How to Talk to Atheists: (Part 2: Positions in Relation to the Existence of God)

Written by Ajit Krishna Dasa

Positions in Relation to the Existence of God

In How to Talk to Atheists Part 1 I made the argument that we as devotees have to avoid using the definitions of atheism given by atheists, and other non-believers of Vedic theism, and instead go with the definitions given by our revealed Vedic scriptures. Here in Part 2 I will shed some light on the respective positions that are possible to hold in regard to the questions of God’s existence.

Before we get into each individual position, please note:

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How to Talk to Atheists (Part 1: Do Atheists Exist?)

Written by Ajit Krishna Dasa

How do we, as devotees of Krishna, figure out what an atheist – and what atheism – really is? 

-Do we search the internet? 

-Do we arm wrestle about it? 

-Do we just think really hard about it? 

-Do we consult a dictionary? 

-Do we ask an atheist? 

-Do we make an online survey? 

No, of course not. As devotees we look to sastra for an answer. Interestingly enough sastra says that there are no atheists! 

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Atheism Cannot Account for the Concept of Truth

Both the existence of truth itself and the existence of the concept of truth (i.e. the idea in our mind that statements and beliefs can express propositions that correspond to reality) cannot be accounted for in the absence of God.

Why is that?

Truth and the concept of truth are axiomatic

First we should understand that we cannot determine if it is at all possible for propositions to correspond to reality unless we already are in possession of a concept of truth by which to judge this. Said in another way, we cannot determine if truth exists unless we already pressuppose the truth of both truth itself and the existence of a concept of truth within our own mind. Truth, and the concept of truth are thus axiomatic. They cannot be denied, since in order to deny them we have to first presuppose them.

The interesting question becomes: Which worldview can account for the existence of truth and the concept of truth within our mind?

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Atheism, Theism and the Burden of Proof

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

When debating the existence of God atheists often claim that they do not have to lift a burden of proof. They argue that since atheism is nothing but the absence of belief in God it does not make any positive claims about the non-existence of God, and thus atheists have nothing to substantiate or justify when debating the existence of God.

Let us examine their claim carefully:

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Why should I think I need to know if God exists?

Q: “Why should I think that I need to know if God exists?”

All humans are scared of ignorance. Why? Because ignorance might propel us into a condition of suffering. Thus, to counteract suffering all humans seek the opposite of ignorance, namely knowledge.

To claim non-interest in the question of God’s existence is either a result of self-delusion, asininity, or both. Theism and atheism are each others antithesis, so if an atheist or a theist comes to know that his or her ideas about God’s existence are false, then he or she will also know that whatever he or she thought about what is true, good, and moral, is necessarily false. He or she will thus have to radically change strategy to avoid present and future suffering.

The question “What if God exists?” is therefore unavoidable, and until we gain a proper answer to this question we will have to suffer being scared of the consequences of our actions. All intelligent persons are therefore necessarily interested in God’s existence. We cannot hide from this question.

The Non-Existence of Atheism

Atheism is non-existent because it is self-contradictory, the reason being that God and theism must first be accepted in order to argue in favor of atheism. 

How is that? 

The reason is that atheism cannot account for the universally existent and necessary preconditions of human cognition and intelligibility on which itself and all other wordviews are built. Now, what are these preconditions? Here follows a list of some of the most important ones:

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Is God a Psychological Crutch?

By Ajit Krishna Dasa

Atheists commonly argue against the existence of God by claiming that theists only believe in God due to psychological reasons. For example, Sigmund Freud, founder of the psychoanalytical school of psychiatry, claimed that religious belief is an obsessional neurosis, that God is nothing more than a psychological crutch, an illusion, a form of wishful thinking caused by human weakness.
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