Dabbling In The Existence Of God
The question of ‘who is God’ refers to something that exists, but the question of ‘what is God’ implies something that is unknown. We think we know who God is. In fact, nobody knows who God is. We think we know Him because we have been told in our childhood that God is a supernatural spirit or being and our lives are in His hands. We have continued to believe in Him (a male figure) without a second thought, accentuated by ritual celebrations and holidays.
Many religions describe a being, referred to as God. Some of these religions label their God as one of many other Gods created by a council of gods. God is an English name given to a sole deity in monotheism or a single deity in polytheism. The earliest written form of this Germanic word god appeared in the 6th century. The capitalised word God was first used in the Gothic translation of the New Testament to represent the Greek word Theos.
The concept of God is usually portrayed as human, except that God is almighty and has created the Universe, the Earth and everything on it, including us and the microscopic bacteria. Although there is no composition in the divine intellect, and the things that He understands has no distinct actuality in him, God is believed to understand everything. In His simple act of intelligence He judges all things.
God answers many people’s prayers and destroys many people including the newly-born. Nobody knows why. It’s believed that God is the Absolute, the Infinite and the Reality. It’s God’s morality that we follow. These philosophical concepts, about which no one knows, linger over the centuries.
All are conjectures. Your words about Him are as good as any others’. This begs the question: how does any philosopher or theologian know about this whole set of attributes that they shower on Him. Nobody has ever or talked to Him.
Does God exist? This is the question I ask myself. Is there any proof of His existence? Scientifically speaking, there is not a shred of evidence with which we can begin to trace His life or whereabouts.
The reason why scientists cannot prove the existence of God, is summarised by Stephen Gould. Gould is an American palaeontologist, biologist and historian of science. He is one of the most influential science writers. He explains that science and religion have exclusive spheres of authority, or, as he calls them – “nonoverlapping magisteria”. Gould’s division assumes a distinction between worlds of facts ie between the domain of science and a world of subjective beliefs that are religions. However, no religion regards its dogmas as subjective beliefs. Every religion regards its dogmas as objective demonstrable facts, and argues against a definitive proof, because a definite proof will violate ‘freewill’ by forcing people to believe.
My first attempt to prove the nonexistence of God is quite simple. It doesn’t require a high IQ.
Over the centuries, the theological philosophers were unable to come up with a definite proof of God’s existence, though the onus of proving that He exists falls on them, as they are the people who say there is a God.
Many people also think that the actual proof of the God-hypothesis is unnecessary. The existence of God is self-evident all around us. This cannot be true anymore. We know thunder and lightning are not the manifestations of God’s wrath. The ancient theistic God, beginning with Pythagoras, has now gone into a muddle because of new scientific discoveries.
God as an ‘infinite’ being, was the product of ancient raw human mind. Infinite in terms of God, is a meaningless epithet. It doesn’t describe anything about Him like the expanding universe. Modern physics and physiology have altered the ancient image of God, which to some degree, was an effect of the natural objects they observed, such as the Sun or the moon. What we know about God is related to His effect on the individual, independent of the rest of the world. An object we perceive is not the same as the object itself. The persona of God we perceive may not be the same as He actually is.
How many people will know that the photons (rays) of light from the sun travel to Earth and when they reach the Earth’s atmosphere they are refracted, and some are more scattered than others, depending on their wave lengths. Ultimately they reach human eyes and all sorts of things happen in the retina. Now we see the sun as we know it. But the sun of our visual experience is very different from the sun that astronomers see, which can be verified over and over again. We cannot do this with God as we cannot locate him.
Einstein’s famous quote: “God does not play dice with the universe” may be interpreted as ‘the course of all events is predetermined’. It’s now regarded as a hidden variable theory. In the present context, my view will be that, perhaps there is no game as God does not exist. God is thus like an enormous pumpkin that, many people wholeheartedly believe it exists. With advances in scientific discoveries, many intelligent people, who can think for themselves, have begun to realise that God doesn’t exist.
Some of the greatest philosophers of the world, such as Plato, Aquinas, Anslem, Leibniz, Rousseau and Descartes have defended the existence of God (cf. Author’s book, My Search For God, 2003). Philosophies are points of view of different people about a sceptical subject. While these philosophers argue among themselves, one aspect that is agreed among them, is the assumption that God exists. But their thinking is basically deduced from wide-spread religious beliefs known as “arguments from desire”.
