Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Conversation with Ronn : Religion and God.

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Q: Good evening, Ronn. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Me: My English name is Ronn, surname is Yeo and Chinese name is Zhiyuan. You can address me any of them …. hopefully it is not too complicated =P. I’m 22 years of age, graduated with a Marketing degree 6 months ago. I hold strong interest in science and philosophy area and i self-learned them via the internet and books. I have put very much effort in them and so far i’ve conceived many decent ideas. I’ve some thoughts of doing PhDs in these areas but i’m not over too serious about it at the moment. I’m also an atheist.

Q: As an atheist, do you hate religion?

Me: No, not at all. I think religions offer many positive things in terms of spiritual aspect. Moreover, I think the existing code of morality which make up the laws we have at the moment were influenced heavily by religion. You see, I don’t believe religion bring violence to the world as advocated by Richard Dawkins. It is not the problem of religion really, but rather it is a human problem. Human are violent and brutal by nature if the situation required us to be so. Have you heard of the psychological term ‘the power of situation’ before?

However, the only main problem i have with religion is that they often use God as an explanation for every difficult and challenging questions. Using God as reference to every subject, to me, is the ultimate insult to all intellectual, logical and critical discourse. As i have said many times before, you can never logically argue against omnipotent being who has infinite power because infinity itself never exist in the natural world. Plus, it is always annoying that people hijack the supernatural power to make the so called logical argument. For example, “God can create the world in a blink of an eye because he can. He is omnipotent, he can do whatever he wanted to.”

I think that’s extremely lazy habit of thinking.

So, putting it briefly, i’m ok with religion but not with the concept of God. But since both of them come in a package and inseparable, whenever i criticize the concept of God, inevitably i will touch about religion.

Q: Why do you think so many people in this world believe in God?

Me: Our imaginations. Without human imagination, we would never progress from stone age period to the modern era today. Imagination is also what separates us from animals which brought us so much more diversity to our daily life rather than just living in a typical sleep-eat-play-sex-eat-sleep of animal routine.

But here is the catch – According to Ying and Yang (Taoism) philosophy, whether we realize or not, every single phenomenon in this world will always have two sides of forces. Putting it simply, everything in this world has pros and cons in order to harmonize the nature. And i’m a strong believer in that philosophy.

Hence, imagination works as a double edge sword to humanity. Our imagination brings us many ideas, right from super-creative world changing ideas to over-fantasized ideas. And i will put God in the same category as over-fantasized ideas.

Q: Many religious people claimed that they always felt the presence of God around them. Does imagination play any role here?

Me: Allow me to illustrate my point by telling you a personal short true story of mine.

You see, I was born to a single parent family and my mum is a strong believer of Buddhism (Mahayana). Since the day i was born, money had been a problem as my mum did not have strong education qualification to get herself a decent pay job. Although she struggled very much financially, particularly when i was 1 up to 10 years old, i have never live a day where i was bothered by hunger. Magically it may sound, but money seems to come pretty naturally for her all this while to support our needs and stomach. She related to me before of how she prayed to the deity Guan Yin (a Mahayana deity) when i was younger and she always felt blessed that her wishes were always granted. Everything seemed to fell into places nicely for her. She believed it must be some divine influence.

I grew interested with Buddhism as i age, and the more i read, the more i realized Buddhism is more of a philosophy rather than a religion. There’s absolutely no God or divine being in Buddhism. The concept of divine being can only be found in Mahayana, one of the sects of Buddhism which had been distorted by China many many years ago. That means, the Guan Yin deity my mum has been worshipping for so many years was actually just a myth!

So, my mum has been clinging on the idea that she owed divine power a favour for receiving numerous ‘divine’ help throughout her lifetime. How i wish i could proudly tell her that she is one hell of a capable mum and she did it purely from her own great effort while Guan Yin granting wishes was nothing but myths. But it would be extremely cruel for me to shatter her good faith on Guan Yin by telling her that she has been living in delusion for the past 20 to 30 years or so. I couldn’t do it.

If this could happen to my mum, it could easily happen to other people with other faiths. For some funny reasons, psychologically, human love to cling on ‘hope’, just like small children always clinging on their parents. You could see it is a very natural thing for human to believe in supernatural power especially when we face adversity.

Q: You mentioned about psychology. Can you explain more about the psychological factor?

You know there’s an interesting psychological condition in human being where we are always happy to be fooled or manipulated by things which will make us happy or satisfied. Just like people who like to watch magic show who already knew it is just all tricks. We know those are pure tricks, yet we still want to be amused by the so called magic. Same goes when we watch movies, reading fiction books, or comics and manga. We know the stories were scripted and are not real, yet very often we put fourth our emotions and immerse ourselves in these activities. You know those moments when the hero triumph over the evil or when the leading actress died of illness resulting a sad ending to the movie? Those are the typical moment when our emotions will skyrocket. People cry, laugh, fear, thrilled, and get angry along with the movie they watch or books which they read. It is as though subconsciously, we perceive them as Real …

Think about it, doesn’t it amaze you that many people are committing the same kind of emotions to God who they have never seen before with their own eyes? God has never appeared before us, yet many people are devoted and strongly believe in Him. There are many people who could sacrifice their life in the name of God. These people basically think He is Real.

Could you see the parallel comparison?

Q: Woah, that’s really deep. So, what will you do to change religious people’s mind that God is not real?

Me: Human are always resistant to changes especially when it has already firmly became their mind-set or belief system. Nobody, absolutely nobody can change their mind. Only they themselves can realize it and change their own mind.

I love how Richard Dawkins put the title The God Delusion to his book. I think delusion is absolutely the perfect word to describe it. You know, when a girl first fall in love with a boy and she thinks that he will be her first and last and only later on realized that he is not the one? That’s delusion. Or perhaps some contestants who went for auditions in American Idol and think that they will become the next big thing only to be mocked by Simon? That’s also delusion.

So yes, as i see it, believing in God is a delusion. Only you yourself could realize delusions…. nobody can help you.

Q: So is it safe for me to assume that you totally rule out the possibility of God’s existence.

Me: It depends on what type of God you are referring to. We may be created by aliens who threw us here on planet Earth as part of their own experiment in creating intelligent life. In this sense, the aliens will be our God. Or perhaps, we are living in a Matrix world where our existence is just a computer simulation. Now in this case, the computer will be our God. You never know. There are boundless of possibilities on what brought us to existence. Until the day we know the answer, every possible God options we have right now is a good possibility.

But at the moment, i’m extremely skeptical to God (or Gods) from Abrahamic religions. Having saying that, i do not 100% rule out the possibility it may exist, just like i can’t rule out that Aliens exist.

Q: Thanks for conversation. Hopefully we will meet again.

Me: Yeap, talk soon.



PS: (This is a self interview session.)


Written by elan85

March 21, 2008 at 4:09 am

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