I was asked to write an essay on this topic as part of a written test in a
job interview. This article is what I wrote. If you are curious, rest
assured that I did not get the job. Some days later, I called them and asked
for my answer sheet. They obliged me with a photocopy.
Well, let me take Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's route by asking for a
definition for "God." Classical definitions of God have limited His sphere of
influence (no pun intended) to the planet Earth. The problem is, what about the
rest of the universe? Do our gods or THE God have devotees in other parts of the
universe? And, hold on a second! Even the good old universe has a limit.* Do
those regions that lie beyond this limit also have "God"? Is it the same
synidcate? Or, do they have other syndicates? If so, what sort of relationship
do they have among themselves?
Let's come back to terra firma for a moment. Have the gods of the earth
proved themselves to be immortal? Most haven't. The ones that escape this test
are nowhere in sight. They have been absent for so long! Should we take this as
a sign there is no "God"?
Recall the story of Saint Ramakrishna Parahamsa trying to answer
this paradox by slapping the questioner and asking him to "show" the
pain. When the poor guy replied that pain was "a feeling,"
Ramakrishna surmised that "God" was also "a feeling" that needs to be felt. Now,
that begs the question why so much salesman-speak has been wasted on insisting
the "human nature" of "God."
In conclusion, the question about "God" leads us to more questions; not
answers. But it has been observed that belief in a god brings a great deal of
peace to the mind of the believer. Most people are only happy to place the
burden of their worries on a "God." With a lot less on their shoulders, they are
in better shape to face the world. God is like a lifeline for them. So long as
this seems to work for them, we should have the decency to leave them alone.
* - Yes, scientists have set a limit for the Universe.
According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe is supposed to expand and
contract over time. Currently, the Universe is at about 78 billion light years
(7.4 * 1023 KM) wide.