Fundamental Astuteness

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Life on Other Planets: Some Logical, Christian Insight and Perspective regarding the potential for alien life

with 24 comments

Space at Large

It was not too long ago that I was engaged in a deep discussion regarding life on other planets. Is it possible that life on other planets exists? Would alien life disprove Christianity? Can a Christian believe that life exists on other planets and still have a sound biblical worldview?

The short answer to the above list of questions is: Yes, No, and Yes.

It is possible that life on other planets could exist. As Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic Magazine said on the Colbert Report “You cannot prove a negative”. You cannot prove the absence of something, unless (in my opinion, not Michael Shermer’s) the Bible specifically adresses the issue. Since the Bible does not address the issue of alien life, then in the context of Christian discussion, dogmatically asserting as a matter of religious conviction that alien life does not exist is a tough conclusion to logically come by. The fact is, we don’t know.

I suspect many Christians are leery of admitting this because they might be afraid that the existence of alien life would prove evolution right and Christianity/Creationism wrong. But in this the Christian community holds to some unfounded fears. The discovery of alien life would not disprove Christianity anymore than it would prove evolution. In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Bio-Chemist Michael Behe astutely pointed out that understanding how something works or exists now does not prove we know how that came to be the way it is. Applying that to this discussion, it is reasonable to say that even if evolutionary scientists announce the presence of alien life in a far corner of the cosmos, this does not prove that evolution was the means by which it got there. God could just as well have supernaturally created that life apart from earth according to his divine will. So Christians need not fear any negative implications regarding how their Creationist position might be affected by the discovery of alien life. They must simply be ready to say that God can choose to create life where he chooses.

It is also my contention that one can believe in the possibility of alien life and still have Biblical worldview. Some people believe that alien life is somehow anti-thetical to Christianity, but for reasons hinted at in the above paragraph, I fail to see how this is the case. The Bible says nothing about the absence of alien life, so who are we to think that it must therefore not exist? Who are we to assert that we are the “only ones out there” in the vast expanse of the Universe? If God chose to create alien life, are we to say that we are obligated to know about it? I think not. God can do as he chooses with or without our knowledge.

our-point-in-the-galaxy.jpgIn short, life on other planets would neither contradict scripture nor destroy my faith. It would neither prove evolution nor disprove creationism. Christians should be willing to wholeheartedly embrace the possibility of life on other planets, and look forward to witnessing additional ways that God has shown forth his glory and handiwork.

My contention that alien life could exist should not serve to implicate me with those who justify spending billions of dollars looking for it. While the idea of alien life might be fascinating, current problems in this world like Terrorism, Economic Recession, Gun Control, School Violence, and AIDS, all should compel us to affirm that there are, quite frankly, more important things to do here on earth than look for microbes in another galaxy.

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Written by Astuteness

March 18, 2008 at 10:08 am

24 Responses

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  1. Sound, clear, pointed treatment of the subject! I love the last sentence. 🙂 Thanks.

    KP

    March 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm

  2. Could one say that God and the angels are way more advanced than us because they existed first, came to Earth from another distant planet and decided to do an experiment but made us in their image?
    I think it fits with the whole different dimensions theory and science on the brink of possibly creating mini universes.
    I think they are here with us now laughing at what little we really understand and know about everything.

    Pat

    March 21, 2008 at 12:09 am

  3. I guess I didn’t include angels and God into the equation because I assumed they exist both within and without the physical univierse and outside our dimensions of existence.
    They probably are getting a kick about how little we know.

    David P

    March 21, 2008 at 10:18 am

  4. I believe that God will guide us through that garden of plagues you listed as He has graciously done in the past. Furthermore, I believe He has been giving us the technologies to find other livable places for reasons only He knows. I don’t know about you, but if God seems to want us to find a alternet place to be, I for one, think we should follow His lead.

    W. Bruce

    April 20, 2008 at 1:27 am

  5. I stumbled across this post today and wanted to share a more contrary view, especially in regards to the passage about Behe.

    “Michael Behe astutely pointed out that understanding how something works or exists now does not prove we know how that came to be the way it is.”

    This is absolutely true – but then why should one latch on to an opinion on “how something came to be” when there was even far less knowledge on “how that thing worked” in the first place? The creationist view is based on passages from ancient texts when scientific knowledge was much more primitive. The Bible makes no mention of why lightning occurs, yet many thought for many a year that supernatural beings were the cause – until we understood the scientific reasons why. It just so happens that no one practising the faiths associated with the lightning hurling deities is around any more to take issue with the scientific findings which state reasons otherwise. But there *are* those who still believe an ancient religion which does have a view on how this world and its inhabitants came to be – therefore there is still debate between those religions (though primarily just christianity) and science.

    Interestingly enough, though, there are quite a few passages in the same book which are demonstrably contrary to what science has shown to be the case. For instance: “And God set them [the stars] in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth”, and that whole idea about how the Sun revolves around the Earth. We know that neither of these things are true, and yet these inconsistencies with science and reality somehow don’t detract from the even greater assumptions about how everything came to be?

    If you have two theories about how things came to be, with one of them stating corollaries which have been demonstrated to be highly unlikely (and unwilling to change when contrary evidence is brought forth) and another theory stating corollaries which have been demonstrated to be likely (and at least malleable enough to adapt when evidence to the contrary is brought forth) – which do you think would be more in alignment with the better points of Behe’s remarks?

    I hope these remarks are taken in a positive light and will help you think on your views more.

    shiro

    May 30, 2008 at 7:50 am

  6. […] who know me may be aware, to varying degrees, of my intense skepticism of evolution. Indeed, my previous article on evolution issues, one of the most visited posts on this website, I think leaves no doubt as to […]

  7. I see the logic in your post, but I have always seen another theological problem with the idea that life exists elsewhere in this universe. Namely, that of salvation.

    Romans 6:10 says that Christ died once for all- meaning that He did not repeat His sacrifice elsewhere in the universe. However, the Bible also says that Adam’s sin caused the whole world to fall into corruption (Romans 8:20-22).

