Tag Archive | "ISKCON"

You Call That Science?


51txcUm8IqL__SL500_AA246_PIkin2,BottomRight,-17,34_AA280_SH20_OU01_Do you notice that religion has two different positions when it comes to science? Some religions seem to incorporate science while some are too aggravated with science.

ISKCON and their guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Gosh! Another of those tongue twisting swami names) seem to be too irritated with science and everyone incorporated to it. According to him (it is written on his pamphlet, Life Comes From Life), “I am not a Ph.D., yet I can challenge scientists. Why? Because I know Krsna, the Absolute Truth” (p.20).

Also, this self-promoting guru said, “Darwin is a rascal. What is his theory? We kick out Darwin’s philosophy. The more we kick out Darwin’s philosophy, the more we advance in spiritual consciousness” (p 48).

Real science is in the Bhagavad-gita, where Krsna says, “This means that whatever one worships in this life will determine the type of body he gets in his next life” (p. 50). (Gosh you call that “science” Mr. Swami?)

For Srila Prabhupada, real scientific research should aim at stopping death. That is real science, and that is Krsna Consciousness…Now may I ask, if Srila Prabhupada is a master guru of Krsna Consciousness, did all his so-called “Krsna science” stop him from dying in 1977?

Let’s see… Srila Prabhupada is adamant that the Vedic literature is the source of all absolute truth, and everything written in the Bhagavad-gita has authority. Really? Absolute truth? Authority to what? A literature that segregates society into caste, which places certain people as the lowest part of the social order for no apparent reason. A manuscript that promotes sexism. A “holy” book that says, “It is the highest duty of a woman to immolate herself after her husband’s death.” This is what you call “absolute truth”? Let me stress this, religious truths can never be absolute. But I know one absolute truth and it’s not even a religious claim. It’s the multiplication table.

In the issue of morality, how can I trust the Bhagavad Gita? Addressing Arjuna’s qualms about killing his relatives arrayed on the enemy side, Krishna advises him to disregard traditional values and act without worrying about the results of his action.

Krishna says:
The wise men who reach true knowledge see with equal vision a Brahmin (a member of the highest caste), a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (Bhagavad Gita 5:18).

Those who think that they can kill or those that think they can be killed are confused in the manifestations of ignorance. The infinite, immortal soul can neither kill nor be killed. (Bhagavad Gita 2:19)

Then that means the act of killing is really not an immoral act as Arjuna is free to kill his relatives, considering them only temporary abiding forms for the eternal self, mere mortal frames.

So we can kill a person because the soul can’t be killed…you are only killing its physical form. Wow! With this kind of a mentality, we can now safely say that homicide is not against the law. Is this the same excuse used in the murder of James Immel (Jayatritha)?

Lord Krishna says that he saves those who worship him (12:6-7) and punishes those who are envious and mischievous (16:19).

This is certainly a contradiction of the law of Karma. Karma is an impersonal, natural law that operates in accordance with our actions. It is a law in itself and does not have any law-giver. Karma operates in its own field without the intervention of an external, independent, ruling agent.

Now this is a little bit strange since Srila Prabhupada believes in Karma. He said that people think they completely control their destinies, but they are always under nature’s law of karma yet he believes that everything is working under someone’s direction. Talk about a walking contradiction!

Speaking of karma, in Hinduism the so-called law of karma merely serves the purpose of decriminalizing the foul doctrine of varna-vyavastha by making the Shudras and the “untouchables” meekly accept their degrading position as a “result of their own deeds” in imaginary past lives, and by assuring them “better” birth in “next life” if they faithfully perform their varna-dharma in their present lives. In this way, this doctrine prevents them from revolting against this man-made undemocratic system, which has nothing to do with alleged past and future lives.

It is said that Krishna is impartial to all life forms. He says about himself: “I see all creatures equally disposed and I am not partial to anyone” (Bhagavad Gita 9:29).

Yet Krishna is in fact partial to Arjuna in the battlefield, by serving as his charioteer and military advisor! If God is impartial to all, and if He is absolutely unperturbed, why should He favor the man who clings to Him, and why, for his sake, overrule the world-order of events and in his favor suspend the law of Karma?

There is another inconsistency regarding the character of Krishna. In the Gita, Krishna is called the Supreme Lord of the Universe (5:29), eternal (4:6) and the source of all existence:
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from me (Bhagavad Gita 10:8).

