God helps those who help themselves. Man proposes, God disposes. No one can undo the God’s Will? Thank God for everything. Never take God’s name in vain.
We humans are full of contradictions in our thoughts and actions. In a nutshell, we are eternally confused. Every now and then, we make careless use of the aforementioned phrases of wisdom, not only to find some quick reconciliation with our failures but, paradoxically, to inspire ourselves too. For all interesting reasons, howsoever, illogical they could be, God occupies our little fickle minds. Not only do we cleverly misuse God’s ultimate will to absolve ourselves of the accountability of our negligent actions, we also manipulate ourselves into believing that we are innocent in disastrous scenarios caused by our negligence or incompetence. We tend to take refuge under God in order to dodge away the consequences of our wrongful behaviours.
Questions are: If God’s Will prevails in everything that we humans do, what then is the validity of our will? Through providence, if God has pre-decided the future, does man’s action really matter? If God is the ultimate thinker and doer, does it really matter what we humans think or do?
In real world, we are held responsible and accountable for our mundane actions. In accordance with law, we attract punitive consequences, sometime unjust or disproportionate, for our actions that may cause real or alleged harm or damage to other people. So, there is no escape from what we actually do or are alleged to have done. Why is God not blamed for the consequences of man’s wrongful actions if God’s Will reigns supreme? Logic dictates that if God’s Will prevails in everything, it must be God who is found responsible. But, as God is considered sacrosanct, wouldn’t blaming God be construed as blasphemous?
In claiming ‘God helps those who help themselves’, we acknowledge and inspire the human endeavour, without which our material world would factually not be what it is in this day and age. Staunch believers in God may, however, downgrade the value of human endeavour by claiming the material progresses made by the humans are purely the consequences of God’s Will? If that is the case, what about the Coronavirus-19? Has the Covid-19 pandemic and the destruction of human lives therefrom been as per the God’s Will? How about the consequences of World Wars I and II? How about the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? How about the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine? How about the recent loss of lives in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere on the planet? How about the destruction and miseries caused by natural calamities – floods and drought, wild bush / forest fires, landslides and earthquakes? How about the human-induced Climate Change? How about the current political upheaval and economic meltdown of Sri Lanka? Should, or not, the miseries unleashed by all these human actions be ascribed to God? No, definitely not; wisdom demands that we must leave God out of it all and take responsibility for all the damage and destruction that we humans have been causing to our own human race and the planet as a whole. Likewise, we must give credit for our progresses to where it belongs – the humans who have toiled long and hard, and achieved that progress for the good of their fellow humans.
Contradictions continue …
Why do we claim God disposes what man proposes? Is God sadistic like us? No, definitely not! Then, why would God create obstacles for us? This phrase may, therefore, be construed as blasphemous. It is prudent to leave God out of our failures. As a correlation, in thanking God for our successes, we may be thanking God for being merciful and not disruptive, which again defies the logic. Why do we need God’s mercy? God is not unkind!
People who curse their enemies (actual or perceived) by wishing, ‘May God destroy our enemies’, forget their enemies are as much humans as they are, both created by the same Creator, as part of the same Creation. They also forget that their enemies must be showering similar curses upon them. In most situations, people from all sides claim to be moral and just and, therefore, logical beneficiaries of higher justice from God. If that were true, why would innocent children who perish due to repressive and violent acts undertaken by adults never receive justice? This makes another valid argument for not involving God in our petty vengeful wishes and retributory acts against our fellow humans.
As God never acts or intervenes against atrocities suffered by humans at the hands of their fellow humans (or Nature for that matter), it is imprudent to take God’s name in vain. God has no favourites, nor does It intervene. The world largely runs on the principle of cause and effect, which could be interpreted loosely as the Law of Karma. If our own individual and collective karma dictate our individual and collective future, what role does God have to play in the successes or failures of our actions? We deserve exactly whatever (good or bad) happens to us.
Much long before humans (and their gods) came into being, Nature existed. It is only due to the curiosity and relentless endeavours of our distant ancestors that we are able to fly across the globe in this day and age, God did not gift us with any airplanes. It is only due to endless human endeavours that the diseases that would kill many of us only a few decades ago are no longer seen as threats to our existence. Humans must be credited for all the good that they have done so far for the survival and sustainability of their race. Equally, humans must be condemned for all their acts of negligence and cruelty against their fellow beings. God has nothing to do with our actions, or our rewards or punishments; our own karma shapes and dictates what happens to us.
Earth rotates perpetually about its axis, causing day and night. It also revolves around the sun, causing seasons. So, there is a wide variety and a fair share of Nature’s gifts and bounties for all living beings on the planet. Man has absolutely no role to play in Nature’s work. If we have to acknowledge God for anything, then it must be for the Earth’s perpetual movements and the gifts that we receive incessantly from Nature.
If the Creation is so wondrous, how wonderful would be the Creator? Mother Earth is the most beautiful planet in the entire cosmos. If Earth did not move, there would no day or night, sunrise or sunset and seasons. If the Sun did not burn and give us heat and light, there would no life on Earth.
God must be thanked for gifting us with Mother Earth and the Sun and the Moon, and keeping our cosmos in a stable equilibrium. At the same time, God must be spared any credit or criticism for the consequences of the human endeavour. We humans must pay for our wrongful actions or inactions? Earth keeps moving regardless of what we do, Nature has its own laws that act regardless of what we believe in or now. Remember that our atmosphere may run out of oxygen in one billion years from now before the Sun swallows Earth in another four billion years or so.
In this polarised world of humans, which is divided deeply by us humans along the lines of religions, sub-sects in religions, regions and countries, castes, classes and ideologies, it is expected some readers may deem this piece as blasphemous. The author requests that such readers read this piece objectively, without judging the author or this piece harshly.
… Bill Koul [Perth, Western Australia (18 July 2022)]