    So, if alien life exists:
    1. they are sinful and suffer the effects of sin
    2. they have no way of knowing about Christ’s sacrifice here on Earth.

    I see the point you’re making, but I do think that there are other problems to the idea of extraterrestrial life in light of Biblical teachings.

    Logical

    November 20, 2008 at 8:43 am

    • ………”sheep of another fold?”

      JT

      January 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm

  8. I don’t know logical…it seems “logical”…what you’re saying…it really does but from a human perspective only. You’re saying because Christ died Here on this planet for our sins we’ve all had the chance to get to know and be aware of him, the holy spirit and God the Father but on other planets they haven’t so how does that equation fit, right? I getcha. However, God is bigger than us, he’s bigger than our “logical thinking caps” and he may have very well made another planet and who knows, perhaps showed up there and taught someone like a moses type person to spread the good news that on another planet called Earth there’s a man who came to shed his blood for ALL MANKIND, regardless of where they live…ie another planet named Zarko or here, our planet called Earth. They too, like us, will have to really believe by faith. Yes, we have records of Jesus being here and dying on the cross, we have the bible but perhaps they do too and they know just as much as we know (even if Christ didn’t die and then raise from the dead on their planet). I think too many people try to think too logically. That is where human beings get into trouble. You can’t think logic when you’re thinking God…you’ll never get it…that’s where faith comes in. To some, seeing is believing (doubting Thomas), and to others…well…belief and faith are all they need.
    If we as human beings can just stop thinking all the time and trying to make sense of it all, God would probably have much more of an opportunity to speak to us. We just need to shut up and listen. Trust me, it works for me.

    Mary

    December 11, 2008 at 10:04 am

  9. My first response is to Logical. Lest ye forget that nothing is impossible with God. He is capable of all things. Need you hear more on the possibility of other life, intelligent, or non?

    Ok, now for my story. I am caught in such a bind with my wife and my life. We both consider ourselves to be Christians, though she is much stronger in her faith and knowledgeable of the Bible than I. She is the daughter of a now retired Baptist Minister. Her explanation is that according to the Bible, we are unique and made in God’s own image, and that there is absolutely no possibility for life elsewhere. We completely differ in this area. Why would there be millions of other planets, solar systems, stars, etc., and no possibility for another with the right temperature and atmosphere to support life. Ok, yes, I am using human logic and who am I to anticipate what God was thinking. I just simply think that it is soooo closed minded to think we are alone in the universe. They may be bugs for all I know, but I think the likelyhood that living creatures of some sort are there, somewhere, is overwhelmingly possible. We can’t even travel, yet to the nearest planet that we think might have supported life at one time, and we want to make a blanket statement that it simply couldn’t exist in the whole universe? Please. I love God and he has done some great things in my life. I just want to know how it all fits together without falling to the extreme on either side of the IS/ISN’T Christian line. What did Ezekiel see? Was it Angels or spacecraft. What did the Egyptians see and make models of? What did the American Native Indians draw on cave walls?

    Searching

    December 16, 2008 at 11:25 am

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    March 3, 2009 at 6:40 am

  11. I am a scientist and a Christian. There is too much evidence for Intelligent Design to consider evolution a viable theory. Behe said it; “irreduceable complexity” gives evolution a big problem. (Consider the flagellel motor).

    God could have put life elsewhere in His universe, but it was so costly for Him to put it here, I doubt that he did. I think the universe is just the evidence we need to rightfully praise Him. From the macro to the micro, it all screams design in the most logical, effecient, yet artistic and creative way.

    Jay

    March 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm

  12. Oops I meant efficient not effecient…..

    Jay

    March 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm

  13. The way I see it. Is that it need not even conflict with Jesus and God’s plan of salvation. God focused on Abraham out of all the culture’s of man. Then God focused on the Hebrew’s out of all the culture’s. Then he chose Jesus. So why can he not have picked out of all the infinite culture’s and civilizations that may have existed in time mankind to save the universe. It’s theology that has the problem not the Bible.

    Patrick Burks

    January 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

  14. So refreshing. I couldnt agree with you more, Astuteness. It may very well be insulting to our magnificent and creative God to assume that He would not have “Painted a larger picture” than man can currently perceive. It may also be quite arrogant to think that this entire Universe made of billions of vast galaxies, exists out of our reach just to keep us confused and confounded.

    “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.”

    “The Lord your God is ruler of heaven, of the heaven of heavens, and of the earth with everything in it.”

    Articles like this should encourage all Christians and non-Christians alike to dig deeper into the Word, explanations are there to be found…just look around.

    Regards,

    JT

    JT

    January 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm

  15. Personally I don’t see how the existence of life forms on other planets could cause a problem for Christians; in fact I can see it as supporting the Christian worldview. If we do in fact find life on other planets it will most likely not be of the human form…remember that humans are the minority life form on Earth. The fact that man was made in the image of God and for that reason is special would only be supported by the fact that throughout the entire universe there is other life, but nowhere life as special as a human being.

    thereason

    January 24, 2010 at 2:33 pm

  16. I’m not an athiest but i don’t believe in any major organized religion either but i know of too many people, both christian and athiest that believe we are the only intelligent life forms out there.

    Here’s the way i see it, there are around 30 BILLION stars just in our galaxy alone, the nearest star to the sun is close to 5 LIGHT YEARS away. There are estimated to be around 20-40 BILLION galaxies out there with each one having many BILLIONS of stars in each one themselves, this is probally a small number considering we don’t even know the true size of this universe or if there are even other universes out there as well. Even though stars like our sun are estimated to be in the minority compared to other types of stars out there that still leaves for a at least billions like our own sun out there regardless. We already know of several of these types of stars in our own neck of the woods alone.

    I really think you would have to be an incredibely shallow or narrow minded person, if not out right a STUPID MORON to even say that “nope, no other life, just us only”. Even though we don’t know for sure whether there is other intelligent life out there we can’t DISPROVE it either. Those numbers of stars, galaxies, super great distances is just too much too think, “nope, only us”. I guess its easier for simple minded people to believe thier own crock than too open thier minds to anything different.

