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Managing Life Without God and Religion In The Twenty First Century – Prologue

This is the first article in Dr. Prabhakar Kamath’s latest series on Managing Life Without God and Religion In The Twenty First Century. Links to all articles in Dr. Kamath’s earlier series on Heretics, Rebels, Reformers and Revolutionaries can be found here. Dr. Kamath’s first series on The Truth About The Bhagavad Gita can be found here.

Introduction

Today, the vast majority of people in the world use religion as a means to please their gods to fulfill their desires and protect them from various evils in their lives. Life is full of stressful events and problems, and religious rituals are tranquilizers for their stressed minds. Some of these rituals are so old that often even the priests officiating them do not know their true significance. Nor do they know how to sing Mantras (magical incantations) as priests did in the ancient times. Some of these rituals are daily, as when a Hindu prays god with Mantras every morning, or when a Muslim prays five times a day facing Mecca. Other rituals are occasional by tradition, such as Hindus worshiping Ganesha and Krishna once a year, or Muslims observing Ramadan annually, or Catholics celebrating Good Friday once a year. Still other rituals are eventspecific, performed during stressful or happy occasions. For example, a politician might sponsor a grand Yajna after a loss of election to pray gods to get rid of his blemish (Dosha). Or, a Hindu father might perform a Yajna dedicated to Ganesha on the occasion of his daughter’s wedding to ward off evil.

Hallmark Of All Faithful People Is Their Mindless Behaviors

Very often, however, these worship-rituals, based on deep-rooted beliefs, become mindless behavioral patterns, without any conscious purpose or visible result in them. For example, a man might just utter Mantras repeatedly without knowing their actual meanings and useful purpose. Uttering the Mantra becomes an end in itself. A more recent example of this phenomenon is people singing Gayatri Mantra in public knowing nothing about its meaning or its original purpose. Religious leaders have brainwashed these people into believing that this Mantra is sacred, and that by mindlessly uttering them repeatedly one could get their desires fulfilled and get rid of evils. Such mindless behavior is a rule rather than exception in people who are staunchly devoted to their religion. Hordes of zombie-like devotees we see in Sai Baba’s ashram, singing Bhajans while bobbing their heads from one shoulder to the other, are prime examples of people who have lost all capacity to bring tranquility into their troubled mind without resorting to the above behavior. To calm themselves down, they use Sai Baba and his magic show as their tranquilizer. Because Sai Baba and his sycophantic cronies are totally incompetent to teach these devotees how to bring tranquility into their life by their own effort, they mislead them into performing rituals to appease gods; delude them with magic show, Bhajan, and other nonsense, and enrich themselves by taking full advantage of their ignorance and stupidity.

Ritual-Ethics-Wisdom Disconnect

Religious leaders have obfuscated or ignored what little ancient pearls of wisdom and ethics there are in the ancient religious texts, simply because there is no money to be made by teaching wisdom and ethics to people. Swamis and Gurus of Hinduism, Ulamas and Mullahs of Islam, and Priests and Pastors of Christianity have diligently taught their followers various rituals, and reinforced them over the centuries, because they are profitable for them and their institutions. The obscene opulence one could see in the Vatican is an example of such systemic corruption of a religion. Because most religions have degenerated into profit-making businesses run by religious leaders and their corrupt bureaucracies, they have lost their ability to teach people proper life-management skills, and ethics in their dealings with others. The result is that there is a glaring disconnect between the practice of religion and practice of ethics and wisdom-based lifestyle. So, many highly religious people diligently and faithfully perform religious rituals in their private life, and yet indulge in blatantly unethical and antisocial activities without compunction. Indian politicians and bureaucrats of all religious faiths are prime examples of such blatantly obvious hypocrisy. In other words, all religions, without exception, have become shameless shams, and staunchly religious people have become mindless hypocrites.

