How To Debate a Skeptic?

The following is an expanded version of the response I sent to someone after watching his debate with a Skeptic/Atheist. I had posted a critique of his approach on that video, which I have since deleted because I don’t want to be polemical about the efforts of people trying to do something. They are certainly to be lauded for their courage, conviction, and desire to spread Vedic knowledge. However, I see that they lose the debates due to lack of preparation, and create the impression about Vedic philosophy being just as indefensible as Christianity. There may be live conversations that follow, in which I will lay out this approach. Since that can take time, I wanted to summarize the argument, for anyone who might be interested in it.

The Problem of Realism

Skepticism was started by Descartes. He begins his argument by doubting everything and says that he could be hallucinating about the world. After claiming that nothing is certain, he says: I can doubt everything, but not my own existence, and concludes: “I think therefore I exist”. By this, he establishes his own existence. But he now has to establish the existence of the world.

To do that, he invokes an Ontological Argument about the existence of God, stating that because God is benevolent, therefore, He will not cheat me. Thus, whatever I’m experiencing cannot be a hallucination, and hence there must be an external reality. Note how Descartes cleverly uses the existence of God to establish the reality of the external world. If you remove God, then you get no world. No world means no society, no science, no discussion. End of story.

This is the only argument in Western philosophy that establishes Realism, and it depends on God. You take out God, and you end up with nothing other than yourself, a.k.a. Solipsism. But there can be no argument without Realism.

Skeptics rely on the science that followed, but they take out God, and talk about material objects, without prior establishing Realism or even the existence of the world. So, if you argue with an Atheist/Skeptic, start from the Cartesian problem: “I exist, but how do I know that the world exists?” Without Realism, there is nothing more to be said, because whatever debate a person is having is simply voices in their head that have no real-world implication.

The Solution to the Problem of Realism

Factually, the Cartesian claim that the world is real because God is benevolent fails due to the problem of suffering. People leave religion because they realize that God is not benevolent to them. That, however, also implies that there can be no world, which is incorrect. Hence, we need another argument for Realism. That argument is based on the existence of a conscious will.

What is the conscious will? It is the ability to control the world based on our desire. If you can control the world, then you have a will. Otherwise, not; you are helplessly bumbling from one experience to another, with no power to change the future experiences. But all of us have free will, and we can use it to control parts of the world. We, however, control it to varying extents.

For example, you can perceive some sensations, like shape, size, distance, color, etc. Those sensations are grouped into objects using concepts, such as a body. After this grouping, we associate an identity with them, distinguishing these sensations and concepts as “other body” and “my body”. In the same way, we also employ notions like “my thoughts”, “my feelings”, etc.

What is the basis of calling something my body instead of someone else’s body? Isn’t it true that they are both sensations in my experience? The answer is that I can control some sensations more than others. Those which I can control better, constitute my body. The rest constitute another body. Similarly, I can control my mind more than my body (e.g., I can control my anger much better than digestion or blood circulation). Therefore, my body is more me, than the other body. Likewise, my mind is more me than my body. By the ability to control things to varying levels of success, we distinguish between “me” and “other”, and between “mind” and “body”. By employing the same principle, the self is distinguished from both mind and body.

One might argue that we can touch our body and that creates new sensations while touching the other body doesn’t create sensations in me. But, doesn’t it? When you touch another body, and that body moves, don’t you have a change in some sensation? It may be the sight sensation and not the touch sensation, but the same will be true of prosthetic hands attached to your body. Wouldn’t it be wise to say that the world is simply a prosthetic attached to me?

The conclusion is that the prosthetic is a part of my body when I can control it. If I cannot control something fully, like a machine, then it is not part of my body. This control always requires will, by which we establish the distinction between my and other bodies. By that same will, we distinguish between my body and my mind. It follows that other bodies, my body, and my mind, are all distinct from me because I can control them to varying levels.

That distinction between me and my mind, my body, other bodies is Realism—i.e., that there is something separate from me, which we can call the “world” apart from my will. Like Descartes used God to establish Realism, we are using free will to establish Realism. The difference is simply that I don’t need an Ontological Argument to establish God’s existence prior.

Now, there are skeptics who say that free will doesn’t exist. Even the belief that I am in control of my body or mind is a sensation, caused by the body-brain chemicals. But how do you know that chemicals exist? Isn’t it the case that what you call chemicals are just your perceptions, which would also be hallucinations unless you establish Realism? Your talk about chemicals assumes Realism, which you are yet to establish. So, go back to the drawing board, and start by establishing Realism before you talk of chemicals.

You see, Skepticism is a double-edged sword. Just as it can be used to question the existence of God and soul, in the same way, it can be used to question the world’s existence. We cannot be selectively skeptical. The Skeptic has to establish the reality of the world, just as the believers are required to establish the reality of the soul and God. The problem is that you cannot. You can only establish your existence conclusively, and construct a Realism from that. It means that you are by definition separate from the world.

People struggle so much in trying to establish the soul’s existence. But they don’t have to. Just turn around the problem of Skepticism back to the Skeptic, and ask him: How do you know that the world exists? The very argument that establishes the reality of the world will establish the reality of the soul, and the separation between the world and the soul. That is a start.

The Problem of Ontology

Once we establish Realism, then the next question arises: How many kinds of realities are there? One, two, three, infinite? For the last 2500 years, there has been a talk about two kinds of things in Western philosophy. It was form vs. substance in the beginning, then it was other-world vs. this-world, then it was soul vs. matter, then it was mind vs. body, then it was religion vs. science, and then it became reason vs. sensation. There are literally infinite formulations of this dualism, and they are all problematic. The problem is always in explaining how they can interact. So, if someone wants to be a dualist—like Descartes was—then they have to establish an unproblematic dualism first.

