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Page last edited on 12 March, 2003

God prior to Religion

[Author: Unknown]

Many of us at some point or another in our lives start to question: where did we come from? Why are we here? What happens to us after we die? Is death the grim end, or is it but a gate that leads into a different kind of existence? We often wonder how did it all come to be? Is there some kind of power responsible for the creation of the vast universe and all that's in it, or did everything around us just happen to be?

Is there a God? To some people, the affirmative answer is the only one there can be, while to others belief it is no more than a calculated bet. The French Philosopher Pascal concluded that belief was the wisest bet because the believer will either have bliss if he is right or oblivion if he is wrong, whereas the atheist has the less attractive alternatives of oblivion or damnation. (The case against God, Gerald Priestland, Page 14)

To some people the word 'Nature'' is some kind of force responsible for shaping life, but can there be justification in saying that "Nature" is a concrete intelligent force responsible for creating as well as shaping life? Or, is 'Nature' merely an abstract man-made label that acts as a convenient coat -hanger to the more urgent questions in our attempt to explain the cause of things?

If we were to trace the age of the earth we would have to go back in time 4.5 billion years. The age of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, would take us even further back 12 billion years, while as the estimated age of the entire universe is somewhere between 15 to 20 billion years.

If the 'terrestrial nature' represents the earth and everything on it, there would still remain a very long period of time prior to the formation of the earth when there would have been no meaning to the word 'Nature'. Still , some force had to account for what occurred before.

If we were to chart the age of mankind against the age of the universe we would find it very insignificant in universal terms. The first Homo Sapiens, who are our direct ancestors, walked on earth a mere 15,000 years ago! Clearly then the school of thought that claims that God is not an external being but is to be found inside each of us is both naive and pretentious. It is naive because if we were to claim that God exists only inside us then we would have to believe that before 15,000 years there was no God. Even if one employs Darwin's theory of evolution to suggest some kind of link between man and ape, and as a result associate an older age for mankind, one would still have to say that God did not exist before 30 million years ago, that is when the first apes walked on earth. It is also pretentious because no matter how clever we think we are, we are only one species of creatures on one planet that revolves around one star. The star, being the sun, is merely one star among 100 million other similar stars that belong to our galaxy the 'Milky Way'. In the universe there are billions of other galaxies!.

The failure of science to provide adequate answers to these questions, and in the quest for the truth, many people seek the answers in religion.

Through their adopted faith, whether it is researched or most commonly inherited, they seek to find God. However, it may make better sense to reverse the procedure. It may be wiser to seek God first and then search for His true word. After all God has always existed while as the establishment of any faith or religion is a time related event.

Compare this logic to the case of the patient and the doctor, how can one believe in a medical treatment and as a result have faith in the doctor? It would naturally make better sense to have faith in a doctor and because of that faith to follow his medication. Finding God and accepting His existence is not necessarily a matter related to any particular religious belief. The subject of the first part of this book is to argue the case why God exists in a purely intellectual and rational manner without referring to any religious beliefs. The subject of the rest of the book will then be : If God exists, where lies the 'Truth'? That search too can be conducted in a purely intellectual manner that is far from prejudice or dogmatic statements. Never will the phrase "Because it is written in such a Book" be an answer to a question. Never will the very consumed phrase "just have faith" be an answer to some other question. It is not the purpose of this book to inject the mind of the reader with an overdose of quotations from any Holy book or another and then ask you to "just have faith". On the contrary, no conclusion will be adopted unless it is in agreement with historical evidence , current scientific knowledge, and supported by rational analysis.

In order to be able to present the argument it is essential to refer to various fields of scientific knowledge. A fact must be stressed here, whilst reference is made to some established scientific theories in as far as they serve the argument, it is not the intention of this book to question the validity of these theories.

Generally speaking there are two types of scientific knowledge:
1) Scientific knowledge that is unlikely to change and is thus taken for granted (e.g. Water is composed of Hydrogen and Oxygen, or that gravity exists between any two bodies....etc.).
2) Scientific knowledge that is not yet confirmed and is open to change (e.g. What triggered off the 'Big Bang'? What is gravity made of? How many universes are there? Or how did such gigantic energy come to be trapped within the minute space inside the atom?

Throughout this book, all reference made will be made to the first type only.

There are those who will completely do without an intellectual approach to belief insisting that for them belief is in the heart and not the mind. Whilst one must understand and respect this point of view so far as the first part of the search goes, and that is the initial belief in God, it is of prime importance that the process of selecting a faith to believe in should not be left to the heart alone, but is a matter that should be researched thoroughly by taking time to consider and debate all points of view. This is necessary because of the unfortunate yet intentional misguidance and misrepresentation conducted by various religious organisations. Sadly, all major religions in the world today can be accused of corruption in one way or another.

Furthermore, one tends to be more inclined to the view that even though a spiritual or emotional belief may appear to be of great strength, yet if it is not supported intellectually, it may often be vulnerable to crack. One has often come across people who have suddenly acquired a very intense faith only to completely lose it after a period of time. For as the saying goes 'easy come easy go'. On the other hand, a slow contemplated intellectual approach has a better chance of endurance because it is built on reason.

Today we live in an age of reason and not of blind faith. It is thus necessary for any intelligent person to debate all matters and not succumb to the influence of their native environment alone. One should not rely on the religious background passed on through parents or the society alone. One often hears the saying 'this is the religion of my father and my fore-fathers, they cannot all be wrong!' But if a Jew, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Muslim who can differ on basic issues all said so, each thinking that they have inherited the truth, and since there is only one truth, chances are that most if not all of them, will be wrong.

We have no choice as to which faith we were born into but we all have the free will to seek the Truth. One should adopt a faith only when one is totally convinced that it is the Truth. There are other people who follow a certain faith because they say it suits them! It is very ironic that they could adopt a faith that affects their entire life in the same way they would go shopping in a super-market! Look and see what is on display and then opt for the faith that would not place too many sacrifices on their normal way of life!

Instead, and if one is convinced beyond any doubt that a certain faith is the true word of God, one should accept it in its entire form. One should follow its teachings even if it means altering one's way of life, and not as is sadly happening today within some well established religions, regarding the constant bending and reshaping of the faith in an attempt to conform to modern values.

There may be those who will complain that a certain faith or another is too rigid and does not conform to modern standards, but they must, if they are honest with themselves, stop and question how well do modern standards conform to virtue and morality. 

[ Source not known. If you know the source book, please let us know at adm4iktt@yahoo.co.in]

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Last updated on 12 March, 2003

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Hate Hurts. Love Cures. Conjecture Fails. Truth Prevails.
Islam - Bearing witness to the Truth
Seek Understanding from Knowledge/ Information
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