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ATHEISM Questions and Answers (2/3)

From the atheistic point of view, how do you explain creation?
We are so much used conventionally to the theistic explanation of creation that, unless we disabuse our minds of the theistic explanation, it is not easy to appreciate the atheistic explanation.
Theistic philosophy explains creation in two ways.
First, it assumes that god is the creator, second, it infers the existence of a basic being out of which the several phenomena emanate and evolve. The basic being is variously described as spirit and as matter by spiritualistic and by materialistic philosophers respectively. Nevertheless, both the philosophers agree in the existence of the basic being, whatever may be its nature. A vast amount of religious practice and ritual accumulated around the belief in god and fixed the belief by custom in every detail of everyday life. Believers are involved so much in the religious routines of life and their thoughts and interests are so much vested in the religious practices that they hardly question the belief in the existence of god. Further they fanatically oppose disbelief. Likewise, a volume of metaphysical arguments have been advanced in support of the interference of the existence of the basic being. Indeed the metaphysical concept of the basic being is opposed to the religious belief in god, and the materialistic arguments in support of basic being are opposed to the spiritualistic metaphysics. In spite of their differences, the religionists and the spiritual and materialist philosophers join together in opposing the atheistic explanation. The essence of theistic explanation of is that human life is subordinate to something superior to it, whether it is god, basic spirit or basic matter. The subordination is extreme in the concept of god as the almighty. Similarly, the metaphysical postulate of the basic being considers human life a part and a manifestation of the basic being spiritual or materialistic. Obviously a part is subordinate to the whole. The subjection of the individual to this or that in the theistic explanation of creation, denies freedom to the individual. The form of prayer, "Oh God, thy will be done," illustrates the attitude of total surrender of the individual to the god of his faith. Hindu Adwaita, which is the extreme of spiritualistic metaphysics, avers that individual freedom is a myth. Marxian materialism regards individual consciousness determined by social consciousness. Thus all theistic explanations of creation are essentially deterministic. They deny freedom of the individual. But individual freedom is a reality. Freedom means the capacity to choose between alternatives. This choice we make in every act of our life. We plan, educate and grow moral only because we can choose. If the future is determined, our planning is meaningless. If the success or failure of a student is predetermined, efforts at education lose meaning. If the judgment is foregone, arguments of advocates on points of law are vain. If the pattern of behaviour of an individual is determined by god's will, fate's decree or by the force of circumstances, ideals of life and codes of conduct have no significance. But real life contradicts the assumptions of determinism. We hope, we plan, we act and we achieve. Our achievements may be influenced by factors good, bad and indifferent around us. Yet our freedom to will and to do is unquestionable. The greater the freedom an individual exercises, the nearer the achievement to his desire. To call it a myth is to deceive ourselves in order to justify an untenable faith in determinism. The experience of free will and the aspirations for moral conduct, disprove the existence of an almighty god or of a basic being which determine our life. We are free; god and basic being, spiritual or material are fictions. Why then did mankind believe in these fictions for the past many generations? They are imaginations to satisfy the slave-mind of primitive people. The slave seeks a prop. He creates a good and depends upon it. The belief in god, mostly anthropomorphic, satisfies the needs of the slave-mind. So god was conceived as a giver of love, peace or justice. The god of human emotions appeared ridiculous to a rational mind. So the basic being replaced the old god. As long as the slave-mind dominates, a prop of some kind or other is imagined and held with faith. In the modern world, obedience to government, to economic systems, to social conventions, to principles of evolution, to belief in natural laws and to cosmic order serve as props to the slave-mind. The superstitious faith in each is fanatically supported by logic and argument, which hide fundamental fallacies. The principle of causation, which is the foremost, among the principles of polemics, is never a certainty. It is, at best, a relation that is read into events. Its validity depends upon the proximity of events and upon the insight of the conceiver. That the doctors differ on the diagnosis of the same disease speaks of the uncertainty of causation. Every notion of cause is a conjuncture which helps further understanding rather than a certainty which determines the next event. We go by probabilities and not by certainties. The future is open to be moulded as each one wills. The final outcome every time is the resultant of the several free actions. Freewill is that which is not caused in itself. The events are moulded by free wills. There is no chain of causes. Every event is complete in itself. The direction of life is sat by ideals and free wills and never by forces superior to the individuals. Likewise, notions of natural laws are our interpretations of our experiences, but not inherent in the events. Newton interpreted the falling of the apple in one way, Einstein in another way and a third and fourth ways also are possible. Natural laws are helpful as long at they conform to our experiences; we throw them out when they contradict. We are their authors, we make them, modify them, reject then, at our will and need. Our social behaviour follows our objectives and common understandings, which can change at our will and time. It is not bound by dictates beyond our will or independent of our will. The recognition of the freedom of the individual gives a new look to the concept of creation. They are fictions of human imaginations, under the influence of the slave-mind. The basic being also is another fiction of the same kind. What we call universe is not an entity which exists. It is a collective concept of the several phenomena. Each phenomenon exists as a reality, but not the universe. The concept of an army is another collective concept. Not the army, but each soldier exists. When the soldiers are disbanded, army ceases to exist. The unreality of the collective concept is illustrated by the notion of an average, when it is calculated that the average attendance at an executive meeting of an Association was fourteen and one-third for a year. Human knowledge indulges in fictions and uses them as tools of further understanding. To mistake a fiction, for a reality is the tragedy of human understanding. God, basic being, creation, universe, soul, after-life, rebirth, nationality, and culture are among the fictions. They are helpful as long as we know that we are their masters and use them as tools. Woe befalls mankind when we submit to them. War, poverty, and prejudice are the miseries of misunderstanding. Atheists, who recognise the freedom of the individual dismiss the notion of creation as unreal. It was at best a primitive way of understanding things and events around. Atheists understand each phenomenon as an independent event that can be moulded and modified by the exercise of freewill.
Newspapers report that a girl of 8 years recited verses from the sacred scriptures. Satya Sai baba is known to produce ashes and watches from empty hands. The Bible tells that Lord Christ walked on water. In the face of these miracles why do you disbelieve in god?
Enquiry and examination of the so-called miracles reveal that either the miracles did not happen or they were mere juggleries. Many rumours are spread by credulous persons and the agents of religious belief. Verification proves them false. Wherever they happen, closer examination exposes the trick that is played. Satya Sai baba has been challenged several times to submit his 'miracles' to scrutiny. He is escaping every time into she shelter of the hundreds of gullible devotees that surround him. Not only the Bible but many religious books and mythologies contain such stories as walking on water, lifting up a mountain or breaking the moon. They never happened. They are just myths ascribed to prophets to make them look great and extraordinary. This very attempt has distorted the picture of the prophets and separated them from the people. Christ did not require walking on water to prove his greatness. His Sermon on the Mount, service to the people and chastisement of anything in sincere were sufficient to make him respectable. On the other hand by ascribing miracles to great men, the usefulness of their lives was lost, since people worshipped them rather than adopting the way of life which they taught and showed by example. If 'miracles alone would make a man great, every juggler would be great. The belief in god has little to do with miracles. The faith is an expression of the slave mind of man. The vested interests in slavery divert attention and side track thinking of miracles. The greatness of anyone consists in honest living and service to the people but never in making 'miracles.' Those who talk of miracles are either dupes or cheats
Do you discount miracles altogether? Then, what do you say about the miracles described in the Holy Bible? Certainly, prophets like Lord Jesus, who were divinely inspired, could perform miracles which are impossible for common mortals. You shouldn't deny that which you can't do!

