- Atheists do believe in something; maybe they believe in reason or truth. Are not reason and truth a significant aspect of God’s nature?
- Atheists use reason and the power of the mind to proclaim that the infinite, illimitable, and transcendent consciousness is non existent. But, can the Highest Transcendental Consciousness be explained within the narrow confines of mental reason and the domain of the mind? – Similarly, could words justify the existence or non – existence of music?
‘They proved to me by convincing reasons that God does not exist; Afterwards I saw God, for he came and embraced me. And now what am I to believe- the reasoning of others or my own experience? Truth is what the soul has seen and experienced; the rest is appearance, prejudice and opinion.’
– Sri Aurobindo Existence of God
- There are good atheists, there are bad atheists; there are good religious people, there are bad religious people. What does this prove?
- Atheism is not a reaction against God. Atheism is a reaction against religion – organised religion which has been coloured by human egoism and human misconceptions.
- Errors in religion can never be proof that God does not exist. How frequently is religion a pure expression of God’s will, and how frequently is religion a reflection of man’s ignorance and misunderstanding?
- To concentrate on the flaws of religion is to miss the divine potential that each religion can lead a seeker to God. Divine religion is the love of God. When a seeker sincerely and self-givingly practises the heart of religion, he rises far beyond any outer imperfection of form.
- When atheists dispute with religious fundamentalists we are surprised to see that both groups share quite a few similarities of belief. What are these similarities?
- The desire to convert others.
- The belief that mental reason is able to prove / disprove God.
- An evangelical fervour that they must be correct.
- A feeling that the other side is hopelessly misguided.
Atheists generally disbelieve in the monotheistic conception of an external God high above in heaven. But, the real question is whether this conception of God bears any relation to the true nature of the omnipresent, omnipotent and infinite consciousness of pure delight that is God?
The Buddha never talked about God. Does that mean the Buddha was an atheist? No, the Buddha never talked about God because he felt the infinite, all pervading consciousness of nirvana could never be described in words. To talk about God, was so unsatisfactory that Buddha felt silence was more powerful. But, the Buddha was a shining example of the transforming power of the transcendent, illimitable consciousness, which other people may refer to as God.
Some religions emphasise the justice aspect of God, they give the impression God is a tyrant who condemns the majority of souls to eternal hell. Who wants to believe in that kind of God?
God has inspired many prophets to preach a message of peace and forgiveness. If people ignore this, whose fault is it – God or his followers? Jesus Christ said ‘love thy enemy as thyself’ – If during the middle ages this immortal utterance had been give any importance, would the Crusades have ever occurred? Unfortunately, adherents have often chosen to ignore the divine utterances of great prophets. But, can we blame God, if people give greater importance to their egoistic understanding and prejudices?
Atheism plays a role in highlighting religious fanaticism and misuse of occultism.
True religion will always remain unperturbed and detached from the arguments and criticisms of disbelievers.
A true lover of God, will never feel the need to defend himself against atheism. Spirituality is not about proving anything to others. Spirituality is about the inner life; if others are not ready to follow a spiritual life and believe in God, a real aspirant feels it is not his responsibility – it is Gods.
There is a story about a poor, dishevelled man who was not able to enter into the temple; a temple frequented by all the great and notable figures of society. The poor man felt miserable and cursed God, saying if this is God’s will then I don’t want to believe in you. Later, in a dream God came and spoke to the poor man. saying, ‘please don’t feel bad about being kept out of the temple. they don’t let me in either.”
Is it such a bad thing to doubt God’s existence? It is often through self enquiry about the nature of God and the self that can we make real spiritual progress. It is often when we feel a sense of lack, abandonment and loneliness that we actually start to be a sincere seeker. Look at how many mystics, before their own realisation, experienced a process known as the ‘dark night of the soul’. – A feeling of complete hopelessness and distance from God. But, the night is often darkest before the dawn. Maybe, atheism is just a necessary stage in man’s evolution.
Some Atheists not only disbelieve in God, they also seem to actively dislike God. Poor God doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Hatred and fanaticism have long used the cloak of religion and God to try and give a sense of self-justification. The fanatics may be able to delude themselves. But, God can always see the inner motives of man.
To some a person may be a father, to his work colleagues he will be Mr Smith, to his parents he will be ‘their son’. If a person gets called by different names, he doesn’t mind, he remains the same person. It is the same with God, countless are the different names used to refer to him. But, we cannot say that there is only 1 or 2 correct ways to name a consciousness with is ultimately without name and form.
It is said we will never find God if we look only in the external world. God can only be experienced by our self. But, here ‘our self’ implies a oneness with the rest of creation
‘He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religion said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is the atheist who does not believe in himself. But it is not selfish faith, because the Vedanta, again, is the doctrine of oneness. It means faith in all, because you are all.’
True, God’s creation is full of unimaginable suffering. But, no suffering is eternal; suffering is only temporary. The greatest mystics and realised Souls bring back the message that this world of suffering is not man’s final end. It is the message of Sri Ramachandra, Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha; it is the message of Christ and many others. The fact we may struggle to believe this message does not make it any less true.
From Delight we came into existence. In Delight we grow. At the end of our journey’s close, Into Delight we retire.
- The nature of God is infinite delight. But, in the West, this aspect of God has rarely been given any importance. Perhaps it would be easier to believe in this aspect of God, rather than the God portrayed in Western society?
- Atheism is said to take great strength from the theory of evolution. But, in the great spiritual traditions of the East we learn that the nature of God is never static; consciousness is ever transcending, ever evolving. Creation is ever evolving with an aspiration to return to its source, the primordial state of union with God. What is God, if not this evolving consciousness?
Atheism is another name for absurdity, For there is no human being Who is empty of faith In something or in someone. God, being the universal Existence-Life, Embodies that very thing Or that very person.
– Sri Chinmoy
- If proof of God is possible on earth. It is through the consciousness of the Saints and Realised Souls. If we have a little receptivity we can feel some divine spark in their presence, and their eyes give a glimpse of a more illumined consciousness.
Writings on Atheism by Sri Chinmoy
An Aphorism on atheism by Sri Chinmoy