Before we proceed further, there are two things that ought to be stated outright. Firstly, the purpose of this article is not to encourage desecration of the Quran or any other Islamic scriptures or doctrine. The sole purpose is to provide an understanding of the core matter at hand, in light of the online battle between ex-Muslims and Hindus. And secondly, most obviously, the author does not believe that all Muslims are Jihadis or terrorists. Now that we are done with formalities, let us jump straight to the matter.
Steven Weinberg, the great American physicist and a Nobel laureate, once remarked, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil, but for good people to do evil – that takes religion” and since then, this quote has almost been weaponised by Atheists around the world to condemn religion as an outdated concept that is using violence to maintain its relevance in a world that has outgrown the need or the desire for its tenets.
The New Atheism movement started in the mid-2000s with the ‘four horsemen for Atheism’ – Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris – gaining immense popularity. The core tenet of New Atheism is that religion was created in an attempt to explain how the world works at a time when science had hardly made the leaps that it has today. Thus, at a time when science has progressed, religion’s validity has expired, so to speak. There are several other claims that New Atheists make which we will examine in the course of this article, however, the central theme remains constant – Religion, any religion, has outlived its validity.
The New Atheism movement, however, ushered in another remarkable trend. It essentially espoused that being an Atheist was not sufficient. Atheists must ‘scientifically’ counter the theists and expose their dogmatic ways wherever they are found.
What started off as an attempt to infuse scientific discourse and composed debate on the question of Religion, soon became a free-for-all with the influx of several ex-Muslims, like Armin Navabi, Harris Sultan and others, who simply assumed that the function of Atheism was ‘desecration’ without the consideration that criticism for every religion would have to differ based on the genesis, nature and context of that specific religion itself.
Armin Navabi, Iranian Ex-Muslim who is now an Atheist first tore up and spat on the Quran. Following the support he got from Hindus, he proceeded to willfully desecrate the Hindu faith. The underlying reason for doing this, per Armin, was that all faiths should be desecrated equally, however, that is not where this saga began.
It has already been established that the saga of desecrating the Hindu faith started with another ex-Muslim, Abdullah Sameer, shielding the Muslim community after the Sweden and Norway riots, getting called out by Robert Spencer and then, proceeding to draw a false equivalence between Hindus (who were calling him out online) and Muslims (who were burning the world).
Soon, after the spat between Robert Spencer and Abdullah Sameer, Sameer started posting offensive images of Hindu Goddess Kali. Along with him, several other ex-Muslims like Harris Sultan and Armin Navabi started talking about how Hindus are just as bad as Muslims because they were calling them out on Twitter. On the 3rd of September, Armin took things a step further and shared the same image of Maa Kali.
Which Hindu god is this? I’ll consider Hindusim if you have more sexy gods. Show me what you got! pic.twitter.com/WBLVjdSNSV— Armin Navabi (@ArminNavabi) September 3, 2020
Only a couple of hours before posting this distorted picture which showed Goddess Kali in a sexual epithet, Armin was retweeting and talking about the #DesecrateTheQuran hashtag.
Given how this spat started, one can easily assume that this entire episode was orchestrated to falsely equate Hindus and Muslims post the Sweden and Norway riots by the Muslims. However, for the purpose of this article, I will not be delving into that aspect. What needs to be analysed, however, is the surmise that gives rise to the notion that desecration of all faiths, in equal measure, is a desirable outcome of Atheism.
It is in this spirit, that Harris Sultan, while speaking to ‘Hindu Atheist’ Kushal Mehra question OpIndia for covering Armin’s desecration of the Quran but being silent or even outraged, by his desecration of the Hindu faith.
At the heart of it, is the supposition that all religions are equal and thus, all religions should be desecrated equally and it is this ill-informed position that needs to be challenged.
Dissecting the ‘All religions are equal’ claim
The notion does not really stem from Atheism itself but the notions of religious pluralism that assumes that not only do all religions claim that their truth is the ‘only truth’ that exists, but that all religions are based on the principles of Universal Truths and thus, these are the two tenets that need to be dealt with if religions are to co-exist peacefully.
Religious Pluralism essentially says that firstly, all religions must acknowledge that certain truths exist in other religions as well, thereby declaring that it is not only their own religion that is the ‘only truth’. Further, it says that all religions must acknowledge that every religion teaches basic universal truths that have been taught since before the advent of religion itself.
