Do You Believe in God? or Do You Believe in What Man Says about God?

The typical answer goes like … ¨going by the fruits of Christianity, I don´t¨, or why are there many scriptures, some which conflict with each other? Why are there so many different religions and even within the same religions, many different denominations which contradict each other?

Fortunately for me, I have never doubted the existence of God, but I have used many of the arguments above when I ran into those moments of doubt about God´s purpose for His creation. I have been plagued by questions like:

  1. Why does God allow suffering, especially of the innocent?

  2. Did God really create one race to be subject to another? – why is the history of one race written in perpetual slavery?

  3. Why would God choose one race as His favorite or chosen race?

  4. If the Bible is to be believe hook, line and sinker, How can a loving God condemn a new-born baby who dies at birth to hell? [a newborn doesn´t even know enough to ask for salvation without which every human is doomed]

  5. Is an eternity of suffering in hell a just punishment for even a lifetime of sin? – how do u reconcile that with a loving God?

The questions go on and on – most with some answers that I can wrap my mid around and others whose answers will simply have to come from God himself.

I recently read ¨Angels and Demons¨, the novel by Dan Brown of the ¨Da Vinci Code¨ fame, and I got this profound insight from a discussion between two characters – one a God believing marine physicist(Vittoria) and the other an agnostic art historian(Robert Langdorn). Here is a transcript of the dialog

¨Vittoria was watching him. “Do you believe in God, Mr. Langdon?” The question startled him…..Do I believe in God? He had hoped for a lighter topic of conversation to pass the trip.

A spiritual conundrum, Langdon thought. That’s what my friends call me. Although he studied religion for years, Langdon was not a religious man. He respected the power of faith, the benevolence of churches, the strength religion gave so many people . . . and yet, for him, the intellectual suspension of disbelief that was imperative if one were truly going to “believe” had always proved too big an obstacle for his academic mind. “I want to believe,” he heard himself say.

Vittoria’s reply carried no judgment or challenge. “So why don’t you?

He chuckled. “Well, it’s not that easy. Having faith requires leaps of faith, cerebral acceptance of miracles, immaculate conceptions and divine interventions. And then there are the codes of conduct. The Bible, the Koran, Buddhist scripture . . . they all carry similar requirements-and similar penalties. They claim that if I don’t live by a specific code I will go to hell. I can’t imagine a God who would

rule that way.” ……

Mr. Langdon, I did not ask if you believe what man says about God. I asked if you believed in God. There is a difference. Holy scripture is stories . . . legends and history of man’s quest to understand his own need for meaning. I am not asking you to pass judgment on literature. I am asking if you believe in God. When you lie out under the stars, do you sense the divine? Do you feel in your gut that you are staring up at the work of God’s hand?

The gems are in those last lines I emphasized. I think that is the most profound insight I have come across as to how we essentially dodge the heart of the matter and focus on excuses to disbelief and faithlessness.

As an engineer, it is not just when I look up at the vast expanse of space, but also when I get assaulted physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually by the glory of a flower in bloom, by the miracle of physical growth of a plant or animal, by the totally illogical selflessness of great humans inspite of their suffering and misery. But also, when I contemplate the impracticality of something as simple (compared to a human) as a computer evolving on its own from grains of sand … my mind only comes to one conclusion – I AM NOT HERE BY SOME ACCIDENT. And I think everyone of us deep down feel that, which is why every human being no matter how mediocre, evil or intelligence at some point is afraid of the end (death) and is concerned with leaving a legacy (why do u suppose the concept of Spiritual Intelligence is becoming trendy in the management consulting and business world?). Abraham Maslow got it right when he put Self Actualization at the very top his hierarchy of needs.

For me, there is nothing that is within the pages of the Bible, Koran or Torah that is a greater testament to the existence of God that what I can can see, hear, smell and feel – in order words, the daily miracle that is me, you, how we are even alive till now and the universe. Whether that God is caring and loving …..I´ll let General Romeo Dallais (the Canadian General that led UN troops in Rwanda during the genocide) to answer that ¨Now I know there is God, because I have seen the devil¨