Religion Is Deeply Entrenched As A Coping Mechanism

The reality is that religious people, who have come to depend on worshiping gods with rituals as a way of coping with life’s vicissitudes, would be completely at sea if they were suddenly deprived of gods and rituals. This is no different than an alcoholic becoming delirious when suddenly deprived of his daily dose of liquor. When Russia became an Atheist state following the October Revolution of 1917, religion went underground and Vodka became a major god. What Atheist Communists offered to Russian people, as an alternative to religion, was a repressive, corrupt and genocidal government, which further strengthened people’s dependence on religion as a tranquilizer. After the rotten-to-the core Soviet Regime collapsed under its own weight, religion came back in full force. Now over 85% of Russians, including former Communists practice religion as a tranquilizer for their troubled mind. The lesson from this example for Atheists and Secular Humanists is that unless people are gradually taught effective alternative methods of bringing tranquility into their minds, they will continue to resort to their primitive, deeply entrenched behavioral patterns, which give them some degree of peace of mind. Well-established behavioral patterns are extremely difficult to change, suppress or sublimate. Religious beliefs are far more difficult to eradicate than delusions of persecution or grandiosity of mentally ill people. Education and encouragement to resort to reasoning rather than rituals as a life-management tool should be the way to weaning people away from religion. Such education must begin at an early age. It is almost impossible to change grown-up people who proudly declare their ritual-ridden religion a way of life. When a Secular Humanist appealing to one’s reasoning is pitted against a Swami appealing to one’s base instincts, the former almost always loses. This no different than a counselor treating an alcoholic losing the battle to the alcoholic’s friend who takes his patient to a local bar after the counseling session.

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Basic Strategies

The basic strategy should be to replace all irrational beliefs with rational ones by means of systematic education and promotion of reasoning. Obviously these strategies are more effective in children than in adults deluded by religion:

  1. To counter belief in a higher power, teach people that there is no higher power than a person’s Will.
  2. To counter worshiping gods to fulfill their desires, teach them that human beings are capable of fulfilling our desires by our own honest effort.
  3. To counter worshiping gods to protect them from evil, teach them that we humans are quite capable of protecting ourselves from evils that befall us.
  4. To counter people’s belief in supernatural evils, teach them that all evils (bad events and problems) have clearly identifiable causes.
  5. To counter people’s belief that they are helpless to change their Karma (deeds from their past lives), teach them that humans are capable of reducing misery in their lives by learning coping and managing skills.
  6. To counter their habit of performing fruitless rituals, teach them to redirect their energies to identifying and solving their hounding life problems.
  7. To counter people’s habit of wasting their wealth on temples and rituals, teach them to invest their wealth on education, social justice, environmental protection, clean government, and other activities in the service of humanity.
  8. To counter people’s irrational faith in ancient, fruitless rituals as the solution for their life problems in the 21st century world, teach them that the world has changed a lot over the past three thousand years and the problems of the modern world need more thoughtful, practical and result-oriented solutions.
  9. To counter people’s belief that their birth class (Jati) distinguishes them as superior or inferior to people of other birth classes, teach them that all people share the same DNA regardless their birth class, twice-born status, skin color, height, weight and other superficial stuff, and one’s conduct is all that matters in the society.
  10. To counter people’s blind belief in the sanctity of ancient scriptures such as the Vedas, Brahmanas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, etc., teach them that these scriptures are of historical interest only and most of what they contain is utterly irrelevant to managing life in the modern world.

Application

Applying these strategies in the real world requires three steps:

  1. Educational material for knowledge and self-help.
  2. Classes, seminars and conferences to train voluntary educators.
  3. Volunteers to teach people coping skills, guide them to practice them, and empower them to solve their problems.

There are plenty of self-help books in the market, which have helped millions of people to varying degrees. Many of them contain generic “do this and do that” information. There are many people who offer seminars to people on varying subjects. People, such as Deepak Chopra, have profited enormously by marketing their own brand of “spiritual solutions” for man’s existential problems. The third step would require thousands of dedicated volunteers trained in teaching, guiding, empowering people in distress. The enormity of this step might be discouraging to Secular Humanists who want quick results. The truth is there are no short cuts in the business of reforming people. In my own practice, I have found it so hard to convince my clients to change their behavior even after they acknowledge that their behavior was the cause of their problem. No societal changes could be achieved without a significant number of people making sacrifices for the betterment of the society. This step might seem to readers as hopelessly anachronistic in the modern world of Internet, Facebook and Twitter. The reality is that the vast majority of people in India have no such luxury, and their sources of solace are false Swamis, greedy priests, crooked bureaucrats, unscrupulous politicians and quack doctors.

In this series, I will present the educational material only, which deals with the fundamentals of coping with and managing vicissitudes of life in the 21st century. The material that will be presented in the future articles are based on my 40-year-long psychiatric practice in the United States during which period I had the opportunity to evaluate and treat over thirty-five thousand patients. By its very nature, it is difficult to subject the human mind to exact scientific methods. Much of what I present in this series of articles will be based on my personal experience with, and observation of, middle class white people in the heartland of the United States.

