One of the signs of human intelligence is the ability to ask this question. However, if you do not answer this question people will yet consider you as intelligent. Clever people ask this question probably to show off and those who attempt an answer get it more complicated than the question itself. Who is going to clear this doubt?
The usual methods
If there is one question that can thoughtlessly emerge from the lips of an innocent child and hesitatingly come out from an old man, if there is one question that is asked so frequently by both the most foolish and the wisest men on earth and yet has tenaciously remained unanswered for centuries then it must be this question, “Does God exist”?
Assuming that you have asked this question now, tell me honestly, what would you do once I establish to you that God exists? Will you give up everything and go after God or would you just continue with life as it is now. What difference would it make to your life if you know that God exists like everything else in this universe.
So is your question just an intellectual exercise or are you genuinely interested in knowing the whereabouts of God? What would you do if God appeared before you? Will you suspect God to be some actor from hollywood or bollywood? In what language should He speak to you? Is God a Man or a Woman?
While the question has survived many centuries, the answers too have not changed. The usual methods of answering this difficult question have always remained the same across the thousands of civilized years and all the religions. Answers are likely to range from a simple, “Cmon, everyone knows there is a God, so why are you asking this stupid question” to the more complex one like “you will have to experience Him by meditation, penance and devotion”.
You lose your patience and ask, “I have not seen God” and the answer is “Can you see air, though you know there is air around you all the time, you cannot see it and God is similar to air”. People vary the answer by replacing Air with Atoms, Electrons, Mobile signals, or electricity etc. Whenever this question of God is asked you always get more complicated questions coming to you than any good answer. Is there an answer? There is always an answer for every question. Is it not?
If you ask a spiritual Guru (India) sometimes you may get silence for an answer or sometimes a loud laughter. Perhaps you may even wonder if the Guru knew the answer or you may assume that the Guru knows but you are not that big to understand God.
When people ask me “Does God exist”? my answer has also been the same “Which God are you talking about”?
Anyone who asks this question must first look around the great things in this universe. I usually request them to have a close look at a butterfly and start imagining that it all happened without a plan or a creator. Just imagine the design on a butterfly happened out of mere chance. Or have a look at the intricate designs in a peacock feather. Or simply keep tracking the ugly caterpillar until it becomes the beautiful butterfly. I ask them “Who is the programmer”?
If you cannot accept God as the creator then try answering the question that follows the denial of God. Who else or what else made all that is in the universe. I ask them to tell me an convincing answer on how all that you see on earth has happened without a creator.
If you ask anyone whether God exists or not, depending on your faith you may be asked to refer a scripture that the person prefers over the others, for example the Holy Bible, The Holy Quran or The Bhagawad Gita. You are likely to get the recommendation to read one of these books of ancient origin and you will have to take the print as the final evidence of God. For the scientifically trained mind that is the most difficult thing to do. Seeing is notbelievingwhenever it comes to print. They know that whatever is printed need not always be true. They always ask for more tangible proof much beyond the printed manuals of God.
If you eagerly watch videos on youtube to get the answer on whether God exists or not you will be taken through wonderful and interesting videos but in the end you most probably may get the feeling that it was leaning on a particular religion. At the end of every video you get the feeling that it had other ulterior motives. The videos usually start with great music and scientific evidences, slowly giving way to a particular religion.
A story that applies to the belief of God so well
Once upon a time there lived a man who had a well-made sword which he cherished as dear as his life. One day, he could not find his sword anywhere in his house. He panicked and ran around his home several times over. Then his attention turned outwards and his searching eyes fell on his neighbor’s son.
Looking for more evidence, he began to observe the boy whenever he was seen in the next house. In the man’s eyes, the way the boy walked, his looks, the expression on his face, the manner of his speech – in fact everything about his appearance and behavior seemed to confirm that he had indeed stolen his sword. Just before the man was about to confront the boy, he found the sword in his own house.