Philosophers, beginning with Plato, believed the existence of God to be logically valid, and as such, should cause certainty of God’s existence in any unprejudiced person of sufficient philosophical capacity. That means anybody who doesn’t believe in the existence of God is not a deep thinker. That was a very long time ago before the scientific revolution that teaches people to observe with an open mind.
Philosophy for Plato in the 4th century BCE (The Republic. 360 BCE) was a ‘vision of truth’. It was what he thought to be true at that time. It was his creative experience, a subjective certainty, which may be fatally misleading. Plato proposed the doctrine of a ‘Divine Artificer’ ie an artful inventor. That was long time ago, before the Scientific Revolution. Until the 15th century CE, when Nicolaus Copernicus unveiled the heliocentric model of the universe, in which the Sun is the centre of the universe as we know today to be true, Ptolemy’s geocentric model of the universe in the 2nd century, in which the Earth was the centre of the universe, as was written in the Bible, was faithfully accepted.
For me, couched in scientific enquiry, God doesn’t provide the best explanation for the existence of the universe and all that is in it. God is a human construct that developed as the human brain evolved incrementally after the Stone Age. People then began to project human features onto non-human aspects of the world, because it made these aspects more familiar. I believe the existence of God is an empirical question, which means that the question can only be settled after investigation.
It should be clearly defined and answerable with data (evidence) collected.
Philosophy and religion are two great products of the human thought, often clashing with each other in things like, the divine and human nature, and conceptions of God. In the 19th century, Western philosophy became more complex with increasing awareness of Indian philosophies, and contributions from Russia and America. Modern science was making inroads to theology and philosophy. They began to harass many religious beliefs and institutions. Further, Darwin’s theory of evolution and the survival of the fittest took the shine away from philosophy, theology, ontology, and teleology.
The ontological argument is an interesting one. It argues for the existence of a perfect being, while the teleological argument centres on the existence of a Creator – an intelligent designer. Many philosophers and theologians have criticised the teleological argument. Teleological or design
argument for the existence of God is a posteriori (made after the knowledge is gathered) argument for the existence of God, based on the apparent ‘design and purpose’ that exists in the universe.
Beginning in the 1990s, the ‘Creation science’ was relaunched by Creationists , as “intelligent design”, presenting the teleological argument that implies that a designer need not have the qualities commonly attributed with God of classical theism.
With the rise of industrialism, scientific techniques began to affect man’s thoughts. The production of machines, such as computer, a voyager to Mars, or a baby incubator for preterm babies, played on the imaginative picture of the world with an increasing sense of human power and less of divine force.
In the 20th century, the fear of God is markedly diminished by such discoveries as the Big Bang or the landing of Man on the moon, as wells as the genetic discovery of human origin from apes in Africa. Scientists are now giving alternative explanations for most of God’s mysteries, which until then, was regarded as works of a mysterious God., drawing evidence from physics, cosmology, biology and other disciplines of science, particularly the evidence of evolution and natural selection. It has been shown that there is no requirement of a supernatural design.
Theism, while it continued to appeal to vast number of individuals, has now become contrary to the temper of this age, which is turning people away from dogmatic religions, and doctrines of salvation. By the end of the 20th century, the concept of God for the modern-educated and science-orientated people was deeply affected by the pattern of scientific discoveries and social organisations. A sceptical scholarship can provide as gripping a truth as sensationalism that God is delusion.
The primitive religions and modern smart Alec religions have still one concept in common. That is, the emotional dependence on some supernatural being that holds our destiny in the palm of its hand. For primeval religions, there has been a ‘cosmological pluralism’. That is a belief in numerous ‘worlds’, such as Heavens and Earth and other planets in the universe. Whilst modern religion with their well-designed Gods, ties to a supernatural ‘monism’ as the source of a unified structure of the cosmos. Monism is a doctrine or theory that denies the existence of a distinction, such as God and the world or mind and matter.
The mystical and contemplative acts of worship for the unknown mysterious power are the Achilles heel that keeps the ancient tribal and modern people adherent to God. There is however, a difference between the primitive and newer religions.
In essence, the primitive religion has no moral sense of obligation towards anyone outside their small cultural groups. The so-called civilised religions do accept the principle of universal moral responsibility based on their God’s values. This was evident with the formation of the United Nations.
The truth of this statement however, must be considered unreliable, as there are differing moral values among the major religions. I think this is a carrot of dubious merit. So, among the welters of conflicting arguments about the non-existence of God, I will believe the one that will unify human experience of the non-existence of God, based on scientific evidence.
Have to read Human Being Evolved From Apes By DR IM Singh?