Tuesday December 10, 2019
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Fostering a scientific temper – Hard Secularism

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At the time of the Ayodhya crisis, the Indian Left advocated “hard secularism” as the only solution. This would mean outlawing Hindu parties, imprisoning Hindu leaders, and bullets for the Kar Sevaks.  In the past month, the Americans have been trying out this hard secularism in Afghanistan: eliminating Islamic fundamentalism by bombing the already tattered remains of Kabul and Kandahar.

But the results of this approach were not altogether satisfying.  For the short term, the Americans could at least congratulate themselves for having killed this many mothers and maimed that many children.  But even they cannot fail to realize that in the long term, their bombs will prove to be the seeds of more jihad fervor and better-equipped commandos striking at even larger targets than the World Trade Centre.  The destructive religious fire is not quenched with violence.

Therefore, let us explore a different secularist strategy, hard like stainless steel, yet gentle and bloodless.  It must strike at the root of the problem.   Now, crimes have their root in the minds of their perpetrators.  In the case of the attacks on the WTC and the parliament building of Srinagar, these minds were filled with zeal for Islam.  The perpetrators, especially those who sacrificed their own lives in their line of duty, were not evil people.  On the contrary, they were brave and full of devotion to what had been instilled in them as the true religion.

Then what was it that made them cross the threshold from the subjective goodness of their moral feelings to the objective evil of their acts?  The answer is: their mistaken beliefs.  With Socrates, I am convinced that evil ultimately stems from ignorance, from false beliefs.  It is up to us, secularists, to make sure that future generations grow up free from such beliefs, or at least to equip them with the scientific temper that will allow them to identify and weed out wrong ideas.

Recently, an example drilled into the public consciousness was the question of the history schoolbooks, and whether these should inform pupils of the fact that the Vedic seers ritually ate beef.  Should we not rather, in order to spare certain religious sensibilities, misinform them that the taboo on beef existed since all eternity?  Of course not: it is better to let them know that despite the current Hindu taboo on beef, kine were ritually sacrificed (and tasted) according in several Vedic rites. Every secularist will agree with that.

Likewise, all schoolchildren should learn the true story of Mohammed as related in the sources and certified by scholars.  Granted, Mohammed did preach and practice war against the Infidels.  To that extent, the lessons learned by the Taliban in their Madrassas were true enough.  But they should also learn a more problematic truth.

When Mohammed had his first “revelation”, his first vision of the archangel Gabriel, he himself was convinced that this was a morbid hallucination.  Or in the terminology of his day: that he was possessed by an evil spirit.  He even considered committing suicide in order to spare himself the life of a mental patient.  His wife Khadija managed to calm him down, and he got used to the recurring hallucinations, which he interpreted as messages from God to His prophet.  But except for a few followers, his contemporaries saw through his claims of prophet-hood.

A dozen times, the Quran itself mentions in passing the skeptical reactions of the Arabs, who called him “ghost-possessed”, “a madman”, at best “a fanciful poet”.  Later on, they were forced to submit to Mohammed’s military power, but they had understood correctly that Mohammed’s “revealed” utterances were the products of his own brain.  Every Quran reader endowed with the scientific temper can see for himself how the Book contains strictly nothing that indicates a Divine origin, nothing that was beyond the mental horizon of a 7th-century Arab businessman vaguely acquainted with Biblical lore.  So, the belief that Mohammed received Divine revelations laying down the law for all mankind and valid till Doomsday, is a mistake.

The whole division of mankind in the Faithful and the Infidels, division which led to the Partition, to endless riots and to cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, is based on a false belief.  We can spare ourselves these ravages if we instill the scientific temper in ourselves and our children.  Initially, this may encounter resistance, for some people will feel offended in their most cherished certainties.  Yet, experience teaches that before too long, it comes easily.

The Egyptian Nobel-winning author Naguib Mahfouz has testified how in his youth, his countrymen looked upon Islam as quaint folklore, good for elderly people who were soon to take it with them into the grave.  Nobody had forced this skeptical attitude upon them it came naturally as soon as modernity had made it available.  Admittedly, Islamic belief has staged a great comeback since then.  But the clock will swing back, it always does.  Already, many people in the Muslim world voice their doubts, some outspokenly at the risk of their lives, others discreetly.

Speaking for myself, I can say I understand the resistance and the initial pain which Muslims feel when confronted with a reasoned refutation of their beliefs.  At the same time, I also understand and welcome the feeling of liberation which follows the grudging admission that these beliefs are unsustainable, and that the skeptics were right all along.  I have gone through these stages myself when I outgrew the Catholic Christian faith in which I had been brought up.