And again:
At the end of an era (kalpa) all creatures disintegrate into my nature and at the beginning of another era I manifest them again. Such it is my nature (prakriti) to follow again and again the pattern of the Infinite manifestations and disintegrations (Bhagavad Gita 9:7-8).

That is to say, Krishna has to follow the pattern of the Infinite manifestations and disintegrations automatically, under the obligation of prakriti”. Yet Krishna is eternal and the source of all existence?
Let see another of Srila Prabhupada sally. According to him, “Krsna’s creation is good; God is good. What you think is bad is good for God. Therefore, we cannot understand Krsna. He is doing something that in our consideration must be bad, but for Him there is no such thing as good or bad. For example, Krsna married sixteen thousand wives. Some people may criticize, “Ah, he is so mad after women.” But they do not see the whole picture. Krsna’s power is so great that He expanded Himself into sixteen thousand different husbands.”

There goes ethics…right down the drain. What you think is bad is good for God….hmmmm. That doesn’t make any sense! If this guru or his followers will say that it doesn’t seem to make sense because I am blind or deaf on Srila Prabhupada’s teachings then so be it! I won’t align myself to this kind of mentality! Just look at that statement: What you think is bad is good for God. If God destroyed innocent infants does that make God feel good? If God killed helpless old folks does that make God good? Gosh! It seems Srila Prabhupada is promoting a monstrous tyrant, not a god!

And what’s this about Krishna marrying sixteen thousand women? What’s so great about that? That only proves Krishna has an insatiable desire for female flesh. And what supreme powers does this Krishna have? Srila Prabhupada proves Khrisna’s greatness and power by saying, He (Krishna) is served by hundreds and thousands of laksmis, or goddesses of fortune. (Brahma-samhita 5:29) That horny ****! And what kind of an explanation is that?

In Mahabharata Krishna adopts and advocates adoption of unfair means like lying and deception for achieving one’s ends. Obviously, he did not believe in the doctrine of purity of ends and means.

Buddha is better compared to Krishna when the former insisted that in the eyes of the law all persons ought to be treated as equal, irrespective of the caste or varna in which he or she is born.

The idea written in the Bhagavad Gita is so topsy-turvy, it’s too far to become a science.

Boy this swami is a real knock-out. But I wonder, if this swami is so dim-witted, then what makes its followers? I guess Einstein was right about the infinity of human stupidity.

Srila Hansadutta Swami’s challenge.

I don’t know if this swami is still alive or dead…but for the sake of entertainment, let us be amused on this so-called challenge that he and some badly informed cult fanatics say that defeated a so-called Sri-Lankan rationalist named Dr. Abraham Kovoor.

The challenge was this: Let him inject the appropriate chemicals into a dead body to bring it back to life. Or let him inject the appropriate chemicals into his body to check his own death and restore his old and worn-out body to its youthful luster and beauty.

If he finds this task too difficult, perhaps he could just produce a simple form of life, such us a mosquito or a bedbug. Better still, let him recombine the chemicals of a praying mantis he decapitated (as described in his article) and bring it back to life. Or is the science of Dr. Kovoor only a one-way road to the destruction of life?

The only thing that Srila Hansadutta Swami proved here is his ignorance to science, especially biology and bio-chemistry. He even called it “word-jugglery” and sure enough only imbeciles will accept his childish explanations.

According to him, “If life is generated by chance biological combinations as some scientists claim, can the scientist Kovoor, given the proper chemicals, make the chemicals come to life?” We must note that Srila Hansadutta’s guru Srila Prabhupada believes that consciousness is the source of life.

So you see what’s the problem here? It’s the definition of the word “life”. What is life anyway, and is consciousness really an attribute to determine life as what these cults believe? First let us define both terms: Life means the organic phenomenon that distinguishes living organisms from nonliving ones while consciousness means an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation.

So far so good…

Now based on both definitions can we conclude that consciousness is one of the attributes that distinguish living organisms from non-living organisms? Simple elementary biology stresses that what distinguishes living things from non-living things are these 4 attributes:
1. reproduction
2. movement
3. growth
4. metabolism

These 4 attributes are the best standard we can use. Now that doesn’t include consciousness, right? Why not?

That’s because not all living things in this planet have consciousness. Hey you can be unconscious yet you’re still alive right? But seriously, trees are living organisms, right? Yet they don’t run for cover when the lumberjack enters the forest.

