Rationalism- the practice and promotion of reason above all else;
rejection of religion on the grounds that it is illogical.
All over the world, people are seen chanting prayers, whispering pleas, joining their hands and staring up at the sky. They are stoically against the realization of the futility of this act, of the actual waste of time. In all, an average god-fearing man probably wastes half his life just murmuring prayers. To turn to an illusion and live your life deluded is no commendable feat and yet is being performed by everyone. Most of them don’t even know the reason to why they're doing this. To confirm this, a few rationalist friends and I recently went around asking people why they believe in religion. We were rather amused by the answers we received some of which were-
"Just like that.."
"Er.. I don't know..."
"I just… you know... like it." *What do you like about it?* "I don't know... I just like it."
"I just believe in it that's it." *But there must be a reason to why you believe in it.* "Everything doesn't have to have a reason."
"...because my parents believe in it."
And there were some who justified their belief with: "Because it gives me peace."
What kind of peace? If religion brings peace, then what's with terrorism? It significantly arises from religion itself no matter how you look at it. What's happening in Mumbai? What was the U.S. 9/11 all about?
We saw the unreasoned in every person. This is how people have become. Billions of people with brains as vestigial as their appendices... It saddens me to see the amount of intelligence that goes waste being suppressed by the imposed principles of blind-faith. No-one reasons anything anymore. They don't even know why they are doing what they're doing.
Sure, India has changed. The literacy rate has gone up. People have been educated. But to what effect? Education has not made them exploit the faculty of reason and thought. Rather, it's been turned into a ritual. Look at the number of kids going to schools these days. How many of them know why they're studying? How many of them know why they're working their butts off to get into IIT or AIIMS? What's it going to get them in the long run? "Money," they answer promptly. But what after you've got the money? You get married and support a family. Then what? You keep working for more money till your life ends. And there... you've completed the ritual. You've fulfilled what everybody else has done. You've lived your life the way you've been told to. And I will question: what, then, has been the difference between your life and anyone else? What distinguishes you? Would it have mattered if you'd been born into another family, another place? You'd have done the same things as you're doing now. There, too, you'd not have known why you're doing it. And you'd probably never have questioned it either. I am not demoting education at all. But one must at least make something of it! There are thousands of men without a single purpose in life. People come and go with nothing to tell them apart. When they depart, they'll have accomplished anything.
Everyone's just desperately trying to fit into the team; thoughtlessly trying to believe the myths that were so conveniently created to explain what could not satisfactorily be explained. Now some idiots have gone and made these myths and principles rigid. We have fairy-tales being referred to as holy texts. Ram, krishna and all such cyanosed creatures being idolized. (Hey, I can start a religion on Harry Potter and call it Potterism maybe!) What's the deal with trying to shape yours and everyone else's lifestyles to match these fictional beings' and call it a cult? Why does everyone find a need to be like everyone else? Aren't they sure of what they want that they need another to dictate their desires and force a particular way of living onto them as they have done to others? So now, a person just believes in prevailing conventions. His incapability and inconsistency is obscured by accepting things that have been dictated to be right. And since he has thousands of such inconsistent brothers to justify these imposed conceptions, he will never have to make the heroic effort of standing firmly by his own opinions on the basis of his own reason.
Both religion and god are nothing more than excuses to cover up the lack of answers to a lot of puzzling questions and a reason to continue a worthless, slothful life of no strife. It’s so much easier to dismiss an unanswered thing by simply handing the credit to god. You don’t need to use your brain and bother yourself.
Now religion is blatantly displaying its lethality. Massacre here, carnage there. Is it leading anyone anywhere. And everyone's talking about Muslims, about jihadis and the terrorists that they become. They talk about brainwashing. Are they any different? What sets them apart from these men? Just the fact that don't possess weapons and they don't go around killing people? How many among them can think for themselves and reason their way out? How many actually have their own convictions rather than those that they’ve been led to believe are supreme? And even among the ones who do think for themselves, how many are able to maintain their convictions? Everyone's so quick to give in to public opinion. Opinions without a rational process are worthless. And the opinions which do come from a reasoning mind are simply suppressed. No-one wants to make the effort of taking responsibility for them. Sticking by your authentic views is better than giving up your integrity and sacrificing your faculty of reason.
I write this just after the attacks on Mumbai. Everyone in the country is demanding and fighting for a solution to this problem of terrorism. I have one which is the simplest to conceive of and most difficult to execute- abolish religion! Ban religion and half the world's problems will be solved. People will start reasoning and so many lives could portray the heroic in man. It'll be total freedom. The nation would progress like never before.
But I know this won't come true in my lifetime. Religion is too deep-rooted even though senseless. Yet, if, even in a single person, I can instigate a thought, a single idea to realize the importance of reason and ultimately the senselessness of the concept of religion, I'll know that my efforts haven't gone waste.

Views: 2

Tags: Rationalist, athiesm, attacks, logic, rationalism, religion, terror, truth

Comment by The Urban Spaceman on January 12, 2009 at 5:25pm
You just said abolish/ban religion and freedom in the same paragraph. I think you need to re-think your conclusion. I doubt many atheists on here despite how much they dislike religion will agree with that sentiment.

You said that it seems difficult to move people away from religion and you are correct. There is no easy way, but there are ways.

Support taxes towards social programs, public education, and higher education. Donate money towards scholarships, volunteer as a tutor. These are just some ideas.

When people have a good chance in life they are less likely to turn towards things like religious extremism.
Comment by JustCurious on January 12, 2009 at 10:35pm
I agree with Urban Spaceman in that we can't abolish religion. Communists tried that already, and look how that turned out. It would be a paradox: a sort of Anti-holy war against holy wars. It would still be a war. And it would be a war that would be essentially impossible to win.