    JXS

    February 5, 2010 at 2:09 am

  17. I think that the Bible is really true because there are currently discovery of the ancient Ark, which was created by Noah ( the guy from the Bible). The ark was found in some place in Turkey. There are proofs from the world and the Bible. Therefore, I see no reason for not believing the Bible. Also that, God promised that if we do what is pleasant to him and not sin, plus ask for forgiveness, then he promised that his followers will have an eternity life and no need to fear of death or where to live after death.

    Jason

    May 5, 2010 at 9:05 am

  18. I am not Christian. I don’t know whether Bible claims existence of life outside the Earth or not .
    Let me tell you Vedas – Scriptures of Hinduism do claim the existence of life outside the Earth.

    Priyanka

    December 6, 2014 at 7:22 am

  19. Indians don’t believe in creationism. Let me explain you why:

    When I listen to the debate in the West on Evolution vs Creationism, I am often amused. Both the ways, heated camps in their own right are either incorrect or incomplete. For, such a debate is not even possible – nor warranted – in the Eastern Spiritual circles – fashioned as they are by the Dharmic (or Hindu) Spiritual viewpoint.

    It is true that material world has improved and progressed over the millenia to a point where human beings have reached the peak of existence as it is today. No more “evolution” of human beings is possible. If at all, the inventions and discoveries will take us downhill, because we will forgo the use of our body to its fullest. Our body, however, is at its peak level of instrumentation. If used properly. Nothing can be improved in terms of its configuration or components. Adi Yogi (First Yogi) Shiva said this – per the Yogic lore – around 15-20,000 years back.

    How about Creation? Well, there is no “Creation”. And that is where the entire spiritual view differs.

    Existence / Universe, rather everything seen, is called “Srishti” in Sanskrit. It comes from the root word Srijan, which is used to describe the manifestation of a tree from a seed. The seed does not “create” a tree. The tree is within the seed, in an umanifest form.

    The Sanskrit word for Creation is “Kriti”. It has deliberately not been used by the Sages and Monks. Because there is no Creation. Only manifestation.

    As the Physicists of the last century stumbled upon the Quantum and struggled to live with the disruptive impact of that knowledge to the “Physics” that had been held dear by the scientists. The modern world – which had mocked the Hindu view of “Maya” and “Consciousness”; suddenly came face to face with their ideological enemy. A world of “No Matter”. Of One Conscious Energy.

    Creator is “Intelligent”, but not in the way a human being is. It’s intelligence is the sub-stratum of the whole material world. Material world is but a vibration in the vast ocean of consciousness. Creation, Sage Vasistha said, is a Vibration in Consciousness. Modern Neuro-scientists and Quantum physicists, who conceptually understand their own life’s work, couldn’t agree more.

    Was that just some poetic nonsensical assertion by some in the Yogic past? Or arbitrary statements? Well, the entire philosophy and experiential Spiritual heritage – which Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism used and enriched in their own way – of Hinduism is centered around the assertion of “Maya” and the “Conscious, Unborn, All pervasive Intelligence” – which for the ease of consumption was later called “God”.

    If Yoga is the House… then unmanifest, non-material Consciousness is the “atoms of bricks and cement” in this house. Every action, every breath and every moment of quietude in Yoga is pregnant with the understanding and realization of the One Unmanifest Consciousness.

    It is clear to the one who has understood the meaning and scope of concepts-but-reality of Naadi, Chakra and Prana. Yoga works. We all know that. But it works in ways that we don’t know of. What we see of it and what we make of what we see from its impact is like getting excited by drinking droplets of water from the steam collected in a pressure cooker, while a sumptuous dinner is being cooked in it. We aren’t even making water in a pressure cooker. But for one if that is all you know it provides and that is all you know about it, then a Pressure cooker is a water maker! Just like Yoga is an “exercise” alternative to Pillates.

    While the Modern Scientists have been grappling with the question of how the “Wave Collapsed” from Infinite possibilities to a material Finite; Religions have been struggling with how God created the Creation. The Sages in India not only looked at this question – of how Finite came from the Infinite – but also found ways and methods – and perfected them – to experience the Infinite while in a Finite manifestation. The “bridging of the gap” – between Finite and Infinite – was experientially the lifework of every Spiritual seeker. We, at Drishtikone, had explored this in the post – Eternal Illusion and How Observer Creates His Own Reality

    Science’s endeavor was thus more about the Knowledge – which was, in itself, an estimation as opposed to the search and enunciation of the truth. For Truth was not available in our current paradigm. This new paradigm brought more questions than answers – questions that go to the very heart of our existence – daily, indeed momentary, existence!
    Falsehood (or Illusion) – collapse of the brain-wave or mind-stuff as Vasistha was fond of calling it – meets falsehood (another Illusion) – the collapse of the observed’s wave. How does the mind escape this interplay when it is the originator and the affected? Was this then the cause-and-effect Maya that Vedantists kept referring to all the time?

    So, who am I then? A Collapse? An Illusion? A thought of the Cosmic Creator? Or more appropriately, an Illusion in the “Mind-stuff” of the Cosmic Creator “Himself”?

    The official photograph from the 1927 Solvay Conference in Belgium. The greatest collection of brilliant minds ever assembled up to then, and up to present. (Courtesy Flickr/Ted Buracas)

    We went onto further look at the convergence of Theory of Relativity with the Quantum Mechanics and the entry of the idea of Consciousness in Physics. How, we are now listening to the Vasistha-speak from the mouth of Modern Physcists – Creation is a Vibration! We explored that as well in Creation is a Vibration.

    This topic of convergence of Hindu Thought and Quantum Mechanics is covered by a Theoretical Physicist Jay Lakhani in his rather long but extremely enriching lecture on “Science and Spirituality”. It is not just a coincidence that the “Fathers of Quantum Mechanics” – Schrodinger, Heisenberg, and Bohr – were also deeply into Vedanta. Unless you are comfortable with the world as described by the Sages whose work was encapsulated in Vedantic writings; you can never step confidently into the world of Quantum Mechanics and make sense of it. For, any remnants of fetish with Material Existence and Deterministic Science can make you a great Mathematical genius, but a conceptually weak Quantum Physicist. This has been brought about by Lakhani in this lecture in a beautiful way.

