This my response to my friend karthik’s post here http://karthiknaga.blogspot.com/2007/12/oh-my-god.html . I have to applaud his insightful writing. before i comment, i have to say i am certainly not well read as some of you(those who have commented) seem to be and my ideas are quite raw. esp. i enjoyed the discussion between nk and sabresan and the short excerpt from kay-k is eye opening and somewhat close to what I think, unfortunately i dont know what/who H2G2 is, i would certainly love to read.
I have always believed Agnostics/Atheists are always so by choice, but being religious or to have faith in a “Personal God” as u name it is often not by choice. It is either by birth or some form of proselytizing in the modern sense. As richard dawkins bravely responded to a college student’s simple qn “what if what you are saying is wrong? what if god exists” he says “u r a christian by chance because u were born in england”. So to say we are hindus cos we were born in india. I’ll leave him at that, I am not a strong advocate of the theory of evolution either. Our faith in a personal god so to speak is purely by chance. If the BJP were in the US they would be the republicans or if they had been in germany they would have been religious fascists.(ok that was a bit too much). So as such it doesnt seem fashionable to stick to a particular belief and all the customs tagging along. So you say you want to defend your faith with the placebo effect: faith is a psychological game. So in effect the existence of faith and god is to just induce a positive effect, to me that is not substantial. I cant believe the majority of the world has to have faith to do that. Esp. when most of us can understand and give fancy names to these “effects” why should we still have faith?. Oh! so everyone needs to be positive and make an effort. So umpteen religious therories evolved to establish this. If thats the case then it has all gone the wrong way. I dont think religion is doing anything good to the world. To state it more clearly, is man incapable of positive thoughts and deeds without the idea of belief or faith? Just because we can’t disprove that god exists as we are flabberghasted by the wonders of t(his) universe and we are making an audacious “scientific” effort(that fails) to understand it, does it mean something inexplicable exists ? It could be that our methods to explain are false. We think the way we are trained to think, therein lies the paradox. I also believe religious faith exists to establish discipline in an uncivilized unsociable scenario. It was more likely created for small societies and all the problems started when cultures interacted when each culture defended its own beliefs and the allying benefits. Voltaire said “if there is no god, create one”. Such a simple yet profound statement asserts that faith is a good placebo. But what actually matters to the intellectuals who are willing to ponder over this is, do we need a placebo? Is it still relevant in the modern world when education and knowledge of various cultures are vastly interconnected? Can everyone defend their faith or should they?; now that it has gone to ridiculous extremes. Or is the placebo effect just a makeshift theory? It is a constant battle between our undiminishing faith in a superior miraculous existence and the intellect. However the intellect and faith are friends between themselves, the battle is only in our minds. You can say the world is a paradox, or you can be humble and say we are jack asses.