How do we know?
#1
Hello All,

I know I am probably going to get a lot of flak for this and most probably get thrashed by the community members but I want to ask because I believe that a lot of people who turn into agnostics\atheists\irreligious have spent time studying religion.

Questions:
1. How do we know for sure, that all our Gods are imaginary? I mean there is so much of text literature, stories, relations, that it is hard to discount all of that. Someone really had to have a whole lot of time on their hands to dream up all of it.

2. Some of the things in Vedas are even cited by Carl Sagan. It is difficult to disregard something that has received the stamp of a great scientific mind which makes discounting some of the things in Vedas even more difficult - as in surely they must have been pretty bright to come up with all these calculations and numbers. There must be some merit to what they say about God.

3. There are so many thoughts in Hindu religion that honestly sometimes I get overwhelmed as to what to believe and what not to. If I have to disregard, where do I even start. With some other religions you can see what they are talking about and why they would choose not to believe (e.g. creationism vs evolution, God telling to kill people, punishing people etc.) As far as I know we don't have any such contradictory evidences or stories that make no sense.

Thank you for your time.
I would appreciate it if the critic is more toward the belief\thoughts than the person. (supporting articles would be appreciated)

Regards,
Aditya
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#2
(07-Feb-2012, 11:15 PM)apatil Wrote: 1. How do we know for sure, that all our Gods are imaginary? I mean there is so much of text literature, stories, relations, that it is hard to discount all of that. Someone really had to have a whole lot of time on their hands to dream up all of it.

Firstly, the stories were all developed over thousands of years. Secondly, if you consider the fantasy/sci-fi literature, you will find the same amount of, if not less, whatever it is that you find in religious literature. And this happened in a matter of a few decades. So it is possible to come up with complex stuff without it having any basis in reality. If anything, it is a testament to human imagination.

(07-Feb-2012, 11:15 PM)apatil Wrote: 2. Some of the things in Vedas are even cited by Carl Sagan. It is difficult to disregard something that has received the stamp of a great scientific mind which makes discounting some of the things in Vedas even more difficult - as in surely they must have been pretty bright to come up with all these calculations and numbers. There must be some merit to what they say about God.

The Carl Sagan thing is discussed here. Also see this wonderful post by karatalaamalaka in the same thread on the topic of calculations and numbers.

(07-Feb-2012, 11:15 PM)apatil Wrote: 3. There are so many thoughts in Hindu religion that honestly sometimes I get overwhelmed as to what to believe and what not to. If I have to disregard, where do I even start. With some other religions you can see what they are talking about and why they would choose not to believe (e.g. creationism vs evolution, God telling to kill people, punishing people etc.) As far as I know we don't have any such contradictory evidences or stories that make no sense.

You start with the question of 'How do we know what is true'. In freethought, science tells us what is true. And science is better than any other system at truth telling because what it tells matches the real world and does not lead to absurd conlcusions. This is an extremely simplistic way of putting it. You can read books like Sagan's Demon Haunted World to understand why science works and other systems do not. This thread has a good list.

If you have any specific ideas in Hinduism that "don't have any such contradictory evidences or stories that make no sense" do tell.
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#3
Hello Lije,

Thank you for your time and response. I appreciate it.

The links were informative. The discussion with rtved kind of turned into a shouting match towards the end and I could not make much sense of either side but the post from "karatalaamalaka" was very informative. I too until yesterday thought that the "navagraha" meant the nine planets and that we were smart enough to figure that out before anyone else.

Regards,
Aditya
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#4
Don’t ever worry about asking questions on the forums. We’re all here to discuss and learn! Of course there are some questions that are repeated often and answered in detail by us or on the Internet, so it’s always good to do a bit of Googling before posting a question. That said; let’s go over your questions:
“I believe that a lot of people who turn into agnostics\atheists\irreligious have spent time studying religion.”- Absolutely true. Some of us don’t have the time to read all of the scripture, but as it’s said, one doesn’t have to plough throw fairy scriptures to realize that fairies aren’t real.
On Q1, by Russell’s Teapot analogy, it isn’t possible to disprove god’s existence. That is because the criteria set by the theists are so watertight, that there will be some way out for an explanation provided. Example: Why doesn’t god just say what he wants and instead choose to work through “signs”? Answer by theist is that god is unknowable by the human mind and so he works in mysterious ways to make us aware of his presence. Science on the other hand has a concrete basis and more importantly a criterion for disproving it. Rabbit fossils in the Cambrian should disprove evolution. But people without realizing this caveat immediately jump to the conclusion:
Quote:Since you can’t prove god’s lack of existence, he must exist.

Also once the lowly origins of religion has been pointed out, any book, story can be dissected, debated and decimated by tactful reasoning. I mean, how many of us thought of vicarious redemption in the Bible before and until Hitchens brought it up?
As to Q2, I think the ancients definitely were skilled at medicine and laid the fundamentals for mathematics and literature. But we must stop assuming that they knew the secrets to panaceas and futuristic technology simply because something in an ancient tome. Hey, if they knew Newton’s law and quantum mechanics back then, why not simply write out the math instead of beating around the bush? Also the other posters have written well on this, so I’ll cease here.
Q3. The scientific method is an apathetic master. It has no favorites and judges the results fairly and squarely and no matter how much it hurts our sense of sentiment. If a theory is proven, the older one is to be discarded. Science gives utmost respect and authority to the power of critical and verifiable and peer-reviewed data. My simple answer is to simply toss out every principle every offered by religion and live your life as a humanitarian (within your means) and be a critical thinking citizen. Religion only serves to limit your capacity to think and question accepted norms.
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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#5
Thank you all for your replies.
I read the article by Ramendra Nath on "Why I am not a Hindu" where there were some "gems" from Manusmriti. One reason he mentioned that he is not a Hindu is because he does not believe in the infallibility of the Vedas. Now, I have never studied the Vedas and I do not know their contents. I do believe though that quite a few of you have. Can you point me to some resources which point out why Vedas may not be divine and are the creation of man. By this, I mean, contents that defy logic.

Thank you.
Aditya
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#6
(18-Feb-2012, 12:33 AM)apatil Wrote: Can you point me to some resources which point out why Vedas may not be divine and are the creation of man. By this, I mean, contents that defy logic.

http://nirmukta.net/Thread-The-Vedas

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