Skeptics, who rely on science, are also dualists—they use the dualism between matter and mathematics. Mathematics was the Platonic world of forms, and there have been failed attempts to reduce this to logic and set theory. But even logic and set theory are not matter, because you cannot see, taste, touch, smell, or hear logic and set theory. The standard problem of this dualism is interaction. How does mathematics interact with matter? The argument against Cartesian dualism still applies: At whatever point mathematics interacts with matter, it becomes matter (or vice versa). Therefore, if you want to solve the problem of dualism, then you return to monism, which most likely will be mathematical monism—i.e., there is no matter; there is only mathematics. You are some mathematics, and the world is some mathematics.

However, this monism doesn’t work because mathematics has to be computed. Just saying that the world is mathematical laws doesn’t solve the problem, because you have to calculate, which in current mathematics requires a computer of some material realization, which must be governed by another mathematics, which needs a computer, and so on, ad infinitum. In fact, we can show that the successive computers must be N2 larger such that for a universe to exist, there must be infinite universes that are successively N2 larger.

As a result, even mathematical monism doesn’t work. Matter-mathematics dualism also doesn’t work. Hence, there is no basis for saying that there is a mathematical universe. The only way you can establish mathematical monism is if you have self-computing mathematics. But that has never been done.

Now, we have rejected mind-body dualism, matter-mathematics dualism, and mathematical monism. We have established that monism works only when there is self-action, which is a perpetual motion system, that doesn’t need anything other than itself to change. This constrains the ontology.

The Solution to the Problem of Ontology

This is where we return to the realism of consciousness. We have already demonstrated that to establish Realism you need a will. So, there is at least something called will, that must constitute one of the ontologies. We have also rejected all forms of dualism. Therefore, there is only one thing, and it must be will. This means that the body, mind, and other things in the world are also will—not matter, not mathematics. This will is self-computing, self-perpetuating, and requires nothing other than itself for its existence.

At this juncture, the questions will come not from Skeptics but from believers! They will say: We need soul-matter dualism and God-soul dualism. All this is an effect of Christianity, where such dualisms exist. Vedic philosophy, however, is not ontologically dualist. There is only one kind of thing—consciousness. Pluralism is used in Vedic philosophy to distinguish between different kinds of consciousness, but that is not ontological dualism like mind vs. body, or soul vs. matter. Everything is consciousness, however, there are many kinds of consciousness. Many people today equate Vedic matter-soul distinction to Cartesian ontological dualism which is incorrect because they can never solve the soul-matter interaction problem. This will be derided by the Skeptic as being superfluous and would fail to impress.

Because there is ontological monism, therefore, we can put 2,500 years of dualistic debates in Western philosophy into the grave. The science-religion and mind-body dualism are ready for burial. Then we understand different kinds of consciousness and construct variety from this monism.

Form-Substance Identity

Ontological monism is not Impersonalism, because the form, nature, or type of consciousness is inseparable from consciousness. Thereby, there is no substance-form dualism as used in Greek philosophy. Factually, Impersonalism is a dualism between consciousness and form, which are called Brahman and māyā, but we reject that dualism, just like all other dualisms. This dualism is quite like the mind-body dualism of Descartes, and it has to be rejected like those dualisms. It claims that matter is inert—i.e., not a consciousness—drawing a false distinction, and then struggles with that distinction like numerous forms of dualisms have struggled elsewhere.

The end of these dualisms entails the end of substance-form distinction too. There isn’t a plenum called substance divided by forms as in Greek philosophy or consciousness divided by the forms of māyā as in Impersonalism. Rather, there is just form, which is also individual consciousness.

In substance-form dualism, a substance has a form. But in substance-form identity, a substance is a form. Thereby, we don’t need the word “substance” because the word “form” is sufficient. The use of a single word to describe everything—i.e., form—constitutes monism. However, since there is an infinite number of forms, therefore, there is ontological pluralism, in which a different thing is also a different form. A consciousness of a different form is a different kind of consciousness. In everyday parlance, every person is a different kind of person, and while no two persons are completely alike, they are all persons. Since they are all persons, hence, there is ontological monism. But since they are different kinds of persons, therefore, there is pluralism.

The Whole-Part Doctrine

The next question arises: What is the origin of all these forms, consciousness, persons? And the answer is that there is a whole form, person, and consciousness, and all other forms, persons, or consciousness are its parts. Thereby, we get a new kind of monism in which there is a single source, which is the whole, but it has many parts, which are the plurality. You could talk about the dualism of whole and part, but that will not be contrary to monism or pluralism. Therefore, the ideologies of monism, dualism, and pluralism can all be true simultaneously, reconciled, putting all debates about whether reality is of one kind, two kinds, or many kinds to an end.

The next question is: What is whole and what is a part? There have been two kinds of answers to this question. The first answer is based on substance thinking, which leads to quantity science. In this, the whole reduces to the parts, as you divide the substance into smaller and smaller parts. However, you still don’t get rid of dualism! Dualism now appears in the form of substance and mathematics. Mathematics is the Platonic world, and substance is this world. Mathematics is rational, and substance is empirical. Mathematics is in the mind, and substance is the body. So, when you go down the substance path, you still get dualism and all its problems.

We reject this dualism, and we derive a whole-part doctrine based on form alone. There is simply no substance, there is only form. There is a whole form, and there are partial forms. This is the second answer to the whole-part question. We certainly know that the substance doctrine is problematic, but we have to still establish that the form doctrine is not.

