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Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.

From a Believer to an Agnostic

Posted 12-13-2011 at 04:07 AM by TheIndependentAquarius
Updated 09-14-2012 at 10:50 PM by TheIndependentAquarius

So, yes, I was a believer in God and used to think of him as a protector of all. I, as a Hindu, have pictures of our deities at home. I used to touch the deity's feet before leaving home asking him to take care of me and my family members on travel, provide us the intelligence to tackle the life etc.

I still remember that when I used to be alone at home at night with no electricity, I used to keep the deity's picture in my hands as to chase away the imaginary ghosts. While traveling in trains I used to tell God to make sure that I reach safely to my destination. These prayers and faith in God used to give me warm and fuzzy feelings.

And then, ten days back I accidentally read about the world war 2. Well, yes, in schools we were taught History subject but no details were present there. I mean it was mentioned that many Jews were killed on the orders of Hitler, but that was it.

One link led to another and I landed on the topic of the dreadful Auschwitz concentration camp. The gas chambers where nearly 3000 people were crammed in at one go.
Lights switched off and poisonous gas introduced from the roof. They say that it took nearly 20 minutes for the people to die in there. Their bodies turned pink and developed green spots, with blood (oozing from ears), and vomit all over them!!

Then they had doctors who would do experiments on prisoners, like vivisection on pregnant women, bone transplant etc. without anesthesia, stitching together two children for attempting to produce conjoined twins, injecting chemicals in the eyes of the people to see whether the eye colour changes??

Okay, I have mentioned here in brief, but I read them in detail, and I couldn't have a peaceful sleep ever since, till date.

I used to believe that God is the caretaker and I have no reason to worry! Excuse me, now I ask:
  • What exactly was God doing at the time when those people were gassed?
  • What exactly was God doing at the time when those doctors were experimenting on people and in a way torturing them horribly?
My father's typical reply on these kind situations is that God will surely punish Hitler's "soul" and make him some weird beast in his next birth. Oh, but that doesn't answer my question. Well, well, well, what God does to Hitler in his next birth is absolutely not my problem. My problem is, that what exactly was God doing for those 20 minutes? Sitting and watching from haven and waiting for Hitler's soul to come to heaven after the completion of war?? Eh?

If God didn't bother to save those people, I don't see any reason of him for saving my "job" or saving me from a petty accident!

Oh and BTW, you can say that perhaps those people who died in the gas chambers were atheists? Who knows? And how does it matter? A God which is biased towards its believers is not too different from a mere mortal, and is not worth worshiping, IMO.

My former religion Hinduism says "You reap what you sow", I accept that completely. But why should I be forced to reap what some other person sows?
Hear those train accidents and fire outburst in the hospitals?
Perhaps we shouldn't be traveling by trains and getting treated in the hospitals we didn't build ourselves????
Yeah, traveling from Delhi to Bombay by foot sounds a cool idea, but then whom you would be blaming when some wild beast gobbles you up through the forest way? Again yourself for not taking enough bodyguards? See, I can go on and on, on this actually...

Hindu scriptures say that the current period of time is the Kalyug which is the dark age. In that case this is all "planned"? God knows this is going to happen and He is letting it happen? Eh? In that case I sincerely think that God is a "dangerous" being.

I somehow don't think that I would be able to enjoy the Hindu festivals as I used to before. I wish I was ignorant.
The situation is quite frightening for me now as I feel I am totally on my own now.
Anything can happen anytime and there is no divine power to save me.


Q: Does God exist?
A: I don't know, but if he does, I would like to question him about what exactly was he doing for those 20 minutes?
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    I was raised as a Christian and taught that God does everything for a reason. I also have trouble understanding his reason for the actions or disasters that take place. This strains the belief and raises questions of a "Peaceful God".
    Posted 12-13-2011 at 04:58 AM by Larry Webb Larry Webb is offline
  2. Old Comment
    The problem is that your perspective is all wrong... twenty minutes to God is less than a nano second or a billion years... wait and see,and don't forget you still have a wish,use it ???
    Posted 12-13-2011 at 03:38 PM by hughetorrance hughetorrance is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hughetorrance View Comment
    twenty minutes to God is less than a nano second or a billion years
    This is written in Bible by a human being?
    Anyways..

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hughetorrance View Comment
    and don't forget you still have a wish,use it ???
    You think those Nazi victims didn't make any wish?
    And BTW, you mean that God saves only those who make a wish and doesn't care about the rest? In that case he is an egoistic God.

    Also, God should know that Christianity is NOT the only religion in the world. Different religions have different perspectives about God. God should know that mortals on the Earth don't know the FACTS about HIM, they only have different BELIEFS.

