The question, as old as time itself.
The question that has been debated is being discussed and will be discussed in the years to come.
Though it must be acknowledged that the concept of God had lost its power and the hold on the masses with advancing years.
If I were to draw a graph, the curse of being an engineer by profession, it would be like this.
People, particularly those who want to be at the helm of affairs have always been manipulative. And nothing allows you to hold on to, and grow more, power than a well-engineered myth.
The term “put the fear of God into him” does have some ancient inclinations as to how it must have started.
Let’s take an example.
When concepts and ideas do not make sense, simple explanations, anecdotes or examples and simulations help in greater understanding.
Let us select, at random, one of the Ten Commandments.
Thou shall not kill.
Etymologically it could be confusing.
If masses were murdered in war, it was not killing.
If a king or a judge ordered that a person’s life be extinguished, it is not “kill”
The ancient civilisations lived peacefully, far away from each other, rarely coming in contact and probably never understood the need for the word “kill”
Probably their language, if they had a spoken language, did not even have the word.
A chance encounter between two unrelated individuals would have ended in curiosity, caution and going about their way.
At some point in time. Someone must have come across the idea of “ruling” his/her subjects.
Most probably a lazy one, who did not want to toil like others.
Most inventions belong to the physically lax ones.
How do you make people do what you tell them, why should they do it?
Once the rule is established, the subsequent events unfold predictably. Continuity is something humans latch onto with alacrity.
The first ruler had to be a genius. It is my belief that the first ruler must have resorted to dark powers, the power of the night, demons and banshees so to say, as fear is an integral part of the ruling. You can’t rule a free spirit. You need to have it chained, constantly looking over their shoulders in terror. No one would have given in easily to authority unless if the life of that individual and the others associated were in great peril or, worse still, were to become unbearable. The first ruler must have devised ingenious ways to convince his/her future subjects to listen to him/her. What would herald complete submission? That the self-appointed ruler is the “chosen one”. He/she must have been vetted by a mysterious entity. The first requisite for such a mysterious entity is that everything about that entity has to be surrounded in mystery.
What is understood is never scary.
You know how a plane flies, even if you do not know the complete engineering behind it, the thrust of the powerful engines, draft, the aerodynamics, the adjustable flaps on the wings, the minute adjustments that the pilot continuously makes all through the flight, the fact that thousands board and alight safely is often enough. It is true, that you do have cases like MH 370, but then the science of probability convinces you it is still safe. Because you know how a plane functions, or you have enough data to prove flying is not a one way journey, you confidently board a plane, read your kindle, eat and drink up the free liquor and alight. No mysteries.
And the best way to accelerate this process is to go about inventing that entity.
So, the first ruler painted a picture of a mysterious nocturnal being, it had to be nocturnal, day-light brings clarity, that is prowling the woods, ready to jump on you, tear your limbs apart, sank its fangs in your throat, drank up your blood, feasted on your flesh, while you are still alive, inflicting on you unbearable agony, and the squeamish would be ready to throw in the towel.
The ruler then had to demonstrate that such a dark entity does indeed move about and had to create a few victims to prove its existence. This must have been the first “kill”. Having established a dark entity and sown the fear in the minds of the subjects, making them listen to the antidote should have been fairly simple. The creator of the myth could easily control its actions too. A complete elimination would have led to disobedience. So, even after full submission and complete control the ruler would have still unleashed violence in sporadic bursts to keep the subjects on edge. Any pattern would have been a disaster. It had to be a random event.
A dark power could not be a “god”. Unless you are a cult that is labelled as Satan worshipper. The “God” must have been created to counter the dark force. A second myth to control the first myth.A “god” without the demon to take care of would be similar to a world class goalkeeper facing a team with no forwards. What does he get to save if there are no goal scorers?
Once this pattern is established, control gained, the rest is, as it was, mere history. Subsequent rulers increase the stranglehold and gained better control.
If two such societies lived away from each other, and were never in contact, and each developed their own versions of, first the demons, then the Gods, and if they happened to meet, either by chance, or by the avarice of one leader to expand, a clash would have been inevitable.
