THEIST AND ATHEIST – PART II
The theist and an atheist meet again. This time they meet in a metro train.
Theist – Yes I am.
Atheist – Nice to see you again.
Theist – Hi, same here.
Atheist – We had a nice discussion at the party.
Theist – Oh yes we did, you looked satisfied by my arguments.
Atheist – Your arguments were definitely smart but to say that I was satisfied would probably be wrong.
Theist – And why would that be?
Atheist – Because no matter how similar theism and atheism may sound to you, there are still many concepts and ideas in religion which are totally absurd and stupid.
Theist – I am sure there are many such ideas but I believe that most of these ideas are simply wrongly interpreted by men. The problem lies in men and not in the ideas.
Atheist – Are we by any means going back to where we left the last time?
Theist – I wouldn’t mind going back to it.
Atheist – (mockingly) I guess your god wants us to talk more about him.
Theist – I am glad he wants so!
Atheist – why so?
Theist – Because I feel by talking about god and religion we’ll be able to understand the two in a much better way.
Atheist – are you saying that you do not understand religion and god?
Theist – I do understand them but to say that I absolutely understand would be wrong. There is always a scope for betterment.
Atheist – And what is the source of this understanding that you claim to have?
Theist – I have understood religion partly through religious texts, partly by religious tales and majorly by thinking about the ideas that make a religion religious.
Atheist – So you did not ever refer to the writings of any writer or any religious preacher. What makes you think that what you think about religion is the right way to think about it.
Theist – What makes you think that I am not right?
Atheist – That is not how it is done. Your understanding lacks credibility.
Theist – My understanding is pure and not clouded by someone else’s perceptions.
Atheist – What about credibility.
Theist – Rationality makes my understanding credible. I do not think I need any certification.
Atheist -You are just being like the jihadis and terrorists who interpret and preach that version of religion which they feel is right and would serve their purpose.
Theist – Well you may say so but there is a difference between my understanding and their’s. The end and instrument of my understanding are peace and rationality respectively. While that of the terrorists is fear and irrationality.
Atheist – So you agree that your understanding is a unique one?
Theist – It should be.
Atheist – What makes you believe that religion, as you see is what religion really is?
Theist - I do not ever claim that religion, as I see is what religion really is. In fact, no one can ever claim so. Religion is like a big piece of clay, some people use it to make terrorists, some use it to make money, and some to make politicians while some like me use it propagate (if possible) the idea of world peace, universal goodness, and self-development. Furthermore, my understanding is not baseless, irrational or absurd. Rationality, as I have already said, gives credibility to it.
Atheist – You have laid a great amount of stress on rationality. Let us see how rational your understanding really is.
Theist – This is what you should have begun with.
Atheist – I’ll give you a topic/subject related to religion and you’ll have to rationally justify that to me. We’ll then see how you understand religion.
Theist – Ok, let us go ahead with it.
Atheist – There are a number of things which I wanted clarity on but right now I can hardly remember any.
Theist – you can take your time.
Atheist – (Sees an advertisement of Moksha therapy center)
I remember, last time you said you were a Hindu. So let us talk about ‘Moksha’.
Theist – I have no issue discussing Moksha, but before we go ahead, I would like to know what you think about it.
Atheist – I am an atheist, I know that we have but one little life and we got to make the most of it. Yes, I do agree that it is best to die satisfied but I do not agree with the Hindu belief that I’ll be born again if I die unsatisfied. I also do not see Moksha in any way related to world peace and universal goodness which you said you want to propagate. It is just a useless concept
Theist – Moksha is the term used for contentment. One attains Moksha if one dies contented or satisfied and our entire life is but a pursuit of this contentment.
Atheist – Okay
Theist – As we pursue contentment we come across people, emotions, and experiences. These I would call the elements of satisfaction. People we meet in the form of Communities and individuals, emotions are numerous but can be clubbed under either happiness or sorrow while experiences are both wanted and unwanted. Moreover, the people that we come across in the pursuit of satisfaction are responsible for the emotions that we go through and the experiences we have.