Cultural Differences

The basic thesis that will be presented here applies to people of all nations with some modifications to suit cultural differences. There are many such differences between American and Indian culture. For example, Americans are mostly guilt-oriented whereas Indians are mostly shame-oriented. In the former case, one tends to do what he thinks is right; in the latter case one tends to do what one considers his community thinks is right. Americans have relatively clear-cut boundaries in their dealings with others; Indians tend to have rather blurred boundaries. For example, if you ask a question to an American woman, her husband respects her individuality and keeps his mouth shut. Almost invariably the Indian man answers the question put to his wife. Americans almost never argue when they know nothing about a subject; Indians almost always do. Americans tend to be open-minded to a new idea; Indians tend to be suspicious, cynical, skeptical and fatalistic. Americans are generally open when talking about their intimate feelings; Indians in general are highly secretive about their emotions. Even after taking into account these and many other cultural quirks, arguably (!) the basic thesis of the articles to follow is applicable to people of all cultures, races, nations and geographical locations. After all, we all come from the same stock of people before we left Africa relatively recently.

(To be continued)

About the author

Prabhakar Kamath

Dr. Prabhakar Kamath, is a psychiatrist currently practicing in the U.S. He is the author of Servants, Not Masters: A Guide for Consumer Activists in India (1987) and Is Your Balloon About To Pop?: Owner’s Manual for the Stressed Mind.

Links to all articles in Dr. Kamath's earlier series on Heretics, Rebels, Reformers and Revolutionaries can be found here. Dr. Kamath' series on The Truth About The Bhagavad Gita can be found here.

25 Comments

  • Since time immemorial man has been devoting his time,energy and wealth-under some influence or pressure of any form of religion towards the existence of an unknown and infinite,supernatural force known as God,without having having clear conception thereof.Although the subject has attracted the attention of philosophers and thinkers from time to time the concept of God is still vague and confusing.Not withstanding this fact,the eternity and immutiability of God,having several attributes like omnipotence,omnipresence,omniscience and benevolence are nowhere observed and testified in our day to day life.

  • Sir, I have perused this website with rapt attention. It is a portal into the minds of rational,reasonable and intelligent people. I love the articles and videos featured on this website. Recently, I decided to put my foot down against the hogwash of religion(especially the religion I had been brought up in). I am an atheist now. I have loved art,sculpture,architecture and folk crafts all my life.Sir,I would like to know more about being aesthetic/artistic while being actively atheistic. I have not been able to locate any such articles written from an Indian perspective(since India has such a bewildering variety of art,a considerable portion of which is religious in nature).A vague feeling akin to guilt overcomes me while appreciating the metallic sculptures of Tibetan provenance depicting mythological beings and such. I don’t believe in them,but I love to appreciate their beauty and craftsmanship. Similarly, the miniature paintings from Rajasthan and Tanjore Paintings from the South are unparalleled but the mythological depictions tend to unsettle me somehow. I have been thinking a lot about this lately.This is something that is rarely discussed in atheist forums. I appreciate art,beauty and the brilliant craftsmanship of sculptures without attributing any supernatural significance to them. But this nebulous notion of their putative religious significance makes me feel ill at ease. The problem is somewhat more complex in India than the Western World, as in India a large chunk of sculptures and paintings has been(and continues to be) influenced by religion. For example, it is impossible to evade the figure of Krishna while studying miniature paintings.In the context of the paintings,I try to think of Krishna as a fictional hero or a symbol for youth and a beau ideal.

    I am a neophyte when it comes to atheism. I am firm in my conviction that an omniscient,omnipotent,caring sky-god does not exist. But I am still grappling with the question of appreciating art,sculpture and architecture that may have a religious connection. It delights me to know how a creative individual manifested the fecundity of his/her mind in lifeless stone,wood or paper so as to almost animate it with exuberance and vivacity. Whatever the religious connection, the works remain a testament to human skill,creativity and mastery.

    • Tarun,
      In addition to what DrK said, art/appreciation of beauty is a “universal” amongst all human cultures. Art boomed at least 50K years ago. Watch this lecture on why we are attracted to beauty
      http://www.ted.com/talks/denis_dutton_a_darwinian_theory_of_beauty.html
      I love art too. I love art from across the world.. Greek, Roman, Central Asia, etc. The entire world’s art is our heritage, and fun and uplifting. Now, if only we could do something about that modern art… 😉

      • I also wanted to say.. whatever the motivation for the creation of the piece of art, one can appreciate it independent of that motivation as well. for e.g If I come to know that some favourite piece of music was actually composed by Hitler, would I stop listening to it? nope..

