What is God?
Dr. Ali Sina
May 24, 2011
Dr. Ali Sina
Humans have tried to find an answer to the question of God since the dawn of their intelligence. They came with various answers, only to discard them later and find new ones. Gods manifested themselves as animals, as natural phenomena, as planets and stars, as supernatural beings, and as natural laws.
As our intellect expanded, our answers to this question changed. Yet, despite the amazing discoveries in science, we have not been able to find a satisfactory and definitive answer to this old quandary. All we can do is decide what isn’t God. What God is, is yet unknown.
God can’t be an animal. It can’t be the sun, the moon or a star. God can’t be many. And finally God can’t be a being. All these can be demonstrated logically. What can’t be demonstrated is the existence of God.
Egyptian Animal Gods
Throughout the history, gods have always been the projection of man’s attributes. They have been the incarnation of his fears and hopes. They were the ideal towards which humans have aspired. Since humans are different, their thoughts, fears and aspirations are different and so are their gods.
The Aztec believed in Huitzilopochtli. Huitzilopochtli was a war god. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 people were sacrificed by the Aztec royalty per year. Captives were taken to the top of pyramids where, upon a ritual flat stone table, they had their chests cut open and their hearts ripped out. Then the bodies of the victims were tossed down the steps of the pyramids.
Critical to understanding the motivation behind the ritual sacrifices is the concept of ”tonalli,” which means “animating spirit.” The tonalli in humans was believed to be located in the blood, which concentrates in the heart when one becomes frightened. This explains the gods’ hunger for the heart. Without this sacrifice, all motion stops, even the movement of the sun. So when the Aztecs made their sacrifices, as far as they were concerned, they were keeping the sun from halting in its orbit.
The god of the Israelites played favoritism. He had chosen the Jews as his own people. The rationale behind this was that the Jews were living in captivity most of the time. Their captors mistreated them. In the past humans were cruel to each other, more than they are today. To compensate, the god of the Jews liked them more than he liked other people. He would promise them victory at the end and severe punishment for their oppressors. He would assure them that these tribulations are only to purify them from their sins. Thanks to their faith the Jews endured great hardships and did not let go of hope. Redemption and glory was always around the corner.
To Jesus, God was love. Jesus was a man of peace. He taught people to forgive each other’s sins, find the beam in their own eyes before looking for the speck in the eyes of others, to not throw stone when they are sinners themselves, to love their neighbors and even to turn the other cheek. His God is very much like him. That is the kind of God that Jesus had envisioned.
To a narcissist like Muhammad, God was everything a narcissist wants to be. Allah is omnipotent, a fearsome deity that demands respect, commands to be praised and orders to be worshipped. Muhammad’s god is a wanton god who does what he pleases. He can make rules and break them at will and no one is allowed to question him. He can send pious people to hell and reward evil doers, if he so desires. Humans cannot be sure of their fate and cannot gain salvation through good deeds alone. They have to also submit to him, bow to him and worship him in order to gain his approval. Muhammad’s god is a despot. His mind resembles the minds of Saddam Hussein, Hitler and Stalin. He is ruthless to those who oppose him and kind and generous to those who praise him. He is a needy god, desperate to be noticed, and offended if neglected. To Muhammad, these qualities were supreme. His god is his own alter ego – a projection of who he was.
Einstein’s god was the god of natural law. Einstein was a man of science. He believed that there is an order in the universe. He was referring to this order when he said “God does not play dice.”
Einstein’s god had nothing to do with the god of religions. A man of his intellect could not possibly believe in a god that intervenes in human affairs, breaks his own laws to perform miracles, sends prophets and answers prayers, as if humans could influence the divine Will and change the natural law by supplicating. He described his belief in god as:
A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestation of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this sense alone, I am a deeply religious man.
He resented having his religious convictions misrepresented and clarified:
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
Professor Stephen Hawking
Great minds are religious and yet their religiosity is so different from religions of the common folks. The cosmologist and mathematician, Stephen Hawking, who spoke of “the Mind of God,” when asked by CNN’s Larry King whether he believed in God, answered: “Yes, if by God is meant the embodiment of the laws of the universe.”
Whether God exists or not, is not the subject of this article. Even if it exists, it can never be understood. What we humans consider to be God is our own creation. This creation is good or is evil depending on our thinking. The god of Jesus is good because Jesus was a good man. The god of Muhammad is evil, because Muhammad was evil. Neither the god of Jesus is real nor is the god of Muhammad. They are as real as Santa Clause and Dracula. Yet, as the Aztecs and Muslims have demonstrated, the belief in an evil God can be dangerous.
Not all Christians believe in the same god of Jesus. The Medieval Church believed in a different god. Their god was a lot influenced by the Islamic god. That is why the Church went so off tangent from the teachings of Christ. Today, not all the Christians believe in the same god. For some, god is tolerant, loving and inclusive. For others, he is jealous, possessive and exclusive.
God is not one. There are hundreds of gods. Many of them are forgotten. No one remembers anymore Huitzilopochtlior his kinder and gentler partner Quetzalcoatl, who only demanded the sacrifice of animals such as snakes and butterflies. No one prays anymore to Mars the god of war; to Venus, the goddess of love; or to Pluto, the god of death. These gods had their days, in which they ruled supreme. “Forgotten lie the martyrs in their dusty catacombs, and the faiths, for which they died, are cold and dead.”
According to some estimates there are 240 gods. Hindus believe in millions of gods. Unless we assume that God suffers from multiple personality disorder, we must admit that Yahweh, the god of Moses and “Father” the god of Jesus are not the same. They have distinct attributes. Allah does not resemble either one of them. He is ruthless, sadistic and bloodthirsty. Then again, the same Allah has a spiritual awakening and takes an entirely different personality when he manifests himself to Baha’u'llah and talks about universal love and brotherhood of all mankind. What a dramatic transformation! A chameleon cannot not do better.
