Saturday, October 09, 2004

Religion - Fiction or Non-fiction?

<[TN]FBMachine> i got kicked out of barnes and noble once for moving all the bibles into the fiction section


Sometimes I wonder about religion and religious texts. They were definitely written by humans and certainly, there is an element of fiction involved too. Like the bible talks about how God created the world in seven days! Makes me wonder what an ingenious mind it has to be to create a religion and that religion survives for thousands of years! Is it because that people are so gullible or is it because that the text really touches the heart of people and helps the people live a happy and contended life?
Seriously, what is it that makes religion work? All religions seem to do is restrict people and surprisingly, people like this restriction imposed on them by something that a dude wrote thousands of years ago in a language now extinct except in academic circles! For example, sex is a very bad thing for the Catholics; they spend their lifes trying to stay away from the evil S and it simply does not make sense! Why would a religion be against procreation, which as the word suggests is pro-creation? Their priets have to celibate and their sisters virgins!
As we enter the twenty-first century, these questions bother me as the religion is a very strong subject in India. For one, there are too many fundamentalist organisations rooted in religion these days. RSS, VHP, SIMI, etc, have been creating havoc in this country for a long time and the people have done nothing to stop them. In fact, the influence of these groups seems to be increasing and our society is tending towards violence more and more. Godhra and Gujarat is an example of that. Stats sponsored riots is bad news for all citizens of this country. But let me stop this thought here. I could write a lot on this but not now. Let me get back to my original thoughts.

What does it take to write a story? A really good one that lasts much longer than your own lifetime, something that would later be no longer fiction? Or was it a real event in the first place? But it still would be someone's version of that incident and how s/he looks at it and what aspect of the event motivates him/her to write it down. Then it has been translated and rewritten so many times that the original story is probably lost and no longer accessible to us today.
Creating myths and miracles has been a quite an old method to create awe and subserveince to the God-men. It is rooted in the inexplicable. Is religion merely an urban legend? people claim to have been helped by religion. Is that really true or are they have been helped merely the the men who speak in the name of God?
The real question I am asking is, does God exist?


Jaya said...

Whatever the reason be, we, humans, are an obedient species. On an average we like to obey - we are too happy to let someone else make a decision for us. I do not know how to explain this, but this is what happens. And at some point of time in history, some people have had the mind to exploit this tendency and those stories stuck with us.

But does the existence of God need to be related with the postulates of a religion? Of course it can be debated, but according to me God exists - God being a power above humans.Something does exist above humans - since with all our science and progress, we can at best *discover* laws of nature. We can not *make* them. Who makes these laws? Who said "g" must be equal to 9.8 and not 10?

MadHat said...

You are right that we need to treat God and religion separately but there is an obvious link between the two which we cannot ignore. Religion is a belief system which requires God to exist for its explanation of the world around us and therefore, it needs to make up stories/episodes of supernatural workings. Of course, there are people who will argue that these stories may be true but we need to realise that any story of a true incident is but one perspective of the event and not necessarily the "truth" - whatever that may be.

Your question about g being 9.8 and not 10 is very interesting. But you are assuming that there was someone/something that said let there be such and such law and there it was! Ok, there might have been a creator who created the Universe but what role does he/she/it play now? Was creation a one time thing or is there something being created a.k.a changed at regular/irregular intervals of time? If the laws of the Universe is not changing, then "God" might be some dead alien race that dabbled in creation... But if it is, then there is no way to ascertain that it is, right? Even if there was a creator, why would he create so many planets and suns without any life forms on them? Well, we dont know that for sure but look at the solar system itself. It seems like an awful lot of matter and energy is wasted with just a tiny planet called earth where life exists... Does that mean that God is/was a spendthrift and a non-optimum worker? Was s/he/it so sloppy when he created this Universe? Does that mean that s/he/it was not all-powerful after all?

Ok, if we assume that there was no God/Creator in the first place and then there is no explantion for the Universe but to consider it to be a randomly formed chaotic system - which is what the astrophysicists consider it to be, btw. Chaos seems to be the ultimate law of the Universe and life on earth is a freakish coincidence. This view makes me value life more that I would if I thought that there was a God who created and destroyed life. Makes me more of a pacifist and an admirer of nature/life. Wouldnt that be better?

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