Friday, September 26, 2008

To God or not to God

I recently finished reading Richard Dawkins’ controversial “The God Delusion”.


It is quite an interesting read (most of it), but the main thing I dislike about it is the way he almost pushes his opinions onto the reader. He has his reasons for doing it (he is going against a set of people who have done this very thing to us all through history), but as a slightly detached reader with a scientific mindset, I don’t appreciate his tone.

It did however help me peg myself in a standard philosophical hole. It seems that I am a “Pantheist”. What it means is that God for me is a “non-supernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs its workings”.

True in a way. I do believe in a level of consciousness which a person can aspire to, which is in a separate ‘dimension’ than our daily existence. This is a place where all the irresolvable conflicts of our current existence cease to be conflicts at all. They are revealed as mere manifestations/projections of  the ONE onto the plane of our normal perceptions.

A couple of excellent ideas from the book really make sense.

  • God, or religion, is based on “faith”. Which is saying that you as normal people should put a portion of your minds on the backburner, and trust what some wandering bards have written on a piece of paper. No proof is necessary for this.
  • The way we brainwash our children into the idea of “faith” (or religion) is ridiculous. On one hand we encourage them to pursue a scientific education, but on the other had, we encourage them to believe that there is a portion of our existence which is beyond science.

Dawkins seems to say that ANY kind of postulates not based on the scientific method are a kind of trap.

Strangely enough, there is another book I have been reading alongside. Its “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”.


I would not call it a religious piece. It is more about the way we lead our lives, and what we can do to ease our path into death. It seems to say somewhere that science and technology are distractions set up by our “egos”, and ultimately serve to hide out “true” nature from ourselves.

It is written by a Buddhist monk, and stresses meditation as one of the ways to calm your mind, so you can comprehend and finally become one with the “Buddha” nature. Which is very close to my beliefs.

I find myself in a weird place, agreeing with both these philosophies. The logical, educated part of my mind (which had exclusive hold over me for about 30 yrs) tells me that at least a basic proof is required before I can start believing in an “extra” dimension/plane. But I am also close to people who have moved on from these doubts, and are very happy. Maybe not realized yet, but at least happy to be on the path.

So .. the internal debate continues. I do need to start meditating again – maybe this is one of those worldly conflicts which can be resolved not by analysis, but by just “knowing”. 

Or maybe there are these two different paths to knowledge .. one is the scientific way, where we as a human race are possibly coming closer to the truth with the quantum and string theories (which are much more closer to the eastern philosophies than a western scientific mindset).

The other way being to just “know” without any explanations or proofs. Too close to faith, isn’t it !