3. Everything is Perfect

“Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind”

— Albert Einstein

In our Caterpillar phase, the human ego has risen high as we have become more and more deluded that we are separated from Nature. As a result, even our stories about supernatural deities have become tinged with human hubris.

Do you believe in one God? If so, then regardless of your faith tradition or denomination, it is likely that your God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.

In the Christian Bible, Job acknowledged God’s omnipotence in Job 42:2[1],

“I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

In Islam, Allah is the Supreme Power, the Creator, the All Mighty and the All Merciful[2].

In the Taittiriya Upanishad of the Hindu Yajur Veda, God is defined as[3]

“Sathyam Jnanam Anantham Brahman (Brahman is Reality and Knowledge Without Limits).”

In the remaining verses, the Upanishad then logically deduces that Brahman is existence itself, consciousness itself and happiness itself. Such a definition leads to universality. Indeed, since Brahman is existence itself and consciousness itself, everyone, including atheists, can accept that Brahman exists! After all, atheism is the denial of the existence of a straw man version of God imagined to be a kindly, white bearded man who lives in the sky. Instead, Brahman is defined to be an immanent presence in our daily lives. Further, since Brahman is happiness itself, everyone can accept that all beings seek Brahman at all times!

As a corollary, the Taittiriya Upanishad deduces that Brahman is eternal, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.

Therefore, even though our religious differences have been used to divide us in the Caterpillar phase, the Christian God, the Islamic Allah and the Hindu Brahman are essentially one and the same. This means that for centuries, we have been arguing about nomenclature and not substance! But, if this common deity of ours is omnipotent, then the question arises as to how can such a deity be powerless in the face of so-called “human abuse” of the planet? Indeed, the Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si, contains the following admonishment[4]:

“Our sister (The Earth) now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”

In the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change as well, the tone is one of recrimination towards human behavior[5]:

“Our species, though selected to be a caretaker or steward (Khalifah) on the earth, has been the cause of such corruption and devastation on it that we are in danger of ending life as we know it on our planet.”

Finally, in the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change, the signatories warn humanity[6]:

“Rapacious exploitation of the planet has caught up with us. A radical change in our relationship with nature is no longer an option. It is a matter of survival. We cannot destroy nature without destroying ourselves.”

The undercurrent in these declarations is that humans have been plundering, corrupting and rapaciously exploiting the Earth, in direct opposition to God’s will. That is, humans have become so powerful today that even an omnipotent deity is overwhelmed by our collective strength!

Such hubristic thinking is reflected in the oft-quoted reaction of the nuclear scientist, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, who thought when he witnessed the world’s first nuclear explosion[7],

“I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds!”  

He was channeling the words that God spoke to Arjuna, the human protagonist, in the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu Scripture.

Therefore, even scientists have been channeling this human hubris.

[1] Various English translations of this passage can be found in http://biblehub.com/job/42-2.htm

[2] Attributes of Allah can be found in verses 59:22-24 of the Holy Quran, for example: “He is God; there is no god but He. He is the Knower of the unseen and the visible; He is the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. He is God; there is no god but He. He is the King, the All-Holy, the All-Peace, the Guardian of the Faith, the All-Preserver, the All-Mighty, the All-Compeller, the All-Sublime. Glory be to God, above that they associate! He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the Almighty, the All-Wise” See, e.g., http://www.sultan.org/articles/god.html

[3] An excellent exposition of the definition of Brahman in the Taittiriya Upanishad can be found in Swami Sarvapriyananda’s lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ftn4zCnheBk

[4] Pope Francis’ Encyclical, the Laudato Si can be downloaded here: http://laudatosi.com/watch

[5] The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change can be found online here: http://islamicclimatedeclaration.org/islamic-declaration-on-global-climate-change/

[6] The text of the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change can be found online here: http://www.hinduclimatedeclaration2015.org/english

[7] Robert Oppenheimer uses this quote in the 1965 BBC movie made about the atomic bomb: http://www.atomicarchive.com/Movies/Movie8.shtml

2.3 The Indian Ending
3.1 The Purpose of Life
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