Friday, October 21, 2005

The odd God made them all

This is where it all started. Atleast today, that was where it started (don't miss the comments section.) The wily mind's urge to dissect, categorize, paste the label and file it away as done. Alas! dicey subject mate. God is one of the most debated ideas. And we shall be refuting each other with examples that cannot stand against multiple solid perspectives. Having said that, it is always interesting to discuss the idea of God because there are as many interpretations of the entity as there are people on this planet.

It makes sense to talk about my personal opinion here because that is the only one I know for sure. The opinions of others can, at best, be catalysts. But I have to put my own head on the grindstone and further my ideas over time. Chandrachoodan asked me some good questions at the place where it all started and here is what I said

C>>What do you think is God?
Echo: My opinion has been evolving and will continue to do so. At the moment, I think that God is the highest potential energy state that can be reached. Every man has the inherent capacity to get to that state.

C>>If you don’t try reason and logic to find god, how else would you?
Echo:I have been applying reason and logic all along and it has been frustrating to discover that I just go around in circles with no convincing pointers forward. Therefore, I have been thinking that there must be other ways of understanding that do not necessarily stop with cold logic. Logic says if it is not black then it must be white; if it is not love then it must be hate. Where do we fit in entities like ‘gray’ and ‘indifference’ then? Logic is a useful tool, but it cannot be the only instrument used to arrive at rock solid conclusions.

C>>What would you discover and how will you understand whatever you found?
Echo:Ah. Now this is a tough one to answer. I have no clue what I would discover but I do know that when I question something, I must be open to finding answers that I may not really like.

C>>The prime number example:
Echo: Logic works beautifully in a number of examples but does it mean that Logic can answer everything? A knife can be used to cut some things but in other cases a scissor is simply a better tool. In short, Logic is necessary but not sufficient.

I said all this because I genuinely believe that the existence of God is a matter that can be concluded only on the basis of personal experience. 'Does God exist?' can be answered using either a 'Yes' or a 'No' depending upon how the mind of the person (answering the question) works. Take my case: I believe that every new person I meet is genuine and good unless I confirm otherwise. There might be someone else who believes that every new person she meets is cunning and manipulative unless she confirms otherwise. Both of us are right because we are open to the idea that we may have to confirm otherwise. Likewise God can exist and not exist in the minds of people depending upon how they choose to approach the subject. What is totally irritating is the way average discussions about God and his existence degrade into ego matches where defending one's shaky opinion becomes far more important than acceptance of a better opinion.

I see various opinions as rungs on a ladder, serving for a short interval until the climber puts another foot forward. But hey, is the ladder on the right wall? So, tell me, what would your answers be to Chandroo's questions?

Some important things to note:

  1. I would love to hear from you. That is why this post is up with the comments sections open. However, you are expected to articulate your opinion without being offensive. I shall not tolerate impolite people here. Period.
  2. If you are contradicting another person's opinion, please substantiate your argument. Simply calling someone wrong does not further open discussion.
  3. This post is just a prelude to a more detailed discussion on the subject. If there are enough open-minded takers that is.
  4. If you decide not to comment, I am going to conclude that you agree with me. Ah, the bliss of simple logic! :)
  5. Thanks for stopping by.

21 comments:

St0ne said...

I didn't believe in god before nor do I know but it is possible that one or more does exist, I can at least understand why many people believe in a god. Check my blog where i Discuss it better.

semantic overload said...

To take the discussion on logic further, I have put up a post on my blog, you might want to check it out at Logic - Flawed at best

So far as answering the questions...
What do I think god is.. welll.. a new post on that is coming up soon.. so will defer the answer till then

For the second question abt reason and logic: God is beyond reason and logic. Its like trying to subtract a larger number fomr a smaller one when all you know are positive intergers. Philosophy will help you find other means to try and understand god. The funny thing is, you canno tunderstand how the other means work through logic, and so people tend to abandon it.

What will I discover and how will I understand it?.. If I knew what I will discover, it wouldnt be a discovery would it :) But yes, I do not know the true nature of what I seek, and that is why I need to try harder and smarter. And so far as understanding it.... If I cannot understand it, then I wouldnt be able to discover it in the first place. We cannot seek what we dont understand, and we cannot discover what we dont seek.

Echo/Lavanya said...