Now here’s what Srila Hansadutta Swami or should I say Hans Kary claims: He believes that the spirit/soul is the reason why a living organism becomes “alive”. In his letter to Dr. Kovoor in September 6, 1977 he said, “The fact is that the soul is there, but in order to understand its existence we have to accept knowledge from the right person – Sri Krsna or his representative in disiplic succession, the spiritual master.”
That’s not science. Science is not about reliance to authority. Hans Kary’s statement is a religious belief, not scientific.

It’s not only science that doesn’t believe in these “silly souls”. Take a look at Buddhism for example. According to Buddhist teachings the soul is merely a conventional term that does not refer to any real, independent entity. The soul is merely a combination of physical and mental aggregates or forces: matter (rupakkhandha), sensation (vedanakkhandha), perception (sannakkhandha), mental formations (samkharakkhandha) and consciousness (viññanakkhandha). These forces are working together in a flux of momentary change; they are never the same for two consecutive moments. They are the component forces of the psycho-physical life.

These chemicals don’t have a soul…and neither do we. Yet the combination of all the actions of these chemicals contributes to form this attribute we identify as life.

In a biological stand, what is life anyway? We are all chemical stuff…and life is nothing but a complex chemical reaction from organic molecules. DNA is molecules, so is the mitochondria. Metabolism is chemical actions. All living things in this planet share the same chemical composition. The same chemical found in my body can also be found in a coconut tree. That really is not a very bad idea, DNA, amino acids and RNA are chemical compounds.

Kary’s challenge stressed that in order to prove this, a scientist must mix the chemicals and produce life. But why would Kary challenge the scientists? It’s not the scientists’ fault…it’s Nature, and Nature has a four-billion-year head start.

You don’t need a scientist to do that. Even an ordinary person can do that. Just have sex with a woman and see what you can create. Every sperm and egg cell in the human body is made up of chemical elements. Tell me what material here in this planet that is not made up of elements and compound? Ether? Gosh even your precious ether is made up of chemical elements. So now you know how chemicals create life. Here’s the fact: mind, consciousness, memory, and life cannot outlast the destruction of brain and body. This is the harsh truth, whether you like it or not.

Now why not let’s make the challenge more exciting…Let see if Krishna can create a simple egg. Can he? As you said in your challenge chickens are producing life, now can Krishna produce anything other than empty chants?

Here’s another one of Kary’s misconceptions: Does life emerge by chance?
Just like other ignorant cult-followers Kary doesn’t know that natural selection is not a game of chance.

Be careful with self-proclaimed gurus.

Now is a guru like Srila Prabhupada really scientific?

Let’s see:
• According to Srila Prabhupada, you must approach a person who is learned. You must find such a person, a guru and surrender to him. Then question him, and whatever answers you get from him you must accept. That is the process of understanding God. You must first find the guru; then you must satisfy him by serving and by surrendering unto him. (Life Comes From Life p.102)

• Becoming a member involves choosing a guru and becoming a disciple to him. This guru is so critical that it is said, “without [the Guru] the cultivation of Krishna consciousness is impossible. From the devotee’s side, initiation means that he accepts the guru as his spiritual master and agrees to worship him as God. (Ron Rhodes, The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions 2001, pg. 176)

• In his April 1967 New York lectures Srila Prabhupada remarked, “Although posing as great scholars, ascetics, householders, and swamis, the so-called followers of the Hindu religion are all useless, dried-up branches of the Vedic religion.” ISKCON, he believed, was the only true exponent of the Vedic faith today.

• “If an authority not only expects to be obeyed without
question, but either punishes or refuses to deal with those who
do not, that authority is authoritarian.” ( The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power p.15)

• “Gurus undercut reason as a path to understanding. When
they do allow discursive inquiry, they often place the highest
value on paradox. Paradox easily lends itself to mental manipulation.
No matter what position you take, you are always shown to be missing
the point; the point being that the guru knows something you do
not.” (The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power p.74)

Now does the “guru” lead a person towards more independent thinking, or does he make you completely dependent on him? Does a guru allow you to think or explore? Does this guru claim to be the “true initiate of the Masters” to whom revelations are given?

