Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur on Christianity

Thinking about the virtues and faults of this world, some moralistic monotheists concluded that this material world is not a place of unalloyed pleasures. Indeed, the sufferings outweigh the pleasures. They decided that the material world is a prison to punish the living entities. If there is punishment, then there must be a crime. If there were no crime, then why would there be any punishment? What crime did the living entities commit? Unable to properly answer this question, some men of small intelligence gave birth to a very wild idea. God created the first man and placed him in a pleasant garden with his wife. Then God forbade the man to taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Following the evil counsel of a wicked being, the first man and woman tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge, thus disobeying God’s command. In this way they fell from that garden into the material world filled with sufferings. Because of their offense, all other living entities are offenders from the moment of their birth.

Not seeing any other way to remove this offense, God Himself took birth in a humanlike form, took on His own shoulders the sins of His followers, and then died.  All who follow Him easily attain liberation, and all who do not follow Him fall into an eternal hell. In this way God assumes a humanlike form, punishes Himself, and thus liberates the living entities. An intelligent person cannot make sense of any of this.

To accept this mixed-up religion one must first believe these rather implausible things: “The living entity’s life begins at birth and ends at death. Before birth the living entity did not exist, and after death the living entity will no longer stay in the world of material activities. Only human beings have souls. Other creatures do not have souls.” Only extremely unintelligent persons believe this religion. read more

Pope Francis’s Light, Alito’s Footnote 7

Dear Friend,

Can it really be just a coincidence that Pope Francis releases his first “encyclical” reiterating the Church’s timeless teaching about marriage the same week Justice Anthony Kennedy released what I called his “fatwa” against opponents of gay marriage?

I called Justice Kennedy’s opinion a fatwa for two reasons: first, he refused to engage any rational argument; he simply dismissed our whole marriage tradition out of hand, without discussion. Second, he declared half the American people simply “enemies of the human race,” as Justice Scalia put it, for our commitment to the idea that marriage is the union of husband and wife.  He made a Constitutional religion out of gay marriage, whole cloth, without any textual support at all. read more

Pope Francis says atheists can be good!

Want more stunning symptoms of how confused the religious leaders are in Kali Yuga! Read on…Pope Francis says atheists can be good! Just do good, and we’ll find a meeting point, says Francis in marked departure from Benedict’s line on non-Catholics. Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis has said in his latest urging that people of all religions, and none, work together.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in the homily of his morning mass at his residence, a daily event at which he speaks without prepared comments. He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus.

“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said. read more

Science – The river Ganges

The river Ganges, flowing from the heartland of the Himalayas across the plains of northern India, provides numerous places of pilgrimage for India’s religious population. Indeed, one can become ‘purified’ by a mere dip in her waters. Of equal sanctity are the cows that roam freely, grazing by her banks. They are considered pure in all respects; even their dung and urine are valued for their prophylactic quality. Householders living on the gangetic planes since ancient times have worshipped the Ganges and the cows, but when the British became rulers they viewed such Hindu traditions with  skepticism. Yet much to their surprise they found that only Ganges water remained potable during the six-week ocean passage from India to Britain. Equally astonishing were the powers of the cow wastes: the stool, spread in a thin layer across the floor of a home and allowed to dry, formed a powdery ‘carpet’ on which no fly or unwanted pest would land; while the cow’s urine was a cure for various dangerous diseases. Though they were not induced to acknowledge it, India’s new rulers found some of her ancient religious belief suprisingly scientific. It would have been no surprise to an enlighten thinker like Albert Einstein who once remarked, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” [Out of My Later Years, 1956, p.26]

            Just how do scientific explanations compare to religious explanations? Are these conflicting approaches to the same subject matter, or complementary approaches to distinct subject matters? Can scientific explanations and religious beliefs be reconciled? Let us take the help of Michael Peterson, et al in Chapter Eleven of Reason and Religious Belief as we compare and contrast the views that science and religion are in conflict, are compartmentalized, or are complementary. Afterwards we shall examine the so-called split between the natural sciences and the social sciences (sometimes called the “human sciences”), and discern what bearing, if any, this debate has on religion. Finally, we shall investigate the science/religion dialectic from the Vedic world-view perspective.

            Defining and distinguishing branches of intellectual activity such as science and religion falls in the realm of philosophy. Intellectual disciplines can be analyzed according to certain general features: their objects, aims, and methods. When there is a similarity in the evaluation of religion and science according to these three, the potential for conflict arises. read more