Sunday, May 15, 2011

Living without GOD

I guess it has been well over a decade and half since i shunned the notion of GOD even though i started questioning it as early as 5-6 years old.

Initially, this act was not welcomed at home. Even though dad, mom and bro aren't devoted religious people, but being at-least "believers", me turning into a so-called non-believer (i would contest this tag later in the post) worried them a bit more than, if somebody outside the family would have done that. I think the first thing i did towards exerting this act was not to be part of Diwali pooja (special worship during Diwali festival where whole family participates) and then shamelessly acknowledging that if i have to go to the temple, i would go only to have the tasty prasad and i don't think god exist there or anywhere even for the sake of the argument. Later when i turned towards science with great curiosity and started liking physics, dad tried few times with arguments like "even Einstein believed in God!" to which i had to say,"o yeah, good for him :) ".

My first question against the concept of GOD came with the fact that "god can punish or reward for bad or good deeds". Though my parent never told me this (as they don't believe in it either as i know) but this seemed the most popular belief amongst my peers and other people i met during childhood. I experimented with it a lot and observed that outcome was rarely influenced by an external agent and was mostly decided by present circumstances.

First incidence around me wondering on GOD question, was when all four of us use to go to temple occasionally (like once in few months, usually for family photo as temple always had a nicely maintained garden for a good background). My dad didn't use to go inside, especially in front of statues for worshiping, saying that he does not believe those statues had GOD in them. Instead, he said, GOD is everywhere, so no need to worship that particular statue and it was sufficient to come to temple and remember him. Also being a very hard-worker, he told us the old famous quote "work is worship". Doing good deeds and doing his job best, was sufficient to be okay with GOD thing. When i asked, "then why do u come here at all", he use to look at mom and tell me, "i like the place, its nice and quite etc" but the unanswered question lingered in my consciousness forever.

One incidence which shook (and then firmed !) my atheistic belief was when my bro was preparing for  military school exam, which he so much wanted to go into, and i thought that if there is a GOD maybe i should transfer all my good deeds to his account so that he goes through (considering our daily fights and his evil ways to score points over me by cheating, he had no chance with GOD there :P). He did went through making to the toppers in all-India merit list but i observed that, that was because this 10 year old kid studied with determination and dog-fight which i have seen only in best athletes like Abhinav Bindra and in the movie character Rocky. So it was more than my transferred data than his own efforts which made him get his aim (even afterwards going on to the best positions in his career). I was madly confused if i am wrong in any way about GOD and its influence.

Over some more months i met some other friends of mine and his, who have been doing good in academics or athletics and i found the same trend. The argument "GOD helps those who help themselves" was a very lousy explanation for me and it seemed more like an excuse to run away from investigation. Some more dramatic incidents and within a year i finally concluded that external influence, if any, is of minor importance and also i was not sure if this external influence is GOD or more from the sum-total environment (society, parents, situations etc) around the individual. This was the final nail in the coffin and GOD went buried down into the darkness of my consciousness never to be needed.

Also being a stammerer, i wondered if i can speak normal if i be nice all the time. First of all, its a hell to be nice all the time :P especially with well proven assholes all around :P but anyway, i tried my best and i was still the same. Occasional improvement was more to do with my own effort to understand it and study it systematically. After 8 years of concentrated work on it when i speak normal now, i am confident it was the systematic study and logical remedies than GOD thing. Infact, by "their" standards, i should have been made to suffer stammering all my life for blasphemy :P

Now in the absence of GOD, despite the common perception about "feeling emptiness" about logic and purpose of life, i felt quite opposite. Also i don't think GODlessness has made me any less empathetic and emotional. Detachment from notion of GOD did not made me go against the believers either. Infact, it made me study their ways in more finer ways and maybe i now appreciate the reasons behind their acts more than they do, since many a times, they are prohibited to question and ask for reason.

My romance with physics was at initial stages in those early teenage days, but the boring ways to teach it on black-board made me seek the answers with me myself doing something about them. I discovered most of the answers about life and its existence on earth quite satisfactorily within science (at-least at that time, now i do have some doubts about learning all those theories in detail). Without a creator most of the life could be explained. But here again i was surprised about the fact, why i was the only fool to deny its existence when all around me (who knew all of what i knew, most of them could write it better and score better grades than me too!) were very comfortable with contradictory beliefs. George Orwell's 1984's ideas like double-speak and double-think were the living standards for them.