The stronger of the two tribes would have succeeded, taken in the conquered tribe as their subjects, and their God would have been conquered too. Now emerged a new society with two sets of subjects and one God, old to some and new to some. Suppression would be the new word to the language and suppression would elicit more “kills”.
The act of taking the life of a subject of the conqueror by the conquered would have been labelled as a “kill” while the same act if the subject were that of the conquered, would have labelled as “justice”.
All, in the name of God.
The power of the Gods would have vacillated.
Advancing years, greater understanding of the world, better control over the elements, greater reliance of our own capabilities, and the opportunity to question without the threat of being killed all must have led to the current state where a general belief in God is diminishing.
We understand. We think. We can predict. We can control. We can create. We can destroy.
All characteristics once associated with the God are now ours.
A Zlatan Ibrahimović in awe of a Eric Cantona grows up to be an all-powerful footballer and one day gets to stand in Old Trafford, basking in the glory, knowing that Manchester United now depends on him to deliver, finally gets the courage to say “I am the king”. Cantona still hangs around, but is not revered, nor feared.
Getting back to the starting point of this discussion, the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” which was an absolute command once, became muddled according to interpretation and finally reduced to just a pigment of someone’s imagination.
In today’s world of science, it gets to be difficult to believe that there could be a God, who is pulling strings from some remote place, orchestrating all events. The events defy logic; the end game does not appear to make any sense. The whole concept of create, allow it to fall apart, destroy completely (Kalyug) and restart from scratch, play on endlessly does not make any sense. A poor business model. We, today have a compelling need for evidence. In the absence of the same a God is as likely as a speaking horse.
While the prosecution is on a strong ground asking for proof, the defence has to rely on the “why”rather than the “how”of it.
It is all attractive and intellectually stimulating to picture the scenarios above thrashing the concept of God.
It all started with a need to control, to laze around, to benefit from someone else’s labor, yada yada.
There is one glitch though!
All through the history, in all those years when information exchange was not what it is today, where most people lived their whole life and died without ever knowing what had happened even 100 kms from where they spent their whole life, it is difficult to imagine a world-wide conspiracy where similar approaches were put into practice.
There are multiple ways to gain control, and it is rather difficult to assume that people disconnected from one another, all over the world, in various climates and terrain, all resorted to one methodology of “dark forces- fear of life – a savior God – anointed leader” approach to rule.
It is almost impossible, even in today’s ultra-connected world, to pull off a scam on a global scale with any possibility of a success. Some thing would not gel, some would be a whistle-blower, a leak would happen, someone would screw-up a vital part of the execution in one part of the world.
If pulling off a global scam is not possible today, how this would have been possible in all those yesteryear.
VW could not hold on to its tampering with emission results. Even if VW was in collusion with GM, Toyota, Chrysler and Peugeot chances are that sooner or later someone would pull the plug and the whole scam comes out in the open.
If we draw a parallel, then the various communities around the world, the pagans, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Jains at various stages in history all had an elaborate scheme that was working so well that, even though they fought with each other on occasions, they never once exposed the other.
The battles were always on who was bigger and more powerful and never if one was an outright charlatan.
One can go back and touch on the Roman and Greek Gods to simply stand dumbstruck.
And matching literature, massive monuments, references everywhere, coherent story-line, a comprehensive philosophy of living, a mind boggling treasure of manuscripts recording miracles, methods, punishments, justice all collectively so vast it is certain to say the whole thing could not have been a scam.
And hence,……………it had to be true.
Proving by negation may not be extremely appealing, but even modern day science has many established methods of proving only be absence.
You test your blood for HIV and the result is negative, it proves that you are healthy, at least from the dreaded HIV.
The same science that had taught us to relentlessly pursue proof also taught us to never believe in coincidences.
If all the groups in the world, at various times, and in various places, unconnected to each other, had developed the same methodology as a means for controlling, it would rate as the biggest coincidence, EVER!
So, is God for real?
My personal belief is immaterial here.
At the end of evaluating the prosecution and defence's arguments, to be honest, in the name of God (pun intended) I do not have a clue.