Also, I don't think that religion as a whole should be used as a scapegoat for the violence, terror, and hatred plaguing the world. Certain religious extremists, yes, but not all religion. That's just as wrong as blaming an entire race of people for something that a few people did. For example, if all Christians actually followed the specific teachings of Jesus, they would pray for their enemies instead of fighting wars. They would realize it's a sin to tell someone else that they're going to Hell and that it's not their job to make others feel convicted. They would not follow blind patriotism. And I'm saying this because I've read the Bible very extensively.

Also, I think that you're interview with religious people was a bit shallow. There are a lot of people I know who have perfectly good reasons for what they believe. REASONABLE reasons, actually. One of the most rational and learned people I know is an extremely hard-core Christian. He describes himself very adamantly as a thinking person, and gets a bit annoyed when people say, "whatever. I'm a feeling person." He's peaceful, too. Imagine that. When people ask him tough questions about why he believes what he believes, he gives a perfectly logical answer. Most specifically, when asked why he ever became a Christian, since he was raised in an agnostic household, he will go on for about fifteen minutes with all of his specific reasons. I won't list them all right here, but they include specific learning experiences with lots of people of different religions, certain events in his life that can be explained only as what he calls miracles, and a direction and drive his life has to BE DIFFERENT and to MAKE HIS LIFE WORTHWHILE (weren't you saying that's what religion was preventing?). We can't always say that religion and logic are mutually exclusive. Sure, atheism is more logical. But religious people aren't always brainless crowd followers.

Atheists do need to at least respect religion the same way religious people respect atheists. Before you laugh at the irony of this statement, realize that there ARE lots of religious people who respect atheists.
Comment by Ananya Ray on January 12, 2009 at 11:13pm
Yes I know that religion shouldn't be used as a scapegoat for the terror, but it's still serving as an excuse for people to go around killing others. If religion didn't exist, at least that would be one reason less for people to hate each other. Religion's just dividing everyone into fractions. And you're not really banning freedom by banning religion. Everyone has a right to choose what they believe in, the principles they choose to follow and what they give priority to. It's not something that should be imposed on them. And I'm not in agreement with some of these principles being aggregated and given a name and for these names to segregate people and for these names to be an excuse to hate and to kill just for earning money. I don't know what it's like for you, but here, where I stay, it's a necessity to follow a religion- and that too the one you've been born into. When I declare I'm an atheist, people want to stay away from me. I see no respect in their eyes. If people have their personal logical reasons to believe in their religion, I don't demote that. But I don't promote believing in some stupid religion without any purpose or any particular reasons, but just for the sake of it. Just so you can give your life some meaning (something that it lacks) because others have said that it'll give your life some meaning.
And I do agree with the Urban Spaceman, the one way to promote rationalism is education. And to fight religion, fight idleness. Keep people busy and they won't have time to ponder on god and build up on those thoughts.
Comment by JustCurious on January 13, 2009 at 7:37am
"keep people busy so they won't have time to ponder on God and build up on those thoughts."

Aren't we promoting rationalism? Wouldn't discouraging people to think, just because it's not what we want them to think about, be irrational? If you want people to turn from religion, you need to MAKE them think. The more they ponder God, the more rational they will become. Let it happen through their own thoughts, or it's just another form of blind follow-the-leader or brainwashing. We cannot brainwash people toward Atheist rationalism. That's just another oxymoron.
Comment by Ananya Ray on January 13, 2009 at 8:20am
I'm promoting their thought process. All I'm saying is think for yourself not don't think about THAT. I'm saying questiion, rationalize, don't let others make decisions for you. Don't let others impose their thoughts on you. And by that statement I meant to say that they'll now have a purpose and won't blindly go about chanting hymns and out of desperation find a purpose in the so-called god itself. Think about god, but don't make the concept an excuse to not think, an excuse for your laziness. That they don't make it a substitute for answers that they can use their own heads to try and solve.
Comment by Frink on January 15, 2009 at 2:16pm
"Atheists do need to at least respect religion the same way religious people respect atheists. Before you laugh at the irony of this statement, realize that there ARE lots of religious people who respect atheists."

It is worth pointing out that these are two very different things. Many of us see no reason to give religion any sort of respect. We wonder what qualifies religion for automatic "respect." I haven't heard a good reason for it. If you have one, let's hear it.

Respecting people is an entirely separate matter. I can respect a person without respecting their religion. If a person thinks that disrespect for their religion is the same as disrespect towards them, sorry, there's nothing I can do to help them.
Comment by Ananya Ray on January 20, 2009 at 7:57am
I can't help but agree with you. But I think what JustCurious is trying to say is live and let live. (Though I'm not exactly doing that here) It's more like think and let think...
Comment by Ananya Ray on February 23, 2010 at 2:53pm
Thank you for your support. I'm glad there are others like me in India. And about your friends comment, I can totally understand what you mean. It's frustrating when you can see people around you believing in all sorts of nonsensical stuff. Friends following all rituals and superstitions which, at times, even get in your way... And when you try to question them, they won't agree to you, no matter what. Even if they see reason in your argument and know that they should give up such practices, they'll still compulsively keep doing them, without knowing why. I wonder, sometimes, how it is that they don't feel stupid doing these things and wasting their time.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on February 23, 2010 at 11:35pm
"Atheists do need to at least respect religion the same way religious people respect atheists."

I respect people. But I have a very low tolerance for stupid ideas.
Comment by Ananya Ray on February 24, 2010 at 10:14am
As do I, my friend.
And in response to the previous comment, I fully agree with you. The core to this problem lies in the upbringing and education of a person, Whether he has the capacity to think for himself and courage to assert it and hold his own matters.

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