        Here’s another atheist who loves Hindu Art 🙂
        Aesthetic Universals and the Neurology of Hindu Art – Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZTvHqM-_jE

  • Tarun, Your conflict (guilt) regarding appreciating art in the form of architecture, painting or sculpture simply because of their association with religion is simply uncalled for. Every time I visit India, I make it a point to visit the wonderful masterpieces of art and architecture of India, such as Puri Jagannatha temple, Tanjore Brihadeswara temple, Rameshwara temple, Jain temple of Mt. Abu, Badami, Pattadakal, etc. I have even visited all Buddhist temples of Tibet and China. Visiting these temples is no different than visiting Taj Mahal or Jumma Masjid, Agra Fort, or St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. Every one should visit Vatican before he dies just to see the marvelous art hoarded there. We all know that Vatican is the hotbed of corruption, and every despicable vice known to mankind. That should not prevent us from admiring Michelangelo’s masterpieces, which are all of religious nature. I admire man’s creative genius regardless what the source of its inspiration might have been. These are of historical importance to me. While I marvel at the external beauty of these temples as examples of man’s creativity and genius, I deplore the physical filth, and mental filth (chicanery and fraud) going on inside these temples. I just smile at the state of affairs there and move on to the next temple. Knowing the history of these temples also gave me a better perspective. If, indeed, there were a god in these temples, he ran as far away from them as he could get a long time ago. God was supposed to be nothing but goodness symbolized in a statue. We can’t find it in these temples. Even though I am an atheist, I have no guilt over enjoying India’s art, religious or not. When I stand before the 57 feet high Bahubali statue at Shravana Belagola, Karnataka, I am not looking at the statue of a Jain saint. I am looking at the marvel of art and the scenic setting of the statue. The bottom line is that we need to separate the mindless ritual associated with art forms of India from art as an expression of man’s genius and creativity. So, don’t feel guilty to indulge in any art, draw any picture, carve any statue, so long as you don’t walk around it three times a day uttering some nonsensical Mantra!

  • “teach people that there is no higher power than a person’s Will.”

    Perhaps this should be accompanied by an explicit caveat and clarification that mighty as the Will is, it cannot suspend or override the Laws of Nature. Another clarification that would help is that ‘Will’ here is just a convenient short-hand for the naturalistic processes underlying human reasoning, and should not be misconstrued as something ‘non-material’. While this should be obvious to most discerning readers, perhaps it is worthwhile to keep in the mind the possibility of side-effects of such statements, thanks to readers of ‘The Secret’ who might smugly say: “We told you so! That’s what we have been saying all along! The Will can force into submission the whole Universe!”

    • A. I said: Perhaps this should be accompanied by an explicit caveat and clarification that mighty as the Will is, it cannot suspend or override the Laws of Nature.

      My response: All statements made by me, or anyone else for that matter, run the risk of being misinterpreted by vested interests. There is not a whole lot we can do about it except to give, in the course of future articles, a more detailed explanation. For example, the statement in Mundaka Upanishad, “Satyameva Jayate Naanritham” meant, “Only the True (Real, Brahman) shall win, not Untrue (Unreal, Prakriti). The author took pains to explain that this aphorism meant Only Brahman (Upanishadic Universal spirit) shall win over Prakriti (Brahmanic Universal force). This aphorism with revolutionary intent has been completely neutralized by ignorant or clever Brahmins as meaning, “Only Truth shall prevail, not Lies.” Moreover, they convinced an equally ignorant government of India to chisel this outrage over all the corrupt government offices and courts of India run by thousands of first class liars and extortionists!

      A. I said: Another clarification that would help is that ‘Will’ here is just a convenient short-hand for the naturalistic processes underlying human reasoning, and should not be misconstrued as something ‘non-material’.

      My response: By ‘non-material’ I think you mean “supernatural.” The whole thesis of my articles rests on the idea of man exercising reasoning to solve his life-problems instead of depending on a so-called (non-material) Higher Power. If ignorant people misconstrue this, I guess we have no way of convincing them otherwise. I have found out that even in the face of irrefutable evidence ignorant and deluded people continue to hold on to their erroneous views. We can cure delusion of the mentally ill, but not that of religious people.

      A. I said: While this should be obvious to most discerning readers, perhaps it is worthwhile to keep in the mind the possibility of side-effects of such statements, thanks to readers of ‘The Secret’ who might smugly say: “We told you so! That’s what we have been saying all along! The Will can force into submission the whole Universe!”