To establish that, we ask: What is form? Is it like a geometrical shape? Is it something abstract like a number that nobody can perceive or even imagine (as pure form)? Or, is it like quality forms such as beauty, justice, morality, righteousness, happiness, table, color, yellow, and so on?

All quantity forms—e.g., numbers or things like geometry derived from it—have been comprehensively shown to be problematic due to numerous problems in reduction, set theory paradoxes, and ultimately, Gödel’s Incompleteness. Therefore, if you insist that there is no substance, and there is only form, but that form is quantitative mathematics, then all resulting conclusions will be incomplete—i.e., you cannot derive, prove, or know all the forms. We have already shown why mathematical monism is flawed because mathematics is not self-computing. At a deeper level, these two problems—i.e., the absence of self-computation and the absence of completeness—are related, but establishing that connection is not essential. It is only essential to establish that mathematical monism is problematic and to reject it.

We can explain why mathematics is incomplete if we accept that reality is qualities rather than quantities. In short, there are forms, but they are qualitative rather than quantitative forms. We cannot reduce quality forms to quantity forms, which is why mathematics is incomplete. Likewise, if the world is quality forms, then all mathematical theories will be incomplete. If we insert more forms to complete the theory, then we will also get contradictions. This is the analysis of scientific theories that connects the theory’s incompleteness to the use of quantitative properties.

As a result, we now come to the alternative idea that form is quality. This quality system of forms is complete, but it breaks binary logic. For example, the quality color is separate from the quality yellow, but also present within the quality yellow. Thereby, yellow is a color, but the color is not yellow. Gödel’s tradeoff between consistency and completeness has been interpreted as the idea that mathematics is incomplete. But we can rephrase it as inconsistency, if we reject the binary system of logic, and establish a new kind of logic based on qualities. Now, everything can be form, whole and part forms, and the system is complete, but it uses a non-binary logic.

Why Theology Includes Everything

The whole-part doctrine establishes a hierarchy of partial wholes created from a complete whole, like an inverted tree. The root is the complete whole, and it can be called “God”, while there are many partial wholes with even smaller parts. The material existence, for instance, is a partial whole, and it comprises many smaller universes. These partial wholes are also persons, and the parts within them are the experiences of those persons. For instance, the entire material existence is a person, and the universes within it are parts of the conscious experience of that person. Then, each universe in the material existence is a person, and the different planets in them are parts of the conscious experiences of that person. Thereby, there is a hierarchy of control, because the conscious experience is controlled by the will of the person who creates the experience. Due to this hierarchy of control, there is recognition of many partial forms of God, alongside the complete form of God.

The partial forms of God are parts of the complete form. Hence, there is no contradiction between monotheism and polytheism, because the many forms are part of one form. Likewise, in one sense, the person who creates and controls their experience is separate from the experience, hence it can be called deism. Since the personality of the person pervades within their experience, therefore, we can call it pantheism. Since everything is within some consciousness, therefore, we can use the term panentheism. We have already spoken of ontological monism. Effectively, all this categorical nomenclature is at once true, and not the whole truth.

People often like to use one-word summaries like monotheism, polytheism, monism, pantheism, panentheism, deism, and so on, although these words have never existed in India. The fact is that all these words can be simultaneously applied to the Vedic doctrine while the single word summary of the Vedas is Bhedābheda, or difference and non-difference.

The problem is that people haven’t adopted the word by which the Vedas describe themselves, and instead relied on their own categories. In some sense, they are all true. But because the other positions are also true, therefore, people falsely claim that Vedic thought is contradictory. This is the result of trying to force Vedic philosophy into Western terminology, failing to fit it into one of those categories, and concluding that it must be contradictory because these categorical distinctions are mutually opposed in Western terminology. All such accusations are false and ignorant. The Vedic system is neither monotheism, polytheism, monism, pantheism, panentheism, deism, and yet, it can be called all of them. The Vedic system is Bhedābheda. But people are unable to stop looking at Vedic philosophy using Western lenses.

That lens is of fragmentation, contradictions, conflicts, and temporal evolution that moves their boundaries. It manifests in the fragmentation of knowledge into numerous departments. People pride themselves on having fragmented knowledge into many divisions and call that a “systematic approach” to the study of reality. They are confused when such divisions don’t exist in Vedic thinking because each book deals with nearly all the subjects.

The reason for this is that the universe is the conscious experience of a person, therefore, there is no difference between cosmology, theology, and psychology—theology pertains to who the person is and what their nature is, psychology pertains to why and how the person creates their experience and cosmology to when and where their personality manifests into a certain type of experience. Since the will of the person appears as the order in the experience, hence, natural laws—what people at the present study in physics and chemistry—are a part of theology. Essentially, every subject reduces to theology. We can still have subjects that deal with the body and mind, society and economics, cosmic space and time, but they are partial subjects, and can never be grasped without theology. Conversely, if we understand the complete theology, then we have grasped everything else. Hence, there is a broad claim that simply knowing the nature of God is also knowing everything else.

God means the Whole Truth, from which everything has manifested as a part. Matter means one of the larger parts. And the soul means the smallest part. Soul-matter, soul-God, and God-matter interactions are between wholes and parts. Even matter-matter interaction is between wholes and parts. Therefore, one can study any one of these interactions, and you understand all of them. A religious person can understand soul-God interaction, and that suffices to do science. And a scientist can understand matter-matter interaction, and it suffices to understand religion. That doesn’t reduce one type of interaction to another, but it helps us describe all interactions in the same way.