    Priyanka

    December 6, 2014 at 7:43 am

  20. Watch

    Priyanka

    December 6, 2014 at 7:44 am

  21. In October of 1927, Born, Dirac, Heisenberg, Pauli, and Bohr came together and expounded as well as accepted “an” interpretation of the new quantum world that was reeling in the aftermath of Schrodinger’s Wave Collapse experiments. They called it the Copenhagen Interpretation.

    With the collapse of the wave wherein the countless possibilities and probabilities could be brought into physical reality – a Finite world was seen to be born out of Infinity! The foundational question was, therefore, posed to the scientists – how could Infinity give rise to the Finite? A question that was hitherto the headache of only the mystics.

    Interpretations of the Quantum

    The world of possibilities that were available to the particle, collapsed with its measurement, bringing down the calculated abstractions to a hard stop reality! How was the particle capable of being a wave and the particle at different point of its journey?

    The Copenhagen Interpretation:

    In Bohr’s words, the wave and particle pictures, or the visual and causal representations, are “complementary” to each other. That is, they are mutually exclusive, yet jointly essential for a complete description of quantum events. Obviously in an experiment in the everyday world an object cannot be both a wave and a particle at the same time; it must be either one or the other, depending upon the situation. In later refinements of this interpretation the wave function of the unobserved object is a mixture of both the wave and particle pictures until the experimenter chooses what to observe in a given experiment.

    By choosing either the wave or the particle picture, the experimenter disturbs untouched nature. Such favoritism unleashes a limitation in what one can learn about nature “as it really is.” This limitation is expressed by Heisenberg’s uncertainty relations, which, for Bohr, were related to what he was now calling “complementarity.” Complementarity, uncertainty, and the statistical interpretation of Schrödinger’s wave function were all related. Together they formed a logical interpretation of the physical meaning of quantum mechanics known as the “Copenhagen interpretation.”

    Now, the observer was not merely a witness – but creator of the reality as well. There were a few other interpretations of the Quantum Mechanics world, the next most prominent being the “Many-worlds Interpretation”

    The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) is an approach to quantum mechanics according to which, in addition to the world we are aware of directly, there are many other similar worlds which exist in parallel at the same space and time. The existence of the other worlds makes it possible to remove randomness and action at a distance from quantum theory and thus from all physics.

    Einstein came up with his interpretation – the “Hidden Variables” – since his God did not throw dice – basically saying that some hidden variables explain the probabilities of the wave function and determine “a” unique possibility so that it was not as indeterminate as the Copenhagen gang made it out to be. His hidden variables were never to be found however.

    The basic issue, again, was – how was an unknown Infinity manifesting itself as the finitely known? A question that had haunted many philosophers and Vedic scholars had the best Quantum minds thinking now. The three main possibilities they put forward as explained above were also not new:

    1. Truth cannot be known and the observer creates reality (Copenhagen Interpretation)
    2. Truth resides is multi-dimensional and cannot be explained in our present known dimensions. (Many-world Interpretation)
    3. Under the hood of the Unknown Infinity is a certainity of an “Intelligence” that creates “method to this madness”. (Hidden Variables Interpretation)

    These theories were well known to the Vedantists long before Planck had inadvertantly come out with his quanta to shake the deterministic world of Newtonian Duality of matter and wave!

    Birth of Consciousness

    Inherent in the Copenhagen Interpretation was the assumption that finite or physical reality was based on two things: the ability or the action of querying the world or nature; and the act of “recording” or receiving the answer from nature. If the question was never asked, the probabilities would have remained probabilities. That the recorder showed an “intention” to know the position of the particle, the nature provided him with “a” result in the collapse of the wave into a point in time and space!

    So the process then has to consist of first, a world full of probabilities; second an observer who queries this probabilistic world; and third, the ability of the world to provide “a” reply within the confines of space and time!

    Well, if the observed particle was indeterminate as a wave function – which came into “physical reality” on observation, then what about the Observer himself? Is not the brain of the observer composed of the same waves? How and who (or what) decides what will “manifest” from the waves in that brain? The “questioning” of the probabilistic world has to be preceded by the manifestation of the “question” in the first place! This question is as much of a collapse of the various probabilities that are in wave form into ONE point called thought!

    Whose observation manifests as this thought in the worldly observer then? Vasistha – a rishi in ancient India explains it to his disciple Ram in Vasistha’s Yoga:

    “Even as empty, inert nothingness is known as space, mind is empty nothingness. Whether the mind is real or unreal, it is that which is apprehended in objects of perception. Rama, thought is mind; there is no distinction between the two. The self that is clothed in the spiritual body is known as mind; it is that which brings the material or physical body into existence. Ignorance, samsara, mind-stuff, bondage, darkness and inertia are all synonyms. Experience alone is the mind, it is none other than the perceived.

    This entire universe is forever non-different from the consciousness that dwells in every atom, even as an ornament potentially exists in gold, the object exists in the subject. But when this notion of the object is firmly rejected and removed from teh subject, then consciousness alone exists without an apparent or potential objectivity. when this is realised, evils like attraction and repulsion, love and hate, cease in one’s heart, as also the false notion of the world, you, I etc. Even the tendency to objectify ceases; this is freedom.”

    The Quantum scientists in the Copenhagen Intrepretation and all others were concerned about the interpretation of their objects conveniently planting themselves as the “subjects”, little realizing that their own “nature” and “existence” was nothing more than an act of Eternal Observation – collapse of wave in someone else’s observation!

    In “Total Freedom“, J Krishnamurthi explains this interplay:

    ” The whole struggle is between the result of the environment, with which mind identifies itself and becomes the “I”, between that and environment. After all, the “I”, the consciousness with which the mind identifies itself, is the result of the environment.

