THIRUCHIRAPALLI,TAMILNADU – JANUARY 5,6,7 – 2018
Atheism is ancient; in fact it is as old as humanity. Atheistic learning is being used in alternative terms like rationalism, humanism and materialism. The reasoning faculty is inherent genetically in humans. In that way questioning everything and deviating from the man made belief is the nature of humans. Human development and progress of civilization is based on the reasoning trait of the unique species, Homo sapiens.
Even the mythical text of testament speaks about the disobedience of dictum laid by god to Adam and Eve, the so called first couple who were divinely designated. The nature of humans is free and inquiry minded. In ancient period the reasoning faculty was bound by limitations of inability of humans to find answers to every question that arose in the mind. As an outlet to that questioning urge, humans designed god and tried to limit the reasoning with an alternative faith. As per the adage, “Ignorance is Bliss”, restricting the reasoning exercise and relying on faith gave some solace to humans, despite they being deceptive and self deceitful. Instead of god creating humans, humans designed gods in tune with the level of limitations on their reasoning and as per the culture and environment they were living in.
The nature of humans is free and inquiry minded. In ancient period the reasoning faculty was bound by limitations of inability of humans to find answers to every question that arose in the mind. As an outlet to that questioning urge, humans designed god and tried to limit the reasoning with an alternative, faith.
Akin to the transformation of informal organization into industrial incorporation, the belief and following of god became religion. As systems and procedures are being formulated for corporate for religions they are with prayers and performing rituals. Later, humans surrendered to their designed gods and that became the essence of religion. Theist of one religion became atheist of other religions. Religious clashes became the routine, and still it continues on the premise of one religion being superior to another. The harmony of the society gets affected at large. The mindset of humans revolves around god and religion inhibiting the progress and the pace of development of humanity.
Atheistic thoughts as a spirit of free enquiry that emerged in the minds of humans later got developed as science and technology. It is pertinent very much to point out the happening, interesting and deeply meaningful as it occurred in the life of rationalist revolutionary Periyar E.V.Ramasamy (1879-1973).
Periyar became an atheist by starting social fight against the human discriminations based on their birth in the society with the objective of equality of humans, leading to ultimately the establishment of egalitarian society. He found ‘god’ as the main hurdle and stumbling block and for that he commenced the valiant fight against ‘god’ through the following propaganda proclamation.
Nowhere is God
One who invented god is a fool,
One who propagates god is a scoundrel,
One who worships god is a barbarian.”
Such straight forward ruthless propaganda advocacy of Periyar is unique among the fraternity of atheist propagandists.
The 95 year life of Periyar created revolutions on all plains of human life. Atheists are the major populace in the world. A quite interesting event happened in the life of Periyar will support this statement.
The beneficiaries of Periyar Mission include the believers of god at large in general. Periyar toiled for the discriminatory living conditions of believers and non believers with due compensation through the dispensation of social justice. In fact the share of believer – beneficiaries is more. The various religious leaders who realized the benefits in the society due to the noble service of Periyar wanted to meet him to express their gratitude, knowing fully well his staunch support for atheism.
By meeting, the religious leaders were happy and with hesitation coupled with admiration to Periyar they represented thus:
Religious leaders: Ayya (Sir), you have done yeoman service to the mankind. You lit the light in the life of vast population who had lived in darkness for so many centuries. We sincerely thank you. We want to join in your mission to liberate such people further. Our only request is if you could delink the atheist propaganda in your mission, we would associate with you.
…. all theists are atheists as far as other religions are concerned. If theists come out from the sectional clutches of respective atheist view and join together, the impact would be more not only to the individual but to the society well. That is the hope for humanity.
Periyar: I am happy to feel your admiration for me. I am under the premise that you are already with me in atheist propaganda.
Religious leaders: Ayya, we are unable to understand you saying that we are with you in atheist propaganda.
Periyar: I confirm my premise. Let me explain. You belong to different religions and worship the deities of your own and some of you don’t even worship deity but believe in god and prayer.
Then Periyar asked each religious person about the deity they worship or the prayer they make to, and asked whether the person of one religion believes in the deity and progress of other religions. The question was posed to all. All of them negated their belief in the gods of other religions. Periyar told them that they believe their god and not the god of others. As far as the gods of other religions, one is non believer and vice versa is applicable to everyone’s non belief in gods of the religions other than their own.
All religious persons are non believers in respect of god of others and so they are atheist as far as other religions are concerned. You perceive that god of other religions are non existing. I am carrying on the propaganda of non existence of all gods, what you partly do not accept, I do propaganda holistically. In that way all of us are atheists. We are already on the mission jointly.
The religious leaders became silenced at the utterance of Periyar and happily left the house of Periyar.
The event that took place in the life of Periyar is what really happened and applicable not only to the few people who met him but to the entire humankind. So all theists are atheists as far as other religions are concerned. If theists come out from the sectional clutches of respective atheist view and join together, the impact would be more not only to the individual but to the society well. That is the hope for humanity. Yes, Atheism is the hope of humanity. With this theme Dravidar Kazhagam, Atheist Centre, The Rationalists’ Forum jointly organize, World Atheist Conference on 5, 6 & 7 January 2018 at Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. The atheist – humanist fraternity from various countries and all the states of the country participate in large numbers.
The ideological and action oriented discussions and deliberations with be held. To facilitate clarity, research papers on atheism are being presented by scholars and humanist – activists. The World Atheist Conference 2018 will enlarge the hope of humanity on the philosophy of atheism.