Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Early evolution of religion ushered the dawn of scientific research

Gupi (name changed) was born in a typical conservative Hindu family in India. He visited us for few weeks. It seemed that Gupi presented some tough challenges for his traditional Hindu parents. I think the same challenges are there for many parents and their beloved children who are now preparing to face the world with increasingly higher connectivity, both in terms of personal interactions and digital (in cyber space), in India and abroad. The chance to encounter people with different or even totally opposite tradition and religious beliefs is becoming higher in this era of higher mobility, rapidly expanding communication technology and shrinking personal space. Problems for Gupi and his parents mainly started with religion. The issues became more acute as both Gupi and his parents wanted him to be either a scientist or an engineer.

Many eminent personalities believe that the chance of success of our future generation will largely depend on their understanding of different cultures, which mainly comes from upbringing in multicultural societies as in this country, America. But to get the benefits from the diversity of a multicultural society people need to understand some very basics of human evolution; not only to succeed but sometimes even to survive. It becomes more important in foreign countries where one’s religion and/or traditions are among the minorities. Gupi is one of such kids, growing up abroad where his religion is among the minorities.

Religion has a huge impact on our tradition and culture, the way we like to live. It is also a very sensitive issue. I urge my readers not to take this article personally, but objectively. The purpose of this article is not to hurt anyone’s faith, not to conclude on the issue but to provoke higher level of debate and consolidation of logical thinking. It is believed that both religious and political allegiances are mostly hereditary than rational. These two are also the most important sources for conflict (and both social and political corruption) since ages and remain so till today. In this article I’ll try to deal with the religious issues and leave the political part to our Anna Hazare and his team. In fact, I was encouraged to write this piece after my brief encounter with that 11 year old boy, Gupi’s dilemma and Anna Hazare’s fast to fight corruption.

Let’s start with the very early period of human civilization. During that time humans felt insecure and helpless in front of natural calamities and search for food. They gradually tried to adjust, understand and overcome the problems when possible. Their main strategy was to organize people and act as a group. It increased their chance of success. That gave rise to community living and group activities like hunting, cultivation etc. During the process people gradually understood the problems more critically and also became aware of their limitations. That awareness provoked some to conceive the existence of supernatural powers, which they thought were behind all those forces that they cannot control. They also started believing that such supernatural forces strike when they are not happy, just like they do. They tried to keep the spirits happy, developed a set of rituals, later known as “worship”. Each group of people tried to conceive the supernatural powers according to their own experiences. If they liked any particular food or drink, they used to offer those to their Gods. Gods also started looking like them, physically. The same God is not exactly the same in southern India as compared to that of northern India. Our current, but totally misleading, perception about Jesus Christ with blue eyes and blond hair is just another fascinating story in that regard.

Even the definition of God varies from region to region. Ravana may be a demon in most of India but many people in Sri Lanka and southern India consider him as God. Many believe that Ravana was a better king or administrator, if one compares prosperity of his kingdom with that of Ram. Ajodhya was not “golden” but Lanka was! Of course the package (for Ravana) came with the characteristics that were so common among king-class, elite people (even today), which ultimately caused his defeat and death, just like many other great kings in history.

Now coming back from Satya yuga to our Kali yuga, which started on 18th February 3102 BC as per Brahma Vaivarta Purana and Wikipedia. As most of the natural calamities used to be the same i.e. rain, flood, storm-wind, draught-sun, wild beasts etc, many of such supernatural powers had high similarities (though not identical) world over. Gradually all such concepts and activities gave rise to religion. To cut the long story short, religion was developed to make societies more organized and to involve majority population to participate in different activities or rituals for betterment of the society. Religion made implementing the rules much easier. Both remuneration and punishment was introduced. It gave rise to the concept of virtue and vice. Breaking the rules was equated to sin or vice while obeying those became virtues. Here we should keep in mind that all such rules were made by human, most probably the pack leaders of the groups. During early phase of human evolution and initial days of religion, almost everyone was busy to ensure their survival and growth. They all were interested to search reasons (to solve problems), in other words, the truth (mainly behind natural calamities, food supply and reproduction). Later life became a bit easier due to many innovations and inventions. Then the main evolution of religion started, as we see it today.

