Subject: Belief and the Universe And now for something entirely different. How many people

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From: atanu@hpsemc.HP.COM (Atanu Dey) Subject: Belief and the Universe And now for something entirely different. How many people realize that religion has been the root of most of cruelty that is inflicted on the world? I wonder when humans would grow out of this stupidity and learn to be humane? Beliefs - that is the basis of what this whole debate is about. And if you have the power, then you use it to coerce or kill others who do not believe what you believe in. Or else kill those who your belief marks as the enemy. A case in point: Hitler believed that certain people do not deserve to live. (Note: the word 'believe'.) In what way was his belief any less valid than the belief that a certain book is the ultimate truth or that a certain people are chosen, etc etc. Yet, very few religions directly preach violence. But, indirectly, most drive the mindless followers to crimes far beyond human comprehension. When one believes that an action would result in a guaranteed entry to heaven (or something equivalent), one may be willing to commit a lot of grief on others. I suppose to a god-fearing person the prize of entry to heaven would be the ultimate prize and he would not stop at anything. So, the ultimate reward is dangled in front of the ignorant masses to that they can become a 'martyr' fighting god's 'holy' war! Children can be massacred by that belief; children can be made to kill. You can unleash the worst just by promising the believer to fulfill his greed. And it is ultimately greed that motivates that kind of religious fanaticism. There is a greed for otherworldly happiness that far exceed the greed for the pleasures of the flesh. Greed and selfishness. Potent combination. But that is not all. There is another ingredient. That is one of self-righteousness. The people who conduct inquisitions are not people who doubt their mission. They are confident that what they do is right and holy. You have to believe that you have exclusive rights to the truth. You have to believe that the book that you hold in your hand has the TRUTH - for all times and all universe. And how do you know that the book is the truth? Simple, the book says that it is the truth and nothing but the truth! How stupid and arrogant can people be!! Stupid enough to believe that something is the truth because it says it is the truth - and further the book perhaps has the warning that if you do not believe that it is the truth, then you are going to be in trouble. And arrogant - because the believer cannot conceive of others having the brains to see through the believer's stupidity. But, in the end, I do not despair. Although for an individual it is a brief sojourn in this plane of existence, the living beings also evolve along with the universe. And just as surely as we have come this far along the evolutionary road, there will come a time before the universe grows cold, when the sentient beings on this planet will have understood the truth. The ultimate truth - what is it? I don't know. But it surely isn't that which motivates all the cruelty and horror. It could not be found in the books which claim to contain the truth. What is it then? I think that truth is very relative to the plane of existence of the sentient being seeking it. An amoeba is perhaps not capable of realizing the truth of quantum gravity even if you could explain it in a book for amoeba. Well, the universe continues to evolve supremely indifferent to the things that are going on within it. The TRUTH would not be any less for the fact that we do not understand it. The laws of nature (for example, gravity) operate evenly on an amoeba which has no comprehension of it compared to our knowledge. And one day our present day comprehension would seem like the amoeba's comprehension when we do know more. Finally, in conclusion, my beliefs. Yes, they are my beliefs. But I do not see the need to have anyone else endorse my beliefs nor espouse them. They are not contained within a book and I will change them when I grow and understand the universe better. I believe that the universe is finite in time and space but it is unbounded. The laws of the universe completely determine the nature and the behaviour of its constituent parts. These laws are inviolable because the fundamental constants of the universe do not change randomly. There is no 'super'-natural because it is all within nature. I believe that the universe is ultimately unknowable by sentient beings within the universe because it would involve some degree of self-reference and may lead to infinite regression. I can conceive of an entity which is not within this universe being able to comprehend this universe. But that is another story! There is more, Josephine, but some other night. Atanu Dey "Tat Tvam Asi" 10670 N. Tantau Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014 (408)723-7468 Home (408)725-3818 Work

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