Is Geography More Powerful Than God?

Born in Denpasar, young Komang led a happy life. Being raised on the island of Bali, Komang lived in paradise every single day. He would give thanks for all he had in the traditional manner; by praying to God. First, he took a shower, as cleansing is of the utmost importance before praying. Then, wearing his whitest of white clothes, he set out to cover the bench outside with a white cloth. On it he placed a small pile of uncooked rice. On that he placed a Sudarshan Yantra which was a copper-plated tile with geometric designs. He placed a white mat in front of the bench and sat down facing east. He looked at the center of the yantra and visualized himself in there, protected from all evil. He offered up some flowers and incense while he said this prayer:

I bow before the God Vishnu,
Who is personification of peace,
Who sleeps on his folded arms,
Who has a lotus on his belly,
Who is the God of gods,
Who is the basis of earth,
Who is similar to the sky,
Who is of the color of the cloud,
Who has beautiful limbs,
Who is the consort of Lakshmi,
Who has lotus-like eyes,
Who is seen by saints through thought,
Who kills all worries and fears,
And who is the lord of all the worlds.”

You see, Komang grew up in Bali which is 83.5% Hindu. Though there are many gods within Hinduism, Vishnu was the one Komang would pray to. Vishnu is part of the Hindu trinity which also includes Brahma and Shiva. Komang never knew any other way to pray or any other gods to pray to. He had no need to know. He had no desire to know. He already knew the truth and therefore anything else was a lie.

Just over 700 miles to the west, in Jakarta, another young person by the name of Berkah was also setting out to pray. He also showered and put on his cleanest clothes. He placed his mat down on the floor and turned to face mecca. He raised his hands up to his ears and said “Allāhu akbarwhich means “God is great.” Then, with his right hand over his left at chest level, he said:

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen
Ar-Rahmaanir-Raheem
Maaliki Yawmid-Deen
Iyyaaka na’budu wa lyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdinas-Siraatal-Mustaqeem
Siraatal-lazeena an’amta ‘alaihim
Ghayril-maghdoobi ‘alaihim wa lad-daaalleen

This translates to:

“In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path-The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked Your anger or of those who are astray.”

He then bent at a 90 degree angle and said “Allahu Akbaragain. He stood there focused on the ground and said, “Subhanna Rabbiyal Adheem” three times which means “Glorious is my Lord the most great.” He stood up, and as he did with his arms by his side he said, “Samiallah Huliman Hamidahwhich means “Allah hears those who praise Him.” Then he offered up “Rabana Walakal Hamdwhich means “Our Lord, all praise is for you.” Now he said “Allahu Akbar and he lay himself prostrate with both his forehead and nose touching the floor. While prostrate, he said “Subhanna Rabbiyal A’laa three times which means “ Glorious is my Lord, the most High.” He rose to his knees, with his left foot “ball to heel” on the floor while the right was “toes-only” touching the floor. With his hands flat on his knees, he uttered ” Allaahumma-ghfir lee warhamnee wajburnee, warfa’nee, wa ‘aafinee war’zuqneewhich means “O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, strengthen me, raise me in status, pardon me and grant me provision.” He went back to the prostrate position and said “Subhanna Rabbiyal A’laathree more times. He said “Allahu Akbar” once more and stood up. This was only part one of his three part prayer. And this prayer ritual was just one of his five that he does every day.

Berkah lived in the Islamic part of Indonesia. Though only hundreds of miles from Bali where Komang lived, which was predominantly Hindu, the rest of Indonesia was mostly Muslim with some 87% of the population being members.

Just under 10,000 miles to the west of where Berkah was in Jakarta, a man named James was sitting in a pew in Albany, New York. The music had just died down. All the people of the congregation sat down and all the talking stopped. The pastor, looking out into the crowd said,” Will you all bow your heads? Now close your eyes. Good…

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Everyone opened their eyes, lifted their heads and looked ahead. The pastor then called for two of his right hand men deacons to grab their collection plates and makes their rounds. Once wallets and purses were lightened and the guilt of those who gave was lessened, the pastor delivered his sermon. After his speech was done, the faithful ate the dry old cracker body of Christ and drank some nasty wine the blood of Jesus. This was communion (the Lord’s Supper) and its purpose was to celebrate the sacrifice Jesus made when he died for us and to cleanse us of our sins. James ate his cracker, drank his wine and bowed his head again in prayer.

These are three examples of different religions and different prayer rituals from three different parts of the world. They are vastly different, yet all have one thing in common: They are all right…at least in the minds of the believers. The Hindu believes he is right and he is following the true god. The Muslim also thinks that and so does James, the Christian. They are all right, yet they are all worshiping different gods in different ways. How is this possible? How did each of them come to believe they found the one (though sometimes in trinitarian form) true god?