    Seriously speaking, if God does exist he should consider paying a visit to Earth, show his real face to humans (to all the suicide bombers who kill others in HIS name, to all the Jehovah's witness who try to thrust their religion on others throats etc).

    Anyway, SigTerm in the religion thread of /General has written beautiful posts on these issues, you may consider reading them.
    Posted 12-13-2011 at 09:46 PM by TheIndependentAquarius TheIndependentAquarius is offline
  4. Old Comment
    In fact, you do reap what you sow. According to your previous experience. You may call it karma, if you like. Nothing more, nothing less.
    You must fear neither past nor future, enjoy the now.
    Posted 12-14-2011 at 04:38 AM by Web31337 Web31337 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Web31337 View Comment
    In fact, you do reap what you sow.
    And that's a good thing.
    The problem starts when we have to reap what other people sow.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Web31337 View Comment
    According to your previous experience.
    What experience? Didn't get it.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Web31337 View Comment
    You must fear neither past nor future, enjoy the now.
    That's encouraging. I won't be able to live otherwise with these horror stories around.
    Posted 12-14-2011 at 04:41 AM by TheIndependentAquarius TheIndependentAquarius is offline
  6. Old Comment
    If you don't believe in life after death, sure, those 20 minutes are hard to get past...but if you do believe in life after death it's just a transition (a tragic one, but a transition nonetheless). What if after those 20 minutes the person finally broke an eternity of reincarnation? Or, in a more Christian spin, what if that person went immediately to heaven? Would 20 minutes of horror be worth it then?

    No one wants to reach the end of the road without being able to see past it.
    Posted 12-15-2011 at 12:32 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  7. Old Comment
    Quote:
    No one wants to reach the end of the road without being able to see past it.
    Agreed. Death is a truly scary, foreboding thing…nobody wants to have everything just kind of stop; no thought, no feeling, no sensation, nothing. Complete and total oblivion.

    Personally, I don't think there's any kind of "afterlife" or reincarnation, but that doesn't mean I'm any less scared of dying than the next person. In fact, it kinda makes me feel like I should be doing more with myself than I do now, before it's too late…

    (BTW, if anyone is wondering why I'm saying that now, instead of my usual "don't bother trying to make the most out of life, it's already predetermined anyway", I've found other things to think about; much more positive/fun things. Fsck fatalism for now…)
    Posted 12-15-2011 at 03:37 PM by MrCode MrCode is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MrCode View Comment
    if anyone is wondering why I'm saying that now, instead of my usual "don't bother trying to make the most out of life, it's already predetermined anyway", I've found other things to think about; much more positive/fun things.
    The question is, were you predetermined to find those other things to think about or no? =)

    Sorry, not trying to fire up a tangent debate haha...just thought I'd ask.
    Posted 12-17-2011 at 08:44 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Quote:
    The question is, were you predetermined to find those other things to think about or no?
    Oh, I'm well aware of that little problem, but for now I've just decided to kinda stop giving a fsck.
    Posted 12-18-2011 at 03:04 AM by MrCode MrCode is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MrCode View Comment
    but for now I've just decided to kinda stop giving a fsck.
    That's the best news I've read for a long time. Congratulations!
    Posted 12-19-2011 at 06:21 AM by brianL brianL is offline
  11. Old Comment
    People do bad things to eachother. Why would 'god' stop anybody from doing anything? Isn't that what free will is all about? Aren't all religious stories filled with examples of 'god' trying different things and it never working out? At least in the christian sense, when has 'god' ever stopped anything him self, directly? Aside from a flood, everything was done by asking people to do it for him or sending angles to ask.

    If you really need solace in knowing that 'god' did something, how do you know that ending the war wasn't his doing? Pushing the right buttons and communicating the right message to the right people could have made a world of difference. Even if 'god' spoke to somebody directly, nobody would believe them anyway. That could be one excuse for no modern version of a burning bush.
    Posted 12-19-2011 at 12:37 PM by lumak lumak is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    People do bad things to eachother. Why would 'god' stop anybody from doing anything?
    The concept of God I/we have in my/our mind(s) is that God will protect us from the dangers lying ahead (provided we have not done anything evil). Acc. to Hinduism we reap what we sow, so no problems.
    The problem starts when we have to reap what other people sow.

    If God can't/won't protect me when someone tortures me for no obvious reason, I don't see any point in worshiping him and calling his fair and just God. No, I didn't use to pray to God because he was great, but because I needed protection. I make/made full efforts to make sure that I don't cross my limits of using "free will" such that it start(s/ed) hurting others.
    And no I wasn't cheating. I used to tell this clearly to him while prayers.

