What the International Blasphemy Rights Day should be all about?
A specific day granting us rights to speak out our opinions, is in no way, a reason to be excited for but rather indicative of moral hardships that is upon our progress of knowledge, reason and its expression. Given that we are rational creatures and have the noble ability to think critically, any restriction upon us as to what we should think and what not, serves nothing more than a befouling of our character. There would always be a room for intelligent dialogue and discourse to reflect upon our actions and head for ramifications if necessary. But it turns out that we live in a mayhem of dogmas and faiths, ironically invented by ourselves. Speaking out our opinions with etiquette and fearlessness, therefore, calls out a need for such a day, a Blasphemy rights day.
To be direct, Religion or God are ideas that we have attached to, so deep that any counter-opinion no matter how rational it is, either clings for notoriety or in many cases invites attacks, jibes or death of some holy kind imposed upon by the so called The All-Loving. Coming up with something that majority of people don’t want to hear, would definitely call such consequences. Given that, we suffer out of our religious actions, the problem of religion is a very severe problem of humanity.
Nevertheless, the urge of atheists to demolish the concept of God or religion at first hand is rather not digestible by people of faiths. It might seem illogical that people can base upon faith so firmly but the line of attack and criticism shouldn’t be emotionally intimidating either. Persuading people and encouraging them to think rationally is more important than ridiculing and belittling them. The fact that God is a concept upheld in many innocent people’s ideas and morals, shouldn’t be forgotten even during Blasphemy Rights day.
God exists nowhere except in the mind of the believers. Since those believers are a lot of our friends and fellow humans, we should first be speaking how it is understandable holding such beliefs and why we, given the circumstances we evolved through, are more akin to hold such beliefs naturally. Only when the other seem to be impressed and in a position to acknowledge the general history and psychology of us from an objective standpoint, it makes sense to go a little further into the science of things. Some insights on why it is time to free oneself from such beliefs of captivity would do more than necessary.
The progress of human reason and knowledge is startling. What couldn’t have been conceived by the smartest of us some 5000 yrs ago is naturally following to some 10 years old of our time, purely out of conscience. And the good news is, human reason and knowledge evades ignorance and any tendency to sticking to dogmas and faith. There simply will be no reason believing something to be true when it is not. But during the course of our evolution, there has always been situations where believing something to be true when it is not, was very helpful. As long as survival is concerned, there is nothing wrong to believe ‘rustle in the grass’ to be a ‘predator’, given that if it be otherwise (believing a ‘predator’ to be just a ‘rustle in the grass’) it would cost your life.
When that ‘rustle in the grass’ is replaced by ‘human suffering’ (for purely metaphorical reason), a primitive man in the field who is devoid of any technologies –and is thus constrained to deal any situations in his life, entirely by first principles– would naturally choose to believe in a God who would take care of his sufferings, as far as the definition goes by. That belief although untrue doesn’t cost him a penny and if right, would ease his life . Why should he not believe in such a God, given that he never knew what was true? He would live all his life as a believer. And Yes!, that will ease his pain and suffering, undoubtedly!
Dawkins in his book, ‘The God Delusion 2008’ deals such bet-hedgings by the name of Pascal’s Wager given that pascal was historically the first to come up with that line of reasoning. Dawkins thinks compromising our whole, beautiful life in hopes of being true that more showers only after life is over is just ridiculous. Moreover, science, by means of logical arguments, is confident enough to regard such possible flowerings as more of a wishful thinking rather than a possibility.
Ironically, such bet-hedgings in the form of faith have been a relic into our ideals and eventually have gotten into captivating our reason and controlling us in the form of religion.
Who would not want someone like god to exist? As long as the definition goes by, he would take care of all our sufferings and pains, always protect us and put an eye on us, no matter what. Who would want to make such a personality unhappy? Would there be any point to disregard such a personality?
The reason why knowledgeable man can’t accept such a God is because of knowing it to be untrue or to be unlikely and not exaggerating the premise of ignorance. It is nothing more than an ‘imaginary craziness’ or ‘wishful thinking’. Knowing that it is untrue is like seeing that ‘rustle in the grass’. There is no reason to think or believe it otherwise.
So, the boundary conditions of believing in a God come down to two points:
- We don’t know what is true.
- We have nothing to lose pursuing such a belief.
How the concept of God is untrue?
The question of existence of God is unlike that of Higgs boson or graviton. If by God, we mean something like a personal god, omnipotent and the merciful -that still chooses to listen to our prayers- there have been numerous probes in the Hi-tech labs of CERN and DESY and a lot of analysis is going on, in our advanced telescopes scanning the universe. It needs to be understood that such a God is unlikely. Our inability to understand how something can arise out of nothing spontaneously doesn’t (and shouldn’t) constrain the reality to change -by introducing a God- so that everyone can understand. Science is based on reason and evidence, leaving the case of an unlikely God uncovered. Science doesn’t care about our unwarranted claims.
In case if by god, we mean the spiritual one, things get particularly interesting. A god who is by definition beyond the physical world would have no interest to listen to the prayers of mere creatures like us. We can only influence our families, societies and the earth –even if it be in the form of polluting it and leaving a lot of carbon footprints. Beyond that, our existence is irrelevant. Coming from a civilization that is 10,000 years old and presuming to know with such a high degree of certainty about such an unlikely character is just plain foolish.
There is a much confusion whether a spiritualist is also a religious necessarily. I am personally a spiritualist. I meditate and practise good ideas. Just because I don’t think someone isn’t out there to see my actions and punish me for any wrong I do, doesn’t encourage me to lose my morals. I believe in me and the rest of humanity, see a lot of good coming to. I feel very privileged to have been born a human and comprehend these big questions about life. The very fact that me and any other thing in the universe viz. my smartphone, planets, stars etc. are fundamentally made up of identical units, excites me much and encourages me to understand further. I see abundant reasons to be happy and stay motivated. Being a spiritualist and being religious are entirely different things.
How the idea of God or Religion costs you?
Religion shuts down our curiosity by providing wholesale answers to all questions. And more than that, those answers are plainly wrong. The Earth wasn’t made on 6 days. The Earth isn’t 6,000 years old. Wearing Hijab or a Burka –unless it is your sexy choice- only means we are hijacking our freedom as a human. This is the age of reason and science. We know with enough certainty how the Earth or the Universe came all about and we have better understanding of our freedom and emotions. At such a stage, it is extremely blunt and irrational that we still abide by such ideas. We should be teaching our kids- our following generations- about Big Bang and the theories of Evolution. We shouldn’t waste their time and dull their concise teaching blunt stuffs. There is much more we lose –than we do realize- by sticking to such tendency to taking fairy tales too literally.
Before directly attacking any religious positions, let us not try to demolish the concept of God or Religion or try to prove how ignorant people are, to believe or take such horrible ideas for granted. Let them know that we are not after religion primarily but are concerned about the future of humanity. Let us first acknowledge the problem, find some common ground and discuss constructively about why freeing oneself from such dogmas pays off. We just need the people to understand how Religion or God has been hijacking our freedom and constraining us to believe in otherwise, very weird, very unlikely things.
I think, the International day of Blasphemy is all about spreading the word and encouraging the people to think. It isn’t meant for proving them fundamentally wrong and making them feel like a culprit.