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GOD: Facts and Fancies | Why the concept of God came to human mind?

BY: Payyan | Category: Religion | Post Date: 2009-11-18

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The man was an atheist. He was in a heated argument with his friend. The debate was on god. The atheist was trying to convince his friend that there exists no god. He tried in different ways with all his efforts to convince his friend, but he could not. At last the man cried out, 'Oh..God! How can I convince this man that god does not exist?'

The subject is not new; God. Do you believe in God? Is your God moulded by your religious beliefs? Have you ever felt His power and presence?

But before finding answers to the above questions, let me take you to the early days of human evolution, civilization and origin of thoughts.

Homo sapiens sapiens evolved in Africa around 200,000 years ago, and then migrated to Asia and Europe. They eventually replaced all other hominid species of the world. They had a colonial life style and lived in relatively small groups. Their life revolved around the three basic needs: food, s*x and rest. They hunted to quench the hunger, they had s*x (their only recreation was procreation), and they slept to have rest. Their life was so simple.

Karl Marx was of the opinion that 'work' was the driving force behind human evolution and development. Increase in population and scarcity of animals made hunting difficult. In order to hunt more effectively and efficiently, humans tried to develop tools. More and more complicated and sophisticated tools were invented. Human body adapted itself for his new tasks.

Humans found free times even after their basic needs. They used these free times to modify and repair their tools. They also started decorating their tools. Some tools decorated in a particular way or engraved with some figures brought them good luck in hunting and that was the beginning of their superstitious beliefs.

Early humans were scared of forest fire, heavy rain, thunder and lightning, and strong winds. Their helplessness brought them to the point where they worshipped the natural forces and asked for 'their' mercy. They worshipped sun as the source of light and heat (energy). Eventually natural forces became humans' first gods. They worshipped 'the gods' by showing their respect and fear, and offering whatever they had or gathered. This is the reason for idol worshipping and polytheism found in almost all early human civilizations, where as the concept of monotheism is the result of more advanced human thinking.

When population increased and humans began to live in large groups, enforcing morality became a necessity in order to maintain a peaceful and healthy society. Morality is a system of ideas about right and wrong conduct. In small groups, the power and reputation of the leader can enforce morality. However, that is not enough in much larger groups. Humans used gods as means of enforcing morality. By including ever watchful and powerful gods (with the power to punish for wrong doing), humans discovered an effective strategy for enforcing morality, restraining selfishness and building more cooperative groups.

Now let us come back to god himself and examine the characters and qualities attributed to God. God is:
- Having infinite knowledge (omniscience)
- Having unlimited power (omnipotent)
- Seeming to be everywhere at once (omnipresence)
- Having perfect goodness and morality (omnibenevolent)
- Having no beginning and end
- The creator and sustainer of the universe, everything in it and beyond.

Many of these attributes are well supported to varying degrees in most of the world religions.

Human faith in God varies from person to person depending on his time (age and time of living), environment (life situations- domestic and external), and heredity (family nature and behavior pattern). Some are true believers (theists) and some are strong non- believers, while some others are having a passive nature. The degrees of faith observed are:

- God does not exists
- God almost certainly not exist
- No one knows whether God exist
- God exists, but this can not be proven or disproven
- God exists and this can be proven

Apart from different degrees of faith, there exist different philosophical schools of thoughts on God. The God in monotheism is often capitalized while the god or gods in polytheism are not.

Thiesm - belief in the existence of God or gods.
Atheism - belief that there is no God or gods
Deism - God exists, but does not intervene in the world
Monotheism - belief in the one and only God
Polytheism - belief in many gods
Pantheism - belief that God is the universe and universe is God
Panentheism - belief that God contains the Universe but not identical to it.
Dystheism - belief that God is either not wholly good or is fully malevolent
Nontheism - belief that universe can be explained without any reference to the supernatural being.

