Sreeni: Prof. Kumar, What could be the mission of Atheism & Secular Humanism?
Me: Well, if Atheism is the first step taken by someone, Secular Humanism is the 1000 steps thereafter that one has to take. Atheism has no mission besides declaring one’s non-belief in celestial beings. But Secular humanism is Atheism+ & does not believe that man’s mission on earth is merely to love and glorify illusory gods, but it does believe in living this life so that when you pass on, the world will be better for your having lived.
Sreeni: This is such a worthy mission. Why not we evangelize it everywhere?
Me: Debating about the existence or non-existence of gods with the believers is useless, since they have the calcified & ossified attitudes of Complacency, Certitude & Dogmatism. It requires the diametrically opposite attitudes of Inquisitiveness, Skepticism & Tentativeness to appreciate the discoveries of modern day sciences. Why try to reason someone out of opinions they never reasoned themselves into? They were brainwashed by their elders and one can’t choose one’s parents. Period.
Sreeni: Why are even the educated intelligentsia unwilling to consider deconverting to atheism & Secular Humanism?
Me: It’s a Double Whammy, a situation when two unpleasant things happen at almost the same time.
One one hand you have the INTELLECTUAL STRESS. To be a Secular Humanist you have to put in a lot of effort to become an autodidact in Astrophysical Cosmology, Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, Evolutionary Psychology, Comparative Religion, Ethics & Axiology (Value clarification). The average individual would have finished his/her academic & professional studies long time ago convinced that there is not much else to learn to earn one’s livelihood & get on with life. He/She would have arrived at a sense of closure on Learning. At this juncture asking them to study these unfamiliar subjects would be asking too much. It is needless to say a very unpleasant thing and creates unwanted Intellectual stress.
On the other hand you have the PERSONAL NEEDS, the psychological needs & the Social needs.
Psychological Needs: In order to commit oneself to Secular Humanism, you have to forego the illusion of a sky daddy/mom and the safety net of comfort & solace when facing the inevitable frustrations in life.
Social Needs: Also you might have to face social ostracism and sacrifice the benefits of community & a sense of belongingness to a religious group.
Frustration of Personal needs is another very unpleasant thing. So it is a DOUBLE WHAMMY! Not many people have the courage & resourcefulness to face this kind of eventuality and so they backslide into their default status, sucking on the pacifier of blind faith.
Sreeni: How can we then expect progress when Imams, Mullahs, Priests, Popes, Pastors, Rabbis, Gurus & Swamis continue to create Xenophobia & instigate their flocks to fight & destroy those with a different faith?
Me: Well, all revolutions have been initiated by one person or a handful of people who passionately believe in it. One M.K.Gandhi, One Martin Luther King Jr, One Nelson Mandela, One Malala Yousaf zai were enough, weren’t they?
It is not necessary that the entire human population is simultaneously converted to non-belief. That could also be dangerous, since there are quite a lot of deranged psychotics & sociopaths who will take advantage of the absence of Invigilators to go berserk and cause mayhem. Let the great unwashed continue to think that gods exist. It is good for social control.
But we need only a few Secular Humanists dispersed throughout the world to convince the intellectuals & leaders of nations that mankind is all alone, death is final, there is no afterlife and people across the borders will have to cooperate & collaborate with one another to usher in a new paradigm, a new reality, a Heaven on earth.