Friday, January 9, 2015

Religion and Intolerance


The book which I am now reading is God is not great: How religion poisons everything by Christopher Hitchens.  In the very first chapter the author says: “Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable.  It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other.  For this reason, I would not prohibit it even if I thought I could.” [emphasis in original]

The author is an atheist.  His book is a serious philosophical critique of religion.  Yet he is generous enough to let religions be.  That is the spirit of all genuine atheists.  All genuine atheists I have come across so far display similar generosity and tolerance.  By genuine, I mean atheism chosen by an individual after due consideration, reflection and understanding. 

Hitchens goes on to ask a question: But will the religious grant me the same indulgence?”  A few lines later, he says that religion is incapable of leaving others alone.  Religious people, he says, are always “in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of all the hard-won human attainments... Religion poisons everything.”

The attack on a publication in Paris is yet another tragic proof of what Hitchens is saying.  Religions are by their very nature intolerant.  We are witnessing the rise of such intolerance in India too. 

I fail to understand, however much I think about it, why religious people can’t leave others alone.  What makes the religious people think that their truth is the sole truth, absolute truth, nothing but the truth, when there are so many ways of disproving most of their claims?  I would be thrilled if any religious person can answer this one question to my satisfaction.

PS: I admit that there are religious people who are very tolerant.  A few of my close friends are very religious and they never question my lack of religious faith.  May their tribe increase!



8 comments:

  1. I really resonate with your blog post. I've written about the over zealousness of religions. I'll link this blog post to my latest one. Cheers.

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    1. Thanks, Kalpanaa. I had a rapid glance at your blog and will return to it more diligently soon.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm soon following it up with another post titled 'Hindu students in Muslim madrasa'.

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  3. Very nice post! Religion should lead us to the path of humanity but unfortunately from most recent 9/11 to most recent Charlie Hebdo massacre prove it otherwise. too much of everything is very bad...even religious faith!

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    1. The media highlight such conflicts and problems. I came across a very interesting report in today's 'Hindu' and am writing a post on that.

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  4. Religious people believe in god, When I ask them why they believe in god. They said its our belief. You dont understand.

    And I got my answer, they do not have ability to think before believe in something. While an atheist people think if their mind give them approval after that they believe in it.
    Bottom Line: I am not sure nut atheist are wise than Theist, all have different views..

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While having a frugal breakfast of dosa with chutney, I watched my wife’s face.   Pain was writ large on it.   Two days of struggle ...