When he looked at the young boy again, everything about him had changed. His behavior and appearance now matched so well with his innocence in the crime. The boy looked as innocent as he was before. This story speaks volumes on human behavior and perception.
The doubts on the existence of God so well matches this story. You believe in God and everything in the world looks like the work of God. If you think that God never existed then nothing in the world can convince you into believing in God.
The Buddha: the athiest and the believer.
Once upon a time a great believer of God who spent a lifetime uttering the name of God and doing all the prescribed rituals came up and stood before Lord Buddha who was seated beneath a giant tree surrounded by 100s of disciples. The man who appeared confused said, “O Great One. Yesterday I got this strange thought on God to whom I am have praying to all my life. The doubt was what if God did not exist in which case I would have wasted 60 years of devotion and belief on a non-existent being, please kindly clarify. Does God Exist?”
The Buddha answered thus, “God does not Exist”.
Whenever the monks had asked Him this question, the Buddha remained silent. So the monks were waiting eagerly for the great answer. The moment they heard Him speak thus, they were so happy that the Buddha had finally declared that there was no God although His teachings never mentioned God. Until that moment they had no clue on what was the opinion of the Great Master on the topic of God.
Later on another man came up to Lord Buddha this time with just the opposite question. This man was an athiest throughout his life. A day before, a strange doubt came up in his mind. Something that has never happened before. “What if God existed? The whole world will call me the greatest fool and after my death I may perhaps go to hell and remain there for eternity”. Such doubts he thought was best clarifed by the The Buddha. So with folded hands he stood in front of the all knowing One.
The Buddha replied, “He exists”.
The Buddha who never spoke a lie, had contradicted Himself without any doubt. The monks of course found out the answer after much contemplation.
The existence of God is not important. What is important is whether you believe in God or not. The moment you doubt His existence, then He ceases to exist as for as you are concerned. God is like knowledge. Knowledge is there everywhere. But if you do not possess it, knowledge is non-existent.
The moment you suspect He exists, then He exists.
God and the Personal God
There are people who believe in a formless God but do not believe in a personal God. God as a creator or the most superior being in the Universe is admissible to many of the intellectuals the world has seen but even they have no belief in a personal God.
Whenever we personalize God problems come up. Is our God superior to other Gods? Is our religion superior to another? My personal God is a woman with multiple arms and weapons. My God is a father who has a Son. My God is a man who has 2 wives. My God is half man and half woman. My God is half man and half Lion. My God has 99 names. My God is just fire. My God is light. My God is lightning. For others God is the Universe.
My God has an enemy – Satan. My God is rich. My God speaks English. My God speaks and understands only Sanskrit so you have to speak in Sanskrit.
An atheist may call himself an atheist simply because he cannot accept a personal God. A formless God is perhaps acceptable to him. But not a God with 4 hands or a God who looks like a Man about 6 foot tall and weighing about 80 Kgs. That is the whole problem of an atheist.
Most people stick to their views
Despite the scriptures, most people keep asking the same question on God. Their question is valid, “just because it is there in the scriptures should I believe in God”. “I want to see God directly” is what every atheist is screaming about. Direct proof is the habit of science and scientists and since many of us have gone to school, scientific temperament is a permanent part of us. Moreover there is the doubt whether people have tampered with the scriptures or have added texts or deleted parts of it to suit their convenience or intentions. Many suspect that religion is in hand in glove with political motives.
For those who do not believe in him, he does not exist at all and it is so easy to understand that he does not exist at all because there is no proof of God. It is as simple as that.
There are those who believed in God all the time and then suddenly in a moment of doubt or despair feel that they have wasted their time with God. There are those who have been an unyielding atheist but in a moment of belief suddenly felt that there must be a God. Such belief swings are so common when it comes to God. Sometimes a miracle does that transformations. Sometime a traumatic experience leads one to disbelieve in God.
