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
All religions have come to us through hearsay. Everyone is talking about the god who is there, but where ? No one knows what it is, where it is, how it is or why it is, but they talk about it just the same, as if they knew.
No one ever experiences god personally. We listen to other people talk about it and read books ; other people tell us what to believe, they interpret our subjective feelings as "god", but we can never know for sure, because god is…
Religion fulfills certain basic human desires. It offers people a sense of worth and specialness. It gives them a community in which they can feel understood and supported. It eases their fears about life and death, offers them hope of immortality. It also gives them a feeling of superiority, of having an edge over others. So you can't really blame people for being obsessed with Religion,God or Afterlife.
My point however is that though traditional religions fulfill many human needs,…Continue
For some, the benefits one gets from an implicit faith in God & Religion (Protection in this life & afterlife, immortality & Ultimate justice) cannot be matched by any secular philosophies. They might say nothing but their unspoken message is “I have made up my mind that Gods exist, so don’t confuse me with facts”. Indeed there are many for whom the emotional need for a protective sky daddy far outweighs the intellectual need for knowing the truth. For th…Continue
The idea of death affects me a lot worse, now that I’m a secular Humanist, than it ever used to before I made fifteen revolutions around our star, the sun. Not just my own death, but everyone else’s too. People dying is bad enough to comprehend and deal with, even when it occurs from natural causes like old age, when the dead happen to be your loved ones. I remember the death of my parents and how inconsolable I was. But unnecessary deaths from road accidents & plane crashes, pointless…Continue
One reason that so many “modern” people still “believe” in supernatural silliness is that so many people are so amazingly ignorant: recall the fatwa of the top cleric in Saudi Arabia threatening anyone who didn’t believe that the world is flat, recall other rulings of Muslim clerics that evolution is false.From such (and more) the conclusion seems inescapable that the majority of religious fundamentalists are just ignorant bumpkins. Recall the tautology: “Half of all people have…Continue
Sreeni: When someone declares “There are no gods”, others regard this as an expletive of a highly depressed person. When people hear or say this, it is often associated with nothing going right in the life of the person proclaiming it, or it is heard being said after a tragedy occurs.
Me: Yes that happens but these four words do not need to be linked to a fatalistic or bleak outlook but instead can be reassuring, refreshing…
God can never change his mind
Assuming hypothetically that there is a God, let me prove that God cannot change his mind, because he is assumed by all religions to be perfect. There is always a best choice in any situation. For someone to change their mind, they have to deem their new choice better than their old one.
Suppose, for example, that god thought initially that one plus one equals three. God then changes his mind to thinking that one plus one equals…
Secular Humanism (Secular = Atheistic; Humanism = Concern for Human welfare) does not believe in Soul, afterlife, karma, reincarnation, heaven, gods and most of all does not believe that man’s mission on earth is to praise & glorify illusory gods.
Debating about the existence or non-existence of gods with the believers is an exercise in futility, because you just cannot reason someone out of opinions they were never reasoned into. Early childhood…Continue
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…Continue
To retain his sanity in this mad mad world, man has to have some beliefs in his life, which could turn out to be delusions. A man has to feel that his spouse is faithful to him, that she loves him and will nurse him if bedridden, that she will remember him fondly if he predeceases her,etc.The same for the woman too. All of us need to believe such things to give us some reassurance, even if false & in order to retain our sanity in this…
Srini: What does one have to do to become an atheist cum secular humanist?
Me: There are no conversion or initiation rites to undergo. That happens only in religions. Here you simply give up certain practices. That’s about it. This eases your lifestyle. You do not have to waste all those hours & energies in prayers, bhajans and visits to temples for archanas, sevas, homas and pilgrimages. And the money saved from these can be diverted to deserving charities or as in my case for…Continue
Sreenivasan (Sreeni): Prof. K, I am reading all your articles which you have been e-mailing me on Religion, Gods & Humanism. As you already know, I am an atheist and so your articles only reinforce my earlier stance but when I try to read it to my wife, she is rather critical about it. She has been brought up in an orthodox Iyengar family and she worships Lord Krishna as her father and mother did in their lifetime.
Me: There are 2 types of…Continue
Sometimes I feel I am so lucky to live in modern times wherein secular societies are possible and secular Humanists & Atheistic Philosophers are tolerated if not treated with due respect. Thank goodness I was not born as a contemporary of Scientists like Bruno, who was burnt at the stakes or Galileo who was forced by the Pope to recant, to save his own life.
Having said this, I must admit that my life has been one long turmoil of doubt, skepticism and rebelling against authority…Continue
DOWN THE MEMORY LANE::
I was 7 years old in 1945. My father was a religious person and a very virtuous man. He was the Mines Manager at TISCO’s Doddakanya mines near Kadakola close to Mysore (India). He was falsely implicated in a case of theft of Rs 1000 /-. I used to hear him cry in front of my mother while I pretended to be asleep. He used to wonder why the Lord Rama & Shirdi Saibaba whose bhajans we used to sing so reverently every day, did not help him to…Continue
I am from the land of India, proud to be an atheist cum secular humanist and am convinced that one can be a good and compassionate human being irrespective of whether we have faith in god(s) or not.
For some, the benefits one gets from an implicit faith in God & Religion cannot be matched by any secular philosophies. Such persons would say “I have made up my mind that Gods exist, so don’t confuse me with facts”.…
To retain his sanity in this mad mad world, man has to have some delusions in his life and God delusion happens to be one of them. Some of us need the reassurance the God delusion gives them that there is a father-figure or mother-figure (albeit invisible), to give protection to them in this life and in the afterlife. And to hell with the truth.
If we are totally convinced that there are omniscient, omnipotent & omnipresent forces…
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 &…
When a snail sheds its shell, it still remains a snail -- Albert Einstein
Sreekanta Swamy (SS): Prof.Kumar, you call yourself a Hindu Brahmin but you seldom visit our Ganapathi temple and pray. I know you call yourself a Secular Humanist. But does this mean you are no longer a Hindu?
Me: My dear friend, the short answer is “No”. The long answer is: I was born a Hindu Brahmin. I still am one. What is …