Faith = Reasoning – Knowledge + Emotions ?

Man being an animal who can think, reason and conclude on the one hand, also believes in things for which no known solid scientific proof exists. Why is that?

There are things like astrology, god, prayer, omens, etc and many of us believe in it. And yet there is no solid scientific basis for it. Why are we so?

One reason is that what we know today as modern science is incomplete and has not yet defined everything that we know about in this universe. So when we believe in something that modern science doesn’t endorse, it might be simply because modern science hasnt yet reached there, or might be because it gives emotional completion.

For instance God. Modern science does not include God as a variable in any of its equations or theories. In other words, modern science does not need God. But does that mean God is not there? It has not been proved in modern science that God exists. But science has not proved that God does not exist either!

Unable to prove the existence is not the same as having proved non-existence. Atoms were divisible even when our science used to think that atoms are indivisible. People used to breath even before oxygen was discovered :)

So why do humans believe in God then?

Because there might be a possibility, which is = Reasoning – Knowledge

When we take away the knowledge we have, which is modern science as we know it, from the logical thinking called reasoning, there still exist queries in our mind for which there is no satisfactory answer, since the required knowledge is yet unknown to us.

People who believe only in things that have been proved may call this blind faith.
People who believe only in things which keeps them happy emotionally and psychologically might call it the actual truth which needs to be accepted without any questioning. Many religious scriptures are an example of this.

But there are a third category of very few people, who keep their options open, in this zone of unknown things and investigate into it. It is this category of people who have kept the wheel of knowledge moving, and its domain expanding. They have showed us that earth is round when people thought it was flat. They are the ones who showed that sun is the center of solar system and not earth.

Modern Science

So what we consider to be faith today is actually:

The belief in unanswered questions (Reasoning – Knowledge) + the belief in what we love to believe in because of emotions like fear, insecurity, prejudice, bias, happiness etc.

The need here is to separate the two categories and concentrate on the first part, which is to do research, inquiry, questioning, experiments etc

The second part which is based on emotions is dangerous, can lead to blind faith which in turn can lead to violence, terrorism etc

There are some questions which belong to both the categories. For instance God is a matter of reasoning as well as emotion.

God will continue to remain a question till the mechanism behind creation and existence of the universe and life is completely answered. And if the answer finally includes God, then God will become a part of modern science, else God will move into blind faith. It is also possible that the final definition of God might be completely different from the picture of a religious God whom most believe today (who has emotions, who punishes people, destroys non-believers, protects believers etc), and I think instead it will be a spiritual God defined in the ancient vedic texts as a formless (Nirakara), opinionless (Nirvikara), attributeless (Nirguna) all pervading supreme consciousness (paramatma).

God is also a matter of emotion, because the very idea of a protector, savior, being protected, etc brings emotional happiness and security. Some argue that God is required to have a basis for morality, I dont think so. People can be morally good even if they dont believe in God. Morality is about being honest, loyal, true to oneself, not unnecessarily hurting others, not cheating, etc and none of these things require God’s existence. God is required in morality only to those who will pretend to be good only because of the fear of being punished otherwise by God.

Those who want to prove the superiority of their reasoning even on unknown knowledge, will deny the existence of God. For them, the human ego and the supremacy of brain/human intelligence matters more.

Those who want to prove the superiority of their emotions will believe in the existence of God. As long as emotions remain personal its ok, because human beings are not just thinking machines, they are also emotional beings. But when people start imposing their emotions on others, then we will end up with issues like fundamentalism and terrorism.

On the other hand, those who believe in the superiority of truth, will continue to investigate deeper, like the spiritual masters of ancient India who went deep within, like the researchers and scientists of modern world who look deep without.

Somebody once asked me, how can one ever prove the non-existence of God? Well, if everything that exists in the universe can be explained without having to refer to God, that will prove the non-existence of God! But the question of then who created that will continue to be there till such a point where we reach a repeating cycle or a loop, something on the lines of the closed self contained universe of modern day cosmology. But I think that the likely answer to this will be the non-existence of time, because when time itself doesnt exist, then there wont be any question of creation because a point of creation refers to some time back in time.

One of my favorite nonsense quotes on time is

Time flies like an arrow
Fruit flies like a banana

To summarize, instead of denying or accepting things based on reasoning or emotions, we should use our reasoning power to investigate further into unproved things till we reach a point where things get either proved or disproved. Which is why I dont say that I believe in things like astrology, nor do I say that I do not believe in these things. Because, simply put, I dont know yet!

Hence, its not a question of believing or not believing, its a question of knowing what it really is

For instance, for all we know, it is very much possible that astrology is a statistical science and that modern day astrologers do not have complete knowledge of astrology! If a person who claims to know mathematics, does a wrong calculation does not mean that mathematics itself is wrong! Isnt it? Proving an astrologer wrong is entirely different from proving astrology wrong.