    Over the history of Western Human thought with regards to “God” and Nature the eras could be defined as below:

    1. Pre-renaissance era: Ignorant, Other-wordly interpretation of Gods, Demons, Satans, Good and Evil. This era is marked by beliefs in miracles and attributing of the phenomenon not understood to imaginary entities. It also accompanied positing of opposing belief systems like what is Good and what is Evil in that the Good was sanctioned by God “Himself” and the Evil had its source in “Satan” or Devil.

    2. Science (Deterministic) Era: Man and Nature were physical or chemical interactions and this era can be marked by two main thought leaders – Newton and Darwin. Between them, they created the bedrock of Deterministic Science where the scope of “an” entity making the Determinations was nipped off through theoretical disbelief as opposed to observational evidence.

    3. Quantum Mechanics (Indeterministic): This era of science in its philosophical “avatar” acknowledged the indeterminate and the lack of wherewithal with the human mind to “know” the Truth. Orthodox Scientists, however, who succeeded the original thinkers of Quantum Mechanics took the philosophical underpinnings out and relevant but exploratory queries became heresy while calculating and statistics became king! The honest and the philosophical quantum scientists, however, did come to think of a larger consciousness.

    Given the environment in which the Deterministic Era began, it is no surprise therefore, that Modern (Western) Science at the beginning of its journey started with a basic presumption that Science was an anti-thesis to “God”. The God at the cusp of Modern Science and pre-Renaissance was a projection of human emotions that were born out of ignorance as opposed to reasoned logic!

    Vedantic thought, however, which not only discussed the interplay of Illusions (Maya) credibly but also in many ways affected the shaping of Quantum Mechanics itself, was at the other extreme of Science-God interface. Vedics, made an inherent assumption that if we were content to understand Nature and Human interplay in a logical and exploratory manner then it could be possible to “get to God” Itself! God, to the Vedic scientists was not “Outside” the human expeerience but the cause of it! In a certain sense, Vedanta Philosophers, became the only bridge between the three eras in a unique way! They could explain the link between the idols of the pagans with the Indeterminate with as much ease as they could explain the nature of atom and how it led to a world full of “Higher Consciousness”!

    What about the Collapse of the Brain-wave?

    John von Neumann did get to that subsequently when he brought not only the quantum system that was measured but the measuring system itself within the confines of the larger system! He heard Heisenberg lecture on his Uncertainty principle and got fascinated:

    Fascinated, von Neumann began work in quantum theory. This led to his Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik (1932), in which he discussed the much-debated question of indeterminism in quantum theory. Until then, indeterminism was thought to be the result of hidden parameters which need only be identified to restore determinism. Von Neumann “concluded that no introduction of ‘hidden parameters’ could keep the basic structure of quantum theory and restore ‘causality.’” He argued that the indeterminism was inherent in quantum theory because of the interaction of the observer and the observed.

    In other words in its overall sense, the “Truth” is an unknown. When the collapse occurs in the brain it opens upto the experience of the observation caused by another collapse of the observed! Knowledge is the accumulation of that experience. If the collapse in the brain was a “spontaneous” and one-time act, then “who” or “what” is the accumulator of this experience (collapse-borne) database?

    The experiences marked by the collapses in the brain – which maybe nothing but an observation of the cosmic creator or “Intelligence” – thus points to that an Eternal or “Greater” observer whose “thought” is responsible for our experiences! This was the beginning of interest amongst the scientists in “Consciousness”. Physical world was, therefore, an interplay of collapses initiated by a larger Consciousness – whose exact nature was not known but characteristics were the only guide. And these characteristics still pointed to more questions. Questions, that were themselves Illusions because they were created out of collapses in our brains itself!

    Knowledge and the Predictability of Future Collapses

    How is Knowledge – which is really an imprint of the collapse of the wave at the brain level of the observer be carried on and what role does it play?

    If knowledge of a past observation of the collapse in one’s observation was to carry on in his experiential database, then it would stand to reason that it will direct his subsequent “queries” of the nature and therefore the “answers” (in terms of the choice amongst the probabilities of the particle before it is observed) making them slave of the past knowledge!

    When we approach any event with the baggage of the past knowledge, the meaning and “actual” unfolding of that event takes on a predictable turn. This is not just a theoretically derived conjecture but experiential as well.

    Awareness of the Illusions and not the Knowledge of an event should then be the closest it comes to recognising the “Truth”!

    After these tectonic shifts in the landscape of Physics, weren’t the scientists more involved in “Knowledge” as an “Estimation of the Truth” as opposed to the “truth” itself? Those who pioneered the Quantum Physics acknowledged it (source: The Mind & The Brain):

    Heisenberg wrote in an article sometime in 1958, that “laws of nature which we formulate mathematically in quantum theory deal no longer with the particles themselves but with our knowledge of the elementary particles”
    Bohr also said “It is wrong to think that the task of Physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.”

    Science’s endeavor was thus more about the Knowledge – which was, in itself, an estimation as opposed to the search and enunciation of the truth. For Truth was not available in our current paradigm. This new paradigm brought more questions than answers – questions that go to the very heart of our existence – daily, indeed momentary, existence!

    Falsehood (or Illusion) – collapse of the brain-wave or mind-stuff as Vasistha was fond of calling it – meets falsehood (another Illusion) – the collapse of the observed’s wave. How does the mind escape this interplay when it is the originator and the affected? Was this then the cause-and-effect Maya that Vedantists kept referring to all the time?

    So, who am I then? A Collapse? An Illusion? A thought of the Cosmic Creator? Or more appropriately, an Illusion in the “Mind-stuff” of the Cosmic Creator “Himself”?

    Vasistha tries to help again:

    “… distinction between ignorance and knowledge is unreal and verbal. There is neither ignorance nor even knowledge! When you cease to see knowledge and ignorance as two distinct entities, what exists, alone exists. The reflection of vidya (knowledge) itself is considered avidya (ignorance). When these two notions are abandoned what remains is the truth: it may be something or it may be nothing! It is omnipotent, it is more empty than space and yet it is not empty because it is full of consciousness.

