Two Reasons Someone Might Reject Religion

[Shri Krishna]“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)

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सर्व-योनिषु कौन्तेय
मूर्तयः सम्भवन्ति याः
तासां ब्रह्म महद् योनिर्
अहं बीज-प्रदः पिता

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā

1. It is sentimental

“Come on, man. Let’s be real, for a second. You are no different than the other groups. You pretend that you are distinct, that you occupy some higher space, but at the end of the day it is the same appeal.

“Worship such and such. Be saved. Have all of your problems go away. Be assured of reaching the proper destination in the afterlife. You have to surrender now. Today. In front of everyone. At the same time, you have to reject everyone else. Both parts make the whole. Am I right?

“It is sentiment. Not that I am against people holding sentiment and attachment. In a lot of ways, religion can be good. It keeps people grounded. It provides some relief from the constant distresses. Communities are built around it. There is something to be said about people joining together and promising to be better in the eyes of God.

“I am just saying that it is not for me. Any person can pick up a book and say that you have to read it for your own welfare. Any person can identify a savior and insist that others follow. Those who fail to fall in line become the sinners. Stay away from the sinners, you see, because they will be a bad influence.

“I want something more than that. I will not settle for sentiment. I require sufficient justification. Take the sentiment out and I might actually sit down and hear the appeal. Until then, best of luck to you.”

2. It is backward

“Dude, religion is from the past. It was for when people did not know any better. They made up these stories about the sun and the moon. Some hero devouring a monster in the sky. An elephant figure writing a book. A monkey holding a mountain in his hands.

“Not to mention some of the vastly outdated rituals and procedures. The arranged marriage system. Sitting on the floor and painting a coconut. Lighting stuff on fire and repeating words in the Sanskrit language.

“No one even speaks Sanskrit anymore. Mankind has evolved. Thankfully, we are at a better place. We don’t need religion anymore. We have other ways to understand the universe. There is no point in going backwards. Let go of the past already. Please. Do it for me.”

The concepts of life and death, a manifest world in which we live, a superior controlling force, an origin to everything, the influence of time, and the positive and negative consequences to work have applicability in any period of time.

These concepts are not dependent on the chosen savior or the sacred text of choice. They are relevant topics for discussion whether people get their news from a printed collection of papers or through a notification on their smartphone device.

[smartphone notifications]In spite of rejecting everything they deem to be inferior due to sentiment or the significant length of time to the tradition when travelling in reverse, there is still inquisitiveness about the origin. A person can inquire into this concept, since they see that everything has an origin. Nothing manifests on its own. There is always an initial cause.

अदृष्टगुणदोषाणामध्रुवाणां तु कर्मणाम्
नान्तरेण क्रियां तेषां फलमिष्टं प्रवर्तते

adṛṣṭaguṇadoṣāṇāmadhruvāṇāṃ tu karmaṇām
nāntareṇa kriyāṃ teṣāṃ phalamiṣṭaṃ pravartate

“Unseen and indefinite are the good and bad reactions of fruitive work. And without taking action, the desired fruits of such work cannot manifest.” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 66.17)

Even if relying entirely on modern science, with its supposed foundation of observation and experiment, where both take place in an honest manner, there is no explanation of the origin. If there is evolution of the species, what is the exact mechanism that triggers the supposed adaptation? Why does the adaptation only take place in a subset of the species? How exactly does a species grow an extra hand or a leg, but only in a future generation?

It may seem primitive or out of mythology to hear the explanation from the Vedas, but at least there is an explanation. Something is controlling the intelligence within nature, with the predictable patterns of the weather and the positioning of the sun. With the Vedas there is acknowledgment of a single source. That source can be the foundation of the entire discipline. An intelligent being, applying work in an intelligent manner, intelligently placing other living beings to interact with the products of that work, with intelligence tied to the purpose of that work.

From my own existence, to that of my parents, to my grandparents, climbing up the tree of ancestry to forefathers, eventually reaching Lord Brahma, to finding Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since He is the origin of everything, He is the original cause. He is the cause of all causes, sarva-karana-karanam.

अहम् एवासम् एवाग्रे
नान्यद् यत् सद्-असत् परम्
पश्चाद् अहं यद् एतच् च
यो ऽवशिष्येत सो ऽस्म्य् अहम्

aham evāsam evāgre
nānyad yat sad-asat param
paścād ahaṁ yad etac ca
yo ‘vaśiṣyeta so ‘smy aham

“Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.33)

If a person rejects Vishnu or Krishna because of the apparent sentiment tied to the appeal for following, they can at least study the mechanisms clearly stipulated in the cause of the creation. The living being, the material nature, the force of time, fruitive activity, and the one force superior to it all. These concepts can be studied for an entire lifetime.

[Shri Krishna]A person can bring all of their questions with them. In applying intelligence, they can reach the depths of the ability, even going beyond what they thought they were capable of. In the end, they will reach the original, seed-giving father, who is kind enough to clear up any doubts we may have about the universe in which we live.

In Closing:

Because of sentiment rejected,
Something better expected.

Uncertainty not attacking,
Religion an explanation lacking.

Except Vedas with much to say,
For universe and how making the day.

Time, changing bodies, and activity too,
Our reason for living and the future into.

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