Ancient religions are more inclined to have idol worshipping. They have many Gods to take care of natural causes like wind, rain, flood, life threatening animals, birth, death etc. Examples of such religion are Hinduism, religions in ancient Egypt, Greece etc. Many tribes in India and abroad practice this type of religion with many Gods and idol worshipping. More recent religions like Islam, Christianity are more like ideology. Almost all of such recent religions conceive a single God. The person who introduced that ideology became the prophet, mostly the “last” prophet. Such differences indicate the motive behind introduction of such religions. It's like establishing an ideology than to motivate survival of a group of people. The same analogy can be drawn to other non-religious socio-political evolutions, e.g Marxism. It’s the same psychology with which a king rules his subjects and advertises his supremacy. Evolution of recent religions was possible as life became easier. Creation and spread of such recent religions also affected more ancient religions. Leaders of those ancient religions tried to invent new rituals to strengthen their grips over power, and wealth associated with power. “Satidaha” (burning of brides), caste division, no beef eating, many marriages by men but not by women etc by Hindus are some of this type of new rituals. As people from different religions came closer, competition to prove ones’ supremacy became more intense.

Historians and anthropologists widely accept that beef was widely eaten in ancient India. Cow got its holy status around 500 AD, coinciding with an agricultural boom on the subcontinent. The people, whom we consider as the creator of Hinduism, not only used to eat beef but also prescribed beef for many health reasons and illnesses. An ancient Hindu text, Manusmriti (200BC to 200AD), lists cow as one of several animals whose meat can be eaten. One of the two great Indian epics - the Mahabharata - speaks of beef being a delicacy served to esteemed guests. For a quick reference one can read an article published in BBC on 9th August 2001. It was published after few fundamentalists, claiming to be Hindu, started law and order problems and threatening author, Prof D N Jha, for his book “Holy Cow: Beef in Indian Dietary Traditions”.

Even the languages, which were only the means of expression, became associated with specific religions. Arabic became Islamic, Latin became Christian, and Sanskrit became a Hindu language. Many Hindus started believing that anything written in Sanskrit must be true and (mostly) holy. Here we should keep in mind that Sanskrit was not the language of common people but of socio-political elites of ancient India.

To maintain the social order and supremacy, group-leaders did not encourage asking question. They started implementing their own version of “truth” in the name of religion. It became the norm. Gradually every religion started demanding un-questionable faith. “Search for truth” soon became the fight to establish one’s own version of truth. Now we see the fight among human beings to prove that their version of “truth” is more “true” than that of others! This deformed version of “religion” allegedly is the single most important reason for human sufferings, conflicts and death in the past and remains so even today. Religion took a massive blow to serve its original intended purpose as we invented constitution, laws and lately democracy to maintain social discipline. This presented a great dilemma for many, particularly for those who live in secular democracies like India and the USA.

Many cannot stop the temptation to cite famous people, mainly famous scientists like Einstein to “prove” religion. Let me quote a letter written by no other but older, more matured Albert Einstein on January 3rd 1954, a year before his death. It says (as published in many newspapers, including “The Telegraph” of UK on 13th May 2008)- “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this”. Einstein, who died the following year aged 76, did not spare Judaism from his criticism, believing Jewish people were in no way “chosen” by God. He wrote: “For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.”

Our own Achariya Prafulla Chandra Roy, the noted chemist and among the first few Indian entrepreneurs to set up knowledge based Industry, Bengal Chemical, in India on 12th April, 1901, once tried to identify “since when and why India cannot undertake objective scientific research” (my own translation from Bengali texts). After a long investigation he wrote a book, “History of Hindu Chemistry”. There he identified distorted interpretation and practice of religion (more specifically the Hindu religion) and heinous caste system as the root cause. In an article titled, “knowledge of technical arts and decline of scientific spirit”, he was more elaborate. He specifically identified two people – first one is Saint Shankaracharaya and then saint Manu (who introduced stricter caste based social division and marriage among Hindus). For a quick reference one can check the short article published in reputed Bengali magazine, “Desh” (2nd February 2011 issue). The sad state of affairs of Hindus (and Bengalis) becomes clear when we find madness to celebrate 150 years of Rabindranath Tagore but not even a fraction to remember this great Indian scientist and entrepreneur (1861-1944).

There are many people who consider themselves Hindu yet totally deny existence of God. One such group of Hindu sites the ancient Sanskrit scripture, Sankhya- tattva-kaumudi. It argues that a perfect God can have no need to create a world, and if God's motive is kindness, Samkhya questions whether it is reasonable to call into existence beings who while non-existent had no suffering. Samkhya postulates that a benevolent deity ought to create only happy creatures, not an imperfect world like the real world!

