God – Some Common Myths and Misconceptions

Randomness is a myth. Randomness does not exist. But we can learn to free ourselves from the complexities of what appears to be random

Over several decades of pursuing deeper spiritual understanding, I have encountered several variations of these myths…

Myth #1: God does not exist, there is no plan, everything happens by accident

This is raw atheism, at its simplest, but randomness is a myth.

Myth #2: Actually nothing exists, you are imagining your existence, all is VOID

This is another form of slightly more subtle atheism, but nothingness is also a myth.

Myth #3: I don’t know if God exists, so I’m on the fence

This is a legitimate stance for someone starting out on their spiritual journey, but if one doesn’t go past this stage, then likely one is not too serious about the spiritual quest.
Myth #4: I know God exists, but God can’t possibly be a person, because persons have imperfections, so God is a “Perfect Impersonal Force”
Myth #5: God is “everything”, I am God, you are God, we are all God

These myths, #4 and #5 are complex and sophisticated, and deserve their own posts, though books upon books have been written on this subject.

Myth #6: I am God, so you all follow Me!

Beware of these charlatans. Stay away from them!

Myth #7: Your God is a false God, my God is the real One…

Yes, even though there have been and will be many many false gods (see myth #6 above), for the most part this is the cause of much strife in the world, with one sectarian religion fighting another sectarian religion. There are extremist Muslims, extremist Christians, Extremist Jews, Extremist Hindus, Extremist Bahai’s, Extremist Buddhists… and Extremist Sikhs… the list goes on and on. The unfortunate truth is that all these extremists are, even with the definitions of their own scriptures, atheists in disguise – materialism divides, spirituality unites. As long as we can’t rise to see the one grain of truth in other traditions, so long should we tolerate them. If my spiritual tradition doesn’t teach me that wherever there is life, there is the presence of God’s potency, and doesn’t teach me to see with equal vision all beings, it is likely I may be following one such sectarian religion!

All of these myths above are one form or another form of atheism. I have been at various times in my life, been tripped up with one or more of these myths. So now, I am very careful to avoid any variants of these.

असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।
अपरस्परसंभूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥ १६.८ ॥
asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te
jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ
kim anyat kāma-haitukam
 
They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust. BG 16.8 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/16/8/
TEXT BG 16.9:
Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world.
TEXT BG 16.10:
Taking shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride and false prestige, the demoniac, thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.
TEXTS BG 16.11-12:
They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus until the end of life their anxiety is immeasurable. Bound by a network of hundreds of thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.
TEXTS BG 16.13-15:
The demoniac person thinks: “So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.” In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.
TEXT BG 9.11:
Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be.
TEXT BG 9.12:
Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demonic and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated.
 
वदन्ति तत्तत्त्वविदस्तत्त्वं यज्ज्ञानमद्वयम्
ब्रह्मेति परमात्मेति भगवानिति शब्द्यते ॥ १.२.११ ॥
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti
bhagavān iti śabdyate
Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān. https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/2/11/

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Randomness is a Myth

Randomness is a myth. Randomness does not exist. But we can learn to free ourselves from the complexities of what appears to be random

You heard that right! Yes. Randomness is another one of those things that doesn’t exist, just like nothingness. Nothing is ever random. Randomness is one of these (or a variant) in every single case:

  1. A figment of imagination
  2. A sign of ignorance
  3. A device, tool, a starting point

Randomness as Imagination – it is very tempting, for someone who wants to pretend that their actions have no consequences, or someone who does not want to take responsibility for their actions, to pretend that the Universe is random. But of course, imagination goes only so far – it is not true.

Randomness as Ignorance – If I gave you an extremely complex mathematical formula, and asked you to show someone else the results of that formula with different hidden inputs, those results can very well appear to be random. But they are not random to someone who knows the equation and the inputs, in this case, you and me. So the outputs simply appear random, they are not so.

Randomness as a tool, a starting point – In many mathematical and scientific disciplines, just like the square root of -1, “i“, to pretend that the space is populated with random values helps to “seed” certain algorithms. This process implicitly acknowledges that randomness is simply a tool, a starting point to reach a model or understanding that is not random.

So if everything is not random, then why does it appear to be? Complexity. The laws of material nature, which are anything but random, are the creation of God, who is above the laws of material nature. The laws themselves are quite simple, but when the laws interact with themselves over and over again, the complexity they generate is mind-boggling.

Take a simple example of me planting one apple seed, just one seed. Not all seeds sprout but if/when this one does, it brings forth a seedling. Not all seedlings grow to be a tree, but if/when this one does, it bears flowers. Not all flowers turn to fruit, but some do. Not all fruits have seeds in them, but most of them do. When these seeds disperse, many sprout, give rise to trees, and this process endlessly continues, as long as the material circumstances are favourable.

After just a few decades, it will be impossible for a person who didn’t witness me planting the first apple seed to detect which apple tree was the first one. It will be impossible, even for me, to tell which tree an apple came from… or to tell for sure which specific seed caused which specific tree to grow.

Which brings us to the oft-heard saying, humans can count the fruits in a tree or the seeds in a fruit, but only God knows how many trees there are inside one seed. God is infinite, and therefore, it is possible for God to know all the permutations, with vision undisturbed by time.

Karma, the law of action and reaction has been described in the Vedic scriptures many millenia ago. A more recent rediscovery of the principles of Karma is by Isaac Newton “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction“. Sometimes, people say “what goes around, comes around“.

I heard that Lord Buddha said that if one were to stack the skeletons of all the bodies one soul has inhabited, those bones will block out the sun! Every soul inhabiting the material world has had many many actions (seeds), giving rise to many many beginning to sprout (seedlings), with many different resultant symptoms (flowers and fruits). It is hard to take one particular symptom of one’s life today and try to ascertain what specific action caused it. But just because it is hard doesn’t mean that randomness is the answer.

So what is the solution? How does one get out of the dense forest of karmic actions and reactions? The Bhagavad Gita defines a particular type of action and classifies it as “akarma” – “inaction”. This inaction is not some sort of inert “do nothing / sit still / renounce all action” practiced by the immature spiritualists or lazy materialists, but it is those actions that are spiritual in nature – that which serve to reconnect spirit to the Supreme Spirit, God.

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.” BG 4.17

There is no randomness, everything is actually quite ordered and structured, it is simply a matter of the choices we have made in the past. And just as our present circumstances may appear complex, we can unravel and simplify just as someone pieces together a jumbled up jigsaw puzzle, with time, patience, and determination.

aprarabdha-phalam papam
kutam bijam phalonmukham
kramenaiva praliyeta
vishnu-bhakti-ratatmanam
 
Persons who are completely engaged in the devotional service of the Lord Vishnu the Personality of Godhead—becomes completely extinct from all sorts of vicious reactions which either potential, germinating, seedling or current by a gradual process. (from Padma Purana)
 
असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।
अपरस्परसंभूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥ १६.८ ॥
asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te
jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ
kim anyat kāma-haitukam
 
They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust. BG 16.8 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/16/8/
 
कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ ४.१७ ॥
karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ
 

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is. BG 4.17 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/17/

 
BG 4.17:
The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.
BG 4.18:
One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

What could possibly be unknown to You, O master? With vision undisturbed by time, You witness the minds of all living beings. Nevertheless, on Your order I will speak. SB 10.64.11 https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/10/64/11

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