From the perspective of Desak Putu Mahadnyani, 21, a biotechnology student from Buleleng.
Do you believe people arrived in their present form on Earth?
I don’t think we were always like this.
Do you think a supernatural force has been guiding our evolution?
Maybe. There’ll always be a reason but I don’t think it’s supernatural because everything’s natural. We don’t know it yet, do we?
Does it trouble you that we descended from apes?
What does it mean to you to be human?
We have ability to do great things and we can change.
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?
Human suffering is a way of life. What happened happens. Death is an option but there are lots of things unexplained in this world. God is inexplicable.
What about the Asian tsunami of 2004 that killed around 250,000 people? In your opinion, where is a god in such a biblical natural disaster?
As I said, everything happens for a reason. It’s still inexplicable and what you can do is fix it and move on. We can’t blame our birth, so we can’t blame disasters on anything, including God.
Do you think the chaos and trouble caused by people, including wars, is the product of a Devil-derived evil or purely free will?
It’s caused by the fight for survival. People are fighting just for basic essentials. Everyone is trying to win, to stay alive and to survive and protect themselves. It’s more of a sociological problem, not one of evil.
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?
The Universe is huge. It is beyond our logic. Life is still a big question. If you want to find extraterrestrials, a stone could be one. We’re not open-minded about it. Extraterrestrials don’t mean aliens.
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?
We’re a part of it. It is our habitat.
Does it worry you that your presence on Earth might be something 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?
No. If we’re an experiment, in the end our consciousness might not die because we might have been conscious before we were even alive. It doesn’t worry me.
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?
No. I don’t think they are because atheists are still people who are looking for answers.
What’s the wonder of being alive?
Cells, DNA and replication.
If you could say something directly to a God and get a direct answer, what would it be?
What are you?