You Need God  

                                                        - Anjan Kumar Chakraborty

Observation and analysis of the cosmic evolution reveals a design and emergence of life in Earth demands involvement of an external intelligence. Despite the facts, some people deny existence of any creator and some others, while not rejecting the possibility of a creator for the universe, refuse to admit any need of god in human society.

It is true that God is not essential for our daily physical survival. It is not needed like air and water. It is also true that innumerable killing, oppression and exploitation of humans have been perpetrated by using different explanations of god. So, it may appear rational to reject any need of god in human society. However, it is only a partial truth. History is also replete with instances of good deeds, justified struggles and wars deriving inspiration and strength from god.

Now, any search for a concrete meaning or characterizations of god produces an unclear picture. Since the exponents of major theist religions have explained god in numerous ways, according to their own ideas and thought about the Creator in different situations and time-frame, the explanations of characteristics of god remain a matter a belief or individual feeling, if any. In other words, there is no definite and rationally acceptable (in conventional sense) characterization of god is available.

Nevertheless, it is undeniable that an IMMEASURABLE KNOWLEDGE started the specified formation of our observable universe and life. Otherwise, we have to agree that extremely fine- tuned Laws of Fundamental Forces, accurate quantity of some basic parameters like proton in the early universe and the critical rate of expansion one second after the BIG BANG - the pre-determined inputs essential for a specific evolution of the universe - are not "chosen". Again, if we refuse to admit the immeasurable knowledge we have to accept that life is the product of innumerable random combinations of chemical particles over a very long period of time, which, according to mathematical probability, demands more time than the estimated age (13.5 to 13.7billion years) of the universe. It is true that the Creator cannot be proved or disproved. However, from available findings and analyses it is rational to admit the existence of a creator.

Now, despite absence of any definite characterization of god, teachings of major religions are integrated with a firm belief in god. Emphasis on a lifestyle heavily based on spiritual matters over physical matters originates from theist philosophy. Valuing peace (a balanced state of mind where temporal aspirations, desire, despair, discontent, anxiety etc. have no appreciable effect on thought process and motivation for life), joy and relationships over accumulation of wealth and excessive material consumption is closer to a god-abiding philosophy than economic and political thinking.

Democratic and socialistic values suggesting moral codes for social development seek human progress on the basis of only material benefits. Comparable religious suggestions, seeking spiritual development of humans, take into account the wider issue of soul and advise morally sound existence which includes virtues like freedom from avarice, freedom from discontent etc. Again, as opposed to market economy principle of creating more and more demand for material consumption as motivation for life, religious principles discourage excessive material want in order to free humans for a spiritual understanding of the world.

Regarding lifestyle, theist religious traditions encourage voluntary practice of a way of living refraining from luxury and satisfied with needed material consumption rather than endless material want. This simple or need based lifestyle is a continuous creative process and depends on individual's understanding of simplicity. The striking feature of religious lifestyle is that it is clearly different from poverty which is forced and involuntary by nature. It is also different from communist concept of simple lifestyle for their leaders and organizers which basically aims at attracting common people towards communist ideology. Thus, the lifestyle concept of communists is an ideological tactic and narrower in scope than religious way of simple living.

Now, in the present world scenario, the current consumption pattern has been identified as a major reason for impending environmental disaster and scarcity of some non-renewable resources. With rising population, income level and wealth in different countries, world consumption has been increasing year by year. Spending on luxury and non-essential consumption is ascending very fast. One estimate shows spending on fashions and lifestyle products is likely to touch USD 15-16 billion by 2025. In 2008 alone the world consumed 77 billion tons of raw materials which the United Nations says could lead to "an unsustainable future". Again, humans cannot adapt to increasing GHG impact forever and arresting GHG requires substantial changes in the current consumption pattern in favour of sustainable consumption. With the background of rising world population, scarcity of non-renewable energy, diminishing arable land and forest cover, sustainable consumption pattern has become a necessity. The world urgently needs a huge change in the existing consumption pattern which ensures less waste, less pollution, less luxury and preserves basic resources for next generations. On sustainable consumption the Oslo Definition (1994) says that "the use of services and related products which respond to basic needs.........while minimising the use of natural well as emissions of waste and as not to jeopardise the needs of future generations"

Obviously, the need-based religious lifestyle, if practiced en-masse, can lead to release of resources and reduce pollutions. It can force corrections in the existing market economy structure and development models. However, without deep commitment to basic religious values, practising a need-based lifestyle is hardly possible and the commitment, as per ethical teachings of major religions, is nothing but unconditional love for humankind, all living beings and nature which, in effect, enables humans to reject maximization of material consumption as aim of life. In other words, the present requirement of preserving resources and reducing pollutions, an important socio-economic goal for future generations, demands seeking shelter of religious values and the God.

Apart from the socio-economic goal, simple lifestyle benefits individuals in other ways too. It helps to identify unnecessary wants and allows better allocation of resources according to individual priorities. Again, a simple lifestyle increases 'quality time' and enables a better work-life balance. A true follower of the religious lifestyle can overcome greedy intensions of hunger for money, fame and possessiveness and achieve a peaceful state of mind.

Hence, the need of the God cannot be denied in human society.

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