How to counter “Automatic working of nature” argument

Forums Philosophy of Science How to counter “Automatic working of nature” argument

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    Hare Krishna Prabhu,

    Recently, it happened for me to argue with a 5 year old child on the existence if God. The child argued that nature is working automatically, it is empirical and there is no evidence of god doing magic. I could not make a counter argument.

    In “Time and Consciousness” book, you have raised a question – “Why time moves?”. I can understand it is a very important philosophical question unanswered by modern science. But people at present are very dull headed to understand the question itself. When the question itself not understood, then your arguments of infinite cascade of time particles or infinite energy needed for computers to calculate the particles state, cannot be understood.

    When I asked to explain the science behind the automatic movement of nature, to a 30 year old man, he got very angry, thinking that I am trying to win the debate with a nonsensical question due to ego.

    I am just curious to know is there an even more easy way to counter this automatic movement of nature argument?


    Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that four type of persons approach and worship Him: (a) distressed by suffering, (b) desiring material prosperity, (c) curious or inquisitive about religion, and (d) seeking to understand the Absolute Truth.

    Philosophy is meant for those who are seeking the Absolute Truth. It is almost impossible to get those people today. They are either non-existent or rare.

    Then some people are curious about “Hinduism”, because they are unhappy with other religions, and they want to know of alternatives. Such people go window shopping for “Hinduism”. Window shopping means that they are not actually going to buy anything. But they want to see what different things are there, how it looks like, and what’s the price for it. They see the price tag, and tell themselves: It’s too expensive. I cannot buy this thing. Books for them are basically a method for window shopping. It helps them see things from a distance, without paying a big price. It is just to make them feel good by peripheral association that they could do such things, feel entertained by that thought, and imagine that they are “philosophers”.

    Then, there is a third category where you can perform a puja, prayer, go to a temple, to get a better material life. There are many such people in India, but they are not interested in Absolute Truth, the nature of reality, etc. They go to a temple, make some offering, and ask for something in return. For example, lot of people go to Balaji temple and shave their heads and ask for something. It is a small sacrifice, in the hope for return for something. Similarly, people do some puja or fast on some days, hoping to get something in return. These are the people in the material desirous category. This category is mostly uneducated and not inquisitive about knowledge.

    Then there are the distressed people who want immediate relief. They go to a temple, because it makes them feel peaceful. That going to the temple is just like going to a garden, sea beach, etc. for relief. Once they become a little peaceful, they go back to their previous lives. They too are not seeking any knowledge.

    The kind of knowledge that we are talking about has literally zero audience today. Those distressed by suffering or material desirous are never interested in knowledge. They are not interested in changing themselves, but they want their situation to change. Then, some curious people are interested in books, but as window shopping. They will buy books, keep it in their shelves, and never read again. Over 90% of the books sold are like that. They are just bought, but never read. Even if 10% people read, it is superficial. They can start going to a temple, change their dress, etc., but there is nothing deep. They have the same ideas, beliefs, ego, and morals as others. And those seeking the Absolute Truth are practically nil in this age.

    So if you argue with a person who has no interest, then it will be a futile exercise. You can talk to people who are curious, and they will show some interest for some time. But any information they get, it will go in, and emerge later in some situation.

    Knowledge is not for everybody. Especially in this age, it can only be assimilated by a rare few people. So, instead of giving you arguments one after another to appeal to disinterested people, it is better to find people who are interested. They are of course rare so if we find someone who is interested then we can talk to them.

    The best thing for this age is to tell people to chant Hare Krishna, eat prasadam, and avoid sinful actions. Keep things at the level of gross body and don’t go any deeper because that’s what people in this age can do. They cannot understand the mind or deep philosophy. Attract them by pictures and stories. If they ask philosophical questions, then you can give them a book. They will mostly not read it, or even if they read it, it is very hard to understand anything. They will just feel satisfied that they tried, and they can hold a book in their hands. That makes them happy.

    This was actually Prabhupada’s plan. He was directing the construction of temples, inviting people for Sunday feasts, and his books had beautiful pictures with easy to grasp messages. Then, he would also say: Chant Hare Krishna, live a clean life, wear simple clothes, and you will be peaceful. By that peaceful look, many people who are distressed are attracted. However, that doesn’t mean that people doing these things understand philosophy or are deeply interested in scientific knowledge.

    After so many years, I still cannot find anyone who understands how the soul moves from one body to another, which is the first thing Prabhupada would to talk about. Everyone thinks that the body is moving, and the soul is in the heart of the body, like money in their pocket. So when the body moves, the money in the pocket moves. Like that the soul is also moving with the body. So, the first principle of Bhagavad-Gita, namely, that the soul is moving from one body to another is not known. A false idea is firmly held, and if you say that it is wrong, then people get angry.

