Not a gift from heaven

Sure didn't come from upon high...

Question. Say you wake up one fine morning and you switch on the news and Lo! the woman with the plastic smile informs you that all religions have been abolished and that all the devotees of this good earth have gone back to doing more sensible things like (please insert sensible human activity of your choice / or what you would rather see the devotees doing if they were not bogged down by ritual – mine involves flamingos – don’t ask!)

What would you miss the most? which aspect of organized religion would you look back on with innocent nostalgia? say whenever you see a picture of Santa in the local museum and mutter to yourself  “man those were the days..”

Personally I’d miss that oh so delightful feeling of feeling morally superior to the pious. Its what puts a smile on my face whenever I hear a fatwa declared in my name.


7 Responses to Not a gift from heaven

  1. Suresh says:

    say whenever you see a picture of Santa in the local museum and mutter to yourself “man those were the days..”

    For someone who claims to talk against organized religions, your knowledge of them seems woefully poor. Santa Clause has absolutely nothing to do with any religion except maybe for the religion of commercialization that’s slavishly followed by the business community.

    • pravnj1408 says:

      I agree with you completely on that point Santa has nothing to do with organized religion. But then I couldn’t think of anything I’d feel nostalgic about (besides losing the feeling of feeling morally superior) Christianity or Buddhism in their non secular/organized form (the secular form to some extent being Santa and Christmas trees – we’ve always “celebrated” Christmas at home in a very secular way mind you)

      Point is I wouldn’t miss anything of the organized form but would definitely miss the secular and commercial aspects if they went out with the organized form.
      Sorry about the confusion, it wasn’t intentional I assumed that everyone knew that there WAS a distinction between the commercial aspects of religious festivals and the so called “true” form of the religion?

      Come to think of it why make a distinction at all? both aspects are man made anyway. Maybe I just like Christmas!

      I agree that this is hardly a burning issue but this post is aimed at fellow anti-theists who I’m assuming would not care whether the business community is commercializing religious festivals or not.

      Keep posting if you still think my knowledge is woefully poor.
      I’m willing to debate this and other issues with you in person or on the forums.


  2. whoever says:

    organised religion does seem tough. buddhism seems the easiest in terms of simplicity. u read richard dawkin’s book i presume with a chapter on the same? what do u think of the anti-conversion bill btw?

    • pravnj1408 says:

      I’m utterly disgusted by the bill. We should be seeing more outrage in the public sphere and in the media.

      This is a civil rights issue.
      Everyone should be entitled to religious freedom and the government has no right to declare that “conversion” is in some way “illegal”

      “conversion” makes it sound very sinister but the fact is and individual makes a choice (whether the choice is rational is another question entirely and the motives behind the choice might even be questionable – for example people in rural areas might be enticed by the community based projects carried out by these churches to uplift the living standards of these people).

      The point is it is a CHOICE. One is not coerced to join a church or convert to another religion. The person deems that the particular religion makes more sense to him/her and subscribes to it and he/she must be awarded the right to do so.

      I was appalled when the bill passed in parliament with a majority.
      Supposedly Sri Lanka is signatory to many resolutions and UN conventions concerning Human Rights and the right to religious freedom.
      While these resolutions may not be binding the government should at least have a measure of respect for the strides made by the civilized world with respect to individual liberty and respect the Sri Lankan constitution which in principle does grant religious freedom.

      I’m also surprised that this wasn’t met with more opposition in the parliament.
      This bill is so outrageous that it should not have been on the agenda on the said date of debate to begin with. Sets a bad precedent.

      This is yet another example of the Sanga poking their noses where they should not be poking them, as you are aware the leading Sanga council of Sti Lanka adopted a resolution which in turn became the skeletal structure for this outrageous bill. The Sanga should leave governance to the state officials and go back to their monasteries and work on attaining nirvana.
      Like I’ve pointed out be before they contradict the teachings of their venerated sage every single day. Hypocrites. All of them.

      “Buddhism seems the easiest in terms of simplicity…” are you alluding to the fact that Buddhism is simple enough to be challenged thoroughly and criticized for being what it really is – a primitive attempt to understand the nature of human existence? If so yes I do agree that Buddhism is very simple. It’s so simple that no one with a decent scientific education would take it seriously if someone came up with such “teachings” in modern times.


    • tharindra says:

      Some can argue that the anti conversion bill is also representative of the poor socio-economic situation in Sri Lanka, but like PNJ mentioned above, it boils down to freedom of choice. This bill shouldn’t have been even considered, its very narrow minded.

  3. QFAP says:

    It isn’t much of a choice when you are dirt poor and haven’t had the opportunity for enlightening education. Where is the freedom of choice is telling a poor hungry man with five mouths to feed ‘Here is a loaf of bread and a kilo of rice – and it would be really nice if you could thank the man in the sky who made your meal possible today.’

    How different is it to religious parents indoctrinating their belief system into their children – it is exploitative use of a position of power.

    It is sugar-coated bribery and little else.

    I for one am glad the bill was passed.

  4. pravnj1408 says:

    It is exploitative, I agree with you completely! and religions will always continue to be exploitative unless we take a firm stand.
    This is where our opinions diverge however. If it is exploitative in the general sense of the term as understood by the public then we must not leave it upto the sanga to oppose it! they may be doing the right thing when it comes to “saving” these people from being “exploited” (god knows there are much worse forms of exploitation going on in this country to which the sanga have nothing to say) but think about it, are not the sanga doing the same? have they not done the same over thousands of years in this country?
    I’m not talking about going on missions.No I’m talking about the sanga having a firm grip on secular Sri Lankan society.This is exploitation at its best.
    The sanga in any rural village enjoy a position of prominence and power simply for the reason that they follow an ancient philosophical teaching. The sanga have been the elite of this country for a very long period of time and their influence is just as corrupting (if not more) as the new age evangelists.

    To summarize, I make no distinction between the corrupting influence that both parties have on the general public and especially on the weak and the unenlightened. I make no distinction between the exploitative intentions of the sanga and the evangelists, as an atheist they are different symtopms of the same underlying problem – the problem of accepting dogma without question and destroying your faculties of critical thinking and of course delegating power and authority to a higher being or a group of individuals professing to have knowledge regarding some enlightened “path” towards the liberation of the self.

    A secular solution to the problem using the legal system of this country could have been explored by the parliament which is supposed to stand for secular values (this is debatable see the article on the constitution of Sri Lanka and the prominence given therein to Buddhism).

    We should not have allowed the sanga to come up with a solution to this problem which is quite evidently based on their self interests. We should be looking out for the interests of larger society and not pass bills which are divisive and undermine the values of freedom and individual liberty.

    By the way whats your position on the recent incident involving a “pastor” and a “church” that performed rites of religious healing through prayer? I came across this really infantile argument against holding the pastor accountable for the deaths on The Sunday Island. Reminded me of your post 🙂

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