A rational and spiritual approach to the existence of God. In this three part serial the reasons for the disbelief in God and its solutions are presented
A. H. Compton, Nobel Laureate, in his book "The Cosmos of Arthur Holly Compton" writes: "When we pray to our fatherly God, it is common experience that we receive courage and strength to do deeds of friendliness towards his children. It is hard to think of receiving strength, without imagining a being that gives us strength." Thus God exists.
Even Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize winner in Medicine says in his book 'Reflections on Life,' "The existence of God explains, better than any hypothesis, the results of prayer, the phenomenon of mysticism and the sense of the holy."
There are innumerable instances in which prayers to God have worked miracles. We shall cite a few of them below:
(i) George Mueller, a British citizen, had no means of support. However, he felt an ardent urge to serve the cause of the orphans. He started praying to the Lord and he received seven million dollars sent to him through prayers. From that he founded five great orphanages and other institutions in Bristol, England.
(ii) The story of Apollo-13 is also ample proof that 'someone' answers our prayers. When the rocket headed for the moon, some mechanical fault developed on it. The scientists and technologists got worried about its re-entry. Immediately they sent out an appeal on the air to 200 million Americans to pray to God for its safety. Obviously, they realised that science had no power, then, to bring it back from the moon to the earth. But the prayers were answered by God and the rocket landed safely on earth.
(iii) The Russians are credited with being atheists. However, during World War II, all the churches in Russia used to be full with the Russians praying for the safe return of their near and dear ones from the war fronts.
(iv) Dr. Smiley of England has innovated a novel way of curing his patients. He has employed priests who regularly pray to God for the quick recovery of the suffering lot. They have been working for the last four decades to reinstate faith in God among the patients. And, it has worked wonders. There have been rapid recoveries among patients. No wonder, God responds to our inner pleadings by way of prayers.
(v) Even Mahatma Gandhi the Father of the Indian nation, used to say that India had been able to gain freedom from British domination by the power of prayers to God.
VI. Atheists Turned into Theists
The most convincing arguments can be had from the outstanding transformations of the confirmed atheists into theists! The examples follow:
(i) During World War I, a German officer, Count Charles, was a confirmed atheist. He rejected all talk about God and His existence. He lay dying in a French Hospital. The nurse in the hospital who looked after him was also a German. She asked the officer again and again if she might call a priest, but the officer always refused. Finally, the nurse said, "I will pray very hard for you." The officer laughed and told her it was useless to pray for him.
The nurse replied, "No, I will continue praying for you. I am praying for a certain person for the past sixteen years and I shall still keep praying for him." The officer then enquired, "Is it your brother or your father you are praying for?" "No," said the nurse, "I am doing it as a special favor to the mother of this person. She is a German Countess and her young son, the man I am praying for, left home and joined the army. He had been a pious, young boy, but when he left home, he forgot all about God and religion. I am praying to keep my promise made to this mother. Poor woman! She does not even know where her son is now. It would be wonderful for her to see him changed again for the better."
The man stared at her and his face lighted up. His eyes shone brightly, and tears rolled down his cheeks. He got up on his sick bed and asked, "Are you talking of Countess Beata, my mother?" The nurse was surprised to hear this and she could only murmur. "Then you are Count Charles, that same young man I have been praying for! Do you want a priest?" "Yes," said the young man, "Today, God's mercy and your prayer have saved me." From an ardent atheist he turned into a theist.
(ii) An Arab and the Englishman
While travelling together through desert land, the Arab prepared to offer his prayers to Allah in the evening. The Englishman did not believe in the existence of God. So, he asked the Arab not to waste his time in such a futile act. He said, "There is no sign of God. Have you seen or talked to God?" The Arab did not utter a single word.
At night they camped together in a desert. Early in the morning, the Englishman woke up first. When he came out of the camp, he saw some footsteps of a camel in the sand. Soon then, the Arab woke up and came out. The Englishman told the Arab, "A caravan seems to have passed by at night." The Arab asked, "How do you know that? Did you see the caravan or talk to the men thereof?" The Englishman said, "I see the footsteps of a camel hence it is the sign of a caravan." Immediately, the Arab said, "I also see the sign of God in the golden rays of the sun and in the cool moonlight. Hence, I conclude that there must be God." The Englishman realised his folly and henceforth started to believe in God and offer his regular prayers to him.
(iii) A German Doctor was also one such atheist. He was an expert surgeon. Once his son had severe abdominal pains. On investigation it was found that he had to be operated upon for appendicitis. The father, who was himself an expert surgeon, undertook to operate his son. Though he had performed delicate cardiac and other operations, the simple appendicitis operation proved fatal to the boy. That time, the German surgeon realised that though he was a surgeon there was someone else who was the savior. His failure in the operation marked a turning point in his life. He began to believe in the existence of God and the savior.
(iv) Story of an Old Traveler
The train was bound for Paris. Among many travelers in the compartment there was an old man, and a young scientist was seated opposite him. The young man was bubbling with enthusiasm, for he was selected to do his doctoral work in one of the most renowned research institute in France, the Louis Pasteur Institute of Research. It was indeed an honor vouchsafed only to few chosen scholars.
As the train was travelling, the young man saw the old man, sitting opposite him, telling the beads of his rosary. The young man was an atheist. He thought science had all the answers to various problems of the world and there was no creator - God. When he saw the old man telling his beads, he said, "Look here, old man, you seem to be really ignorant. You still believe in God when science has made such great strides in its field. Even the great scientists of our times have denied any existence of God. Inspite of that, you still seem to stick to the outdated beliefs."