      My response: No person in his sane mind would believe that he could subjugate the Universe to his Will by merely wishing to do so, or can obtain material stuff by merely desiring it as suggested by the clever book “The Secret.” Obviously the author of this book, (who is perhaps now hiding in the basement of her mansion) made suckers out of millions of ignorant people deluded by their own greed, and laughed all the way to the bank! The joke is on the buyers of that book! Unfortunately, it is easier to mislead people by playing on their base ambitions than to lead them to truth by means of reasoning. Thanks for your valid observations.

      • Sadhu said: Where will you guys even understand what is Moksha about when you are so much trapped in the physical body living a life of ignorance – while talking about rataionality of all things! This ignorance has followed you for millions of years and lives – and you are going on commiting karma that is going to make it practically another million lives before you come to your senses to understand about the cosmic science of Moksha! Your minds are trapped in life on earth – how are you going to understand what kind of life exists in other worlds that are embedded deep in cosmic dark matter that makes up 99% of this universe we live in! When will you understand that life moves on from this planet to others where there is more suffering and the world of SriVaikuntha (Means World of no diminishment) is the only abode where we can live a life of abundance in happiness! So long and good luck Stupid Irrational People!

        My response: Well, that says it all. May you enjoy your next trip to Vaikunta. Send us a card.

  • Dear Atheists and Rationalists of Nirmukta,

    I have an identity crisis and would like your viewpoint as to who I am : a thiest or an athiest or a rationalist or an irrationalist.

    1. I am completely guided by logic and reason my entire life. I studied in one of the top Univs to be an engineer, I have an MBA from a US University, and even today shun everything that is so called superstitious, blind-faith, etc.

    2. I find the Hindu religion extremely logical – including its definition of Brahman, the supreme. However, not many Hindus understand the Vedas as I do, or interpret it as I do – which is where their problem is. To that effect, I believe that the Hinduism is partly Athiest in its approach!

    Let us see how I measure up to the basic strategies listed by Mr.Kamat to replace all irrational beliefs with rational ones:

    1. To counter belief in a higher power, teach people that there is no higher power than a person’s Will. – I do not believe in a higher power when it comes to day-to-day activities or in conducting my life. From what I understand, neither does Hinduism recommend you to believe in one.

    2. To counter worshiping gods to fulfill their desires, teach them that human beings are capable of fulfilling our desires by our own honest effort. – I do not pray to God to fulfil my desires. I am capable of fulfilling my and my family’s desires very well, and even save some surplus for future.

    To counter worshiping gods to protect them from evil, teach them that we humans are quite capable of protecting ourselves from evils that befall us. – I do not pray to God to protect me from evil. That is not God’s job – it is my own job – that is why He has given me/us the human beings intelligence to take care of ourselves, and fulfil our dreams and desires.

    To counter people’s belief in supernatural evils, teach them that all evils (bad events and problems) have clearly identifiable causes. – Of course, it is not God’s job again to counter supernatural evils. The only evils I know are human-minds that rot the planet through evil deeds such as corruption, etc. Very true, Hinduism teaching exactly the same thing – that all good and evil happenings have clearly identifiable causes.

    To counter people’s belief that they are helpless to change their Karma (deeds from their past lives), teach them that humans are capable of reducing misery in their lives by learning coping and managing skills. – Hinduism and the vedas say the same thing my fellow athiests! once you are born, you are responsible for what happens in your life – not your karma. your misery is your doing – not your karma’s doing. Very truly stated by yourself Kamat sir – the Vedas and its owner, the God, himself had revealed in some scriptures that man should manage his life by learning to cope with happenings.

    To counter their habit of performing fruitless rituals, teach them to redirect their energies to identifying and solving their hounding life problems – well, here I differ – some basic rituals are essential – they are called nitya karma, and naimithiga-karma. But there is an extremely logical reasons as to why these karma need to be performed, provided you have the ability to think beyond life on earth. There are certain basic cosmic forces that made life of earth happen. But for the these cosmic forces we would not have air and water on earth – two of the most basic things for life to sustain. Dont we want to thank those cosmic forces? No, these cosmic forces don’t affect our life – certainly heavens will not fall on us if we are not thankful, but I think, we should be – we are even thankful to some human-being that does a favor – why not someone that created Air and Water – ever thought about thanking someone for providing us these two basic essential things we need to life – we go on using them all our lives without thanking the one who gave us these two vital things.