Does God exist? Is there any proof for his existence? We ourselves and the world around us are the proof for God's existence. A general atheist argument is that anything which science can not answer is attributed as mystic proof for God's existence by theists. The origin of universe, the mystery of life and death, the unpredictability of future and the like are some examples. But that is not correct. Science is not against God. Science is the systematic explanation of God's works. The main duty and goal of science is to find out and explain in detail (in a systematic and orderly way) the secrets of God's creations. Hence, as an example, anthropology is a filed of science that studies the origins and social relationships of one of God's creations: the human being.

Debate on God's existence continues from centuries to centuries. Different types of arguments like transcendental, cosmologic, ontologic, and those based on intelligent design are on the table. Intelligent design believes that physical and biological systems observed in the universe result from purposeful design by an intelligent being and not from chances or undirected natural processes. Have you ever thought of how perfect, precise and accurate are the movements of celestial planets? The structure of the universe and the movements of stars and planets are so specific, precise, accurate and well calculated. Another example, take the case of human body. How perfectly the organs are designed, arranged, and they work together? Let us go still microscopic level. Consider the structure and functions of a cell element like mitochondria. How perfectly it is designed and works? Do you think it is just a result of chance? If so you should have computers from an electronic store due to earthquake or hurricane. It is not possible to have a computer with some electronic parts and a chance but what you need is a perfect intelligent design and designer.

After all, apart from enforcing social morality, why we need God? Psychology of faith in God explains this. Human life is full of sufferings. Life itself is a struggle. We face a lot of problems everyday. Some of them are easy to face and solve, while others are not. They test our patience and self confidence. We are stressed with fear and pain to face the problems and sufferings of life. In such situations we need a powerful parental savior and moreover, we have a childish desire to remain attached to protecting figures. Here comes the significance of God. Those who have the self confidence to face any problems and sufferings of life, and its consequences, do not need God.

Now let us consider God's relationship with religion. What is God's relationship with religion?

God has absolutely nothing to do with religions. On the other hand religions do have. God did not make any religion. Religions are human concepts and a compilation of human ideas and visions on right and wrong. That is why different religions have different way of approach to God.

If God appeared or expressed himself to messengers and messengers ultimately convoyed the messages to people, then all the religions of the world should have had the same messages, concepts, rituals and practices. But that is not what we observe today.

God does not have religion. God is beyond religion. You can not expect a Christian God, an Islam God or a Hindu God and so on. Why should God give different messages to different messengers and make the followers to debate on his messages and fight each other?

Since religions are human creations, so are religious texts. The texts are not the messages of God but the messages of Great thinkers who had their own high thinking and had a definite view on the concept of God. Each of these Great thinkers had their own way of understanding, worshipping God, and they used the concept of God to enforce laws and system of morality in the society in a way that they believed was right and appropriate. Whatever stated in religious texts is not to be debated since they are the available knowledge of the time when it was compiled or written enriched with exaggeration and mystic divine stories. Hence it is not wise to debate topics like origin of universe, origin and evolution of life, riddle of life and death and the like based on religious texts.

There exist only one God; you call God, Allah, Ishwar, El, or Yahweh. God is the creator and sustainer of this universe, everything in it and beyond. You can imagine or represent God in any form you want, but God is formless. You can worship God in whatever way you want. The one and only condition is that you should not destroy or hurt any other living creation of God by your worship or way of worship. It is not important how you worship God, but what matters is your relationship with God. If you do not have a definite way of worshipping and praying, you should believe in any one of the religions. Religions are good since they show you a definite way of worshipping God and help to mould a moral society. But never try to underestimate other religions. Religious systems are definite ways of knowing and experiencing God and moral ways of living in a peaceful and healthy society.

Problem of evil is often raised against the omnibenevolent and omnipotent nature of God. If God is having unlimited powers and is the perfection of goodness and morality, why there is evil and suffering? Why should God allow evil?

Evil is not the creation of God. We are all gifted with happy life, beautiful world and perfectly designed universe. The negative use of God's gift creates or it is evil. Let me put it in more simple way. Gravitational force is one of the gifts of God. We all make use of gravitational force in different ways. We walk freely on earth, we build our homes and do many other activities. However, when we fall from height, we curse gravity. Another common example in the day to day life is 'fire'. Fire is in fact an invaluable gift of God. But if someone uses fire to burn down others house, it is evil.

