Philosophy of Religion/Does God exist?
Does God exist?
First, what is "god". We all have conceptions of god, often due to early childhood experiences and upbringing. But that does not tell us what a god is, or what category of existence applies to god Let us analyze this question by starting with literal aspects of the question first. The fact that we capitalize the first letter 'G', there is a definite inherent acceptance that we are talking about someone or something, that stands apart from the rest of us, or at least from the one who is posing this question or from the one who is expectantly holding the breath for an answer! Secondly why, when and how does this question even arise in one's mind and why is it even important to raise this question or understand the answer. And lastly who is putting this question to whom and of course ultimately, whom is this question about.
A myriad variety of religions got spun around this question and its answer for time immemorial. Each one has an opinion, some of them unique, some may gel well with others and some totally antagonistic to others. Which one is true? Answering this question is probably more inflammatory and more difficult than the original question we started out with. So we would not go there. But if we try to answer the original question, these secondary and probably irrelevant questions just fall apart.
Let us take the word, 'exists or not' aspect. Here there is a paramount expectation that someone or something whom we call God, to exist, the word 'exist' being used in the sense of common understanding of the word, i.e., 'a road is', or 'a telephone is' etc. In so doing, He, who we think to be God as 'existing', we bring Him into the realm of our experience. This reduces experience of existence totally to the level of mind, since we are either conceptualizing God by ourselves, or assimilating or rather accepting what others may preach of Him. This does serve the purpose to some extent. But such a god is no God, since he totally and absolutely depends on the mercy of the strength of your commitments, beliefs and faiths! Be it in what you conceptualized yourself or assimilated/accepted from others. After all, here the objective is to think there is some Power called God that ordains everything. However as I said earlier, this concept depends totally on the strength of your belief. Suppose you start out with such belief, it might withstand quite a few knocks on the head. Whenever we hit some head bumps, we might be able to accept them since we think that God has ordained them for me. But such faith and its strength has limits. There do come such big bangs in life that do knock even the senses out of us! And such events even knock the so called 'God-ordains' belief to winds! Instead of accepting the happenings as ordinances from God that we thought we accepted them to be, we start attributing them to others, such and such person, thing, circumstance or what not caused the trouble. Thus foster resistance and animosity. There goes your peace and your god along with it! And when things come more positively to us, we never fail to appropriate the success to ourselves, leaving nothing to God to ordain! If the belief that "everything is ordained by God" is unquestionably rooted in you, then one would be immune to pleasures and pains, and would be happy ever, and your god could stay with you. But such a belief is possible only under sedation or coma or something of that nature! But never as long as a person remains out seeking. Note that our very quest of 'Does God exist?' started us an out outward quest, after all! So this is a dead-end approach, you will never hit the target!
Another aspect of the question is, there is an inherent expectation that there is one God, but not many. This again arises due to an unconscious expectation that whoever we are seeking be the most superior of all, which precludes any competition! Secondly, whatever other believers think the answer to be, let my understanding of the answer be the superlative! I will be jumping a little bit ahead, but I had to say this here. Let us ask, how many skies are there? Even in English this is somewhat of a meaningless question. When we have something that is limited in its size in some fashion, or exists now and not later, or there are two things where one precludes the other to pervade the former, would we say there is one, two or many. But when there is only one, we can't say "There is one" like "There is one sky". Try saying, "One sky is blue" to your friend, and don't shy from the strange looks! We just say "sky is blue". When the status of a mere sky demands so much attention to detail and respect, how much should God garner, whom we want to hold so high? So "God is One" is a syntactical contradiction of amusing sorts! Any very ironically, however inaccurate the language is when it comes to God, it is very much true too! We shall see.