This was not at all a matter of “hate”, or some such term of abuse with which some will try to criminalize my rejection of Christianity.  I still value Christian art, Christian music, Christian philosophy, and some of the virtues instilled by a Christian upbringing.  Only, I have had to reject the defining core belief of Christianity, simply because it is untrue.  Jesus was a cult leader with a high opinion of himself, but he also preached some of the nobler ideas from Judaism as well as from the ambient Hellenistic philosophies, some even borrowed from Buddhism.  His sayings include lucid observations (“to him who hath, shall be given”), practical wisdom (“give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”) and mystical ideas (“the Kingdom is within you”), apart from wild self-centred claims and outlandish predictions of an imminent Doomsday.  His record was mixed, like that of most men.  But the point is: he was definitely not the Redeemer of mankind from original sin, he was not the Messiah who came to restore David’s kingdom, and he was not God’s only-begotten Son.  The core doctrine of Christianity, like that of Islam, is a mistake.

The new generations of this country should not be kept in the dark.  They should learn about Vedic cow slaughter, about the findings of Bible scholarship, and about the insights of psychology into the process of Quranic “revelation”.  This will contribute mightily to the prevention of religious fanaticism.  Secularists of the world, unite for the critical study of religion in every Madrassa.

Source credit: From the website of Dr Koenraad Elst  http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/fascism/secularism.html

 

 

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Re-Assessing The Classical West: Two Emperors And A Sign

Modern Christian Europe, is largely not confounded by the presence of a rich classical history, existing simultaneously with Christianity

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Paganism
Paganism is no longer a fringe cult in Europe. It has returned full force, to challenge the notions of its Judeo-Christian usurpers.

 

Ms Tania Bhattacharya
Ms Tania Bhattacharya.

BY TANIA BHATTACHARYA

Following the process of Christianization, Europe underwent a period generally regarded as its dark age. It was a time, when the collective knowledge of its ancients, be it in the Mediterranean, or further north, among the Celtic Druids, who had ushered in Europe’s earliest classical civilization of Stonehenge; was retreating in the face of advancing religious indoctrination. Unlike its polytheistic predecessor though, which had encouraged the spirit of inquiry, the new faith placed utmost importance on dogma, and its propaganda, in the process snuffing out much of what Paganism had bestowed upon Europe; referring to its Arts, Sciences, and the Athletics.

Modern Christian Europe, is largely not confounded by the presence of a rich classical history, existing simultaneously with Christianity, an evangelizing religious path, that had looked askance at the very classicism that today, Europeans have embraced as their own. So, while British schoolchildren sing defiantly in praise of their national icon, the first century Queen Boudicca, a Pagan Celtic heroine who had valiantly fought off the Roman legions on the island; they feel no dichotomy in extending the same goodwill to King Wenceslas, a Christian Slavic monarch, who had been assassinated due to a collusion between his Pagan mother Drahomira, and younger brother Prince Boleslas, both of whom had refused to abandon the polytheism of their forefathers. 

When the sun of the western classical era was on its descent, with Judeo-Christianity gradually wearing it down, some fundamental changes were made to the collective psyche of the hitherto polytheistic Europeans. Those negative changes have held strong right up to the present times. Perfectly good and decent historical personages from the pagan past have been reviled, and been turned into despicable figures, simply by affecting a string of historical falsifications. In this article, I shall address three such incidents.

EMPEROR RAMSES II

Among a long list of pharaohs, a few of them women, that ruled over Upper and Lower Egypt, till the region was conquered by the Romans, the name of Ramses the Second, is a stand-alone exemplar. He was born and raised in the Egypt of the nineteenth dynasty of kings, in the era of the thirteenth century before the first. In recent times, the classical heritage of that country has come under attack from Islamic hardliners including Mohammad Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. It seems as if only the secular, and authoritarian dictators of Egypt, have the good intention of maintaining intact, and renovating, the ancient wealth of their ancestors. 

Mummy
The mummy of Emperor Ramses II, aged 90, in 1213 BCE. Cairo Museum.

Even though structurally apart, there are many parallels which can be drawn between the Kemetic pagan religion of Egypt; and India’s Vedic Hinduism. Simple folk are more likely to grasp this glaring truth, as opposed to scholars, who are too busy etching out the chasm between cultures, and as a result, eventually missing the forest, for the trees. 

