Though I believe in God, I do not condemn a law-abiding moral atheist. Atheism is only a stage in the development and progression of the soul (to the Universal Consciousness), which may take many births in many worlds, many continents, many races, and many religions. The atheist is seeing only the tail of the elephant and misses the rest of the elephant ahead of his nose and eyes.
There are many among us who are atheists, antiatheists, antitheists, theists, deists, ditheists, henotheists, hylotheists, pantheists, tritheists, and polytheists. There is no universal law that states that these people should be reviled, harmed or prosecuted.
Doubting the existence of god is part of the development of a person. They have not yet found the proof of existence of god in their quest. To hate or harm them is by itself an act against good and god. There is god in good. There is no good without god. Even great men fell victim to inflicting harm to an atheist, thus violating the teachings of the great religions. As long as the atheist respects the constitutional rights of others and brings no harm to fellow human beings, he has every right to his views and we should leave that person alone to grow at his pace.
My fourth consciousness-raiser is atheist pride. Being an atheist is nothing to be apologetic about. On the contrary, it is something to be proud of, standing tall to face the far horizon, for atheism nearly always indicates a healthy independence of mind and, indeed, a healthy mind. There are many people who know, in their heart of hearts, that they are atheists, but dare not admit it to their families or even, in some cases, to themselves. Partly, this is because the very word 'atheist' has been assiduously built up as a terrible and frightening label. I need to say something to American readers in particular at this point, for the religiosity of today's America is something truly remarkable. The lawyer Wendy Kaminer was exaggerating only slightly when she remarked that making fun of religion is as risky as burning a flag in an American Legion Hall.1 The status of atheists in America today is on a par with that of homosexuals fifty years ago.
Dawkins, Richard (2008-01-16). The God Delusion (p. 26). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
Since conceptions of atheism vary, determining how many atheists exist in the world today is difficult. According to one estimate, about 2.3% of the world's population are atheists, while a further 11.9% are nonreligious. According to another, rates of self-reported atheism are among the highest in Western nations, again to varying degrees: United States (4%), Italy (7%), Spain (11%), Great Britain (17%), Germany (20%), and France (32%).--Wikipedia.
Ramanuja: Three Types of Men: God-inclined; God-disinclined; God-indifferent.
Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE) had all his band of disciples and devotees remain by his side and gave them the quintessence of his teachings thus : "Listen, beloved sons," he began, "Men are of three types, the Godward (anukūla), the anti-Gods (प्रतिकूल = pratikūla) and those indifferent to God (anubhaya). If you meet the men of the first class, rejoice as if you found a flower and scents, as if the blush of moonshine spread about you and softly crept over you, as if you met your own most near and dear kith and kin. If you come across men of the second stamp dread them as if you faced a venomous reptile, fire and so forth. If you chance to meet men of the third description, mind them not as you would not mind the stocks and stones that lie on your way. If you discover willingness in them, teach them things of the spirit, if otherwise, treat them with pity. Why are these men turned away from God? It is because of their love for lust and lucre. If holy men allow themselves to be lured on account of wealth and so forth, vain is their wisdom, as they have not learnt to distinguish between gem and tinsel." Page 38.--Ramanuja's Teachings in His Own Words.--Translation from Sanskrit by: M. Yamunacharya, Professor of philosophy, University of Mysore, born late 19th Century.
Ramanuja says that we should dread the atheists or antitheists as if they were venomous snakes. As long as the atheist does not harm others, there is no need to dread them. Many great and good people doubted the existence of god at one time or other in their lives; that is part of of the development of man in his spiritual quest.--Krishnaraj
अनुकूल= anukūla = towards the bank (of the river) = Towards the God. प्रतिकूल = pratikūla = Against the slope or bank = Against God.
Atheist as defined by Gandhi. www.gandhi-manibhavan.org TIG-10 Mahatma Gandhi
· God is conscience. He is even the atheism of the atheist.
'Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna'
Real Nature of Man
Man without God has no value.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa did not make any money talking about God. Almost all the writers writing for or against god made tons of money. That speaks of their interest in money, which is their god.--Krishnaraj
16. The digit 1 may be raised to a figure of any value by adding zeros after it; but if that 1 is omitted, zeros by themselves have no value. Similarly so long as the Jiva (individual soul) does not cling to God, who is the One, he has no value, for all things here get their value from their connection with God. So long as the Jiva clings to God, who is the value-giving figure behind the world, and does all his work for Him, he gains more and more thereby; on the contrary, if he overlooks God and adds to his work many grand achievements, all done for his own glorification, he will gain nothing therefrom.
