The God FAQs – 2
Continued from a previous post.
3. Is there not a lot of science in our scriptures? How can you say it is wrong?
The reference is normally to Hindu scriptures, since the majority of people I meet are Hindus. I admit I don’t know anything about “our” scriptures. But as far as I know, there has not been a single aircraft, an oven, a TV or a mobile phone that was designed based on Hindu scriptures (let me know when you see one). If these scriptures really have far more advanced Science than we have now (as is frequently claimed by forwarded power point presentations and some of my relatives too) how come not even one useful technological innovation has come from our scriptures? Is that not strange? I recently had an email which claimed that it was specified in the Hindu texts that Humans had 23 pairs of chromosomes. Again the question is why is it that, they infer this from the scriptures, only after Science has found this out and never before. Why can’t any of those experts, say something before science confirms it? Why can’t our scriptures today give us a cure for AIDS or cancer? I don’t mean to demean the texts, nor do I mean to say Science is perfect. What are given in the texts could have been the best attempts at that time to understand things, but to say that their science is more advanced than what we have today is, at best, wishful thinking.
4. You keep harping on evidence for god. Does everything need evidence? What about things like love?
Evidence is needed for everything. In fact, even though unconsciously, we do indeed look for evidence for everything. When somebody says that a particular investment avenue will fetch us a rate of return of 100% annually, we will look at it suspiciously. When friends give excuses for doing or not doing something, we try to do some amount of cross verification. Even when somebody says I love you, we look for evidence. I am not being insensitive here, but the claim that my mother loves me, is supported by more than 30 years of evidence, during which she spent enormous amounts of time and effort to ensure I have a good environment to grow up in, to ensure I am well-fed, to ensure I study well and so on. That is clear evidence that my mom loves me. And my father spending close to 35 years in an uninteresting job, is evidence of his concern for me. Tomorrow, if your spouse stops loving you, you will know it through a lot of indications. And once this goes beyond a point, you will conclude that he/she has stopped loving you. Thus, we all look for evidence, even though unconsciously. But when it comes to the question of god, we give up our skeptical attitude. If something as important in life as love, requires evidence, why do we say we don’t need evidence for god?
5. Is not religion a good thing? Does it not teach us how to live a virtuous life? Why do we need to give up on that?
The first thing about this question is that this question is not about whether the existence of god is true or not. This is more about whether religion, irrespective of whether god exists or not, is a good thing or not. This is not a black and white question, but I would like to point out one thing here. We, at least in India, have been brought up saying that all religions essentially preach only love and compassion for other people. I too naively believed this. But the religious books are full of instructions that would disgust any reasonably good human being. The Bible and Quran, are terrible books. The annotated bible and the annotated Quran are good resources to see why they are terrible. The books promote violence, actively encourage intolerance towards other religions and atheists and treat women like dirt among so many other things. Go through the books or the website to see why the books are indeed bad. Hindu texts are, to my little knowledge, comparatively better, but not blame less. Hindu texts promote casteism, one of the biggest evils that persist till date. The way women are treated in texts like Mahabharatha nauseates me. Fathers “giving away” the hands of their daughters to please other males, as if the woman concerned does not have any role to play in the entire “transaction”. For example, in the story of Vinayaka Chaturthi, when Krishna fights with Jambavan and he wins it, Jambavan eventually gives his daughter Jambavati in marriage to Krishna. Immediately after this, he returns to meet the King Satarajit to return his pendant, that king gives his daughter Satyabhama to Krishna as his wife.
The claim that religions preach good things is a lie. This is perpetuated because nobody actually reads the supposedly holy books. If only more people read their texts fully, we would have less religion in this world.