At the same time, I do believe that destiny even if pre-written can be altered, for I do think that human consciousness is powerful enough to overcome the pre-woven space-time curvature provided the dedication and will exists. Just like the way the path of an asteroid which is otherwise pre-defined (destined), can be altered by using a rocket guided by human consciousness!

Without our involvement we can’t succeed. With our involvement we can’t fail

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/howtogetasixpackfast How to Get Six Pack Fast

    I noticed that this is not the first time you write about the topic. Why have you decided to write about it again?

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Improvement is the only most significant event that can repeatedly happen forever for a person, and the only eternal truth is that ‘there are things yet to be known’ :)

    Thanks Phani and sk!

  • http://sk-ism.blogspot.com/ sk

    Enjoyed th post! You have brought out the need to see the world in gray rather than much divisive black & white terms quite well. “”Don’t know”" is most often the honest answer when it comes to such questions and it makes life easier. ;)

  • Phani

    Hi guru!!

    You are improving man!!

    I think man should always keep himself in the region of “”may be/may not be’s”", those who are in that mode tend to be open minded than people who blindly believe in god or discard him or forget him entirely.

    I hope one day Astrology attains recognition as a statistical science…

    hoping for a better and more insightful future,
    Phani

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Thanks DARYL GRANT
    I am not a teacher though.. always a student :)

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Suchin
    I had read only a part of it once, and havent yet written anything on it..

    When we watch an interesting movie, we get involved in it and forget about the surroundings, i.e the real world..

    Similarly vedic texts say that what we think to be the real world, is just like watching that movie, experienced by the physical senses and interpreted by the brain.. which is why ancient vedic seers used to get into deep meditation to get rid of interruption by physical sense, when they wanted to experience the true consciousness of the universe, which they used to describe as becoming one with the paramatma!
    This is my understanding :)

  • DARYL GRANT-FOSNESS

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE..I MUST SAY YOUR STUDIES HAVE PROVEN YOU WORTHY…TEACHER.

  • http://suchindailies.blogspot.com Suchin

    Excellent reading!

    If you have already written about Mandukyopanishad, and if you have the explanations about the various levels of consciousness and in each level several openings (doors) to other consciousness ….please let me know. It has been a puzzle to me though I know what it basically means, but cannot yet figure out the other properties each conscious level has as described in those chapters.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Very well said Vijay!

  • vijay

    Very good article Guru,

    Yes, we need to probe everything and exercise our brains to arrive at fascinating discoveries, whether those discoveries prove our long held beliefs right or wrong would be interesting. Emotions for me form a big part in such discoveries, because emotions should be there, else what are we as humans in a society. But still emotions should only be positive, constructive, and controlled for one to achieve success in any aspect. The hunger for us to probe is itself a form of pure emotion. Its very interesting though that till now we as researchers have been explaining emotions as to how they occur medically, rather than what emotions actually are. If we think deep, “”what are emotions? “” is a big question. Note that we always end up answering how emotions occur/when emotions occur, but have never tried to go deep in our quest for this ultimate answer.

    The other fascinating question or probably the final answer in the quest for GOD comes when we are able to answer the question – “”does universe have a boundary, if it has then something should exist outside this boundary, which inturn must have a boundary and so on, in other words defining infinity”" – Can we run our imagination as far as the universe streches, where does this universe end, and if it ends what is there after it. These are probably inconceivable by our brains, but we can give it a try in our quest for the ultimate truth.

    One way of probing the truth is to have immense unshakeable belief in what our superconcious tells, which may lead to opening up of our thought process and taking our brains to another level from which we would be able to see things crystal clear. I fell this is the path many devotees like Purandaradasa, Kanakadasa, RaghavendraSwamy, etc took. Have we tried it, probably not. Or we could try the path of scientific reasoning which would itself lead to the truth, but are we mentally strong enough to tred this path? This is generally called the path of Gnana, which again leads to the same goal. Many like, Vadirajaru, VyasaMahamuni, Shukracharya could be said of tredding this path. Have we tried this either, probably not.
    Both these paths lead to enlightenment, but they need to be tredded slowly and with lots of patience. Every science needs to be learnt from the basics not the other way round, which we often do in our religious pursuits.

    I find it funny that people outrightly reject astrology, astronomy, palmistry, etc. Have we studied even the basics of it to conclude that they are sham. How can a non-cricket playing person tell a cricketer how to play. I played some proper cricket myself for 2 seasons and have come to realize the secrects/pains/skills/thinking-processes, etc in cricket. So one needs to study and accumulate right knowledge on a topic and only then can proceed further to unravel bigger mysteries. We definitely need to keep our brains/minds/souls open to reach such levels.

    I cant end more correctly than by copying Guru’s wisely put words “”At the same time, I do believe that destiny even if pre-written can be altered, for I do think that human consciousness is powerful enough to overcome the pre-woven space-time curvature provided the dedication and will exists. Just like the way the path of an asteroid which is otherwise pre-defined (destined), can be altered by using a rocket guided by human consciousness! Without our involvement we cant succeed. With our involvement we cant fail”".