The System of Qualities

Now we have established a few things: (a) there is just form (no substance), (b) form can only be qualities (because quantity forms lead to incompleteness), (c) that form is consciousness, and (d) there are whole and part consciousness. The result is that we can say that there are many forms of consciousness, which are qualitatively different and which are whole and part.

In simple words, the whole is a qualitatively different form of consciousness than the part. You can call that whole consciousness God, but we prefer to use the term Complete Person, Complete Truth, or the Whole Truth. The parts of this Complete Person are aspects of the whole. Why aspects? Because we are using a quality system, in which every part is an aspect of the whole.

For example, if a person is a father, citizen, and employee, then fatherhood, citizenship, and employment are parts and aspects of the person. Aspect means that we cannot separate fatherhood from citizenship from employment. Your love for your child affects your love for your job, which affects your love for your country. You cannot separate these types of love, so they are in one sense, embedded in each other, and yet, they are distinct forms of love. That is Bhedābheda. Similarly, if a person is a poet, musician, artist, and philosopher, then those who are just poets, musicians, artists, or philosophers, are also different kinds of poets, musicians, artists, and philosophers because they don’t have the other attributes. For the person who has all these aspects, their music affects their poetry, their poetry affects their philosophy, and their philosophy affects their art. Therefore, we cannot separate them, and we cannot merge them. That is Bhedābheda. It naturally arises in a system of qualities, and it leads to non-binary logic because the mutual exclusion between separate and non-separate disappears. This is not based on faith. It is accessible to everyone if we can grasp qualities.

In the same way, each soul is a part of God, and an aspect of God. Aspect simply means that the soul has some qualities of God, but not all of God’s qualities. Likewise, matter is a part of God, and an aspect of God, which means that it has some of God’s qualities, but not all of God’s qualities.

Then the next question arises: How do we know all the qualities and the parts of those qualities? And the answer is: We have to analyze the nature of consciousness and understand its aspects, which are also its parts. All these qualities are grouped into three broad categories called sat, chit, and ānanda, or relation, cognition, and emotion. The cognition is further divided into sensations and actions. All these appear in the descriptions of the self.

For example, the emotional qualities describe the self as “I am happy”, “I am angry”, “I am sad”, “I am afraid”, “I am jealous”, etc. The relational qualities describe the self as “I am a father”, “I am an employee”, “I am a citizen”, “I am a husband”, “I am a brother”, etc. Finally, the cognitive qualities describe the self as sensations like “I am tall”, “I am white”, “I am fat”, “I am pretty”, etc. and actions like “I am walking”, “I am talking”, “I am writing”, “I am cooking”, etc.

This is, again, not faith. You can take all the “I am X” sentences, and you can classify them into three classes (the third class is further divided into the classes of sensation and action). In some cases, it is possible that the quality of one class combines the qualities from one or more other classes, in which case “I am X” can be broken down into “I am Y” and “I am Z”. Since everyone uses these sentences, therefore, everyone can understand these qualities. They are all qualities of conscious experience, which describe varieties of experiences, and the world in terms of qualities instead of quantities.

Each of these three categories subdivides, separates, combines, and merges. Experience is nothing but the process of dividing, separating, combining, and merging. Thereby, there is just one thing—God—which is dividing from itself, separating from itself, uniting with itself, and merging into itself. This process of dividing, separating, uniting, and merging is the beginning of science. In this science, there is a study of quality dynamics, however, it is the dynamics of consciousness, or how qualities divide, separate, combine, and merge.

The Nature of Reason and Experience

Based on these dynamics, we define the nature of reason and experience. What is reasoning? It is how the whole thing divides into parts progressively to construct an inverted tree. The root is the premise, and the conclusion is the branch emanating out of the root, which becomes the new premise, and then produces a new twig. In short, rationality is an infinite tree of trunks, branches, twigs, and leaves, while the root is the fundamental premise from which everything emanates. What is experience? It is also how the original premise divides into parts, like a branch emanating from a root.

Every reasoning is also an experience, and every experience is also rational. Thereby, there is no need for faith, belief, and all that nonsense that goes on endlessly in religion. The equivalence of all experience and rationality means that reason can be applied to every single experience, including mental, intellectual, emotional, intentional experiences, not just sense experiences.

However, all this reason and experience is simply the dynamics of consciousness. Even if we are talking about the dynamics in matter, we are still talking about the dynamics of consciousness, namely, how the various qualities of consciousness divide, separate, combine, and merge.

Once we have established the equivalence of reasoning and experience (which cannot be done in quantity arithmetic due to incompleteness or inconsistency), then we can state a simple epistemological fact based on our ontology: Everything is knowable by reason and observation. Before we do a rational-empirical science, we must establish that the world is knowable by reason and observation! Modern science has never done that. The Enlightenment project of trying to know the world by reasoning and observation is just a hypothesis, which has failed because the ontology was wrong. Even to fulfill the Enlightenment project of knowing everything by reasoning and experience, we have to change the ontology. If the ontology is changed to qualities, then the Enlightenment project is feasible.

In simple words, every random ontology doesn’t lead to a complete epistemology. Specifically, if your conception of reality is quantitative, then the consequence is that you cannot know everything. The requirement to know everything based on reason and experience fixes the ontology to something completely contrary to modern science: (a) it has to be consciousness-based ontology, and (b) it has to be based on qualities rather than quantities. So, we have a simple choice: Stay with mathematical materialism and its incompleteness and contradictions, or change your ontology to qualities of consciousness in case you want to know everything.

