The Angry Gods and Barbaric People – Exposing the Truth About Religions

In Hebrew Bible, Yahweh is portrayed as an angry God who commanded his people to kill innocent children and women. Obviously, it was written by human beings to show their hatred towards another group.

There are a lot of problematic verses in Koran that apparently promote and justify violence. Those verses, hoping that the translation is correct, seem to justify killing non-believers. Terrorists worldwide have justified their acts by quoting Koran.

Atharva Vedas have hymns that ask fatal diseases to go and affect innocent women and children living in the kingdoms like Magadha which didn’t strictly follow Vedic way of living. Texts like Manusmriti say that if a Sudra or a person belonging to the fourth/lower varna listens to Vedas even by accident, molten metal should be poured into his ears. The religion has promoted Sati, burning the widows alive in the funeral pyre of their husbands, at some point of time in history.The Angry Gods and Barbaric People - Exposing the Truth About Religions

This shows that all religions have barbaric ideas and all holy books have nonsense. But all religions do have love and peace as their central teachings too. Religions have evolved as human society has evolved. Religions are like coconuts. The outside shells may appear different but the water inside tastes the same. It is time for humanity to discard barbaric and unscientific ideas in religions and just focus on the spiritual core. It is not difficult to do. Rumi was a Muslim and he did it; Meister Eckhart was a Christian and he did it. Ramana maharishi was a Hindu and he did it. Just like the water inside the coconut tastes the same regardless of the differences in coconuts, their shells and their sizes, the spiritual core of all religions remains the same regardless of the differences in rules and regulations and commandments on how one should live.

We are evolved human beings and we have changed a lot since we first appeared on this planet as anatomically modern human beings 200,000 years before.We do not need these holy books to dictate what is ethical and what is unethical any more. In fact, these same holy books have a lot of unethical and inhumane ideas which makes modern human beings way better than the so called God who gave these scriptures as eternal laws.

So, what is this spiritual core all about? The spiritual core is much liberal. It is focused towards human salvation while living, not after the death. It lays down a path to reach the ultimate potential as a human being, were your personal boundaries are dissolved and you feel one with the whole or God. It is a path to union with God, but this God is not personal. He doesn’t have human attributes or qualities. He is the all pervading essence of everything that exists.

The idea that God as a person would create human beings and would also punish them for their wrong doings is actually silly, if we think carefully. All human beings behave according to their nature and nurture. Even though we feel like we have free will, the decisions that we make out of free will are actually the products of nature and nurture. In other words, it all depends on the person’s genetics and the experiences he went through in life. A main factor that decides how much tolerant, altruistic, loving, patient and disciplined a human being would be is his genetics. A person who is genetically predisposed to have more altruism and patience will behave more ethically. On the other hand, a person who is genetically predisposed to have negative qualities have to exercise a lot of self control and even then ends up failing to be a good human being. So, in a way, going to heaven or hell is not in your control. This is very unfair and I don’t think an intelligent God would be so unfair and stupid. Punishing his own creation doesn’t make any sense, if you think about it deeply.

Praying to God doesn’t make sense either. Doesn’t God know what you want? And what kind of God he is if he is ready to help only if you pray? Why would a God that understands the nature of all human beings and love everyone equally be partial only to those who pray? Human beings have obviously attributed human qualities to God. It is humans who expect appeasement, not God. A God who expects appeasement and prayer from people cannot be God by definition.

So I have strong disagreements with two ideas that is there in every religion: 1) God rewards good people and punishes evil doers. 2) God answers your prayers.

In fact, God as a person in the sky doesn’t make any sense at all! But God as the all pervading essence that Vedanta talks about does make sense. It is this God that Meister Eckhart, Ramana Maharshi and Rumi were devoted to. This devotion is an immense longing for union with God, which ultimately breaks the idea that you are a person separate from God. It is this God that Jesus asked people to love. This God is not the stupid person in the sky who is obsessed with ten commandments and is allergic towards idols; there is no such person. God is not a person; it is a fallacy to attribute human qualities to God. What we are talking about here is truly beyond time and space, eternal and the essence of everything that exists. We personify it for convenience, that’s it!

Between 8th century BCE to the 5th century BCE, we see revolution in the religions all parts of the world. Buddha and rishis of Upanishads in India, Lao Tzu in China and Socrates in Greece lived in this period and added a new dimension to religion. We can just isolate this new dimension and call it as spirituality. Spirituality is not interested in a person in the sky; it is interested in personal transformation that leads one to live a blissful and peaceful life. Even though the philosophies of these people appear different, most of the differences are only semantic differences. They used different words but ultimately meant the same thing. This dimension of religion is focused on humanity, love, peace and bliss.