Many people use objective male pronouns like 'He' or 'Him' to refer to God. This is due to the anthropomorphic image attributed to God by many early religions. As I mentioned before, God is formless. Many pagan religions (polytheistic- pre-Christian) represent God by using idols and worship them.

Is there anything wrong in worshipping idols? A layman can not understand or grasp the abstractness of God. Miracle stories and image worship are two efficient ways for an ordinary man to understand God. In Hindu religion idol is termed as 'vigraha' which means 'to grasp firmly' or as 'moorti' meaning 'materialization'. So vigraha is a symbolic representation which helps the mind to grasp firmly the abstract idea of God.

You need some kind of images to understand and know God; images like mental image, verbal image or physical image. Mental images are possible to saints with high level of thinking. Concepts of God conveyed through language are verbal images and idols are physical images.

By quoting a true story of Swami Vivekananda (a Hindu saint) I will wind up this article. During the early religious life as a wandering monk, he reached the State of Ahwar in India. He was questioned by the king on idol worship. The king had no faith in idol worship. He was against the idea of worshipping wood, stone or earth. Swami Vivekananda looked upon a painting of the king which was hanging on the court wall. Vivekananda asked the courtiers to spit on it. They were shocked to hear that. No one dared to do what he requested for. Vivekananda turned to the king and said, 'The picture only has the likeness of you. But it is not you. Still it brings 'the king' to their minds and naturally looks upon it with respect. In the same way, the image in the temple brings to the mind of the devotees their chosen aspect of God. They do not worship the wood, stone or earth of which the deity is made from. The idol remains as idol but the worship goes to the Lord.'

Remember, service to God's creations is the most efficient form of worship of God.

Article Source: http://www.saching.com

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Comments on this article: (5 comments so far)

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Comment Comment By Comment Date
GOD: Why the concept of God ?
Payyan has summerised GOD well. Still questions persists ! As science has overtaken the young minds, we have to define every word. Science can be Physical science where our senses play an important role. Developing science is Logic & Statistics. This is more with old texts of Philosophy & Astrology. My children define GOD as `Energy` ! Also `spirit` & `prana` are referred to in place of GOD. This belief comes from knowing powerful Saints performing `Miracles`. Psychology is also one subject which is studied indirectly through `action`. Psychiatrists could study the mind through a machine `EEG` where only meditative state could be defined.
MONI 2010-02-05
GOD: Why the concept of God ?
The point when we gain energy during this State called `Yog` by connecting vast Higher potential outer energy with our inner energy is only Logic. Our last philosophy `Vedanta` out of the main six of old tries to prove that we are GOD. GOD is the positive energy which helps in growth and negative which increases only to destroy called `Evil`. This philosophy was studied and developed in India and went world-wide as per history, when Alexander saw 350 BC by finding people from his land of Greece & Athens here. Finally the human Mind is known to be more powerful than the Body and do things out of sight also.
MONI 2010-02-05
GOD: Why the concept of God ?
This is where laymen argue about worshiping/meditating on `Form` and formless. Our Body & Mind being related, comparing food for body and mind can be cooked (form) and raw (form-less). Formless was stressed more by religious leaders to save natural Life. Nature was always Praised, Thanked and prayers said representing GOD. We are always in debt to this environment and so accept the programmed laws called `Laws of GOD`. Karmic `Cause & Effect`. The article has told in short `Why GOD`. Thanks !
MONI 2010-02-05
GOD: Why the concept of God ?
This `Yog` is achieved by common laymen through `Karma` concentrated & selfless action with hand, by `Bhakti` intense emotion & surrender with heart, and by hermits as Karma, Hata and Gyan Yog with `Head`.
MONI 2010-02-05
I like your approach to God and religion, i wish it could be that simple. while you tried to answer the question of evil, with the assumption of every evil is man made, you ought to answer the evil of natural disasters. your article also left out the question of life after death as well as the purpose of life. and these two questions seems to be a central theme of most religions. what is your approach to life after death and purpose? Tomas
tomas 2009-12-07

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