The Moon Analogy
We communicate with each other adopting different styles of expression to help in understanding realities better. Sometimes we need to employ analogies to put across our views on reality, since the other person is unable to appreciate them because of a different background. Analogies are able to bridge the communication gap, putting across an unfamiliar concept by referring to a similar idea the receiver is familiar with. Thus the communication gap is bridged and the reality is likely to be better understood.
One needs to be careful however while using analogies in communicating: The reality and the analogy are not identical phenomena. It is only an aspect of the reality which it is helping to clarify. If the addressees aren’t serious in receiving the message in the correct spirit, they can find reasons to ridicule the presenter, referring to the aspects of the analogy which were not meant to be a part of the clarifying plan. “He is as daring as a lion” can be ridiculed by a response stating that lions were beasts and therefore the man referred to was a beast too. And so on.
That brings me to present my new-moon analogy. Many science-influenced minds question the validity of religious beliefs by asking for their proofs quite the same way as Science is able to offer proofs for its claims. “If religious beliefs are realities, why can’t their realness be shown clearly, like we are able to do in the case of scientifically proved realities?” The truth is that religious beliefs are meant to be quite as much a test of character as they are a text of intelligence or observation of the subject. God wouldn’t appear physically before the beholding eye. He will appear unmistakably to the eager mind and yearning heart. However, a mind trained to understand realities through visible demonstration of cause-effect relationship isn’t willing to give any significance to the idea that a reality as important as God can’t be scientifically verified when many less significant truths can be easily confirmed through the fool-proof scrutiny of the scientific process of verification.
Here is the analogy: When moon appears on the horizon on the evening of a new lunar month, in many cases, it isn’t easily visible to the naked eye. However, on a more careful observation, it begins to appear, at least to some people who can then help others to see it by pointing at the exact location where it is appearing. Even though, to begin with, obscurely visible only to a few, it becomes absolutely clear and visible to the beholding eye once the requisite effort is put in. To the one who isn’t prepared to look at the right direction, for one reason or another, there is always a room to reject the idea and ridicule it. However, to those who have done enough to get a glimpse of it, the new moon is as obvious a reality as the shining sun on a bright day.
God, His messengers, and His books are in a sense somewhat similar realities. They are there for the ‘beholders’ to ‘see’. But not everyone can see. One needs to have a genuine interest in attempting to see in the right direction to get a chance of a glimpse of it or else the reality would elude him despite it being very much there. What prevents an individual to see those realities is an absence of interest in observing it out of arrogance, overindulgence in worldly desires and success, prejudice for a contrary ideology or a combination of all these reasons.
Religious realities too appear to an individual gradually once he begins to take keen interest in searching for them. This life has been designed in a way that his search for them becomes a genuine need. (See “Why is Religion Needed” for details). However, the distracting attractions of the world cause those genuine needs to get ignored. It is less than a sun-like appearance and more of a crescent-like one that makes religious realities a real trial for the character of an individual. If he is really interested in knowing those realities, like he is interested in beholding the new moon, he will be able to see them. If he is not be interested in knowing them, he will bring in excuses to reject and ridicule them by claiming that they don’t exist.