The Nature of Space and Time

The simple project of fixing the ontology to that which leads to a complete epistemology gives us everything else needed for science. For example, what is space? It is all the possible divisions of the whole into parts. Space is like an inverted tree, in which different locations are derived from an origin by a rational process, just like conclusions are derived from premises. This space is like a domain of sentences, in which one sentence has been derived from another sentence. We can call it a semantic space, just to distinguish it from the space used in modern science. What is experience? It is the movement of the soul in space, that involves jumping from one quality to another.

What is time? It is the succession of the states of conscious experience, as well as the divisions, separations, combinations, and mergers of the parts within the whole. In short, even though everything can be derived from an original premise, it isn’t always derived. That derivation is a real-time process, which means it can sometimes exist, and sometimes not. Even when it doesn’t exist, it is still eternally true, although not an eternal fact. Thus, there is a distinction between truths and facts (truths are eternal, facts are temporal).

What is causality? It is the rational explanation of this succession of facts, or how they appear and disappear, which is also observable because reasoning and observation follow an identical process (no mind vs. body, this world vs. another world, mathematics vs. matter, reason vs. observation).

The process of the evolution of matter is also the process of thought. You don’t have to always observe the world to know the process of change. You can simply study the process of evolution of ideas, how one idea emerges from another idea, how ideas evolve to achieve greater coherence, and yet, they remain contradictory until that coherence is attained.

Thereby, if you like, you can observe the world. But how much of the world can you observe? We recommend introspection to do science. Why? Because the process of thought evolution is identical to the process of world evolution. You understand the science of thought evolution, and that is also the science of societal evolution, economic evolution, cultural evolution, cosmic evolution, biological evolution, and every other type of material evolution conceivable. The method of introspection is free. You don’t need a laboratory because you are the laboratory. You don’t need instruments, because your body and mind are the instruments. You don’t need experiments, because your mind is already doing all the experiments, even without your control. Our attempts are simply to slow down those processes and understand them.

Thereby, what you call space and time is just like your mind. Thoughts pop out and separate. Then thoughts pop in and merge. This popping in and out is science. The thing from which it pops out is called space, which is also the thing into which it pops back in. And the succession of this pop-out and pop-in is time. Introspect and you can know everything automatically.

However, if you have a problem in this introspection, and would like some assistance, then you can read Vedic scriptures. They explain the same thing. But you don’t need to read scriptures if you can introspect, and understand everything by understanding yourself. The knowledge gained by scriptures is also gained by reason, observation, and introspection. You can choose whatever method you like, but if one method is hard, then use another.

The Laws of Nature

If you can do this, then you will arrive at the law of evolution of experience. That law is nothing other than rationality which involves three criteria called truth, right, and good, which are nothing but the three aspects of consciousness, based on the three kinds of qualities. The emotional aspect is the basis of the judgment of good and bad. The cognitive aspect is the basis of the judgment of true and false. And the relational aspect is the basis of right and wrong. Rationality means using the criteria of truth, right, and good.

This rationality involves a three-step process of the premise, question, and conclusion. It is then judged by the criteria of truth, right, and good. In essence, you are free to use any premise, ask any question, and arrive at any conclusion. These are your choices. However, the law of nature is that the choices are judged—i.e., whether the premise, question, and conclusion are true, right, and good. Thereby, the succession of the premise, question, and conclusion is both free and lawful. It is free because you can use false, wrong, and bad premises, questions, and conclusions. But if you do so, then the law of nature assigns responsibility to your choices, which then shapes the types of premises, questions, and conclusions you can arrive at in the future.

There is no contradiction between choice and laws, or free will and determinism because those contradictions are the byproducts of the mind vs. body (or soul vs. matter) dualism, which we have already rejected.

We call this system of rationality or reasoning dharma, but you can also call it the “law of nature”. People have falsely equated dharma to religion, religion to mythology, and mythology to imaginary faith-based doctrines because that’s what has been going on in the West. But we reject all those ideas. For us, faith-based religion is not dharma because dharma is the law of nature. It is also the law of rationality, or how the succession of the premise, question, and conclusion is judged. The judicial system is not God-given commandments, and God is not the judge or jury for our individual actions as in Abrahamic religions. That judgment of whether the premise-question-conclusion process is true, right, and good is the natural law. This natural law is self-justified, because rationality about truth, right, and good is self-justified.

The soul is producing the succession of premises, questions, and conclusions, and material nature is judging this succession to determine whether it is true, right, and good. The judgment produces a consequence using a law of nature that forces experience upon the soul that will compel it to choose better premises, ask better questions, and arrive at better conclusions.

For example, if you tell a lie, you have done something wrong, and the outcome will be bad. That bad outcome is called karma. But the dharma-karma business is nothing other than the laws of rationality, which means how you judge a succession of events (premise, question, and answer) to produce the next set of events (premise, question, and answer). This system of reasoning, also known as dharma, is very complex because the principles of rationality are very complex. It is a system that progressively and naturally leads us to the truth, right, and good. Nature is therefore purposeful because it leads the soul to truth, right, and good. It is not always benevolent, because the false, wrong, and bad have to be punished. But that punishment, because it is purpose-driven toward the truth, right, and good, is not evil.

The Problem of Evil

Western epistemology and ontology end with the question of what exists, or what is true. Since Greek times, these questions have been separated from the question of good and right, or aesthetics and ethics, which means that Western rationality has never even tried to integrate the questions of truth, right, and good. Aristotle is primarily responsible for this separation because he distinguished between matters of reality and matters of personal choice like good and right which had to be decided by democracy. Romans overturned democracy, relying on Christianity to answer the questions of right and good. However, since Romans relied on Greek philosophy, they could never solve this problem. Thereby, it appears in Abrahamic religions as the problem of evil. If God exists, is He good? If God exists, is He just?

