V.N.K.Kumar's Blog (41)

The futile search for happiness & meaning

What makes life worth living? Is it a life filled with happiness or a life filled with purpose and meaning? Is there even a difference between the two?

Think of the human rights activist who fights oppression but ends up in prison like Nelson Mandela — was he happy? Or the social animal who spends his nights (and some days) jumping from party to party—is that the good life?…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on April 27, 2016 at 10:40pm — 2 Comments

Why it is so difficult to love 'Science' but learning it is imperative

Since its inception, Science has been a thorn in the side: incessantly inconvenient, calculatingly cold, and questioning of one's deeply held beliefs ( Regarding God, soul, afterlife, astrology, homeopathy & 101 other pseudo-sciences). It disregards personal feelings.



But that's not the worst of it.



Science is the reason why Earth is no longer at the center of the Universe. We humans used to be so significant. Everything revolved around us until Science and it's… Continue

Added by V.N.K.Kumar on April 24, 2016 at 12:11pm — No Comments

What happens when we die?

From the beginning of human history people have wondered about death. It is not uncommon for young children to ask their parents, "what happens when we die?"

Of course we all either consciously or subconsciously know what really happens when we die. The answer of course is that we are dead. It is right there in the word. Unfortunately, people have a…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on April 23, 2016 at 4:42am — 3 Comments

Opportunity costs of Loss of faith

Makes me sad to think that Hindus in India waste so much of their time, energies & monetary resources on religious rituals like homas, yagnas, teerath yatras, temple festivals, prayers & bhajans. But sametime I wonder what they might do with the time released from these preoccupations if they opt to be secular.

Females might indulge in more gosssip, suffer depression because they now do not have the option of praying to gods for succour and male…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on March 3, 2016 at 10:38pm — 7 Comments

Heaven -- a reality for some and a delusion for others

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on December 15, 2015 at 2:12am — 4 Comments

The Emperor is Naked!

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on December 11, 2015 at 2:35am — 8 Comments

Religions are ephemeral & short-lived but Atheism is eternal

How long has religion existed?
Since the beginning of human thought - hundreds of thousands of years ago. When the first humans ran in fear from a bolt of lightning; felt the horror of a mother and baby dying in childbirth; witnessed a mountain explode in a fountain of molten rock; saw a comet plough through the firmament; watched one friend survive an unlikely accident when others perished; noticed the changing of the…
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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on December 10, 2015 at 1:18am — 7 Comments

The tussle between Religion & Secular Humanism

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,…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on December 6, 2015 at 9:39pm — 10 Comments

A Binary Dichotomy

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on November 23, 2015 at 9:35am — 7 Comments

The Value of Human Life: My post-Paris & post-Mali meditations

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on November 20, 2015 at 8:16pm — 6 Comments

Reasons for the persistence of God delusion

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on November 13, 2015 at 11:48pm — 8 Comments

Atheism is empowering

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on November 6, 2015 at 7:14pm — 10 Comments

Why pray to God(s)?

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on October 31, 2015 at 12:16pm — 6 Comments

Secular Humanism encapsulated

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on October 10, 2015 at 3:24am — 5 Comments

Freeedom from Vs. Freedom to

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on September 30, 2015 at 10:47pm — 3 Comments

Most of us seemingly need the reassurance of some delusions

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on September 5, 2015 at 7:14am — 17 Comments

On throwing one suffocating starfish on the beach back into the ocean

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on May 15, 2015 at 6:53am — 3 Comments

Compartmentalization & Religiosity

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on April 20, 2015 at 8:36am — 2 Comments

I am angry with God(s) for not existing

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on February 7, 2015 at 10:21pm — 3 Comments

Etiology of my Secularism

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…

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Added by V.N.K.Kumar on January 10, 2015 at 3:29am — 6 Comments

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