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Is it possible to be a "Hare Krishna atheist"?

Our Answer:

This question calls for more questions: A) What do you like about the Hare Krishna way of life? B) Which teachings of Krishna consciousness do you find attractive? C) What is your concept of "God" (the one you aren't sure you believe in)?

The heart of the Hare Krishna philosophy and culture is to understand 1) how our temporary material body is different from our true self, 2) how the self is a permanent, spiritual entity, and 3) how everything—matter and spirit—has its source in an all-attractive Supreme Person. Krishna means "the all-attractive one"—that Supreme Person with whom each of us has a unique, loving relationship. This is why we find your question so interesting, and we can't wait to hear back from you on questions A,B and C.

Many devotees of Krishna also once doubted God's existence. Fortunately, "belief" is not a prerequisite for becoming Krishna conscious, any more than it is for anything else, like boarding an airplane. Boarding an airplane requires more than a little faith that it will take off and land safely. The first time we fly anywhere, we do so on faith that we won't die. We don't do weeks and months of research about the relative safety of commercial air travel first, unless we're really neurotic, and even if we do it won't PROVE we'll get where we want to go in one piece.

If something is actually true, we should be able to have a concrete experience of knowing it's true, and not just believe what we're told. The practices of Krishna consciousness are meant to give anyone that kind of rock-solid conviction that there's more to life than meets the eye. It all begins with chanting Hare Krishna, which puts us in touch with Krishna Himself in the form of sound. Chanting doesn't require that you believe that. It just takes however long it takes you to say, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."

Most of us have started there—with our without faith—and our lives have been enhanced in ways beyond our previous imagination. In most cases, our concept of God has changed dramatically. We often find that when people describe the kind of "God" they don't believe in, we don't believe in that, either. The idea of the Supreme as the most attractive person has changed our attitude towards God from one of avoidance and indifference to genuine interest and attraction.

Thanks for your question and thanks in advance for your reply
Ekendra Dasa