Now let’s come out of such controversies and share the good news. A recent survey by PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life, a part of the famous American think-tank Pew Research Center, concluded that atheists and agnostics are among the highest-scoring groups in a survey of religious knowledge, outperforming “believers”. If we re-frame that statement, we can safely say that those people who know more about religion believe less in it. Another PEW survey concluded that, “America is among the most religious of the world’s developed nations. Nearly six-in-ten US adults say that religion is “very important” in their lives”. The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) of USA concluded in 2002 that, “the influence of religion is decreasing in all the developed countries surveyed so far. In USA, about 51.6% of people think that it is decreasing and about 37.5% believe that it is increasing”. A recent article in BBC pointed out that, “Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says”. These nine countries include mostly developed ones- Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. It's reported in 1998 that about 93% of "great" scientists of USA (members of National Academy of Sciences) expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God.

I personally think there is no conflict between science and religion, as many believe or might expect. It will not be right to say that Achariya PC Roy was less Hindu (to do excellent “objective scientific research”). But that will only be true if we keep in mind the real meaning of religion and can logically follow its gradual evolution. The people whom we think are the founding fathers, invented “religion” to seek truth, as I indicated before. I could not include “founding mothers” simply because almost all mainstream religions are male dominated and follow policies mostly biased against women. It is almost unimaginable to see a woman as the Pope (the head of Catholic Church) or a Shankaracharya in Kanchipuram or the Imam of any great mosque. Nevertheless, all those father figures and many great women scholars used to seek truth with the tools and techniques available to them. They very effectively used the best tools they had, i.e. their brain. They developed the ability to ask questions and seek answers, not for monetary gain or fame. Are these not the same very basic requirements to become a true scientist even today? If you do not have those, no degree or job designation can make anyone a scientist. Science is not just learning few techniques, following protocols, rote memorization of some information/data or even publications and getting awards. To me science is nothing but searching the truth and solving problems.

During the course of evolution we lost the focus and forgot the real meaning of religion. We started following some (mostly) meaningless rituals in the name of either religion or tradition. There comes the conflict. Meditation is not just sitting idle in a specific posture for a period of time to watch soap operas or movies or sports on TV later. It was to prepare our mind to be able to concentrate on more challenging problems. A true religious person will not undertake any sort of corruption or dishonesty using some mundane rituals as shield. The same is true for a scientist. Eating beef does not make anyone less Hindu. Not eating beef also does not make the highly corrupt, dishonest person a Hindu or a religious entity either. To me, spirituality indicates purification of one’s own mind by achieving the ability to think clearly and logically towards making the world a better place. Unless we can do that, there is no way that following some rituals or traditions will make us either spiritual or religious. It is immaterial to me if you gather strength by thinking some real (e.g. our own parents, spouses, children, friends etc) or imaginary (God, Goddess etc) figures or from personal conviction of logic and facts (as atheists do) if you are an honest person with the ability to think clearly and the courage to talk straight. If we follow Vivekananda we should understand that one does not need to pray to God or offer pujas all the time to become religious, if we are honest and have the ability to fight for it.

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  1. ZuneDune8:10 PM

    Truly amazing analysis of origin of religions. As a gonna-be father, I find this write-up very encouraging when I put myself in the situation of averting religious confusions for my son. Keep pondering and sharing!

  2. Bappaditya Mallick2:07 AM

    A highly invigorating and though provoking blog.

    I have myself often wondered on the question "Why god was needed in ancient times?" and came to the same conclusion as your blog states, " The need to have something to maintain harmony in ancient society".

    Lets take the example of a ancient small community. The community is being governed by rules that have been laid out by the head of the community. Now everybody listens to the head because he a powerful man. The head is also a just and intelligent man. He is approaching his old age and knows soon he would not have enough strength to enforce the rules of the society. The next person who becomes head may not be good at all. Well the best way to ensure that the current rules are followed is to create an "omnipotent all conquering sentient imaginary being" who can see everything and judge you. Who dishes out gifts and punishment if you do not follow the rules that have been "laid out by it". So now you have a all powerful police to ensure that society functions cohesively.

    And the head invented God.

  3. Dear Mr. Jayanth,

    I am very happy to see such an article. I am a Hindu and I came to Europe in 2006. When I was in India I never ate 'Beef' but I do used to eat chicken, fish, Lamb (goat) and I used to think why one must not eat beef. When I came to Europe I thought of trying to eat 'Beef' and it taste good like other meats.

