Beliefs, Religion and Reason – A perspective of Hindu Atheist

October 19, 2009

Salute to the man of great courage!

Filed under: News — Aniket @ 1:40 am
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Basava Premanand, the inspiration of Indian rationalist movement, breathed his last on 04-Oct-2009 at the age of 79.

Obituaries can be found here. (http://nirmukta.com/2009/10/04/basva-premanand-17-february-1930-04-october-2009-the-passing-of-a-great-man/)

This is his testimonial he signed fews days before his death mainly to pre-empt the rumors of his deathbed conversion after he is no more.

Salute to the man of great courage and character!!!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
TO WHOMEVER IT MAY CONCERN

Declaration of attitude and temperament

I, B. Premanand s/o late Sri Basava Prabhu, 80 years of age resident Chettipalayam Road, Podanur, sound of mind though suffering from physical complications caused by metastases in many organs caused by carcinoma of the stomach herein solemnly wish to place on record the following:

I have been closely associated with the rationalist movement from 1975 onwards and have been a rationalist of full conviction since then and continue to be so.
It is common for the purveyors of superstitions and such anti rational forces to start spreading rumors about rationalists turning to god and other supernatural forces at the end of their lives and becoming devotees of gods and god men of various types.
It is also claimed that at times of crises that we staunch rationalists through the major part of our lives, turn to spiritualism and religion.
I wish to clarify that as on today the twentieth of September,2009 I remain a staunch rationalist and wish to place on record the following:

a. I continue to be a rationalist of full conviction.
b. I do not believe in any supernatural power. All the powers that we encounter are in the realm of nature and nothing exists beyond that.
c. I do not believe in the existence of the soul or rebirth.
d. I have not turned to any religion, god or any sort of spiritual pursuits.
e. When I pass away I shall be leaving only my body which is to be donated to a medical college and no spirit or soul to cause problems for the living.

I want to convey to all that the struggle against the exploitation by god men and so called supernatural forces is a long and hard one but the ultimate victory will be ours.

My very survival has been a challenge to astrologers and their so called “science” of astrology, as they had all predicted that I would die soon after birth and refused to cast a horoscope for me.
I wish to convey to my colleagues of the rationalist movement to continue the work that I have been doing with renewed vigor and that will be the best of tributes for me.

Abhirami Hospital

Podanur
(B. Premanand)

Witnessed by: Dr. Maya Prabhu and Suneera
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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

April 11, 2009

Indian Secularists and their attitude towards Islam

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aniket @ 2:25 pm
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Two terrific posts by NitWit on this topic,
What Secural Indians need to know about Islam – part -1 and part-2

Just like the actual posts, comments are also a great read.

February 15, 2009

Method in madness

Filed under: Lifestyle — Aniket @ 2:53 pm
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Masses, myself included, need recognition, validation, acknowledgment for their mediocre capabilities
Masses, myself included, need sense of social belongingness, someone to care, something to share
Masses, myself included, need occupation for their mind, 24*7, 365 days a year, entire lifetime
Masses, myself included, need a forum to express their ordinary skills and talents
Masses, myself included, need escape from pain, a painkiller, a placebo
Masses, myself included, need purpose of life to make sense of it

Masses turn to religion
and I?

February 1, 2009

ISKCON and homosexuality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aniket @ 10:08 pm
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It’s good to see a voice of reason and sanity coming out of ISKCON.

Giridhari Das, an ISKCON preacher in Brazil, in his blogpost here ,raises a critical question of dealing with homosexuality in ISKCON movement by recounting an incidence in brasilia, Brazil.
He says, (emphasis mine)

During my touring of Brazil I came across the following administrative situation: an initiated devotee who had graduated from our 9 month Bhakti-shastri Seminary had been giving classes at the temple, and also teaching a bhakti-shastri course to the other devotees. She had been doing that for some time, to the satisfaction of the leaders and congregation. Then she decided to move in with her girlfriend and they signed some paperwork between themselves, making it as close to a legal marriage as they could. The other girl also became a devotee by her influence.

So, a female-female devotee couple was formed. Because she did not hide the situation, the local leaders became disturbed. They then banned her from giving further classes and canceled her bhakti-shastri course to the local congregation.

(At the same time, in this same congregation, a male initiated devotee is living with a bhaktin, and they are not married. He not only teaches the bhakti-shastri course, but also cooks for the congregation.)