The old man said, "Well, is it so ? Are even the great scientists of our times denying the existence of God? I am afraid, I did not know it. Please explain to me their view-points in detail so that I can be properly guided and enlightened by their intelligent arguments."
The young man said, "Look here, gentleman, I can quote and narrate a thousand incidents to prove the non-existence of God. However, Paris is drawing nearer and I have to reach the Research Institute in time. Nevertheless, if you care to give me your address, I shall personally drop in and convince you of the non-existence of God. The old man readily agreed with him to meet at some later time on. Then he gave his own address card to the young man. The man read the address and he was just dazed. For, the address read: "LOUIS PASTEUR, Director, Louis Pasteur Institute of Research."
The young man felt highly embarrassed. He was ashamed to have talked so blatantly with Louis Pasteur, one of the great scientists of his times. It was indeed a great paradox that he had been claiming an atheistic viewpoint on the authority of the great scientists when one of the great scientists, Louis Pasteur, held such firm faith in God.
This transformed the young man. He decided to draw a leaf from the pious life of Louis Pasteur, who was also to be his guide and master for his scientific doctoral work. From that day onwards he began to believe in the existence of God.
(v) Dr. Jung, one of the great psychologists of the 20th century has also said, "In my darkness...I could have wished for nothing better than a real live 'Guru', someone possessing superior knowledge and ability, who would have disentangled me from the involuntary creations of my imagination." It is very true that our mundane intellect prevents us from accepting the authority and existence of God.
(vi) The Transformation of Narendra to Swami Vivekanand
Narendranath was a young, educated man who had many doubts about God's existence. However, when he met Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa, all his doubts melted away. For, when asked by Narendra if he had seen God, Swami Ramkrishna replied immediately, "I see God as clearly as I see you." This put an end to Narendra's doubts and soon he was a transformed man, who is known the world over by the great name, Swami Vivekanand.
(vii) Dr. Thakorbhai, the ex-Mayor of Baroda, was also one such atheist. But he says, "I did not believe in God, I looked upon the idols consecrated in temples as mere stones. However, when I saw His Divine Holiness Yogiji Maharaj, I had the feeling that there certainly must exist God. Otherwise, such divine bliss emanating from Yogiji Maharaj would be inexplicable. On the word of Yogiji Maharaj, I was prepared to accept the existence of God."
(i) Sir Isaac Newton: His discovery of the Law of Gravitation was indeed one of the great discoveries of our times. However, when he was profusely felicitated by people the world over for his tremendous contribution towards the advancement of science, he humbly said, "I am merely picking pebbles on the sea-shore while the vast ocean of knowledge lies beyond." The fact that he had made real progress in science did not deter him from accepting God's great work- Creation!
(ii) Thomas Alva Edison: The invention of the light bulb has been attributed to the genius of Thomas Alva Edison. But he spoke out for God, saying, "I am highly indebted to the Almighty for having inspired my intellect to discover this."
Indeed great scientists have always hailed the greatest of scientists namely, God!
(iii) Dr. Alexander Fleming: He discovered the antibiotic penicillin. People hailed him as a great scientist. But he was modest enough to say, "It is God who has created penicillin. I have merely found the use for it.
(iv) Dr. Isaac Bashevis Singer, an American Noble Prize Winner for literature in 1978, says, "I am thankful to God for each story, each idea, each word, each day."
(v) Dr. Von Braun, the Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA, U.S.A., was the person who designed the Saturn-5 rocket to propel the Apollo spacecrafts. But he also felt the need for God when he said, "For only with God re-instated in the heart of the world will He provide us with ethical guidance through the dangers of technological revolution."
(vi) On the currency of U.S.A., which has made tremendous material progress, we still find written: "In God We Trust."
(vii) The U.K. Parliament begins its session invariably with the prayer: "Oh God, you are the ruler of this world. Please give us the wisdom to be able to rule with justice."
(viii) Dr. Jung, one of the great psychologists of this century, also expresses his experience that in his sixty years of practice as a psychologist he had yet to come across a single person who had faith in God and yet needed mental treatment.
(ix) Once, when Swami Vivekanand was due to deliver a discourse in a congregation; an atheist went well before time and wrote on the blackboard, "GOD IS NOWHERE."
When Swami Vivekanand came to the hall to deliver his speech, he read the sentence. He simply separated the words, "NOW" and "HERE" from the word "NOWHERE" and re-wrote the same sentence "GOD IS NOW HERE." And he was accorded a thunderous applause from the entire gathering which was thrilled by his wit. Even the atheist who had written the previous sentence joined in the applause. It marked the springing of faith in God in his heart.
Thus we have examined rationally, many aspects which reinforce our faith in God. However, inspite of many rational arguments, we tend to doubt the existence of God. Even many ardent devotees still have traces of skepticism. But the highest faith is vouchsafed by a God-communion saint, so that "the trace of skepticism which remains suppressed within us disappears entirely. He realizes as true, all that is written in the scriptures," as revealed by Lord Swaminarayan in Vachanamrut No. 1 of Amdavad Section One. That "This state of realization can be attained only in the company or by the grace of a realised saint who has attained rapport with God," as revealed in Vachanamrut No. 60 of Gadhada Section One. His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj is such a God-communion saint. So let us fully consolidate our faith in God through his service and association.
Thus, in final analysis, it is essential for all to associate with a God-realised saint to assert unfailingly, and with firm affirmation, that "GOD EXISTS."