>> Thursday, January 27, 2011
"Where do I stand?
There are times in my life when I have painfully called out to God. That call came from deep within; based on the hopes He had promised all of us. But, were all those prayers answered? I have often wondered, if you believe in a God who knows everything and watches over everything, is there a need to ask for anything? If a hair cannot fall without His knowledge, is there a point in asking Him, when we ourselves fall totally?
I was born in to a Catholic family and brought up as one. My house was next to the Cathedral and I grew up playing in the church compound, listening to the prayer bells, and the routine of evening prayers and Sunday masses. My world was too small.
To those of my friends who argue about religion, there is a question I always ask.
"Do you believe in God?"
If the answer is yes, I tell them "That is good enough, because there are others out there who do not believe"
"If you believe in God, have you a personal God?"
If He is a God in my list of harmless Gods, I would tell them
"That is wonderful. Because it is better than learning to hate others around who do not believe in your religion"
To those who say they cannot believe in something they haven’t seen, I would say
"Have you seen love? But haven’t you felt that sublime emotion which transcends all feelings and make you feel you cannot live without it ?. God is the same way"
"Have you chosen this religion yourself?"
"If not, then what right have you got to criticize other religions? Do you know what is written in their books or what they believe in?"
My understanding of the Hindu faith changed fundamentally after I started discussing religion with my friend Dr.Anand Kumar, who is a neurologist. I respect him as a fellow doctor and admire his knowledge and skills. He gave me explanations for many of the principles guiding the religion, which I could accept on the basis of simple logic. I could also come to terms with many other faiths the same way.
How many of us have put in some effort to read and understand other religions, before landing on one, rather than sitting in comfort and arguing' Mine is the true one"
I would respect a religion if it teaches you good practices. If it teaches you to love and serve fellow human beings. Not to hurt human and animals alike. I simply cannot respect religions which would advise you to take the life of someone, for whatever reasons.
Faith or religion is some kind of priming. Sometime back, we had few Chinese nurses working in our hospital. I used to ask them about life in China, and was surprised to see that many of them haven’t heard of God. If they haven’t heard of God, how can they believe in one? They don’t have to pray to God for their needs, or when they are in suffering. They were simply not used to it. They were used to living without a God.
I have also thought "If science does not go along with God, how is it that many of our scientists were believers? From Copernicus, Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Faraday to Einstein, we see that many of our greatest scientists believed in God. Their brains were most probably not inferior to ours in any way.
Einstein is probably the best known and most highly revered scientist of the twentieth century, and is associated with major revolutions in our thinking. Although never coming to belief in a personal God, he recognized the impossibility of a non-created universe.
The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: "Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in "Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists." This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: "I want to know how God created this world; I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details."
Einstein's famous epithet on the "uncertainty principle" was "God does not play dice" - and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
"Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntary and uninvited for a short stay, without knowing the whys and the wherefore. In our daily lives we only feel that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own." ... "The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavors in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is."
Einstein's speech 'My Credo' to the German League of Human Rights, Berlin, autumn 1932, Einstein: A Life in Science, Michael White and John Gribbin.
As he famously declared: “A spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe …a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort.”
When asked directly if he believed in God, he always insisted he did, and explained it once this way: “We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”
"Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?"
"My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance-but for us, not for God".
"The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and of science lies in this concept of a personal God". Einstein’s address at Princeton Theological Seminary.
My God and his are the same.