A moment on why we even ask this question "Does God exist?" We appear to ask this question with a presupposition about what God is and then try to ascertain whether such conceptualization meets the merits of our understanding of existence! But why does this question arise? If we take away all the religions totally out of the equation, and then if one were able to raise this question, such a mind is extremely subtle, sharp and extraordinarily evolved. However this question is (100 - 0)% of the time is raised by religions. Their agenda is simple. Such a religion already has a conceptualization of what God is and follows it with an elucidation of such concept with a question like answer in "What God is?". So this would be a self fulfilling prophesy of sorts but not a genuine inquiry or question. It will boil down the religion to a number game of believers and non-believers, something like a political system of power mongering. Sure, however sometimes one might find solace in numbers. After all, if one fool mingles seamlessly into an ocean of fools, one will not feel fish out of water! After all how many Socrates' are there! How many Jesus' are there! (Mind you, these names are quoted only to highlight the unique nature of their inquiry, but not in relation to our inquiry :)
Let us go back to the grammar of the question. There is a subject who set out on the inquiry, with an actionable verb of finding the object called God! Some of our stomachs churn if we look at this question like this! What? God, an object? Of course dude, this is plain English! Since this is not an acceptable characterization of the question then, there must be something wrong with the question itself! So we have to turn the question backwards. 'Do I exist?' or in other words, 'Am I the God?'
The most simple and the most intriguing answer to this question is just four letters short 'YES!'. Ya, you can cut it down to three, if you have guts to drop '!'.
My goodness, we started out with one question. We hardly seem to have answered. But managed to raise a serious controversy or even blasphemy in declaring ourselves to be God! This answer has myriad problems. At first looks, it means, there are many people (let us leave insentient things for now), and each one is god! So how many gods does it make, dammit??? Moreover each one of us never existed till one's parents met or till one found one's way somehow into a test tube! And each one of us is sure to vanish into oblivion sooner or later! So our god perishes so easily! God! We created a mess for god as well as ourselves with this answer!
But the mistake is who we thought ourselves to be, like what we thought God to be! When we said, "I am God" and concluded that god is transient and perishes, we are referring to the body. So drop the body, it is not god. Then go a little bit deeper. The mind then? The mind takes a hike when you do enough to qualify for a DUI (Driving under the influence of Alcohol!) ticket. It also takes a hike when a foot ball concussion is kind and strong enough! So this mind god also perishes! Can't be the God. Then we need to go to the roots of what 'I' is. So is it the first unqualified thought of 'I' that one might experience right after waking from bed? Well, we never really experience this since we never watch for it. We always wake up as Tom, Dick or Harry. But never as 'I'. With some immense practice, it is possible to see this 'I', at the time of waking, at first and then whenever you want, much later with much practice. So is it this 'I' the god then? Well, does 'I' exist, when you go into deep sleep or coma? There goes our iGod!
So we have to go deeper. Unfortunately language stops here. We have to somehow try to get back into deep sleep while we are fully wide awake! At such experience, what is out there, where there is no subject, object or verb, That is God. It is always there. He never dies. But our ever restless mind like the never stopping waves, obscures Her. We don't deny Sun just because clouds covered him. So mind doesn't deny God just because it agitates. We just miss Him. This is funny, me missing myself? But how? That is yet another discussion!
Now let us analyze this God. Is such God 'one'? This is a ridiculous question since there is no one, two or many in Him. Hope you get the point. Second, is your god superior to mine? Quite a laughable proposition since there is no one, two or many gods. After all, neither even you nor me are there in Him! And She alone is all, if there were ever an all! And is God a He, or a She, or an It? or some pronoun that a man is yet to manufacture?? None of the science of chromosomes will come our rescue here, sorry! After all who made the pronoun? Let him not stand above the God and create a pronoun for God, or should we??? And what about the fundamental question 'Does God exist?' If you are still after this question, you must be kidding!!! Whom? The answer should be quite interesting!
If we get this much right and tight, it has unimaginable, incomprehensible and quite surprising consequences. We wake up into a totally new dimension of awareness, existence and living. My goodness! Then what about me, my family, my friends, my enemies, my land, my property and my animals etc., etc.? What about them? What about all others and things around? Who are they? What is my relation to them? And these why/what/how W's will not end that easily. But that is yet another discussion!
Wish you all the best!