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Science & Religion – Why the conflicts remain?

Science and Religion – why are there so many conflicts between these two? Why do these two distinct feats of the human mind has not yet been able to join hands in the name of harmony? The answer is simple. The conflicts between science and religion still remain in this day and age, because though most people understand what science means, they do not have a clue what religion means – and they do not even have a clue that they do not have a clue.

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I do not expect anything from those in the side of religion, or to be specific, from those who hail themselves as “fundamentalists”, because they are incapable of bringing the faculty of reasoning into action when it comes to the authenticity of their doctrines. In simple terms, the fundamentalists are mentally ill people. So when you encounter such individual, wear a smile on your face and simply say to them – “get well soon.” This would probably not turn them instantly into some sort of sentient humans, but at least you would know that you did your part in the name of sweet harmony.

Now let’s turn to the other side – the side that I think you are on. Those on the side of science, i.e. on the side of rational thinking, are the ones I have the most expectations from. They can think for themselves, unlike the fundamentalist patients on the other side. You do not even know my friend, even you are on the side of true religion. Rational thinkers simply are not aware of this fact, because of the definition of religion that has been imposed on all of us by our deluded society. Even the atheists would start to see religion as a positive element of the human society once they recognize what true religion really means. So, let me give you the simplest definition of religion which I proposed in my treatise on religious fundamentalism entitled “Illusion of Religion”.

“Religion is the process of internal growth, not a lifeless bag of foolish words.”

So, far from what we all have been taught by our ancestors, that when you follow your cultural scripture, you are being religious, real religion has never really been attempted to understand by most of the human population. You are religious when you care about your fellow humans influenced by your own conscience, not due to obedience to your scripture. That’s why, the atheists and agnostics are the greatest religious people on earth. Remember this my friend, true religion has to do with humans, not with books. And that’s the religion I advocate, and indeed that’s the religion which most of the prophets of human history tried to spread. But due to the human craving for a messiah and secure doctrines, those prophets became divine figures and their teachings combined with later incorporation, ended up being divine irrefutable gospel.

So, you see, religion has nothing to do with scriptures. Religion is what your conscience constructs as your baseline behavior in your society. As I have said in “Illusion of Religion” –

“Whether you call yourself a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu or an Atheist, if you have kindness in your heart and compassion in your act, you are on the right path of religion.”

So my dear humans, the true reformation of religion lies in your hands. You are the most capable people to do so, because the fundamentalists on the other side, are too deluded to think anything productive and healthy, that concerns all humanity. Their illness makes them concerned only of the exclusive survival of their dearest scripture. Hence, the fate of humanity lies in the hands of civilized, conscientious and compassionate humans.

 

(Simultaneously published on Goodreads)

Further Reading

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, Illusion of Religion: A Treatise on Religious Fundamentalism

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, Principia Humanitas

We Are All Jihadis

Are you a good person? Or, are you a bad person? It’s a simple question. Yet the answer is not so simple as you might think. In most cases, a conscientious human being would probably answer that he or she is a good person, or at the very least tries to be one as much as possible. The reality is, no human being is purely good or purely evil. We all have the faculties to be good, and at the same time we have the neurological predispositions to be evil. In the end, the choice is ours. And that choice determines our external characteristic image.

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The way we behave, becomes our identity. If we behave more in the line of goodness than evil, then hopefully we are hailed by others as good. And if we behave more in the line of evil, instead of practicing the good in us, we are hailed as evil or bad. One way or another, each one of us is struggling to act in the line of goodness as much as possible. Each one of us is struggling to become better – to become a better human. And that struggle makes each one of us an active Jihadi.

Because, the term “Jihad” does not actually mean some imaginary “Holy War” (“war” in Arabic is “harb” and “holy” is “muqadassa”) in the name of God or Allah, as presented by modern media. “Jihad” means our internal “struggle” to become better. The term may have come from an Islamic background, but the religion Islam does not have an exclusive authority over it. Think about the term “Yoga” for example. The term “Yoga” which means “union”, comes from ancient Sanskrit literature of India, but the nation India does not have an authority over it. Every human endeavor is the possession of the human mind, and nothing else. Every feat of the mind is the possession of the mind, not of a nation, a race or a religion.

