Beliefs, Religion and Reason – A perspective of Hindu Atheist

October 15, 2009

Happy Diwali …

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 11:42 pm
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You can earn money, you can control money, you can desire money…but should you really worship money? Beats me.
What an irony that the religion which makes such a big stink about non-materialistic lifestyle has its most widely celebrated festival around worship of wealth!!

Happy Diwali…..

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July 14, 2009

India 2010

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 1:13 pm
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On the brink of year 2010, India stands with a great promise of the future – a march towards becoming an affluent state, a developed nation.

Yet, the grip of superstition is so strong that any dream of fair and just society remains a distant illusion.
This same theme is best captured in this half an hour video by Henrik Thomé.

June 20, 2009

Struggle for purpose

Filed under: Atheism,beliefs,Lifestyle — Aniket @ 10:16 am
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“Science can explain how universe came into existence or how life came into existence, but science can never explain why. Finding the purpose of life and quest for eternal peace are subjects of metaphysics. Only spiritual inquiry can lead to the answer.”

“Yes. You are right. Science can not answer these questions. Let me tell you why.”

“Why?”

“Because these are non questions. Whatever you mean by metaphysics, it can not answer these question satisfactorily anyway. Why universe exists, why life exists, what is the purpose of life are all incorrect questions based on wrong premise.”

“How so?”

“Because your question assumes intentional design. You assume that somebody has intentionally designed the life the way it is. As if superintelligent mighty genius created first cell, created this exactly fitting nature, designed laws of physics and then set that cell free to evolve in today’s life on earth.
Unless you make this assumption, there is no reason for you to struggle to find the purpose behind life’s existence. Life exists and that is the fact. So stop going nuts over finding the answer to your whys and start living in the present.”

“You sound such a materialist. My Guruji told me to stay away exactly from your kind of people. You ignorant people will never understand the higher purpose and eternal goal of our life”

“Ok, great. So you go and listen to your Guruji’s down to spine boring discourses trying to make your non-existent afterlife peaceful and I go and watch Mr.Bean on Pogo making my today evening wonderful. Ciao!”

—-
While life is yours, live joyously;
None can escape Death’s searching eye;
When once this frame of ours they burn;
How shall it ever again return?

— Rishi Carvaka

March 15, 2009

Patriotism

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 12:41 pm
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Racism is when you stand for supremacy of your race. Wrong!

Regionalism is when you favor a Kannadiga over a Bengali. Wrong!

Casteism is when a Brahmin boy wants to marry a girl only from Brahmin caste. Practised, but still wrong!

Nepotism is to favor one’s own kin against the merit. Wrong!

Then why believing in national supremacy, cheering for one’s own nation in event of war, appeal to emotion on national grounds aka patriotism is good? Is patriotism the last surviving form of groupism which is still widely regarded as a virtue?

I’m not proud to be an Indian, I am not ashamed of being an Indian, I just happened to be an Indian.
Is there something wrong having such an attitude?

February 25, 2009

Belief

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 8:53 pm
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“So you say you believe in Science?”
“Yes.”
“Do you trust Science?”
“Yes.”
“Do you have faith in Science?”
“Yes.”
“Do you have *belief* in Science?”
“Yes.”
“.. and I have belief in religion, faith in God. What’s the difference? We are same.”
“Umm …”
“So is there any difference?”
“Yes.”
“What difference? I think both of us have blind faith in something.”
“I believe in the process of Science – a well laid out process of research, inquiry, theory and evidence. Science debates the ideas, different viewpoints are considered, research reports are peer reviewed. Still science makes mistakes and science corrects itself. It is a continuous process of self -improvement. Science evolves.”
“But *you* do not test those theories, *you* do not verify evidence. You faith is just as blind as mine, isn’t it?”
“No. Even though I haven’t verified the evidence of each and every scientific theory, I know someone has. I also know if I want to I can see the evidence myself, and based on my capacity to understand it I can verify each and every claim the theory makes. Can you say the same thing about religion? When religion has produced any evidence for any of its claims? When religion has discarded any of its old theories in light of new reality? How the faith in religion is same as faith in science? How? Why?”
” … ”
“We both believe in something, but that’s not just the same. It is exactly opposite.”

January 7, 2009

Why NO to religion?

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 12:11 am
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Organized Religion is perhaps the longest surviving institution in human history. But in its entirety, it is just that – very very old. It so old and out of touch with modern day human society that there is a definite case to end it completely. People, perhaps, do not need religion. They have never lived without one before and hence, do not know how beautiful and fulfilling a religuless life could be.

