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.
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