why Islam grew from the ashes of pagan Arabia, again very similar to Hinduism but could not fully subdue Hinduism in Islam’s heydays in India. There are reasons why Buddhism lived and why it died. There are valid reasons why the East is East and the West is West and why these and many more parts of our variegated Earth are not the same. Are not supposed to be the same. How then does man treat his Gods the same way? I go to God to give thanks and to ask for favors. I relate God to my circumstances. There is no one proper way. What is best for me and my society is best.

This also answers to the point of karma. My actions, if they are positive; and I’m not talking about ‘good’ and ‘bad’; will bring positive karma upon me and future generations. I think the point is how we make sure our karma does not bring about a negative effect. This sits well with a religious thought process because here one is not thinking of oneself solely. One is also thinking of his fellows and his society. Therefore and more importantly, religion of whatever hue, values human bonding of whatever scope. Values the family and the larger home (Society). Where is the basis for such bonding in atheism? Atheism aims to destroy religion and God but no one is too sure what it builds in their place. It simply lacks the wherewithal to build anything positive after such destruction.

There is a reason atheist communism aimed to destroy the family first. In my view it’s the family and not the individual who is the basic unit of human kind. Upon the family is built the society and nation. It is easy to see that as long as there is the family, one cannot have a commune. A commune by definition distrusts human bonding, because with bonding comes family. The family lives with God and society as witness. This is the reason why marriages are celebrated and not simply ‘done’. But why does family need God? Is it not true that God made family possible? Let’s think about it. (Early Man always equated God with nature. In most if not all religions, this still is the case.) Would Man have come together if it were not for forces in nature? Would Man and Woman have come together if it were not demanded by forces in nature? Man and Woman stay together and protect their offspring, again because of forces in nature. How then can God and family not be related? Man needs God and so perceives God. That makes God and family possible.

So the reason a Secular State cannot think of using Temple monies properly and least of all developing Temples; is because by being Secular, it has disconnected itself artificially or really, from the society it serves. It is not the Hindus and Muslims and Christians quarrelling over whose monies to spend. It is only Temple money that gets ‘administered’ secularly.

Let me now look at this charge of religion causing much human misery. From all that I have said before it should be fairly evident that religion takes the mould of the society it develops in. So all religions are not the same. It is also fairly clear that the relationship one develops with ones Gods and Goddesses also varies as per circumstance and peculiar demands made thus, of Man. To think that all would be well if there was no God and religion is a tremendous fallacy. If indeed that was the experience, then there would be no God and religion amongst Men. The atheist creed would have been sufficient to keep him happy.

The larger point now is religion and God help shape Man and his society to reflect the best in his experiences as per his experiences. There is constant communication of these experiences within family and society. There is a reason why the child must listen to his parents. There is also a reason why, at an appropriate time, the child may enquire further about the parents’ experiences. That is when the child is old enough to weigh his own with what he has been passed. These are simply values that are better appreciated by the religious for such a person connects with and values better, family and society.

There are many reasons for the failure of communism but what is undeniable is the fact that Communist Man took to God at first opportunity. The ‘fears’ that religion generates in Man reflects deficient or appropriate levels of understanding of Man’s own circumstances. It is not clear how atheism can cure Man of such ‘fears’.

PS – I don’t think I have missed addressing any of Shri Prithvi’s points but I am open to correction and otherwise open to debate further. The internet offers wide variety of literature on communism and atheism, its relation to God and religion. I am not competent to offer suggestions on what is a good read. I haven’t done the reading myself. However, I am willing to engage with any work that Shri Prithvi or readers refer to.

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