Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Sting Operation Called God

An eminent professor, a religious scholar, and a feminist comes to class one day to enlighten the pupils about the teachings of her religion.  She was not a fundamentalist and had come to emphasize upon the point that one must love God unconditionally and that God is universal (and almighty, and loving and caring, and sharing, and so on, and so forth).  One of the couple of stories she narrated to us from her religious scriptures goes like this, "Once upon a time, there was a little shepherd, aged around 10 years old.  The boy was herding hundreds of sheep that belonged to his master.  A passerby, who was of course the messenger of God (mind you, God didn't have twitter at that time) met him on the way, and as expected in religious scriptures, tried to test the boy.  He asked the boy to sell him a couple of sheep.  The boy refused, saying that the sheep belonged to his master.  The messenger argued that the master could not see him and he would not notice a couple of sheep missing out of the flock of hundreds.  The boy was dismayed by the proposal and replied, "Sir, the master may not be watching me, but the God is."  The End.

The story has two parts - One is that the boy thinks that God is watching his actions.  In other words, God is with the boy.  The second part is that the God has told (somewhere) that one should not cheat.  Thus, it was not the boy's conscience that disallowed him to steal the sheep and sell it off, but it was because he thought he was under a 24-hour surveillance of God who disapproved stealing.  Now, as the boy was a shepherd, the chances of him having read and analyzed the religious scriptures by himself are very few.  Most probably, someone whom he trusted, like a parent or teacher or perhaps his master, had taught him what God says is right or wrong.  So, let us consider a situation wherein a trusted acquaintance convinces the  boy that God says that those who build mosques in the place of our temples are bad and should be punished or those who do not believe in our religion are bad and should be punished, and the God is watching you right now and will be offended if you do not punish those who displease him, what will the boy do?  Are there not high chances of the boy taking spades to bring down Babri Masjid or take arms and join the holy war against non-believers??

More often than not, the liberal religious scholars blame the fundamentalist religious scholars for being bigots and generating hate in the minds and hearts of young boys against other religions, but they forget that while relating virtues of a person directly to the spy-camera version of God, even they are creating water-tight compartments in the minds of people where they judge good against bad on the basis of God's command and not by applying their own minds and conscience.  It is said that ethics are what we practice when no one is looking.  This is to mean that something done under love or fear of someone else does not imply that his conscience approves of it, and someone else here is applicable to God as well.  Unfortunately, this is the fundamental error we make while teaching morality and virtues to young minds.  We relate everything to the presence of God and assume that the atheists are soul-less, conscience-less people.  The fundamentalists, or politicians for that matter, only need to disperse the seeds of hatred on the fertile fields of God-maniac or God-phobic minds, and here we get a crop of arms and ammunition waiting to kill whoever comes into their way to please God. 

It is true that terrorism is a business in itself and it is perpetuated to facilitate the sales of arms and ammunition (arguably the world's largest business), but what greases the easy flow of the arms is this God-dependent conscience.  Is it so difficult to inculcate values in young minds based on the principles of humanities? Is it not possible to develop an attitude which questions the validity of an action on the basis of its effect on fellow human beings and the larger good of society?   When an individual is taught to be self-conscious and take the ownership of his actions, he generates a scientific attitude towards his actions and weighs everything on the basis of its impact on the societal good in the long run.  A person must be trained on morality in such a way that he does not develop the courage to face himself in the mirror when he does something wrong, because even a child knows that the Judgment day when he is to face God is far away and might not come at all!  

One must note that it is very common to see people killing each other on the name of religion while it is very rare to see someone kill others because his conscience tells him to do so and even if somebody does so, he is called a psychopath.  So, we actually confirm that it is not sanely possible for an individual to do something wrong out of his own will.  But it is highly probable to do the same wrong in the name of religion or God.

It is high time we question the moral lessons we instill in our children invariably compounded with this universal God who is practically unavailable to speak to in times of confusion.  Instead, the child should be delivered the values and principles of humanities.  Stealing is bad because it bereaves the other person of his rightly-earned property, not because God said so.  It is only through a secular, humanistic morality and scientific outlook can we expect our younger generation to develop tolerance and compassion in this multicultural world.  It is time when our educators and philosophers leave their Bibles, Geetas, and Qurans at home while coming to educate the pupil about peace, nonviolence, and acceptance towards others' religion and cultures.  We must remember that all the religions speak of love as well as violence.  All Gods can be pleased or displeased in some way or the other.  So just for once, let us keep our Gods aside.  Just for once, let us not care too much about Gods and start caring about mankind for a change.