I hope you are still able to follow me
Atheist – It is a bit confusing but so far I have managed to understand it.
Theist - Do you have a pen and a paper?
Atheist - Yes
Theist - Give it to me. I'll draw a chart to help you understand.
---ATHEIST GIVES A PEN AND A PAPER TO THE THEIST---
Theist – As I said, people that we meet in life or in the pursuit of satisfaction are at the center and it is they who largely determine the kind of emotions and experiences we have. Now satisfaction is attained when all three are perfectly and positively aligned or balanced. Any alteration in even one of the three elements would either align the rest with it or would require a rigorous process of balancing the other them.
Atheist – that is if and when new people come into our life the alignment is disturbed?
Theist – Yes, it is possible that by the coming or going of people in our lives, the alignment could be disturbed or a visa-versa.
Atheist – but I still do not understand how this alignment theory is related to Moksha.
Theist – I am not done yet.
Satisfaction is attained by maintaining a balance or by keeping the three factors aligned one of which is the people. Now the question is, ‘from where does, emotions and experiences emanate? The answer is that these emanate from the people and the people is none but us.
We cannot control the kind of people that we may come across in life or the emotions and experiences they give us but we can definitely try and maintain the balance by being positive or by reacting positively or rightly.
A perfect positive alignment is attained not when the experiences and emotions that we experience because of others is positive but when we decide to react positively to them. Our positive reactions are positive actions for others and are incentives for them to react positively.
We can attain satisfaction and thereby Moksha when our pursuit of satisfaction is a positive one because that alone can bring the three elements of satisfaction in a perfect balance.
Atheist – This seems more like a lecture on world peace and universal goodness and how to attain it and not on Moksha.
Theist – Moksha is nothing but a tool to make people act in a good way and to spread love and happiness to those around them. The concept of rebirth is a whip to make sure that the people continue being good to others.
Yes, this explanation of Moksha does sound more like a lecture on world peace, universal goodness, and the means to attain it. My question to you is that, can religion not preach the idea of world peace or universal goodness?
Atheist – Very few religions seem to be doing so in the 21st century. Moksha, as I have always understood has nothing to do with communal or world peace but with individual’s peace.
Theist – Religions have always vouched for world peace and they have done this by first bringing individuals to peace and by making them act in a good manner. Individuals form communities and communities form this world.
You see it is a cycle, the world will be peaceful and good and livable only when the individuals are at peace and when they are good. The individuals will be at peace when the world is at peace. One ultimately and definitely leads to the other.
Atheist – Do you want people to subscribe to this view of yours?
Theist – I would appreciate if they do because it not only makes Moksha achievable but also the world peaceful and good.
Atheist – By interpreting Moksha in such a manner are you somewhere or somehow trying to make Hinduism the religion that could save the world and make it peaceful?
Theist – Every religion preaches love, peace, goodness, non-violence and brotherhood it is for the people to interpret concepts in that light. Any and every religion is capable of bringing peace and goodness in the world.
Atheist – Your understanding of Moksha certainly has some rational basis to it. My question is that do you want to rewrite Hinduism or to reframe its concepts as per your own understanding?
Theist – I do not want to re-write anything whatever is written in the Hindu texts is already perfect but yes I would constantly strive to frame or to explain these concepts in a manner that would ultimately ensure universal goodness and even world peace.
--- METRO REACHES MAYUR VIHAR ---
Atheist – I am afraid we’ll have to end our conversation.
Theist – I am glad that we at least managed to finish the discussion.
Atheist – Metro ride has never been more enlightening, I still have some doubts but we’ll look into them the next time we meet.
--- METRO GATE OPENS ---
Theist – yes, the next time my God decides
Atheist – I wouldn’t leave anything on God. I have your contact number and we’ll soon be meeting.
Theist – hope to see you soon
--- ATHEIST LEAVES---