Uncommon Wisdom




This book discusses some fundamental differences between Abrahamic religions and Vedic philosophy with regard to their views about religion and God. God in Abrahamic religions is a controller of nature, and this control appears to be different from the kind of order discovered by science. God in Vedic philosophy is the most primordial idea from which all other ideas are created, and this view indicates a view of matter in which material objects are representations of ideas. The difference between the two notions of God can be illustrated by an example—God in Abrahamic religions is like the driver of a car, whereas God in Vedic philosophy is like the concept of a car from which a car is created.

The car and its driver have very little similarity and it is very hard to determine the nature of the driver from the study of the car. Conversely, the individual car and the concept of the car have a far greater similarity and the study of the car can reveal the nature of the underlying concept. Accordingly, the conflict between science and religion seems much greater in Abrahamic religions than in Vedic philosophy. However, to understand the Vedic view, matter has to be described as representations or symbols of meanings, rather than meaningless things to which we give meanings. This in turn entails a revision to the dogmas about matter, space-time, and causality in science. The book argues that when such revisions have occurred, the conflict between religion and science would not exist.

The book shows that revisions to the ideology of matter, space-time, and causality are entailed even by the fundamental problems of indeterminism, incompleteness, and incomputability in science. It traces the genesis of these problems to the physical and non-semantic treatment of matter and shows how the problems are addressed when the theory of matter is revised to incorporate meanings.

That brings us to the central theme of the book—the critique of atheism. The book critiques the foundations of atheism both in the context of present science as well as in light of the semantic view. It shows why some of the fundamental ideas underlying atheism—namely, reductionism, materialism, determinism, evolutionism, and relativism, are false. The book argues that problems in modern science point towards a new view of nature that exists not as individual objects in a linear space-time but as multiple tiers of hierarchically more abstract concepts. This view of nature is called the hierarchical space-time view in which locations in space and time are not of the same type. Rather, some locations are more abstract than others, and the universe is structured like a tree rather than as a field.

The conflict between religion and science, in this view, is based on a flawed understanding of how reason and experiment are used to acquire knowledge. The book describes how reason and experiment can be used in two ways—discovery and verification—and while the nature of truth can never be discovered by reason and experiment, it can be verified in this way. This results in an epistemology in which truth is discovered via faith, but it is verified by reason and experiment.