Religion, as history shows, is immortal: can its source be illusion? Once we grasp the idea of the essential nature of religion we understand, too, what is the real proof of God’s existence.
Again and again has it been declared in Hindu scriptures that the only proof of God is the witness of the Atman. And did not Christ teach the same truth when he said on a memorable occasion: “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven”?
Atheism is possible just because the will of man is free to accept or not the communications of the Atman. Religion rests upon internal testimony; they who have not that, may be students of theology but they know not the secret of religion; they who know that, stand on secure ground, and instead of being afraid of the progress of natural science and historical criticism, welcome all science and scholarship as friends of dharma.
Religion, as our scriptures say, is Brahmavidya or the “Science of God”. Theologians in the West have been exercised in their mind over the conflict between science and faith.
There is, from the Hindu standpoint, no conflict but an essential harmony between the two. The real conflict is, not between science and religion, but between naturalistic interpretations of science and religion on the one hand; between dogmatic interpretations of religion and science on the other. The conflict, in other words, is between science and superstition, not between science and religion.