    To counter people’s habit of wasting their wealth on temples and rituals, teach them to invest their wealth on education, social justice, environmental protection, clean government, and other activities in the service of humanity. – Temples are works of art and each temple is a museum of art and architecture. Surely they need the money to maintain them. Rituals in temples are also essential to thank those cosmic forces that made air and water available to us on earth. The Deities in temples are nothing but the representatives of those cosmic forces that made air and water happen on earth.

    To counter people’s irrational faith in ancient, fruitless rituals as the solution for their life problems in the 21st century world, teach them that the world has changed a lot over the past three thousand years and the problems of the modern world need more thoughtful, practical and result-oriented solutions. – Surely, most surely as mentioned in the vedas, the rituals (I would abstain from call them fruitless) are NOT a solution for life-problems. Basic rituals are only to thank cosmic forces for air and water. While I agree that problems of the modern world need more thoughtful, practical and result-oriented solutions, I feel we would have made real progress only if our scientists are capable of removing our dependency on air and water – the essential things that were made available on earth by cosmic forces. Mr. Kamath may feel that over the part three thousand years the world have moved on to 21t century and made great advances in science and technology – but this is my open challenge to all athiests and rationalists – live without breathing air (or oxygen from cylinders) and drinking water! These two were given to human-beings by God, out of His compassion for us. Why should science take these two resources for granted? Since you don’t like beleive in God and Rituals, go on and prove to me that your science can help you live without air and water!!

    To counter people’s belief that their birth class (Jati) distinguishes them as superior or inferior to people of other birth classes, teach them that all people share the same DNA regardless their birth class, twice-born status, skin color, height, weight and other superficial stuff, and one’s conduct is all that matters in the society. – The Vedas and Hinduism definitely do not distinguish anybody as superior or inferior by birth – these are all man-made. Hindusim has taught me only one thing – that everybody in equal in the eyes of the Lord. That is exactly how I live my life. but I have known many atheists that hesitate to walk into a slum and shake hands with, or provide a helping hand to those that suffer in unclean conditions – isn’t that clear from your organizing your meetings in hip places instead of slums? Go on, have your next meeting in a slum and show some volunteerism in helping their lot first! I find all your activities otherwise a waste of time. There are somany people in India that dont get clean drinking water – go on and spend your resources in making drinking water available to them! That might be a better then sitting in circles and talking nonsense.

    To counter people’s blind belief in the sanctity of ancient scriptures such as the Vedas, Brahmanas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, etc., teach them that these scriptures are of historical interest only and most of what they contain is utterly irrelevant to managing life in the modern world. – People read these scriptures only out of historical interest – with the interest to know what Krishna said in Bhagwat Gita – but then He also says that one of the ways to Moksha is to understand his Avatara-Rahasya!

    Where will you guys even understand what is Moksha about when you are so much trapped in the physical body living a life of ignorance – while talking about rataionality of all things! This ignorance has followed you for millions of years and lives – and you are going on commiting karma that is going to make it practically another million lives before you come to your senses to understand about the cosmic science of Moksha! Your minds are trapped in life on earth – how are you going to understand what kind of life exists in other worlds that are embedded deep in cosmic dark matter that makes up 99% of this universe we live in! When will you understand that life moves on from this planet to others where there is more suffering and the world of SriVaikuntha (Means World of no diminishment) is the only abode where we can live a life of abundance in happiness! So long and good luck Stupid Irrational People!

    • – “I have an identity crisis and would like your viewpoint as to who I am : a thiest or an athiest or a rationalist or an irrationalist.”

      If you are genuinely interested in a clarification, please read this fully: http://nirmukta.com/2010/03/14/are-you-a-freethinker-naturalism-life-and-meaning-in-a-causal-universe/

      – “Of course, it is not God’s job again to counter supernatural evils.”…
      “the Vedas and its owner, the God, himself had revealed in some scriptures”

      So you are very clear about God’s ‘job description’ and are able to pronounce with certainty upon what this being does and does not do. Then you must address the difficulties here: http://indianatheists.org/2011/01/09/there-is-a-god-and/
      Also, it would help to ponder over the Riddle of Epicurus a bit: http://youtu.be/UEkJJidVjGU . It would be easier for us to take your objections seriously if you come up with an answer to the Riddle of Epicurus before calling us ‘Stupid Irrational People’.

      -“But there is an extremely logical reasons as to why these karma need to be performed, provided you have the ability to think beyond life on earth.”