Real science doesn’t seek disciples and followers. It doesn’t claim absolutes. Science is about developing one-self and to understand the real world. It’s not about blind obedience. It is open to new ideas and it doesn’t judge what is right or what is wrong. It’s not about not eating food, nor shaving one’s head. Science is about discovery. As Carl Sagan has said, “Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fits the facts. It urges on us a delicate balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything—new ideas and established wisdom.” (The Demon Haunted World)

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Atheists are Rascals! (Part 3)


essential_hinduism_thumbIn this post I will be dealing with the ISKCON’s misinterpretation and smear on atheism from their article, “The History and Analysis of Atheism”.

1. The nature of atheism is degrading: its practice leads to bondage and suffering (duhkha) because of an attachment to matter, which degrades (entropy). Matter cannot be a source of anything higher – order, development, or life (which cannot appear by chance).

2. Happiness through atheism is impossible, as it is not in harmony with the nature of person, society, universe, and God (dharma).

The following statements have nothing to do with the nature of atheism. Atheism is about not believing in the existence of gods or a god. Slanderous remarks don’t answer the atheist’s questions concerning the existence of a supernatural deity.

Unlike the average Hare Krishna cult member, the atheist has a sense of `his relative importance’ in the great chain of Nature – and he doesn’t need to use drugs like LSD to feel it. Happiness can be achieved even if you don’t believe in a supernatural higher up. He is not ruled by guilt and suffering to enjoy his life. Well…suffering and sacrifice are really part of religious life.

3. Atheism is a belief system.
A belief system consists of a mandatory philosophical system. Atheism does not have a mandatory philosophical system. In a layman’s language, a mandatory philosophical system means a philosophy in which a person lives.

Well…I am an atheist but the atheist who sits next to me may have a different view regarding morality. Some believe in an objective morality (See Michael Martin and Sam Harris regarding objective morality) while other atheists believe in a relative morality. Some atheists are communists, while others are objectivists. Some atheist abhors religion while others do not. There is no definite connection on what atheists believe…except they do not believe that gods exists.

4. Offensive atheism” and “defensive atheism”
There is no such thing as “offensive” and “defensive” atheism.

5. By definition, atheism is the world-view that denies the existence of God. To be more specific, traditional atheism (or offensive atheism) positively affirms that there never was, is not now, and never will be a God in or beyond the world.

A worldview is a particular philosophy of life; a concept of the world held by an individual or a group. Since atheism is not a philosophy then we can say that atheism is not a world-view. It may be a part of a certain worldview but atheism per se doesn’t constitute the whole picture.

A worldview is also defined as the set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of reality that ground and influence one’s perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing. Atheism doesn’t constitute a set of beliefs but rather it is just non-belief.

6. The atheist cannot logically prove God’s nonexistence. And here’s why: to know that a transcendent God does not exist would require a perfect knowledge of all things (omniscience). To attain this knowledge would require simultaneous access to all parts of the world and beyond (omnipresence). Therefore, to be certain of the atheist’s claim one would have to possess godlike characteristics. Obviously, mankind’s limited nature precludes these special abilities. The offensive atheist’s dogmatic claim is therefore unjustifiable. As logician Mortimer Adler has pointed out, the atheist’s attempt to prove a universal negative is a self-defeating proposition.

The problem with this article is that it doesn’t have any idea what atheism is. Come on…to disbelieve something does not entail a person to be omniscient. In addition, in contrast to the article, we always prove negatives…we do it all the time. If I say that there are only bananas in my lunch box, I also prove that there are no apples in my lunch box. Remember, every positive statement implies negative statements.

There are two ways to prove the non-existence of something…like god or gods: i.) if it leads to a logical contradiction and ii.) by carefully seeing and looking.

Example: A mananaggal (vicera sucker) does not exist. Can I prove it? Sure, I can. We can prove it because of its impossibility. There are no known living thing that can fly by separating its lower torso and survive. Right? Moreover, we know that aerodynamically speaking, the body of a human being cannot fly using giant bat-wings.

Flying carpets do not exist because it is aerodynamically impossible.

Logically speaking, a perpetual motion machine cannot exist. There are no married bachelors and a four-sided triangle does not exist.

Negative existential proposition, a proposition that denies the existence of something, is impossible to be proven.

That is according to Alder as promoted by the ISKCON article. However, there are ways to do it…and I bet the author of the ISKCON article has not discovered it yet…

As suggested by Adler in his book Truth in Religion, “articles of faith” are propositions that cannot be proved but can be “disproved by the proof of propositions that are their logical contraries or contradictories. For example, the belief of the Mormons that Joseph Smith received the golden tablets from God is an “article of faith” since it cannot be proven.

