Saturday, October 18, 2008
But is good upbringing tightly coupled with being religious? Do we really need religion and god to be good? As I grew into my teens, and until my engineering I should say, I used to pray rarely and respect god. It was just one of those things I could take time out for easily but I never really gave it a serious thought and the belief in god was not strong. I always thought of rituals being illogical and having no meaning but was of the opinion that religion gave us a sense of right and wrong, taught us morals and ethics through the various vedas, puranas and epics. I thought as long as religion doesn't preach intolerance and violence, its a good thing to have. I was an agnostic. But one day my cousin showed me this video called 'Root of all evil' by Richard Dawkins and that video had me thinking about the truth value of god. It made me realise that the connection of morals, ethics, values and way of life to god and religion was absurd. I could lead a perfectly healthy, guilt-free, purposeful life without god. I could do away with god and be person with good character, a person who takes responsibility for his actions, knows what is right and wrong given the circumstances, has ethics, morals, values and a sense of direction in my life.
I have started reading a little on evolution, evolutionary psychology and have been fascinated by concepts like natural selection, kin selection, reciprocal altruism and the formation of social hierarchy among humans. I can appreciate human freewill and consciousness in world without god. I think that the theory of evolution is far more convincing than the god hypothesis. It makes a lot of sense and makes me a more responsible person, instead of just accepting things the way they are because god 'wants' it that way and I deserve it because of my karma. I hope people come out of their comfort zone of belief in god and realise that the god hypothesis has no truth value.
Friday, October 17, 2008
After I started reading about evolution and evolutionary psychology, I wondered if there were any evolutionary reasons for humans' belief in god. Could it be that belief in god enhanced the survival chances of humans? Some interesting points emerge as Richard Dawkins discusses the issue of belief in god from a darwinian point of view in his book 'The God Delusion'. He tries to provide the 'ultimate' reasons for humans to believe in god by throwing light upon the dualistic nature of the human mind which separates the mind from the matter thus paving way for the concept of 'soul' which is immortal. The teleological nature of kids assigns 'purpose' to inanimate objects and as they grow up a mapping between the soul and god's purpose emerges. Evolutionary biologists also discuss the possibility of religion being a 'by-product' of the things mentioned above and some 'misfirings' between the different lobes of the brain in the course of its evolution.
Although the origins of belief in god are still being debated and we cant place our bets on any one single idea, it is fairly easy to see how the god concept came into being. I find it ironical that in this scientific era the god concept and words of 'godmen' are accepted with such ease and fierce conviction that people are driven enough to kill each other and yet some of the most knowledgeable and brightest minds are left out of breath and frustrated in their attempts to widen human thought and often have to live their lives with the scare of a 'fatwah'. That there exists no one single idea about the origins of the universe, the belief in god and other such things that theology touches open is no proof that the scientific process is faulty. In fact it is this convergence (or divergence) of various ideas that puts science much ahead of the god hypothesis in terms of logic and rational conclusions. This process ensures that ideas are constanly refined and improved upon like in a control system with a feedback loop. Even though the ideas change, the core steps of having an open mind to new ideas with better logic and evidence, having an ever inquisitive mind and reasoning do not and that makes science a reliable tool for churning out new ideas.