Tonight the SAA topic of conversation was related to Step 5
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Because God is referred to in this and other steps, there was also some discussion around God. Some people, including myself, expressed a difficulty in relating to God as some form of all powerful being.
Having read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts I decided to shared with the SAA group my understanding of God, as I have learnt to express it, as a non religious entity.
The following are the two key passages from the book Shantaram that helped me articulate my beliefs in a more concise manner:
Shantaram – Page 484-5
“… we avoid chaos, in building houses and dividing land and so forth by having an agreed standard for the measure of a unit of length. We call it a meter, …. . In the same way , we can only avoid chaos in the world of human affairs by having an agreed standard for the measure of a unit of morality. ”
“I’m with you.”
“At the moment, most of our ways of defining the unit of morality are similar in their intentions, but they differ in their details. So the priests of one nation bless their soldiers as they march to war, and the imams of another country bless their soldiers as they march out to meet them. And everybody who is involved in the killing, says that he has God on his side. There is no objective and universally acceptable definition of good and evil. And until we have one, we will go on justifying our own actions while condemning the actions
of the others.”
“And you’re putting the physics of the universe up as a kind of platinum-iridium bar?”
“Well, I do think that our definition is closer, in its precision, to the photon-second measure than it is to the platinum-iridium bar, but the point is essentially correct. I think that when we look for an objective way to measure good and evil, a way that all people can accept as reasonable we can do no better than to study the way that the universe works, and its nature– the quality that defines the entire history of it – the fact that it is constantly moving towards greater complexity. We can do no better than to use the nature of the universe itself and all the holy texts, from all the great religions, tell us to do this. The Holy Koran, for example is often telling us, instructing us, to study the planets and the stars to find truth and meaning.”
Shantaram – Page 705
“The universe began about fifteen billion years ago, in almost absolute
simplicity, and it’s been getting more and more complex ever since. This movement from the simple to the complex is built into the web and weave of the universe, and it’s called the tendency toward complexity. We’re the products of this complexification, and so are the birds, and the bees, and the trees, and the stars, and even the galaxies of stars. And if we were to get wiped out in a cosmic explosion, like an asteroid impact or something, some other expression of our level of complexity would emerge, because that’s what the universe does. And this is likely to be going on all over the universe. How am I doing so far?”
I waited, but he didn’t reply, so I continued with my summary
“Okay, the final or ultimate complexity – the place where all this complexity is going – is what, or who, we might call God. And anything that promotes, enhances, or accelerates this movement toward God is good. Anything that inhibits, impedes, or prevents it is evil. And if we want to know if something is good or evil – something like war and killing and smuggling guns to mujaheddin guerrillas, for example – then we ask the questions: “What if everyone did this thing? Would that help us, in this bit of the universe, to get there, or would it hold us back? And then we have a pretty good idea whether it’s good or evil. What’s more important, we know why it’s good or evil.”