Most religions believe that it's possible for a perfect human being to walk the Earth who is intimately connected with divinity, if not identical with it. (Almost always they're male, so this is why I said God man in the title to this post.)
As noted in a previous post, there are numerous candidates for this supremely elevated GIHF (god in human form) position.
As some Vedanta folks point out, there are quite a few historical contenders for a GIHF appellation. Jesus, Buddha, Rama, Krishna, Moses, Muhammad, Chaitanya, Ramakrishna are cited, though some of these names are questionable candidates. (Buddha didn't teach there was a God, and I don't think many Christians recognize Moses as God in human form.)
Problem is, there's no evidence that a perfect living master, which is how guru-based faiths often refer to a God man, has ever existed.
So just as it is reasonable to say "There's no one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater" (remembering this song shows how old I am), it's also reasonable to say "There's no perfect living master or God man."
If anyone disagrees with me, state your reasons in a comment.
Just make them convincing. You're going to need to define "perfect" and "god" for starters, so we can compare the attributes of a GIHF candidate with the characteristics of a supposed ultimate divinity.
As noted in "God-man or Asshole? The guru conundrum," true believers often try to wriggle out of the lack of evidence for human perfection by claiming that imperfection is a sign of it.
Meaning, if God was obviously manifest in a person, everyone would accept his (or her) divinity instantly, no faith or effort required. Since God doesn't want things to be this easy for humanity -- don't ask why -- perfect living masters/God men keep themselves hidden.
Well, it could also be argued that so do one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eaters. Along with fairies, leprechauns, goblins, and angels. And anything else that the human mind can imagine, but doesn't exist in reality.
Ah, another term that needs defining: reality.
It's often said that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Most people, including me, would agree. I've learned to always say "Oh, so cute!" when someone shows me a baby (or puppy) photo.
That may not be my honest reaction, but I understand that to a new parent or dog owner their precious little bundle of wonderfulness is unalloyed perfection -- at least until the kid starts saying "No!" or the puppy chews up the couch.
So I also understand that devotees of a supposed God man, living or dead, view him as ideal in much (or exactly) the same way a lover says to his beloved, "Honey, you're so perfect for me!"
But this is much different from saying that someone is more than human, possessing transcendent divine qualities that, for one reason or another, aren't obvious.
I keep returning to it for several reasons.
One is that a belief in someone's divine perfection forms the foundation of rigid religious dogmatism. The Bible, Koran, Adi Granth, or other holy writing can't be challenged because its human source supposedly was error-free.
Another is more personal: for over thirty years I diligently adhered to meditative and other practices enjoined by a "perfect living master," Charan Singh. He set himself forth as possessing extraordinary capabilities, including but not limited to...
-- Existing in various ethereal forms (astral, causal, spiritual) in addition to the physical
-- Placing his "radiant form" within the psyche of each disciple at the time of initiation
-- Being able to know what was happening in the lives of disciples, and even changing their destiny (karma) at times
-- Guiding the disciple through higher regions of reality and communicating with him or her throughout the process
There are many other purported God men who make, or have made, other sorts of claims (see here, here, and here). These are mostly examples from the "Eastern" side of religion and mysticism; the "Western" side has its own GIHF candidates.
If reality has any meaning beyond the utterly subjective ("truth is in the eye of the beholder"), some or all of these guys aren't who they claim to be: God.
I've come to the conclusion that all is the word of choice in the preceding sentence. Again, if someone likes some, argue your case. Explain how it's possible to tell the difference between a "perfect" and "imperfect" master.
And answer a more basic question: What is the demonstrable evidence that any human has achieved perfection or godliness?