“Mitra! If you steal a pencil from your friend, God is going to watch you and prick your eyes”
That was my wife trying to instill the fear of God in my 10 years old daughter. Does God exist? Is God real? Should we believe in God?
Good morning fellow Toastmasters and guests,
It was the year 1991, the month was December. I was doing my +2 at that time. I was seriously preparing for my half-yearly Chemistry examination. No matter how hard I studied, it was hard for me to understand the complex atomic structures, molecules and compounds. Finally, the D-day arrived… Chemistry examinations. Those were the days when I go to God for pretty much everything – when I lose my pencil, I ask God to find that, when I’m not getting a bus in time, I ask God to send that, when I don’t do my homework I ask God to bring rains to get me a holiday. Since I haven’t prepared well for my exam, I went to temple to pray to God. I promised God to shave my head for him, if he somehow makes me to score 80% in Chemistry. As a token advance, I even deposited Rs.5 in the Hundial and sealed the deal. I whitewashed my forehead with the ashes given by the priest. I reached the exam hall and uttered a few verses from Kanda Shasti and got the question paper in my hand. I closed my eyes praying to God again and opened the question paper. The moment I saw the question paper, my head started to spin. I became dizzy. Most of the questions were very tough and I couldn’t even understand some of the questions, let alone answering them. I started scolding God for not honoring our gentlemen agreement. I went back to the temple in the evening. How many of you have seen Annamalai movie… and remember the famous “Ashok! Mark this day in your calendar” dialogue? I did pretty much the same thing and parted ways from God. Since then, I’ve started questioning the existence of God and started appreciating the power of humans.
I feel that the concept called “God” was originally invented by a smart guy to unite people in the society and stop them from doing barbaric acts. But, look at what actually is happening today. The same concept called “God” is killing several 1000s and 1000s of people today.
Close to a 100 million people have died in the last 1000 years due to religion – that is equivalent of killing 300 people every day, in the name of God. Every day, you see news about Hindus killing Muslims and Muslims killing Christians. Nobody in this world has seen God, but look at the number of deaths happening because of God. It is not only humans who are getting killed, but poor creatures like goats and cows are killed in the name of sacrifice to God. Is God really uniting people or dividing people?
There are many individuals who take people’s blind belief to their advantage. Asaram Bapu, Swami Nithyanandha, Swami Premanandha and even the popes are involved in scandals such as rape, murder and child trafficking. People donate a lot of money to religious trusts, which get misutilized.
People blindly believe in God and don’t provide proper medical care to their kids resulting in death of young children. Blind belief results in people not doing their job and expecting God to perform a miracle to improve their financial condition.
Where was our God when 30 innocent people died because of stampede, when they came to take a holy dip in Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh? Where was our God when 2000 innocent people died because of the stampede in Mecca, recently? Blind belief shuts off reasoning capacity of people. Why would you assemble in such large numbers in a place without proper safety measures?
Purpose vs Practice
In those days, people used to walk to the hill top to worship God, which kept them fit. Today, we are going to the hill top in an A/C car. Those days, people sacrificed their personal pleasures in the days that lead to a special function or festival. Today, even the Sabarimala devotees are smoking and eating unhealthy food. Those days, festivals where used to force people to keep their homes and surroundings clean. Today, when there is a festival the surroundings of a temple become a junk yard.
The concept called “God” was invented to keep people united, to keep people disciplined and to keep the surroundings clean. We forgot the purpose of “God”, but we keep having blind beliefs.
God does exist, not in temples but in the minds of humans who treat others with respect, courtesy and dignity. God does exist, not in temples but in the hearts of people who help others, people who care for fellow human beings and people who do their job. God is everywhere, he is in the water bodies that are kept clean, he is in the air that is unpolluted, and he is in the surroundings that is kept clean. God is in you and God is in me. Will you start following the REAL God instead of the dummies in the temple?