People do perceive me as someone who's open to a lot of ideas, a lot of fun, and heck loads of nonsense. None of which is untrue. I like the more-than-usual jabber. I love talking about stuff, more than any physical activity. I could talk for hours. Hell, I do.
But something yesterday made me realised how many things I WASN'T comfortable discussing. With anyone.
One of them stands out.
My religious perspective- Or the lack of it. I am not comfortable discussing religion. The stories in it, yes. But just as the usual fellow gets slightly squirmy the moment someone mentions to him that I am an atheist (by birth and by choice), I feel like an oddity when someone enunciates the converse. Someone I barely know, but have come to be extremely fond of, for the first time observed my reaction to keeping an idol of a deity in the fest lab. I really have no idea of how he came about it(unless he's been told previously of course, but I highly doubt that because of the tone he said what he did in), but he looked at me for a second and asked, "You don't believe in God, do you?". Now that's a first, someone observing it. Others have to be told. Kudos to his observation.
My first reaction to that, was "No, I don't" followed almost immediately by "No offense, though". I wonder why I did that. Was I seeking to stop the subject because it'd have made the others uncomfortable, sitting in a room with someone who has a radical viewpoint about something, or was it because I'd feel terribly up-close and exposed by talking about something that's such a personal choice?
I do believe it was the latter.
I'm an objective person- I don't know what makes me that confident, but I am. Almost Nomadic- with opinion, friends, incidents. I move on really fast. So it is very necessary for me to have a clean slate every next hour, every next conversation. Religion stagnates my thoughts. I cannot deny that sometimes, and as pseudo-Ruskin-Bond that it sounds, when I am looking closely as a peacock's feather, or the circle symmetry of multipetalled flowers, that I wonder of a mind greather than nature has gone into its making. But at the same time, it is the force of the waters, the pull of gravity and the vastness of the planets that makes me remember how strong our sciences are. How beautiful the world is, how old it is, and how little credit we give nature for being the way it is.
I also look at religion as something man has created to cover up his faults. His shortcomings and his inability to be as spontaneous as nature and science has forced him to say, "Tough luck" or "It was never meant to be" or "if He didn't wish it, it wouldn't happen". That's my perception, and I think discussing it, or debating over it anywhere, on this site or any other, even face to face, is as offensive as challenging your beliefs (if you're religious). I don't like to be proved wrong, no one does. And this is a topic that is a little closer than you'd believe it to be, even if I'm so blatant about it. It's my idea of faith, not asking someone else to be in control of our lives, or expecting someone else to take charge of it, or even thanking someone else for what it is- but to keep trying, keep believing that the power that rests in the human mind and body is humungous enough to push us through the million years that we've been around in different forms. Often you'll find me staring down at my hands- that's when I'm either trying to muster the courage to do something I think needs my mind to gather all its faculties in, or I've just realised that I've accomplished a task that any person would've done less dedicatedly. It's an overwhelming feeling, knowing how you can create beauty.
Evolution fascinates me. Because it has reason. Of all the religion that I have heard, what only makes sense is the inferences and conclusions. Well, I'd suggest let us all follow them as laws, rules, mores- all of those. Ethics, even. But clubbing people together and claiming that my set of beliefs supercedes yours- it's sometimes as silly as street gang wars. Be nice to everyone, earn your money and name, have great holidays, do what you love, die in peace. What's anyone else got to do with it?
I have a lot of people saying, "but there are so many things science can't answer for us" in argument of my atheism and my support of science in the place of religion. As much as they have ground, I have nothing more to say to then than- your religion has been around a good thousand years- since there has been man, there has been religion. How long has science been around? How many things in the span of decades has it proved to be a matter of physics, and not of some unknown, intergalaxial force?
Something from Dan Brown's Angels & Demons just struck me- how the Chamberlain speaks of science. He talks of how we've broken down every incident to a piece of physics and now the number of things that have been so beautiful and jaw-dropping for so many years have been reduced to experiments in a science lab by the theorem that man pins it down with. In argument, I'd say that man needs to know. With every such experiment has come the realisation of how ignorant we really are. It sparks the scientist (the reasoners and the observers, not just the lab-coat-donning nerds) to believe more that nature has so much in store that no matter how far he goes, he's still an infiniti of knowledge from knowing everything.
It just struck me how hollow the theorem of religion, each claiming to be right, must be- if they're all different. We're living on the same planet, in the same country, breathing the same air. So if your God made this world one way, and someone else's the other, who gave in? Who wasn't powerful enough to stand out? Or maybe they coexisted as part of the same divine social circle.
I do find the topic of religion interesting, by the way- so long as it is not focussed on why I'm not keen on being in the group. I think the stories and the characters are etched so finely, like trying to be ideal characters in their own fashion. I'd suggest you watch the movie Raavan, with Bachchan Jr and the Mrs. No entertainment per se, but there's a strong perspective challenge it offers that makes you think, what if? I like stories, I like characters and I like the circumstances they find themselves in. I just don't find them perfect and believable if you tell me one walked on water and the other's head was chopped off, only to be replaced very successfully by an elephant's. As a child encouraged to be curious, my reaction for each of these was the 3-year old's version of "What the f**k?" I really do not know any Islamic stories, so I won't bring that up.
My mother made me recite complex Sanskrit verses as a kid. I do have some idea of Ramdas's Manaache Shlok as well. But that, she'd done to get my pronunciation right. I feel like I'm explaining myself here, which I hardly do, but it was more of a kindergarten lesson for me to not stumble over long-lettered words than any knowledge about religion.
I sometimes feel that people have a strange outlook about religion. In any scenario, when you're walking in a crowd, let's say, you come across a man with a long beard and a skull cap, you do a mental double-take and register- Okay, Islamic. Alright, their religion has a certain protocol that makes them physically stand out that way. But how many times do we go 'Okay, Hindu' when we're in the same crowd surrounded by people without the skull cap?
When I look at a person, I want to be able to think, 'Okay, moustached dude passed by me' or 'Okay, lady in nice top to the left'. It's blatant discrimination in our heads that we hypocritically refuse to accept we make. Alright, granted that some names have a very strong religious ring to them. But that's their significance. Very different from meaning. Why should that make it any different? Gulzar, Padma and Gloria are girls. But it comes easily for us to say- Muslim girl, Hindu girl and Christian girl.
Again, you may or may not agree. Perspective, I say.
Religion may have united people in thought, but I do believe it has distanced the world from being truly human. We're just mankind, after that.