When one delves into the principles of religious pluralism as a construct that can enable religions co-existing without sectarian violence, it becomes important to ensure that all religions are brought down to the same surface level and hence, the claim that all religions are the same takes a beastly proportion where cultural context is often lost.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on Islam, Christianity and Hinduism since the question we eventually want to answer is- why is it permissible to desecrate Islam and not desecrate Hinduism?
At the very outset, it suffices to say that no other religion in the world, at this point of time in history, lays out a doctrine for the torture, subjugation, conversion and humiliation of all the people who refuse to believe in their faith, other than Islam.
This question of whether all religions are equal and whether Islam is inherently a religion of peace was discussed at length in an interview with Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer. He said in the interview that Islam as a religion indoctrinates its adherents to slay the Kafirs where they see them. They lay out the doctrine for religious warfare and strict rules as to what is to be done with the ‘spoils of war’.
No other religion in the world has left behind a trail of mangled bodies, blood and gore in its wake as much as Islam and what is worse is that this carnage was sanctified in their religion, in fact, it is one of the necessities of their religion. Moral relativists and apologists of Islam often say that Islam is a religion of peace and it is its adherents who have distorted the peaceful version of Islam.
They also say that the Quran is a peaceful text that essentially takes people closer to universal truths, just as other religions do, but it is the Hadith that twists the meaning of the Quran and ebbs people to commit violence in its name. None of these claims hold scrutiny, according to Spencer, since there exists no version of Islam that does not lay out a doctrine for the subjugation of Kafirs. In the interview, Spencer quoted verses of the Quran that themselves asked Muslims to slay the Kafirs and strike their neck.
As Mr Spencer talks about the verses of the Quran that ordain its followers to slay Kafirs and Polytheists, one has to wonder how can a religion that is at odds with Polytheism be equal and aspires for the same goals as that of a Polytheistic religion? When Islam is at odds with Polytheism and the religious texts explicitly mention the subjugation of any Polytheist faith, how accurate is it to say that all religions are exactly the same since neither Christianity (which is also an Abrahamic religion) or Hinduism (which is a polytheistic religion) say anything that remotely resembles Islam.
We can further classify this argument between Abrahamic faiths and Polytheistic faiths. In the conversation with Robert Spencer, it was clear why Islam took over 500 years to find footing in India and countries like Europe fell to the onslaught of Islam far quicker than India. The Quran presents itself as completion and correction of Christianity, said Spencer, which also gives us a window into just how vast the difference between the Hindu faith and Islam/Christianity really is.
Hence, to essentially say that all religions are equal and aspire towards the same universal truths is a fallacious statement that is made by the people who either harbour malice, or ignorance.
What the desecration of the image of Maa Kali meant for Hindus
A familiar grouse that was expressed by the Neo-Atheists is why Hindus were celebrating the desecration of the Quran while they felt outraged when Armin Navabi desecrated the Hindu faith by sexualising Maa Kali. The underlying issue with this question that seems to baffle the Ex-Muslim Atheists is that they, almost militantly, follow the tenet that all religions are the same, a question, that we have debunked earlier in this article.
When we have concluded, with adequate proof, that all religions are indeed not the same, one has to then understand the cultural context to truly understand why Hindus were celebratory, or even supportive, when ex-Muslim Atheists desecrated Islam and went after the same Atheists when they sexualised Kali.
From what I understand, the backlash against Armin Navabi first started with him sharing the sexualised images of Maa Kali and was exacerbated with his follow-up tweet that essentially told Hindus to put Maa Kali in a Burkha if her sexualisation was offending them.
Dear Hindus. It’s not my fault your goddesses are sexy. Maybe put a hijab on them?— Armin Navabi (@ArminNavabi) September 3, 2020
What Armin did was to reduce the divine, with no provocation whatsoever, to a basal, human upheaval of hormones. To ask Hindus whether they would want to masturbate to a deity they consider their mother or even say that he “simps for Kali” which essentially means that he would put the deity on a pedestal to get sexual favours in return. This tirade did not come from a place of understanding but from a place of militancy of thought that had no cultural context whatsoever.
When they ask “how is the desecration of the Quran different from the desecration of Maa Kali”, the simple fact remains that the ex-Muslims grew up in a household that deeply believed in the tenets of Islam, as per their own confessions. Their draw towards Atheism or even anti-theism comes from being told that if they do not follow exactly what the Quran says, they will go to hell.
