Thursday, July 9, 2009

Let there be light??!!

They always ask you about your religious preferences…don’t they??

More often than not, I have my mailbox cluttered with invitations from various social sites(and frequent reminders, just to remind you that you forgot…..), imploring me to join their site just because they had managed to hoodwink one of my friends into obtaining my email address….and as if it’s not enough, they sometimes even happen to place subtle hints of how devastated that friend would feel if I happened to reject that particular invitation (“ please accept this invitation, or else X may think this and that….. ”)

And, the emotional fool that I am…. I can’t bear to see my friends disappointed, so I grudgingly accept all those requests and find myself engaged in filling up endless forms regarding every insignificant details about myself, like what I would like to eat, what people are likely to notice about me at once and all the usual bullshit…. I mean, does anyone even care to read them?? But then, keeping aside this “all-social sites-are-crap” tirade…let me come to something which I really wanted to talk about… a query demanding your religion with a cascading menu beside it, waiting for you to take your pick from among a dozen of options…the one where I always, unknowingly, unthinkingly select the “agnostic” option and proceed on into less intriguing questions of the form…


But, when it really comes to the part where I really try to ascertain my religious preferences( yes, I occasionally, indulge in introspection…so what?), I always draw up a blank… and I have failed to fill up this blank with something positive, something concrete, however hard I try…
I mean, its easy to proclaim before the world that you are an “atheist”…all you need to do is scoff at all forms of religion and religious gatherings, call every ritual unnecessary, declare every god-fearing man to be a superstitious imbecile, denounce every miracle in history as products of imagination, and swear by the omniscience and omnipotence of science….
But agnostic?? Nah, it’s a different ball game altogether… but only when you are a real agnostic, and not an atheist disguised as one just to evade the chances of being labeled as unsocial…. You really need to “not know”…
Yeah, I know it sounds like an idiot…but then, not knowing is the basic principal by which agnostics swear….
I have tried my luck at both being a devoted follower of god, and an indifferent cynic of religion, but unfortunately , both of them failed to hold my attention long enough….and soon I discovered, that this suspended-midway stage is the one which suits me best….I really revel in the thought that I "don’t yet know"….

That speaks tons about my preferences, doesn’t it??

Finally, let’s come to the finer points of agnosticism…as understood by me(uh oh....)

I really, genuinely feel sad and sympathetic for those people, who have been sucked into the world of meaningless rituals and superstitions without any conscious want of doing so… there are hundreds of people worldwide who have succumbed to the fanaticism of religious leaders into following a way of life, which is highly illogical, follow some stupid rules only because some bigoted people think it to be necessary, and shun science only because these bigots think that science and technology are just some heathens’ efforts to “divert the faith of people from the devotion of the almighty”…. And this restricted outlook is one of the several reasons which makes me wary of being a devout follower…like for example, what’s the point in fasting just because some distant relative( whom I had never heard of before, let alone seeing…) had suddenly deceased?? I mean, it’s really understandable if someone follows these rules and regulations with pure belief in the objectives, but I don’t get the point in forcing them on unwilling individuals… I doubt if such actions reinforce the faith in the minds of the followers, as they are believed to do…

But then again, is all these really some pointless superstition?? All this believing, worshipping, and rituals….have they really got no point?? Any atheist would readily answer-“any doubts?”… But as you are currently reading something written by a tried and tested agnostic, the answer will be different…..

And that is not because deep inside, I have some kind of potent faith in the existence of a superpower, not because agnostics are supposed to be midway( meaning they don’t out rightly deny or confirm anything. don't misinterpret the "midway" part.....);but because I really feel envious …envious of those people who can simply bank upon their faith in the Gods when the going gets tough, people for whom peace and solace is so readily available just because they believe that there is someone who is watching over them, people who lead a life of discipline and virtue, just because their religions direct them to do so in order to justify their lives, people whose beliefs make them tide over the bad and the worse without really losing hope…

Isn’t this what everyone wants?? Atheists might scoff and smirk…but then, that’s exactly what I don’t want to … ridicule everything and turn into a pessimist… I want to be happy…( I know, that’s definitely asking for too much…)

Sometimes, I really do feel that accepting the asylum of a religion is really worth all the trouble, because combined with it, you get the emotional support of hope, belief ; coupled with that, you get the directions of leading a good, peaceful life... sceptics may be sceptic about this(:P), but we all know that human nature is most conducive to choosing the wrong path when confronted with a particularly decisive choice between good and bad, so I really feel we do need a beacon to guide us sometimes.......

