Guest post: Faith exists. But God?

29 Aug

The first guest blogger Narasimhan writes about faith and God and theism and the lack of it.

‘Lighthouses are more helpful than churches’ ,said the great Benjamin Franklin.

He wasn’t just referring to churches, he was saying guidance came more from knowledge of fact than acceptance of faith. A staunch rationalist, and a legitimate yet broad-minded thinker, I agree with him. Don’t brand me as an atheist. Don’t yet, at the least.

Let me first tell you more about myself before you judge me. I’m an engineering student, a nineteen year old youth. I’m an Indian, which means I’ve been born and brought up in a country where people take for granted the existence of God, to the extent that they believe more in it than in the darkness of night or the sweetness of sugar. When you’re born and brought up in a place where HE is everything, the sole reason for our existence, questioning HIS existence is not an idea that is bound to win you cheers. You might even become an outcast if you tried it here.

I’d read somewhere, a few days ago, the words of a man I found to be great. He’d said that faith was something that the common man believed to be true, the wise thought to be untrue, and the ruling class found to be useful. I couldn’t help but feel that what he said did somewhat describe how things were going on in this world.

Before debating into these very sensitive realms, I would like to ask myself and all of you one simple question. Does everybody here agree that our life compulsorily depends on some sort of trust on some entity, people, systems and the like ? I would guess yes. If you said no to that, it would mean you had no friends, no family, no security in life, no trust on your country’s governance… so on and so forth, basically implying your existence here has been completely of no meaning.

So, yes, right ?

Then I must wonder loudly, in a world where survival is a herculean task without trust on family, friends, systems, etc , how those who call themselves atheists can possibly think they can live without a trust or faith that is supreme, and a basis to all these other faiths ? But I might have the answer.

Atheists I see do not seem to lack faith. It’s just that rationalism is their faith. They believe, they trust. What they say without saying, is that they DO believe in God, but not the way the others do. They might deny it, but what I completely understand from their lives is that they do have faith in that ‘God’ the others talk about, but it’s not an idol, person, or a physical or eternal entity. It’s a way of life. It’s a system.

When things are done as they should be, when you do things you should, be whom you should be, and that you extends all over humanity, and the universe goes as it should because every trivial part of it goes as it should. When the whole universe seems to function in unison because every small seemingly disconnected part of it functions as it should, in rhythm, then, those with faith see order. Atheists see God.

Atheists are not people without faith. They are idealists, in one sense – idealists, who try their best to make sure their actions work to make the world they control as it should, but only that, instead of saying ‘Thank you God’ at the end of it, they, go ahead with the next endeavor so that people that the world calls ‘believers’ will have something to thank God for.

I’m not trying to say that atheists are the only ones who ever contribute to the world, no. I’ve seen a million people with faith, right in my own family whom I admire for who they are. Faith is what lives in them, and maybe to some extent helps them do what they do, but its still they who do it, and they realize they are the ones who have to.

Faith that there is some entity out there that is supremely powerful and wants nothing more than to help and protect us is most definitely comforting for most of us, especially given the wide range of problems we might face every day. This faith is what drives most of the people who are convinced they believe in God. In fact, that belief is existent in every one, however small, in some part of us or the other. But that should not mean we take everything thrown at us meekly, saying “He does it for a reason”. That is stupidity more than faith. Being too weak or lazy to take your life into your own hands is different from actually believing things happen for a reason.

Many people find it hard to justify the need for God, citing the fact that if science can explain everything, there is no need for a supreme. ‘Science is supreme’ , they’d say. Fine then, science is supreme. You still have faith in science then, don’t you ?

Faith is inevitable. Scientist, rational thinker, priest, worshipper, atheist, be what you may, be what your faith may, you still can never deny the presence of one. Anything you do today for a better tomorrow has in it a faith on the existence of a tomorrow. Every action done for another has in it  a faith on love and friendship. Every breath taken today has a faith on the air we breathe, imbibed in it.

God or no God, faith exists.

Narasimhan is studying to be a Mechanical Engineer from BITS, Pilani, Goa, India. He is also a member of the Mensa Club. He is The Alchemist’s(Purnima) cousin, just so you know. He likes reading a lot, especially on topics of philosophy and science, and believes  that everyone is entitled to their beliefs and opinions, however different they might be. He plays tennis when not whirling those wheels in his mind and listens to light music. Know more about  him at http://risingmoments.wordpress.com. You will be surprised to know he dabbles a bit in poetry too!

What is your faith? Post it as a comment to this post or share it in your own blog and post the link here.

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11 Responses to “Guest post: Faith exists. But God?”

  1. Mamma_Simona August 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Ok … u asked for it …. this is how I explained my belief system to my children: 😛

    “Picture a beautiful beach. On the sand there is a bucket full of ocean water. The water is exactly the same as the water in the ocean, apart from the fact that it is “trapped” in a bucket. Once the bucket is knocked over the water flows back to the ocean and is, once again, part of the whole and indistinguishable from the rest of the ocean water.”

    I believe that our physical bodies are the “buckets” which hold our “essence / soul / true self ? Ego” (or whatever you want to call it). The Ocean represents “God / the Power of Good / Allah / The Collective Uncoscious” (or, again, whatever you choose to call it).