    As a grown up man I am sure that 'We all are aware of good's and Bad's' & ' Do's & Dont's'so some time we have to give ourself some freedom to do and think little wider.

    I am happy to see your article.

    I am very sure that there is No-religion that can be proved to be the Best!

    As a human 'Humantiy' is the Best and like Gandhi said once 'There is no God higher than truth'

    Jai Hindh!

  4. Hi Jayanta,

    If only more people would think like you, this planet would be a better place.

    Spot on my friend, religion through recorded history seems nothing more than a tool to control masses.

    To add here, I personally think the word religion, in today's world, is being linked with terrorism and jihad.

    I hope extreme Hindu's, Muslim's and Christian's understand the fact that going to holy places and sacrificing to one non-existing entity not only reveals the dark evil and even stupid side of the human species but also slows down our progress towards the opportunities that await us in the space.

    We were never blessed, we evolved and our lives are no different to the lives of animals and plants, the only difference is the brain, which again is the result of this constant evolution and the pinnacle of genius.

    stay human!

  5. Perhaps the problem lies in the difference between "Seeking the truth" and "knowing the truth". Because those who "seek" know that there are many forms of truth -expressed in many ways.

    I suspect that for those who seek, there is no conflict between religion, science and art. However, in the western Renaissance -the church, fearing "devil worship" forced all forms of animism out of "science" -turning it (particularly physics) into a materialist zombie. Western dominance then spread the emotional separation of belief from thought and feeling.

    Personally, I see "computation" as a form of divination (and vice-versa) -but to understand these things one needs to look much closer at not only what things are -but also how they work.

  6. Devinder7:51 AM

    Jay, If there is no God ,can you tell me how planets or sun or matter was formed.The Puranas that you refer to ,were added much later as a corruption of Hindu religion.Heck, there is one Purana called Muhammad Purana. Like you say just because something is written in Sanskrit may or may not be true,similarly something named Purana may or may not be true representation of Hindu religion.If you do practice yum and niyam and have control of your sensory organs ie control kam krodh lobh moh nd ahankar, you are a good hindu.

  7. Dear Trevor.
    I also think, there is no divergence so far spirituality or "seeking truth" (you may call it "science") is concerned. Scientific breakthroughs are the consequences of free thinking, characteristics of an open society, where divergent opinions and conflicts of ideology are well accepted and openly debated with full honesty and integrity. The day "eastern" civilizations ceased to become one of such societies, it lost its ability to contribute equally to the pursuit of knowledge, seeking truth, "science".
    Western civilizations shaped "spirituality" differently, in a more tangible way, rather than in a self-defeating, vague way (as "eastern" philosophy tried to do after its encounter with "modern" religions and post-industrial colonization). That's why nature,cows and many other animals are more cared for in Western countries, as compared to "Hindu" India who condider it as "holy". At the same time Western (materialistic) cultures provoked huge greed, followed by industrial revolution and need for raw material, manpower (slave)and later market.
    Deterioration of every religion also took pace with inclusion of ways to get rid of the consequences of doing "sin". So you can bribe few priests, perform some rituals, feed and/or donate few people and continue doing the crimes and corruption. That "legally religious" process not only indicate spiritual bankruptcy of concerned priests and the person involved but also have a deeper impact on our societies, including political governance.

  8. Anonymous6:01 PM

    Eating BEEF: I used to eat beef when I was young and stopped eating in my early 20's not because I am a Hindu, but because I thought that no animals should be killed for my pleasure. Good Article - If we educate the people on same lines probably there will not be any terrorism

  9. Anonymous6:52 AM

    A well-meaning article. Still personally[even though the author has cautioned against taking it personally in the beginning]I think the article leans towards justifying religion and spirituality to some extend, which disappoints this reader. In fact we other than the lifeless idols, the segregation of people into religion[for example here, hindu] or the need of a religion at the most is not studied thoroughly or criticized against in the article. Off topic-there is a typo "warship" in the first paragraph.

  10. Anonymous10:53 AM

    To my view Hindu puranas has lot more than to say than any other religion.

    Please donot try to find the E=MC^2 again. Consider the purana's as basic, follow them and try building new world with godly human beings who has control on their senses which also leads to control on every thing else. A man who achieves this is the god. Challenge yourself :)

  11. Hi Anonymous (10.53 AM). "Puranas" are the least authentic religious scriptures as per many Hindu pundits (compared to Gita, Vedas, Upanishads etc).
    It seems that you have not studied many other religions and its texts. I also think that there can not be any "Godly" human beings. There are only human beings- good or bad, depends on your perception and value system.