    And if you think that people pray to God selflessly, then you are wrong.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    Aren't all religious stories filled with examples of 'god' trying different things and it never working out?
    I am a Hindu and haven't seen any such thing in Bhagwad Gita.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    At least in the christian sense,
    BTW, I am not arguing (in this blog) over any text written by humans.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    how do you know that ending the war wasn't his doing?
    It may be, but in that case I would still ask him "What exactly was he doing for those 20 minutes?"
    Waiting for "enough" destruction to happen before he could intervene?
    Posted 12-19-2011 at 07:03 PM by TheIndependentAquarius TheIndependentAquarius is offline
    Updated 12-19-2011 at 11:05 PM by TheIndependentAquarius
  13. Old Comment
    Sorry, in my experience 'god' has never directly intervened with anything aside from flooding the earth. All other instances with 'god's intervention have been by influencing people to do the right thing.

    If nobody at the concentration camps was listening, then how could 'god' have stopped it? Is it right for any 'god' to intervene to the point where he completely stops every bad thing from happening? how then would people learn on the whole? What would be the point to living if people weren't allowed to make mistakes and learn?

    Does 'god' see us as equals or as wild beasts? Are humans 'god's house pets? Or are we wild animals? Would you stop a lion from killing a rabbit? would you stop it from killing a bear? would you expect a lion to be anything other than a lion?

    All I have is questions with no answers. It's impossible to understand and form of 'god.' Personally I like the view that if everything is made up of smaller and smaller parts then everything we see must then be made up of something larger and larger. people make up groups that make up societies that make up nations that make up the world population that are part of all living things that make up the planet that makes up the solar system that makes up the galaxy that makes up the universe. What's on top? where does 'god' fit into that equation? No matter what your religious views are, either 'god' is part of the group of things on earth or fits into the larger picture and the universe makes up god.

    On that thought, who defines 'god's powers? Most civilizations define 'god' to be "all powerful." But what does that really mean? Today's technology would make us look "all powerful" to previous generations. We have the ability to generate lighting bolts. Does that make us Zeus? We have the ability to see through objects, make light, destroy with explosive power. Even if some entity had all the powers we believed it to have, would we expect it to solve all the problems of everybody in the world? Can 'god' be everywhere at once? Also, if a 'god' is all knowing, why would he have allowed the war to happen in the first place? It wasn't just one gas chamber, it wasn't just one concentration camp, it wasn't just 20 minutes. It was 6 years and over 50 million deaths made up of all populations involved. How would we akin this to our selves? Sounds like we are nothing more than an infection. We can't solve that in our own bodies any better than 'god' can solve it in his own.


    I don't argue for or against the existence of any 'god.' There are many good things that happen in this world every day for no explanation other than 'luck.' I do, however, realize the importance of religion. And for a lot of people, it provides a sense of belonging and knowing that there is a reason for doing good things and believing they will be protected. Trust me, I would like nothing more than a warm fuzzy feeling of comfort knowing that some 'god' is going to take care of me. I just don't believe that. I do however, know that life is going to go on and that I can make it through any event I need to. All bad events in life can be worked through emotionally and physically. When the time comes, I will accept that as a challenge to overcome as well. I don't need to know what comes after that. That is another form and another existence that doesn't affect my life now.

    My question to you:
    Do you feel that you need a religion to justify your existence? Or, do you justify your own existence?
    Posted 12-20-2011 at 11:47 AM by lumak lumak is offline
  14. Old Comment
    We know so little of ultimate issues. Physicists are puzzled about the "stong interaction", the "electroweak interaction", and other things including the origin of the Universe itself. It seems to me that any "God" that might be posited by human beings would really have to remain almost totally beyond our comprehension. Those "Gods" who are invented for lower or cynical motives tend to be excessively anthropomorphic, I would guess. Any real being worthy of the name "God" would by nature transcend our human ideas of things like "Justice", "Mercy", "Love", and other peculiarly human concepts like those. Yet the Buddha, Christ, and others tell us to try to decrease the suffering of others, to remain harmless, and to love all sentient beings, don't they?

    Our human world, the world of thought, strife, suffering, egotism, and emotion, is such a tiny fraction of existence, don't you think? Ethics and morals are only part of what a self-existent, self-conscious being would concern himself with, it might seem.

    Whether we go on to a "spiritual" existence or we are annihilated is not a question that will ever receive a final answer, no?

