Have you ever thought of a world without God? For most, the idea of God is embedded deep and early from the day consciousness is lit up in our brain. Therefore, the idea of thinking so radically would be like trying to breathe underwater for the vast majority. But some of us, at some point in our lives may have questioned that possibility - to look beyond the fallacies of conventional wisdom and man's fear of loneliness and morbidity to a different perspective. For me, to gaze beyond the blue skies, into the darkness of space and the worlds beyond was a humbling experience. It made me realize the utter insignificance of mankind in this vast universe.
Studies have shown that the concept of God might have been the resultant of our curiosity about the world around us. As we gradually improved our linguistic skills, the question of 'why' led us to conclude that everything that exists must have a purpose and that purpose is determined by a higher force. Purposes and questions like, why is lightning happening? Or why is the sun moving across the sky? Or why am I here? That same question of ‘why’ invented science and philosophy. For the common man, science is to offer him comforts and luxury and God is the means to an end and the beginning and continuation without which life is meaningless. Every struggle is a test of character, a complex admission process which ultimately determines one's entry into heaven or hell, and every deed is questioned and dissected to its tiniest detail to determine if indeed society would crumble without God. Studies have also shown that complex and self-conscious entities such as human beings need a belief system in order to exist as a society but that begs the question – “Are we so incapable of exhibiting compassion and kindness and love without the promises and threats of a life after death”? And what about those people who don’t fall under the conventional norms of society? How are they judged? What do they believe in? And do they need a God to be humane? And how do the believers and the fanatics view these nonbelievers?
But acting on these observations might provedifficult. For one, society itself always tends to put those that it perceives as different under chains and shackles. Secondly, as long as we’re on this dusty little sphere, we cannot help but be judged on the basis of what book we read or adhere to. Here, morality, ethics and righteousness seem to be reserved only for those with God on their side. Funnily enough, it is these so called ‘saints’ that usually end up bending and breaking the very same morality that they advocate.
More often than not, we tend to hear of wars waged in the name of the Almighty Himself. Fundamentalists and fanatics always condemn 'those without' by saying that they upset the delicate balance of ‘society’ and that anything contrary to the norm should be shunned. They believe that people with differing outlooks than theirs should be clubbed with the unrighteous or better yet, be adjudged as the followers of the devil himself. They believe in a world where ideas of God and religion brought people together and taught them to be holy and pious. According to them, it was religion that set a standard for meaningful life and that life would culminate in their being judged for the good and the evil that they did in their earthly lives.
So what do 'those without' or the atheists believe in? They believe in science, philosophy and so much more. They embrace their own minds believing in humanity, and trusting relations which are among the most basic and primitive traits that our evolution has afforded us. Most of them are individuals who put rational thoughts in place of superstitions, and for them the universe is much bigger than the little bubble most of the so called ‘believers’ live in .To them, the answer to the ‘why’ is - “Isn’t God's will but a quest to find the answer to that ‘why’?”. For them a lightning bolt across the sky is a static discharge, the earth is a round planet that is billions of years old and humans are a resultant of millions of years of evolution. And for them ethics and morality aren’t a question of existence but a process and procedure that enables them to have a meaningful and intelligent relationship with their species. Case in point, dolphins are the next best smart-asses after us. They have a complex language system, deep emotional responses, self-awareness and intelligence. So, do they need a God to be nice to their fellows?
People have the right to believe in what they want, when they want and if they want to. So, when does belief become an encroachment on others’ wills and thoughts? Who decides the fine line between respect and domination? This gives rise to the idea of choice and free will, which in turn brings us back to the question of morality. If I live a life where I find its meaning and purpose in trying to help humanity and the planet in any way I can and if I succeed in that endeavor I become a good human being, caring, kind and responsible in my own way. Who has the right to judge me to be righteous or not, just because I believe in different things? Would being a humanist, behaving decently without the expectation of reward or punishments after death, be a crime against the society or God himself, or do I have to succumb to these infantile minds who argue that someone else has the responsibility to give your life purpose, meaning and morality?
It’s said that war and religion profits those that know how to manipulate them, so I would urge those that read this to not fall prey to those who condemn you for the way you are and what you believe in. Because those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. Live a life, live this life, think a lot, seek the truth, explore our beautiful world, find meaning to your own life and most importantly be humane and believe in humanity and ultimately pass this on to your progeny and maybe then we’ll have a world and a place for Godless morality.
Arjun J S