  1. Here is what I have to say:

    When this is the kind of violence that human beings are inflicting on each other despite believing in some 'god'…what would happen without Him??
    What humanity are you talking about?? A humanity where ‘humans’ are committing the smallest to the largest brutal deeds against each other? Considering male humans its sexual harassment, rape, domestic violence, murder…considering women humans its gossip, mentally torturing ur daughter-in-law or child till they wana kill themselves? A humanity where people wana ‘save tigers’ while millions of girls are being trafficked day in n day out! Is this what you mean when you say ‘humanity’?
    You can’t explain life without God! One would have to be a fool to say there is no God…but we mahaan ‘humans’ have come to a point where if you believe in a God you are treated like a fool. Let me explain what I mean by a ‘fool’:
    - One who believes that we came from amoeba or monkeys!! For goodness sake leave me out of that! I will not let myself be considered a product of monkeys! My Bible says God has made me fearfully n wonderfully! There is an intricacy, beauty and uniqueness which is God-given not monkey-made!
    - A fool would be someone who would tell me that maybe you were a crow in your pichla janam…or a mosquito or some crap like that…and it is because of ur poonya(good deeds/’karma’) that you get to be human this you better behave yourself to avoid being awarded the body of a crow again!!! Now that’s what I call a fool!

    1. Jessica, I will have to disagree with you on every point you made there. I sincerely mean no disrespect but your views are very polarized.

      We love life so much that we cannot imagine being dead. We hence invented the idea of GOD, heaven and hell. I ask you one simple question..If there is GOD, why do we have sufferings in the world? You will ofcourse say that God gave us free will. Now, does free will means that we have right to hurt others?(murders,rapes,terrorism and whatnot.)

      If you say that evolution is non existent, you don't understand the complexity and the timeline of evolution at all. Remember, Its always easier to take the shortest path(the Bible, the Quran, the Hindu Scriptures etc.) I would recommend you to read some good book on evolution. Its very evident in our genes that we actually came from a monkey. For example, our genes matches more with a monkey than a horse. More with a horse than a plant, etc etc. Also, don't consider yourself as inferior or superior based on whom you came from. Its not humiliating that we are part of this animal kingdom, we are the most intelligent and resourceful animals which is the reason of our success and our high numbers(7 billion for the win!).

      You conveniently disregard the views of Hinds on which I am with you. I also think that the concept of pichla janam, agla janam etc is crap. But at the same time you believe that Adam and Eve were real, you believe that snakes could talk, you believe that God took a rib off Adam and made eve from it. Frankly, if that is possible, the Hindu theory is possible too.

      The only problem with us is that we believe our religious books to be true, the word of God and whatnot. Here is a link, its called circular reasoning. Mathematically speaking, every thing can be proved if our starting assumption is wrong. Although, it says Bible in the pic, it applies to most religious books and most religions.

      Here is a forum link, many theist and atheists discuss there.

      Here is one more youtube link on how we and chimps are related

      Thank you very much for your time.

  2. You can call me foolish, conservative, fundamentalist, fanatic or crazy if you like but I am boldly gonna tell you what my Bible says about me (and all human beings for that matter). The Bible says that God knew me before I was conceived in my mother’s womb. In fact He knit me in there. He decided how I would look, my voice, the color of my eyes and all that there is to me. My God, my Creator knows the number of hair I have on my head! That’s the kind of love He has for me.
    My God sent Jesus to die for me so that I never feel too sinful to get close to Him. He forgave me for my sins 2000 years before I could even commit them! So the concept of ‘credit’ is not so new after all!
    So when I decide to do what is ‘right’ (which to me comes from the Bible) I do it not out of fear that I will be punished, I do it because I know that the God who did so much for me has asked me to stay away from certain things to protect me and not dictate how I should live my life.
    And let me clarify that I’m NOT saying this out of guilt or because my mom or Pastor drilled this into my head. I’m saying this because I have actually done things which the Bible warns us not to do and I have borne the consequences of the point where I wanted to kill myself! Believe me if it wasn’t for this very God I wouldn’t be alive today. I am very sure of that!
    If you are evaluating your actions every day you needn’t worry about Judgment day. But again on what basis will you decide what is right and wrong to evaluate yourself? On the basis of societal norms…which is so ridiculous that they would stigmatize a victim of trafficking saying she is a ‘randi’, sleeping around and spreading AIDS..or that women are ‘choosing’ to do ‘sex work’ because they want lets legalize it and give permissions to a million random men to come and rape an innocent 16 year old child???
    Is such a society gonna guide your moral standards??? Well, I wouldn’t wana be part of such a world based on such ‘high’ standards of humanity.
    My Bible does not talk about being violent. Please do not generalize. There is a history of violence in it but that is for us to learn what happens when we human beings think we’re too smart. Jesus gave us 2 commandments: to love God and to love one another as He has loved us…a love that is unconditional! There is no violence mixed with that love and this is the biggest challenge that Jesus places before us and that is TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES! Jesus says if someone slaps you on 1 cheek turn the other and your asking me to teach my child humanities which say an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth??? No thank you! I’d rather be ‘foolish’ and teach my child to turn the other cheek!
    What peace are you talking about creating without God? I know the world has created many gods and I know no peace can come from them but I’m talking of that peace that comes from the One who created the world!
    And by the way my God is NEVER unavailable… His hotline is available 24X7 and it’s toll-free!!!! All you gotta do is open your mouth and speak and you can be sure that He is listening. And if you’re afraid that it is a one way conversation and you’re not sure if He’s listening I challenge you to ask Him to speak to you and be ready to hear His voice. All it takes is a little faith! Try it!