So, I guess, with such a constitution of equally balanced repulsion and attraction towards belief and religion… I guess the only path left before me is the one which I have been walking on till now…till I decide on my preferences( which, going by past statistics, is going to be a really long time)...

signing off...

Rishi....

9 comments:

Twisha Mukherjee said...

"its easy to proclaim before the world that you are an “atheist”…all you need to do is scoff at all forms of religion and religious gatherings, call every ritual unnecessary, declare every god-fearing man to be a superstitious imbecile, denounce every miracle in history as products of imagination, and swear by the omniscience and omnipotence of science…"
I think you haven't met enough atheists. It's not so easy being an atheist. Being an atheist simply means that you don't believe in the existence of any superpower. Buddhism, for example, is an atheist religion (check Wikipedia). Superstitioons, rituals etc are things man made themselves. If other men follow, it's their desire to go with the flow. If others don't, it's their individuality, they are ascertaining. Rituals have nothing to do with beliefs. And atheists have nothing to do with rituals. An atheist has his own set of "personal" rituals too. I remember refusing to join hands or close eyes, for prayer, during the assembly at school. I was a believer back then. I just felt that you don't need to fold your limbs or close your sense organs to feel God. Thus, rituals have nothing to do with belief. Now, when I'm an atheist, I still have my own personal set of rituals. Like calling up someone before my exams. It's a superstitious belief that if I don't talk to that certain someone, my exam won't go well. So, atheism has nothing to do with rituals. And, lastly, atheists are a much more troubled lot thatn what you think they are. Edward Cole, in the movie The Bucket List says that he doesn't believe that God exists, but if he was wrong, he would be glad. That is an atheist. I am an atheist, and I believe a man has the power to make things happen, simply by wanting it strongly enough. (PSYCHOKINESIS) Yet, I respect the way other people make things happen by asking God to grant their wishes. It's just their way of wanting something strongly enough.

Sonnet Mondal said...

I wouldn't go into details of criticisms.I will try to write this comment from a neutral point of view in a court where an Atheist is speaking on his behalf...Being a slave of your own perspective your writing is worth to be considered by any theoretical journal.God according to R.C.Mukherjee's latest papers is not an essential factor.
The way you have connected Modern materialism with modern aesthetics and religion is a matter which deserves a good pat on your shoulders.

RISHIPRATIM MAZUMDAR said...

@Twisha..
first of all, I would really like to apologise for casting "atheists" as some villanous, soulless creatures (:P]... I had no intention of castigating or degrading the principles of atheism by any manner (as if I could even if I wanted to...)
In hindsight, I do feel that I have been a tad too critical about all that... but then, it was something which I felt when I really tried to identify myself with atheism......
Granted, I did not have access to the principles of atheism, and neither did I interact with too many atheists.....but my sceptical view of atheism was born due to the fact that most of them found it extremely necessary to demean each and every thing related to religions in order to prove their loyalty to atheism..... and that is precisely what I had in mind when I wrote that down... in reality, it's not that I haven't met many atheists, its just that I did not meet any true ones, you knw...ones who could justify their stance logically instead of ranting cynically about the futility and uselessness of everything....
and, I do want to add, I hope you overlook these details just because I am an agnostic..
come on, I am not supposed to know, am I??
:P
thanks a lot for going through all that....

Twisha Mukherjee said...

:P
You're welcome! Thanks for publishing something on this whole theological thing. I've been planning to post something on atheism for a long time....you just gave me a push. Thanks.
Don't label this as "crap". It' was something far from crap. It wasn't just mere food for thought. It's something about the eternal debate. Whoever said God exists, was a human being. Whoever said that God doesn't exist, was a human being too. So, who knows who was right?

RISHIPRATIM MAZUMDAR said...

Umm...
I don't know...
:D
that's a pretty handy answer...
:P

Ronnie said...

well...atheist or not...i look beyond these petty things...after all..a HUMAN BEING....we have created God so that we can bring some degree of discipline in our lives...okay..people may argue..about the existence of God...proofs..but the important thing ...the mission...the purpose...is to make human beings better...if an atheist can maintain himself well among fellow human beings...can love them and care for them...the there's no harm...
@Twisha
Buddhism isn't an atheist religion...Buddhism is silent on the existence of God...it doesn't specifically deny the existence of God.Jainism is atheist,because it specifically says that God doesn't exist.