Jihad is a feat of the human mind. And as such, no religion in a clear state of mind, can claim any sort of copyright of it. Also, just because ignorance and bigotry have made the term Jihad highly infested with elements of violence in the minds of the non-muslim population, does not mean that Jihad actually is all about spilling blood and killing non-muslims. Just like, Yoga is not merely about various body postures. The physical exercises which most of the Western population hails as Yoga exercises, are actually only one type of Yoga, which is “Hatha Yoga”, commonly misrepresented as “Hot Yoga”.

However, we cannot also ignore the fact that in the text of the Quran, Jihad is normally found in the sense of fighting in the path of God. In the Islamic texts the term Jihad is mentioned mostly to describe warfare against the enemies of the early Muslim community. In the Hadith, the second most authoritative source of the sharia law, jihad is used to mean armed action. And the reason for this is, in the ancient times, when Islam was a young religion, it had to defend itself from foreign invasion, by whatever means necessary. Hence, it sanctioned external Jihad, that is military action against invasion, just like in India Sikhism sanctioned military action to defend itself against Islamic invasion. Eventually, in the hands of authoritarian fundamentalists, unlike in Sikhism, the defensive external Jihad turned into radical imperialist external Jihad in the religion of Islam. In the process, the actual internal Jihad got lost. It got lost both within the Muslim population as well as outside of it.

The point is, in the ancient times external violent Jihad might have made some sense, but in the modern civilized society, the only Jihad that is qualified to be sustained by the humans as a part of the civilized society, is the internal Jihad, that is, your internal struggle to become better. To quote from my book “Illusion of Religion: A Treatise on Religious Fundamentalism”.

“The real Jihad is an internal process, not an external one. It is the jihad between the good and evil characteristics inside you. The most intriguing example of such inner jihad can be found in our studies of racial attitudes in people. This specific internal jihad is between the subconscious expression of racial attitude and the brain’s conscious control of that attitude.”

Basically, Jihad, struggle or cognitive dissonance, whatever you call it, is the battle that goes on everyday inside every human being- the battle between good and evil – between selfishness and altruism – between love and hatred – between humanism and animalism. Once the humans recognize this simple fact of the human mind, it would inadvertently contribute to the eradication of prejudicial evil of “Islamophobia”. And getting rid of such prejudicial stereotypes is imperative if we are to become a real wise species.

 

(Simultaneously Published on Goodreads.)

Further Reading

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, We Are All Black: A Treatise on Racism

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, Illusion of Religion: A Treatise on Religious Fundamentalism

The Brain creates Morality, not the Bible

“Morality” – it is a fantastic term, so much so, that almost every single religious institution wants to claim its exclusive authority or rather copyright of this simple psychological element. The cave-men of the church keep claiming, “morality comes from the Bible”, and so does every other mindless fundamentalist on earth no matter their religion. They truly believe that without their holy scripture there would be no morality on earth. They truly believe, without their doctrines to guide humanity in the moral path, we are destined to be punished in an imaginary hell. So let me tell those fundamentalists – You need to visit a psychiatrist, pal!

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Here let me make something clear at the very beginning. Beliefs are a quintessential part of the human psyche, but they can be both healthy and harmful. And the beliefs of the fundamentalist Australopithecines are particularly harmful. These beliefs are what we call “delusions”. Except unlike in a neuropsychological ailment, the delusion of the fundamentalists is not just harmful for the individuals suffering from it, but more importantly it is the greatest threat to peace, progress and wellbeing of the entire human species.

I am not going to go into the details of which scripture is more moral than others and which one is most immoral. It does not depend on the scripture itself, as much as it depends on the person reading the scripture. All human creations, including all sorts of literature are bound to have flaws, because it is the human mind that creates them. No literature, including the ones in the domain of religion, comes from some Imaginary Big Monkey, high up in the sky. They all rise from the human psyche. Hence the elements of the composer’s mind gets distinctively imprinted into the content of the literature. So the morality depicted in a certain text is not the ultimate standpoint of moral characteristic of a species, it is merely the textual echo of the composer’s internal moral compass. If a pedophile writes a book, he would probably deem abusing a nine year old as morally justified. On the other hand, if the book is written by, say Tolstoy, it would have a completely reformed depiction of morality, ethics and human principles. The depiction of morality by Tolstoy can be something that the human civilization can look up to and expect to march ahead towards becoming less primitive. But a pedophile’s subjective morality would only drag the human civilization back to the days in the wilderness.