But if religion has survived so long, there must have been something really great about it.
So why no to a religion?

The premise of a religion

The fallacy of religion starts with its premise. The primary purpose for religion to come into existence, may be, was to lead a person to the path of salvation. Some thousands of years ago bunch of our ancestors were fishing on the river bank when one of them came up with very intriguing questions like who are we, where do we come from, where do we go from here? Well, this set the crystal ball rolling and religion came into existence exactly to answer the questions about meaning and purpose of life. Now some of you heretics might ask what was the need to speculate over such worthless stuffed questions when you are indulged in something as relaxing as fishing, but at that time they thought it’s just not enough to know that everybody comes out of you-know-from-where, it is equally important to know how do you get in there in first place.

I don’t have so much of a problem with asking such questions. But the method religion used to answer these questions was highly questionable. Religion did exactly what religious and spiritual thugs are good at. Since religion did not know the answers, religion made the stuff up. So folks, this is how the religion began – as a giant lie that many people decided to believe in. Ever since, religion is running its con shop for thousands of years now. The premise of religion is a giant lie and religion has prospered so far fooling people with false promises and forcing its version of morality on masses, choking the voice of reason and doubt.

Hence, the first question we need to ask ourselves is, should we continue to let superstition and ignorance called religion inhabit the world at such a large scale just because many people believe it to be true? or should we work towards dispelling the myths and lead the humanity towards more rational and truthful society? Are we going to let the world believe earth is flat because it offends them if you say it isn’t?

The dogmatic foundation of every religion, in itself, is reason enough to say NO to religion.

The promise of a religion

Nothing impedes growth as much as living in the state of denial. Here I guess I should concede that perhaps religion, by way of its false promise of better afterlife and special personal attention of god, relieves people of their pain and suffering. But wait a minute, really?

Imagine a man who is sick of his painful life, tiresome daily travel to work, nagging family, annoying neighbors, hard struggle for mere existence. When he feels stifled, in search of some breathing space he turns to the temple. In his service to the god, he starts getting personal satisfaction. With the constant love-bombing of fellow temple goers, he feels like coming to life again. His religion makes him happy, no? So what’s going on here? This is typically how a painkiller medicine works on our body. Denial of pain is not eradicating pain, relief is very effective but very temporary. A person will be much better of living in reality and fighting his way out of it, than accepting his defeat and turning to god in state of denial. At least his continuous struggle to break free will lead him in the quest of better life helping his individual growth and collective growth of the entire society. Instead of turning to temple, if he gathers bit of a courage to listen to what his heart really wants, to discover new hobbies, to make new friends, to learn to enjoy the small things in life, he will live more fulfilled life. Struggle for existence can be painful, but results last forever. Denial relieves you of pain immediately, but only temporarily.

When people don’t turn to god to forget about their pain, they do it for unjustified material desires. It comes from the belief that god answers the prayers, which is other way of saying that god is partial and you get even the things that you do no deserve only if you pray. You don’t have to stand in the queue like other ordinary people, your application will be fast-tracked for your special association with god.

Religion, by way of its false promises, either makes people lazy or makes them lame.

The place of a religion in modern society

Many of us wouldn’t care a least bit about a religion, if it wasn’t for this reason. A religion is increasingly becoming the source of hatred and violence and taxing society at every nook and corner. In modern society, where people of different religions live together in the community, a cut-throat (literally) competition develops between their religious beliefs to overpower each other. Increasingly religion has become the source of social tension. Any religion, by way of its preachings, breeds a society which considers itself far superior to the other religions. Religion inculcates the notion that killing is okay when it is done to establish the rule of a particular religion or its culture. In past, various religions have incited rampant human rights violations and moreover, the criminal does not even feel guilty of his actions. Religion not only makes people do wrong things, it also makes them feel proud about it.

As American physicist Steven Weinberg said,
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

I think it is time for us humans to be Homo Sapiens again. It’s been a while now we have been calling ourselves by various identities like Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, American, British, Indian, Asian, Euporean, African and what not.

So sayeth the Humanist …

December 27, 2008

omg .. I totally know god exists!

