The most common explanation from people who cannot believe in God is, they don’t believe in God because they don’t see Him. Some others want to believe even without seeing Him but cannot see His actions and lose their faith. There is another type who even see His actions but get bewildered when despite their prayers undesired things happen to them. And then we have those who sustain all such challenges but find their faith shaken when evil overpowers good. They wonder how, if God really exists, He allows wrong things to happen!
All of the above are right from their own perspective. Believing in something without seeing it sounds non-scientific and superstition. Even if one believes in God out of religious sentiments, without seeing His actions, it is difficult to maintain the faith. Those who lose faith when wrong things happen to them have their reasons, and the question as to why God allows evil to takeover also has substance. We will discuss each of them separately in this article and try to help them look at it from a perspective that they may not have access to.
“I don’t believe in God because I cannot see Him”
This is one of the weakest arguments put forward generally by the atheist class. Since today’s education is based on atheism, a good number of educated people also have fallen to this trap. Unfortunately, they do not realize that there are hundreds of things in their life that they believe in without seeing them. You would be surprised to look at the list of such things.
Modern education teaches people not to believe in things that cannot be seen but the same education has firmly established in their minds many so-called scientific theories that even scientists themselves have not seen. The ongoing promotion of space industry is based on things which are only guessed. If scientists say our planet Earth came into existence before X number of years, people believe it, and after a decade or so if the lobby comes up with a new theory, people believe that too. If scientists say that such and such planet’s atmosphere is made of only gas, people believe it. After a few years, if the same scientists say that their previous theory was wrong and according a new theory, life exists on that planet, people believe it! Not to speak of other planets, people believe in things in their own bodies without seeing them.
How can such a process be called scientific? But it goes on in the name of science. It is like health organizations keep changing the definition of healthy food and whatever they say is promoted as healthy only to find after a few years that the so-called healthy food was unhealthy. The issue here is not with what is healthy or unhealthy and what is science and what is superstition; it is about how things are defined these days and how people are brainwashed to believe in new theories without investigating their merits.
Conversely, scriptures do not keep changing their theories about God’s existence. Different religious scriptures talk about God to a certain extent. All are correct from their own angle of vision. Among all, the Vedic scriptures indisputably give the most elaborate information about God, His names, His abode, His personality, His paraphernalia, His associates, His pastimes, His management of the cosmic manifestation, His agencies, energies, incarnations and so on.
Some people call God related events described in the Vedic scriptures mythology because such mind-boggling phenomena don’t fit within their intellectual reach. For example, how can God be smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest simultaneously? How can Hanuman lift a mountain? Such events can be bewildering to common human intelligence and that is why we are advised to acquire knowledge by hearing from bona fide gurus and by seeing through sastra chaksu, the eyes of scriptures.
Three types of intelligence
First class intelligence allows a person to accept information just by hearing from bona fide sources. For example, a person may be able to save himself from getting cancer if he hears from a trustworthy person that smoking causes deadly cancer.
Second class intelligence allows a person to accept information only after seeing it. For him just hearing is not enough. For example, a person may accept that smoking causes cancer only after seeing someone else suffering from cancer due to smoking.
Third class intelligence allows a person to accept things only after experiencing it. He is unable to accept things even after seeing it. In the above example, the person may not be able to give up smoking until he himself gets cancer. Until then he believes in other theories how smoking does not cause cancer.
The same principle of lower or higher intelligence applies while accepting God and His pastimes. We do not see many things. We do not see at night with our eyes but cats and dogs do. Before the scientists invented infrared enabled satellites they did not believe there are habitable planets but now they believe so. And what about wireless communication? Should we not believe in cell phones just because we don’t see the sound waves traveling from one cell tower to another and landing on our ears? Saying that I don’t believe in God because I don’t see Him is a lame argument and only exposes that person’s level of intelligence. With that logic one should not believe he has a brain because he has never seen it.
Those who believe in God but temporarily lose faith in Him due to unexpected and undesired circumstances have great chances of rebuilding it if they are properly advised. In majority of the cases, the loss of faith occurs due to frustration as a result of shattered hopes. These people are in denial of reality surrounding them.
However, those who are envious of God or unwilling to accept His authority, can only be corrected by God’s external potency, Maya Devi, over a period of time through severe punishment. Generally such atheists are made to take rebirth as permanently disabled, street beggars, those who are condemned to low class slavery, severely diseased from birth and so on for it is easier to accept God’s authority from such humble positions. Wise people accept God’s authority voluntarily.