However, as said by Adler, it can be disproved by a contradictory. According to the Judeo-Christian Bible, there is only one God. The same claim can also be seen from the Muslim camp. Well that means the Christian God and the Islamic God cannot exist simultaneously. Thus, both religions are making a positive existential claim and both are making an implicit negative claim that gods contrary to their god do not exist.

The “nail in the head” of Adler’s claim that negative existential propositions cannot be proven is the fact that the claim that “negative existential proposition cannot be proven” is itself a negative existential proposition!

This point can be forcefully emphasized by asking the atheist if he has ever visited the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The library presently contains over 70 million items (books, magazines, journals, etc.). Hundreds of thousands of these were written by scholars and specialists in the various academic fields. Then ask the following questions: “What percentage of the collective knowledge recorded in the volumes in this library would you say are within your own pool of knowledge and experience?” The atheist will likely respond, “I don’t know. I guess a fraction of one percent.” You can then ask: “Do you think it is logically possible that God may exist in the 99.9 percent that is outside your pool of knowledge and experience?” Even if the atheist refuses to admit the possibility, you have made your point and he knows it.

This is quite very easy. The atheist could also simply ask the Hare Krishna cult member, “Do you think it is logically possible that God may not exist in the 99.9 percent that is outside your pool of knowledge and experience?”

If the theist is going to claim that all propositions having any kind of deductive relationship to “god exists” are outside of what we know, then that is his burden of proof to show he is right.

7. Many atheists consider the problem of evil an airtight proof that God does not exist. They often say something like: “I know there is no God because if He exists, He never would have allowed all those atrocities in history to happen.”

A good approach to an argument like this is to say something to this effect: “Since you brought up this issue, the burden lies on you to prove that evil actually exists in the world. So let me ask you: by what criteria do you judge some things to be evil and other things not to be evil?

The best way here is to define evil. What is evil? In a simple layman’s term, evil is that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune. Evil is morally objectionable behavior… Oh I forgot, ISKCON doesn’t believe in morality… (“But, in the highest sense, there can be neither good nor evil” – Bhagavad-Gita, 140).

To deny the existence of evil or to claim that evil is an illusion does not make the problem of evil go away. An illusion of evil is still evil, therefore, if there is an illusion of evil, there is evil.

Remember that one can only know that all is an illusion against the backdrop of reality. Example, a mirage can be considered an illusion based on the effect of hot air in atmospheric refraction. The hot air in the atmospheric refraction is real. So if evil is an illusion then where did the illusion originate? How did the illusion originate, and how is it passed down to successive generations? Why does everyone experience it from his or her first moment of consciousness? Pain or evil is part of the human experience and is encountered by all. What happened in Hurracane Katrina, on 9/11 and on the tsunami that killed thousand in South Asia are not illusions.

A simple torment of a toothache is not imaginary. The experience is real and the damage (cavities) is present. These are not subjective hallucinations. Dentists do not extract figments of the imagination.

Then point out to him that it is impossible to distinguish evil from good unless one has an infinite reference point which is absolutely good.

The infinite reference point for distinguishing good from evil can only be found in the person of God, for God alone can exhaust the definition of “absolutely good.” If God does not exist, then there are no moral absolutes by which one can judge something (or someone) as being evil. More specifically, if God does not exist, there is no ultimate basis to judge the crimes. Seen in this light, the reality of evil actually requires the existence of God, rather than disproving it.

Secular ethics does not require god belief. The problem here lies that the article’s “infinite reference point” is a god who is said to be “an absolute”. In atheism, there is no need for an “infinite reference point” to distinguish good and evil. Good and bad actions are objectively based on the biological nature of human beings and are definable in absolute terms. Those objective standards are independent of any opinions or creeds.

It’s really this simple: Without living beings with needs, there can be no good or evil. Without the presence of more than one such living being, there can be no rules of conduct. Morality, then, emerges from humanity precisely because it exists to serve humanity.

Therefore, any chosen action that purposely benefits the human organism or society is morally good and any chosen action that purposely harms the human organism and society is morally bad.