Sergey Glazenap, a prominent Soviet astrophysicist, made a note about Indians during the First World War. He observed, that when the Indian soldiers – then fighting on the side of Britain – were returning back home after the cessation of hostilities, they had to pass through Egypt. Glazenap writes, that the simpletons, once they had chanced upon the reliefs of the Egyptian deities, had immediately fallen on their knees, praying to them, saying, that those gods were the same as the ones they were accustomed to worshipping in India.

The above is a historical incident and a reminder, of the common thread which runs through all Polytheism. Separated through time and space that these religions are, they are nevertheless of equal respect to fellow worshippers within the Pagan sphere of life. It therefore would make sense, if the ordinary Hindu took an interest in the history and ancient ethos of global paganism, but unfortunately that has never been the case. It appears, that the average Hindu, is too cozy, wrapped up in the nuances of their own faith, to explore those that belong to fellow pagan communities.

Ramses the Second was the only known Egyptian ruler, who could extend the borders of ancient Egypt, maintain peace and stability; and mend relations with his neighbouring Hittites. The latter are the progenitors of Vedic Hinduism. Asia Minor’s Hittites have been West Asia’s most significant homegrown monarchy, that practised an indigenous religion.

Ramses the Second’s name was destined to remain untainted, that is, until it became intertwined with that of a famous religious philosopher, who was supposedly a contemporary. The person being referred to, is the Messiah of the Jews, Moses. For millennia, Jews and Christians have claimed, that Moses and his followers were expelled from Egypt by Ramses the Second, after the former had endured many calumnies and injustices at the hands of the latter. Following the expulsion, it is supposed, that Moses and his people, then wandered the deserts forty days and forty nights. 

Modern archaeology has unearthed some revealing facts about the aforementioned folklore. To begin with, there were next to no Jews that were residing in the Egypt of Pharaoh Ramses. It is now known, that the myth of the Jewish exodus, was given its final contours around the fourth century BCE, after taking inspiration from facets of Judaic legends, that had been in place thirty three hundred years ago. The motive for the myth-making, seems to be political, an effort that was made with an eye to uniting the Jewish people into a monolithic force. Moreover, the forty days and nights of wandering in the Sinai desert, have been disproven completely. Presumably, the same desert was used by many communities as land routes, in the intervening period of time, so for Judeo-Christian religious pundits to claim, that the exodus is a historical fact, based on certain ancient bone fragments found in the desert, is not only fallacious, but displays a degree of mischievousness. 

Ralph Lewis MD, author of Finding Purpose In A Godless World, himself an author, and a contributor to Psychology Today, has painstakingly disproven the circumstances involved in the story of Exodus. He is one among a growing number of rationalists, who have come forward armed with historical titbits, that rubbishes all the claims made by Judeo-Christian theologists concerning Exodus.

The sufferer in the end, however, has been none other, than the pristine image of Pharaoh Ramses the Second, that has been soiled for millennia together. What an incredible tale of character assassination! The poor ruler’s reputation deserves a thorough cleansing! Over the past few centuries, many Egyptians as well as other Arabs, have been complaining about what the Judeo-Christian West, had done to their beloved emperor of bygone times.

EMPEROR JULIAN…THE GREAT

The most important figure in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, is not Charlemagne, as mistakenly imagined, but the first ever Roman emperor, who had not only converted to Christianity, but who had made it his official state religion, and punished Paganism, by making its public worship, illegal, throughout the length and breadth of Europe, as also within Rome’s colonies in West Asia and North Africa. This king had been Constantine. History, always perceived in the west, through Jesus rimmed glasses, has bestowed upon him the epithet of ‘The Great’, in a gesture of gratitude. 

Emperor Julian
A bronze statue of Constantine, at York Minster, England.

The decision was made in haste it seems, for not only was Constantine a demonic personality, who went out of his way to remove the last vestiges of Roman Polytheism from its natural homeland; he found no contrariety in retaining the pagan honorific of Pontifex Maximus, or the Chief Priest of Rome, complete with a coronation ceremony that was held annually, by placing a helmet fashioned after the sun god Sol Invictus, upon the head of the emperor. 

