On Religious Faith

This article is on faith – in particular religious faith.

I spoke to a friend a couple of days back regarding this topic. He is a mature and well educated person and has seen the world. He said that in his opinion more people have died because of God than because of Satan. He felt that no educated person would believe the possibility of there being a heaven or hell where we will go to following death.

 I cannot prove the existence of God to anybody. Equally nobody can disprove the existence of the Divine. But there is one argument that I would like to present here which shows a path that a reasonable man would follow.

This is Blaise Pascal’s wager. Pascal said that if you believe in God and it turns out that he exists then obviously you have made a good decision. If he does not exist and you believe in him then you have not lost anything. But if you don’t believe in him and it turns out that he exists then you are in serious trouble.

This is a scientific and rational attitude to have towards this subject. And there is another reason why religious faith is justified.

In courts of law the evidence on the basis on which a verdict is delivered is that of reliable witnesses who testify before the magistrate. The witnesses are subject to cross examination and the magistrate has to decide whether the witness can be relied upon. But there is no other way to get at the facts of the case other than the testimony of people who know the facts of the matter by first hand experience.

Similarly it is up to us whether or not we choose to believe in the testimony of mystics who claim to have experienced God. The decision regarding how much we can rely on their testimony is based on our judgment and another person may come to a different opinion altogether. There is no way to conclusively prove the truth or the falsehood of the testimony.

A third reason why religious faith can be justified is based on the Buddhist teaching. The Buddha said that whatever he himself had experienced can be experienced by anybody who follows the path that he taught. It is as if a person wanted to travel from Mumbai to Pune. A person who knows the route can guide someone who has not made the journey before. If the new comer follows all the instructions but still does not each his destination then he is justified in saying that his guide is mistaken and cannot be trusted.

But it is necessary to make the journey. Without doing so we cannot hope to know the facts as to whether God exists or not.

I’ll end here. Please explore this site for more articles on Self Help, Spirituality and Politics. If you would like to contact me the link is below.   

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1 Comment

  1. I don’t see why anyone not believing in God,but finds out there is God, should be in serious trouble.
    If there is a God, surely he is not the wicked, spiteful God, who will only favour those who believe him.

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