    Ask them: Descartes created a mind-body problem, but do you know about the solution to that problem? Most likely, they will draw a blank stare. You can go to a class on Bhagavad-Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam, and you will hear so many people talking about God. But ask them a simple question: How does the soul interact with the body? Nobody knows. If they don’t know these simple things, it means they don’t know anything else. The soul and body are immediately experienceable. The five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether are things that we are seeing right from birth, everyday, every moment of our lives. But we still cannot understand these simple things. So, how can we understand God whom we have never seen? Why should we trust what anyone says about God whom they have never seen, when they don’t understand what they have been seeing everyday? Science is very important because you have to explain those things that everyone can see before you try to explain what nobody has seen. At least, then people can have some faith and trust in you, and they will then give you a patient hearing. But the reality is that even if we try to explain what everybody is seeing in a new way, then people get angry and upset. They will abuse you, because they don’t want to be disturbed by knowledge. Let them sleep, because if you try to wake them up, they will bark and bite.

    It is a very long journey to become interested in the Absolute Truth. Then, after that interest, there is serious endeavor, and then result. Prabhupada said one time, don’t ask “Who is God?” Rather ask: “What is God?” He was trying to change the conversation from God being Allah or Yahweh or Krishna, to going beyond these names to understand God “tattva”. But nobody is interested in that conversation. Our God is Krishna and their God is Yahweh or Allah. Just change the name, that’s it. We don’t want to discuss the ingredients that comprise God because that requires a scientifically inclined brain. Hence, there are no Brahmanas in this age. Nobody wants to increase their stress in trying to understand God. That capacity to take a lot of stress of philosophy comes when you are otherwise not stressed.

    So, my suggestion is to give people simple things, to begin with. If they ask complicated questions, then you can give it to them. But don’t intellectualize religion for someone who doesn’t have an intellect. He or she will get scared and run away, or worse, he or she will argue without knowing anything, which is a waste of time.

    What I explained in “Time and Consciousness” is not just an “argument”. It is how things are. God is controlling the universe by His will, and that will is effected as Time. So, if you don’t want to accept that the world is moving by God’s will, that’s alright. Just try to understand how Time is passing. Then, a so-called theological question is transformed into a scientific question. Then, there are subjects like physics of time, philosophy of time, etc. These are serious subjects, with their books and journals, but they are unable to produce any answers. So, what I did in that book is to take all these topics about time, and describe how we can solve them.

    Now if some people cannot even ask such questions, it means that they have no intelligence. So, don’t overestimate the power of reason and philosophy. It is meant only for intelligent people. Most people will come to God due to suffering. They cry for help and go to a temple, and find some peace. After some births, they change their dress, but not change their ideas. They will continue to think that body moves and soul moves due to body movement. In this way, it is a very long process.

    God consciousness has to penetrate very deeply and it happens very slowly. It starts with a dress and gross bodily activities like stopping meat eating, etc. Then as sinful activities are stopped, and spiritual activities are practiced, it enters the senses. An example is a deep attachment to chanting. When we become attached to chanting, then we develop a deep curiosity about the nature of the Absolute Truth. If someone is not interested in knowledge, it means that they don’t have an attachment to chanting. Knowledge is a deeper thing in the mind; before that, we have to become attached to hearing by the senses. So, if someone doesn’t want knowledge, give them chanting, prasadam, etc. This was Prabhupada’s method, because he knows the science. But he also said that we should present the knowledge of the Absolute Truth, but it is not for everyone. “Classes and not the masses” is what he said. It is only for those who have developed a deep attachment for chanting, because the desire for knowing the Absolute Truth arises after that attachment. Lord Chaitanya also said the same thing when He notes: vidya vadhu jivanam, which means that chanting is “life of the knowledge bride”. Chanting is the husband, and knowledge is the bride. Wherever the husband goes, the bride will go there automatically. So, if someone doesn’t have knowledge, or finds it difficult to understand things, then it means that they are very backward in their chanting. We cannot give them knowledge. We have to make them chant more. This is the process.

    When this knowledge of Absolute Truth is acquired, then it enters the intellect and it causes a change to all beliefs about the nature the world around us, how the universe is working, how the society is working, and the meaning of science. Then when we understand how everything is working by the will of God, then it enters the ego where we start accepting that we are puppets of God, who have nothing in our control, and must surrender everything to God’s will. That means, even if we are mistreated, we don’t complain; we just accept it happily as God’s kindness upon us. By that complete surrender, it enters the moral sense where we realize that the world is basically a good place even though everyone is suffering, because by that suffering we come to the point of unconditional surrender to God, which is the only way to become happy. Then, all misgivings about the world and life in this world are destroyed, and whatever pain we have suffered in previous lives, and it remains in us as unconscious impressions, is vanquished. Now, a person becomes peaceful, and this is called the cleansing of the chitta whereby all past impressions are destroyed, and a person loses all their unconscious history and past influences. Then it goes to the soul where there are many successive levels of its penetration into the soul.

    People don’t know about this hierarchy, and why this process is so slow. And so we try to apply the same medicine for everyone. In the Vedic system, the lower classes were not permitted to read Vedic scriptures. But in this age, only the lower classes are left. So what can we do? The answer is: Print books, make them available, if some rare person from an intelligent class is interested, they will find the book and read it, and to the extent they can understand, it will transform their lives. How deeply it transforms them, is based on the progress they have made in earlier lifetimes.


    Yes Prabhu, I accept what you are saying. As you have already advised me, I will just focus on improving my understanding of this great science and not bother anyone.

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