I can’t recollect how I lost my faith in God but as far as I recall, I never had one since my parent didn’t force me to think of God and fairly tale of religion. They forced me to study hard so that I could survive well for my future.
But I am watching my son growing up without faith. I never told him about non-existence of God. Rather we live in a catholic neighborhood infested with God loving neighbors and he does go to temple twice a month for Indian culture class. He never read any atheist literature. He is only seven- too young to understand atheism! But for last two years, he is telling me, he is quite sure of God as a make-belief story because God is more akin to Spider man and Superman. Indeed, one day he told me why so many people believe in God when God does not exist!! It was difficult for me to explain him the evolution of God with human civilization and history. Therefore I told him to recollect how many of his friends believe in spider man ? He agreed it must be a large number and he understood myth does play a strong role on human mind. I am quite confirmed, all children are born atheist but society and their parent force them to be theist. Fear of God is cultivated in young mind by their family. You do not force them or teach them to be afraid of God, and all children by default will be atheist. You do not need to teach them to be atheist. They will be so by their own rational, common sense and realization. Atheism, therefore is the most natural unperturbed state of human faith. Theism on the other hand is a cultivated state of human mind which is forced upon by the family, politics and society.
Lack of belief can make you an outcast in the theist society.My son too is facing problem in the neighborhood. Neighborhood kids are from devout catholic families. His loss of faith in God already made him slightly isolated and being subject to ridicule by his friends. But he learned to ignore. As such, I never faced issues with my atheism as Indian philosophy has place for all kinds of people. Indeed all the major philosophical branches of Indian philosophy are atheist in nature. Indian philosophy has the foundation where atheists and theists can live in peace and harmony. Besides, most of the scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs with whom I work, are atheists. Atheists are majority among accomplished citizens of US. Therefore, it is difficult for me to realize and understand state repression faced by the atheists in a Muslim country where they are viewed as an alien.
Monotheist religions like Jews, Christians and Islams leave no space for atheism. Atheists were not treated kindly in their holy text and in the due course of their religious history. Therefore in an Islamic country like Bangaldesh, proclaiming to be an atheist can be dangerous. You can be jailed or imprisoned for losing faith in God!
Yes, you heard it right. In Islamic country you can rape women, kill men of other religion in the name of Allah and instead of being punished, you will be patronized just because you claimed yourself to be a fighter or Jihadi of your religion. This is the continued story of Bangladesh and Pakistan. Your religion and faith brings your supreme justification in the society. It does not matter whether you are an accomplished doctor or engineer or a writer. If you do not comply as a good Muslim– in the most of the Islamic countries, you can be discriminated, bullied and worse, can be languished in prisons like atheist bloggers of Bangladesh.
Yes, civil societies in the most of the Muslim countries didn’t progress at all-they have equivocally given in fearing criminal persecution and death. Questioning existence of God can be seen as blasphemy and therefore in Pakistan you can be stoned to death as punishment of blasphemy. In Bangladesh, which was a more moderate and tolerant country, blasphemy law is not well defined but now an union of Islamic groups is demanding death for blasphemy as mandated by Sharia law of Islam!
So what is the reality in an Islamic country like Bangladesh? A quick review may make you laugh but even that can be construed as “hurting religious feeling”
– Most of the Muslim criminals, rapist, thieves in the world are named Muhammad. Because Muslims love to name their son after their prophet. This does not denigrate or insult their prophet. But if a cartoonist draws a cat naming Muhammad he will be in Jail!!
– All business and politics must have their allegiance and loyalty to Islam. Recently there was a Bank called “Bismillah Bank” ( Bank of Allah) in Bangladesh which looted nearly $120M of poor people. This is not blasphemy in Bangladesh. This is not insult to their God!
– Bangladesh and Pakistan constantly ranked topmost position in corruption. Islam as a religion strictly opposes corruption and dishonesty. The religion of Islam also advises to live like a poor to remain less greedy and honest. These are good and valuable teaching of Islam to mankind. But “Islamism” or adherent of Islamic thoughts have been used by all the political parties of Bangladesh to loot the country and its people further. Islam didn’t reduce their greed of great loot.
Then what purpose did Islam serve to the people of Bangaldesh when none of them accepted the core message of Islam and almost everyone of them is using Islam for meeting their political and material greed? These bloggers of Bangladesh, specially Asif was raising this question. It was clearly uncomfortable for the ruling class of Bangladesh and therefore, they dumped him in prison!
Islam or any religion is a political decoy for the ruling class. Although all religions, including Islam was born as a revolution against existing corrupt ruling class, in the end, it is now a tool for the ruling class to deprive the common people of their political and material right. Bloggers of Bangladesh started raising these uncomfortable questions for their ruling class. Therefore, ruling class replied with their police power by cracking down on them.
Yes, that is the real situation in Bangladesh. You can open a Bank like ” BisMillah Bank ” ( Bank of Allah) and perhaps a Bismillah brand POT-Nobody will mind. As long as you add word like Bismillah, ummah you are in good book even if you continue to be corrupt. But questioning this corruption in the name of Allha is blasphemy in Bangladesh and be aware, Govt wants to see you in prison!
It is impossible for any country to make progress without freedom of speech and religion. Only a critical society makes progress. Other society can be a corrupt follower at the best in the absence of freedom.