What God Wants?
I had a stimulating and engaging debate recently with someone about religion, god and the right path to salvation. He is a believer, and he believes only the religion that he belongs to leads to salvation and the way to lead one’s life is to follow what the scripture asks its followers to do. Whilst there is certainly nothing wrong in what he said, I started thinking about “what a god wants?” and “what is the right path?” It turned out that finding an answer for this was much easier than the eternal question of “what women want” for which even god does not have an answer.
Atheistic belief is that lack of scientific explanation for things in this universe does not validate the existence of god. They believe that over a period, like many other scientific discoveries and inventions, we will unlock the secrets. The agnostics neither deny nor accept the existence of god.
Believers argue that the amounts of unknown that exist in this universe are just beyond the reach of a human mind and hence there is a power that governs us. They believe that there is a purpose behind existence of every tiny atom in this universe.
Let us set this eternal debate aside. If we ask about god to people who have read (and understood its true meaning) the scriptures (Bible, Torah, Vedas, Quran etc) of any religion in existence, we would come to the following conclusions
- God is the creator.
- There is only one god and he does not have any agents.
- Life is a gift from god and we should be grateful to god for that.
What does god want?
Does god want you to keep praying all your life and be thankful to him by showing your gratitude for giving you a life? Does god want you to do some drugs, some murders and do a few women in Delhi along the way? God is neither narcissistic nor foolish to approve either. It is not wrong to thank god in our prayers, but apart from praying we should also take time to thank god with our deeds.
The central theme of any god’s teaching through any scripture is that one should “Be Good and Do Good”. In simple terms it means being true, kind and honest.
It is hard to fathom that any religion/god would ask you to do anything apart from being a good human being. No religion preaching something illogical or criminal will survive the test of time.
The atheists might have valid arguments to prove their point, believers could counter them on every aspect, but neither would win an argument. Nevertheless, irrespective of whether someone is an atheist, agnostic or believer, everyone will unequivocally accept that it is vital that one should lead life as a good human being.
Now that you know
There are two ways you could do what god wants you to do.
1. Follow your conscience; listen to your inner self. You will be able to distinguish between right and wrong. One who does not act against his conscience and listens to his conscience will always be on the right path. When you make mistakes like telling lies, harming others, being dishonest, not helping the needy, your conscience pricks you. It is altogether a different topic, whether you choose to listen to your conscience or ignore it. Anyone who follows his conscience is closer to god.
2. Follow any religion; not by visiting the temple, church or mosque when you need a raise or want the girl to accept when you propose. Follow it by living by its tenets strictly. Read, reason, understand what it says, and follow it. For many it is easier to believe that they have to live by a set of rules, to attain salvation. It is like a parent bringing up a child, rewarding the righteous deeds and admonishing the bad ones. It is easy to condition people to believe that their virtuous deeds will reap rewards and their evil deeds pave the way for punishment.
Religion is only a set of guidelines to achieve this ultimate objective of being a good human being. It is only a means to reach an end and not an end by itself.
Religious scholars across religions would happily agree that righteous deeds are what their religion expects. The point of discord among them would only be which one of their religions is the right path and which one offers the most complete package of good deeds for you to follow. They could be right, one of them indeed could be the right path, only fool-proof way to know is to read and understand about all religions (through authentic scriptures) and chose whichever you feel is right. To put it simply, it is impossible to find out.
Does choosing the right path actually matter? Will a kind and magnanimous god be worried about the route you took to reach him/her or would he/she be bothered about your righteous deeds during your lifetime?
For the sake of argument, let us assume that one of the religions is the right path to reach god and other paths are incorrect. Would god exhibit human qualities and admonish a human being who has always followed his conscience and never committed any wrong, for choosing the incorrect path? Will god put him in hell?
There is a belief in most religions, that god will question you on the day of judgment for not seeking the right path even if you were born into a family that follows the so-called wrong path, whilst he rewards you for your righteous deeds. Well, if that is the case then I am sure god would be smart enough to understand that in the 21st century with Twitter, Facebook and my blog to distract you, doing righteous deeds in itself is a big challenge, let alone choosing the right path.
As long as you have led a life following your conscience, you can be rest assured that your noble deeds would far outweigh the mistake of not choosing the right path.
Focus on the objective
Irrespective of whether we are religious, atheist or agnostic let us focus on the objective of being a good human being by being true, kind and honest. If not salvation, we will at least make the world a better place to live.