Thanks semantic overload. Your original post started quite a ruckus :)

I just read your post on Logic and I heartily agree with you.

Ravages said...

Nice post, and I see semantic's already been here.
Well, I've always maintained that to me, I believe in someone bigger and better and more powerful than me. But I've always found these qualities among people i meet daily. try as I might, I am unable to ascribe everyday happenings and events to a single source. I am unable to think of one person sitting above, with infinite power who choses to create a world and play with it.
I don't think there is a god for I haven't found a single reason for him to be. I haven't found a single function he and he alone can do and that which is not already explained by known science and laws.
I've applied my logic and my faculties as I am trained and expected to do and don't see a god.
Oh, I wasn't always like this. Till about 7 years back, I was a regular tamil brahmin boy; daily prayers, regular temple visits, bhajans, the works.

About what Semantic says: I don't think God is beyond Logic. God has to be under the purview of logic. Humankind's supreme skill is their rationality. And if that cannot find god, and does not define god or is not a proper tool to find god, then the god doesn't exist.
Oh I just rambled on, for I am a bit rushed for time to sit and structure my arguments out...but hen, maybe I don't need to

semantic overload said...

@Ravages: You say "Mankind's supreme skill is rationality". Is that the best mankind can do? Isnt there something beyond it? Why not? What excludes the existance of a system more powerful than rationality? Nothing at all. Just because we see in 3 dimensions does not mean that a 4th one cannot exist. It simply means we cannot preceive it. We do not have the faculties to evaluate it. The same is true for god (oh gosh, I am going to have to invent a new word for it.... its funny becuase I know for a fact that the god that I am talking about is so different from what is being referred to).
Why this megalomania about humans being the pinnacle of evolution (if the theory is true), intelligence and knowledge? Maybe we are not, may in the grand scheme of things, in the whole cosmos that makes up this universe, we are nothing more than mediocrity. Why cant it be accepted as a possibility?

kvman said...

The answer is 42.
Someone please moderate this to a "Funny" rating.

kvman said...

The questions of "what is God" or "does God exist" aside, what intrigues me more is does believing or even merely acknowledging one way or the other really help anyone? Lets say you believe there is this omnipresent, omniscient super dude who looks out for you. Does it give you anything? Maybe one can take comfort in that belief during times of trouble. Maybe one can think "I have tried my best, the rest is upto Him". But aren't all these just psychological placebos? So what else does believing in God give us?

Echo/Lavanya said...

@kvman: You raise a very relevant and important question Manjunath.

What does believing in God give us? I agree with you that such belief is a psychological placebo. But funnily, I think that man works best in an environment that is powered by belief in something. I think beliefs serve to focus man's energy in certain directions and thereby help him progress (however you want to define 'progress'.)

I hope you took some time to read what semantic overload and Ravages had to say on the subject at their respective blogs. The point of contention was the usage of logic and reasoning to decide if God exists or not. How does it matter one way or the other? Well, man is a curious animal and he simply needs to know answers. Do those answers help him? Well, we know the answer to this one, don't we?

Raven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vimal said...

An age old question. Who is God or what is God?

Ramana Maharishi said "Kandavar vindilar, vindavar kandilar"

It means "Those who have seen have not spoken about it and those who have spoken about it have not seen it"

I agree with the above 100%.

It's more like an experience. You will never, at least I will never, be able to express this in words.

One has to experience this themselves.

It's as simple as asking, "Do you love your child?"

The answer from the parent will be "Yes".

If you ask "How much do you love your child?" or "Why you love your child?" or "How you love your child?" or "What do you get by loving your child?"...

I don't think the parents can answer that. Because its not something which is material which can be measured and managed. One has to experience it themselves.

Manjunath had an good question. And echo answered it like what I thought.Only that I would have replaced the word belief by faith.

It has been said that you become what you think. That means what you think in your mind, manifests physically. So that means there is a force, or power to your mind which can make certain things happen in materialistic world.
So I understand that, that faith in God, motivates people to stick to and accomplish a task.

I don't seen any problem with that.
The problem arises, when the person just believes in God, and doesn't take any action. I think one has to trust and believe but needs to take necessary action to achieve something.
On the otherhand, you can just take the necessary action to achieve the same thing, without believing in something external.

Phoenix said...

