Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil
Voltaire once said: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" (the Western God is masculine). It has been human habit for centuries to call on God in times of distress. Therefore it may be true that God was indeed invented by human beings to provide comfort and shelter in this hostile and violent world of ours. If so, was God made in our own image, apparently for our stability and security? Does today's world bear testimony to being an ocean of stability and tranquility?
In the West, dominated by the Christian tradition, there are many doctrines about God. But at the same time, in Europe in particular, there are many who have predicted that humanity will develop into a godless future. Those who predict such a future have found support among those who claim that God is only a name for everlasting emptiness and that any perception of God is nothing but a poor attempt to have nothingness explained. But then the question arises of how one clarifies something that isn’t there.
According to ardent atheists, God simply does not exist except in our poor and ever limited imagination. We simply must do without God since human beings and our planet are just the result of an accidental series of interlocking sequences in nature, despite all laws of probability. The agnostic is less extreme in acknowledging that there is more in heaven and earth than we know, but asserts that no one will ever be able to discover whether God really exists.
Some are convinced that God is desperate and angry because humanity, his own creation, is giving him no end of trouble. Others even claim that God is dead, and his flock is forever on the loose. A bright picture indeed!
In the name of God, deadly weapons are developed and sold to be used in holy wars and skirmishes, so many are killed in God’s name. Politicians, clergymen, and dubious characters hide behind God’s back, creating confusion and despair in others, while chasing ruthlessly their own financial or so-called religious aims.
In the West, a great number of books try to explain the mystery of God. The all-time best-seller is the Bible, but there are also books such as The History of God and God, A Biography. Recently the authors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge in their book God Is Back do their utmost to make the case that God and religion are returning to society. God is for sale on CDs, DVDs, and the Internet and is even the focus of popular television programs, performing miracles beyond belief. The viewers, however, are requested to part with large chunks of money to support God's cause, so millions of dollars flow into the sacred bank accounts.
Where does this lead us? In trying to find God, perhaps we should not look at any screen, nor read any book, nor listen to anyone preaching, but instead look inside ourselves. Listening to our inner voice when the mind is quiet and the heart at peace, let us learn to overcome our ignorance and arrogance. By thinking that God is somewhere outside of us, we go astray. When we are able to abandon this thought once and for all, then we may come to realize that God is in us, the eternal spark that dwells inside beings as 'that which the eyes do not see, by which the eyes are made to see' (Upanishads).
What was and will always be doesn’t need to make a comeback.