The text books that we studied in schools and colleges refuse to mention God because God is not openly admitted by science. You may go through an entire lifetime studying botany and zoology, admire everything in nature and yet believe that all these beautiful plants and creatures happened purely by chance or happened after years of evolution and that it had nothing to do with a creator. Moreover none of these books ever mention the word God or a supernatural being as the creator of all the lovely plants and animals you know of.
God is not included in botany or zoology because God is no species nor genus that can be included in a science journal. Science demands proof, photographs, records, fossils and skeletons to prove God and since that is not possible, never will God be mentioned in schools and colleges.
The Hindu scriptures have found a unique method to prove the existence of God. It uses the simple idea of negating everything that you can see, know, smell, touch, hear or feel by using the method “Not this”. You see something and ask is that God? The answer you get using this ancient method is “Not that”. You go on until you have nothing else in the universe. That which cannot be seen or comprehended is to be known as God because God cannot be known or understood. He is simply beyond comprehension.
I know a Hindu who converted to Christianity because he found this method so awfully wrong. . He thought of what use is Hinduism if it used this kind of a logic to prove God. He became a Christian, but did that help him find God is another matter. Whenever he got the chance at the mic he used to tell the audience why be became a Christian. “Not this Not this” looked like “Not Hinduism” to him and so he embraced Christianity.
Another view used by Hindus say “God is in everything, and that God is inseparable from whatever you see and that is the proof of God. God is everywhere. Where is not God?”
It does not mean that other faiths have a better proof of God. All the scriptures use abstract methods. However just because we have not seen something you cannot take that as the proof of its non existence. For example no one has seen my great great grandfather and there is no records of such a person. Despite all that my family members know that he must have existed once upon a time.
In the same way if something is seen it is not the proof of existence. We see a movie for 3 hours but nothing really exists. We see a beautiful girl but it does not stay for ever and after many decades the beautiful girl has become an ugly grandma. Which one is real? The girl or the grandma. So where is beauty? Does it exist? Smart people therefore say that beauty exists in the eyes of the beholder. For example, Grandpa may continue to see the beauty in the Grandma.
Imagine if God has to come before you, how is He to come? As a Man or a Woman, How tall, How short? Is He obese or thin? If you asks questions like this you will know the absurdity of expecting Him to come before you for proof. Or who is going to command Him to appear before you because you wanted the proof of the existence of God.
If He comes before you, will He also be in the place which He left before coming to you. How can he come without leaving a place empty of God. If you go from here to another place and appear before people there, will you not cease to exist in the place that you were before you left your place?
If He comes before you, will He not cease to exist everywhere else in the universe. Or you may wish to say that even if He comes before you, He will continue to exist everywhere else.
People say God is up in heaven and the Devil is always down below. If we all live on a round planet like earth, what is up and what is down? With all the scientific advancement we have made it is easy for everyone to understand this fact. You do not need a spiritual Guru to explain this. But we prefer to stay with our traditional thoughts on our personal God.
Despite the best telescopes and other spotting devices we have never seen any heaven or hell so far, though we have seen both of these on earth. AScandinavian country is probably heaven on earth andSomaliais probably hell on earth.
If God is the creator who created God? This question is so simple. This is one of the most common question that is so difficult to handle, because the moment you say “God existed always”, then the follow up is likely to be “why not accept that everything that you see today always existed”.
Science is also no good at coming to our rescue because even scientists have neither understood creation nor the creator. They say that matter can neither be created nor be destroyed and they also believe simultaneously that there was a moment of creation when nothing existed and then with a BIG BANG, the whole universe appeared out of nothing. This is the height of contradiction yet coolly ignored by the scientists only because they too have no clue on how it all began.
In their attempt to eliminate God, they have sunk deeper into the quick sand of ignorance.
From when did you exist?
You ask any person “from which date did you exist”? and the quick answer will be “on the date of my birth”. Then ask them “where you dead in the womb of your mother”?and they will realize their mistake. We think that we came suddenly into existence. We think therefore that the universe too came into existence with a big bang just the same way we thought we were born.