    Knowledge, therefore, is itself Ignorance and the distinction is non-existent for both are collapse events and thus illusions. Amazingly, and ironically, the Vedantists found the answer to infinity interacting with infinity in ONE non-dual Consciousness.

    Priyanka

    December 6, 2014 at 7:53 am

  22. In this article we discuss a very brief and simplified history of Quantum Mechanics and will quote what the founding fathers of this branch of science had to say about Vedic influence on the development of their theories.

    We are not interested in new age mumbo-jumbo. We are interested in understanding what is real and what is false. This is why we, along with all other great minds, consult the Vedic texts. Please read on…

    The famous Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Laureate Niels Bohr (1885-1962) (pictured above), was a follower of the Vedas. He said, “I go into the Upanishads to ask questions.” Both Bohr and Schrödinger, the founders of quantum physics, were avid readers of the Vedic texts and observed that their experiments in quantum physics were consistent with what they had read in the Vedas.

    Niels Bohr got the ball rolling around 1900 by explaining why atoms emit and absorb electromagnetic radiation only at certain frequencies.

    Then, in the 1920’s Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961), an Austrian-Irish physicist (pictured below), who won the Nobel prize, came up with his famous wave equation that predicts how the Quantum Mechanical wave function changes with time. Wave functions are used in Quantum Mechanics to determine how particles move and interact with time.

    In the 1920’s Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) (pictured Left) formulated his famous uncertainty principal, which states when a physicist attempts to observe a subatomic particle, the experimental apparatus inevitably alters the subatomic particle’s trajectory. This is because they are trying to observe something that is of the same scale as the photons they are using to observe it.

    To be more specific, to observe something that is subatomic in size one must use a device (apparatus) that projects photons at the particle being observed. This is because the reception of photons by our retina is what we call vision. Basically, to observe something, we must bounce photons off it. The problem is that the photons disturb the subatomic particles because they are of the same size. Thus, there is no way to observe subatomic particles without altering their trajectories.

    Bohr, Heisenberg and Schrödinger regularly read Vedic texts. Heisenberg stated, “Quantum theory will not look ridiculous to people who have read Vedanta.” Vedanta is the conclusion of Vedic thought.

    Furthermore, Fritjof Capra, when interviewed by Renee Weber in the book The Holographic Paradigm (page 217–218), stated that Schrödinger, in speaking about Heisenberg, has said:
    “I had several discussions with Heisenberg. I lived in England then [circa 1972], and I visited him several times in Munich and showed him the whole manuscript chapter by chapter. He was very interested and very open, and he told me something that I think is not known publicly because he never published it. He said that he was well aware of these parallels. While he was working on quantum theory he went to India to lecture and was a guest of Tagore. He talked a lot with Tagore about Indian philosophy. Heisenberg told me that these talks had helped him a lot with his work in physics, because they showed him that all these new ideas in quantum physics were in fact not all that crazy. He realized there was, in fact, a whole culture that subscribed to very similar ideas. Heisenberg said that this was a great help for him. Niels Bohr had a similar experience when he went to China.”

    Consequently, Bohr adopted the Yin-Yang symbol as part of his family coat-of-arms when he was knighted in 1947.

    Schrodinger wrote in his book Meine Weltansicht:

    “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins [wise men or priests in the Vedic tradition] express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”
    ब्रह्मैवेदममृतं पुरस्तात् ब्रह्म पश्चात् ब्रह्म उत्तरतो दक्षिणतश्चोत्तरेण ।
    अधश्चोर्ध्वं च प्रसृतं ब्रह्मैवेदं विश्वमिदं वरिष्ठम् ॥ 2.2.11
    This is a reference to the Mundaka Upanishad mantra (above) in which the Vedic understanding of the connectivity of living entities is put forward to help the Bhakta (practitioner of yoga) to understand the difference between the body and the living entity. How the real nature of the living entity is realized only in union with the source, the supreme being (Brahman/Krishna) through a platform of transcendental divine loving service.

    Schrödinger, in speaking of a universe in which particles are represented by wave functions, said, “The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. This is entirely consistent with the Vedanta concept of All in One.”

    “The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the West.” (Erwin Schrödinger, What is Life?, p. 129, Cambridge University Press)

    “There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction… The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad.” (Mein Leben, Meine Weltansicht [My Life, My World View] (1961), Chapter 4)

    In his biography on Schrödinger, Moore wrote: “His system – or that of the Upanishads – is delightful and consistent: the self and the world are one and they are all… He rejected traditional western religious beliefs (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) not on the basis of any reasoned argument, nor even with an expression of emotional antipathy, for he loved to use religious expressions and metaphors, but simply by saying that they are naive.
    Vedanta and gnosticism are beliefs likely to appeal to a mathematical physicist, a brilliant only child, tempted on occasion by intellectual pride. Such factors may help to explain why Schrödinger became a believer in Vedanta, but they do not detract from the importance of his belief as a foundation for his life and work. It would be simplistic to suggest that there is a direct causal link between his religious beliefs and his discoveries in theoretical physics, yet the unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of the universe as a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles, During the next few years, Schrödinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on superimposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the vedantic concept of the All in One.” (Schrödinger: Life and Thought (Meine Weltansicht), p. 173)

    In Schrödinger’s famous essay on determinism and free will, he expressed very clearly the sense that consciousness is a unity, arguing that this “insight is not new…From the early great Upanishads the recognition Atman = Brahman (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent, the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.”

    According to Moore on page 125 of his biographical work, A Life of Erwin Schrödinger, Schrödinger found “Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves… The stages of human development are to strive for Possession (Artha), Knowledge (Dharma), Ability (Kama), Being (Moksha)… Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge. It has nothing to do with individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further – when man dies his karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.”

    The above quote clearly demonstrates Schrödinger’s firm belief in reincarnation.

    Schrödinger wrote in his book My View of the World: “In all the world, there is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction….The only solution to this conflict in so far as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad” (p. 31).