17. As a lamp does not burn without oil, so a man cannot live without God.
18. God is to man what a magnet is to iron. Why does He not then attract man? As iron thickly imbedded in mud is not moved by the attraction of the magnet, so the soul thickly imbedded in Maya does not feel the attraction of the Lord. But when the mud is washed away with water, the iron is free to move. Even so, when by the constant tears of prayer and repentance, the soul washes away the mud of Maya that compels it to stick to the earth, it is soon attracted by the Lord to Himself.
19. The union of the Jivatman with the Paramatman is like the union of the hour and the minute hands of a watch once in every hour. They are inter-related and interdependent, and though usually separate, they may become united as often as favorable opportunities occur.
20. The soul enchained is man, but when free from the chain (Maya), it is the Lord.
21. What is the relation between the Jivatman and the Paramatman? As a current of water seems to be divided into two when a plank of wood is placed against it edgewise, so the Indivisible appears divided into two, the Jivatman and the Paramatrnan, due to the limitation of Maya.
22. Water and a bubble on it are one and the same. The bubble has its birth in the water, floats on it, and is ultimately resolved into it. So also the Jivatman and the Paramatman are one and the same, the difference between them being only one of degree. For, one is finite and limited while the other is infinite; one is dependent while the other is independent.
23. The idea of an individual ego is just like enclosing a portion of the water of the Ganges and calling the enclosed portion one's own Ganges.
24. As a piece of lead thrown into a basin of mercury soon becomes an amalgam with it, so an individual soul loses its limited existence when it falls into the ocean of Brahman.
25. God is the infinite Being, while Jiva is only a finite being. How then can the finite grasp the Infinite? It is like a doll made of salt trying to fathom the depth of the ocean. In doing so the salt doll is dissolved into the sea and lost. Similarly the Jiva, in trying to measure God and know Him, loses its separateness and becomes one with Him.
26. The Lord Himself is playing in the form of man. He is the great juggler and this phantasmagoria of Jiva and Jagat is His great jugglery. The Juggler alone is true, the jugglery is false.
Sometimes even Great Men (son of God) felt God abandoned them.
Jesus Dies on the Cross. Matt 27:45-50 (GW)45 At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 About three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” 47 When some of the people standing there heard him say that, they said, “He's calling Elijah.” 48 One of the men ran at once, took a sponge, and soaked it in some vinegar. Then he put it on a stick and offered Jesus a drink. 49 The others said, “Leave him alone! Let's see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 Then Jesus loudly cried out once again and gave up his life.
Jesus Dies on the Cross. Luke 23:44-49 (GW)44 Around noon darkness came over the entire land and lasted until three in the afternoon. 45 The sun had stopped shining. The curtain in the temple was split in two. 46 Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” After he said this, he died. 47 When an army officer saw what had happened, he praised God and said, “Certainly, this man was innocent!” 48 Crowds had gathered to see the sight. But when all of them saw what had happened, they cried and returned to the city. 49 All his friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance and watched everything.
January 27, 2012. CRANSTON, R.I. — She is 16, the daughter of a firefighter and a nurse, a self-proclaimed nerd who loves Harry Potter and Facebook. But Jessica Ahlquist is also an outspoken atheist who has incensed this heavily Roman Catholic city with a successful lawsuit to get a prayer removed from the wall of her high school auditorium, where it has hung for 49 years.
A federal judge ruled this month that the prayer’s presence at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional, concluding that it violated the principle of government neutrality in religion.
State Representative Peter G. Palumbo, a Democrat from Cranston, called Jessica “an evil little thing” on a popular talk radio show. Three separate florists refused to deliver her roses sent from a national atheist group. The group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has filed a complaint with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.
“I was amazed,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation, which is based in Wisconsin and has given Jessica $13,000 from support and scholarship funds. “We haven’t seen a case like this in a long time, with this level of revilement and ostracism and stigmatizing.”
“If you don’t believe in that,” an opponent said, “take all the money out of your pocket, because every dollar bill says, ‘In God We Trust.’ ”
Jessica said she had stopped believing in God when she was in elementary school and her mother fell ill for a time.