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 1:07 am
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Oh my god, you are not going to believe this. But I totally know god exists. No way that he doesn’t.

steweiI was watching Family Guy and this episode was going on. The one in which Stewie kills Lois on the boat – I was watching that. At the end of that episode, Lois reappears in the courtroom while her murder trial is going on … so i was watching that. And I said to myself I have seen this episode so many times, it always ends with Lois declaring ‘it was Stewie’ and the episode sorta ends leaving a hanging question mark of guess-what-happens-next. I so totally wanted to see the next episode, but somehow they never played the next episode. So I was praying all along, oh god please play next episode back-to-back ..please … oh, god please …please … and guess what? He listened to my prayers. They actually totally did play the next episode which I was so dying to see. OMG, Miracles happen, god exists.

Most people’s belief in god is of similar nature. The chance occurrence of highly desirable but highly improbable event (aka miracle) must be one of the main reasons why people believe in god. We call it a chance, they say it’s god.

December 8, 2008

Mumbai burns: Real Long-term Solution to jihadi terrorism

Filed under: Atheism,beliefs — Aniket @ 10:43 pm
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A lot has been said and written about terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Who is really to blame?

Spectrum of all religions, ranging from Hinduism to Islam, inculcates beliefs that range from spreading plain stupidity to being capable of creating hatred based violent societies. The real long-term solution to problems like jihadi terrorism is to tell every such religion – Drop dead!

October 19, 2008

Vegeterianism and Hindus

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 1:45 pm
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Ask any Hindu why he is vegetarian and he will say killing animals and eating meat is cruelty. He will brag about his compassion and feelings for animals. The overly sentimental one will even go to an extent of saying if you can not give someone a life at least don’t take it away.
It is very easy to debunk a blind follower of faith, but real need is to expose the pseudo rationalists. They spent all their wits to devise rationale behind prescription of religious ethic. They don’t reach the conclusion based on rationale, they know the conclusion and then they design the logic to suit the end result.
If I confront such a counterfeit rationalist, a typical conversation will go like this,
“Why are you vegetarian?”
“Because I don’t want to kill someone to fill my stomach.”
“Are you religious?”
“Not much. I go to temple once in a while.”
“Are you vegetarian because your religion prescribes that as a moral practice?”
He will be completely taken aback and say,”No. No way man. I am vegetarian because I am not cruel.”
How emphatically he wants to pretend that he is a rationalist! What a phoney scum!
The conversation continues ..
“So I suppose you think animals have life, plants don’t?”
“Err…no, not like that. But you have to eat something to survive.”
“Why not eat only fruits and milk? That doesn’t kill any life.”
“I think so. But that is too idealist. I want to be little practical.”
“So you want to be practical and by that you mean you are okay to except your ‘cruelty rule’ to an extent you don’t violate the religious ethic. In short, you want to conform to religious prescription.”
“Not exactly. I believe in the logic behind it.”
“I am eating beef. The cow is already dead, I take the onus of the sin. Can you take a spoonful from my plate?”
“No.”
“When you don’t follow certain things religiously, on rare occasions you make an exception. Can you not even take a byte of beef just to prove a point?”
At this point the rational face of the hypocrite will crack wide open and he’ll burst into something like,” Look it’s a matter of my faith. Let’s not argue. You’re hurting my beliefs.”
“That’s fine. All I wanted to hear was it’s a matter of your faith. You denied that in the beginning. The attempt to find rationale behind something you follow dogmatically is a mere hypocrisy. Enjoy your faith. Amen!”

October 15, 2008

What the average Wall Street trader understands …

Filed under: Atheism,beliefs — Aniket @ 11:18 pm
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Two Wall street traders bumped into each other in pub one evening.
“Hey Joe, how was your day?”
“Don’t ask man. I got f***d today.”
“Bad days Joe. What’s your take for tomorrow?”
“I think Dow will go up by couple hundred points tomorrow.”
“No, I don’t think so. We are headed further down.”
“Well may be. Who knows?”

Now there is one simple fact that these traders understand, but most religious leaders and their devout followers don’t. Nobody knows. Your beliefs are just your opinions, not the absolute truth. For anything to be declared as the truth, it must pass the rigor of logical conclusion based on sufficient direct and meaningful evidence. Any unsubstantiated idea is nothing more than an opinion.
Every religion out there wants to claim the sole proprietorship of absolute truth and often makes such sweeping claims about god, life, life after death, heaven, hell, soul bla bla.

Here is a great clip of interview between Richard Dawkins and Bill Orielly in which Richard Dawkins stumps Bill by asking “Bill, are you saying the truth for you is different from truth for me?” Can the universal truth be one for you and the other for me? Don’t propagate your opinions in the name of truth.

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