    As much as I don’t believe in “religion” per se, I certainly do believe in God. I also believe that “God helps those who help themselves”!! The following “joke” illustrates what I mean:

    A flood had forced a man to scramble onto the roof of his house to avoid being swept away by the rising water. Being a very religious man, he wasn’t worried because he had faith that God would save him. After a while a man with a row boat pulls up near this man’s house and asks him if he would like to ride in his boat to safety. The man declines saying; “No thanks, God will save me”. More time passes and a Rescue Boat draws closer – “Put on this Life Jacket and we’ll help you to board”. Again, “No thank you, God will save me” from the stranded man. After failing to convince the man to get off the roof, the would-be rescuers left shaking their heads. Eventually it’s about to get dark and the man has to sit on the chimney of his house as the water starts lapping at the roof. A rescue helicopter hovers above him and sends down a rope to winch him to safety. Yet again the man refuses the offer of help and, eventually, the helicopter needs to leave to refuel.

    In the end the man drowns. Once in heaven the man is most upset. He said, “God I have lived my entire life according to your commandments and I prayed most earnestly for you to save me. Why did you not heed my prayers in my hour of need?”

    To this God replies: “I most certainly DID answer your prayers! I sent you a row boat, a Rescue Boat and a Helicopter, what were you waiting for, a submarine?!”

  2. Purnima August 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Awesome post Narasimhan. I am proud of your thought process. But faith exists for me and so does GOD!

  3. spk100 August 29, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    “Many people find it hard to justify the need for God,”…

    likewise the majory of people find it extremely hard to justify the existence of God…. God is omni-present is brushing the fact that no one can claim to prove to the existence of one.

    Ancients used god as a way of instilling discipline and over time, certain people found out there is sh** loads of money to be made from it and thus evolved the God that we know today, God in everything little and small things.

    • Mamma_Simona August 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      I agree, up to a point. I think RELIGION was created to either “keep people in line” and / or “to make money”. GOD (by whichever name you choose) simply IS, just as people and every other living thing, just ARE.

      Even SCIENCE states that “matter cannot be created or destroyed, merely changed from one state to another”! If you think about it, you know it’s true!! Our bodies are only temporary “containers” for who we truly are. Who do I believe we are? We are ONE with GOD …. but we only remember that fact after we have discarded our mortal shell!!

      • spk100 August 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

        Thats a very possible explanation… But there is also one other possible scenario.

        Assuming our ancestors came across life forms from other planets (Aliens), i am sure they would have been awed and wonderstruck at these ppl who could walk across air/water and travel in fireless ships that floats in the sky.

        Then these figures could have been the first inspiration behind GOD (the way we see it now). There are a lot of unxplained examples of this in the Pyramids, Temples and Shrines. Because these have been woven so deeply in folklore and a “God” tag is attached to them people take it at face value and dare not question them for fear of ridicule and made into an outcast!

  4. skpadilla August 30, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    What a wise young person. Phenomenal. I loved this post.

  5. Tatter Scoops August 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Great writing, very well thought and deep. I am a Christian and I have a strong faith but not those radical bible thumping hardcore one. I appreciate and respect others who doesn’t share my own. I say let the people chose their own believe systems and whatever works for them 🙂 Great post!

    • Narasimhan September 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      @ Mamma Simona : I’ve heard of the bucket analogy before, and I believe in reincarnation too. In fact, having
      been through regression therapy at a particular stage of my life, I have seen evidence for it. But how does that prove the
      existance of God ?

      @Spk 100 : I am slightly tempted to agree with the ‘making money’ part. I agree with you a lot, because I have seen a
      lot of things even in these 19 years of my life (Forgive me for sounding like an aged wise man, I’m not 😛 )

      But I have to ask, when I see so called ‘believers’ of God pray to him every day, say they worship and have faith in him,
      how is it that most of them seem to be the representatives of evil by their actions ? How is it that all faith in God and
      good is forgotten post the small window of time in the day that they pray in ? Hypocrites, aren’t they then ? I’ve seen a
      too many of them to believe that the one they place faith in is guiding them right.

      @skpadilla : Thanks a lot 🙂 But I’m going to say if you think there is a side of this I might not have seen fully,
      I’m open minded to discussion 🙂

      @Tatter scoops : Thanks 🙂 That did a lot of good to the writer’s ego in me 😛 And I agree, since every man decides what
      to believe in based on how his life goes, I guess letting him decide would make things work best 🙂

      That being said, I’m sill open to discussion and unprejudiced, and should some day I see reason and revelation enough
      to believe in ‘HIM’, I shall not let prejudice ruin better judgement.

      @Purnima : (Last since you’re the host 😛 ) Thanks 🙂 And I know God exists for you, you’re my sister, I must atleast
      know that, for God’s sake 😛 Someday I hope one of us sees the other’s view for good and we meet on the same side. (though
      even if that never does happen, I assure you I’d love you the same 😛 )

      I’d welcome your views here on this thread and I’m ready to open myself to all your views further, should you like to
      say something.

      • Mamma_Simona September 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

        Narasimhan, you ask me how my “bucket analogy” proves the existence of God. Very simply, if you accept the truth of the analogy, God exists because we exist! I don’t see “God” as an omniescent being separate from all living things. I totally agree with your experience of the hypocrisy of many who are devout (of whatever religion). In my opinion we (our souls) choose to “come to Earth” (as in, take a physical form) because we need to learn something and / or teach something. Since I consider us all to be linked to “The Source” (God), I don’t believe that any particular ritual is necessary. My “prayer” is not something learnt and repeated mindlessly, it is a “conversation” in which I give thanks and ask for guidance. You will only have your “proof” when you’re ready to accept it. Nobody else can give it to you. However, what anyone believes or does not believe does not matter in the end … because it just IS! God Bless. 🙂

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