From the perspective of Anantyo Priyo, 27, a painter from Surabaya.
Do you believe people arrived in their present form on Earth?
No, because from year to year humans have changed from being primitive to modern.
Do you think a supernatural force has been guiding our evolution?
Not really. The one that made evolution is actually the humans’ way of thinking, from primitive, where things were still complicated, to simplifying them so they could be developed more.
Does it trouble you that we descended from apes?
No. Actually that statement from Darwin is still being debated.
What does it mean to you to be human?
I was created here to do something better, to protect nature and also it surroundings.
Philosophers say that human suffering proves the existence of God, that some people must endure enormous tragedy and sadness in order to find their path to God. What do you think?
Every tragedy is not a test; it is a reminder. God gave us a path to follow. God never wanted us to have difficulties. It’s the way humans think that makes it difficult and hard.
What about the Asian tsunami of 2004 that killed around 250,000 people? In your opinion, where is a god in such biblical natural disaster?
God was there. As proof, people helped each other – where did that come from? Humans are like puppets: God gave goodness through us so we will help each other. God gave us the way.
Do you think the chaos and trouble caused by people, including wars, is the product of a Devil-derived evil or purely free will?
Humans are never satisfied. The always want power. That causes wars, crimes; it’s all from us.
Why do you think the Universe is such a gigantic place yet the only apparent intelligent life as far as we’ve been able to detect is on Earth?
I believe there is life besides on Earth. Its God’s secret. This is why people try to find it; but no one has yet.
Scientists say the Universe began life as an incomprehensibly dense dot of matter, then exploded and is expanding. In your imagination, what has the cosmos become and what do you think is our meaning within it?
Humans are brought to Earth to solve problems and to protect and help those who are in trouble.
Although impossible now, if a probe could reach the furthest parts of space, at the point where matter was still expanding, and if that probe could jump ahead of the matter, where would it be?
Maybe inside our galaxy or outside it. There are lots of stars in this Universe – the Sun is one of them – and it could be anywhere. Only God knows.
Does it worry you that your presence on Earth might be nothing more than a chance alignment of primordial amino acids and that we are totally alone and when you die, that’s the end of your consciousness?
There’s no need to worry, because death is the real life and we’re not alone. People are created to complete each other, just like Adam and Eve.
Atheists maintain that religion is nothing more than a fairytale and that adherents are deluding themselves. They say there’s no proof of the existence of any controlling entity or creator and that it’s foolish to believe in one. Are they deluding themselves?
Yes, they are. The Hindu religion teaches us about karma: If you do something wrong, then there’s a consequence to it. It teaches us bad is bad and good is good.
What’s the wonder of being alive?
There’s lots of wonder. Like the tsunami in 2004 – it was such a huge catastrophe yet there were still those who survived. Breathing is another wonder. And also bees – how come with such a big body and little wings it can fly so far and can find its home again?
If you could say something directly to a God and get a direct answer, what would it be?
Who am I, really? What am I here for?
So god lets a tsunami strike and kill hundreds of thousands of people and then performs a few miracles to reduce suffering from his own action? Really? That sounds pretty illogical to me…