Cause and effect are clearly visible to us or felt by most of us. An interesting question – can there be an event for which there is no cause? Probably not, because everything in life as we experience it is so inter-connected; causal connections must exist, even if we cannot identify them. In this context, one of the most difficult lessons to be learnt is that we cannot prove the negative.
For example, a clever scientist claims insistently that there is no God. How is he going to prove that? There is no such process as reincarnation is another assertion. Proof? Citing the utterances or writings of someone one chooses to respect cannot prove that something is not so. How would he or they know with any certainty? More positively, it is impossible to prove that Man is the chosen species, or that a particular tribe represents a chosen people; their denial, however, cannot be proven either. My belief is that holding one’s own belief while not denying the beliefs of others can do no harm; this might make us better people too. Isn’t mutual tolerance a reasonable path to follow?
That is why I have been a freethinker all my life. I hold that the major religions are equal in their potential. I credit my parents for teaching me thus, while the proof of the pudding (so to speak) was the manner of respectful co-existence displayed by the various ethno-religious communities surrounding me in the land of my birth, British Malaya.
Yet, I yearned for cosmic justice to apply to the European colonial buccaneers with their accompanying traders, soldiers and priests for what they had done to us. What does this mean? Only that those who behave badly should pay for their sins – through some higher power acting on behalf of the oppressed. This is, of course, an ethical construct, no doubt coined by the weak and defenceless. But, does it not have merit?