Religious unity the way to overcome pandemic

ONLINE preachers of several missionary religions have been quick to lay the responsibility for Covid-19 on the shoulders of God. It is an instrument of divine punishment as well as a mercy sent by God to purify our souls. It is a form of spiritual warfare and comes as a test of our faithfulness. Have faith instead of fear, and the wind of God will blow the virus away.

Believe these preachers and your spirituality will get blown away. God has nothing to do with Covid-19. Humans are destroying the last remaining forests and capturing wild animals that carry this virus in their bodies. So whose responsibility is it?

In one prayer, we declare that God has made us stewards of the earth. In another prayer, we ask God to take away this virus. If you mess up your business, don’t you have to sort things out yourself? Do not push the job to God or, worse, declare that God has created the mess as a test for you.

The near-universal belief that God moves around playing a hyperactive role in our lives stems from the notion of divine creation. At weekly religious services around the world, thousands of congregations proclaim God as “maker of heaven and earth”.

Theologians like to point at your watch and ask: “Did the watch make itself or was it made by a watchmaker?” So God is likened to a watchmaker. The comparison is entirely false because the watch is a totally artificial device without life, so unlike the universe.

The belief in God as a watchmaker has divided religions more than united them. Belief is a mixture of fact and assumption. God is a fact but God as a watchmaker is pure assumption. Just as all the famous watch brands are rivals, so there is rivalry amongst the world religions as they promote different brands of God to you.

Online preachers are making rival claims that their founder of religion offers better salvation from Covid than other founders of religion. If you have grown tired of all this faith rivalry, there is true salvation in a more accurate notion of God offered by quantum physics.

The God that quantum field scientists have discovered has this ability to steer humanity towards a common goal. For a comprehensive idea of the quantum field God, you may read the book Slay your Identity and Find the Real You, written by this columnist and available at MPH, Kinokuniya and Gerakbudaya stores.

To understand the quantum field God, go to an AR (Augmented Reality) show where 3D moving hologram images are projected onto space. In one open-air stadium, spectators got to see a dragon flying around puffing out flames. In a closed-door auditorium, spectators seated around a vast empty space saw a whale suddenly popping out of the floor that had been transformed into a sea. Space is the backdrop upon which these images are projected.

The AR show is a good analogy for a universe teeming with lively actions, and the backdrop of space is God. In quantum science, God is not a personal being, it is a non-personal field of conscious infinity that serves as backdrop for the universe. Whereas theology likens God to a watchmaker, quantum science likens God to a quantum field.

God does not create Nature, rather, Nature is the hand of God that creates the universe. In quantum science, God is the non-executive chairman and Nature is the chief executive officer.

You should get familiar with two Sanskrit words – nirguna (no attributes) and saguna (with attributes). The God with no attributes manifests in the attributes of Nature.

The Tao Te Ching affirms: “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the Absolute Tao”, meaning that no language can describe it and, hence, it is “conceived of as having no name”. The Tao or the Absolute God is Nameless (wu-ming). That which is “conceived of as having a name” is called the Named (yu-ming), and it is “the Mother of all things” – in other words, Mother Nature. She is the CEO of planet earth.

Asking God for help to fight Covid is like seeking intervention from the non-executive chairman. The PA has turned us away as evidenced by the fact that this second year of the pandemic is worse than the first. You should make your plea to Nature because she is the “Mother of all things”, including the coronavirus.

What is the first sermon we should hear from CEO Nature? It is the lesson of viral unity. Despite the numerous variants that have evolved, are these variants hostile to one another in a worldwide viral battle for supremacy? Does the UK variant seek to knock out the Brazil variant? Will the California variant thrash the India variant? No.

In contrast, there is no human unity but enmity as many religions claim to be the one unique true faith. We are a divided humanity against a united viral force.

The fact that coronavirus has diversified into variants is also a lesson for us from Nature. Religious diversity is natural.

Cherishing only your religion, promoting your religion as supreme, despising other religions, battling to convert their followers – are you not displaying militancy behind a mask of religiosity?

Over a stretch of 10 years before Covid-19 rose to become a pandemic in 2020, religious hostilities surged to a new high, with nearly a third of the world’s countries experiencing terrorism, mob violence, harassment or rising ethnic tension as preachers urged their followers to step on other religions in a battle for supremacy.

The escalating religious intolerance of the past 10 years came alongside a massive surge in forest and wildlife devastation. Through Covid, we are warned that humans are not necessary for the planet to survive.

Yet another lesson from Nature is that for the second year, all Malaysians, whatever their religions, have to observe two common rituals daily in order to stay alive – mask wearing and physical distancing. It takes a pandemic to unite all Malaysians.

On Wesak Day, let us seek enlightenment by establishing a coalition of world religions to stop devastation of jungle trees and essential wildlife that results in the spread of zoonotic viruses to humans.

Buddha never asked his followers to approach God for help, rather, he advised them to become enlightened. Tradition has it that he gained enlightenment while meditating under a tree, and that tree was thereafter named the Bodhi Tree, or Tree of Enlightenment.

The writer champions interfaith harmony. Comments: