सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

Why it requires much more courage of conviction to be an atheist than a believer

By NS Venkataraman* 
All religions explain the concept of God in one way or the other and lay down guidelines for leading life. Many believers readily accept the advocacy of the religions without questioning. However, there are persons who do not want to readily follow the grammar pronounced by religions and want to scrutinize the details and may refuse to accept them . They are known as non believers or atheists.
The question is whether we should reject the non believers as negative thinkers and rebels or view them as robust thinkers with courage of conviction.
Ever since the humans and other creatures happened in the world (when was it?), there have been what appears to be an unresolved question as to from where the humans and creatures come and where they would go after death. The limited explanation given is that humans and creatures are created due to chemical and biological reaction in the womb of the mother and death happens due to the weakening of the cells or other unnatural reasons. Obviously, such explanations do not go beyond a point.
In such scenario, several religions have sprung up across the world over several centuries of human existence and in all these religions , there is a common name used “God” and for the understanding of the people , God is described as the creator and ruler of everything in the world. Then, many mythological stories and events have been described across the world to further establish the concept of God.
Of course, religions are important in human life, as they lay down guidelines and norms for living by the humans with peace of mind, by observing compassion , detachment, charity and so on . Without religions, the world will be a scene of anarchy and chaos. While the religions have not been successful in totally eliminating chaos and anarchy, it certainly helps in keeping it under control.

What Hindu religion advocates?

According to the Hindu philosophy (Vedanta), God is not outside but within oneself in the deep mindset. Several scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads in Hindu religion stress on sustained meditation to realise God within oneself, stating Aham Brahmasmi (Brihadranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Yajur Veda) – Aham Brahmasmi describes the unity of the Atman ( individual self or soul) with Brahman (the absolute). It is typically translated as “I am Brahman” or less literally as “I am divine”. It is pointed out that the ultimate goal of human life is union of self with the higher self (God).
The Hindu scriptures emphatically state that one has to realise the consciousness within by sustained meditation and then only can experience God. This realization of consciousness leads to Supreme Bliss, otherwise termed as “Ananda”.
Like Hindu religion, all other religions also basically stress on realization of God, though the methodology advocated may be different to some extent. Unable to find a convincing answer to the vexed question about the origin and end of life in their thought process, majority of people simply accept the theories and explanations offered by the various religions , as a way to move out of the uncertain ideas and confusion in the mindset . Such persons are the believers.
Among the believers, there are thought leaders who are generally known as saints or realized souls who preach about the concept of God by their writings , speeches and even by demonstration in some ways and in some cases.
The saints, who are much respected by the believers, advocate belief in God in the mindset and make it easy for anyone to believe in God by stating that beyond such thought process of having faith in God , the human brains cannot introspect beyond. The concept of God is not something that one can speak about or discuss in debate. The saints suggest sustained prayer and meditation to realise God within oneself.
Many people do not understand such concept fully or adequately in spite of some efforts. However, many people conclude that respected saints who have been preaching such ideas over last several centuries cannot be wrong.
These saints also pass away one day like any of their followers. When such passing away of the saints happen, the followers start worshipping the saints as incarnation of God who lived amongst them. Then , place of worship are built for these saints and customary worship practices are evolved over time and these saints also virtually become God in the mindset of the disciples and followers.

The predicament of non-believers

The non believers (known as atheists) do not want to simply adopt or approve the practice of accepting the existence of God as a matter of faith without questioning and they continue their process of thinking as to what is all that life is about and why life happens at all. These non believers are reluctant to view God as a mere creator or ruler , just like a king of a kingdom , as it is sought to be explained by various religious preachers.
In such scenario, researchers are now working on Human Genome Editing . The efforts relate to creation of a small peace of RNA with a short “guide” sequence that attaches (binds) to a specific target sequence in a cell’s DNA. This genome editing is used to alter human genomes or animal genomes.
Several experimental efforts relating to genetically modified or engineered animals have been attempted and scientists have succeeded to some extent. For example, the “super pig “ have been engineered with human growth harmone gene and resulting in transgenic sheep Dolly. It is reported that the transgenic sheep Dolly are abnormal , compared with ordinary lambs. However, the fact is that such transgenic sheep Dolly have been successfully created by the scientists with whatever inadequacies.
The non believers think that such scientific development relating to creation of transgenic animal in research laboratories only go to show that the concepts said in religious teachings such as God creating humans and creatures, rebirths, fate , karma etc. need to be critically reexamined.

Are the non believers any better?

Now, are we to term these non believers as negative thinkers or hard thinkers or genuine thinkers or simply people with negative mindset? In any case, the fact is that non believers also can not go beyond questioning the believers and cannot offer any alternate concept or credible explanation. Finally, it has to be pointed out that in most cases, neither the believers nor the non believers have the complete understanding on what they believe or do not believe.
However, the believers are of the view that in the realm of things, it is better to believe rather than not to believe, since believing in God enable individuals to live in peace, without bothering to think on the vexed question about origin and end of human life and would enable them to move on with the life process for whatever it is worth.
Religion also provides the believers confidence to reconcile themselves to the event of death and enable them to appreciate the fact that death is natural and inevitable, whatever may happen to “oneself” after death. In essence, religions prepare individuals to accept or mentally prepare themselves to the event of death, however dislike they may have for death event.
It has been seen that number of non believers have turned to be vague believers at the fag end of their life and reconcile themselves to accept that they do not know anything better than the believers, when the call of death knocks at their doorstep. All genome researchers may not be non believers per se, even as they continue their efforts “to develop humans and animals”, in addition to what God has been doing.
It requires much more courage of conviction to be an atheist (non believer) than a believer. The non believers often argue that in their thought process , they are no less genuine than believers.
In any case, generally, the world with majority of people being believers, do not view the non believers as out of box thinkers but as rebels or rule breakers. In such circumstances, it is inevitable that non believers are only few and far between.
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*Trustee, Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

Under Modi, democracy is regressing and economy is also growing slowly

By Avyaan Sharma*   India is "the largest democracy in the world", but now its democracy is regressing and its economy is also growing slowly. What has PM Modi's ten years in power brought us? Unemployment remains high. Joblessness is particularly high among India's youth - with those aged 15 to 29 making up a staggering 83% of all unemployed people in India, according to the "India Employment Report 2024", published last month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD). The BJP-led government did not provide jobs to two crore youth in a year as was promised by Modi in the run up to the 2014 general elections.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

ભારતમાં જિસસ ક્રાઈસ્ટના દર્શન, ખ્રિસ્તી ધર્મના આગમનને કારણે સમાજ વ્યવસ્થામાં પરિવર્તન

- ઉત્તમ પરમાર  મારી કિશોર અવસ્થામાં કેટલાક ચિત્રો અને મૂર્તિઓએ હૃદયમાં એવું સ્થાન જમાવ્યું છે કે આજદિન પર્યંત  ઉત્તરોઉત્તર વિકસતું જ રહ્યું છે. પ્રેમ કરુણાના મૂર્તિમંત અવતાર  જિસસ ક્રાઈસ્ટને વધુસ્તંભે ચઢાવેલી મૂર્તિ  મારી કોઈપણ ધર્મ વિશેની સમજ નહોતી ત્યારથી મારા હૃદયમાં સ્થાપિત થયેલી છે. મારા ઘરની દિવાલ પર વધસ્તંભે ચઢેલા જીસસની પ્રતિમા જોઈને કોઈ મને પૂછી બેસતું કે તું ક્રિશ્ચન છે?

रैंकिंग: अधिकांश भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिरा, इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी

- प्रमोद रंजन*  अप्रैल, 2024 में भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर उच्च रैंकिंग की चर्चा रही। मीडिया ने इसका उत्सव मनाया। लेकिन स्थिति इसके विपरीत है। वैश्विक विश्वविद्यालय रैंकिग में अच्छा स्थान मिलने की खबरें, कुछ संस्थानों को इक्का-दुक्का विषयों में मिले रैंक के आधार पर चुनिंदा ढंग से प्रकाशित की गईं थीं। वास्तविकता यह है कि हाल के वर्षों में हमारे अधिकांश विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिर गया है। इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी रही है।

नोएडा में मैन्युअल स्कैवेंजर्स की मौत: परिवारों को मुआवजा नहीं, प्राधिकरण ने एफआईआर नहीं की

- अरुण खोटे, संजीव कुमार*  गत एक सप्ताह में, उत्तर प्रदेश में सीवर/सेप्टि क टैंक सफाई कर्मियों की सफाई के दौरान सेप्टिक टैंक में मौत। 2 मई, 2024 को, लखनऊ के वज़ीरगजं क्षेत्र में एक सेवर लाइन की सफाई करते समय शोब्रान यादव, 56, और उनके पत्रु सशुील यादव, 28, घटुन से हुई मौत। एक और घटना 3 मई 2024 को नोएडा, सेक्टर 26 में एक घर में सेप्टि क टैंक को सफाई करते समय दो सफाई कर्मचर्मारी नूनी मडंल, 36 और कोकन मडंल जिसे तपन मडंल के नाम से जानते हैं, की मौत हो गई। ये सफाई कर्मचर्मारी बंगाल के मालदा जिले के निवासी थे और नोएडा सेक्टर 9 में रहते थे। कोकन मडंल अपनी पत्नी अनीता मडंल के साथ रहते थे। इनके तीन स्कूल जाने वाले बच्चे हैं जो बंगाल में रहते हैं। नूनी मडंल अपनी पत्नी लिलिका मडंल और अपने पत्रु सजुान के साथ किराए पर झग्गी में रहते थे। वे दैनिक मजदरूी और सफाई कर्मचर्मारी के रूप में काम करते थे।

प्राचीन भारत के लोकायत संप्रदाय ने कुछ परजीवियों की खूब खबर ली: प्रमुख प्रस्थापनायें

- राणा सिंह   भारत में परजीवियों का एक विशाल समूह है जो बोलता है कि “सब कुछ माया है”,  लेकिन व्यवहार में यह समूह सारी जिंदगी इसी “माया” के पीछे पागल रहता है।  प्राचीन भारत के लोकायत संप्रदाय ने इन परजीवियों की खूब खबर ली थी।

बिहार के ऐतिहासिक विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय के खंडहरों की परिक्रमा का रोमांचक अवसर

- सुमन्त शरण  कुछ दिन पहले एक सुदूर ग्रामीण अंचल (पीरपैंती)  से तकरीबन डेढ़-दो घंटे की दूरी पर अवस्थित ऐतिहासिक बौद्ध विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय (के अवशेषों) की परिक्रमा का अवसर मिला। विक्रमशीला विश्वविद्यालय की स्थापना पाल वंश के राजा धर्मपाल ने की थी। 8वीं शताब्दी से 12वीं शताब्दी के अंत तक यह विश्वविद्यालय भारत के प्रमुख शिक्षा केंद्रों में से एक हुआ करता था। कहा जाता है कि यह अपने कुछेक अत्यंत अनूठे नवाचार के चलते उस समय नालंदा विश्वविद्यालय का सबसे बड़ा प्रतिस्पर्धी था। हालांकि, मान्यता यह भी है कि अल्प अवधि के लिए दोनों विश्वविद्यालय के बीच शिक्षण एवं प्रबंधन के क्षेत्रों में घनिष्ठ पारस्परिक संबंध एवं शिक्षकों के आदान-प्रदान का सिलसिला भी रहा था। यह विश्वविद्यालय तंत्रशास्त्र की पढ़ाई के लिए सबसे ज्यादा विख्यात था। इस विषय का एक सबसे विख्यात छात्र अतीसा दीपनकरा था, जो बाद में तिब्बत जाकर बौद्ध हो गया। इसके प्रथम कुलपति ज्ञान अतिस थे।