Scientists will let you know that you existed from the time the sperm met the ovum and therefore you existed even before the moment you were born. But where you in the sperm or the ovum? Today we know that the sperm and the ovum contribute their equal share in the zygote that follows. So did you exist in the sperm or the egg?
Speaking of existence do we exist in the first place? What is the meaning of existence? It is so difficult to understand the world “Exist”. Because if you see someone now and therefore know that he exists, later on when he dies, we know that he no longer exists. Similarly we see a Star exists and later on does not exists. We see both in the living and non living things that what exists today may not exist later on.
How to prove God?
The scriptures say that God cannot be proved by the use of intellectual discussion and if that is true then we can never find the answer about God by using intellectual discussion.
The Vedas (ancient Indian knowledge base) say thatbhakti or pure devotion is the recommended way to understand God because intellectual methods are difficult. The bhakti route decries the scientific methods of proving or knowing God. Bhakti is an emotional method and is a very powerful tool to understand God. Bhakti is like Trust and Love. Bhakti says “Simply trust there is GOD and leave it at that”.
Despite many plane crashes around we board the next flight having firm trust that the pilot will not let us down. We see earthquakes around and yet invest in lands and tall buildings. We bring up children despite seeing ungrateful children trusting that our children will be the best in the world. We enter a hospital optimistically even if we see a dead body carried out of the hospital. Such is the trust we have on our doctors.
If the trust and love method is used by scientists, spiritualist and every businessman why should they not accept God as it is without any further questions. The reason is that we have nothing to lose when we argue against the existence of God. If we trust in the pilot we can fly, if we trust in doctors we can get another extension of our life. But if we trust in God, the results are not that tangible.
Moreover God is a kind person. Not trusting Him is least likely to anger Him. We have nothing to lose if we are an atheist.
The atheist lives happily in this world. The believers too are happy. Or if you say the atheist is having many problems then the believers too have their own set of problems to solve. What I am trying to say is that your happiness or sorrows seem to have nothing to with God.
But look at it this way. What harm may befall you if you believe in God? Let us say there is no God but even then what is the harm in believing in Him. In any case we always depend on our abilities and common sense. We do not go and fight with a lion in a jungle just because we prayed to God for protection from the Lion. You will not dare to enter a boxing ring merely because you thought God will help you win. You must have practiced all day and night to get there.
Many people have asked me several time, “Is there a God”. On one such occasion I asked, “Will you believe me if I said He exists. All the millions of temples, churches, mosques, etc have not been able to convince you that there is a God above you and now you expect me to believe that if I told you that there is God you will start believing in Him”? I know that people ask me this question only to know how I am going to handle this question.
Most people ask this question only to prove that they have a questioning mind or they may ask this question to drag you into a discussion in which he may want to prove his supremacy in logic and debating abilities.
How I personally handle this question on God
Whenever people ask me this question I ask them another question, “Which God are you talking about”? This question startles them beyond any imagination. You may wonder how this question is capable of creating such an impact until you actually ask this question to someone. I simply put the ball in his court. After all I consider it the duty of the atheist to prove God.
He may have to reply, “The God that you people are talking about”. I will continue “Which God, the God of the Christians, the God of Hindus or the God of Islam, which God are you talking about”? If he is a Hindu, I will ask “Is it MahaVishnu or Shiva”?
It is so difficult to describe a non existing thing. The atheist cannot describe God because he does not believe in God. He has to use the description of God as how believers know God. So anything that he knows of God is what he has heard from others.
The disbelief in God is usually at the level of non acceptance of a superior being having created the Universe. So the atheist will have to find out how the universe started in the first place. He will be forced to admit something else. He will have to accept the big bang theory.
The point is that if you do not believe in God then you will have to believe in something else. You may even say that all that you see in the universe happened by chance and that no intelligent super being created it.
Whatever it is, something must have existed all the time. Whichever way you look you will have admit that. Because out of nothing, all this everything cannot come. If any scientist can believe that everything can come out of nothing then that must be considered as the most foolish statement ever uttered by a Man.
