Once we start reflecting on some of the basic, in some sense childish, yet very fundamental questions such as Why do we exist, What is our purpose of life, What happens after we die – we would notice that there are 2 distinct schools of thoughts that attempt to provide possible answers to these questions. One of them is the Atheistic School of thought that doesn’t believe in a creator while the other camp is the Theistic group that does believe in a creator.
We all must be either believing a theistic or an atheistic world-view or may be undecided. However, since these are critical questions for spiritual evolution – we must ask them and must also seek answers.
Whatever school of thought we align with would not just impact our way of thinking, our way of living but would also decide what impact do we have on the rest of the world.
Prior to agreeing & aligning with the Vedic life-philosophy, I have traversed between both these camps to find logical, satisfactory answers to my questions. Typically, there are select arguments around which both schools debate. I have summarised in brief those arguments and my take on that for your perusal. These arguments are made from a Vedic perspective as I have limited knowledge about other theistic cultures.
1.) Atheism (Science) Vs. Theism (Faith): During my inquisitions, I found that the Atheists typically pit their ideology & philosophy against that of Theistic school as a case of Science (Atheism) Vs. Faith (Theism). While in my naivety, I initially found it to be an appropriate positioning and comparison but as I read more about the Vedic philosophy and principles I found this to be an absurd and misleading argument. I found especially the public debates of John Lennox against leading atheists such as Dawkins, Hitchens around this topic to be very incisive.
Its evident that there are scientists on both sides of the debate – there are scientists, noble laureates who believe in God and there are scientists who do not believe in God. So how can one side claim to be more scientific than the other?
This is clearly a case of 2 competing and conflicting worldview rather than a case of science against theism. There are many gaps even in Darwin’s theory of evolution that basing a worldview on a not so grounded theory is as much a matter of blind faith as some of the regressive religious superstitions practiced in the name of religion.
2.) Intelligent Design: The Atheists vehemently deny the argument of Intelligent Design, a principle which states that there is coherence, structure and an apparent design in our universe and our living ecosystem and that this intelligent design marks the presence of a designer, a creator and a law-maker.
Now if there is no design, structure and if this entire cosmic manifestation is just a mere coincidence, as the atheists say, then what is the logic behind our scientific pursuit to discover laws that govern the working of our cosmos – micro & macro.
Why would we expect any kind of laws, principles if it is all just a random arrangement where life just happened from matter. Thus the atheistic logic of refuting intelligent design negates itself.
In a parallel argument, if the atheistic brain that produces all these arguments against presence of a God is just a bio-chemical lump that just operates, without any governing framework, design then what weight does the arguments of such a randomly operating machine carry. The atheists find it difficult to address these basic premises.
3.) Humanitarian Grounds: Since the wave of new atheism originated in west, most of the atheists cite the atrocities committed by Church in the name of religion. While those are undeniable facts and the Church has also undergone significant transformation since then – it is difficult to draw similar parallels with Varna-Ashrama Dharma where no mass forceful conversions were carried out or progress of science and education was hindered in the name of religion.
However, parallels are easy to draw with atheistic communists such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot who ruthlessly and without remorse killed millions of people in the very recent past. It is only likely that had these communists believed in the cycle of Karma, presence of an all-seeing God they would have thought twice about their conduct and most likely not gone ahead with their evil plans.
4.) Social & Emotional Stability: To ensure social stability, the society & its members need to guide & govern themselves with ethical & moral principle to avoid suppression and ensure fair treatment to all. However, as the Atheist ideology suggest, if a human being is just a bio-chemical lump governed by our genes and evolutionary process has primed it only for a ruthless & selfish task of survival, then, how can we expect any notion of compassion, empathy towards fellow humans and especially for those who are in a situation of disadvantage. In a society of scarce resources, its more likely that a selfish gene would compel us to eliminate others to ensure its own sustenance.
Chemicals don’t possess & express emotions. Such an ecosystem without a conscience is bound to collapse, disintegrate.
On a more individual level, a lack of purpose definitely is far much more unsettling. Atheistic philosophy is nihilistic in nature. Its stress upon the human being nothing more than a unique collation of dead matter doesn’t give us any reason to continue facing challenging circumstances to survive.
Atheistic worldview miserably fails to answer the questions that while Survival is the driving instinct but why is survival important? If we are just matter, why is it better to be in this human form than a rock?
In my case, the utter failure of atheists to give satisfactory answers to some of these aspects has led me to favour a more scientific, balanced, wholesome Vedic worldview than an incomplete, annihilistic, atheistic worldview. Rather, I have found many famous atheists such as Dawkins to be high on rhetorics and insinuatory remarks than scientific and rational arguments. While claiming to be a scientist, he seems to be completely against allowing any space for exploration & deliberation of another(theistic) worldview which i believe is totally against what the philosophy of science is. That further highlights the flimsy ethical or moral high ground that many of these atheists take.
I would urge you to think and choose your worldview wisely for it has potential to shape up your future life and that of our world.