For a lot of people, the answer to this question is almost as effortless as a reflex. A “yes” or a “no” is perhaps the easiest thing to say. However for me, this question has no easy answer, merely becauseI am not sure. My best attempt would be: “I don’t know.”

 

Time and again different people have asked me this and I’d have to say it’s been a rather strenuous exercise, obviously because you never know who feels bad about what you say or don’t. Also each time I begin to answer this I have to be 200% cautious about what I say or I am sure to be labeled as “an atheist or agnostic or a deist  ” or some other complicated term. I certainly do not intend to hurt/offend any one’s sentiments and beliefs, (even though most of the time people end up offending me and laughing at me when I say I’m not sure) but I do wish to be honest about the way I feel.

In order to believe in anything, doesn’t one, first need clarity on what it is? Which means to be able to say I believe in god, don’t I first need to question what is god? I do. But I don’t think I have an answer to that, yet.
However what I do know is that, one has to believe in something. I don’t know if it can be labeled “god” or not but I do know that everything is not in our hands. People call it destiny, fate, luck, god, faith etc. There are things beyond our control and there is something much bigger, much more powerful and way more superior than you and me. We need to acknowledge that and remember it.
 I think that’s what praying is all about. But I don’t see why there should be a time or place set to do this. I am not saying one must not visit a temple, church, mosque, gurudwara, an agyari or any other holy place to pray. But go on Sunday and not on Tuesday and pray five times a day facing the north or south, offer fifty one rupees in so and so temple, do it like this and not like that, stand and pray don’t sit etc etc etc.  Why all this? Apart from the usual unpleasant instances of shoes being stolen and beggars harassing people, we have numerous examples of how these places of worship are becoming increasingly commercial. We hear strange stories every now and then- large donations being given, lavish offerings being made to deities with no accountability of the money, pedophiles and the list goes on.
There are certainly other ways of acknowledging the bigger/superior power that exists such as helping, doing good, being humble, not disregarding or disrespecting others. I agree doing all this is in no way the same as going to a temple, church etc but it is in a way showing that, you have regard for the life you lead, and you are grateful for it and the person/power who has given it to you.
The statement “God is one” has been reiterated all the time. The problem is I don’t think people understand what it truly means, which is why we had the Babri Masjid dispute. Everyone has originated from different places and has understood the term “God” differently and named it something. So the concept of “god” is the same across castes/races/continents but different groups of people have different images of the very same “god”.  Now it is a little silly to disregard the other group’s images just because they are not the same as yours, because in the end the idea of “god” is one. All those images are of the same god.  Religion creates divide, only because we do not understand this very basic notion, and even if we do we refuse to implement it.

12 thoughts on “Do you believe in God?

  1. Well writ vidster. There is a big difference between Religion and 'God'. God, or the universal equation as I would put it, being the penultimate balance and most likely the answer to questions we yet not know. And religion, the man made organized faith that tends to control rather than open one's mind to a common spiritual cadence. We need to worry about God's followers more than anything else. But then again it is human nature to create war or imbalance. There really isn't any equilibrium in our existence on this planet.

    From an evolutionary stand point, every species needs to survive by suppressing the unfit. As far as humans go? We take variables like caste, race and culture as means of segregation. Each one thinking that their view is more superior. At the end of the day, it is just a view, right or wrong, just an opinion. We need to open our eyes to a bigger picture.

    Where do we go from here? We tend to forget that our planet is an institution much older than any 'God' we created. We fail to pay homage to the nature around us and fail to understand that the ground we walk on is the one true entity we need to get together and fight for not against.

    Could go on forever but I should stop. Either way, well done Vidhi !!…
    I like the fact that you choose to question first rather than accept ambiguity.

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  2. Simon: First comment! 🙂 I knew your feedback/comment would run into pages. This is good though:). I am in agreement to what you've said but please remember the amount i have written is clearly not enough to give a complete over view of the issue. For that we may have to publish volumes but i dont want people falling asleep while reading my blog so i had to keep it simple and not too scattered.
    Glad you like it!

    Aditya: I am so happy to know you read my blog regularly 🙂
    Its a lot of encouragement you know 😀

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  3. Vidhu,very clear thoughts,one should have the courage to stand up & express ones views on God, or as you say any label that is given.
    I truly believe the best form of worship is being a good & just human being & not hurting another living soul.
    All the bumkum of rituals , sacrifices, maantas are not for, they may work for others..thats their life!!

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  4. sorry for lateness, had a meeting with 'God' in Hampi and it lasted a week… 😛

    I think, the problem with 'God is one' is linguistic. Atleast, every time I have debated an atheist, they each defined the God they did not believe in, differently. It's very easy to argue, and counter argue and reason and rationalize… God is just one way of saying things. there is a Million others…. there is Tao…. there is the universe… (which btw is very popular now)…

    There was something formless and perfect
    before the universe was born.
    It is serene. Empty.
    Solitary. Unchanging.
    Infinite. Eternally present.
    It is the mother of the universe.
    For lack of a better name,
    I call it the Tao.
    ~

    Imp part here : “for lack of a better name” … it's not imp.

    The simplest way through this is to submit to it. the rest will manage itself like it always has.

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  5. You started your blog with the impossibility of knowing God, and gradually went into the conflict resulting from the varied misunderstanding of the concept of God. It is well-written but it left me unsatisfied. It seems that you have found your answer in the statement “God is one”. But is that really the case? I think a more fundamental question than “Does one believe in God?” is “Does one need to believe in anything at all?”. We humans are somehow afraid of the fact that everything may be random and driven by chance. We somehow need a firm center, a firm “something” to which we can cling to – “God” is one of the most comforting concepts ever. I am not an atheist, but my line of thought is agnostic through and through. Not that I could write better than you. But I would have loved to read had you explored it a bit further. It is a good piece nonetheless. Keep Questioning!

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  6. Jigar: Thanks for the comment. Glad you liked it 🙂

    I agree, It started with exploring the sheer existence of god and then went on to god is one only because for those of us who aren't sure, the situation is way more in control than for the ones who are sure of this concept!
    The point I think I was trying to make is, that its alright to both, believe in god and be unsure but its absolutely not okay to turn violent for that same “god” because ultimately we are questioning a singular entity and not different kinds of gods!

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  7. I get what you were trying to do. And it's really difficult to tackle a topic like this, but you have handled well. There was a time when this question used to bother me a lot. Once, while reading Alan Watts, I came across an interesting thought. That those who believe in god truly get all the answers about life. They seem to lead a healthy life, coz if they are in trouble they'll think “God will handle it. He has a plan for me” or something. How comforting is that! On the other hand there are those who are so obsessed about their concept of God that any idea or action that threatens their belief is responded with violence. It is this set of people that are a menace for society. But it's a really tricky terrain. One is never sure how to act in the midst of chaos. So I try to be neutral: more often than not, I try to live as if life is random and chance-driven and if I choose to do anything, it is my responsibility and not God's. Then when mother calls me to go to temple, I happily accompany her, submitting to her strong belief more than mine. And while I am in the temple, I hold my hands in front of the deity, really wanting to believe that there should be something higher than us all. Something that can be a single point of reference. It keeps me going though 🙂 I am sure you'll get my drift!

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