Tuesday, May 31, 2005

God Is Dead

Friedrich Nietzsche, German philologist and philosopher (1844-1900)."God is dead." [Thus Spake Zarathustra]The Christian God, Nietzsche taught, was pitiable, absurd and "a crime against life." [The Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist] He had encouraged people to fear their bodies, their passions and their sexuality and had promoted a puling morality of compassion which had made us weak. There was no ultimate meaning or value and human beings had no business offering an indulgent alternative in "God." [A History of God]In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche suggests that to call god love is a slander to love, since god wants also to judge, and love should never even see sins in need of forgiveness.

I know I have said before that I would avoid all topics related to politics and religion but what the hell, lets share some thoughts here. Personally I was raised Hindu but not conservatively. I visited churches as a child and I was not forced to pray or anything like that. I guess looking back now, my folks were pretty liberal. Or a better word would be disconcerted. Religion was never an issue we discussed, just something that was accepted. I was never religious or spiritual until my late teens. Although whenever I got into trouble in school I would pray in bed at night promising God that if I got out of this fix I would change my ways and be a good boy. But 2 months later I would always find myself back in another fix. I think a lot of kids do this. I know grown up men who still do this!!!

So fast forward to my late teen’s and I am starting to read a lot of books and ask a lot of questions. Education is a wonderful thing because it showed me so many doors that I could open and so many corridors my mind could wander down looking for ideas. It’s scary for me to think how close I was to missing out on that and where I would be now had I not gone to college. I seized this opportunity and searched through as many rooms as I could in my mind looking for something that made sense. For a while there spirituality made sense and I tried meditation and decided that I would strive towards “enlightenment”. Basically taking ideas from Buddhism to improve my self over a number of life times with detachment from material things and anger, hate, jealousy, etc… Everyone will have their own opinion on what spiritualism is and in my opinion, I was there.

As for religion, I hold no faith in that at all, for reasons that are obvious. I am not writing here to justify and rationalize my beliefs (or lack of). I am just simply stating them. I visited some holy sites and spent time pondering my existence. I have read and thought about karma, reincarnation, heaven, hell, poverty, politics, and a whole lot of other jazz. We could have lengthily conversations about any of those things but I am past that right now and I think I have finally come to the conclusion that I don’t give a fuck. Something clicked in my head somewhere along this path and I find myself to be in between what people would call agnostic and atheist although I would rather not submit myself to either group.

Walt Whitman, American poet (1819-1892).Walt reportedly said, "God is a mean-spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards.”

Now if I believed in God I would have to agree with Walt Whitman here. And this image of God is only solidified by existing religions.

George Bernard Shaw, Irish-born English playwright (1856-1950)."The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."

Is religion an opiate for the masses? That is what Karl Marx referred to religion as. In many ways it is. When we believe in God and religion we also put faith in the belief that tomorrow will be a better day and that things will eventually get better. Majority of the people in this world are suffering horribly and yet these are the same people that hold most faith in a higher being. I only need to take India as an example. From the taxi driver who literally builds a shrine to his idols inside his carriage, to the old women who hike miles, risking their lives, to receive blessings from a priest at a temple high on a mountain. What for, a sense of security? This “blind” faith does seem to help people, I will acknowledge that, but it does nothing for me.

Albert Einstein, German born American theoretical physicist (1879-1955).
"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

Religion does instill the fear into people of what consequences their actions will have. But we who are educated and have been instilled with morals and values need not fear the wrath of some God nor do we need to fill our children’s heads with these absurd beliefs. As for people who find solace in spirituality; more power to you. The human mind is capable of numerous things that are beyond my understanding. We can construct complete realities out of fantasies and no one else can judge the difference.

Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italian film director (1922-1975).When asked at a press conference in 1966 "Why do you deal with religious themes, you yourself being an unbeliever?", Pasolini replied: "If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief."

I would say that I can relate closely to the quote above. I stand here now but I change my mind and ideas on a daily basis as I experience new things. I always try and remain open to new ideas although I will defend my own passionately until something breaks though and makes more sense. After all if you have the same ideas 20 years from now as you do today then I would dare to say that you stopped living a long time ago. For the moment I guess I would call my self a realist. I fulfill my duties and responsibilities and I expect no rewards. I try to make the most of my life because this is pretty much all I have. People may not agree with what I call enjoyment but its all about peaches and apples, in’it.


Anonymous said...

I was recently with this working lady who before we got down to business tried to "save my soul" by turning me towards Jesus Christ. It was a very interesting experience for me. She said that I would not go to heaven unless I accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour. This led me to the most obvious question which was, "so, anybody who doesn't accept Jesus Christ as their savious is going to hell?", to which she replied "Yes".
So basically, according to her and her church, it basically does not matter if you are the most decent man in the world or pray to another god or anything. So long as you don't accept Jesus Christ as your saviour you are going to hell!!
So bottom line is that you can be the scum of the earth and God/Jesus will forgive your sins and take you to heaven but you can be the nicest person on earth and still go to hell! We then proceeded to get down to business.
It is amazing what people will believe just to get away with being "sinners". Ignorance is bliss.

rishtafari said...

hey avi, i really enjoyed reading this post, you've written it really well and conveyed your experiences meaningfully, helps me understand you better.

My two cents... I've always felt that we are a part of nature and so we must try to be natural. Whatever we choose if we naturally feel it is right then so be it... if anyone else feels differently then they can soock ma dyk... hmm, i didnt feel natural saying that, maybe i should rephrase, fuck it too late!

Avi said...

Rishto - that is line that only feels natural when blurted out in a drunked stupor.. Thanks for the positive vibrations. Heres a quote that relates. Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect (1869-1959).
"I believe in God, only I spell it Nature."

Anonymous - It is... And it stupifies me to see how smart people can be blinded by faith.

mogs said...

A quote I treasure.

Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who've already been there."

Avi said...

brother ro, i thought you had stories!! and how come irafath has nothing to say about any of this? maybe he finally lost hope in this blog after my last post. maybe i hit a nerve?