“I lose faith in God when I don’t see Him taking the right action”
These people are better situated than those having no faith in God. They lose faith when, for example, they see apparently innocent people getting tortured by notorious ones, a hard working and religious minded employee not getting promotion due to corporate politics, or a flight crashing killing 100s of good people.
Thinking that God does not take action is a proof of one’s lack of understanding of the law of karma. We need to understand that what is considered good by our intelligence is not always good. A judge who ordered to send a criminal to prison house does not run to help him when he is punished as the judge knows why he is being punished and how it will help him rectify. Similarly, a person talking to you in a room may appear to be thoroughly gentleman but very next moment you may find him getting arrested by police for having ignored repeated summons that you may not be aware of.
God does not have to deal with crisis; He plans well and is in full control. For Him there is nothing unexpected. One need not think that God does not take action just because he or she is unable to see it. God does take action and He does it with full knowledge of past, presence and future.
“I lose faith in God when prayers fail”
You are not alone! But remember that your losing faith in God does not make Him cease to exist. Not that He did not hear your prayers; just that He did not sanction it for the benefit of all involved. If a child prays to father to give him a knife, the father will not give. Why? If a teenage girl requests her mother to allow her to go to a late night party and if the mother knows the evil nature of the participants, she will not grant the request, even if the daughter cries or fights with her. Why? Similarly, a well-meaning boss will not transfer his employee to another place even at the cost of the employee’s promotion, if he knows the new place to be dangerous for the employee’s life.
When we pray to God for a certain thing, we are not aware of the consequences if God were to sanction it. Not only that, our rival party may be praying to God for exactly the opposite! It is not that God cannot satisfy two rival parties at the same time but He knows what to do and when. We find in Vedic text numerous incidents when God satisfied two opposite parties’ prayers and made both of them perfectly happy.
God is not our order-supplier. Being a loving father He gives what is good for us and denies what is not. We are not in the right position to determine what we pray for is good and bad because we know neither past nor future.
Desiring and deserving are two different things. We should not expect God to instantly provide all that we pray for. We need to qualify ourselves first. Although God can, out of His sweet will, give anything to anyone even without qualification, He generally does not interfere in the functioning of the law of karma, which is His own creation and is managed by His able and empowered assistants.
“I lose faith in God when I see evil overpowering good”
Many do. How can God, who is supposed to be almighty and all good allow evils to overpower? The law of karma again comes into picture here. There are individual karma and there are collective karma, but in all cases no innocent person ever gets punished. There is no reaction without action.
The so-called evils are the agents of Maya to inflict pain upon those who deserve it due to past sinful actions. This, of course, is a sensitive point and needs to be understood thoroughly, in the right context. By no means does this encourage or endorse evil activities by unscrupulous people. Those engaged in evil acts are undoubtedly heading for punishment even though they may be playing in the hands of Maya. This is described in Bhagavad Gita as sakama karma, or action with a desire to enjoy the result. A person willingly engaged in inflicting pain on others has chosen that particular act and so is liable to be punished. Intelligent people carefully keep distance from such activities, even as an instrument. Instead they choose to become instruments in good work.
When a person acts for his own sense gratification he gets caught in the karmic chain. The same action can be performed without getting entangled in karma. For example, a police may inflict pain upon a criminal by striking him with a stick but he does not get punished for his action because he does it without any personal interest, sometimes even against his own will. On the other hand, if the same policeman beats his neighbor due to personal fight, he becomes liable for his action and gets prosecuted.
God does not allow evil to win; He engages one evil in countering another evil. This “another evil” does not have to be evil in our eyes as explained earlier. How can we know that a person getting robbed now did not rob someone else in his past life, or, a group of people getting cheated today did not individually or collectively cheat others in the past? Again, this does not endorse looting or cheating as those engaged in such acts are seen as offenders by the law of karma. This may not be easy to understand and that is why Lord Krishna told Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita, gahana karmano gatih– that the intricacies of action are very hard to understand.
In conclusion, there is no reason to not believe in God nor is there any reason to lose faith in Him when unexpected happens. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that He is the best friend and well wisher of all living entities. There is nothing to fear or be anxious about when God Himself says He is your friend! We just need to have unflinching faith in His statements. Although God does not need our service in order to be pleased, it is to our benefit if we render service unto Him to please Him. In fact, that’s all all we need to do to be fully satisfied and successful in life. The rest will be taken care of by God and His appointed agencies. In this there is no doubt.