Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Atheism is the best worship

I tried to articulate this so many times, but I don't think it would have been ever told better than this article I got here, Original link written by Jug Suraiya here "Atheism is the best worship"

In the British comedy Bedazzled there is a scene where the Devil, played by Peter Cook, comes to earth and meets Dudley Moore, your average man-on-the-street. Moore asks the Devil, “Why did you revolt against God.”

“Come, I’ll show you,” says the Devil. He perches himself atop a pillar box and tells Moore to kneel at its base. “Now, start grovelling and praising me,” says the Devil.

Moore starts grovelling and singing the Devil’s praises. When he shows signs of flagging the Devil goads him into grovelling more obsequiously, praising him even more loudly.

After a while Moore says: “Hey, this is getting boring. Can’t we change places for a while.”

“Exactly,” says the Devil. “That answers your question as to why I walked out on God: worshipping Him is boring.”

God-worship is not just boring; it is the ultimate in trivialisation. It infinitely trivialises the boundlessness of the cosmos that lies, seamlessly, both outside and within us. God-worship reduces the Creator – the First Principle, the Big Bang, the Singularity, whatever you want to call whatever it is that started it all – to a Lalaji who likes to surround himself with sycophantic yes-men, forever extolling his virtues. Is the Force that created everything, from the gossamer glow of the endless galaxies to the rainbow sheen of the dragonfly’s wings, no more than that, a petty bossman who thrives on the most undiluted flattery? God help us, and the universe, if he is.

And what does God-worship make of us, the devotees? In public, we say that when we pray, when we petition God for a boon, it is for all humankind, for all creation. We say we pray for world peace, for a cure for cancer, for a solution to global warming and climate change. And perhaps we do.

In the privacy of our innermost desires, however, our prayers are almost invariably personal: Oh, God, help me to pass my exam, get a good job, find someone suitable to marry, get my green card, win the lottery of life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in wishing for any or all of these things. Indeed, they’re all good things which any sensible person would wish for. But why make it God’s job to get you what you want? Why give up your responsibility to make of your life what you can and what you will?

A French sociologist has likened personal prayer and the giving of votive offerings to bribery. He has noted that in countries where the tradition of personalised God-worship is most entrenched –as in India, and in Roman Catholic Italy – the incidence of bribery in everyday life is also proportionately high. If God himself is a Babu who can be bribed to do your bidding with a prayer and a few diyas or candles, where’s the harm in slipping some currency notes to a bureaucrat or politician or policeman to do what you want done? Doesn’t God himself teach us to bribe? In which case, how can bribery and corruption be bad things, if they’re God-given?

The atheist not only lives according to a higher code of ethics than that sanctioned by a bribable God, but also inhabits a higher plane of spirituality. This is far from being a paradox. God-worship, in which typically the devotee seeks to get personal desires granted, inevitably reinforces and entrenches the sense of self, of one’s individual ego which is special and separate from all other created beings and forms. God-worship is really self-worship, a deification of one’s ego, and as such the hardest obstacle to overcome in the journey of spiritual liberation.

The atheist realises that God did not create humankind in his image; humankind created God in its own image: selfish, gullible and by nature susceptible to flattery and bribes. Rather than pay lip service to such a God, the atheist chooses to disown God and God-worship. And in doing so, the atheist takes the first step on the path to freedom from the silken bonds of maya.

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