It seems to be the case, that political expediency was the chief worry of Constantine. As John Canning mentions in ‘100 Great Lives’, Constantine could not afford alienating the multitudes of Romans including his own elite, Praetorian Guards, who were still polytheistic to the hilt. Those same political persuasions had made him concoct a story about seeing a flaming cross in the sky, inscribed with the words ‘By THIS, Conqueror!’ which he had then interpreted as a command from the almighty, instructing him to embrace the new faith. No one would be inclined to believe such poppycock in our present day and age, but seventeen hundred years ago, such stuff was taken seriously. It is altogether a different matter, that Constantine ‘the great’ had embarked soon, on a campaign of liquidation; having his own wife and son, murdered; and excommunicating the Arian sect of nascent Christianity. He truly converted to Christianity only on his deathbed, allowing himself the liberty to kill, imprison, torture, and expel at will, during his ambiguous phase. His new religion had promised him a clear track to heaven, for which all he had to do, was to ask to be forgiven of his lifetime of sins, and undergo a final baptism. The whole scenario, is enough to churn the stomach of the modern legal system.

A few generations into the line of Constantine’s household, a male child was born, who was named Julian. Tutored in the purple to become a general and a king, and an emerging man of letters, Julian took the throne as emperor of Rome, in the middle of the fourth century AD. This particular ruler of Rome, was a complete antithesis of his earlier, blood ancestor, Constantine ‘the great’, and perhaps remains the most significant Caesar to have been instated, after Augustus, and Augustus’ grand-uncle Julius, in the first century. 

Julian
A 4th century marble statue of Emperor Julian, housed at the Musee de Cluny.

Julian was a figure of depth and consistency of character. He married only once, and remained loyal to his wife till the time that she died during childbirth. Contemporary historians, and multiple sources at that, testify that Julian had been a virgin, and a complete celibate till his wedding, and that following his status as a widower, never took interest in women in a romantic sense, even though he was of marriageable age. This tall figure of Roman history, made a mark upon its annals, by emerging as a writer, a philosopher, a general, and a ruler, all at once. Displaying a tenderness toward the Jewish population that had sought refuge during his tenure, he was immortalized by them as ‘Julian, the Hellene’. It can be considered the misfortune of Rome and its people, that Emperor Julian was assassinated while fighting against the Persians, one of the mortal enemies of ancient Rome, akin to Carthage, once upon a time. 

If one contrasts the two figures of Roman history, namely, Constantine and Julian, it is not difficult to determine just who trumps the other over every aspect of creativity, humanism, and progress. Yet, it is remarkable, that Julian has gone down in history, not simply as ‘Emperor Julian’, but as ‘Julian the Apostate’. His crime? Julian was an avowed polytheist. Despite having been reared as a Christian, he had renounced the religion in his early youth, and sought to return Rome, to its ancestral, native, system of beliefs. He might very well have achieved it, had he lived out his entire lifetime. This, and this alone, earned him the downright derogatory epithet of ‘Apostate’. 

Any person with an iota of judiciousness can see for themselves, just who among the two notable characters of a post-Christian Rome, deserved to be denigrated. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched for the champions of secularism to demand, that Constantine be stripped of his honorific, and Julian be adorned with one. It wouldn’t be too much to ask for, if Constantine ‘the great’ were to be reduced to a mere ‘Emperor Constantine’; and Julian ‘the apostate’, were to be elevated to ‘Julian, the Great’.

THE SWASTIKA

The symbol of the swastika, denotes the cycle of reincarnation. According to the theory of the transmigration of souls, a soul particle – a very small physical particle corresponding to the ‘quark’ of Physics – must pass through the animate world by incarnating into every type of life form from the simplest (plankton, for example) to the most complex (humans), in order to understand and empathize with all living conditions experienced by each singular organism. Once the knowledge and empathy is complete, the soul particle can escape mortality and rise to the plane of immortals. Reincarnation was an idea implicit in all the ancient belief systems of the world which looked upon it as a given truth. 

The latent symbolism of the Swastika holds, that a person may wander off from the centre – which symbolizes the origin of all truth – in any of the four directions. However, the good news is, that he or she, will never fall off the arms of the swastika. He or she will ultimately always find one’s way back, to the centre. The wanderings of an individual constitute the duration of his or her, innumerable lifetimes on earth. The centre of the swastika, is an allegory for salvation from the mortal world.

Swastika
A 6th century BCE Greek vase, adorned with swastikas.
Swastika
An Iranian necklace, three thousand years old, with swastikas hanging from it.


This beautiful symbol ought to be rescued from the negative imagery that has been forced upon it, by the Anglo-American-Zionists on the one hand and the Communists-Islamists on the other, who continue to connect it with Nazism and Fascism.

Swastika
A Navajo, Native American rug, with swastika designs on it.
Navajo
This Navajo chief, is wearing a swastika headdress.

It is about time, that the swastika was revamped and given its due place in the scheme of things. It is an eternal and holy symbol, which has been recognized over all races and in all parts of the world. The symbol