  12. Excellent article Jayanta. Religion is indeed a form of human expression. Studying religious texts is a way to look into the minds of the people who first started practicing said religion. It is a way of learning how our ancestors understood themselves and the world around them. It is a pity people lose their childlike wonder and analytical ability and blindly follow what has been passed down over generations. In a way, it is an insult to the evolutionary process that gifted us with such an advanced and complex brain.

  13. i think that our religions and the value systems in it are of alien origin, i am very perplexed by the jumps in technology as seen in the pyramids and other monuments across the world, perhaps it will be interesting to read the chariots of the gods to see the genesis of all religions.

  14. A very thought provoking article. As a mother of a 14-year old boy, who refuses to partake in religious pujas this came at the right time. He questions the presence of God and why we follow certain customs. Some, I manage to explain, other leave me totally stumped Even the net does not seem to help. Personally, I follow religion not blindly, but as a faith that helps me to think and to better myself. I am also very superstitious, despite understanding science.

    But, I have always believed that religion started as a means to keep power and control a group. I am not well-conversant with other countries, but in India, all present day political leaders, national or regional, across every party boundary, continue to use religion to dominate and steer people into their way of thinking, all to gain and maintain power.

  15. Apart from the influence of more recent religions (e.g Islam and Christianity, as mentioned in the blog), "older" religions changed drastically after Industrial revolution which coincided with imperial colonization (by west that followed "recent" religions). The present form of Hinduism and other 'eastern' religions or spirituality mostly teaches how to tolerate something where you have no or less control, how to glorify "sacrifice" when you have no other option left!
    Decline of political and religious independence in East is a major factor to change both political and religious deformity, self-defeating attitude in those societies.

    A famous Indian social reformer and great (Hindu) spiritual leader, Vivekananda once told (during British rule in India) that "there is no meaning for a weak person to forgive. First we should attain enough physical and mental strength to stand up for our own legitimate demands and for truth, show the perpetrators of injustice or those attacking truth that we are capable to take care of our rights and duties (as human beings and citizens of a country). Only then forgiveness matters" (my own translation from Bengali text).
    He also told that, "a beggar must not glorify "tyag" (renouncing worldly enjoyment and wealth), unless he experienced or enjoyed "bhog" (wealth and worldly enjoyments).

  16. This is a nice article and get special thanks for being so logical. No doubt this being a novel idea and it needs out-of-box thinking to come up with something like this. It answered so many questions which raised in me while growing up and accepting religion as part of life. It is true I never critical about the concept of religion but at the same time I never believed in the existence of GOD by heart. So thank you again for the nice idea and it is so apt for people who are open to several cultures and religion thru internet. I specially like to mention about the reasoning given behind each idea which is completely missing from any religious text.
    Kudos and keep writing....

  17. Anonymous4:58 AM

    Dear Friend,
    Most of the so called Hindu's including me d't understand real Hinduism.I suggest you go through the website which gives lot of article and speeches about ancient India.
    Our country and tradition is messed up by Invaders and Brits.

    Recently I started learning/reading or try to understand those old tradition..


  18. I really like your train of thought and it reminds me of how I was when I was younger.

    I strongly recommend that you read Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion". The book is biased towards atheism, but nevertheless, it gives wonderful learned analysis on religion and God. It is a must read for someone like you :)

    Also, as far as the conflict between religion and science is concerned, I strongly suggest the website called the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It has a section on Science and Religion which is pretty enlightening!

    Congratulations on your piece and remain curious. After all, all of us are just a work-in-progress! :)

  19. Check this article in Scientific American- "How Critical Thinkers Lose Their Faith in God"-

  20. Anonymous2:04 PM

    I browsed the web and red a few
    hindu books and I see the age old
    hindu vedas and their relationship
    to the present day mathematics,
    cosmology, astronomy, Yoga .....
    and the old Indian relegious
    scientist like Arayabhata, Bhaskar
    who contributed so much to the
    world and also the present day
    scientist. And the failure of all
    Indian invaders to wipe out Indian
    relegion, which they had succeded
    in all othere places over the
    world speaks volumes of the Indian

  21. Just wanted to share this nice comment about religion and morality- "Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told.. Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right."
    I do not know who said it but it sums it all.