    The Vedas teach that we are more than physical bodies operating according to the laws of physics and chemistry. We, the eternal conscious self (Atma), are inherently connected to the greater whole (ParamAtma), and this eternal inherent connection is totally transcendental to matter. All living entities (Atmas), having free will, are able to ignore this connection or recognize it. The Vedas teach us how to do both. When we act as scientists and look for facts and accept them and then go on to use and act according to our new realizations we can make great progress. Similarly, as living entities, we must scientifically study the great work of the evidential books of the Vedas in order to help us realize the facts of this universe and beyond, and our natural position in it.

    Schrödinger explicitly affirmed his conviction that Vedantic jnana (knowledge) represents the only true view of reality, a view for which he was prepared to offer empirical proof (Klaus K. Klostermaier, A Short Introduction to Hinduism, p. 168).

    Regarding mystical insights, Schrödinger tells us: “The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads, and not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the West” (Amaury de Riencourt, The Eye of Shiva: Eastern Mysticism and Science, p.78).

    In autumn of 1925 Schrödinger wrote an interestingly personal account of his philosophy of life called Mein Weltansicht – My World View.

    He completed this in 1960. In chapter 5 of this book he gives his understanding of the basic view of Vedanta. He writes, “Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves.”

    Maya (illusion) is the cause of our faulty identification with this material world. In all the embodied forms of existence, Atma (the individual living entity) is fully able to at any time revive his forgotten, eternal and inherent connection with Brahman or Paramatma, the supreme self and source of all the living entities.

    Schrödinger did not believe that it is possible to demonstrate the unity of consciousness by logical arguments. One must make an imaginative leap guided by communion with nature and the persuasion of analogies. He understood the nonmaterial eternal nature of the conscious self and how the Atman is intimately connected to the supreme.

    In the 1920’s quantum mechanics was created by the three great minds mentioned above: Heisenberg, Bohr and Schrödinger, who all read from and greatly respected the Vedas. They elaborated upon these ancient books of wisdom in their own language and with modern mathematical formulas in order to try to understand the ideas that are to be found throughout the Vedas, referred to in the ancient Sanskrit as “Brahman,” “Paramatma,” “Akasha” and “Atman.” As Schrödinger said, “some blood transfusion from the East to the West to save Western science from spiritual anemia.”

    In 1935 Einstein Prodolsky and Rosen challenged Quantum Mechanics on the grounds that it was an incomplete formulation. They were the first authors to recognize that quantum mechanics is inherently non-local, which means it allows for instantaneous action across arbitrarily great distances. So an action in one place can instantly influence something on the other side of the universe in no time at all. This very powerful paper (The EPR paper) explaining Quantum Entanglement changed the world and alerted us to the magical implications of quantum mechanics’ metaphysical implications.

    But, Einstein states in his letter from to Max Born, 3 March 1947, “Es gibt keine spukhafte Fernwirkung” which translates to “There is no spooky action at a distance.” He did not believe in magic. He believed in science and would regularly read the Bhagavad-gita. Einstein’s famous quote on the Bhagavad-gita is: “When I read the Bhagavad-gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.” He also wrote in his book The World as I See It, “I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research” (p. 24-28).
    Physicists have not yet ascertained whether Bohr and company or Einstein and company are right.

    One thing that all this materialistic research has done is open up the doors for the world to look deeper into the validity of the Vedas. For, it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, “A mundaner 1) is sure to commit mistakes, 2) is invariably illusioned, 3) has the tendency to cheat others and 4) is limited by imperfect senses. With these four imperfections, one cannot deliver perfect information of all-pervading knowledge.” So no matter how many experiments we conduct, we can never come to the absolute truth using imperfect instruments of perception, even if we have a super brain like Einstein or Schrödinger. For our very minds, thoughts and power of intelligence only work on the platform of time and space and are rendered defective from being subject to the four defects that the Bhagavad-gita mentions. So we must come to accept a higher authority, not a mundane person of the material world that is limited by his own imperfect senses and instruments in a laboratory. We must approach Krishna, the supreme person! We must give Him the credit for he is the supreme father of all Quantum processes that all these other men mentioned in this article are trying to understand. He established all the laws of nature and is controlling it; it is by His will that we will or will not ever understand. For the Vedas are coming from Krishna and are ultimately meant to help us understand and love Krishna, the supreme being. The dry mental speculators and scientists (depicted at the bottom of the picture, at left) try by their own limited power of intellect and observation to understand Krishna/God, unaware that Krishna is only known by those fortunate souls that serve Him in the mood of love and surrender. Let us not forget, “God” means the all powerful; we cannot force the all powerful supreme personality to reveal Himself to us by our own limited strength and arrangements. Krishna is way above that. The scientific process to understand Krishna and the nature of the universe is to learn from a fully self-realized soul, like Srila Prabhupada. By reading his books, chanting the hare Krishna Maha mantra and practicing celibacy (controlling the senses), we may purify our minds and hearts so we are qualified to understand Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental books and the Vedic literature and thus surrender to the supreme being, Krishna.

    Since scientists like Schrödinger did not possess a direct knowledge of Sanskrit to discern first-hand what the Vedic texts actually were saying, they were forced to read various translations of these great books of wisdom, such as the Upanishads. There are persons like Robert Oppenheimer (1904 – 1967) (pictured on left) who were not lacking in such an advantage. Oppenheimer learned Sanskrit in 1933 and read the Bhagavad-gita in the original, citing it later as one of the most influential books to shape his philosophy of life, stating that “The Vedas are the greatest privilege of this century.”

    Upon witnessing the world’s first nuclear test in 1945, he instantly quoted Bhagavad-gita chapter 11, text 32, “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

    Vedic texts such as the Bahgavad-gita and the Upanishads were collectively considered the most influential books ever written by eminent people like Thoreau, Kant, Schopenhauer, Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg , Tesla, Einstein etc.

    The fact is that, irrespective of east or west, great minds that come in contact with the Vedic texts agree that the ultimate reality remains timeless and changeless, and is contained in the Vedic texts such as the Bhagavad-gita and the Upanishads.

