Here are some convincing answers to clever-minded
arguments about the existence of God.
Question 1: Is God not a psychological crutch for the weak-hearted?
Answer: Let’s take this argument apart in three parts:
a. Does the psychological need for God disprove the God’s existence?
In times of weakness, fear or danger, many people even nonbelievers feel the need for God’s protection, guidance, and solace, and they experience it through prayer, meditation, and devotion. But to claim that this need for God disproves God’s existence is pathetic logic. Does our need for water disprove its existence? Or does our need for food disprove its existence? Does our psychological need for relationships disprove the existence of relatives? In fact, our deep, essential needs are associated with real objects in the external world that fulfill those needs. So the near-universal need for God that is felt by people at some time or other of their lives could well be argued to be a proof for the existence of a real person, God, who fulfills that need.
b. Could atheism be a crutch for the weak-hearted?
The psychological crutch argument is a two-sword. It could well be argued that the atheists need a psychological crutch to maintain their own beliefs that:
Nothing is really morally good or bad, so in principle I can do whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it, and wherever I feel like it, and to whomever I feel like, and no one has the right to stop me or punish me for my behavior.
1. Since nothing is morally good or bad, there’s no reason why I should feel guilty about anything I think, feel or do.
2. There exists nothing that, at least in principle, can’t be subjected to my control or to the control of those I favor.
3. No one is in a position to be my authority, no one can claim to be better than me, in a higher or more important position than me, and thus no one has any right to instruct or order me to do anything or to stop me from doing anything.
c. Are religious believers weak-hearted?
In his book Is Religion Dangerous? Keith Ward mentions a number of scientific studies about the relationship between religion and happiness, mental illness and altruism. These studies show that religious people are neither weak-hearted nor mentally ill. On the contrary, religious people are usually more psychologically strong than non-religious people and they also tend to be happier, healthier, to live longer, and to be more altruistic. They tend to be less likely to suffer from hypertension, depression, and criminal delinquency. Young religious people tend to lower levels of drug and alcohol abuse, criminal delinquency, and attempted suicide. So there’s no scientific basis to support the atheistic claim that people are religious because they are weak or that religion makes them weak. In fact, the evidence is strongly to the contrary, as is confirmed by Dr. Patryck Glynn of George Washington University in his book God: The Evidence: “It is difficult to find a more consistent correlative of mental health, or a better insurance against self-destructive behaviors, than a strong religious faith.” Thus belief in God is a very real, practical, scientifically verified means for weak people to become strong and for strong people to become stronger.
Question 2: If God created everything, who created God?
1. Once a child read a novel for the first time in his life and, on coming to know that the novel was written by an author, he asked, “Where is the author in the novel?” The above question is quite similar to that. The answer obviously is that the author is not in the novel; he created the timeline, the storyline, and the characters in the novel, but he exists outside the novel. Similarly God created time, space, and everything, including all of us, who live within time and space, but He Himself exists outside the fabric of time and space. (Although some of us may find dimensions other than time and space difficult to conceive, physicists confirm that higher dimensions are not only possible, but necessary, to rationally explain the universe. For example, the superstring theory defines eleven dimensions, only four of which we experience.) So everything that exists within time and space needs a beginning, a cause, but God who exists outside it, needs no cause, for He is the cause of time and space.
2. The Vedic literatures provide us the definition of God: sarva-karana-karanam “He is the cause of all causes.” That means, while tracing back the origin of all the things around us, the point where we stop is God. If God were to have an origin, then that origin would be actually God. Even according to pure logic, the source of everything cannot have a source. So this question in itself illogical as it is based on an illogical understanding of the term God.
3. Modern science has confirmed that our universe has a beginning, that it is not eternal. Most current scientific theories propose the origin of the universe as a singularity, a point of infinite density, infinite temperature and infinitesimal size, a point that is beyond all conceptions of space and time, a point that is mathematically indescribable and physically unrealizable. And science has no answer to the question of where this singularity came from. Thus even so-called rational science cannot avoid ascribing inconceivable (we could say “irrational”) attributes to the origin of everything, but it ascribes them to a lump of matter instead of God.
So materialistic science and spirituality both require us to accept on faith what they tell us is the origin of the universe. But let’s examine which faith is more reasonable. What is our experience in the real world? Does a lump of matter organize itself into a building or does an intelligent person organize lumps of matter into a building? All experience shows that an intelligent person is needed. So isn’t it logical that the organization, structure and harmony in the universe the cosmic building we live in require a super-intelligent Person, not just a super-energetic lump of matter? Of course somebody may argue that matter may be able to organize itself, but that has not been verified, either through scientific experiment or human experience. Therefore any materialistic alternative to God as the origin of everything requires unreasonable, unproven, blind faith.
Question 3: Is the concept of God not created by man to maintain morality in human society?
Answer: This argument could well be rephrased as: Is prophylactic (preventive) medicine not created by man to maintain health in human society? The presence of an explicit purpose and a beneficial purpose at that for the existence of something does nothing to prove its nonexistence but instead can even serve as a proof of its existence.
The argument that God is created by man fails to answer the more fundamental question: Who created man and the world around him? If we let the enormous evidence of order, harmony, and structured organization that science has discovered to speak for itself, that evidence strongly points to the existence of a super-intelligent designer. In fact, this is the verdict many important scientists arrived at after decades of scientific research. Consider the following quote of Noble Laureate Physicist Arthur Schawlow: “When confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why the only possible answers are religious. . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”
Our sense of morality the inner awareness of right and wrong is almost universal. Some people may have slightly different understanding of what is right and what is wrong based on their cultural upbringing, but everyone agrees to the principle of there being a right course of action and a wrong course of action. This sense of morality cannot be explained by the reductionistic, scientific view of life that holds and operates on the “survival of the fittest” notion. The most plausible explanation for the existence of our moral sense is that it comes from our creator, who from within is prompting us to make right choices, choices that are conducive for our happiness and inner growth.
Thus man and his sense of morality are created by God, not vice versa.
Caitanya Carana Dasa holds a degree in electronics and telecommunications engineering and serves full-time at ISKCON Pune. To subscribe to his free cyber magazine, visit thespiritualscientist.com