      In that case, please condescend to supply these ‘extremely logical reasons’, which the author of this article has apparently missed: http://nirmukta.com/2011/01/03/thoughts-and-questions-on-homas-and-yagnas/

      – “The Vedas and Hinduism definitely do not distinguish anybody as superior or inferior by birth – these are all man-made.”

      Well, then what about this? http://bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-09-32.html
      The notion of ‘degraded wombs’ somehow doesn’t sit well with ‘not distinguishing anybody as superior or inferior by birth’, unless you supply us with a clarification there as well.

      -“live without breathing air (or oxygen from cylinders) and drinking water! These two were given to human-beings by God, out of His compassion for us. ”

      Oh! That’s news to us! Oxygen, water, why, all the elements and compounds were ‘created’ with human beings in mind! Again, there are few objections which you may want to address before taking such a stand: http://nirmukta.com/2009/12/14/biocentrism-demystified-a-response-to-deepak-chopra-and-robert-lanzas-notion-of-a-conscious-universe/

      – “Go on, have your next meeting in a slum and show some volunteerism in helping their lot first! I find all your activities otherwise a waste of time. ”

      Heard of this? http://givingaid.richarddawkins.net/

      – “go on and prove to me that your science can help you live without air and water!!”

      ‘Living without air and water’ is actually something that the spiritualists claim: http://nirmukta.com/2010/05/17/beyond-bodily-needs-prahlad-jani-the-solarian-scam/

      When did any of us ever claim that ‘air and water’ are unnecessary? We have only said that ‘supernatural beliefs and scriptural faith’ are unnecessary. As for what we actually say and don’t say, there are enough links to reading material in this comment itself for you to get a clearer idea, if you find time for it amid your full-time trolling that is.

    • That was a nice attempt at trolling. Too bad you had to spoil it with your last paragraph. Couldn’t resist it could you?

    • When you reach VaiKunta Lunatic Asylum, can you please get someone to frame this in big letters and hang it outside your house?
      I am completely guided by logic and reason my entire life. I studied in one of the top Univs to be an engineer, I have an MBA from a US University, and even today shun everything that is so called superstitious, blind-faith, etc.

    • Sadhu, it is great that you live your life by logic and reason, and not let superstitions affect you. It is also nice that you practice the values of gratitude and humanity.

      However, I am somewhat confused as to your application of logic and reason for the following reasons:

      1. Why would you claim to have an “identity crisis”? If you believe in God, it infers logically that you are not an atheist.

      2. Also, being knowledgeable in logic, how do you allow such a gap in logical reasoning such as claiming “Since you don’t like beleive in God and Rituals, go on and prove to me that your science can help you live without air and water!!”

      Going purely by LOGIC, whether or not “humans need air and water to live” has absolutely no logical relation to believing in “God and Rituals”. To ask such a question logically and ask for proof, you need to first establish your assumption that the latter derives logically from the former.

    • Oops! I forgot to send my address: Rotingham Mansion,1000 Demon Street,Sin City, State of Hell,Zip 666, Nation in the Dark Matter between Milky Way Galaxy and Crab Nebula. Have a nice trip. And don’t forget to send us some goodies.

    • Sadhu, from your blabbering it is clear to most of us atheists that you are an illogical and irrational theist just like any other though you may be a good person in your daily life. You are not knowledgeable about what constitutes atheism. Also, from the way you write it is extremely doubtful if you have actually read and analysed the Geeta with a rationalist mindset. Also, having a MBA degree does not automatically make you a rationalist. MBA degree assures you a good job and some respect in society and at the most convinces people that you are capable of good administration and business skills. By your logic if another MBA pronounces himself to be an athiest then who should the general population believe to be more rational? You or him? Both are MBAs. But the one who speaks more rationally among the two of you, wins.
      Now for some rationality. Logic and rationality suggests that when you make any assertion regarding some facet of reality, it is incumbent upon you to provide the proof for the same. The null hypothesis is “status quo” and one who makes a claim via an alternative hypothesis statement carries with him the burden of evidence and not the other way round. Thus before you start making blind assertions that “god does this and that” first provide evidence for those claims instead of just assuming it to be true. What is Moksha in logical terms? What is Karma and can you prove its existence? Water and air are needed for our existence because life itself has evolved on planet earth so as to sustain different species as being dependent on them. Why make the statement “God has given water and air”? If so, prove it. You can pick up any thing that exists on earth and say “God did it”. That does not answer the fundamental question that we as human beings are trying to solve and the question is “How did it all begin”? To answer this question, we are using the scientific method to try and find out answers. But people like you just say “God did it” and by saying so you create another question that encircles the first question instead of providing a meaningful answer. If god did it, who created god? Who created this super-god? Creation would need intelligence and from where came this super-intelligence? So next time, come with better logic on this forum. Perhaps you can read about Charvakas than reading the monist Upanishads !