    Furthermore 300 years before Quantum Mechanics, Sir Isaac Newton came up with Classical Mechanics which describes very basic action and reaction. Newton’s entire work in Physics and Calculus was taken wholesale from the Vedas and Kerala book of Calculus. It was simply taken from the Vedas where it was originally used for calculating rates of change in Astronomy and Astrology for many thousands of years before Newton.

    Another genius scientist was Nikola Tesla, a super genius Serbian. Tesla, along with the others mentioned above, knew that the ancient Indian Brahmans (wise men), well equipped with knowledge from the Vedas, had understandings of the intricate laws, mathematical formulas and subtle workings of the universe that far surpass anything we can even imagine today.

    It is uncertain how Nikola Tesla was introduced to the Vedas. Much of Tesla’s life and work has been erased from history due to this mastermind inventor and scientist wanting to make the fruits of all his work available for free to the world (google “free energy Tesla” and your mind will be truly blown away). Unfortunately for us, because he was not trying to use his genius for profiteering and exploiting others he was met with one setback after another. His grants and funding were constantly being revoked by those that control the economy and trade. Nikola Tesla originally invented many things that we all use on a daily basis but most people have never even heard of him because his name was removed from common history (just like much of the teaching of the Vedas) and he was eventually murdered. I guess he know too much and wanted to share it freely for the betterment of mankind (just like the Vedas), not to exploit it. Unfortunately not everyone saw eye to eye with him.

    Tesla understood the great power of Zero Point Field or Akasha or Ether: the power of space between the electrons and the nucleus. Vivekanda’s effect on Tesla was so great that he became vegetarian, became celibate and started using Sanskrit words. He died with his scalar energy science in his head, because he did NOT want the US military to use it to destroy the planet. No wonder he was denied the Nobel prize and eventually killed. Knowledge is power, and there are many people that want all the power for themselves. Tesla wanted to give power to everyone for free! He was actually the first person to figure out how to make radio communication possible across the Atlantic ocean. But because he wanted to make this ability free for others his funding was stopped and the credit was later given to someone else that played the power game better than him.

    Here is just a small list of some of Tesla’s contributions to the world that he has not been given credit for:

    Alternating Current -AC electricity (Thomas Edison literally stole his ideas from him and took the credit for for it).
    Radio (Marconi just took the ideas and work of Tesla and got the cerdit for it).
    Hydro-electricity (Tesla Built the first Hydro-electric power plant at Niagara falls As a result we see whats there now)
    X-rays
    transistors (you are using a transistor right now to view this webpage 🙂 )
    Resonant frequency (every one else figured it out 50 yeas later)
    Fluorescent and Neon lighting
    The induction motor
    The rotating magnetic field (precursor to gyroscope)
    Arc lighting
    Tesla coil
    Oscillators
    Encryption technology and scrambler
    Wireless communication and power transmission
    remote control
    Telegeodynamics (a way to search for metals and minerals)
    Tachometer and speedometer
    Refrigeration machines
    Bladeless turbines and pumps
    Cryogenic engineering
    reactive jet dirigible (precursor to Harrier jet)
    Hovercraft Flivver plane (precursor to Osprey helicopter/aircraft)
    Particle-beam weapons (precursor to Starwars)

    All Tesla’s engineering was done in his head, he never worked things out on paper or used scale models to come to a functioning final result. He was truly empowered by Krishna. Things would appear in his head and he would simply record it exactly as it came to him, similar to Beethoven.

    Below is a picture of the tower Tesla built in the early 1900s in Shoreham, New York referred to as “Wardenclyffe.” This tower was proposed to be a model for more of these towers located around the world to provide free wireless energy to everyone. Upon J.P. Morgan’s finding out it was not equipped with any type of meter to monitor who was using how much of the energy it provided and was thus not for profit he ripped Tesla’s funding out from under him and the tower was torn down.

    Tesla tower

    Tesla lived to be 86 years old. He was 6 ft. 2 in. (1.88 m) tall and reported to be strikingly handsome. He was also a celibate his whole life. This goes in line with the teachings of the Vedas that Tesla and other master minds were familiar with. The Vedas recommend for yogis, and those wanting super intelligence and inner power, to conserve their own divine energy by observing celibacy. As Tesla himself has said, “The gift of mental power comes from God, divine being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.” and “Our senses enable us to perceive only a minute portion of the outside world.”

    There is an interesting video on Tesla and how he understood the secrets hidden in the pyramids of Egypt and other ancient cultures that were more advanced then our modern culture of machines.

    Now ask yourself why don’t we learn about the Vedas in school? Instead we are told it is all just some hindu “mythology.” Maybe for the same reason, we have not ever heard about Mr. Nikola Tesla.

    Although not a physicist, the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) I feel also deserves a place in this article due the fact that he read a Latin translation of the Vedic texts and also glorified the Upanishads in his main work, The World as Will and Representation (1819), as well as in his Parerga and Paralipomena(1851). He found his own philosophy was in accord with the Vedic ideas.

    He states: “That I encounter in the Vedas deep original lofty thoughts, suffused with a high and holy seriousness”

    and

    “If the reader has also received the benefit of the Vedas, the access to which by means of the Upanishads is in my eyes the greatest privilege which this still young century (1818) may claim before all previous centuries, if then the reader, I say, has received his initiation in primeval Indian wisdom, and received it with an open heart, he will be prepared in the very best way for hearing what I have to tell him. It will not sound to him strange, as to many others, much less disagreeable; for I might, if it did not sound conceited, contend that every one of the detached statements which constitute the Upanishads, may be deduced as a necessary result from the fundamental thoughts which I have to enunciate, though those deductions themselves are by no means to be found there.”
    (source: The World as Will and Representation Preface to the first edition, p. xiii

    Priyanka

    December 6, 2014 at 8:06 am

  23. I do respect Jesus because he was great man but don’t believe in Bible.
    Thanks.
    May truth prevails.

    Priyanka

    December 6, 2014 at 8:08 am


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