Arindam said...

well written and to everyone his belief,as long as it helps you remain sane.we know that we are vulnerable and thus the need to have beliefs to see us through all the difficult times when we are all alone.call yourself whatever you may but if it helps us remain humane and sane its good.

Ayan said...

Rishipratim’s smart take on the subject coaxes me into considering different aspects of the ongoing discussion:

As suggested by Rishi himself, the existence of a superpower may never be proved because of the inherent paradox that pervades the matter-the Superpower ceases to be so once it comes under the purview of laws governing the universe. And moreover, logic does not always come handy in these situations; the ‘power’ of logic is strictly limited by the ability of the human brain to think and rationalise.
Shri Ramkrishna claimed to have realised the presence of goddess Kali .He argued that if the formless and shapeless God be compared to the limitless water of an ocean , then goddess ’kali’ can be imagined to be a chunk of ice which has a definite form and shape but is constituted of the same water. And at some point, imagining and praying even to a formless, all-pervading superpower is again ‘hypocritical’ in the sense that a formless God can never be ‘imagined’(once we imagine it we assign it a form and shape !);nor can such a God be reached to by means of prayers.
Moreover, even if there is a superpower He can in no way intentionally alter the life of individual human beings; his intervention can only affect the entire human race on a mass scale. For example when we stretch a rubber band are we ever concerned about the distortion a single molecule undergoes; we are only concerned with the overall distortion of the band.

“...but because I really feel envious …envious of those people who can simply bank upon their faith in the Gods when the going gets tough...”
Let us now divert our discussion from the existence of God to belief in the same. Most theists worship God not just out of faith and love but also out of fear. I find it very difficult to understand how most people think of an all-pervading, all-forgiving, all-powerful God, who can also cause irrecoverable loss and harm to them. And why does such a God need to be ‘rewarded’ with offerings or the fresh blood of a slaughtered goat every time a wish is ‘granted’? What about famines, floods and raging storms, what about wars that kill thousands....? And why is the Earth abounding with people who are impoverished, whose basic needs are not met? Some adamant and opinionated theists will say that these wars, floods are the result of human activities, that people have themselves created social and economic divisions among themselves. Then, what about people who are born handicapped, why does the all-powerful God not intervene to lessen the agony of these people who are born just to live an entire life of dependence, pain and humiliation?
But everything need not be dipped in the well of logic to be considered acceptable. We do need to cling on to hopes, dreams, endearing memories; we do need to seek refuge in the abode of imagination to provide life meaning and purpose. It is only then that we tend to realise the essential goodness present within each of us. Many philosophers claim this goodness within us to be the Divine or the spiritual essence.
According to many, the path of God is not in conflict with the path of science, but is another philosophy (just like Science is) to resort to, to explain and understand the universe. But, then another question arises: Is Science a religion? Certainly not, because it does not require you to believe; it is only a slave to logic and facts. The path of science is thus dull and heartless. The other path of realisation is so simple and touching; it has the tenderness of love and the ‘strength’ of belief....
But do we really need to disguise a simple and beautiful realisation by giving it the name of God? Could we not embrace this sublime feeling without giving it any such tag...?

RISHIPRATIM MAZUMDAR said...

@Ayan...
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings here...it definitely adds a lot of glamour to my blog page to have such a well- argued and well-lettered comment :D
This ongoing conflict regarding the presence of a divine superpower, or rather, the significance and the implications of its existence, has been a debate that has kept more qualified minds busy for quite a long time....Hence we cannot afford to be so much brash and vain so as to consider the religions and their significance to be naught...isn't it??
The virtues of science are indeed worth praising...but again, perhaps it is the regulations imposed by religions, which has, in several cases, prevented science to be used as a tool of destruction.....
What I mean to say is, I completely agree with you on the point that we could have better existed without all this religious fanaticism , if men had reason enough to cultivate their inherent goodness and to stick to it....
But then again, I stick to my point, that granted the fact that the average common man does not possess the amount of philosophical intellect as some others, and is more likely to succumb to evils...so isnt it kind of necessary to have a code, something which instills fear in order to keep them from straying from the right path??
I am more than certain, that this reason, more than everything else, led to the origin of religions....because introspection is not a very common quality, and rarer is the quality of appreciate the difference between the good and the bad in one's own self....
given all these facts, I guess some of the really intellectual philosophers had to bring out these theories about the divine superpower and faith and "lead-a-virtuous-life" to keep the people at peace.....

phew......