That’s typically how you expect religion to respond and ISKCON is as fundamentalist as an organization would get. (besides .. is that what people come to temple for? to find a mate for themselves?Holy molly! that’s some dating service you are running there.. well, after all, I guess Lord Krishna inspires that naturally)

He further says,

The general question I raised when discussing the issue with the local leaders, and for which they could not give me a satisfactory reply, is whether it is fair to ban someone from doing some kind of service on the basis of how they were born.

Why? I guess there are probably gazillion question which they don’t have satisfying answers for. In fact, the only reply you get in ISKCON is – It’s all written in scriptures by God himself.
he then goes on to recount his argument with temple authorities and concludes the post by saying,

It seems to me that IF it is the case that homosexuals are BORN homosexuals (and as far as I am aware, science strongly supports this claim), then ISKCON must deal with this ethical issue urgently, lest we be guilty of the grossest kind of prejudice – that based on the way a person is born, regardless of his possessing all other qualifications.

Okay. Two things sir. First, did you just say science? Religious authorities are way more knowledgeable and superior to science – well, at least in the view of ISKCON. You should have known that. Second, there are million things that science says and ISKCON (or any other religious fundamentalist crook for that matter) doesn’t accept, why do you expect them to make a concession in this case?

I still wish to thank Giridhari Das for expressing voice of reason – some glimpses of sanity and reason from otherwise arid land of banal hypocrisy.

January 17, 2009

Atheist Bus campaign hits Toronto

Filed under: News — Aniket @ 8:19 pm
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Via God is imaginary I learned that atheist bus campaign has now reached my town sending further chill waves among religious circles.

Emulating the UK campaign, the Toronto ads will say: “THERE’S PROBABLY NO GOD. NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE.”

Washington, Barcelona, and Madrid have all launched similar campaigns, which was the brainchild of Ariane Sherine. She came up with the idea after noticing ads on London buses leading people to a website claiming non-Christians would burn in hell.

The campaign details are available at http://atheistbus.ca/

Donations can be made at http://atheistbus.ca/donate/

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 21, 2008

Realization

Filed under: Lifestyle — Aniket @ 7:33 pm
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Sometimes reality reveals itself to you in the most sublime and beautiful way. It leaves you completely mesmerized and when you gather yourself you realize how fortunate you were for having experienced it. You discover a new vision, you see the world differently, life turns into a marvelous piece of artwork expressing itself in multitudes of glorious, attractive and meaningful colors, inviting you to a tasteful indulgence. It is the moment of your realization.

Realization is that experience which removes the iron cladding in front of your eyes to open your mind to the possibilities you thought never existed. Realization is not religious, spiritual, atheistic, rational, scientific or anything else. It is just that – real.

Realization can happen to an atheist as much as it happens to the believer. For the believer, the moment of realization is often the moment of delusion when god reveals himself to the believer. At this moment, he gets dragged into the mystic world of myth and mayhem, probably irreversibly.

On the other hand, for an atheist, the moment of realization is the moment of triumph, the moment of liberation when he cleanses his mind of every thought of divine interference in his life, when he cleanses his mind of every fear of divine fury causing danger to his life and when he cleanses his mind of every lame hope of undeserved divine rewards giving him unfair advantage in his life. It is that moment when you realize that in this world you are completely on your own – neither protected nor disadvantaged. You define your ethics, you live your morality, there are no absolutes. You have only this life that begins with your birth and ends with your death, you probably do not exist outside the realm of this birth and death. Life is beautiful, try to make most of it. Discover your passions, live your love. Life is once in a lifetime opportunity, completely yours – to be spent, not to be wasted in some meaningless vacuous rituals which guarantee the well-being in the afterlife that does not exist.

It is with this realization, the sticky, stagnant cocoon of a man turns into a beautiful, vibrant butterfly.

December 15, 2008

God’s Secretary

Filed under: Atheism in Art — Aniket @ 8:56 pm
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by R. S. Gwynn
(Poem published by Poetry Foundation in Dec 2008 issue)

Her e-mail inbox always overflows.
Her outbox doesn’t get much use at all.
She puts on hold the umpteen-billionth call
As music oozes forth to placate those
Who wait, then disconnect. Outside, wind blows,
Scything pale leaves. She sees a sparrow fall
Fluttering to a claw-catch on a wall.
Will He be in today? God only knows.

She hasn’t seen His face—He’s so aloof.
She’s long resigned He’ll never know or love her
But still can wish there were some call, some proof
That He requires a greater service of her.
Fingers of rain now drum upon the roof,
Coming from somewhere, somewhere far above her.

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!

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