The religion you are raised in is mostly due to where you were born. If you are born in a predominantly Christian country, you will most likely be raised to be a Christian. The same goes for Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc…Where you are born determines who you will bow down to. But no matter who you are or where you were born, everyone is convinced they were fortunate enough to be born into the true religion of the true god. Pretty impressive, don’t you think? How convenient.

I don’t know all there is to know about all religions. I have done some research but mostly know about Christianity. It’s the religion I was raised in and the one I started to raise my own family in. I do know that according to that religion no one reaches the father (God) except through his son, Jesus. That’s according to John 14:16. So if you were not so lucky, unlike me, then you will not be going to Heaven. Your location has separated you from the true god and has replaced him with a false one…or two or three.

Missionaries have tried to spread the gospel to these places, as well as to places who have no religion at all. They are convinced that if they don’t speak for God, these poor people will spend eternity in Hell. I have a few questions. Is geography more powerful than God? Is the distance between continents and countries too great for God? Can he not reach the people who don’t believe in him? Does this misfortune of people being born in the wrong place punch their ticket to Hell? The people who never hear of Jesus, what is to become of them? Is it their fault their parents misinformed them? Could God not correct their errors and give them proper coordinates?

According to Christians, all other religions are false. Christians represent just over 2 billion people. The world population is getting closer and closer to 8 billion. It’s roughly 7.7 billion as of the date of this post. That means nearly 3/4 of the population of earth disagrees with this “one true religion.” That is a very bad look for the “one true god.” Whose fault is it that just over 25% follow Jesus and the other 70+% do not? If all of the people of the world lived in the same place at the same time, would that make the world a Christian planet?

Look, if God is everywhere all of the time, and he is all-powerful, the map of the world should not be an obstacle to his master plan. Being born in India, Pakistan, Iceland, Australia or the United States should not make one bit of difference. Anywhere on earth is “down here” and God is “up there” looking down. We should all be visible, reachable, approachable and worthy…IF God is real and IF he loves us. Well, the numbers are in. We all disagree and no one is correcting us. What does that tell us about God?

11 thoughts on “Is Geography More Powerful Than God?

  1. What does that tell us about God?

    It speaks volumes Ben! All plausible answers paint a picture of this Abrahamic God as… well, frankly quite STUPID. Here’s one of my takes on it (out of too many to list here) from my blog-page “Why Christianity Will Always Fail“:

    Why the Literal Hiding? — This argument was proposed by Dr. Theodore Drange in his book Nonbelief & Evil: Two Arguments for the nonexistence of God. Basically it says:

    …there is no good argument or evidence for God’s existence. […] Even theists sometimes say such things as “God is hidden” or “the world is ambivalent or ambiguous (as between being governed by God or being totally natural).” Whether such a statement is made in terms of “hiddenness” or “ambivalence” or “ambiguity,” it runs counter to Saint Paul’s (General-revelation) idea, expressed in Rom. 1:20, that “God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” So if it is a statement made by Christian writers at all, they would not be Calvinists or evangelical Christians, but rather Christians of a more liberal persuasion.

    Drange goes on to explain why arguing from a position of non-belief is much more reasonable and sound than from a position of lacking evidence (or LEA):

    Argument from Nonbelief:

    • (A) Probably, if God were to exist, then there would not be many nonbelievers in the world.

    • (B) But there are many nonbelievers in the world.

    • (C) Therefore, probably God does not exist.

    The term “nonbelievers” as it appears here can be taken in various ways. Let us take it to refer to nontheists. Since that class includes not only atheists and agnostics but also deists, pantheists, Buddhists, Hindus, and countless other individuals throughout our planet who do not believe in a single Supreme Being, it actually contains close to half the earth’s population… a well-established empirical truth, given a suitable definition for the term “nonbelievers.”

    I recommend reading Drange’s full contrast and comparison on The Secular Web at Infidels.org. *

    * – Link: https://infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/anbvslea.html

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The “literal hiding” should bother EVERY SINGLE BELIEVER, but for some reason, it is a non-issue for most. That baffles me. You take your lessons from scripture which promises that God is personal and speaks to you, but the reality that exists outside of scripture is completely different. God is nowhere to be found outside of the words that speak of him. That’s not a good reason to “have faith.” That’s a problem. No, it’s more than that. It’s quite damning evidence that the story isn’t true.

