Is there a GOD?

Is there a God? A simple YES or NO can close this debate for ever, but this has remained one of the most perplexing questions ever since we acquired consciousness and imagination. The theist and atheist camps are quite vocal in expressing their opinions, and that is the closest either of the camps have come to solving the puzzle. The question has also swelled immensely in its complexity that we now have to prove the identity of the God as well, if one exists. There are so many of them around us in different names, forms and numbers. For the uninitiated it can't get any complex than this.

From the theist point of view, proof of God's existence has always been a function of his so called 'actions'. These actions vary from the creation of everything to some of the day to day happenings. Anything beyond our understanding and reasoning used to be attributed to the Gods traditionally. There used to be a rain god of sorts in every ancient civilizations till we understood how evaporation, cloud systems, wind and atmospheric pressure creates it. Same is the case with the gods of fire, wind and the ocean. But this understanding has not prevented people from offering prayers to these Gods. So what has happened over time is this reduction in the scope of God's direct actions. HE might still be answering prayers and accepting offerings, but not actively involved in trivial things like rain and rainbows.

His claim on creation of life is also on shaky grounds these days as we understand more about origins of matter and life. With advances in evolutionary and molecular biology we are almost capable of discounting the Adam & Eve story of creation now. But what will you tell the creationists who argue that it is God who controls evolution and the 6 day creation story is a metaphor for 6 billion years of evolution? Even if you try to explain the blind and ruthless nature of evolution, it only goes well with God's ways, atleast a few Gods are indeed ruthless and cruel!! So in this debate if anybody has to eventually win, it has to be the theists, because for them every answer becomes the next question with a 'why' appended to the very end.

When this question reaches the Philosophical plain, it gets even more interesting. Science can explain origin of life with the 'primordial soup' theory, but who put those Carbon and Nitrogen atoms there, asks the theist. If you turn the clock backwards and try to explain the origin of those atoms with the 'Big Bang' theory, the next question will be 'Who created the Big Bang' or 'What was there before the Big Bang'. As we still don't have much knowledge about the early universe, science will have to wait a little longer to answer beyond the Big Bang. But the theist argument will still be there - Somebody should have started the thing that caused the Big Bang, how can something start from nothing or nobody? But if the same argument is posed in the context of God, the outcome is different. If there is a God, who created him? There has to be something or someone who created God? This endless regression takes us nowhere.

Another fallacy of this 'who created whom' argument is the assumption that things should always evolve/originate from something that is bigger/more intelligent than itself. The necessity of a God or super intelligence is by virtue of the complexity of things we see around. The theist argument is that how can something so complex and sensitive emerge out of nothing; there has to be some higher intelligence carefully designing all this. Their favorite example is the impossibility of a hurricane blowing through a scrap yard creating a Boeing 747 by sheer chance. This argument might look so credible at the face of it, but how can you ignore the things that happen all around us which disproves this theory? Evolution is the perfect example how larger and more intelligent organisms can evolve from smaller, less complex living things. Evolution is not something that happens in a few minutes or hours like the hurricane. It takes time and every successful, evolved organism also tells the story of a million other variations which failed to survive or evolve.

So, if a million hurricanes can sweep across the said scrapyard one after the other, each of them creating a different scrap combination by chance, and also shares the experience with the following hurricane, it is quite possible for them to create a Boeing 747 eventually. In nature, an adaptation developed by a small organism to make life better, can be considered as the scrap combination created by one hurricane. if the adaptation was a useful one, the organism will survive, passing on this newly acquired feature to its offspring. If the adaptation was harmful, the organism will likely perish before it could procreate, thereby closing further experiments in that direction. In case of the organism with the useful adaptation, it created a next generation of 'more advanced' individuals with this 'additional feature'. The genetic material will carry this acquired information between generations and this is how complex life forms are created from less complex ones. So a superior intelligence is not at all required if we are trying to explain complexity.

The fact is, even with all these arguments in place, believing or disbelieving in God is more a matter of convenience for most of us. Conviction plays a very little role here. Most of us believe in the 'belief in god', as Philosopher Dan Dennet says. Probably there are no true Theists or Atheists.. all are technically Agnostics.. nobody knows for sure that there is or there isn't a God. Those who are practically theists are comforted by the majority and the practicing atheists believe in Fairies and Unicorns as much as they do in a Super human intelligence.

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