We should remember that our existence is only due to His existence.‘How do we believe in God who is invisible?’ Such question is often pondered by some people. In reality we believe in many scientists’ discoveries which we only heard but never saw in reality. But when it comes to God, people ask for proofs. We do not see air but we feel it. Similarly we might not see God with the naked eyes but we feel him at heart. Just because one is unable to see air or God, can he deny their existence?The Sun, Stars, Moon, Earth, Water, Sky and the nature’s wonders which cannot be created by Man are all proofs of God’s existence.We can feel God when we are with the nature. Man might have created so many things on the earth but who created that man?
Hence,I believe in god who is
the guiding principle behind every
action.

kvman said...

Sorry, I took the discussion in another direction. But before even dwelving into application of logic and reasoning to answer existence of God, I was trying to ask how relevant or useful is the question. I agree with L^2, man is a curious animal, he will always want answers. But consider a question like "how does the physical world work?". We all know, why it is relevant. And why is it useful? Of course once we understand how, we can try to control it, and improve the quality of life.
Now, my small brain cannot come up with any answer for the relevance and usefulness of the question about "does God exist".

@L^2 : I think that man works best in an environment that is powered by belief in something.
Does it have to be God? Isn't the belief that whatever he/she is doing will help others, improve their lives, at the very least won't harm others, good enough?

Echo/Lavanya said...

@kvman: Manjunath, it certainly does not have to be God. But it has to be something worth believing in. And what is worth believing in? Something that cannot be easily proved or disproved. God is a good choice.

Zero said...

Whether or not what we experienced was an According to Hoyle miracle is insignificant. What is significant is that I felt the touch of God. God got involved.
- Jules in "Pulp Fiction".

I guess this holds for existence too! Its very personal and only that.

kvman said...

One more funny take on this issue.GodProof

Echo/Lavanya said...

Manjunath - the GodProof link was hilarious!

Manohar said...

Skipping the discussion of whether there is a god or not and the whoe debate that ensues. An interesting point you make is if logic can decide everything: But then on the other hand every example you give about subjective judgement or knowledge are themselves perfectly logical, once you label them as subjective. Just a thought- I haven't really pondered over this much.

Echo/Lavanya said...

@Manohar: Manu, you raise a good point too. Can logic be subjective? From the usage of the word in these comments, it certainly seems so.
But what we call 'logic' in this context means the tool that we use to make sense of something. So I think it is incorrect to directly correlate 'Logic the Mathematical tool' with the subjective process of understanding in steps.

For example:
-I am allergic to milk
-I am a delicate person
-Therefore milk is bad for me

But this cannot be extended to
-Milk causes allergies
-Some people are delicate
-Therefore milk is bad for everyone

Shaky example, I know, but I hope you get the drift.

Manohar said...

True and from your example it would not be logical to draw that particular conclusion.

Let me see if I can elaborate more on my muddled original comment. Where I was heading with whole subjective frame of my mind is along the lines of "available information at hand". This was to validate your example of treatment of people as logical *considering* the experience you have had as from childhood and the conclusions you drew. So obviously another person logically draws a different conclusion based on his/her experience. I mean once you have the model of an event and you draw conclusions from that-- those conclusions were drawn logically. It maybe incorrect later on when a superset of the model becomes visible.

So its still hard for me to visualize any other system of understanding that does not employ logic. But then that could just be me.

AMK said...

In one of the conversations we had, I remember you saying that you see god in the people you acquaint with. I thought about it and perfectly agree with you. Each and every individual who believe in god have their own ways of reaching god. Same way the people who don't believe in god have their own logic to argue that god doesn't exist and have scientific answers to prove their point. The topic on god is one of the most sensitive issues to argue.



I believe in God and I believe there is a super power above us who controls this whole world. To me praying to god gives a sense of positive attitude. I would like to stop here.I do not want to find logic above this and ask myself, "Can I prove that god exists?"

Over the years I have also learnt to accept the different ways people reach god.My way of reaching god might be entirely different to some one else, but the point I have learnt to is not to argue with the other person. I have also learnt to accept the people views who don't believe in god. It is just their opinion.

Echo, it was so interesting to read people's diiferent views about god from this post of yours.
Good job:-)

Echo/Lavanya said...

I found this post Mister God interesting.