  22. This information is really nice. This type of post is attracting people to read. Thank you for sharing.......

    Vedic astrology

  23. "When his disciple Chakravarti asked his opinion about consuming non vegetarian food, Swami Vivekananda ordered him to eat fish and meat as much possible to become healthy and courageous. He once proudly recalled of ancient Hindu society of beef eating Brahmins and advised the youths of India to be strong so that they could understand Gita better, with biceps" .

  24. Please don't generalize before you investigate fully. I will cite one example of scientific data available with ancient Hindus which matches with what modern science has discovered now. Hindus say that "84 lakh yoniyon ke bad insan ki yoni milti hai" (i.e. a soul gets a human body after passing through 8.4 million different species of living beings). The modern science says there are 8.7 million species of living beings on earth. The gap between 8.4 and 8.7 is less than 5%. This gap may be due to new species on account of gene mutations minus extinct species plus data collection error by either or both groups (the ancient Hindus and the modern biologists).

    But the point is that if ancient Hindus were so primitive as you have tried to paint them, then how could they even think of such a large number of living being species. I can understand that if they were counting money or counting population of a kingdom they could count upto real big numbers. But while counting different living being species in a primitive society, they possibly will arrive at a number in hundreds or at most in thousands. It is impossible to conclude such a large number of living being species in absence of any scientific method of identification available to an ancient society.

    Therefore, it is incorrect to conclude that science evolved now only. It could have evolved and then evolved in reverse very long back. Why is this not possible? Why can't there be reverse evolution of human society because of outside factors leading to for eg. mass anhilation of human species or internal factors such as new rules adopted by human society for governing lives of its contituents. In fact we have seeds of reverse evolution within certain sections of world population even now. If these seeds find fertile environment they will certainly reverse the direction.

    You have not read the Gita. It contains profound knowledge on many aspects of human behaviour and of course God, soul and mind. In the last chapter it says that the knowledge imparted to Arjun by Lord Krishna should be passed on to only those who are willing to listen and understand. So Gita which is the foremost Hindu scripture was not created to impose some rules of engagement among the masses or to control their behaviour.

    Overall I think the blog has too many holes.

    1. Yogesh, Thanks for your comment.

      I'm not sure if you have read the article before you commented. In case you did, do you disagree with any of the data presented here or disagree with any analysis?

      I’m not sure how the number of species in this planet connected with number of “yonis”. Are you suggesting that to be born as a human being all must start from the most primitive species (e.g. virus?) and gradually progress to human being? There are many loopholes in that logic, including how different species are arranged and how the “karma” for a virus or bacteria or even a lion would be decided? I assume that not all virus/bacteria/trees/animals (like cow, deer, dog, lion etc) proceed to get re-birth or promoted to the next level.

      Most of the ancient “religious” books, including Gita revolves around few hypothesis- 1) There is God who created everything; 2) every destiny for everyone is pre-fixed and cannot be changed (much), 3) there is re-birth (for each and every one) excepting very few who gets “Moksha” (and remain in heaven).
      None, absolutely none, of these hypothesises are proven even by circumstantial evidences, leave alone any direct proof. Even sighting for supernatural beings like God, ghosts are becoming rarer as our scientific and tech ability and presence is improving. Even Vatican is finding it harder to prove “miracle” for its saints to award “sainthood”.

      I’m not sure if I suggested, anywhere in the article, that “Hindus are primitive”. As per history, almost all major civilizations (including Indus Valley civilizations and few others in southern India) had almost similar socio-economic development, almost same scientific achievements. Emergence of “developed” vs “developing” societies started mainly after industrialization and subsequent colonization. And that is not based on religion in any way, although religion was massively exploited (politically) in that endeavor.

    2. Jayanta, I came across your article while looking at another and just had to respond especially as you have the same first name as mine except with an "h", Jayantha!

      You have given the typical naturalistic atheistic response to the origin of religion. But I have to ask how you know it is true? For example, you say "To cut the long story short, religion was developed to make societies more organized and to involve majority population to participate in different activities or rituals for betterment of the society." How do you know this?

      Apart from this how do you know this question I wonder whether you have thought about the self-referential incoherence of the atheistic position. For example, if we came to being simply by a naturalistic process then our thoughts are governed by this same process and the Hindus that believe the way they do cannot help their belief (ie determinism). But this applies to not only Hindus but to the atheist too and thus objective reasoning - which we all pride in - is not possible.

      There are plenty of other problems to the atheists too such as if atheism is true we are living in an amoral world (there is no oughtness to life) but the deterministic problem of self-referential incoherence seems to me is self defeating.


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