I am not an atheist, as my colleague at work alleges when I question his immovable faith in an ultimate authority, or the final judgment.
I simply have a problem in attributing favourable outcomes to a single authority, who by the elaborate movement of his magic wand, can make your life infinitely better. I definitely do not believe in Hogwarts either, but that is another matter.
I have unshakeable faith in that Adam wanted to do Eve since the moment he laid eyes on her (Adam and Eve being the first sentient glorified monkeys on earth.) All Adam wanted, was an excuse to sleep with Eve (we’ve conveniently named them Adam and Eve — for all that matters, we could’ve named them Sir Rumpelstiltskin and Lady Medusa) like all men and women on Tinder® (or life, or in a bar) are looking to achieve. Unfortunately to the dismay of Adam and Eve — we’ve documented their process of messing around with each other and embellished it — I am sure the monkeys would be horrified to know this is what happens when you leave matters in the hands of an extremely blinded and biased future generation.
The problem with attributing something to a final authority is that you are already reeling in the final stage of grief. You have begun to accept everything as the doings of a comparatively more powerful authority, who, on his whims and fancies — fiddles with your life to make it better or worse. As we’ve learnt in the past — everything unexplained or magical has its rationale in science. Otherwise, we’d have ended up learning from our holy books how a mischievous God tossed an apple at Newton to piss him off — and would have never attempted to breach the barriers of the sky.
Let me explain this purely from a business point of view.
When your business is flourishing and you are getting rave reviews for your performance, you don’t begin to accept the status quo. You begin to look for flaws, to look for potential kill switches and you begin to eliminate them one by one. You are constantly trying to evolve for the better. Or when you have begun screwing up — you don’t end up only praying to a God asking him or her or it to make things better while you watch your business slide. You get up, shake off the sadness and chagrin and attempt to fix it. You re-engineer solutions in a constant battle to make your business better. That’s what we are — engineers, embroiled in a constant state of flux — learning to evolve with the randomness that gets thrown into your environment.
When did faith become synonymous with laziness or blind belief?
Or let me explain this from a lover’s point of view.
If you worship your partner, you don’t just maintain the status quo — you constantly strive to keep things interesting. You fail a few times, you discover ways of not making it work, and that is the biggest homage you can pay to your partner. It means, you are still trying — which means somewhere inside, you believe that things can improve, that you are alive and kicking.
In our attempts to glorify the existence of a God — we end up severely underrating the potential of randomness and chance in our life. Everything can be explained through mathematical models. If one were to attempt to rationalise all the factors that led to a favourable outcome, one could — but with limited resources, knowledge and time — that could take a while (and one could possibly end up without a job.) But it is not impossible. As human beings, we tend to play down our potential — thus attributing our attempts to shake a mountain in order to reach out to the other side to being assisted by a supreme power. We tend to forget, that we have modelled machines based on ourselves — like machines, we learn over unsuccessful iterations, how to solve or breach a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Unlike machines, we reserve the ability to adapt when conditions change, and today we are designing computers that can do so! It helps to imagine God as the status quo that we are constantly trying to challenge and are failing, and in that journey — discovering priceless facts and love. That journey is worth writing a million such holy textbooks that have materialised and commercialised God.
So would machines revere us as God? Absolutely not. They’d continue to iterate and come out with the right solution — but that could take a while — based on us, giving them the right direction. So would we attempt to see someone who pushes us in the right direction as a God?
God, is not a full stop. It is a synonym for hope. A eulogy to the immense potential and goodwill of humans on earth, who in their endeavours to survive, have discovered phenomena and have not stopped at calling them God — instead have harvested them to suit our needs better. It is something that inspires you, and forces you to walk that extra mile — for me, an act of random kindness can rekindle my faith in humanity. That could be anything — that could be my cat pining to meet me after work. I wouldn’t call my cat, my God. Or maybe I would — depending on whether I cease to make her life infinitely better or not. You can draw your strength from optimism, from faith and call it God — I could draw my strength from my lover who loves me with her heart and soul, and places immense faith in my potential, thus pushing me to constantly improve myself. For me, my girlfriend would then be my God.
It is only when we begin to attribute life to religious scriptures that are ambiguous in interpretation and idols modelled on our own interpretations, we begin to have a problem. We begin to limit ourselves to the directions in a book — like we stick to the directions on a map when exploring a new country. We don’t explore anymore — we merely stick to the expected, the normal — because we are comfortable with it. Throw that map out of the window of your car, look out to the road — watch out for obstacles and push down on your gas pedal till you find life in yourself again, till you find yourself questioning the path you are on.
Throw that guidebook on romance away. Throw that religious book away that goes on to teach how kindness begets kindness. I mean you know it already, you have discovered it yourself! Write your own book, your own rules — armed with decency and hope! Get out of that restaurant where you intend to propose to her — take her through that rough, unchartered terrain that almost takes the life out of you. Or take that jump off of several thousand feet from the ground that you’ve been terrified to take and while hurtling towards the earth — pop her the question. Throw out all the graphs and the charts that you have been holding on to for that morning presentation of yours — and go in blind, armed with the insatiable appetite to make things better (but please ensure you give your boss a fair heads up.) Take a chance. When your intent is positive, rarely ever will the outcome be contrary.
And even if you find yourself out of a job, dumped by your girlfriend (some may not take kindly to being pushed out of a plane) or dead (the parachute having malfunctioned) — get up, brush off the dirt and take another chance.
You can call your faith God, but don’t stop questioning. Don’t become comfortable in the belief that God is your saviour. You are your own hero. And if you think, God watching you makes you succeed — so be it.
We are human beings, we discover, we model and we evolve — that’s our thing. God and science and rationale are loving the show! Keep questioning, keep climbing till you reach the sky. Then make that jump and try and reach for the stars. Bask in your humanity — in your mortality and the cruelty or kindness of chance! One religion — humanity and common sense. Call it God, I have no problem.