I am comfortable with not having answers to everything. By temperament, I have a high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. Many people suffer Cognitive Dissonance with uncertainties and probabilistic world models, and thus they feel the need to close that loop with a definitive answer, regardless of how intellectually indefensible it may be.
This low tolerance for uncertainty in many others probably has an evolutionary origin related to the fact that in the Paleolithic environment…Continue
I don't understand why Muslim men are so eager to go to 'Jannat' through Jihad and get 72 virgins when they can have whatever they crave for on earth itself! Of course besides this they get the privilege of licking the deity's ass.
The following facts pertain to women and marriage in most of the Islamic world:
1. A man can have four wives
2 A man can divorce his wife in front of the judge without the woman's consent, even without her…
Let us say a woman patient was hemorrhaging badly. She felt weak, cold, and the pain in her abdomen was excruciating. A nurse ran out to fetch the doctor, but by the time they arrived she knew she was slipping away. The doctor was shouting instructions when quite suddenly the pain stopped. She felt free—and found herself floating above the drama, looking down at the bustle of activity around her now still body.
“We’ve lost her,” she heard the doctor say, but the woman was already…Continue
Cognitive dissonance (CD) is the concept of holding two very different ideas in your mind at the same time. This is something all the great composers do when they think of two melodic themes and how they can intertwine, adapt and combine them. We would find it very difficult to whistle one tune while thinking of an entirely different one but that is the sort of thing that Beethoven or Mozart would consider trifling.
Let us take two different ideas:
1. Man created god(s), and the…
Since time immemorial, believers in a loving and just god have looked around at the world we live in, filled with toil, strife and suffering, and have pondered how to reconcile their belief with the facts at hand. The solution which most religions have adopted is to assert the existence of another world, beyond this one, to which the souls of the good will fly in order to receive their due reward.
Poets and dreamers throughout history have filled their scriptures with rapturous…Continue
1. First, choose your parents. At least one of them should be religious. If you say it is impossible to choose parents, then wish for dame luck to favour you with religious parents.You should also love your parents and be obedient to them. It now becomes easy to believe in gods, because you love your parents and your parents told you that there are Gods.
2. Next, understand that believing in Gods in the absence of evidence is especially noble. What is…Continue
Sreeni: Prof. Kumar, Why should any intellectual adopt atheism & secular humanism as his philosophy? What is the real benefit from these beliefs or should I say non-beliefs?
Me: Every human being apart from working for a livelihood and bringing up his children, would like to be physically healthy and happy and for this he should have the correct philosophy.
Sreeni: How can our philosophy help us in acquiring good health & happiness?
Me: Only an atheistic…Continue
Even after seeing the death of my parents, relatives, acquaintances & friends over the years and realizing the inevitability of death from age if not from accidents, I have not been able to come to terms with death.
When visiting the bereaved people who have just lost some loved ones, I do not know what to say to them. Well-meaning people say these platitudes:
"He/She is in a better place" or
"she will not suffer any more. That's a relief. She is going to a place where…
Sreeni: Prof. Kumar, one of my religious friends asked me about the real benefit of an Atheistic & Secular outlook. All I could think of and say was this: “The journey toward Atheism is a quest for the truth, truth which can be empirically tested and for which you can gather evidence, however distressing & frightening the truth might be. It could be the discovery that we humans are all alone, there are no souls, no afterlife & no god(s) to help us”.
Me: That is correct.…Continue
Purpose no. 1.
Most common purpose of prayer is to ask God to do things – fulfill requests, grant favours, and generally use his supernatural powers to act on behalf of the petitioner.
Simple logic shows that any prayer that asks God for anything is pointless. Is prayer going to bring to God’s attention a need of which he was not previously aware ? Is it going to convince him to do…Continue
His name was Bukhari, a sunni Muslim. He was the Training Manager at BHEL, Trichy (India). He used to invite me from Madras for conducting 3 to 5 day training programmes & workshops for his middle level & senior level managers. During the lunch break, I would walk from the conference hall to his cabin in the next building for a chit-chat.
I never took lunch since it would make me sleepy. I had to be at my best…
I had a disturbing dream recently. I had renounced non-belief in the supernatural phenomena like gods, soul, afterlife, heaven, Karma, reincarnation and become a devout Hindu brahmin once again. I was doing maha mangalarthi to Durga mata by dancing like the Bengalis do. I woke up in cold sweat and felt relieved that my secular humanism was in tact. Perhaps it was the consumption of too many vadas my loving wife had made the previous night.
In real life, this can happen only if my…Continue
Religion as per some philosophers is all about Comfort & Consolation. Religious beliefs (Soul, Afterlife, heaven & gods) are molly-coddling illusions. Afterlife beliefs are the primary reasons for the case that religion is a product of wishful thinking.
The belief in life after death may eliminate or weaken:
- The fear of personal extinction
- The overwhelming sadness when loved one dies
- The sense that a life of finite duration…Continue
I have been studying Comparative Religion for some time now. There are 4200+ 'LIVE' religions on planet earth today according to the anthropologists.
They can't all be true, so how do I determine which one to believe in?
I've been told my "eternal soul" might be at stake and I don't want to bet on the wrong horse, after all. Should I pick whichever one is the oldest? I don't know which one that might be because many were passed down orally for many centuries before they were…Continue
Some people call themselves “Spiritual but not Religious”. One such person is my dear nephew 'Vishwa' of Delhi, who is also a cousin to Prema. I have a lot of admiration for him for some of his traits like empathy, compassion, self-effacing attitude and the desire to reduce human anxiety, depression & suffering with his counseling. Though he is a Spiritual person & I am a Secular Humanist, we get along dandy because we are both wedded to humanistic ethics. For me basically, it is not…Continue
If God didn't have the ability to create a better world which lacked natural disasters, he could have nevertheless foretold any number of them. He could have predicted when Mt. St. Helens would erupt, or when the Indonesian tsunami or hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Hiati would hit. Such information would have saved lives and confirmed his existence and status as God.
To merely establish his status, he could have predicted the rise of the Internet, or the inventions of the…Continue
To create the entire multiverse comprising several universes and our visible universe with 200 billion galaxies, each galaxy with 200 to 400 billion stars, each star with its planets and to create life on some planets, is a stupendous task for any creator. Such a creator cannot be a simple entity. It has to be a very complex entity.
Science tells us that everything started with a big bang and just…
Secular Humanism (Secular = Atheistic; Humanism = Concern for Human welfare) does not believe in the Soul, afterlife, karma, reincarnation, heaven or gods and most of all does not believe that man’s mission on earth is to have an implicit & unquestioning faith in gods and to keep praising & glorifying them.
"A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything" -- Friedrich Nietzsche.
But debating about the existence or non-existence of…Continue