Friday, July 20, 2012

Questionable Assumptions?!

The last two posts ( ദൈവത്തിനു ചൂണ്ട ഇടുന്നു & ജീവിത ശകടം പംക്ച്ചര്‍ ആയി) that I had written, talk about communion with God (thinking about God, praying etc.). This raises an important question, ‘why should we have this communion with God’? Would God punish us if we don’t do this? Should we feel guilty if we don’t think about God?

These questions made me think about the assumptions that underlie the last two posts. The main assumptions were regarding the nature and purpose of the relationship between man and God.

In Christianity, the relationship between ‘God and man’ is considered to be that between ‘Father and child’ & I had assumed the same when it comes to the nature of the relationship. In such a scenario, communion (thinking about/interacting with each other) is a must for making the relationship work. It also follows that both God and man will ‘miss something’ if the communion does not happen.

No; I don’t think that God will punish us if we don’t think about(interact with) Him. But I do feel that we will miss out on a wonderful opportunity if we don’t do it. We discover certain dimensions of ourselves only in the context of interactions with others. So if we don’t interact with God, we might not be able to realize our full human potential.

To me, what happens when we interact with God is that we 're-member'. Remember (re-member) in the sense of being a member again (being united again with the 'Whole'). After this 're-membering' we re-emerge as renewed (refreshed, 'born again'/'born from above'*) human beings with a greater degree of awareness. This higher awareness will help us in making better choices - in dealing with ourselves and with others. It is not a matter of God telling us not to do certain things when we interact with Him. It is more a matter of we making different decisions (start, stop, continue, do more of, do less of) ourselves, based on our enhanced awareness.

Again, I don't think that God punishes us. I think that our actions, laws of nature and chance (entropy) combine to produce certain outcomes. I do believe that God nurtures us and gives us the strength do deal with the outcomes by 'being with us', suffering with us and suffering for us (as in the passion/suffering of Christ). God also gives us the wisdom to make better choices. This happens in the context of our interaction with God.

Hence it ‘makes sense’ for us to feel guilty if we miss out on this opportunity (to reach out to God). The feeling of guilt (like the feelings of anxiety, fear etc.) can be a useful warning signal. As long as we recognize the signal, we don’t really have to suffer the pain of guilt.

I understand that different sets of assumptions (on the nature and purpose of the relationship between man and God) are possible and they will lead to different conclusions (if we follow the same process of logical deduction). As I had written earlier, any sort of beliefs/assumptions about God is problematic (as they will limit God). I am also aware that many of these assumptions/beliefs are ‘anthropomorphic’ (attributing human characteristics to God) and can even amount to ‘creating God in the image of man’ – not a particularly noble endeavor I must say!

ബോബി ജോസ് കട്ടികാട്‌ ഹൃദയവയല്‍ എന്ന പുസ്തകത്തില്പറയുന്നു " ദൈവം നമ്മുടെ ശാഠൃങ്ങല്കും  ധാരണകല്കും മുകളിലെവിടെയോ ആണ്. ഇതാണ് ദൈവം എന്ന് പറയരുത്. ഇതല്ല ദൈവം എന്ന് പറയുക കുറേകൂടി എളുപ്പമാണ്.  അതുകൊണ്ടാണല്ലോ എന്താണ് ദൈവം എന്ന് ചോദിക്കുമ്പോള്‍ 'നേതി - നേതി' (ഇതല്ല - ഇതല്ല ദൈവം) എന്ന് ആര്ഷഭാരതം ചൊല്ലിക്കൊടുക്കുനത് പരമാവധി നിനക്ക് പറയാവുന്നത് ' ഇതുകൂടിയാണ് ദൈവം' എന്നുമാത്രം. അതിനപ്പുറമായ ശാഠൃങ്ങള്‍  ദൈവനിന്ദകള്ആണ്.” 

The above discussion clearly indicates that my current responses to the questions at the beginning of this post are far from adequate. I hope and pray that my understanding (and my answers/responses) will evolve!

* "Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again'" (John 3:3). Please note that the Greek for 'again' also means 'from above'.

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