    • IM NOT A PHD OR A DR OF ANYTHING BUT AFTER 40 YEARS OF MEDITATION OF ALL TYPES AND PRACTISES, AND THE SELF STUDY OF MOST RELIGIONS OF THIS WORLD I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENT ARE WRONG. STUDY YOUR MIND AND ALL OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AND THE TRUTH WILL SET HUMAN KIND FREE, WE ARE NOT ALONE AND ONLY SOME OF US TODAY KNOW THIS FACT. THE WOOL HAS BEEN PULLED OVER HUMANITYS EYES AND ALTHOUGH YOU ALL HAVE THEM YOU STILL CAN NOT SEE. THERE IS NO GOD OR GODS BUT THERE IS SOMETHING AND IT WILL SLOWLY BE REVEALED BUT NOT TO ALL. THEN AND ONY THEN WILL YOU TRULY BE AWAKENED.

      • cj: IM NOT A PHD OR A DR OF ANYTHING BUT AFTER 40 YEARS OF MEDITATION OF ALL TYPES AND PRACTISES, AND THE SELF STUDY OF MOST RELIGIONS OF THIS WORLD I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENT ARE WRONG.

        My response: Obviously, you have found the “TRUTH.” Let us know more about it, please.

        cj: STUDY YOUR MIND AND ALL OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AND THE TRUTH WILL SET HUMAN KIND FREE, WE ARE NOT ALONE AND ONLY SOME OF US TODAY KNOW THIS FACT.

        My resonse: All the articles in this series are about the MIND and how to deal with our rotten SURROUNDINGS. What are we being freed from? The purpose of these articles is to free people from all kinds of mental blocks that hinder them to function fully as individuals in a free society. If we are not alone, are you suggesting there are aliens out there? Obviously, you are one of those who know the fact. Can you be more explicit about THIS FACT, please?

        cj: THE WOOL HAS BEEN PULLED OVER HUMANITY’S EYES AND ALTHOUGH YOU ALL HAVE THEM YOU STILL CAN NOT SEE.

        My resonse: Who has deluded us? We know that Swamis and Babas and Gurus have deluded people for centuries. Do you have someone else in mind?

        cj: THERE IS NO GOD OR GODS BUT THERE IS SOMETHING AND IT WILL SLOWLY BE REVEALED BUT NOT TO ALL.

        My response: Obviously you are one of those to whom the supernatural “SOMETHING” has revealed itself. Help us identify that SOMETHING, please. What can we do to “see” this SOMETHING?

        cj: THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL YOU TRULY BE AWAKENED.

        My response: This is exactly the mumbo jumbo rhetoric used by the “holy men” to pull wool over people’s eyes. You talk like Sai Baba did. He said something like, “We are all gods. But I know I am God. You don’t know you are God. That is the difference between you and Me.” This kind of nonsense pervades Hinduism.

      • … AFTER 40 YEARS OF MEDITATION OF ALL TYPES AND PRACTISES, AND THE SELF STUDY OF MOST RELIGIONS OF THIS WORLD

        So, were 40 of your years spent in something like this?

        I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENT ARE WRONG.

        So if 40 years were spent examining what is really just one side of the argument, how can the other side also be dismissed unexamined?

        STUDY YOUR MIND …

        Have 5 hours 38 minutes to spare? Shouldn’t be too difficult for someone who spent 40 years in study! Turn on your speakers and click the play button here.

        … AND ALL OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS …

        Got another 5 hours to spare? ‘Surroundings’ could well mean the rest of universe. Here is more on growing up in the universe.

        … THE TRUTH WILL SET HUMAN KIND FREE…

        What is Truth?

  • “There are plenty of self-help books in the market, which have helped millions of people to varying degrees.” – Are fiction books also okay? There are some fiction books that have influenced me – Asimov’s novels, George Orwell’s 1984, GRR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. What do you think? This leads me to another question: Would you recommend Mahabharata as a self-help book? Not necessarily as a religious/sacred text.

    I find it odd that you support Deepak Chopra, who appears to me to be a con (an opinion also expressed by rationalists’ messiah Richard Dawkins).

  • The devotees of Satya Saibaba includes the rich & famous & elite in India. A lot of people are convinced that he was a mere trickster. How did he manage to hoodwink so many people for so long?

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