All gods are human creations. We give birth to them, we worship them and then we abandon them and forget them. It’s now the turn of Allah to be put to rest. This deity has outlived his utility. He is not fit to be worshipped. Allah, like Huitzilopochtli is a bloodthirsty god that demands human sacrifice. We must kill him and drive a stick into his heart so he can never raise his ugly head again to suck the blood of innocent people.
A Christian woman beheaded in Indonesia at the altar of Allah
There is no truth in Allah. This deity is evil, because its creator was evil. He is the figment of the mind of a very sick man.
Under the influence of Islam Muslims are reduced into savage beasts.
If you need to believe in a god, there are many gods to pick from. If you don’t like any of the existing gods, make your own. I made mine. I believe in the single principle underlying all things. This is the same god that Einstein, Espinosa and Hawking believe/d. I believe in the Dao, the eternal, unknowable, unchangeable principle. I am a believer. I believe in beauty, in harmony, in order and in love. I believe in the infinite potential that is laden within each one of us. My god is not a being. It is a non-being that is the mother of all beings. I do not worship it, nor do I pray to it. I try to understand it and apply it in my life, in every breath that I take.
Allah cannot help you because he does not exist. He is as real as Huitzilopochtli. He exists only in Muslims’ imagination. If you understand the real God, i.e. the eternal law that governs the universe, you’ll be able to help yourself by applying that principle to your life. Help is there for all those who seek it.
Krishna says, people pray to different gods according to their understandings, but whichever god they pray to, it is I who answer their prayers. Whether you want to give credit to Krishna, to Yahweh, or to any other god is up to you, whatever you focus on becomes real. Those who focus on success, health, wealth and happiness, and persevere, gain. Those who can’t focus, or are overtaken by fear, lose.
Someone asked why God plays games with us. It’s not God that plays games with us. It is we who play games with God. We give names to God, when names are to distinguish things from their likes. God is not a thing and has no likes. Therefore, it is nameless. We describe God in various forms, when God is indescribable and has no form. We ascribe human attributes to God, call it loving, knowing, wise and omnipotent, when God is above attributes. If God is not a being, how can it have attributes? God is neither kind nor cruel. God is not the Father, the Lord or the Sovereign Ruler. God is not the creator because creation is an act and acts are subject to time. God is timeless and therefore it can’t act. We pretend serving God, whilst God is sanctified from any need. If I am thirsty, you can serve me a glass of water. But if I am not thirsty, what is the point of bringing me water? God has no needs. So how can we serve God? God is the Law of the nature. You can apply the law but you can’t serve the law. All you have to do is understand it and follow it.
You understand God through science – the science of the inner world and the science of the outer world. This can be done through the introspection of the world within and the observation of the world without.
No one can tell you about God. No one can teach you what God is. You must understand it on your own. If colors cannot be explained to a born blind, how can one explain God to one who has no discernment? That is why no one can tell you about God or show you the Way. Truth is pathless. You don’t have to go anywhere or follow anyone to find it. Just as you don’t have to go anywhere to find the Sun. Sun shines everywhere. You don’t have to follow any path to find God because God is within you.
Stop listening to every Tom, Dick and Harry who claims to be a messenger of God. God does not send messages through third parties. God’s message is all around you. It’s in every leaf, in every breath that you inhale, in every atom that makes this universe. Look at a little infant and you will see God. God is in every human. You yourself are the greatest message of God. Listen to your own higher self and you will hear God speaking loud and clear.
God has no personality or awareness. It is not a being or a thing. It is not conscious of us and our world. It does not send us calamities nor does it save us from them. It’s just there as the law for us to abide and to enrich our lives with.
God does not punish or reward. You do it yourself when you break the law or when you follow it. If you put your hand on fire, it burns. There is no one punishing you. Since no one is going to punish you for your sins, there is no point in asking for forgiveness. Once you break the law the damage is already done.
God is everything. It is the only reality that exists and is self subsisting. In comparison, the world is a chimera. In fact the very notion of comparing being and non-being is absurd. You can compare apples and scooters, because both of them are things, but you can’t compare God with anything that is not God. God is real and eternal; everything else is accidental and perishable. You can’t compare the infinite with the finite. The non-being is real and absolute, and the being is relative. This is the greatest paradox.
The universe is only a thought in the mind of God. God exists, without being. It is the most manifest and the most hidden at once. How is that possible? Think of life! Isn’t life both manifest and hidden? Life is an expression of God. Love is also an expression of God.
God envelops everything and everyone. You can’t escape it, not even for a fraction of a second. The moment you cease to obey God, you cease to exist. That is because God is not the lawgiver but the law itself. Even if your mind can disobey and break the Law, your body can’t but obey. That is why you are still alive. That is why you have a physical being. Every cell and every atom in your body abides by the Law – metaphorically speaking, “is a believer.”
We humans have come a long way in understanding God and all we have understood is that we don’t understand. We used to believe in animals, in mythological figures, in planets and in stars, in ghosts, in many gods and in a single god. Some gods were loving, and others were fearsome and cruel. All of them were products of our fantasies. Our greatest thinkers, no longer think of God as a personal being, but as an impersonal law of the universe. Our understanding of God evolves, as our brains evolve. The gods of our forefathers, no longer satisfy our quest for knowledge. It’s time to leave those gods behind in the dust of history and find a god that makes sense to our advanced intellect.
Back to Philosophy Index
Back to Islam Index
Back to Ali Sina Index