Miracles, as acts performed by supernatural powers, never occurred and never do occur. Miracles described in the Holy Bible or in any scripture or mythology are wholly false. Jesus did not need the power to perform miracles in order to serve the people and to show a new way of life towards truth and happiness. He was a great revolutionary who valiantly fought the injustices of scribes and pharisees of his time. He was a man among common men. So was every prophet. In fact every prophet was more atheistic than his contemporaries and he was persecuted as such. Jesus was accused of speaking blasphemy (St. Matthew 26:65); Mohammed had to fly from Mecca to Medina for the safety of his own life and the lives of his followers; Gandhi was assassinated for betraying the cause of the religion of his birth. Prophets were more human, more honest and more fearless than their fellow men. Indeed they were regarded as prophets of eras of progress and prosperity because they cultivated these qualities of human excellence and propounded them with remarkable courage and frankness. There are no miracles at all for any man to do them or to claim them. But it is the weakness of the common man to ascribe miracles to greatness. Jesus did not need to walk on water or to curse the fig tree for recommending his sermon on the mount. On the contrary, attributting miracles to great men creates an unnecessary gulf between common men and great men. Consequently common people rest content with worshipping great men instead of adopting their way of life. Belief in miracles, divine inspiration and revelation cuts off great men from common folk and deprives the masses of the benefits of good leadership. From the point of view of human progress, belief in miracles is not only false but it is a positive hindrance

Prophets like Christ and Gandhi did yeoman service for the progress of humanity through faith in god. Why, then, do we need atheism?
A: Christ and Gandhi bore faith in god. But every person, including Christ and Gandhi, has two principal aspects of their conduct. One is theism which is the manifestation of the slave mind and the other is atheism which is the manifestation of the free will. Theistic and atheistic aspects are natural to every person since slave-mind and free will are inherent in everyone. But a person or a group is regarded theistic or atheistic by and large on account of the predominance of the corresponding feeling over the other. Though Christ and Gandhi propounded new forms of god, god of love and god of truth, they became prophets of eras of progress because they were predominantly atheistic. At any rate, they were more atheistic than their contemporaries and so they were persecuted for blasphemy (St. Matthew 26:65). Both became martyrs to their heretical doctrines. So Christ and Gandhi could do yeomen service to humanity owing to the element of atheism in them. The theistic content in their teachings bred reaction in their followers who worshipped the gods and neglected the man. Hence the spread of war and graft among Christians and Gandhians who adore god of love and god of truth. Any Christian or Gandhian who works for love and truth is again branded a heretic, if not an atheist altogether. So consideration for fellow man is always the work of atheism. Further an atheist thinks wholly in terms of the realities of human affairs whereas the attention of a humanitarian theist is divided between man and god. So undivided attention to humanism is possible only for avowed atheists

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