  3. I really appreciate your taking the time off to write Jessica.. and about your "fool" comments.. Well, I suggest you read God - The Illusion for starters if you want to understand more about scientific inquiry. You may also refer to God Is Dead by Osho.

    Also, though I am an atheist myself and DO NOT believe in God, nowhere in the article did i deny the existence of God (to avoid unnecessary debate on the existence, which for info sake I confirm that does not exist!). If you read the article carefully, you shall understand that it is the God-inflicted morality I am referring to. I am glad you mentioned your arguments because reading the article becomes more interesting after reading your comments first :)

  4. Maybe there're more greys out there than we care to recognise and admit. Maybe there's more truth in the greys than there's in black and white. And maybe, just maybe, we as the human race haven't lived long enough to experience the non-tangibles out there. Just maybe.

    1. A nice article where a lot more has been said indirectly (Babri Masjid, Hindutva). But I disagree to lot of it. I am a fan of Richard Dawkins, probably he is the most respectable Atheists in the entire world. I am a theist, but I love his ideas, the way he puts it. For one I believe, before talking about God and his apparent role in the world outside, we must understand what/who is God? God according to you is a imaginary person whom people believe in, and conveniently use him as a scapegoat for their own misdeeds. Now, is God to be blamed? It is like falling down from 1st floor and blaming gravity for it.

      After all God is just a concept, and for each one depending on his or her religion. When an atheist says, he does not believe in God, which God is he talking about? He is just talking about his own concept of God, which he has derived from the society's influence or wherever, and looo....he feels great about defying this so called great God.


    2. Anyways, coming to the point of the blog, yes humanity is the basis of all morals. And as in Hinduism rather I would call it Sanatana Dharma (the one that existed even before religion concept came in), as i sense lot of anti-hindus here :P, it is said, "Ahimsa Paramodharma" which means Non-violence is the greatest virtue. Now, giving some respect to the brilliant minds who coined this phrase, it is a very very deep thought. And I say brilliant, cause they probably knew more science than what we know today, there is enough evidences if one cares to know about it. Non-violence not physically, but mentally as well. All the morals have been built upon this one basic virtue, which in simple terms implies, each one has a right to live and live peacefully in harmony with the universe. It is not easy to comprehend the depth of this line, and this is what humanity is based on.
      A concept of God, if taken as an anchor in one's life, who enriches each day of our life, under whose eye, we get inspired to live a beautiful life, then its great. Bhagat Singh was an Atheist, but Nation inspired him to live a great life. There have been theist in the past, who have derived inspiration from the Gods, and there are still people around now, who continue to derive inspiration from their own concept or entity of God, it can be Krishna, Rama, Jesus or anyone.
      Problem is when, such concepts are polluted, by misinterpretation of the truth, influence, circumstances etc. Richard Dawkins, is living a honorable life, writing masterpieces, and vouching for what he believes in, but hes also living a great life himself, convinced in his values.
      Each one needs an anchor in his/her life, it is foolish to say we can be on our own, and just follow values. We need a motivation and inspiration to live our values, for many, it is their parents. It is true our conscience will never fail us, but to follow our conscience, it needs guts, and we get that courage from our ideals/inspiration/God/country/people whoever. The problem today is, people are more interested in passing remarks about other's and as well as their own religion. People who do not know Sanskrit, who may have not even read a line about any scripture, comment on Hinduism. And the most funniest part of all this, is they say that it was not scientific, forgetting that some of anonymous authors of the scriptures had for example embedded the value of Pi upto more than 50 decimals in a shloka, retaining the spiritual and contextual significance. It is not wrong to criticise or question concepts, but it is better to pause and acknowledge the fact, "Wait a minute, those guys were not fools, and certainly not unscientific".

      Let us all have an anchor, follow our religion or our conscience or most importantly our nation (I don't know, Nation somehow feels the most important for me, atleast as of now). Values have always been there throughout in our country or for that matter in the entire world, and probably people followed them more in our country's glorious past when a strong well-defined and well interpreted religion also existed.

      Would like to end with the note that, humanity is the greatest virtue, but even greater is that inspiration which helps us follow the path. Without humanity and values and morals will remain in blogs and debates thats all.