“God in Twenty-first Century” by Sachchidanand Mishra

 We really don’t know when the idea of God came into being, when the human race started believing in the existence of God. But this is a truth that the idea of God is one of the oldest ideas of our civilisation and has been a fascinating topic among the philosophers from a long time. Many philosophers, from east and west, came with arguments and even with some very strange arguments to prove the existence of God.  None of these arguments could prove the existence of God conclusively. The God is not only a very interesting topic among the philosophers, it is the most favourite topic among the religious people. A good number of religions cannot survive without an idea of God.

We are now living in twenty-first century. In the twentieth century, the science and technology has made a tremendous progress. The progress is so intense that within a small lap of time it has travelled a long distance. Now we have achieved that kind of feat which had been unimaginable in the past and we had been only studying about them in the novels. It has not only opened a new vista to our understanding of the world but also presented a new paradigm for our thought and action. If one asks the question that how the science and the technology could achieve this kind of phenomenological success the simple answer comes to us that it was solely based on the materialistic philosophy. Materialism alone dictated the terms for its success. The basic assumption of this philosophy is that everything can be explained on the terms of matter; there is no need to accept the existence of mind. We could very well explain the phenomena on the terms of matter. Our behaviour, our thoughts, our emotion nothing is an exception.  In a simple way, we could say that a man is very much like a computer; he is not anyhow different from it. As we can explain every activity of a computer completely on the terms of mechanical process, we need not introduce an idea of a ghost in the computer to explain its working. How does a computer work? It works as it is programmed. There is a different software to perform different types of activities. If you have to make a calculation in a chess game you need a totally different software and if you are to examine patients to diagnose their health issues you need a completely different one. There is no freedom; the computers are not free to perform their activities; they act as they are programmed. If they are making any mistake it is not their fault; it is credited to the programmer. We the humans are no exception. Our actions could also be explained in the same terms. We are also programmed. But who is the programmer? Did God program us? Where are you? There is no God; God is only a word; it has no meaning. We have coined the term God in the same way as we coined the term Pegasus. There is no God. God is the name of our ignorance.  The very famous problem of evil in the philosophy of religion has its origin in this vary concept that the God has created this universe out of nothing and He is all powerful as well as good. If it is so how evil could come into existence? Now we have very opposite problem. There is no God and even there is no soul. Then, how could there be any responsibility? How could there be any place for teleology? If the God of philosophers is the same God of religious people? Could religion survive without God? Could there be morality without God? In this lecture I am willing to consider some of these issues specially from the perspective of Indian Philosophy.

Abstract Excerpt from “The Svasthya-Rasa-Bodhini” CSP public lecture  on 25 July 2019, by Sachchidanand Mishra (Publishing Director, Routledge)

Disclaimer: The opinions endorsed by the speaker is solely his and not in any way endorsed by the organisers.