By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear” ~ Thomas Jefferson
To Believers in God, I may politely say “God may be there but He is clearly indifferent; if indifferent He is irrelevant.”
Every-time a large scale human catastrophe occurs religious leaders are silent. The Archbishop of Canterbury reportedly admitted he was “embarrassed,” when Tsunami took place two decades ago.
The Covid Pandemic
Now, comes Covid-19 and what have religious leaders to say? One of the worst pandemics – if not the worst – the world has seen. They are dumbstruck; yet, they faintheartedly ask their flock to keep praying for relief. They know it doesn’t work but they keep feverishly muttering this ridiculous counsel.
All over the world, Covid-19 is devouring people:making them thoroughly sick, making them gulp for breath without oxygen and making them-kids and adults, the sick and the infirm – fall dead like fireflies who hit the light in the night. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen a catastrophe of this sort.
These days, India is on the spotlight but other countries aren’t any far from India. At 4.40pm yesterday India reached the milestone passing 300,000 deaths the third country to reach that many fatalities behind the United States and Brazil. Health officials recorded another 222,315 new cases in the previous 24 hours.
No oxygen, no beds, a tired health staff and so on. It is a common scene in India to see someone in a scooter rushing to a hospital with an oxygen cylinder to save a family member from sure death. Crematoriums work night and day. Families having lost work for months find it hard to find the wherewithal to cremate their dead.
I mention India because it is on the spot today and it is closer home. However, every Covid case is close home nowadays.
“Oh MY GOD!”
“Oh my God!” is a proper way to express a gruelling cry because we have been told for generations of human civilisation that God has created us all and that God is omnipotent and that He is all compassionate.
On the other hand God, assuming he exists, is not competent and all powerful for sure and not compassionate. If neither, then there isn’t such a heavenly being. That’s the logic.
The priests may now take to the argument that God created the world and all of us but washed his hands after that.
Both presuppositions of God nullify that very concept. The second one shows an indifferent God. Hence, of no use.
Why pray then? Millions gather in churches and pray. Muslims pray five times a day as a community kissing the flow and pushing their backs upwards.
If there is a compassionate and all powerful God as these religionists and other lesser brands accept why on earth do we have to pray to Him to relieve us out of this mass tragedy? He should do it because he is said to be the “all powerful and all compassionate One.” Does he derive a vicarious pleasure to see his creation fall on their knees, cry and wail asking for mercy before He decides to help out? The point is there isn’t any sign of His helping out.
Time to Bring in Some Miracles
And, besides, where are the miracles that were created in His name in ancient times? Multiplying loaves of bread raising the dead to life? Even Buddhists – the plainly more rational of the whole lot of religionists – claim the power of ‘Iddi Balaya,’ or ability to overcome physics and fly in the air after the power of meditation. It is revealing that we have never seen such miracles being performed after that. There are various individual claims about having been “healed,” after prayer to God. But these are by nature unverifiable and unfalsifiable and so are best attributed to nature’s ways of which one is ignorant at the moment.
As a matter of fact religions have been obstructing science’s ways of bringing Covid-19 under control. We saw how recently during the Mehla festival thousands of Indians jumped to the Ganges for blessings. They all died of Covid-19 due to intensified physical contact etc. Corpses were drawn ashore by nets. Yet, give the Indians another life and they would not change.
This is the trouble about religion. It is faith – based which means a follower has to suspend reasoning and just believe. I went recently to a Christian school in Melbourne. As I entered there was the slogan: “BELIEVE!” Just believe what is there in the Holy Books (Bible or Quran) because its the truth. How is it the truth? Because it is the truth. A cyclical trap!
Richard Dawkins has stated that truth can only be arrived at after proper investigation. The name for “proper investigation“ is the scientific method of search where we test a claim or hypothesis by trying to verify it with evidence.” Karl Popper pointed out that one must have the possibility of at least falsifying such a claim if it were to be regarded as a meaningful claim.
In his best seller, The God Delusion,” Dawkins points out that one can try to arrive at truths only by a scientific investigation. He says, Faith is not a source of truth; it is the very abnegation of truth. Hence, Dawkins says religion and its Holy Books cannot be any source of knowledge. The knowledge about the universe and life in it is the province of scientific investigation, Dawkins says; it isn’t a topic for religion.
In the days of yore, under an absence of scientific thinking religious priests and Mullahs claimed to have had the answers to all these questions which today constitute the jurisdiction of science. These claims were supposed to have been based on their specific Holy Book. The story of the concoction of such Holy Books is another question, which need not be dealt with here.
As a result just look at the ridiculous “truths” that were stated by these holy people. Take just one and that is the age of the earth. According to the Bible this earth is only 6000 years old. Scientific fossil and other evidence now teaches us that the earth is over billions of years old. The same with the planets and galaxies.
With the birth of the Renaissance and science in the 14th to 17th centuries, gradually scientists uprooted priesthood authority when it came to factual statements about the universe and man.
After Charles Darwin over 200 years ago God should have gone into hiding. Yet, He lives and pretends. But His pretences of power and compassion are exposed by his total impotence and indifference against the kind of pandemic human suffering we witness today.
*The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org