    Yet, I think that there are motivators other than the fear of death that have engendered "spiritual" thoughts and emotions in so many for so many thousands of years.
    In my own tradition, Greek Orthodoxy, we say "Christ rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven". Becoming something living, when one was "dead". Then "ascending" (into what?). There is so much we do not know and cannot know directly, even in principle. I think it is more important to keep one's eyes on what is spriritually important (like the very idea of an ultimate and permanent existence, and a higher, more pure existence) than to expend much of one's life's breath as merely an ethicist. After all, we are told by all the major religious traditions that there is something more durable and important beyond the world as we apprehend it, and that we are "a vapor", that "all flesh is as grass", and that "all is vanity (to our eyes, anyway)", and such things about our existence on Earth. And, just maybe, we can chase down a little bit of that world even while we remain limited by our corporeal selves. "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern." —from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake
    Posted 12-20-2011 at 01:01 PM by agentbuzz agentbuzz is offline
  15. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    If nobody at the concentration camps was listening, then how could 'god' have stopped it?
    If God can't make people listen, this mean he doesn't have enough powers to prevent something from happening? And in that case he cannot protect me? Why should I worship him then?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    Is it right for any 'god' to intervene to the point where he completely stops every bad thing from happening?
    Bad question. What's right for God to do is not my problem. I just don't want to reap what other people sow.
    When I write a C/C++ program which produces a segmentation fault, it'll be solely my responsibility to solve the fault, not the end user's.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    how then would people learn on the whole?
    God created all of us, didn't he? So, this question should go to him.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    What would be the point to living if people weren't allowed to make mistakes and learn?
    I am VERY much interested in making mistakes and learning from them. But, I have zero interest in getting "tortured" if some other person makes a mistake.

    Listen, my point here isn't to argue with you just for winning an argument or something.
    I have been always taught (Hinduism) that God is the creator of this and that, and also the protector. See - some days back my mother was praying to God for my job safety, and I also used to do that when my eyes were closed!
    I told her not to waste time. She said "Don't say such things, God will get angry"!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    My question to you: Do you feel that you need a religion to justify your existence? Or, do you justify your own existence?
    Not a native English speaker - didn't understand the question. "justify existence" means what?
    Posted 02-23-2012 at 05:54 AM by TheIndependentAquarius TheIndependentAquarius is offline
    Updated 02-23-2012 at 05:56 AM by TheIndependentAquarius
  16. Old Comment
    Supposing God were to intervene every time some-one was about to do something evil. At the worst, we would be reduced to puppets, with no freewill. At the best, we would be like children whose parents never allow them to be alone or to take decisions. What would be the purpose of our existence?

    Similarly, supposing God were to intervene to prevent all natural disasters. The behaviour of the universe would become random, and no living creature would be able to develop intelligence.

    It is not possible to have a world which has a degree of independence from God and in which nothing bad ever happens.

    Misfortunes are outweighed by our total experience. If you had a largely happy life for, say, 40 years, would one year of cancer or in a concentration camp cancel it all out? All the joys, all the love? And that is just looking at 40 years, not eternity.

    Does God exist? Well, millions of people have had religious experiences which are hard to explain otherwise: sane, rational, normal people. Philosophical arguments show that postulating a supreme being is the simplest explanation for both the existence of the universe and the incredible coincidences which make it a world in which we ourselves can exist.

    Go to the festivals. The Gods will not protect you from all misfortune: you're a human being, not a pet animal in a cage with an owner. But by worshiping them, you can aim to make yourself like them. And as Hinduism and Christianity both teach, our goal is to become divine.
    Posted 03-23-2012 at 12:36 PM by DavidMcCann DavidMcCann is offline
  17. Old Comment
    You think only Nazis were this cruel? Though there have been other massacres (have you heard how Steve Biko was killed, or how Kuttimani died in Welikheda prison, or how the Brits treated the members of the Mau Mau uprising) in scale and execution (unintended pun discovered) the Nazis surpassed them all. (Separate thread needed to compare with Stalin and PolPot).

    Don't loose your sleep ma'am.

    Above all, don't tell these feelings to your future in laws. In some parts of South Asia this is reason enough to get you bumped off since you will not be honouring their religious sentiments.

    OK
    Posted 05-08-2012 at 09:17 AM by AnanthaP AnanthaP is offline
  18. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AnanthaP View Comment
    You think only Nazis were this cruel?
    Did I say anywhere that I found "only" Nazis this cruel?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AnanthaP View Comment
    Though there have been other massacres (have you heard how Steve Biko was killed, or how Kuttimani died in Welikheda prison, or how the Brits treated the members of the Mau Mau uprising) in scale and execution (unintended pun discovered) the Nazis surpassed them all. (Separate thread needed to compare with Stalin and PolPot).
    No, I haven't read or heard about anyone of them. Nor I
    even wish to, now. The discovery about Nazis was enough
    to turn me to into a agonist.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AnanthaP View Comment
    Don't loose your sleep ma'am.
    I already lost it "literally" for full month, the day I
    read about all this on their dedicated website.
    Posted 05-08-2012 at 09:25 AM by TheIndependentAquarius TheIndependentAquarius is offline
 

  



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