The believers have additional problems to solve
For an atheist there is only one problem. He wants everyone else to reject God because he knows that God does not exist. That is all he has to worry about.
For the believers there are many more problems. He believes in God but he has never seen Him, there is no known proof either, so occasionally many believers at least once in a lifetime suspect whether there is a God.
Even if you are sure that God exists you do not know which God is the true God. Is it the Christian God? or the Hindu God? For the Hindus the problem is even more. There are 1 million registered temples in India and there are about 1000s of various forms of God. There are those who say Vishnu is supreme, some say it is Shiva.
The description of God makes it even more confusing as fresh questions are born in the inquisitive mind. Is God always kind? If He is, then why do unkind things happen to people? These are the questions.
I know a friend who believed in God until his father passed away. He complained, “Of what use is my devotion to God if He cannot save my father”. He expects God to save his father forever.
He is unaware that God does not see death anywhere. God does not see the possibility of death anywhere because it simply never happens. Life is just recycled. However to the ignorant, it appears there is death and a result the pangs of separation is very high leading to disbelief in the existence of a benevelent God. Life ends here and begins somewhere else. My friend is not aware that his father died only to be reborn as a fresh new child elsewhere. Unaware of this basic truth, my friend thinks the duty of God is to save every human being from death.
Evil things happen in this world because of Satan. That is what is being told. Many in India who know a little bit of Astrology confuse Saturn with Satan because both are negative entities causing the maximum problems to them.
The scientists who believe in the super natural being called God sometimes have divided opinion on His role. Sir Isaac Newton believed that the 1st push was given by God but after that He does not interfere with the systems. Newton was wondering on who pushed the planets into motion. He uses his 1st law to explain why the planets are continuously moving round and round on their orbits, but was not clear on what caused it to move initially.
The religious people say that God is looking into their day to day activity and that their prayers are getting sorted out by the divine on a daily basis. Just imagine 2 players in the world cup finals fervently praying to God to win the World Cup. God will favor whom?
Most people believe in God thinking that He will offer them a heaven which is a place of enjoyment for the rest of eternity. They believe that He offers them this place for the good things they do in the world. They believe that God is merciful and yet believe that He has created a Hell for the wrong doers. The brilliant students around the world have asked many time, “who created hell? Some say it is God and others say it is the Devil. The smarter ones even ask who created the Devil? Did he exist alongside God or was he created by God or Man created the Devil and so on.
In Hinduism God is divided into 3 parts, the creator Brahma, thesustain-erMahaVishnu and the destroyer Shiva thereby accepting the 3 parts of existence. There is the creation, new stars are born (scientific evidence), there are stars that remain and stars that crash into black holes.
Is God everywhere? Or is He only in certain places that is referred as places of worship. There are of course the more important places of God. The same person who says God is everywhere also will tell you go to that place and pray. So we have the Churches, the Mosques and the Temples even though we know that God exists everywhere.
Sometimes we come across those who say that God is formless. He is beyond gender and is beyond any description. But God is often referred as He. In Hinduism we have the concept of Goddess and in Lord Shiva we have the Half-Man Half Woman form too.
In Christianity we have the Father, Son and The Holy Spirit. The 3 or the Trinity is something that is common between Hinduism and Christianity.
Those who worship the Cross or the Shiva Linga are those who do not associate God to a particular human form.
It looks like the same God is visualized so differently by the human beings. The overall description that God is the all powerful super natural being is common between the believers. When we get into the specifics there seems to be a lot of differences.
If God created everyone, who created the mentally and physically challenged people of the world? This a very common question that comes from the Atheist. This seems to be tough riddle. However the usual replies are “God created them because He wanted to see who is going to help them out”.
In India especially in Tamilnadu (South India), I have often seen the following photograph in many offices and shops that belonged to Hindus. Hindus are usually more tolerant to other religions when compared to others. Many Hindus go to Church along with their Christian friends but Christians find it very difficult to enter a Hindu temple.