8. Many sophisticated atheists today are fully aware of the philosophical pitfalls connected to offensive or dogmatic atheism. Prominent atheists such as Gordon Stein and Carl Sagan have admitted that God’s existence cannot be disproved. This has led such atheists to advocate skeptical “defensive atheism”. Defensive atheism asserts that while God’s existence cannot be logically or empirically disproved, it is nevertheless unproven. Atheists of this variety have actually redefined atheism to mean “an absence of belief in God” rather than “a denial of God’s existence”. For this more moderate type of atheism, the concept of “God” is like that of a unicorn, leprechaun, or elf. While they cannot be disproved, they remain unproven. Defensive atheism’s unbelief is grounded in the rejection of the proofs for God’s existence, and/or the belief that the concept of God lacks logical consistency.

Atheists can logically disprove the existence of a god. One known method is called The Argument of Incoherence (AKA Incompatible Properties Argument). The argument attempts to derive contradictions in the concept of God.

How about empirically disprove the existence of god? The argument from Physical Minds is a nice argument on the impossibility of a disembodied mind without the association of a material brain.

According to Gordon Stein, “Obviously, if theism is a belief in a God and atheism is a lack of a belief in a God, no third position or middle ground is possible. A person can either believe or not believe in a God.” (Gordon Stein, “The Meaning of Atheism and Agnosticism,” in G. Stein, editor, An anthology of atheism and rationalism, with introduction (Prometheus Books: Buffalo NY 1980).

Now here’s a quote on what Carl Sagan thinks about God, “The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.”

So when did Dr. Sagan and Gordon Stein say that god’s existence couldn’t be disproved? I don’t know…maybe it was an illusion of the ISCKON article.

Oh and by the way, atheists don’t re-invent the meaning of the word atheism as this ISCKON article allege. Atheism is not a denial of the theist’s claims; it’s skepticism of the theist’s claim.

9. Atheism cannot adequately explain the existence of the world.

Neither do theists.

10. An atheistic world is ultimately random, disorderly, transitive, and volatile. It is therefore incapable of providing the necessary preconditions to account for the laws of science, the universal laws of logic, and the human need for absolute moral standards. In short, it cannot account for the meaningful realities we encounter in life.
The theistic world-view, however, can explain these transcendental aspects of life. The uniformity of nature stems from God’s orderly design of the universe. The laws of logic are a reflection of the way God Himself thinks, and would have us to think as well.

A so-called transcendental aspect of life is an illusion. Supernatural and spiritual explanations only act as a temporary break from inquiries that enter the human mind. Speculations regarding transcendental aspects are empty. There are really no answers to something that is claimed to be beyond natural.

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Atheists are Rascals! (Part 2)


krishna_and_radha_iskconNow we’re going to talk about those claims presented by the article “History and Analysis of Atheism” on the existence of a god.

According to the said article, the Nyaya (logic) Vedic philosophical system offers three proofs of the existence of God. They are the following:

1. Existence of order in nature and man (teleological argument)

2. Existence of different conditions for different living beings (different karma of individuals must come from higher intelligence)

3. Existence of revealed scriptures, which speak about the same topics and one God

Ok…so now let’s take this one at a time. First the article says that the existence of order in nature and man is a some sort of a teleological argument. It establishes intelligent design but it is not clear how many beings were involved in creating the order and if they were supreme or not.

OK…OK so according to this we really do not have any idea in the numbers of beings or if the beings that created everything were supreme or not. But may I add, if we can’t be sure what kind of beings are involved, then how can we be sure if a god or gods were responsible in the first place?

How can you refute atheism with this?
It seems statement #1 falls short in proving the existence of a god.

In addition, as discovered by modern physics, our universe neither is fine-tuned nor is it designed for human life. Yes, we know that the universe seems to have certain order as the ISKCON article asserts, but we should also keep in mind that there are a lot of disorder and chaos in the universe. The empty vastness of this universe for humans to explore speaks against the ISKCON claim.

Second, ISKCON uses the Law of Karma and reincarnation as proof of God’s existence. It implies that the existence of different conditions for different living beings because of the karmic law is a proof that there is a higher intelligence somewhere out there.

So what is Karma?

Etymologically speaking, the word “karma” is based on the Sanskrit verbal root kr, meaning “act, do, bring about,” the idea being that one makes something by doing something; one creates by acting. According to this doctrine, every human being gets the fruits of his actions either in the present or in some future life. Whatever a human being is in his present life is the result of his own actions in the past life or lives. Buddhism and Jainism also use this doctrine yet as we already know, both religions don’t worship a personal god.

