Secularism simply means that the state cannot interfere with the affairs of religions. Secularists – both westerners and their Indian acolytes, vehemently insist that secularism be treated as an axiomatic truth claim. However, if you are scientific, you can have no sympathy with truth claims. Let me illustrate why secularism is unscientific, irrational, and how it actually violates the rights of numerous unsuspecting individuals.
Let us hypothetically say that I am the grandson of the One and Only God, who sent me on a suicidal mission to earth to save all you from Primordial Sin. I save you from your sins by forcibly sacrificing every girl child of yours born on a Wednesday to the One and Only God. The child will be sacrificed by slitting her throat with a rusted knife. I have revealed this requirement in the Holy Scripture, New Ferment. My religion is Rustianity. The followers of my religion are Rustians.
How many of you agree that the Rustians must be allowed you to practice Rustianity and that the state cannot interfere with Rustianity? If you agreed, you are violating the rights of all unsuspecting and defenseless Wednesday-born female children to live. You better explain why you are privileging the rights of irrational Rustians over the rights of Wednesday-born female infants. Explain why the state should not interfere with and stop this madness called Rustianity. On the other hand, if you are a rational person, you can see that:
- Rustianity is making false, irrational claims and cruel advocacies.
- It is harmful to the infant girls born on Wednesdays and violates their rights.
- Those parents who are under the spell of Rustianity act irrationally and harm their own unsuspecting children by sacrificing them to the One and Only God.
- The rights of the parents to practice Rustianity and the rights of the Wednesday-born infant girls to live are mutually exclusive. Since Rustianity is nothing but a dangerous superstition, unless it is stopped, the rights of children will be violated forever.
A reasonable and scientific person would logically conclude that the state cannot be a bystander to the violation and abuse of children and that it should actively restrain Rustianity just as it would actively restrain small pox or other epidemics. A secularist would unreasonably turn a blind eye to the violation of the rights of children and parrot-like insist that the state cannot interfere with Rustianity.
Now replace Rustianity with Christianity. It makes false and dangerous claims such as Original Sin and redemption from it by believing in a mental patient called Jesus. Christians baptize their unsuspecting children and teach them hatred towards non-Christians. They tell these unsuspecting children that if their God asks them to commit genocides of non-Christians, they must unhesitatingly do so. Many Christians such as George Bush indeed inform us that they listened to their God and committed the genocides of innocent Iraqis. One should not think that Bush and the genocide of the Iraqis is a rare exception. I will demonstrate that it is the Christian norm. The Bible is not only an irrational book full of false claims, but it is also full of advocacies for genocides. The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It’s not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don’t intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:
“Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job. Do you think this is just a Bronze Age superstition? Not really. Professor Philip Jenkins points out that:
“The Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors.”
Jenkins further draws our attention to how America’s Christians are even today abusing their own unsuspecting children and students by imposing this belief upon them and by urging them to commit genocides of non-believers if their Gods wants them to:
“This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club…The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one.”
This is the kind of hatred that Christianity teaches unsuspecting children aged four to twelve. Some of these Christian children grow up to become a George Bush, Adolf Hitler, or Josef Stalin and commit genocides. Some others become charlatans like Pope Benedict or Pastor Rick Warren and continue to spread the harmful Christian teachings. Why should the state remain a mute spectator when such poisonous teachings are imposed on defenseless children thereby violating their rights to grow up without getting abused?
A scientific person would conclude that if parents abuse their own children then the state will protect the rights of those children. In the case of Christianity, the state will restrain the religion to save the children. A secularist, on the other hand, pretends as if children have no rights at all, and turns a blind eye to the blatant violation of their rights. The reason is not hard to fathom. While secularism was an improvement over the previous Christian theocracy, secularism itself is nothing but a cowardly ideology that conceded that the state will allow religion (especially Christianity) to grow unhindered. Note that secularism does not at all talk about the separation of the state and physics or the separation of the state and military or the separation of the state and tennis. Why just religion? It is because secularism was proposed as a political expediency by opportunists and is not a visionary ideal.
Some secularists offer the clever by the half argument that a child can reverse the harmful teachings imposed on her once she becomes an adult. However, as I point out in the article, Libertarian Myopia & Religious Freedom, citing the researches of Richard Dawkins etc., an overwhelming majority of children, once abused by their Christian parents and clergy, are never able to reverse the effects. Even pretending that they can somehow reverse the effects of harmful Christian teachings, why should an unsuspecting child be compelled to live with hatred in her heart for several years? It is simply adharmic to require a child to live so. Since secularism allows such adharma to flourish, secularism itself is adharma and hence must be rejected.
I want to point out the irrationality and incoherence of arguments presented by Harsh Gupta, an advocate of secularism. He cites some Dharmaśāstra texts of ancient times to claim that they were oppressive and privileged the Brāhmaṇas. He even claims that we could learn from the Judeo-Christian world. This kind of shameless and ignorant worshipping of the Christian West (read white men) and a denunciation of Hinduism is a common secular trait. Of course, Gupta has no knowledge of the Dharmaśāstra texts or their framework and is merely repeating what he learnt from the westerners. So, a few clarifications are in order.
- Historically, elements of Dharmaśāstras were incorporated into the penal code depending on societal requirements but the texts were not penal codes or law per se since Indian society depended on a more complex and nuanced system of jurisprudence where traditions and jāti practices from each locality was given precedence over anything written down in texts. Dharmaśāstras were not revelations or static texts and they were constantly updated and new Dharmaśāstras written down to capture changing social realities. There is no expectation on the part of the Hindus to cling on to an anachronistic text. So, Gupta is clueless about texts and history when he implies that the state enforced Dharmaśāstras.
- In contrast, Christians consider The Bible to be a revelation and a static text and expect every word of it to be fulfilled. Secularism facilitates this fulfillment by allowing Christian parents and clergymen to abuse their defenseless and unsuspecting children, and by refusing the state from coming to the defense of the children by restraining the Christian meme.
I will close with a remark that I hold Dharmaśāstras in the highest regard. However, this article is not the place for defending them against Gupta’s ignorant claim that these texts privileged the Brāhmaṇa. In my forthcoming article, Brāhmaṇa, the Penurious Bourgeois, I will discuss what the Dharmaśāstras required of the Brāhmaṇa and show why the canard spread by the Christians and their secularist bedfellows is false.
Kalavai Venkat is a Silicon Valley-based writer and an atheistic, practicing Hindu.