The seed of unbelief is in all of us. It offers plenty of reasons not to have faith. I hope as a compassionate human being I would have looked at the spectacle of a crucifixion and felt pity. But when it comes to my own life, I go to work, save for the future, and look over my shoulder at night on a dangerous street. I put more faith in myself than I do in an external god. I call this the zero point, the nadir of faith. At the zero point, God doesn’t really matter, not when it comes down to the tough business of living. From the zero point of view, God is either pointless or feeble. He may look pointless or feeble. He may look down on our suffering and feel moved, or just as likely he may greet suffering with a shrug.
For God to have a future, we must escape the zero point and find a new way of living spiritually. We don’t need new religions, better scriptures, or more inspiring testimony to God’s greatness.Making such a radical change involves a total rethinking of reality. When you challenge God, you challenge reality itself. But if reality is something that extends into higher dimensions, the story changes. You can’t rebuild a God who never existed, but you can repair a broken connection… Something deeper must be done…This implies an inner transformation. The spiritual path begins with a curiosity that something as unbelievable as God might actually exist.
`The God Delusion’, a slogan from a band of militant atheists who are avowed enemies of faith, is centred around Prof Richard Dawkins who cloaks its vehement, often personal attacks in terms of science and reason…Faith, if it is to survive, can only be restored through a deeper exploration of the mystery of existence.
I have no harsh things to say about atheism without the militancy…Dawkins and company are proud to be intolerant. It’s not right, however, to suppose that atheism is always opposed to God. According to a paradoxical 2008 Pew Research survey , 21% of Americans who describe themselves as atheists believe in God or in universal spirit, 12% believe in heaven and 10% pray at least once a week. Atheists have not entirely lost faith; there’s nothing in that to judge against.But Dawkins proffers spiritual nihilism with a smile and a tone of reassurance. I realised that I had to speak out against this, even though I feel no personal animus against him.
Faith must be saved for everyone’s sake. From faith springs a passion for the eternal, which is even stronger than love. Many of us have lost that passion or have never known it. As I argue for God, I wish that I could instill the urgency expressed in just a few lines from the bhakti saint-poet Mirabai: The love that binds me to you, O lord, is unbreakable. Like a diamond that smashes the hammer when it is struck. Like the lotus rising from the water my life rises from you, Like the night bird gazing at the passing moon I am lost dwelling on you. O my beloved come back! In any age faith is like this: A cry from the heart… If faith can be saved, the result will be an increase in hope. By itself, faith can’t deliver God, but it does something more timely: It makes God possible.
Om Namah Shivay
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