By Ajit Krishna Dasa
According to most atheists there is no evidence to support the idea that something spiritual or divine exists. They claim that matter is all we can observe, and that theists are irrational and naive victims of their own wishful thinking. Since there is no proof of spirit, they claim, we should all be materialists.
But the atheists are wrong, and here is why:
On atheism we cannot account for the existence of an external world outside of our consciousness (the well known Problem of the External World). A proof of the existence of matter, therefore, does not exist.
On the other hand we cannot deny the existence of consciousness. That would be self-refuting, since it takes consciousness to deny consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is, on atheism, the only thing we know exists.
Some atheists try to circumvent this argument by presenting a counterargument along these lines:
“Since it is not proven that consciousness is spiritual, or non-material. It might be made of matter. If that is the case, and if the external world does not exist, but only consciousness, then everything is still matter, as we say.”
However, the point remains: on atheism we simply cannot account for matter. We cannot know if what we perceive as an external world is made of matter or spirit; it might be one or the other. Atheism, therefore, still cannot prove or account for the existence of matter.
But atheists cannot deny the existence of consciousness. If atheists choose to believe in the existence of matter, and not in the existence of spirit, then their choice is arbitrary, a matter of wishful thinking, not rationality. They simply reveal their own unsupported presuppositions.
All this basically means that Materialism/Naturalism is a bankrupt, self-refuting philosophy.
Theism Can Prove the Existence of Matter
On theism we can account for both the existence of spirit and matter. Such a theistic proof is ultimately based on knowledge from a perfect source, God. As theists we have a revelational epistemology. The Almighty and All-knowing God makes it known through the Vedic scriptures that both spirit and matter exist, and that we have the epistemic tools to experience both, distinguish them from each other, and know their relationship.