“I had always been told that if you pray, God will always be there when you need him,” she said. “And it didn’t happen for me, and I doubted it had happened for anybody else. So yeah, I think that was just like the last step, and after that I just really didn’t believe any of it.”
I don't have the courage to do what the girl did, but I am not an atheist. I would not revile her either. She needs understanding and god-given protection. Let her grow at her own pace. Prayer is ubiquitous but answered or realized prayers are much less. Atheist also engages in seeking solace, pleads for better life conditions, wishes for promotion, and welfare for himself and family... He is actually praying, though denies it. Why do some prayers get results and others go unanswered? Why do bad people thrive and prosper? Why do good people suffer and perish? Why does a person go or gets driven by a mysterious force to meet his killer? Hinduism says Karma brings the victim and the killer together. The victim is totally innocent and yet gets killed by an egregious act of the perpetrator.
Here is a real-life incident: A proof of God
Four police officers rushing to an overturned car in an icy Utah river say they all heard the same thing: a mysterious female voice calling out “Help,” from inside the vehicle. But the driver of the car was dead and her 18-month-old daughter, while still alive, couldn’t have been the speaker.
It was a mystery that continues to haunt the officers – and may never be explained.
How do you explain the call for help heard by four police officers? That is the cry of the Lord and a call for help placed by the Lord.
We have time and again seen rivalry and bad blood between followers of different religions. They speak ill of the god of the other group. There is hatred among the sects of the one and the same religion. The sects kill one another in the name of religion. This is happening as we speak. Neighborhoods are divided based on religion, sect, race and all other variables. One is a red state and the other is a blue state. In elections all over the world, people vote for their own sectarian candidate. Child predation by a self-professed theist is tolerated but declaration of atheism by a teenage girl is vilified: It is a strange world. We should be kind to her and wait patiently until she finds her god or moral compass. Her atheism does not matter or injure any one if she remains an atheist all her life, does not violate your constitutional rights and does not force you to change your belief. Religion teaches morality; if she is a moral person, she has fulfilled the tenets of 'her religion,' whatever meaning she appends to it. She is still young and has not undergone life experiences. To call her an evil person is unjustified. She has a right to her belief; you have the right to your belief. These are the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, written under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
In ancient Rome, early Christians were branded atheists for not worshipping the pagan gods. This idea was soon abandoned as theism was defined as belief in any god. Many people say The Buddha was a great atheist. Take the recent atheist of our time: Christopher Hitchens.
Vedic Indo-Aryans believed that the Great Elements (Sky, Air, Water, Earth, Fire) were gods, simply because they could not control them. The concept of Brahman or god was alien to the early man and developed slowly over millennia. The concept of Brahman as defined in the Upanishads dawned on the minds of the seers. Belief in God at all times is a learned phenomenon. In India only, god has been explored and elucidated the most. There is, in my humble opinion, no religion on earth that has more knowledge about god than Hinduism. But every religion thinks it has the monopoly on god.
An infant or a preschooler is called an implicit atheist in that he has 'no theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it'. Explicit atheism means a conscious disbelief in god. --Wikipedia.
We cannot compare the everyday theist equal in knowledge of god to Jesus Christ, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Vivekananda or Ramanamaharishi. They are the realized souls, who have Vijnana (realized knowledge) as opposed to mere Jnana (mere knowledge). Jnana comes from reading and listening without realization of God. Vijnana (विज्ञान = Experiential knowledge of God = Realized Knowledge) comes from direct face to face encounter with God; it is a mind thing. It is not that God made a physical appearance to the Great Seers. Almost all the people are simple uncritical believers in God, if you exclude the atheists and their kind. Atheists have simple 'WYSIWYG' idea in their god concept. What they don't see, they don't believe in. It is hardwired in their brains. You cannot blame them for their belief. Would you punish or hate a child with Down Syndrome for not keeping up with his peers in the school? There are people who may call Vijnana as hocus-pocus. Let me give you an example. We don't see the bacteria or air; that does not mean they don't exist; we see they exist by microcopy or by the symptoms and signs. In like manner, realized souls by developing the 4th and 5th consciousness (Turiya and Turiyatita) and utilizing them, they come face to face with their god in their minds. Even the theists will pooh-pooh this idea. Medicine in the West does not have any knowledge of these kinds of consciousness. They do exist. Another example. A worm's consciousness cannot fathom man; likewise, human consciousness cannot fathom the Super-consciousness of Yogi. Likewise, the Super-consciousness of the Yogi cannot apprehend fully the Universal Consciousness of God. The most famous atheist of our time as branded by his former wife is Stephen Hawking.