So, where does morality come from exactly? I will tell you where it comes from in a little while, but before that let me focus on where it does not come from. Morality does not come from the Bible. Morality does not come from the Quran. Morality does not come from the Torah. Morality does not come from the Vedas. This beautiful mental element which we call morality, does not come from any scripture, any institution or any God. Morality is born in the human brain, from the electrical impulses among the neurons. Morality like any other mental element, such as love, peace, orgasm, rage or hatred, is simply the expression of electrochemical impulses. These impulses in our brain define who we are, what we are, how we feel, how we think, how we behave and how we distinguish between right and wrong, and good and evil. In fact, we our the impulses within our brain. If you mess with even a tiny portion of the neural circuits constantly sharing electrochemical information among each other, it would radically alter your personality. It can alter your entire identity.

Part of that identity are your moral characteristics. These along with other analytical traits of your mind, are distinct creations of the frontal lobes of your brain. This is the region that is most responsible for making us a uniquely intelligent and wise species. This is the part that gives you the sense of an internal moral compass, based on all the available data. It is here that your innate primitive urges and instinctual responses born from the limbic system, are filtered according to the norms of the society as well as your internal ethical elements. Therefore, when a person thinks and behaves as a civilized human being, he or she is doing so because of the civilized elements within him or her, not because of some book, even though the book may have certain influence on that behavior. Burn all the scriptures in the world, still morality will remain intact. But mess with the frontal lobes, or to be specific the prefrontal cortex, of all the humans in the world, and you would inadvertantly jeopardize the intellectual faculties of the entire human species including morality.

To quote from my book “Either Civilized or Phobic: A Treatise on Homosexuality”

“Morality does not come to this mortal world from some imaginary paradise. It rises from the neurons of mortal humans to aid in the process of a healthy conduct in both personal and social life of the mortal humans. Hence, it is the existential responsibility of the humans to reconstruct the moral parameters of a time based on the advancements and achievements of that time.”

All kinds of external information regardless of where they come from, do engage in the shaping of a person’s neural network of moral characteristics as well as other mental features. The environment we live in, has a deep impact over our psyche, but for the human civilization to keep on moving forward in the path of progress all environmental information must be scrutinized by our internal civilized faculties. Nothing from the external world as well as the internal one, should be accepted to be true, good and healthy, unless it passes the test of reasoning.

 

(Simultaneously published on Goodreads.)

Further Reading

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, Principia Humanitas

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, Either Civilized or Phobic: A Treatise on Homosexuality

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, Illusion of Religion: A Treatise on Religious Fundamentalism

Real Religion of Civilized Humanity

Today, religion gets beaten up in the world of rational thinkers because of what it has become. Religion has become a matter of blind faith upon doctrines, without the slightest bit of rational intervention. And that, my friend, is called religious orthodoxy, which, though being related to the term “religion”, has, in reality, nothing to do with true religion. The religion that I advocate, and so did the mortal humans known as Jesus, Buddha and Nanak, is the religion of love, compassion and self-realization. I don’t want to take away anybody’s religion, but simply to make them see what religion really means.

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You need to find the highest form of divinity within yourself, not in any book, creed or institution. That is the true essence of religion, which, unfortunately, we see nowhere in today’s world. And from this standpoint of true religion, the atheists are a billion times more religious than all the blind “orthodogs”. Religion, in the world of thinking humans should be compatible with reasoning and progress. Any religion that impedes in the progress and rational thinking of the human society, is no religion at all.

“Progress” sounds like a fascinating word to be proud of, yet it comes at a price. A price that most of the human society is often unwilling to pay. It is the price of all bigotry, prejudices and barbarian practices. Without sacrificing these primitive tenets of human character, there cannot be any true progress or any true religion. True progress begins with the recognition of your innate evil. Only after recognizing those evil elements of your mind, you can take action towards having a healthy conscientious control over them. It is this control that distinguishes a civilized human, from the primitive cave-people.

As I have said in my book “We Are All Black: A Treatise on Racism”

“Good and evil are both fundamental features of the human mind.”

In a civilized human the good outweighs the evil, whereas in a primitive human, the evil outweighs the good. And one of the most disgraceful and evil tenets of the human mind is today’s so-called religion – i.e. religious orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is the biggest obstacle in the path of peace, progress and wellbeing of the society. Take away religious orthodoxy and all the violence in the name of religion and God shall disappear for good. In the face of rigorous rational arguments, any man or woman who, out of blind faith, consistently keeps saying, his or her dear scripture has all the answers in the universe, is either suffering from delusional disorder or simply an idiot. A creature that does not have the basic mental faculty of reasoning, is not worth the title “human”.