This new dimension of religion or the spiritual core of all religions has been preserved in Sufism, a school of thought in Islam and Christian mysticism, a path followed by saints like the John of Cross and Saint Theresa of Avila in Christianity. It is also preserved and immensely discussed in the school of Yoga and Vedanta. But it is so sad that even about 2500 years after the period of Buddha, this truth remains only with spiritual seekers and hasn’t reached the common public. And, the members of the common public are fighting to preserve the outdated rules and regulations that their religions have produced.
Any human being doesn’t choose a religion out of choice, except in the case of conversions. You are a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian because you were conditioned to believe and follow that religion from birth. And anyone following a religion is made to believe that his religion is right and other religions are wrong. This biased way of bringing up children naturally leads to religious prejudice when they become adults. Religion becomes their identity and they start to defend it. People have become very sensitive that they are no longer interested in theological discussions, healthy debates and looking for ways to reform their religions. The spiritual core of the religion still remains a secret that is restricted to a small percentage of spiritual seekers who seek to know the truth, instead of blindly believing in age old barbaric concepts.

Do you want to join the small percentage of spiritual seekers in the world and understand what spirituality is all about? Get my book “The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment: Bridging Science, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta”.

God: Who/What is God?

(This post has also been posted as an answer on Quora)

The word God is being used in two different meanings.

1. The word ‘God’, as it is possibly used by a random guy in the world of over 7 billion people, means the creator, ruler and the moral authority of the universe.

A random guy usually understands God as an invisible person who has a mind, emotions, intentions and a personality that is strict, altruistic, intelligent, loving, judgemental and sometimes even cruel.

He is someone who is worshiped with or without form and who is also feared. As for as utility is concerned, such a random man uses this God to be hopeful of his wishes and even curses as well. Sometimes he also uses God even to justify his cruel actions.. That has caused a lot of violence in the name of religion over the last two or three millennia.

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The tendency to judge others usually occurs to a person because of the unconscious intention to show himself in a positive light, in terms of what is good and bad. By making a judgment about others either mentally or physically and by trying to see how bad they are, he unconsciously convinces himself on how good he is.

This tendency can be observed more in people who are brought up in religious families. Don’t think about spirituality here. I am talking about an orthodox Hindu, Muslim or Christian who believes that there is a personal superhuman God who is the moral authority of the world and who punishes the evil doers. He is conditioned more to think in terms of what is good and bad, what is evil and sin etc.

When he believes that his neighbor is selfish, arrogant, rude and probably even bad, he convinces himself on how bad that neighbor is; he also gets relieved in thinking that God will teach his neighbor a lesson one day.

loveyourneighbor

The neighbor is always a problem. It is not only the case with your next door neighbor, it could be someone who is sitting next to you in school or work, the people in neighboring town, state, country etc. Everyone wants to see himself better than other in some way. The worst problems happen when he wants to see himself better than others in how good he is, how pure his heart is, how devotional and dear to God he is etc. So, this is really not about God at all. God is just an excuse to bring some solace on his wishes and curses.

If for any reason he is not able to kill someone who he thinks as bad, rude or displeasing, he can find some temporary relief by thinking how much God would want to punish him. And as soon as he notices such a thought in his mind, he would probably pray to God saying “oh my God, what have I done!.. I have thought of killing that guy. It is such a bad thought and I have sinned now!. But you know how bad he is anyway (*this is the special part!). But I admit that I have sinned in my mind. Please forgive me.. I honestly ask for your forgiveness. Let everything happen according to thy will, Amen or Om Shanthi or Insha Allah or whatever”…. That’s it! He no longer has to worry about it anymore because God has forgiven him! But God is still not going to forgive that bad neighbor guy!

forgive

And this typical religious person that we are talking about is not going to forgive that bad guy either. Also, God will only forgive this typical religious person because he believes that he is the dearest child of God. As far as he is concerned, God loves him but would want to punish everybody else that he doesn’t like for whatever reason he has. And his mind can easily find biased reasons for such an aversion. Any person can easily find thousands of reason to justify his hatred towards another person, there is no question. It is love which doesn’t require any reasons.

If you think for a moment, the main teachings of many religions have been love. It is even said that Love is God. Every religious tradition probably has love as the central theme. Most of the religions portray God as Love.

I think Jesus was a wise man. When someone asked him what greatest commandments were, he did not talk about Ten Commandments.

All he said was this:

”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second commandment is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

godislove

But love is not a bargain or deal. Unfortunately, this is what we see in many people who claim to love God or human beings. Their prayers are like ‘God, please give me this, please give me that’. This is not Love. This is a business.

It is pretty much like telling your God what to do and doesn’t sound like ‘Thy will be done!”

2. But the word ‘God’ is also used in the context of spiritual enlightenment.

In this context, the word is just a synonym of Absolute reality from which people feel separated.

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The apparent union that destroys the apparent separation of absolute reality is what is called by different names: Some people call it as the mystical union and some people call it as Yoga, which literally means union. Here, the God is often personified and loved but never believed or seen as a person. In other words, union with God is the same shit as spiritual enlightenment! It is the end of duality which gives complete fulfillment and peace.

But the word ‘God’ in the context of spiritual enlightenment is totally unnecessary anyway. I would rather talk about spiritual enlightenment without using the word ‘God’. You can read this answer for a detailed description of what it is: What is Spiritual Enlightenment?

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