Scientists do not believe in God.
Richard Dawkins: He, the UK's Chief Atheist and 'fairly militant atheist', has described the Young Earth creationist view that the Earth is only a few thousand years old as "a preposterous, mind-shrinking falsehood". Believers suffer from God delusion. He describes himself as a Cultural Christian and Atheist for Jesus. He has a contempt for Islamist terrorism, Christian Fundamentalism and religious extremism. Nine Eleven: The religious extremists kill themselves which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. We have weird respect for religion, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's now stop being so damned respectful! Excerpts from Wikipedia.
In his 2006 book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion—a fixed false belief.--Wikipedia.
Bill Maher, Mark Zuckerberg, Lance Armstrong, and Jodie Foster are the card-carrying denizens of atheism.
Sometimes an incident in the personal life precipitates the loss of faith in god.
Stephen Hawking: His ex-wife, Jane, said during their divorce proceedings that he was an atheist. Hawking has stated that he is "not religious in the normal sense" and he believes that "the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws." In an interview published in The Guardian newspaper, Hawking regarded the concept of Heaven as a myth, stating that there is "no heaven or afterlife" and that such a notion was a "fairy story for people afraid of the dark." Wikipedia
In his new book, Stephen Hawking reiterates that there is no big gap in the scientific account of the big bang. The laws of physics can explain, he says, how a universe of space, time and matter could emerge spontaneously, without the need for God. And most cosmologists agree: we don’t need a god-of-the-gaps to make the big bang go bang. It can happen as part of a natural process. A much tougher problem now looms, however. What is the source of those ingenious laws that enable a universe to pop into being from nothing? Traditionally, scientists have supposed that the laws of physics were simply imprinted on the universe at its birth, like a maker’s mark. As to their origin, well, that was left unexplained.
An atheist in difficult life situations says, "Why is this happening to me?" It implies he is asking for help. There is no one around who can help. So he must be addressing what everyone calls god. He is asking for a miracle; that miracle worker is god. This kind of talk generally reveals that his god abides in his suppressed subconscious mind and surfaces to his conscious mind when he is in distress or deathbed.
The deathbed conversion has also been a target of humor. Voltaire, on his own deathbed, was asked by a priest to renounce Satan and turn to God, he is alleged to have replied, "Now is no time to be making new enemies". However, his last words are said to have been, "For God's sake, let me die in peace." Wikipedia
Here are some souls who say they witnessed God. We already know about Jesus Christ.
Here an American, turned a Saivite, talks about Siva, Muruga....
Kauai's Hindu Monastery
107 Kaholalele Road
Kapaa, HI 96746-9304
Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927–2001), born Robert Hansen also known as Gurudeva by his followers, in Oakland, California, on January 5, 1927, and adopted Saivism as a young man. Wiki.
Here is what Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (an American who became an ardent devotee of Siva) and established Saiva Siddhanta Church, says:
What we know today in material sciences will be pooh-poohed and purged tomorrow. God remains steady, solid and unchanged - Krishnaraj
The material scientists (Reductionist extraordinaire) fall into the abysmal Gap of arrogance and intellectual effeteness. --Krishnaraj
I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition . . . . we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world. —SIR JOHN C. ECCLES (1903– 1997)
A Vaishnava Saint-poet has actually visited Vaishnava heaven as depicted by his verse.
3986. Nammalvar, a Sudra by birth experiences entry into Vaikuntam in the form of Madhavan.
குடி அடியார் இவர் கோவிந்தன் தனக்கு என்று
முடி உடை வானவர் முறை முறை எதிர்கொள்ள,
கொடி அணி நெடு மதிள் கோபுரம் குறுகினர்
வடிவு உடை மாதவன் வைகுந்தம் புகவே. 10.9.8 Nammalvar
He is the one belonging to the family of servitors of Govinda. The gods in a ceremonial welcome approached and climbed on the flagged and festooned high walls of the tower to witness the servitor (Nammalvar) enter Vaikuntam in the form of Madhavan (Krishna).