Puja in the office: Hindu privilege in action
#25
(26-Oct-2010, 02:39 PM)Ajita Kamal Wrote:
(26-Oct-2010, 12:02 PM)shrihara Wrote: I work in an IT company in Bangalore and "secret santa" was arranged here as well. There was no compulson but I had participated in it last year. I didnt think it as a religious belief but rather as an activity for fun.

The point to keep in mind here is that this is what you think. Others, I for instance, don't think so. I choose to see it as a silly ritual associated with a terrible ideology and tainted from the start. There is a very well-developed body of criticism of such religious social rituals, and much of it is positive, concerned with building up secular alternatives that celebrate reason. But I won't go into that here. The point is this is about choice, and in my case (and in the experience that 'unsorted' had in his office) there wasn't any possibility of choice. This is because an office is a place where social relationships are very important and have tremendous impact on one's success, often even more so than merit. People are in a trapped situation, often having to work with other people not of their choosing. And often there is a power structure involved in determining office relationships. Such office relationships are affected greatly by value systems, and religious belief is one important marker for value. Such religious beliefs must remain private. The very act of holding a religious ritual in an office setting makes it an abuse of my rights.

Quote:I feel that there is nothing wrong to participate in activities like "secret santa" or "ethnic day" or accepting prasadam. When theists are all happy and celebrating in festive mood, if we refuse to be a part of it, they start to think that atheists are pessimists having sad life. That's the worst part in these events and its better to avoid it.

If this is how you feel, then by all means go and be nice. There are plenty of those who feel the way you do, and most of them do not even self-identify as atheists. But simply because theists think "that atheists are pessimists having sad life", doesn't mean I have to give a fuck about their superstitious rituals. I think that participating in such social rituals legitimizes religion and prevents us from realizing meaningful social celebrations based on a naturalistic and scientific understanding of reality.

It comes down to a simple idea. Any religious ceremony must be a private affair, not to be flaunted in a setting such as an office where people are forced to participate or be shunned.
Yes, One has the RIGHT, CAPACITY & POWER to choose but NO RIGHT, CAPACITY & POWER to REJECT anything in this world. The only CHOICE is to accept the world in TWO ways, that is ACCEPT GLADLY or ACCEPT GRUMBLING. When you try to REJECT anything it is engraved in the memory for ever and back again and again whenever you see / hear anything of the same, disturbing ONLY YOU , which you never wants.
The other thing came to me is that by identifying yourself as ATHEIST you are putting up an adjective to distinguish yourself from the same species as something different. This creates a distance and enmity (Enmity is a harsh word no doubt) between society in general and individuals in particular.
As a free thinker, even this is an adjective, in spirit I mean, (intangible) I am getting courage to accept everything including my wife.(Laughingly)
Thanks and regards
Vasudev Nair
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#26
(12-Jun-2011, 08:54 AM)Vasudev Nair Wrote: Yes, One has the RIGHT, CAPACITY & POWER to choose but NO RIGHT, CAPACITY & POWER to REJECT anything in this world. The only CHOICE is to accept the world in TWO ways, that is ACCEPT GLADLY or ACCEPT GRUMBLING.

I'm not quite sure what you are trying to imply here. I do have the right to reject anything and not be part of a ritual. If one asks me to light a diya I would gladly do so but that does not mean I should also be forced to pray or worship their oh-so-precious Gods. Personifying the beauty of knowledge as Saraswati is not my concern (in fact, I would love that) but worshiping it as a holy deity is.

(12-Jun-2011, 08:54 AM)Vasudev Nair Wrote: The other thing came to me is that by identifying yourself as ATHEIST you are putting up an adjective to distinguish yourself from the same species as something different. This creates a distance and enmity (Enmity is a harsh word no doubt) between society in general and individuals in particular.

While I can't speak for other atheists around here, I rarely use the term "Atheist" or "Atheism" when posed with question about my religious beliefs but it is used to describe the anomaly in a society where everyone has belief. My answer starts with "None" and it often ends up with a heated debate about my morality, principles, and the universe; something most people can get away with a label of either religion or spirituality.

Religion demands segregation of people within and outside their small little bubble of bliss. Unlike the enlightened souls of Buddhism, the infallible Gurus and Swamis of Hinduism, Imams and Mullahs of Islam, Pope and super-duper Cardinals of Christianity, I claim no divine approbation of my opinions from a higher authority. The "distance" between societies and individuals is inevitable as long as we are capable of forming our own thoughts. I cannot perpetuate intellectual dishonesty and irrationality just so that I can join their club.
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#27
(12-Jun-2011, 08:54 AM)Vasudev Nair Wrote: Yes, One has the RIGHT, CAPACITY & POWER to choose but NO RIGHT, CAPACITY & POWER to REJECT anything in this world. The only CHOICE is to accept the world in TWO ways, that is ACCEPT GLADLY or ACCEPT GRUMBLING. When you try to REJECT anything it is engraved in the memory for ever and back again and again whenever you see / hear anything of the same, disturbing ONLY YOU , which you never wants.
The other thing came to me is that by identifying yourself as ATHEIST you are putting up an adjective to distinguish yourself from the same species as something different. This creates a distance and enmity (Enmity is a harsh word no doubt) between society in general and individuals in particular.
As a free thinker, even this is an adjective, in spirit I mean, (intangible) I am getting courage to accept everything including my wife.(Laughingly)
Thanks and regards
Vasudev Nair

Vasudevji,

Allow me to state a different stance on one's right to accept or reject a claim or ideology, and allow me to list some historical instances where people were compelled by their conscience to reject. Gandhi and Nehru rejected imperialism. Mandela and Rosa Parks rejected apartheid and segregation.

Here, we accept an artist's right to handle themes of his or her choice with no intended harm, and we reject the right of zealots to impose censorship via violence with obvious malicious intent.

We accept a couple's right to offer a home to an orphaned child irrespective of their faith, and we reject the claimed 'right to persecute' by zealots.

We reject arguments from authority and by consequence, reject 'age privilege' and this means that we do not find ourselves obliged to accept any idea because it may come from an elderly interlocutor or a hoary source. We would be glad if the elderly and those who hail the hoary also accept our right to undertake attempts to figure out things for ourselves, instead of staying content with received wisdom.

Allow me also to suggest that all our purposes would be served better if you could reserve judgment and reserve preaching for a while, and peruse what we actually have to say on a number of issues at nirmukta.com or indianatheists.com . Since you appear to be interested in Indological themes, Dr. K P S Kamath's series of articles on the Bhagavad Gita maybe a good place to start.

Regards,
Arvind


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