Javed Akhtar's words often echo in my soul, even as his atheism casts a different shade on the canvas of existence than my own. While I find solace in the belief in a higher power, the question of evil's prevalence in our world remains a thorny vine, twisting around the very notion of a benevolent God.
Richard Dawkins, Salman Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens – these giants of thought raise the age-old argument: if God exists, why does suffering reign supreme? Why do wars rage, famine stalk, and hearts turn to cruelty? It's a question that has gnawed at humanity since the dawn of consciousness, and one that demands not just acknowledgement, but a nuanced exploration.
Perhaps, the answer lies not in absolutes, but in the intricate tapestry of human agency and the ever-shifting dance between light and shadow. To say that God is not to be blamed for evil is not to deny His existence, but to acknowledge the free will He has bestowed upon us. We, the architects of our own destinies, are also the sculptors of our downfalls.
Think of it this way: imagine a world bathed in perpetual sunlight. Flowers bloom, birds sing, and life thrives in perfect harmony. But within this utopia, would choice truly exist? Would compassion hold meaning in the absence of suffering? Would love be more than a convenient emotion, devoid of the struggle against indifference and cruelty?
The darkness, then, becomes not an indictment of God's absence, but a canvas upon which we paint the masterpiece of our choices. Every act of kindness, every flicker of empathy in the face of despair, becomes a brushstroke of defiance against the shadows. Every act of cruelty, every echo of hate, becomes a testament to the darkness that lurks within us, the "demons" we choose to unleash.
But to say that humans are solely responsible for evil would be a disservice to the complexities of existence. There are forces, unseen and insidious, that thrive on discord and despair. The ancient myths called them demons, entities that whisper temptations and fan the flames of darkness within our hearts. Perhaps, these forces are not supernatural beings, but the very echoes of our own negativity, the collective shadow cast by generations of unchecked cruelty.
In this light, the battle for good becomes not a celestial tug-of-war between God and the Devil, but a struggle within ourselves, against the demons we create and the angels we choose to nurture. God, then, becomes not a distant puppeteer, but the very light that guides our choices, the silent force that whispers compassion and fuels the fires of hope within us.
This is not to say that suffering is meaningless. Every wound, every tear, carries the weight of a lesson learned, a resilience forged. It is in the crucible of hardship that empathy is born, that the bonds of community are strengthened, that we rise above our baser instincts and reach for the hand of the divine within ourselves.
Perhaps, in the end, the question of God's existence is not as important as the choices we make in His name, or in the absence of it.
Let us choose to be the light, not the shadow. Let us be the angels who fight back the demons, not the fuel that feeds their flames. Let us, in every act of compassion, every flicker of hope, paint a world where the shadows recede, and the divine light within us shines ever brighter.
And so, dear reader, I leave you with the echoes of these questions still ringing in the air. Do the shadows truly rule our world, or are we, in our choices, the architects of both light and darkness? Does the divine dance in the tapestry of existence, or does the canvas remain stubbornly blank?
Where do you stand in this celestial waltz? Does faith illuminate your path, or does reason cast its own guiding light? Have you found angels in the shadows, or do the demons still hold sway?
Share your thoughts, your doubts, your flickering flames of hope in the comments below. Let us weave a tapestry of diverse perspectives, for perhaps, in the intricate threads of our shared humanity, we may find not just answers, but a deeper understanding of the mysteries that bind us all.
Remember, there are no wrong answers in this dance between belief and doubt. What matters most is the courage to engage, to seek, and to find solace, whatever its form, in the ever-unfolding story of our existence.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.
For my international readers: Javed Akhtar: Poet, Lyricist, Provocateur. Indian by birth, associated with Bollywood.
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