Here one may confuse orthodoxy with traditions. So, I must make it clear, that you should not confuse traditions with orthodoxy. Traditions can be both healthy and harmful. By choosing not to eliminate the traditions that over time tend to become a harmful impediment in the path of progress, one leans towards orthodoxy, that ultimately drives a people back to the stone-age. Various traditions of various cultures throughout the world make the human species filled with colors. But these traditions must keep evolving through adoption of new practices and elimination of the useless ones, based on the needs of the time. Either one evolves or gets extinct – this is the principal law of Mother Nature.

So, here one may wonder, how can we eliminate the evil tradition of religious orthodoxy, and turn religion into a progressive endeavor of the progressive society! It will not happen by engaging yourself in a worthless debate with the intellectual idiots of religious orthodoxy, as you may think. Because those idiots do not have the cognitive capacity to recognize any rational argument against their dear doctrines. The real answer lies in you – or to be specific, your children. The transformation from a primitive, orthodox society into a real civilized society, can only begin with your children. This means, that your children shall determine the fate of the human society. They shall determine whether religious orthodoxy will keep on prevailing throughout the world, or conscience triumphs over all evil. Hence, it is in your hands, to shape their minds to become real civilized humans of a progressive, loving and conscientious world. Teach your children – “there is no religion better than love, no color better than the color of happiness and no language better than the language of compassion” (quote from my memoir “Love, God & Neurons”). Once you do that, rest assured, the world will become free from all sorts of prejudices.

Orthodoxy, bigotry, prejudices – these primitive traits only lead to chaos and destruction of all humanity. Hence, it is your existential responsibility to raise your child as a human being above everything else – catholic, muslim, jew, asian, caucasian or whatever. These human beings shall determine the fate of humanity. Remember, orthodoxy has no place in a world of civilized humans. We are not medieval monsters any more, we are civilized beings, and as such our most priced possession is our rational thinking, not mindless orthodoxy.

No tradition is greater than the mental and physical progress of the human society. However, traditions do indeed add value to the survival of a culture, but they must be scrutinized by each generation of that culture in order to get rid of the useless and harmful elements. Traditions that advocate bigotry, misogyny, racism, and fundamentalism, must be thrown away at ones by the responsible, civilized and conscientious beings of a culture. Then only they shall be qualified to be deemed as humans. Remember, no being is a human unless it elicits a character of courage, conscience, compassion and reasoning.

(Simultaneously Published on Goodreads)

Further Reading

Abhijit Naskar, 2016, Love, God & Neurons: Memoir of a scientist who found himself by getting lost

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, The Education Decree

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, We Are All Black: A Treatise on Gender Equality

How Religion Turns Evil

“The Church has carried out some of the most inhuman and above all un-Christian acts of human history, yet, it is still gloriously hailed by the majority of human population as to be synonymous with Jesus Christ.” – Neurons of Jesus: Mind of A Teacher, Spouse & Thinker

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You have heard countless times from me, that Religion is not a book, it is not an institution, and it is not even a person. True Religion is realization of the self. The Bible, the Quran, the Vedas and all the scriptures in the world are mere inventions of man (not woman) in the pursuit of understanding the self, and to some extent, in the pursuit of authoritarianism. Scriptures from the past have nothing to do with the neurologically created and experienced sensation of divinity and religion. However, all the books which humanity so gloriously worships as sacred, attempt to codify the divinity that is born with the human body and dies with it. This divinity or simply religion is born with the self created by the brain and ceases to exist when the self dies upon the death of the brain.

Religions began as realization of the self, but ended up being retaliation against each other. A handful of individuals in human history, empowered by their own neurons of divinity, experienced something quite extraordinary. They experienced something beyond this mortal world. They experienced being one with an Omnipotent Entity or Abstract Source of Energy. Despite the fact that, these experiences were all taking place exclusively within their own brain, they manifested as extraterrestrial encounters. Hence, the pre-conceived notion of Supreme Entity somewhere up in the sky, got more deep-rooted into the psyche of the ignorant masses.

When a person lacks understanding of the physical universe, and its phenomena, the primordial nature of the mind is to fill in the gaps with all kinds of gibberish concepts that originally come from our primitive days in the wild. And one of these concepts is that, there is a superhuman entity somewhere out there, who keeps an eye on us. That is the most natural knack of the primitive part of the mind. Because here, by believing so, we are psychologically entrusting an imaginary father figure (or mother figure in some religious beliefs, such as the Hindus) with our security and peace of mind. It does act as a placebo effect, but unlike the placebo pills used in our clinical trials, this placebo effect of a father figure or a personal God, has immense biological impact upon all aspects of human life, through the neurobiological substrates of the mind.