The problem of evil doesn’t exist in Vedic philosophy, because even as nature punishes, it is (a) rational, and (b) meant to take the soul toward truth, right, and good. If nature rewards, that is good for you. If nature punishes, it is bad for you. In both cases, nature is just like a good mother, trying to correct the foolish child. Christianity transformed bad into evil but we reject that modification. It is good vs. bad, not good vs. evil. A bad action deserves a bad result, and a good action deserves a good result. Neither result is evil. Instead, one who delivers such justice to correct the faults is always good.

The problem of suffering requires a distinction between the soul that is punished, the world that punishes it, and a benevolent God (who should not punish according to the Atheist). This problem is solved in Vedic philosophy by distinguishing between three kinds of consciousness—soul, matter, and God—such that soul and matter are parts of God’s nature, and yet, not His whole nature. Let’s examine this distinction to (a) understand the distinction between three forms of consciousness, and (b) solve the problem of suffering.

The consciousness called matter is perfectly rational and acts in its own interest. That self-interest is the primacy of rationality. The soul—which is another kind of consciousness and can be rational but is often foolish—is punished by matter for its foolishness, and rewarded by matter for its intelligence. Thereby, several problems are solved: (a) since matter is rational, hence there can be a science of matter, (b) since there is self-interest to uphold rationality, therefore, it is also consciousness with a purpose and self-interest, (c) since there is enjoyment and suffering correlated to rationality and foolishness, therefore, there is a purpose in nature to correct the soul, and (d) whatever we call suffering is the result of irrationality.

The problem of suffering is the contradiction between benevolence and rationality. Reason demands that foolishness must be punished, and benevolence demands that it must be tolerated. However, if foolishness is tolerated, then benevolence is abused. Therefore, benevolence has its limits, and that limit is called the problem of suffering because foolishness has to be punished, to correct it, such that punishment for correction is also benevolence although to the foolish person it appears to be evil.

God, the complete form, is all aspects—(a) foolishness and intelligence, (b) benevolence and adamance, and (c) self-interest and selflessness. However, these qualities divide into two groups—the “good” group of intelligence, reward, and selflessness, and the “bad” group of foolishness, punishment, and selfishness. These two groups are called the inner and outer nature of God. The inner nature, or the thing that God is more, is the good group. But the outer nature, or the thing that God is less, is the bad group. The soul can be either in the inner or the outer nature, hence it is described as the marginal nature. Thereby, we cannot say that God is only good. We have to say that God is also bad. However, good and bad are simply aspects of His persona. He shows His good side to the good soul and the bad side to the bad soul.

Thereby, tit-for-tat is a general principle, that governs both good and bad. But good and bad are simply aspects of God, with the good part being primary (inner nature) and the bad part being secondary (outer nature).

Now, the Skeptic can say that all these things are coming from scripture, which is true. But does the Skeptic have a better solution to the problem of suffering? Can he say that nature is not just true, but also right and good? Can he reconcile benevolence with rationality, which is all-important in the establishment of social laws, rules, and regulations? If not, the Skeptic’s arguments are themselves begging questions that are not merely religious, but also the questions about a good human nature, and a good society.

The religious answers need not be taken from religion; they can also be based on questions of good and bad, as they exist in human nature, and in society. In short, after doing ontology, which we call some truth, we have to ask: What makes this ontology righteous and good? If ontology doesn’t establish that, then ethics and aesthetics can never be legitimate questions.

Skepticism is useless if limited to the questions of truth, and not extended to right and good. If we say that nature has no purpose (good or bad) and it has no morality (right or wrong), and humans are just like nature, then the inevitable conclusion must be that although we exist, we cannot be good or bad, right or wrong. Then, how will we get a righteous and good society? Any attempt to derive morality and goodness from the truth can never work because both wrongs and suffering can exist. Since science restricts itself to what exists, it can never distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad, because they all exist. Thereby, we can never say that matter lacks morality and purpose, that we are matter, but we have morality and purpose.

This is clearly where Skepticism fails but the rationality that begins from the self still works because it is extended to the truth, right, and good based on the nature of the self. Due to ontological monism, it is then also extended to nature, which means that nature not just exists, but is also right and good if we are right and good (based on the tit-for-tat principle of rationality). Meanwhile, Skepticism only tries to find what exists, but cannot establish the truth that is also right and good. When its conclusions are extended to humans, then humans also cannot be right and good, because nature isn’t.

Multiple Forms of God and Soul

The solution to the problem of suffering serves to illustrate three kinds of consciousness—God, matter, and soul. The first is all the qualities, with primacy to some qualities over others. The second is the primacy of the qualities of intelligence, adamance, and self-interest, making benevolence, foolishness, and selflessness secondary. The third (in the material world) is the primacy of foolishness, adamance, and self-interest making intelligence, benevolence, and selflessness secondary. Thereby, both matter and soul are adamant and self-interested. The difference is simply that the former is intelligent while the latter is foolish. Thereby, we are compelled to assign so much importance to rationality while existing in this world.

That primacy disappears if we enter God’s primary world, where benevolence, selflessness, and foolishness dominate. Thereby, God can be a fool in selfless love, where He is no longer adamant and doesn’t act intelligent or self-interested. He can be benevolent toward the intelligent. And He can be adamant and self-interested in the material world. Hence, there are many forms of God, which prioritize some of His qualities over others. Those forms are the same person, who behaves differently in different contexts. They are eternally part of His nature, and yet, they are manifest in different situations.

