CLASH OF MEANS
I have since long adhered to the view that the first step in curing communalism is the ‘realization of or the acceptance of the fact that we humans are not seculars’. In my previous writing ‘understanding the fight against Communalism’ I have proved that the communal instincts prevail in all of us and how it would be wrong to tag oneself a secular being. I had even concluded that the only way to fight communalism is by paralyzing it, paralyzing through economic and educational prosperity.
There are however many who do not adhere to this view. There is a parallel view and a parallel solution to the menace of communalism which is, giving up our religious identities, which primarily divide us, and consequently turning atheists. Thus, by turning atheists we can truly liberate ourselves with the idea of religion and look beyond it as our means to sustenance and would ultimately nip the evil of communalism. Spreading atheism is the parallel solution to communalism.
It was during a presentation wherein I was trying to communicate my view that ‘communal instincts prevail in all of us and thus we must consider ways to fight them’ after the presentation, I was asked a question ‘if I through my presentation am trying to promote atheism?’ It was this question that made me question the validity of atheism as an alternate to religion and I came up with the following thought.
Atheism a failed idea
Communalism, as pointed out in my previous writings, is the sense of belongingness to a community and thereby having an intuitive duty to protect and promote that community. Communalism today thrives in the face of religion because structurally religion is the factor which majorly divides the human race into communities. Hence as long as communities live communalism will also. What Atheism does is that it tends to liberate mankind of its religious identities and therefore it is believed that by turning atheists we can kill the source which empowers the fire of communalism, or in other words, ending communities to end communalism. I however have my sincere doubts that atheism as the means to secularism would lead to a secular and stable world. My skepticism in this regard is founded on the following two grounds.
1. A universal spread of atheism is impossible:-
The spread and adoption of atheism should be quick, sudden and also universal. Such a transition is needed because if atheism as an alternate to religion does not spread universally then there are chances that it would end up being yet another community and a parallel community. Those who would have turned atheists would like to and would try to promote atheism for according to them atheism would be a higher and a better way of life while those who would still adhere to their religion would like to defend it by all means at their disposal. In such a case there would be an escalation of hostilities and conflicts. Currently the conflicts are limited to one religion vs. another while if the transition is not universal then there would be an addition to it. The conflicts between religions would still prevail and what would rise and add on to it would be a conflict between religion on one side and atheism on the other. The only way in which it could be avoided is when each and every person who is capable of conflicting with other is turned into atheism and that to in a quick time. Such a transition is impossible to achieve and what seems a lot more possible is that atheism which is being advocated as an alternate to religion would itself become one and the atrocities which are a result of communalism and which we condemn would only increase and thereby killing the entire purpose of a tiresome transition.
2. Atheism is not foolproof:-
Before the advent of religion or more accurately religions, we must have been atheist human beings who lived their lives not by practicing or following any religion but by the simple laws of life, the atheist world which we today dream of must have been present before prophet Mohammad or Jesus Christ or Moses or whichever god or messenger first, came down to our earth and created this institution of religion or religions and consequently bringing the entire atheist world to an end.
Now let us consider that we as humans manage to (re)create a world from where the entire concept of religion is abolished, a world where there wouldn’t be any religious community and a world where the only way of life would be the atheist way of life. Now, is it not possible that after such an arduous achievement, one day someone from amongst the existing atheists would come out and start advocating his or her own way of life and thereby initiate the re bifurcation of the atheist world itself. How can we ensure that in an atheist world no Jesus or Mohammad would be born who would lead us back to social divisions.
Thus atheism itself is not foolproof and a mass conversion to atheism would lead us back to where we started from. Hence, it is but foolhardy to engage in such an attempt.
It has been noticed that the petty and disturbing communal conflicts are majorly limited to those who are economically weak or educationally backward. The well offs and the educated do not take part in these conflicts. What keeps the rich and well off away from such conflicts is not their unwillingness to fight for their religion but the economically unaffordable nature of these conflicts. They tend to stay away from these conflicts because they value their money more than their religion. This is a mere observation and I am pretty sure that a study of the parties to religious conflicts in the past would only render my observation true. In fact, the only countries where communalism is a major cause of conflicts are those which are either economically weak or educationally backward.
What can be inferred from this observation is that economy and education can be used to deter or to do away with communal conflicts. The only way out of communal tensions is economic and educational prosperity. Communalism cannot be killed so why not paralyze it by economy and education.