In simple terms, when a person believes that a God is truly concerned about the well-being of life on earth, and especially of human life, the belief adorns that person with various positive psychological elements such as emotional stability, in times of distress and a highly functional moral compass. Here this belief has nothing to do with reality whatsoever, rather it serves the evolutionary purpose of self-preservation.

However, if history has shown anything, it is that where there is a God, there is an institution trying to lock up that God in its lifeless structure of orthodoxy, in order to have authority over people and sell tickets to the Kingdom of that God. Thus emerged all the pompous lies about the extraterrestrial Kingdom of God or Heaven. To quote from my book “Neurons of Jesus”

“By infusing Jesus the man with the divine magic – by making him capable of earthly miracles as well as his own resurrection, the early church turned him into a god within the human world. Thus, the church reinforced the monopoly on the so-called route to heaven, i.e. salvation only through Jesus Christ. And during those days, whoever kept the keys to heaven would rule the world. “

This way, religion became politics. It became everything but realization of the self. It became a matter of doctrines, books, hierarchy and superiority of institutions. Hence, today the majority of the human population, perceives religion to be synonymous with certain books. And that is why there are so many conflicts in the name of religion and God in this so-called modern world.

A Christian would ask you to believe in the Bible, to believe that the Bible contains divine irrefutable commands from God. A Muslim would ask you to believe in the Quran, to believe that the Quran contains glorious messages from God or Allah. A Hindu would ask you to believe in the Bhagavad Gita, to believe that the Gita contains answers to all your problems given by God or Brahman. Thus, a religion becomes merely a matter of blind faith upon texts of the dead people. Hence, no religion can maintain a healthy relationship with another for a long time.

To quote from my book “In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience”

“It is not much use to talk about religion, until one has felt what the founding fathers felt. Why is there so much disturbance, so much fighting and quarreling in the name of God? There has been more bloodshed in the name of God than for any other cause. And it is all because people never attempt to reach the fountain-head. They are content only to comply with the customs of their forefathers, and want others to do the same.”

The point is, what the individuals, whom humanity venerates as prophets, experienced was something beyond the laws of their contemporary religious dogma, and as such, all of these individuals were hailed by the religious institutions of their time and society, as heretics. However, their ideas did indeed succeed to influence a bunch of people stuck in obscurity. So these people embraced these individuals as their own personal Gods, and in the mind of those ignorant people, every God must be worshipped with utter obedience. And their way of showing obedience was to concoct laws and rituals to ascertain the divine significance of their personal God in the spiritual patriarchy of religious prophets. Thus, obedience for one divine Teacher, turned into obedience for a God. And in time, it turned into obedience for a set of laws. And quite unexpectedly, one person’s battle against religious orthodoxy or fundamentalism, led to the birth of yet another orthodox circle. This happened at various corners of the world in various circumstances.

In Asia, Buddha, a Hindu, stood up against the orthodox Hindu society, and ended up constructing yet another religion called Buddhism. And on the other side of the world, Jesus, a Jew, stood up against the orthodox Jewish society, and ended up being the personal God of yet another religion called Christianity.

 

(This Article was originally published on Goodreads, under the title “Religion, Prophets & Politics.”)

Further Reading 

Abhijit Naskar, 2016, Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality

Abhijit Naskar, 2016, In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience

Abhijit Naskar, 2017, Neurons of Jesus: Mind of A Teacher, Spouse & Thinker

 

I am Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu & Atheist

People often ask me, what my religion is. My answer to them is, I am a Christian to the Christian, a Jew to the Jew, a Muslim to the Muslim, a Hindu to the Hindu and an Atheist to the Atheist. There is nothing wrong or unscientific or primitive about being a religious person. In fact, we neuroscientists have shown with countless experiments that in daily life, religious rituals such as engaging prayers, aid in sustaining mental as well as physical health. But the problem with religion, in the way it is perceived in today’s world, is that, it is more of a matter of theoretical indoctrination than actual realization of divinity within the self. And that’s where religion becomes dangerous.