Wherever I found this picture hanging on the wall I love to question the business owner, “why do you have all the Gods in one frame”? The answer is usually “I believe that there is only 1 God and He appears in many forms”. Without a pause I ask them, “why do you keep your God in the centre, and Jesus and the Mosque on the sides”? They fumble for a good answer. It is so difficult to give up our perception of God.
To the believers, God is a Human being with a particular form and that too whatever their parents taught them.
Scriptures say the same thing
Scriptures speak the truth and that is accepted by the believers who follow the respective scripture. The problem is that there are many scriptures. Since they say the same thing, if one man reads many scriptures he will definitely be confused because in each of the scripture we find statements like “I am the Supreme, the True God, and every other god is fake”. This has caused a divide of the entire world into a few major religions.
Probably if men who are born in a particular religion stay within their religion and do not compare theirs with others then no problems are likely to arise. But today with the exchange of knowledge by books and internet is possible for each one of us to read what the other religion says and leads to conflict of views.
Religious conversions have also added to the confusion that relates to the concept of God because conversion is a tell tale sign that the religion to which the converted person belonged to was not good enough.
Divisions are bound to create conflict and the presence of many religions have created problems to world peace. Though people have learned to ignore the differences and live alongside with others somewhere deep down there is thesmoldering differences concealed like avolcanowhich at times erupts.
In Bhagvad Gita chapter 11 and stanza 43 Arjuna is all praise of Lord Sri Krishna after he has seen all the forms of Gods and Demi-Gods all inside the form of Lord Sri Krishna. He says, “You are the father of this complete cosmic manifestation, the worshipable chief, the spiritual master. No one is equal to You, nor can anyone be one with You. Within the three worlds, You are immeasurable.”
Exodus 20:23 (Bible) states … Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
Deuteronomy 5:7 “You shall have no other gods before me.
Which God is the true God? Or where they talking about the same God?
All religions have commenced from a human form.
Whatever we have known of God has come from people who actually lived on earth. The concept of God did not come from outside. It was made known to ignorant people by those special beings who walked on this beautiful planet at various times. The origin of any religion is not God but special beings who walked on earth and lived among the human beings.
Christians are dependent on Jesus Christ and His teachings, Islam is dependent on what The Great Prophet Mohammed said and current form of Hinduism has largely been dependent on what Sri Krishna spoke to Arjuna though Hinduism and its concepts seemed to have existed even before Sri Krishna. From Lord Buddha came Buddhism.
It looks like that no religion came directly from the original God but from those special beings that either resembled God or were parts of the original God or appointed by God.
Though no one has seen God directly they have seen God indirectly through the extraordinary representatives of God.
The point here is that all that we know of a religion has direct links with a human form. Whether the human form was a God incarnate or a highly evolved soul is not that important, but what is important is that religion originates from a human form. Though God is formless at least the religions have commenced from a human forms.
It looks like God is not the cause of religions.
All the special beings were believed to be of the nature of God because they did many things that human beings usually are not capable of. These special actions are referred as miracles. Many of the special beings were capable of higher knowledge, great powers, ability of see the future, make prophecies that eventually turned out to be true.
For example Lord Sri Krishna shows the end of the war to Arjuna and that is what happens in the end. Jesus Christ said many things about the future and it exactly happens the way He said about it.
God exists. But you cannot understand everything about Him that easily.
It takes years for us to understand mathematics, integral calculus, trigonometry, chemistry, physics. So it might probably take a few lives (rebirth) for us to understand God.
We are not trained on God in the same way we were trained on such subjects. Despite many teachers, a good school and college, many of us did not do well in our academics. Simple things are so difficult for us.
Have you understood fully he game you play? You may have played snooker for years but can you be sure that you will pot that ball each time? You may have played Chess for years but can you be sure that your next move is the correct one? We are always in doubt and we are always imperfect.
God is the perfect One.
Then how can the imperfect understand the perfect?