Atheism in India

Is it time to embrace atheism in India?

It’s time I write about this, considering that this would probably be my life’s second most important crusade if I ever decided to start. Religion has been a part of our culture and it has been passed on from generation to generation. When I was young, I never had a choice in matters of what religion I believed in. Let me guess, you watched Life of Pi  and decided all Indian families were highly tolerant about other religions? Well, they mostly are as long as the general food practices and the festivals remain the same. You can shout all you want that you believe in Allah rather than Krishna but I would be surprised if your Christian or Hindu household let you do Namaz five times a day or vice-versa if you are a Muslim and want to pray to Lord Krishna.

It’s worse when a child decides to completely boycott religion and determinedly stays out of religious places. This is when parents play the L-card. They use the word ‘Love’ and call the religious outings a ‘family time’. You can’t say no to family time because that would make you a heartless bastard. This may seem a simple matter considering that it has been happening forever. It is typical in Indian households for children to be dragged to temples where there is a huge queue that stretches for miles and miles just to look at the stone idol for a few seconds. Rational people, hardworking people and very tolerant people in general, even they start forcing religion on children when they become parents. It is ‘acceptable social norm’ that you believe in something and parents want to play it safe when it comes to society. Indian Nihilists Association is not going to be formed any time soon, I guess?

India has had trysts with religion in the past. Oppression of women, social disparity of ‘lower caste’ people, irrational views on homosexuality, stem-cell research and abortion, riots – religion can be held, maybe not solely but responsible still for all the above things. It’s true that we as a people have crossed over and we are trying to work things out. The current quota system for SC/ST people has only made things worse. The quota system invades all places and all levels of our system. How long should it be there before it becomes reverse discrimination, if not already?

Time and time again, when there is a debate on god, science pops up miraculously and it becomes religion vs science. It is an unfair tournament considering science has had only continuous successes while religion thrives on the grey areas of science. Religion disappears slowly into the recedes as science explains more and more of the foolishness involved in religion. The big question and arguably the only question that religious fanatics can ask and science cannot answer is about the beginning of time. Science has the theory of big bang while creationists believe it was god. There is no way of finding out unless particle physicists recreate the big bang in a laboratory environment. From the current looks of it, it’s not going to be anytime soon.

The endless charade of fake Babas in India is a truly incredible thing. One would assume people learn from mistakes. Not the religious fanatics of India though. Below is the clip of the latest Baba in India who solves peoples’ problems with his miracles:

What is interesting and rather disappointing here is the fact that the crowd must surely consist of doctors, engineers, accountants and scientists. These are people whose work consists of being rational and they are here suspending their beliefs and listening to a old man ramble about what kind of hallucinations he is going through.

Atheism may not be the answer to everything but it definitely is a first step towards a solution. Maybe, it’s time we start doing things rationally rather than stand in queues for darshan and listen to fairy tales as talking to an invisible man in the sky isn’t going to help our economy or reduce our illiteracy rate.

I’m Prasanna, this is ‘Time to think’ and you betcha, we are not done yet.


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