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A religious individual may most gloriously carry out his or her own rituals, as a part of his or her cultural identity, but the moment, that person starts to build a wall of separation between the self and the rest of humanity, coaxed by the textual commands of a scripture, the healthy religiousness turns into dangerous fundamentalism, which is a threat to both the self and the society. That is why, I am a relative of both the religious and the atheist portions of the society, but the brightest nightmare to the fundamentalists. Fundamentalism has nothing to do with modern civilization. And indeed, it has nothing to do with religion. And if it does fester in any corner of the world, it is the responsibility of the conscientious people of that society to rise against such barbarianism and uproot it before it grabs onto the psyche of a broader audience.

Religious fundamentalism advocates homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, polygamy and many other primitive evils. Can you imagine, somebody telling you, your love for your dearly beloved is a sin! Can you imagine, somebody telling you, women are inferior to men, and are meant only serve the men! Can you imagine, somebody telling you, a man can have multiple wives, and yet be deemed civilized! Here that somebody is a fundamentalist – a theoretical pest from the stone-age, who somehow managed to survive even amidst all the rise of reasoning and intellect. Such a creature with no modern mental faculty whatsoever, knows nothing beyond the words of a book, written hundreds or thousands of years ago, when ignorance was the default mode of thinking in the society. It does not only believe every single word of a book to be literally true, but puts all its efforts to convince others to believe the same. This way, it would be an understatement to say, such is a worthless creature. In reality, such a creature can cause a catastrophic contagion in a society, especially if that society is already going through socio-political turmoil. In a society, where people most progressively practice rational thinking, no fundamentalist pest can infect their psyche. But if the people are already boiling with rage, then such minds are more vulnerable to fundamentalist contagion. Thus emerge Jihadis or Holy Warriors. Here let me quote from my book “The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance”, to show you, what goes on inside the brain of a holy warrior.

“Inside a jihadi brain, the neuropsychological elements of aggression and rage run rampant, due to socio-political conditions. These overwhelming mental elements of young souls, when attached to the sacred texts of the Quran, by the authoritarian groups of fundamentalists, become weapons of mass destruction in the pursuit of the exclusive supremacy of one religion over the others.”

To get rid of religious terrorism, it is not enough to kill a bunch of Jihadis, even though it may be morally justified to do so, for saving humanity from their wrath. Jihad or Holy war would keep festering one way or another, until religious fundamentalism is eradicated from the human society. Until the whole humanity learns to scrutinize its most revered scriptures with the sharp tool of reasoning, Jihad will keep on striking over the world. If one does not have the basic conscientious capacity to refute the primitive textual verses of the scriptures that demand one to kill or torture another being for holding a different belief system than one’s own, then that entity is no being of the civilized human society. No Quran, no Bible, no Gita, no Cow, is greater than the human self. There shall be hope for harmony and peace in the world, only when fundamentalism is destroyed forever. Harmony is not a luxury, it is an existential necessity of the species. And to achieve it, if a hundred Bibles have to be sacrificed, then be it. But for no Bible, Quran or Gita, can harmony be compromised.

The point is, being a Christian does not mean hating or belittling the non-Christians. Being a Muslim does not mean hating or belittling the non-Muslims. Being an Atheist does not mean hating or belittling the religious people. In a civilized society, diversity in religious orientation should be the reason for celebration, not the cause for hatred and differentiation. Some people like baseball, some soccer and some others like no sports at all. Their psychological orientation with sports doesn’t make them any less or more human. The same is with religious orientation. The true Kingdom of God is within you, and it is defined by your behavior with other people, regardless of their religious affiliation. You are the God of your life, and your divinity lies in your actions. And once you realize this, it will dawn on you that, all religions are mere external echoes of humankind’s internal divinity. Remember, divinity is goodness, and goodness is godliness. There is nothing higher than this. There is no greater religion than this.

 

(Simultaneously published on Goodreads.)

Further Reading

Abhijit Naskar, 2016, In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience
Abhijit Naskar, 2017, The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance

Islam: Religion of Peace or Violence

Islam – is it a religion of peace or of violence? This is a question that torments the entire human society. But just because it is correlated with over-exaggerated discussions and debates, does not mean that the question itself is a genuine one. Let me put it this way – Islam is a religion of course, but neither of peace nor of violence. It is a religion like any other religion, that provides a psychological bedrock of baseline cultural identity and individuality to its people. But it is the actions of these people that should be accounted for to define whether the religion “Islam” is a religion of peace or of violence, instead of judging it based on the scripture Quran. Books are no measure for judgement in the society of thinking humanity. It is the actions of the people that counts, nothing else.

