An intellectually superior position
From the Arguing Atheist feedback form:
If someone came and told you that everything you ever held dear, everything you believed in, everything you thought you knew, all your values, all you hopes and aspirations, all your love for wife. kids, family, friends, and society, in fact, the entire foundation of your life – it is all wrong, it is all an illusion – you’d probably think that that someone was on drugs or belonged in a mental institution.
In this modern day and age of relativism and liberalism, it is prohibited to know the Absolute Truth. You are allowed to know with certainty such things as science and technology, but if you claim that you have ascertained the original, genuine knowledge of religion from God Himself, if you profess to know God and the real meaning of life, you are immediately dismissed as a deranged fanatic.
All religions claim the same thing, comes the invariable the response.
Lets examine this typical response of modern man. You see, it is actually quite foolish. First it is asserted, that everyone says so. Then the fact that everyone says so, is used to negate what is being said.
If everyone says the same thing, the logical thing to assume is that there must be something to it. Not that everyone says the same thing, so therefore it must be false. How does that make sense? Where is the logic? In fact, you would expect all religions to say basically the same things, because all religions are different cultural expressions of the same Absolute Truth. Surely, the details may vary, but if all religions are different culturally conditioned expressions of the same truth, you’d expect that they would mention the same basic principles.
And that’s what the Vedic version teaches us – that all religions are derived from the original religion from God Himself. If this is indeed so, it stands to reason that it can be investigated and verified. If it is a fact, it must be discernable. Otherwise it is just some belief. Some speculation. And that is how all religion is judged in modern society – some fancy speculations and beliefs.
Then again, if there IS a supreme entity, that which is known as God – if there is such an entity, it is a perfectly logical to assume, that God has given a process by which He can be known. But in the climate of the modern Coca-cola culture, that at present rules the world, it is very unpopular to claim that you know the original explanation from the Supreme Himself. How can you make such an outrageous claim comes the response… nobody knows the Absolute Truth. It cannot be known.
So where does this strange idea come from? It comes from people, of course. It is something the majority of the population is brought up to believe in. But it makes absolutely no sense. If there is an Absolute Truth, if there is a God, if there is an ultimate purpose to life, of course it can be known for certain. Why? Because God, being the almighty, omnipresent, all-knowing Supreme, surely He can verify Himself beyond doubt.
And if there is no God, if everything is indeed relative and material, then it cannot be verified. By definition, you can’t prove a negative. That’s the funny thing about life – if God exists, it can be known for sure, but if God does not exist, it will forever remain a mystery. You can never know for sure that God does not exist. That’s an irrevocable fact. It is not something that is up for discussion and difference of opinions. It is simply a fact – if God exists, it can be known, because then God can verify His own existence. And if He does not exist, then it cannot be known. It will remain a belief.
Note how the propaganda machine tells us the exact opposite. It calls religious people believers, and atheists are called unbelievers. How misleading is that? As an atheist you are forced to believe in something that can never be verified. But as a theist you believe in something that, at least theoretically, can be verified.
Thus it can be concluded that it is a an intellectually superior position to believe in God, rather than the opposite. The first assumption, that there is a God, has a chance of verification, whereas the second, that there is no God, will forever remain a doubt.
But if you point out these things, even though they are indisputable facts, you are met with a wall of resistance – no, no, nobody knows the truth. God is merely a fairy tale. To believe in God is no more different than believing in, say, tooth fairies and Santa Claus. That’s what we are told.
What we can learn from this, is that society is not ruled by benevolent forces. What kind of society will educate it’s population in something that is so obviously false?
So if you know the truth and you want to inform people about it, you are up against a massive wall of resistance.
Your message is well written and interesting, but unfortunately I think that it fails on many points.
You say that, “if you claim that you have ascertained the original, genuine knowledge of religion from God Himself, if you profess to know God and the real meaning of life, you are immediately dismissed as a deranged fanatic.” From my perspective, I’d say that depends on what you are claiming. If you are claiming, for example, that God has ordered you to kill your child (but that we shouldn’t worry because God will stop you before you do it), then I will indeed suspect that you are a deranged fanatic. If you claim is just that you “know in your heart” that God exists, then I’d say you at best have proof of God’s existence that is not compelling to anyone but you, not that you are necessarily “deranged.”
As an aside, would you yourself not assume that someone who claims to have personal knowledge of universal truth is wrong if that personal knowledge conflicted with your own personal knowledge? How would you decide which of you was correct?
You go on to say, “All religions claim the same thing, comes the invariable the response.” That’s not an invariable response. It wouldn’t be my response. There are all sorts of religions, and many of them are mutually exclusive. I think that most people who think all religions are the same are either fooling themselves or not defining their terms well (unless their point is that all religions are equally wrong, but they never seem to be making this point).
Because I disagree with your invariable statement, the next portion of your argument doesn’t follow for me.
You say that if God exists, “it is a perfectly logical to assume, that God has given a process by which He can be known.” No. It is logical to conclude that God could make Himself known, but God is not logically required to provide a process through which His existence can be verified. For example, an undiscoverable Deist God is not a logical impossibility.
You state that God could verify Himself beyond doubt. I agree with this statement. If God exists, He could eliminate all doubt about his existence from my mind.
You say that by definition you can’t prove a negative. This is incorrect. For example, it can be proven that the final digit of pi doesn’t exist. It can also be proven that things that are logically impossible (such as objects that are not identical to themselves) don’t exist. You are correct that it cannot be proven that no deities exist, but it can be shown that some Gods don’t exist because they are logically impossible.
You say, “It is simply a fact – if God exists, it can be known, because then God can verify His own existence.” That’s not “simply a fact.” God could choose not to verify His existence, in which case His existence would be impossible to verify.
You say that an atheist is forced to believe in something that can never be verified. This is true only for atheists who claim to know with absolute certainty that God does not exist. However, there are a great many atheists who don’t go to this extreme. We simply say that there is no compelling reason to believe that God exists. This statement avoids every problem you mention.
You conclude your argument saying, “Thus it can be concluded that it is a an intellectually superior position to believe in God, rather than the opposite. The first assumption, that there is a God, has a chance of verification, whereas the second, that there is no God, will forever remain a doubt” In that case, would it be an intellectually superior position to believe in time travelers? A time traveler could appear at any moment, proving that time travelers exist. But if I believe there are no time travelers, I will forever be in doubt.
I’d say that your last sentence — about those who want to inform people of the truth meeting a wall of resistance — is correct. The truth is resisted by groups of religious people all the time.