Atheist Nation

by Madhava Smullen

It’s a strange world to be a theist in these days.

Back in late 2006, I wrote Not Such A Bright Idea*, my response to an emerging atheist movement called “The Brights.” Since then, a flurry of atheist groups and books have erupted throughout the world, to great success and critical acclaim.

The Atheist Alliance International holds an annual convention where it bestows the Richard Dawkins Award on “an outstanding atheist whose contributions raise public awareness of the non-theist life stance.” With this, the author of the New York Times bestseller The God Delusion cements his reputation as the most famous God-basher of modern times. Yet his cohorts in the popularly monikered “Unholy Trinity” haven’t been lazy either: Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation and Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great have both racked up their authors a healthy bushel of moolah. And yes, The Brights are still going strong.

But the real question is, how effective is all of this? Have the blasphemous tirades of Dawkins et al really made our faith go weak at the knees?


The reason why is intriguingly ironic. Recently I was browsing the Bright’s website when I came across their official calendar. Promoting their “naturalistic world-view,” it depicted scenes from nature that were supposed to show that our universe is amazing in itself, without God. But instead they filled me with a sense of how wonderful Krishna is. I almost felt that He was speaking, with His signature sense of mischievous fun, through these “atheist” statements. One of the most prominent quotes, from Einstein, read, “What I see in nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.”

Elated, I looked for similar patterns elsewhere, and found them. In God is not Great, Cristopher Hitchens declares that atheists don’t need scripture, because they have literature: “The serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot…” Yet the authors he holds as ethical guides were themselves famously guided by their deep belief in God – Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky in particular. If Hitchens is inspired by their thoughts and teachings, isn’t he indirectly inspired by God, too?

Sam Harris continues the trend in Letter to a Christian Nation with his sarcastic “Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of the earth, more than half of our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue.” A blow for fundamentalist Christians, maybe. Yet Vedic history attests, in great detail, to the world being millions of years old.

But for me, it’s Dawkins who really pounds the nail into his own coffin. In The God Delusion, he claims that “there almost certainly is no God,” arguing that because the universe has so much information in it, a hypothetical creating God would have to be “enormously complex and thus enormously improbable.”

Yes, Mr. Dawkins, you are correct. Someone give the man a round of applause! From the Srimad-Bhagavatam, we understand that Krishna is indeed enormously complex, so much so that we can’t hope to comprehend him with our flawed senses. And yes, such a Creator would seem enormously improbable to those whose eyes are not “tinged with the salve of love,” as the Brahma-Samhita describes. But does that mean that such a God would not reveal himself to a sincere servant?

All this left me thinking… Do even the most fervent ramblings of avowed atheists inevitably point back to God in the end?

Perhaps, dear Mr. Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, if you searched deeper, you could find the answers to your questions from the very source you seek to destroy.

*Back to Godhead Magazine, Nov/Dec 2006

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