Atheists

The belief in God, His existence or non-existence, and more importantly the role and the extent of His reach into our lives is a very subjective and personal thing, according to me. Faith, by definition, is blind --- whether on a human subject or something beyond. Therefore, it doesn't matter what arguments one may present to prove His existence --- you will still be guessing that He exists. So I am not going to go into that debate here. Instead, I want to talk about some common trends that I have observed in people who don't believe in the existence of anything called God.

Historically, churches, caliphs, pundits and village godmen have held their sway on a large part of humanity for the largest period of known history. In a society where a large part of life revolves around religion and the various rituals associated with it, there are bound to be fanatics in its name. To come out and actually proclaim that you are an atheist is therefore, something that requires courage and conviction. Perhaps being an atheist was much more tough in those times than it is today. It is not the fear of fanatics, but the society in general seems to consider anyone who openly proclaims himself or herself an atheist as taboo. I have seen mothers secretly telling children not to mix with such people too much, I have looked at elders despise younglings who dared say that God doesn't exist in front of them, and I have seen mothers grow suddenly fearful and horrified when their sons/daughters tell them that they are not really "believers", per se. Maybe as an atheist they don't go beating a drum about it, but then it perhaps also doesn't make pretty conversation when they proclaim the fact. To say the least, it is complicated.

Inevitably, I have observed that these people are also among the most educated: usually high academic degree holders, champions at debates, school/college top rankers and wonderfully witty minds. You can have good conversations with them, and debate fluently and furiously on topics right from God to the colour scheme of a website. I am not trying to tell you that education necessarily "spoils" your religious senses and makes you an atheist, but there is the trend --- only if you are a thinking individual and don't accept anything that comes your way will you begin to question things in life: the concept of God inclusive. And I have observed that these people are fundamentally good people, trustworthy and rational people. Perhaps they add some meaning to the statement, "It is better to have a clever enemy than a foolish friend".

In general, these atheists also do not impose their views on anyone else. Which is good, because mocking someone else's belief just because they don't agree with you is demean and degrade oneself: and that is never good. There are always those among us who want to push our beliefs down others throats at all costs, and so I have seen some friends crying blasphemy upon knowing that someone is an atheist. They took it as a personal goal in life to make the non-believer see the 'truth' and thereby offer him salvation from hell. Lets just say that they weren't exactly able to make him see the light. Some of my friends who are atheists go through the religious rituals and customs nevertheless, because more than being symbolic of a prayer to God, these ceremonies bring a sort of heritage value and bond people together socially. I've seen others defy all customs and refuse to go inside temples or participate in other ceremonies: the extremists, so to say.

However, like all things in life, I shouldn't generalise goodness. Some people I have known turned atheists because it was the cool thing to do --- sort of a passport into the neo-intellectual peer group. Then there are the fence sitters, who change colour depending on the company or whatever suits the company or the occasion the most. There was this one guy who I had a discussion with and he was wondering about the existence of God in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots. And I have known one atheistic fanatic as well: he used to pick a debate with whoever he could and try to induct more people into his club, so to say. Perhaps at the end of the day it doesn't matter whether you believe in God or not. What matters is whether you a good human being or not.

Comments

  1. Actually I've prepared a small article on the same kind of theme, but with a different twist?

    Want to see it published? I usually don't do such posts on my blog.

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  2. Nicely written. I've come across quite a number of people in the blogosphere who are atheists. I guess religion and faith are personal choice and although I do not totally believe in generalizing anybody I'd say you have a point.

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  3. Hari, I would love to read it. If you don't publish it on your blog, do send it across to me via email.

    M, thank you :)

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  4. No problem Sudipta. I would love your views on the subject.

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  5. "His reach into our lives is a very subjective and personal thing" thats the whole point!
    Nice write-up.. i think sth which makes ur blog spl is that u write ON THE TOPIC! there would be no deviations/mixing up out-of-topic stuff.
    big hands :)

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  7. Just missed a word on the previous comment...the last line of your post just speaks it all.A beautiful post indeed.About that tag..all I can say is, it was just a futile attempt at trying to alter the html code of my page (my comp skills suck):(

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  8. Janum, thank you so much for those kind words. :)

    Lavender, thanks a lot. About the "tag", like I said on your blog --- it is not called a tag: its called linking. :)
    Your comp skills are okay.

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  9. yes it does count whether u are good or not and believing in God or not is nothing but matter of faith and not exactly of whether it exists or not and thats why i believe in prayers.

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  10. Master piece yet again!!!
    Such a nice topic, and the last line cud stand alone as a representative for the entire post :)
    I have been to going to temple on everyday day basis for long time now ,but i still dont knw all the shloks; for me wat matters is whether u r doing ur work honestly or not...
    If i cud urge all bloggers here to post this article as guest post in their blogs, so as to spread the msg as far as possible :)

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  11. I know people who wouldn't jump into the river to save someone before they have said a particular prayer 100 times and then there are some who openly challenge the supreme entity that so many believe in...in my view striking a balance is very important...that said i agree with your last line...so simple, so true, so difficult to achieve :)

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  12. it is a very well debated post indeed.
    Atheists also have an inner strength which helps them get along with life.Like Ramakrishna said: Different religions have different ways to reach the same god.some pple have faith in god..some have faith in themselves...but they all use it to live life and achieve their goals.Do you believe this?

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  13. Pallavi, I couldn't exactly make the connection, but yes: I suppose if nothing else then at least prayers make us humble.

    Varun, you are too kind :) And yes, honesty in one's personal life does reflect the divinity within.

    Life Lover, thank you. As you said, the balance is required everywhere in life.

    Bristi, thank you so much. And yes, I do believe what you have quoted.

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  14. Hmmm..thought provoking. :-)

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  15. Thanks, bhai :)...
    But if possible, i wud still want to see this post in few other blogs
    as well :)
    and in last my previous comment i meant last two lines cud be representatives ....

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  16. thanks for accustoming me with the 'right' blog jargon :)so the story goes like...i've linked you now coz i love your posts and have been reading your blog for almost a year now :)

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  17. Phatichar, :) thanks, and welcome back.

    Varun, ah well... only if someone does so.

    Lavender, I'm honoured, ma'am; seriously.

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  18. I feel there aint many "real" atheists in this world. An atheist is someone who totally denies the existence of God. Most of the ppl who are not so religious and often end up falling into the "athiest" category are actually ppl who find it hard to believe anything that cant be proven logically or isnt completely obvious. They find it hard to surrender to an unknown entity! As you say, these ppl are often intelluctuals. Any wise person would have the realization that our knowledge of this world is extremely small compared to the infinite things we are yet to discover. I feel it is not possible to deny the existence of something in the world when you do not know the world completely. So I dont like to call such ppl atheists.. even thought they call themselves...

    And then there are the cool dudes who I dont care about :P

    I dont know why I wrote such a huge comment.. I guess it was something I had thought about.. and your post brought it out!! Good one!

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  19. Suhrid, well said, sir... and don't worry about the length of the comment. I enjoyed every word of it :)

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