    People like to use the excuse of God living in a supernatural realm to explain why we have no evidence of him. We are here and he is there, which prevents us from observing him. I have a lot of issues with believers using the “supernatural” argument to defend God’s game of hide and seek, where he always hides and we are left seeking. The supernatural realm is not something we can test for or observe. We have only the senses we are born with. If God created us with only these senses and yet WANTS us to know him, why would he exist in a realm outside of our ability to detect him? It’s absurd.

    I haven’t read any of Drange’s stuff. I will have to check out that link.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is very well done sir Ben. It appears that if there were a god it would be Gods. Polytheism is alive and well it’s just incognito. And this one is three anyway, then Allah and all the rest, each with their sphere of influence and each in hiding, relying on mere mortals to convince everyone of their existence. Pretty powerful gods, always doing the will of the majority religion. This post is extremely well done. I’m giving you extra points.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Re “According to Christians, all other religions are false.” Actually, according to Christians, the vast majority of other Christians are false, too. I have a fundamentalist relative who thinks that Catholics aren’t Christians. Baptists consider themselves Christians. Mormons consider themselves to be Christians. Ask a Baptist whether a Mormon is a Christian … and odds are that they will say no.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes, it’s curious. I’ve met JW’s who don’t consider Catholics to be Christians — and some of them were former Catholics. Makes no difference to me if they take issue with each other over piddling doctrinal differences.

      But if they were never truly one thing to begin with — or they can “convert” to another denomination or faith so easily — how can we believe them when they claim all this stuff is deeply held?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was taught much the same when I was a kid in catholic school back in the early 1960s. Anyone who hadn’t learned about catholicism was doomed to hell, even if they were good people. That moderated somewhat around that time, right after the Vatican Council. Then we were told that non believers who were really good people might not go to hell, they might go to purgatory, along with unbaptized babies. Purgatory was sort of like hell but not so painful? Or something like that? They didn’t really seem sure what purgatory was. Even as a child I got the feeling that the whole purgatory thing was them just making stuff up. Whatever it was, it was scary because we’d also been taught that purgatory was the place where people who weren’t bad enough to go to hell were sent, where they spent thousands of years being tortured before they could go to heaven.

    So if you were unbaptized, or if you had never been taught the wonders of the church because some missionary didn’t get around to preaching to you, you were automatically condemned to hell/purgatory no matter what kind of life you led. And simply because god didn’t get around to arranging for some missionary to get to your town…

    Aarrgghh…. sorry, it’s too early in the morning to try to wrap my brain around all of this.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have read many articles and have seen many videos of Christians who very much believe that those who do not know the Gospel and haven’t had the opportunity to accept Jesus will go to Hell when they die. They say that even if people never heard the name of Jesus, there is enough evidence in nature to show that a god exists. They never mention, however, how the Bible says that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. No one comes to the father but through him. So yes, many cultures do see God in nature and even worship what they think is God. But it isn’t Jesus. That name only exists in the Bible. Therefore it is ridiculous to think that a tribe of people in some remote jungle could see God in nature and think, “Praise Jesus.” It’s absurd. It’s just the excuse that some Christians give in order to condemn others. They say God is obvious. People sin. People will be judged on their sins. Good people go up and bad people go down. No excuses.

      If you were raised to believe a certain thing and in your heart you feel it is right, you could still go to Hell because it was taught to you wrong. You could believe in a higher power because of what you see in the world around you. Creation might make sense to you. You might believe that a supernatural being is behind it all. BUT, if you believe in a different version of God than the Jesus one, you are in big trouble.

      Any god who is so quick to condemn people to an eternity of suffering over misunderstandings that he could correct himself, is a monster. Period.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Excellent post! Shows some real thought and research … which makes it difficult to disagree with. Although (surprise! surprise!), there will be many who will.

    There are soooo many holes in Christianity, but “the faithful” are blinded to them. All they can see is their savior on a cross (ick!) and the “holy” words in a centuries old book.

    But essentially, they’re no different than those who practice other faiths. In other words, their views are skewed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nan. Disagreeing is second nature to believers, for the most part. Most quickly dismiss anything contrary to their beliefs, even without listening to a counter argument. Very few actually consider that they might be wrong.

      My question is why not question everything? If you are certain you are right, then you have nothing to fear. By indulging others’ beliefs, the worst case scenario (if you are right) is that you learn about other cultures and belief systems. You can still go on believing what you want to and also be decent to other people by at least hearing them out.

      I can’t speak for everyone but I was taught that anything that wasn’t Christian is wrong. No need to investigate or hear the arguments. It was wrong and so should be avoided at all costs. Other belief systems were created by the adversary to deceive. That’s what I was taught. Nothing like good old fashioned scare tactics to “compel” people to know the “truth.”

      Liked by 1 person

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