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Sarvapali Radhakrishnan 290 q44.1

Faith in Ourselves

I am reading a wonderful book by Sarvapali Radhakrishnan, "An Idealist View of Life"

(ISBN 0-04-141009-2).

I found a passage on page 63 of this paperback which is very pertinent to some of the thread appearing on Sulekha during the past weeks.

I will paraphrase a passage on page 63 of this paperback:

The problem which faces us (mankind) is whether or not we have FAITH IN OURSELVES. If we DO have this faith in ourselves, then we MUST have the FREEDOM to allow our "selves" to explore FREELY (and seek the truth about God, Universe, purpose of life, etc). Our faith in ourselves and in the abilities of human nature is worth very little if we lack all confidence that the INDIVIDUAL is capable of finding the TRUTH with his unaided reason and conscience (and their innate abilities and potentials).

Respect for Humanity requires us to possess the faith, the confidence, the trust that humanity's powers of thought and spiritual discovery, guided by experiences of the past, will not lead to error and confusion, but rather to truth and certainty. (Suddenly, as I type this, the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident" come to my mind - Sitaram).

There is always the RISK that we may be betrayed into error if we think freely, but the FAITH which does not take this risk is not TRUE Faith.

Despotism and Anarchy, an infallible authority and a disruptive subjectivism, are not the only two alternatives in politics or religion.

Each of us has a superficial intellectual self and a deeper, hidden, INDIVIDUAL Self.

A DYNAMIC religion discovers that inner individual Self and engages the depths in us. The authoritarian despotic religion tickles us, cajoles us into acquiescence and complacency in the name of numbers (as if Religion is a popularity contest or public opinion poll).

TRUE Religion lifts us out of our ruts and treats us as INDIVIDUAL, not as units in a crowd or cogs in a wheel.

Those who are suspicious of free and personal religion and wish to impose on ALL PEOPLE a divinely guaranteed dogmatic creed actually wind up endangering the very interests of Truth and stability which they claim they are so anxious to preserve. Extreme opposite ends often meet and converge in this curved and bounded Reimannian Universe of ours. Authoritarianism implies a sort of skepticism. Affirming that Religion should be DEFENDED from human reason and that God should be approached wearing glasses colored by faith, that it's systems should not be examined too closely, Authoritarianism seems to harbor a secret skepticism. Such Authoritarianism can have little appeal in an age remarkable for its criticism of creeds of all shades and varieties.

On page 59, Radhakrishnan states:

Dean Inge (a theologian) describes the Christian faith as a religion of spirit and not of dogma (dogma which must be defended and can be imposed). Religion is love and worship, not what God did do in the dim, distant past, nor what God will do in some shadowy future, but what God is doing TODAY, (right NOW); revealed NOW as much as ever; a light which the soul receives and reflects with more or less radiance, according to its powers of feeling and understanding. The personality of Jesus shows us the highest reflection of this radiance in practical life. The same religious truth found in the life of Jesus is also to be found in the personality of Socrates in the Dialogues of Plato, and in the Upanisads.


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