By Masidur Rahaman
There was a time when I used to be a devout Muslim and offered prayers five times a day. But slowly, I started realising that religious scriptures should be taken allegorically, and not literally because there are many parts in the religious scriptures that are beyond the logical explanation. One thing behind my transformation from a devout Muslim to an ardent atheist is the religions’ ultimate inability to give a suitable explanation to a question. The question of whether we should not raise a question on the existence of God.
On the other hand, science gives one solid explanation and never heckles one from raising a question about a particular subject matter. In my opinion, religious scriptures are full of fairy tales and form a part of world literature itself and nothing else. Religious institutions and people affiliated to them are of the opinion that religious scriptures have come down to this earth, undergoing a divine process, whose explanation is beyond our scientific comprehension.
I believe Abrahamic religions (Zionism, Christianity and Islam) are full of wonders, which the religious people belonging to their respective religions, cannot explain properly. Their explanations always raise serious doubts, which is why I cannot accept them.
At the age of 15, I started leaning towards atheism and decided to lead my life without having any belief in supernatural entities. My father has helped me all through my journey. The first lesson of atheism I received was from no one but my own father.
I started having serious doubts on the veracity and truthfulness of religious scriptures. The questions that I asked my seniors and people, considered to be the experts in this field, went unanswered. Sometimes, I was given answers but the scarcity of solid facts and explanations could not satisfy me.
My doubts started growing at a rapid pace. I soon began to believe that the entire story related to God is nothing but a mere hoax, sometimes used to tame a particular class of society. The staggering gap between the nature of religion and science is that science never gives one an excuse. On the other hand, religion, on being unable to respond to a question, tends to give one an excuse, which is easily perceivable, if one has a research-oriented mind.
It is important to note that a research-oriented mind always seeks to justify a particular subject matter on the basis of true facts, which generates instant consequences or at least consequences.
Albert Einstein on Religion And Science
Albert Einstein is one of the most revered scientists of all times. Unfortunately, he is one of the scientists whose statements have been analysed without any context. One of the statements that have created a massive worldwide debate between the theists and atheists is that “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” This is a misinterpreted statement and often taken out of the context.
Einstein was a Jew by birth. His parents were not religious. He attended a Catholic primary school and had received private tuition in Judaism. But by the age of 12, he started questioning various parts of the religious scriptures as doubtful. Einstein penned a letter on January 3, 1954, to his philosopher friend Eric Gutkind. In the letter, he stated the following, “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, 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.”
Furthermore, on the question of the Jews – cited as the “favoured people of the God” – his opinion was clear. He stated, “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. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise, I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”
From Bhagat Singh to the Socio-Political State of The Country: Here’s What Influenced My Decision
My process of transformation, a religious Muslim to an ardent atheist, started with a book called “Why I am an Atheist” by Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh scientifically explained the reasons behind why he practised atheism. He stated that holding no belief in god should not be considered by people as an act of vanity, but the supernatural entities like God, have no reality-based basis. His revolutionary struggles against the fascist British force inspired me a lot. He did not change his stance, even when he was about to be hanged to death. He remained a devout atheist until his death.
Another crucial factor behind my transformation from an ardent Muslim to an atheist was the socio-political scenario of the country, in particular, and the world in general. I looked at those countries that are religious. The religious countries are suffering more than the ones which are not extremely religious. Extremely religious countries, I noticed, produce religious bigots. They are the ones who should be held responsible for the propagation of social evils. I started feeling suffocated and I needed to be liberated from all this.
Being an atheist in a country like India is not that easy. In my opinion, India is a country where some people are religious bigots and lack the capacity to filter out the bad from the good. Here, free thinkers are targeted on a daily basis. They are blamed for inciting communal violence. They are perceived as the biggest threat to any society. But the actual truth, which I can say, in my own capacity, is that they are the ones who keep the religious narrowness aside and try to rectify everything around us.
My journey as an ardent atheist is not exceptional in the context of India’s allergy towards the acceptance of atheists. I have been bullied in every possible manner. I have been insulted. My views, without even being heard carefully, have been labelled as “idiotic”. I have been made to feel cornered by others. My response to them is clear. I have decided to live my life as an atheist based on some principles, which until now, are true and scientific to my knowledge.
Masidur Rahaman is an undergraduate student pursuing English Literature at Dukhulal Nibaran Chandra College, University of Kalyani, West Bengal, India.
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In his journey from being a Muslim to an atheist, the author uses the phrase ‘a devout atheist’. Looks like he
has simply swapped one belief system for another and probably reminds himself five times a day that he is an atheist. No offence!
Brilliant essay – you are to be commended fully for your early-in-life insight and bravery.
Though not an explicitly atheist book, you might enjoy Yuval Hariri’s “Sapiens,” which gives a good rundown of the history behind various theisms and other illusions.