So does the Law of Karma prove the existence of a god? It doesn’t. Before ISKCON can utilize statement number two as a valid proof of the existence of a god, they must first prove the existence of the following: immortal soul, afterlife and past lives.

As Carvaka has already stated, the law of karma merely serves the rationale of legitimizing the unjust varna-vyavastha by making the Shudras and the “untouchables” submissively acknowledge their degrading position as a “result of their own deeds” in imaginary past lives, and by assuring them “better” birth in “next life” if they faithfully perform their varna-dharma in their present lives.

How about reincarnation?

According to most Hindus, Hinduism fulfills the following conditions and so is perfectly in harmony with modern science:
1. It must accept all proven scientific facts as true.
2. It must reject any view which is contradicted by science.
3. Its beliefs must be based on observation, logic and experience.
( Ref. Hinduism for Beginners, Srirama Ramanuja Achari p. 5 )

Unless of course ISKCON is not Hinduism, then they must also be in the same principle. Now…let’s see if reincarnation is true then it must be logical, coherent and it must not contradict science, observation and experience. Yet:

a. If reincarnation is correct, society should be improving. After all, we have had hundreds, even thousands, of chances to improve our past lives, then we should already have improved it and then there should be some evidence of it.

b. If sufferings in this life are the result of evils done in a previous life, then there would have to be an infinite regress of previous lives. However, an infinite regress in time is not possible since absolute infinites do not exist.

c. Reincarnation depends on the premise that an individual had a highly developed sense of self-consciousness before birth, to receive and store information for later recall. It is a scientific fact that this ability does not develop until one is about eighteen months of age.

d. How about human population? If everyone alive today once inhabited a previous human body, how can the population, let’s say of India, be explained? Today India has a population of 1,129,866,000. So where have all those souls come from?

Now, we’re going to talk about revealed scriptures.
I was wondering why ISKCON thinks that all religious scriptures speak about the same topics and one God.

Anyway…

According to the article, the scriptures say that the existence of God can be inferred neither from sense perception (pratyaksa) nor from logic (anumana) but it can be understood from the revealed scriptures (sabda): “Supreme Truth is neither established nor refuted by logical argument.” (Vedanta-sutra 2.1.11 paraphrased).

Let’s see…according to this premise, “Supreme Truth is neither established nor refuted by logical argument.” So the premise is neither true nor false (which makes it a logical statement). SO? Then by reason and logic, we already know that “Supreme Truth is neither established nor refuted by logical argument”. Did you get it?

The above statement from the Vedanta-sutra 2.1.11 is self-defeating. Logic and reason surely lead to an inescapable conclusion. If the so-called “Supreme Truth” is not established by logic or logical arguments then it becomes balderdash. There is no ounce of truth in a child’s singsong.

Now on the claim on scriptures, does the Gita (Bhagavad-Gita) talk about the same God of the Christian Bible? Well the answer is really a big NO. In the first place, the Hindu god in the Gita is very much different from the Christian God. The Christian God is a personal type, not the same pantheistic, monist gods of the Hindu. In a more detailed sense, Krishna is a god who is both personal and impersonal, and can also manifest as an invisible form of energy (spirit, soul, etc.), as well as in the physical through idols, animals, and humans. The God of the Bible, on the other hand, is always distinct from His creation. The God of the Bible is One God, manifested three ways (as in three persons, The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit) while Krishna is the supreme personality behind the Hindu Triad of Brahma, Visnu, and Shiva, a triad of different gods.

ISKCON believes “We are not our bodies, but eternal spirit souls, parts and parcels of God.”
I think this was also in their scripture. However, Christian scripture is quite different. Christians know that they are created in the “image of God”. They are not part of God’s essence, rather, God is the Creator, and they are his creatures.

According to Hindu myth, Krishna is the 8th incarnation of Vishnu, but Jesus Christ is the only incarnation of God according to the Christian scripture.

The Christian God is not an incarnation of Krishna or Krishna’s son. The Christian Bible doesn’t teach an illusionary world or an illusionary evil. It doesn’t teach salvation through yoga. The Krishna devotee is taught that he can escape the age of Kali (present age) by transcending with his chanting, and thinking only of Krishna while Christians are taught that in order to be saved one must have faith and believe.

So you see in claim number 3 that it seems the God of the Bible and the God of ISKON are two different gods. It only gives us more problems than proofs of the existence of one God.