I have been a very straight thinker i.e. My life is good when i have crystal clear viewpoint and hence clear view before me about things around me. Hence contradictions needs to be sorted out and i can't live with them. I asked some of these people about living with contradictions (from conclusions of reason-based systems and faith-based systems) and they said, its okay to be both ways since everybody else is that way too! (thats a lousy reason for me). Science for money and religion and god-beliefs for living in society. Well it made sense for them and i had to satisfy myself with the fact that "i am different" (they said "god's special people who needed some more megawatts of GOD's illumination than usual" :P ). At first, being different was uncomfortable, added with the fact that i was a stammerer and had to struggle to converse and make friends. But as i crouched back to my own world, discovering the beauty of solace and company of few, it became my lifestyle. Further investigation revealed more interesting facts about GOD and its concept, which might be worth categorizing:
  1. Mostly, GOD was an excellent excuse to convenience. For example: It was convenient for a male dominated society to define laws for women folks and their regulation in life-affairs. Traditions are wound around this convenience in the name of GOD since once GOD's word is associated, obedience is a must. One more indicator of convenience based origin of GOD thing is that almost all GODs have been imagined in human form and even if they have partial animal appearance or characteristics, they final submit to majorly human form. Thats because, its a man-made concept. We don't like cockroaches, so they have no chance to be any GOD ever!  
  2. GOD was also a great unifier. Though my Bro would eventually contest that, religion and GOD are two different things and must not be confused to be same (i would agree with him now), but show me a religion without a GOD and show me a GOD which do not have a religion at its tails end. A group needs a symbol and when group grows too big, GOD is found to be a very convenient point of unification. The problem occurs when different GODs clash, then the same unifier becomes diversifier and discriminator. Poor GOD guy is un-necessarily painted with human hatred but being an excellent excuse, divinity overcomes the guilt of wrong-doings in the name of GOD. But its not always put to a bad name. Religious organizations around the world are known to be the front-runner in humanitarian aid providers and deeds of people like Mother Teressa are found to be excellent excuse when purpose of religion is objected.
  3. GOD is essential for existence of a society made up of non-individualist. Being an individualist, i rely on my own judgement for my life (in a way i am my own GOD :P). But if someone does not do things this way, its necessary for him/her to have a good start with the established ideas (holy books, sayings of holy men, holy ways of living life or something else which is "holy").
  4. GOD also is an excellent source to hide their fears and insecurities. Biologically, we are a carbon based life-form. At a psychological end, we are a fear based life-form. We fear almost every conceivable idea. Best and worst performances are equally feared. And we find a fine excuse in GODs. Fear based hatred, which is the source of xenophobia, makes them harm/kill each other without guilt and you wouldn't wonder where the guilt goes off to :)
  5.  Blind following is the most objectionable of all the issues. Objecting, not even existence, but an minor issue like; was he/she human by an chance, would be sufficient to ignite anger. Almost all religions like to consider GODs to be superhuman (but still in human form) for obvious human desire to see their own performances beyond the "so-called" capabilities.
  6. Lazy-ass ignorance is another name for GODliness. Those who never dared venture to understand themselves about how and why things behaved around them, simply declared it "work of GOD". Science had to make an uphill climb to prove most of the things without a creator and now ironically, "scientific" explanation for GOD has become a fashion in the age of science.
There are many more but i wont like this already stretched out article to go beyond its elastic point :P

I must clarify one final point. Not believing in GOD does not makes one a non-believer. To make a decision, a framework is required. My framework does not involve an external source (even if it exists). Also, questioning own belief system to its very core, is most essential part of being GOD-less living lifestyle. Leaving room for questioning, lets me breathe easy within the framework which is constantly updated with new experiences (which makes new beliefs). You can understand this in terms of Open source software and proprietary software. Proprietary software is very convenient since things are already done for you, but it comes at a price of being caged within no-change clauses. At the other end, Open source puts you into a dark well where you build up your own thing according to your own need and share with others without loosing your individuality.

Every GODless system is individual, since it does not obeys the laws of collectivism by its very definition. I do not demand any other god-less idea to be compatible by mine. Neither do i demand GOD believers to turn to my ideas and make a religion out of it. Collectivism breaks the very idea of GODlessness.

I do see beauty in definitions in worldly religions and GODs (infact the most objectionable idea is blind following and if this condition is removed, i have had wonderful conversations with GOD people without any problem). I like the story books which religions call holy books. Their characters are made GODs and worshiped out of insecurity but i like those characters for their qualities. For example:  I do admire Rama for his standards except for abolishing his wife for public acceptance. I do admire Shiva the most since i guess that dude would have hated to be a GOD. I do like stories in Kuran since it shows the hardships of tough guys surviving in hostile environment in the middle of a desert. I do enjoy music written in praise of god, but for the music and poetry. Jesus guy had been preaching all nice stuff all his life and i wonder if he would have really said that he has anything to do with GOD or was it the people around him who made it all up about GOD thing.

Anyway, the sum total of all these words is:

  • I am okay with NO-GOD and anybody believing in GOD
  • I don't ask you to believe in my belief and neither should you. 
  • I don't feel pity or similar things because i don't think your belief is ignorance. It can be termed ignorance from my point of view but being an individualist, my point-of-view is limited to me. Your GOD filled world has many flaws from my point of view but my world will also have equal number of flaws to satisfy symmetry :)

We can still find sufficiently pleasant and infact wonderful grounds to live a wonderful life on earth. Infact, as i see it, we both fill gaps in our approaches. World would need some objectors to every philosophy in order to maintain healthy life and avoid stagnation due to static conditions.


fuse me said...

Nice blog! Just a couple of points. Some sects of Buddhism do not have a God, nor a messiah. Gautam Buddha was just the first human to reach a new state of being, Nirvana. Of course these sects have mysticism, but no God. Then again, there are many personal Gods. Many who define God in their own terms. These Gods do not have a religion.

I love this sentence, "I do admire Shiva the most since i guess that dude would have hated to be a GOD."

I also loved the comparison to Propriety and Open source software. Another aspect of propriety software is that it is often damn expensive, and most Open source software and free. That, I think is also an aspect of religion, usually it is a business for making money. You either pay donations to the church or temple etc. or pay in terms of being a foot soldier for the religion.

nagardee said...

i heard this somewhere
"the opposite of love is not hate, its indifference"

and the lengths you go to decipher god, makes me wonder, if i am the believer or you are.

like i've told you so many other times, god exists because i believe in him. thats all that there is

bronzmash said...!
Nice read. We're in agreement - glad to find a comrade. :)

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