One of my friends asked these two questions to me: “What is the meaning of atheism, in your sense?” and “Why are you an atheist?” Well, he feels it quite strange that I’ve put my religion as ‘Atheist’ in my Orkut profile. It’s true that atheism is not a religion. In fact, atheists are mostly opposed to religion. But I seriously don’t know what to put in my profile under the ‘Religion’ heading. I don’t want to put ‘Hindu’ and give my friends a wrong message. Because hinduism is a religion and is always associated with belief in a God or several Gods. So I chose Atheist. Maybe I should consider putting ‘None’ in there now.
Atheism, in my sense, is the belief that God does not exist. Be it any kind of God; the supernatural, theist, diest, pantheist. Atleast, I can accept the pantheistic notions of God as of being somewhat “rational”. But certainly not the other versions. I still don’t know why we even have to accept those pantheistic beliefs. For me, atheism means freedom from relying on an external entity, which doesn’t really exist at all since there is no convincing evidence of it’s existence, and relying entirely on yourself. The first thing you experience when you come out of that glass ceiling, is that you are free to make entirely rational decisions and that you don’t have to rely on anything or anyone else.
But there was this dark feeling when I first came into that realisation. I was feeling alone, nothing to hold onto for support, no one but me to blame for whatever wrong/mistakes I do. My old habits of praying and seeking forgiveness kept coming up. I didn’t realize that it was so ingrained in my mind. But it’s all gone now. I don’t pray, I don’t go to temples, and I don’t keep mentioning “Muruga!” All of that is completely erased out of my mind and it took me quite a bit of effort for that. Not to mention, the time it took me to arrive at this stage, almost a year!
One I am an atheist because I have hope and I’m also certain that philosophical questions like “Who we are?” and “Why are we here?” can all be answered by Science. In fact, it has already provided those answers. Evolution by natural selection is not a theory anymore, it is now a proven fact. While simple explanations can be offered by science, why go looking for mythical and illogical explanations? The one thing I don’t advocate is blind faith. You say that God is a simple explanation? While it seems so on the surface, look deeper into it. God must have been a very complex being or some unknown entity to create such a complex life systems on the planet. I have already said this many times in my other post in my other blog. So I’m not going to put forth the same arguments again.
I’m sure people are also really fascinated with why the constants of the earth are so exact that any slight change to any of them, would not have made it possible for earth to survive. This will induce them to think of a creator in work. For more inormation on such arguments against atheism, go and grab yourself “The God Delusion” book from your nearby library shelves or book stores. It’s written by Richard Dawkins, who specialises in evolution. All the explanations given in that book are rational.
One If I am so strong an advocate of atheism, then why do I still call myself a Hindu? Because I believe that hinduism is not a religion, but a way of life. I believe that you can be both an atheist and hindu. As I said in a post before, I view the hindu scriptures and temples in a purely metaphorical and aesthetic perspective. So there, I hope I have answered those questions fully as my friend intended.