Religions Of The World:
Religion is the biggest of all the social institutions that humans vehemently support all over the world. All the religions of the world enjoy a great mass following of believers behind them. These believers put their faith in God and in the specific ways their religions preach them to worship Him.
Then there is a significant minority of atheists who believe there is no God, and hence they do not follow any religion.
“Accurate demographics of atheism are difficult to obtain since conceptions of atheism vary across different cultures. Nonetheless, various studies have concluded that self-identified atheists comprise anywhere from 2% to 13% of the world’s population, whereas people without a religion comprise anywhere from 10% to 22% of the world’s population.“
The third still smaller minority in the row comprises agnostics who neither believe nor disbelieve since they share the opinion that there is no way to know if God is there or not. In a way, they are beyond the very faculty of the entity called belief (disbelief is also a belief albeit a negative one!). And since they are beyond belief, they are beyond any faith in any religion as well.
“Agnosticism is the philosophical view that the existence of God or the supernatural is unknown and unknowable.“
How Intolerant Are All Religions Of The World:
In general, all these different religions of the world are quite intolerant to one another. Though their followers do make professional and limited social relations with one another, they try their best not to make matrimonial relationships with those from another religion.
This intolerance has acquired a threatening dimension in some parts of the world, at times resulting in riots and other kinds of violence by their followers against one another. Millions of people have been killed in these acts of violence all over the planet since times immemorial.
Religions Of The World Vs Atheism Vs Agnosticism:
All theists belonging to all religions of the world can never unite as any single one of them is intolerant to all the rest whereas all atheists share a common platform among them. And when it comes to taking sides, even agnostics stand with atheists rather than standing with theists anywhere. It is because they both share a common platform that both of them do not follow any religion.
But there is one thing common among all theists that they hate atheists (as well as agnostics) more than they hate one another. Though they do not make intimate relationships with the followers of other religions, they never criticize them for having their faith as different from theirs. But all religions of the world do tend to criticize those (atheists and agnostics alike) who do not have any faith in any religion.
Why? What makes them do so?
Perhaps they feel intimidated in their practice of having faith (whichever faith it may be) by those who do not have one. They feel they are being challenged for their rationality of having their faith by the ones who do not have one simply by not having one!
It is all very amusing!
All religions of the world are more intolerant to no region than any other religion.
Lately we have been seeing an increased amount of violence against rationalists (both, atheists and agnostics) not having faith by those who are dogmatic in their faith whatever that faith may be!
At some level the seeds of this intolerance had always been there.
My Personal Story Of 45 Years Ago:
I remember an incident when I faced my first interview for a government job after I finished my college around 45 years ago. The level of intolerance those days was nowhere near what it is being seen like these days now.
The interview was for a lone coveted post of a scientific officer for which more than 180 applicants had appeared. The interview board comprised 4 interviewers including a deputy director from the department where the post had fallen vacant.
Since all the applicants were to be interviewed in one single day, each one of the applicants was being interviewed for maximum 3-4 minutes.
As my turn came, I entered the interview hall.
As I wished them all, I was offered a seat.
The chairman of the interview board was the deputy director from the department in which the post was scheduled to be filled. He was deeply staring at my application form that I had posted them before.
A few seconds passed in silence and then the chairman broke it with his somewhat angry voice.
“What is it that you have written in the column of religion reading N.A.?”
“That means ‘not applicable’, sir.” I replied casually.
Chairman Turns Angry:
His voice went angrier this time, “Don’t teach us that. We know what N.A. stands for. How come it is not applicable to you?”
“It’s simply because I don’t have faith in any religion!” I said as a matter of fact.
“How is that possible?” He was not only sounding angry now but also irritated and astonished, together.
I just came out with what came to my mind the very first, “Why? Aren’t you seeing it in front of your eyes?”
“Unluckily yes, I do!” The chairman started sounding like seeking vengeance now.
Other Three Members Of The Interview Board:
The other three members were keeping quiet. Might be that they didn’t feel like taking part in the discussion which kept getting flared up more and more with every new question of his and every new answer back from me.
Time flew on wings and we just didn’t realize when almost 15 minutes had already passed, and this for an interview that had been allotted 3-4 minutes of time maximum. And on top of it, I hadn’t been asked any technical question yet!
Chairman Plays A Trick:
As the chairman realized it, he immediately posed an extremely simple technical question giving everyone there including me an impression that the way I was, I wouldn’t even know the answer to that simple a question.
The question was, “Can you draw an adder circuit?”
“Do you mean right now? It isn’t there in my mind.” I could see the lines of happiness and ridicule on the chairman’s face.
“You don’t even have such a simple thing in your mind and you want to be a scientific officer?” He thought he shouldn’t miss this golden opportunity of showing me, a non believer, down.
Challenger Gets Challenged:
“I don’t think I should always keep my mind burdened with things like that.” My words came as a new shock to the chairman.
“What’ll you do if you need it during you work?” He challenged.
“I will deduce it then and there from the basic principles.” He had never expected this answer from me.
“How much time will you waste doing that?” He put another challenge in front of me.
“Say, 20 seconds! You can’t call such a short gap as wasting time I think.” I challenged him back.
The Real Challenge Posed:
He hurriedly pushed a paper and a pen toward me and gave me a real challenge, “Okay, here is your paper and here is your pen. Draw it within 20 seconds now.” He kept looking at his watch.
I immediately started solving my equations and came up with the diagram drawn on the paper even before the second’s hand had ticked 15 times in all. I pushed the paper back to him saying, “Here it is, sir.”
He kept looking at it in disbelief. I looked at other interviewers and saw they were smiling.
The Challenge Boomeranged:
There was again an uneasy silence for about more than 10 seconds in the hall. And finally I heard the chairman’s voice of disapproval saying, “Okay, your interview is over. You may leave now.”
As I wished them all before leaving the hall and turned back to move, I heard the chairman saying, “God bless you!”
I was almost sure by this time that he was actually meaning, “… because no one else can!”
My interview had taken 18 minutes in all.
I Get Selected:
In about a month, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I received intimation from the government that I had been selected for the post and I was supposed to join my duties within a week.
I completed all the formalities and joined as a scientific officer where our chairman of the interview was occupying a high post of deputy director in the department. I could always see in him an expression of ignoring me whenever we came face to face in the process of work or otherwise.
It so happened by chance in a few days that I by chance developed a very amicable relationship with another deputy director in the same department. Despite my being a junior officer, he would often call me to his office for a cup of tea together.
The Secret Revealed:
During such a friendly tea-session, he came up with a revelation once, “Do you know how you were selected for this post?”
“I appeared for an interview and got selected though I never hoped for.” I said.
“No, the story goes a bit deeper than that. Yes, you were selected in the interview because you had got the highest marks.” He revealed.
“It must have been so! But I had never expected the chairman would rank me so high.” I retorted.
The Story Goes Real Interesting Here:
“He didn’t. He is a staunch religious man. How would he do this to an agnostic like you? He gave you zero out of his allocation of 50 marks.” He was smiling.
“So how come I got selected?” I was astonished.
“Because the rest three of them gave you the maximum, 50 marks each.” He said and started laughing aloud.
I joined my laughter to his too.
The story ends here, but it tells us that all the religions of the world take you as a serious threat in case they find you are a non believer and would droop down to any extent in order to ward off the threat that you in their eyes are!
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