Likewise, the soul also changes its forms as it evolves from the triad of foolishness, selfishness, and adamance, to the triad of intelligence, selfishness, and adamance, to the triad of intelligence, selflessness, and benevolence, to the triad of foolishness, selflessness, and benevolence.

Since all these qualities are present in God, therefore, soul and matter are parts or aspects of God. Since God’s primary nature is different from the primary nature of matter and the soul, therefore, God is different from soul and matter. Since this primary nature can evolve, therefore, there are many forms of the same soul. Since the primary natures exist eternally in God therefore there are enterally many forms of God. Everything becomes crystal clear if we simply understand the science of qualities, how these qualities are dominant or subordinate. Since they are all qualities of consciousness, therefore, everything is consciousness (ontological monism), but there are varieties of consciousness (that seems like ontological plurality).

Two Systems of Blind Faith

When Vedic philosophy talks about “science” it can mean the laws of nature, which are called dharma. It can also mean the nature of the person whose experience is being studied, which can be called theology or psychology. In English (and other Western languages), dharma is translated as religion, while theology is viewed as a subject separate from science. Thus, all of Vedic philosophy is misunderstood due to mistranslations and misnomers.

Because modernity separated all these subjects, therefore, when we talk about science, people say: You are talking about religion! That’s because they cannot imagine a worldview in which there is only one subject—the scientific study of conscious experience—and everything else is a part of that science. The person who comes from a fragmented worldview likes to see everyone in terms of that fragmentation and fails to understand them. Hence, it is nearly impossible for modern-educated people to grasp the philosophy of the Vedas.

But it can be grasped if we delve into fundamental questions of realism, ontology, the problems of numerous dualisms, and solve them before we try to study any other subject. Unless that is done, (a) there is no solution to the problem of realism, (b) contradictory dualistic ontologies are employed, which don’t work, (c) the epistemology based on these dualisms is always incomplete, (d) the use of quantities to describe the world is inconsistent or incomplete, (e) there is no epistemology that justifies how the world can be known by reason and experience, and (f) people have created artificial divides between natural laws, social laws, and God’s laws, (g) everything is fragmented into numerous departments and evolving contradictory claims.

Why should we accept all these lenses to see the world? We reject everything. The Vedic system has its own system of realism, ontology, epistemology, and laws of nature based on the nature of consciousness, its qualitative aspects, and its evolution. If anyone wants, they can study it, understand it, embrace it, via books, reason, and experience. It is a non-sectarian system, based on rationality, observation, practice, and confirmation. It is accessible in this world, not just in another world. But it requires people to give up their lenses that are fragmented, contradictory, and are constantly evolving.

It is absolutely incorrect to say that science is based on reason and experience because it employs numerous blind faiths: (a) the blind faith that there is an external world, (b) the blind faith that the external world is knowable by reason and experience, (c) the blind faith that the world is uniform everywhere such that the same laws apply everywhere, (d) the blind faith that conscious experience will be explained based on a system of quantities, (e) the blind faith that nature is just the truth, while right and good have to be decided either by a vote or a religious commandment, (f) the blind faith that the natural laws and man-made laws are fundamentally distinct, and (g) that the future will always better than the past. Where is the rational and empirical foundation for all these types of blind faiths that are foisted on everyone?

All science-religion debates today are based on two different systems of blind faiths. People call one system of blind faith religion and another system of blind faith science. Both are equally blind faith and we reject both, which means Abrahamic religions just as well as modern science.

These debates obscure the fact that all fundamental ideas of modern science and society are drawn from Christian doctrines. For instance, all humans are equal in society, because they are equal in the eyes of God in Christianity. Man can experiment on animals because Genesis says that God gave man dominion over the world. Since all humans are equal, and yet animals are not equal to humans, therefore, animals have no soul. The soul is a sovereign entity, separate from God, so it can negotiate self-serving contracts with God. Even the laws of science and those of society can evolve because they are no better than God’s laws, and God’s laws are just negotiable contracts. Man’s dominion over nature means that nature is lifeless, while the soul is life. This life vs. lifeless distinction leads to mind-body dualism. The body is nothing but independent particles because the souls are also independent of each other. There is no reality to a collection because only the individual is real. Hence, there is no meaning to collective responsibility and each person needs to worry about only their self-interest. Reductionism follows from the absence of the collective in Christianity. The universe is created by the Big Bang because it was created ex nihilo in Christianity. History is reduced to a few thousand years, such that you cannot talk about cycles of time. Matter is physical and inert, so it must be studied in terms of properties that are totally unlike the qualities of experience. There is no life elsewhere in the universe because we are the chosen ones at the center of God’s attention.

But because there is no rational or empirical basis for these things, hence, they cannot be accepted by intelligent people. They have to be forced through coercion, intimidation, oppression, and fear which rationalizes the conquests, murder, theft, subjugation, and control of everyone who disagrees.

Skeptics accept 90% of the Christian dogmas: Ex nihilo creation, God’s delegation of control over nature to man resulting in man’s dominion over nature and animals, evolving laws of science, inanimate matter modeled by mathematical laws, absence of the collective, the reductionism of the whole to independent parts, indelible freedom of the individual that manifests in rights curtailed only by contractual duties, self-serving competition, and freedom to choose your truth, right, and good. But they have realized that stating all these things doesn’t really require soul and God. By the application of Occam’s Razor, we can remove the unnecessary Christian dogmas of soul and God, because the fact is that Christian dogmas were created by the Romans independent of the nature of soul and God. So, why don’t we keep the stuff that we like, and throw away the rest, because there is little to no connection between the ideas of soul and God, and the rest of science and society?