Theodicy (or “process theology”): theo – God, dike – (Greek) righteous God is either not all-good or not all-powerful because He is unable to stop the evil – Himself subjected to natural laws. Universe is uncreated…ekkkkkk! Wrong answer.

Before going further let me correct some terms in that ISKCON article. Theodicy is not the same as “process theology”. (Gosh, what kind of a dictionary did the author of this ISKCON article use?)

Process Theology is an idea that says God evolves. It is any theology strongly influenced by the theistic metaphysics of Whitehead or Hartshorne that takes process or change as basic characteristics of all actual beings, including God. Theodicy (from Greek theos, ‘God’, and dike, ‘justice’) on the other hand is the a defense of the justice or goodness of God in the face of doubts or objections arising from the phenomena of evil in the world.

There is no variety of atheism that is called anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism means the representation of objects (especially a god) as having human form or traits. This is more conveniently used by believers than non-believers.

According to Finis Dake (you know the Dake’s Bible?)…Anthropomorphism is the ascription of human body parts, attributes, and passion to God. Furthermore it said, “God is a being (Hebrews 1:1-3). It is wrong to think that God has no body parts or passion like human beings. And it is a fallacy to think that God is a universal mind, conscience, love, goodness and power filling all space and matter.” (p. 280 Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible)

That’s not atheism.

I think ISKCON has a problem with other theists and not with atheists.

Xenophanes of Colophon, the pre-Socratic philosopher, wrote: “But if oxen and horses and lions had hands or could draw with hands and create works of art like those made by men, horses would draw pictures of gods like horses, and oxen of gods like oxen, and they would make the bodies of their gods in accordance with the form that each species itself possesses.” – The statement was addressed to believers and it is not about atheism. Xenophanes criticized the Homerian concept of anthropomorphic gods. Homer’s gods, He complained, had all the immoral and disgraceful traits of flawed human beings and should hardly be the object of veneration. Xenophanes held some vague concept of a single deity that was ‘in no way like men in shape or in thought’ but rather ‘causing all things by the thought of his mind’. Therefore, he is not an atheist.

Xenophanes’ argument does not disprove the existence of gods. It only disproves anthropomorphism. Now if believers tend to reason out that individual perception is the cause of why people tend to worship different gods…then god belief is relative. Mountains painted by different artists still contain their basic nature (being a mountain). The problem of using this apology is that when people perceive a god…well one god may be very different from what others are worshiping (example: the Islamic god is quite different from the Christian triune god.).

So if you can’t beat an atheist, then what will you have to do?

Well…they can always say that you (the atheist) have no business sticking your nose in my theistic belief!

According to the ISKCON article, “If, say, in the field of biology, one affirms or denies the claim of a biologist, then one thereby claims to have a knowledge of biology. Similarly, to affirm or deny the claim of a historian is to claim knowledge of history, and one’s own right, thereby, to evaluate historical assertions. Exactly in the same way, TO AFFIRM OR DENY RELIGIOUS CLAIMS IS TO CLAIM FOR ONESELF A KNOWLEDGE OF RELIGIOUS MATTERS.”

Whoa!

Remember that an atheist is a non-believer. Therefore, that means the atheist does not claim any knowledge. It’s the believer’s job to claim knowledge. An atheist just doesn’t believe what this knowledgeable theist is talking about!

The problem arises when this so-called knowledgeable believer is talking about claptraps and is trying very hard to convince other people to join his band. That’s where religious skepticism comes in.

Hey! I’m not an economics major. But it’s my right to know what’s happening with my nation’s money. I didn’t take medicine, but I still look for second opinion from other doctors and I might even know if you’re a quack or not! I never studied pharmacy yet I can still know if these food supplements work or not. That is also the same with religious claims. I have the right to affirm or deny ISKCON claims by doing research…And you don’t need to have a degree in theology for that. You see…you do not study 4 years of theology class before entering a church. The doors of these churches are always open for new recruits. That is also the same with cults.

By the way, if the statement of ISKCON is true, well…they have to become a Buddhist to AFFIRM or DENY Buddha’s teaching about being without a soul. They have to become a follower of Carvaka to AFFIRM OR DENY its teachings AND they have to become atheists first to AFFIRM OR DENY the proposition that god does not exist.

Remember…according to them, your salvation depends on this.

In part 3, I will be dealing on more ISKCON’s misunderstandings and smears about atheism.

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