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Here you must remember, the so-called Jihadis who are in reality, mentally unstable individuals run by Quranic fundamentalists, do not represent the whole Muslim population of the world. Muslims are just as peace-loving as the Christians, Hindus, Jews or Buddhists. Terrorism has nothing to do with religion, Islam or otherwise. Terrorism is born of fundamentalism not of religion.

Peace and Violence are both biological traits of humans as well as the entire animal kingdom. And since humans are the only species capable of creating literatures, it should not be surprising that these literatures would have the same blend of peace and violence, or simply, good and evil, that the human character possesses. And these literatures include all the scriptures in the world. As such, they are not immune to the innate evil of the human psyche. In fact, since these scriptures are the product of a time when ignorance and barbarianism ran rampant in the human society, it is more reason, for evil traits to appear on their pages alongside the goodness that they teach.

Like all human literatures the Islamic literature, the Quran and the Hadith, were also human creation. No Allah or God had anything to with them. They arose from the minds of the humans. The Quranic messages were born from the mind of supposedly the man named Mohammed in a state of transcendence. This state of mind is an extraordinary one, with such unique elements that often leave the smartest individuals baffled. And Mohammed was no smart man, like say, Albert Einstein or James Watson. He was an ordinary man of his time, who attained the state of transcendence during his daily prayers in a mountain cave. And in that state of transcendence his mind gave rise to all the revelations, both good and bad, that later collectively became known as the Holy Quran. Hence, it is the reader who must distinguish the good from the bad, if he or she is to remain a genuine part of the civilized society.

Let me bring up an excerpt from my book “The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance” to shed further light on this matter.

“Think of the bloodshed there has been in consequence of some of the Quranic doctrines that literally command to kill the infidels if they do not become Muslims! Think of the textual creeds that teach, a man who does not believe all the teachings of Quran should be killed and it is a mercy to kill him! The one ultimate rule of the Quranic fundamentalists is “there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet”. Everything beyond that not only is bad, but must be destroyed forthwith. At moment’s notice, every man or woman, who does not exactly believe in that, must be killed. Everything that does not belong to this set of ideals must be killed.”

And because of such barbarian actions of the Quranic fundamentalists, many atheists, including my dear friends and colleagues Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris quite naively want to turn every single religious person on earth into an atheist, which by the way, is a great and progressive notion, but I am afraid, it biologically, or to be more specific neurologically, is an impractical idea. Religion itself is a neurological phenomenon which evolved in the human mind to act as an aid in daily life. Which means, Mother Nature selected it as a neuropsychological feature for the humans in the path of survival. Hence, no individual has the power to take such natural trait away from the human mind, unless Natural Selection gives consent. Therefore, it is more practical to make people transform their mindset about religion and religiousness and walk in the path of creed-less religious harmony, than to convert the entire religious population on earth into atheists.

All we need to do, is to turn human actions into a measure of judgement for religions, instead of some old books. Once we successfully do this, eventually we will be able to build a world where the human self shall be the Alpha and the Omega of the society, not a God self of some old books. In fact, the God self depicted in those books, was nothing but the transcendental manifestation of the human self. Which means, the God of humanity is, in actuality, human, or to be more accurate, man himself. Men in different times went into transcendence and quite unintentionally, due to neurological reasons (refer to “Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality”), mistook the messages rising from their own mind as revelations coming from an external divine realm. Thus, all revelations of all scriptures are the creations of the human mind, not of God.

Now tell me, do you still hail those texts as irrefutable? Do you still think that you are ought to follow every single word of those scriptures with a blind eye? Don’t you think that it is the existential responsibility of a civilized human being to measure those texts, as they have such a blinding impact upon the society, with your own rational mind?

Progress of the human society is predicated upon the proper functioning of a key element of the human mind, that is reasoning. Without this mental element we would no longer be a civilized species. And when reasoning runs pure in the heart of the humans, no book has the power to compel them to fight among each other in the name of religion or paradise. Remember, reasoning is the cure for superstitions and bigotry. Once reasoning reigns, love and acceptance become the religion, and hatred and dogmatism become a matter of ancient history.

 

(This Article was originally published on Goodreads.)

Further Reading
Abhijit Naskar, 2016, Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality
Abhijit Naskar, 2016, In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience
Abhijit Naskar, 2017, The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance