Sunday, 10 April 2016

The God Question.

The God question will not go away and Morgan Freeman is making sure of it. He is doing a documentary 6-part series which will premiere on National Geographic. It is entitled: The Story of God. For this documentary, he traveled to major religious sites like Jerusalem's wailing wall, India's Bodhi tree, the Egyptian pyramids and the Mayan temples of Guatemala to look for answers.

He said it was a no-brainer to host and produce the series. He elaborated: "It's a growing, long term curiosity about life in general. What it is? Why it is? Why are we here? Questions like that sort of drive me around sometimes, and then we got the opportunity to explore questions of life, creation, religion and God."

Lesson? I guess we are all indeed incurably religious. Even the militant atheists have to admit that being anti-God doesn't mean being completely empty of the God question. There is always that lingering doubt, that unsolicited provocation, that emotional nudge to put a tiny dent into any dedicated effort to denounce the divine.

You can say that God imbues the meaning of and for life in both groups of people: the religious and the non-religious. The first group very much explains itself. For the second group, his influence is somewhat more subtle and indirect. While the incredulity of some fanatic believers often put many atheists off, the earnesty of the search for meaning captured in Freeman's "why is it" will always captivate even the most estranged and irreverent of hearts.

In fact, I sincerely believe it is a premature response to the God question to answer it by saying that if we unlock the "hows" of all things, the "whys" will be unraveled. This is the same as saying that if we know how a toaster work, we will also know why someone is hungry. Or by extension, if we study the readings in the heart rate monitor, we will know the cause of death (not just a beat-less heart) or the reason for living.

This reminds me of a story about a clumsy teenage house burglar. He created a racket while ransacking a house and woke the owner up. The owner with a rifle pointed at him and asked, "Why are you here?" And the reply was this: "Oh, I actually missed the first bus. So I stole a bicycle and rode all the way here. Then, I climbed up the window, unlocked it and started with the room inside. I then progressed to the other rooms and well, I knocked over a few things. Too dark I guess." You can see the disconnect here. Somehow, the how just doesn't unravel the why.

Needless to say, the owner was not interested in the how. He wanted to know why. He wanted to know more about the burglar's motive, his background even (at such young age). He doesn't want to know how he got into his house, but why he stole in the first place. I trust the why questions are always deeper and wider in scope and depth.

In the end, whether we admit it or not, the world and life itself are far more multifaceted, sophisticated and profound and it goes beyond merely knowing how things work. And if we restrict ourselves to only the "hows" of things, or assume a one-dimensional, one-way causation from the "hows" to the "whys", we are looking at life as a whole from the bottom of the summit of experiential discovery and thereby missing out on the vantage point at the top. Cheerz.

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