The science-religion debate is thus not about reason vs. blind faith. It is a debate about some Christian doctrines vs. other Christian doctrines. It is a Christianity vs. Christianity debate, because Christianity has so many contradictions, and it juxtaposes whatever was convenient to people at a given time, without bothering to reconcile the resulting contradictions.

Reasons for Science-Religion Debates

Marx called religion the “opiate of the masses” because Christianity fulfills a need in people to stop feeling ashamed about their failure in life since equality is guaranteed for them in heaven. Success in this life requires so much effort and competence, but going to heaven just requires faith in Jesus. This is the opium that people need to drown their shame of mediocrity.

Nietzsche criticized Christianity and argued for a will to power, which means people must be ashamed of mediocrity and strive to become Übermensch or great men. God is dead and remains dead for Nietzsche because Christianity rationalized and encouraged mediocrity. Evolutionary theory is important because it implies the survival of the fittest and rationalizes Social Darwinism so that people eschew their mediocrity out of fear of their survival.

The science-religion debates stem from the problem that religion makes people mediocre while atheism makes them competent. Stop relying on God to save you. Get up, work hard, struggle and compete, to become more competent than other people. This is the path on which Atheism sees itself as advancing modernism and Western culture to the top of the world.

The Vedic system, however, has never encouraged mediocrity. It always demanded personal upliftment, and those who reached a superior state were elevated to a higher social class such as a Brahmana or a Kshatriya, giving them greater social prestige. The others who did not uplift were lowered in social statuses, such as a Vaisya or a Sudra. Social hierarchy forced people to pursue competence. And the higher classes protected and encouraged the lower classes to rise, by giving them the methods of ascension that they can use based on their capabilities. Thereby, everyone was pushed upward, and mediocrity was socially frowned upon in the Vedic social system.

In contrast, Christianity made people equal in social status, which encourages mediocrity by obscuring it, and people take shelter of religion: God will save me. Religion becomes an opiate of the masses because people can’t stand their own failure, and religion tells them: Don’t worry, you will be saved by faith in God. Atheism is a reaction to this false certitude. However, the atheistic solution to a competent society cannot work in the long run, because human society needs superior people, unlike the animal kingdom where fear and ferocity suffices. This requires not just a grasp of philosophy, but also its practice to organize society in a classful system, guided by those who understand the nature of reality and the true laws of nature.

If anyone is interested in the Vedic system, then here is the summary of the process by which they can arrive at it: Skepticism → Realism → Ontology → Whole-Part → Quantity vs. Quality → Reason and Experience → Space and Time → Dharma or Laws of Nature → System of Social Organization.

Everything can be explained rationally and experientially. Religion doesn’t mean blind faith and is not about comforting the mediocre by washing their sins. Religion means the pursuit of the highest state of perfection, which is attained by the rarest of people. The rest can be guided by these people, and progress according to their ability. The difficulty is only that people are unable to give up their scientific and religious systems of blind faiths.

Skepticism Has No Foundation

Skepticism was started by Descartes, but as we have seen, it doesn’t take you anywhere; you can only conclude that “I exist”. You cannot even assert the reality of the external world. Descartes worked around this problem by using God’s existence. But he was a hypocrite. After using God’s existence to establish the reality of the external world, Descartes removed God from the ontology, because Cartesian ontology only has res extensa and res cogitans, no res theos. Cartesian mind-body dualism was predicated on the idea that we cannot explain qualities (called secondary properties) based on quantities (primary properties). But a new generation of hypocrites claims that they can dissolve the mind-body dualism although they cannot explain qualities based on quantities. Materialism is the result of two generations of hypocrites—(a) the first generation used God to create science and then rejected His existence, and (b) the next generation used the mind to advance science—encouraging invention, creativity, speculation, conjecture, and innovation—and then rejected its existence. Use and throw away, when you don’t need it.

There can be no intellectual respect for Skepticism because it does not lead to anything. The respect can begin only when we say that “I exist” and then understand our nature. From that understanding—e.g., that we can control some experiences more than others—we establish realism. It is not faith, like that used in the Cartesian argument to use God to establish realism, because it is confirmed by direct experience. We may not see God directly, but we perceive our existence. So, we don’t use God to establish realism; we use ourselves to establish realism, or something beyond the self.

Thereby, everything comes out of a direct experience, but it is always combined with the skepticism that we cannot know the thing beyond the self perfectly simply because it is different from us. Skepticism entails that we can know ourselves better because it is who we are. Hence, knowledge is based not just on direct experience, but skepticism about trying to understand the other thing before understanding the nature of the self. Once we give the self a primacy, then the world is always cast in the same mold as the self, rather than the self in the mold of the world. Since the self is a conscious person, therefore, matter must also be understood as a conscious person.

Then there is no room for materialism because materialism is based on blind faith: (a) there is an external world, (b) we can know the external world, (b) we must know the world before knowing the self, and (d) the self must be modeled like the external world after completely ignoring, neglecting, and rejecting all that we know about the self with certainty.

The blind faiths of Skepticism are hypocritical because Skepticism is used selectively to drive a materialistic agenda, to achieve societal superiority. The hypocrisy is that it accuses those who are skeptical about the eternal world (and inward-facing as a result) of reliance on blind faith while ignoring its own blind faiths (that lead to its outward-facing nature). The uselessness, dogmatism, and hypocrisy of Skepticism are the reasons we reject it.