Does God Need us?
For the consideration of both
believers and unbelievers alike, my most recent post raised a personal question
- do you have need for God? - that sparked an interesting exchange of views on
the subject in a newspaper where it was also published. Although there were many
fair comments on both 'sides', 30% of the religious people and 25% of the atheist
ones used scathing phrases to refer to their 'opponents'.
"Any hybrid blend can
come out from a hypocritical man who claims to believe in a God simply because
he lacks any level of self-confidence," wrote a non believer. Faithful to
Jesus ("He who is not with me is against me" Luke 11:23), various
religious readers labeled this writer as atheist. "So much nonsense that
you write now will soon be history ... While God will live forever," said
a fervent reader.
The reciprocal question
comes to my mind now, as a complementary subject: Does God need us? To answer
this we must turn to the sacred texts that, by definition, are divinely
inspired: The Torah, the Gospels and the Koran clearly describe a Higher Being
that demands allegiance and exclusivity of their faithful, that is, He seems to
“I am the Lord your God. You
shall have no other gods before me. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six
days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to
the Lord your God,” says the Lord in Exodus 20. “Love the Lord your God with
all your heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," Jesus
commands in Matthew 22:37. “Truly it is only associating others with Allah in
His divinity that Allah does not forgive; he who associates others with Allah has certainly gone far astray”, establishes
Sura An-Nisa 4:116.
For Judaism, the Torah contains the divine revelation
to the people of Israel; for Catholicism, "Sacred Scripture is the word of
God as it is put down in writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit"
(Paul VI); for Islam, the Quran is the word of Allah revealed to Muhammad
through Archangel Gabriel.
Unlike the sacred books of monotheistic religions, the
teachings of the Buddha are not of heavenly origin. The discourses of the Sage
were preserved by oral transmission through thousands of monks over four
centuries, with a reasonable degree of reliability, until when they were first
written in monasteries of what is now Sri Lanka.
There are no gods in the teachings. References to
deities who appear in the original discourses are allegories 'borrowed' from
Hinduism. In his purpose to eliminating anxiety and stress, the only goal of
his doctrine, the Buddha was agnostic millennia before that word was coined.
The thought of the Buddha has been the 'inspiration' of my agnosticism.
We, agnostics, do not know whether the omnipresence
and eternity of an Almighty Being are true or not; God may well exist or not
exist, depending on how you define the word. Despite such duality, my answer to
the question of this note is negative. The God that the sacred texts of the
monotheistic religions describe, a God who punishes and rewards, and that demands
worship and homage, is meaningless for any unbiased mind, whether religious or
not; since such a god does not exist, there is no entity to need us.
An alternate approximation - God as the Supreme
principle of which all laws depend on - has a growing acceptance in the
contemporary world. The yet unfinished theory of everything, whose math I doubt
scientific geniuses will ever be able to complete, is the preamble of this
different 'unmythological' interpretation.
The super-theory of everything - the eternal and
omnipresent Principle that, according to Einstein, "does not play
dice" - must contain all the math (most likely unreachable to the human
brain) that would explain the hundred billion galaxies, the Milky Way, the
Solar System, Earth, life, the evolution of species and consciousness. Of
course, this 'God', the permanent macro and micro ruler of everything, does not
demand devotion or allegiance or adherence... And this principle, the silent
doer and ruler of all law, obviously does not need us. Nevertheless, it is
impossible not to marvel at 'Him'.
Author of ‘Inner Harmony through Mindfulness Meditation’
Atlanta, May 29, 2015