Or that apostates deserve death and if they do not follow the tenets of the Quran, they too, like apostates would deserve death. From being told that women don’t deserve respect or can even be beaten up because the religion accords a sub-human position to women. It is a faith that is largely considered the root of violence and militancy across the world, a faith that has claimed countless lives in order to stay relevant in the modern age.
Hence, since their anti-theism or atheism comes from their experience of religion growing up in a household that followed Islam, they understand what they are desecrating, to begin with. They know, that when they tear the Islamic scripture, what is the extent of the ideology and what those pages say, in very specific terms.
However, for most monotheists, barring a few who can be debated on their ideas of universal truths and not just anti-theism, the idea of Hinduism is too abstract to even understand what the religion’s basic tenets are. This was, in fact, admitted by Navabi himself in a podcast he did a year ago. How then is it acceptable to critique a religion one doesn’t understand simply because it is a religion and the anti-theist believes in the desecration of all religions, even though they are by no way equal.
Further, what the western anti-theists and atheists, a significant chunk of them being ex-Muslims, don’t understand is that there is a cultural context to the outrage of Hindus. For thousands of years, Hindus have been subjugated by the Islamist invaders who have raped Hindu women, beheaded our kings, murdered our children all for the ultimate goal of the establishment of the Caliphate. There are countless tales of how the Islamic invaders murdered Hindus and kept their wives, mothers and daughters as slaves – the spoils of war.
The barbarity was so perverse, that Hindu women often chose to jump into the fire and give up their lives after Hindus were defeated in war, lest they were taken slaves by Islamic invaders. You might wonder why they didn’t simply slit their wrists instead of stepping into the burning fire – well – they did not want their corpse to be desecrated by the followers of Islam who had laid siege on their land.
The brutality is not just limited to Islamic invaders. In the modern political landscape of India, Hindus were humiliated during the partition as well. One recalls how the Khilafat movement claimed the lives of countless Hindus during the Moplah massacres by Islamists and even the Direct Action Day, spearheaded by Jinnah. After the countless deaths of Hindus, our own, MK Gandhi, asked Hindus to simply lay down their lives if the Islamists chose to claim it.
During partition, Hindus were mutilated and their women raped. At the altar of ‘secularism’, which the Atheists love to espouse, India decided to not conduct a full exchange of population, a suggestion that was made by various luminaries at the time including Dr B.R. Ambedkar, and thus, began another cycle of subjugation in modern India. This year itself, we saw riots by sections of the Muslim community and aided by the Left against the Hindus.
The saga of brutality continues to this day not just in India, but also, against the minority Hindus of Pakistan and when India decided that the minority Hindus could take refuge in India, their natural home post-partition, the Islamists ran riots yet again. They stabbed a Hindu over 50 times simply because he was Hindu and chopped off the arms and legs of another before burning him alive.
Since the Atheists and anti-theists love to ally with the Left, the obvious question that will be thrown after reading this article is – what about the Muslims who died? Let me preempt that question and say that in every war, both sides suffer losses, but war is defined by those who start the war, and Hindus, have never started one.
With centuries of subjugation behind them, when Armin says that Hindus must put their Goddess in a Hijab if they are offended by the cheap sexualisation, he triggers an all-too-familiar sentiment – convert or die, worse, be raped.
For centuries, whether they were Islamic invaders, or the Muslims post-partition of Pakistan and Bangladesh, the domestic Muslims who still employ this tactic or even the Muslims of Pakistan who till date subjugate Hindus, this trope has been used to humiliate Hindu women and their faith. For centuries, these were the options given to Hindu women by Islamist barbarians – wear a Burkha, convert to Islam or be raped or killed.
This is exactly the sentiment that was invoked by Armin – He essentially said that he will reduce our Goddess to an object of cheap titillation, a disrobed woman, humiliated because he can. And if Hindus did not want him to cheapen their mother, they should make her wear a Hijab.
While it is unclear that this was the intent or not, however, it is clear that internalised misogyny, Hinduphobia, hate for Idolatory and the unbridled urge for the subjugation of Kafirs is so strong, that even after leaving the faith, the barbarism towards polytheists remains.
Hindus saw what Armin did as not just the humiliation of their deity, but also Iconoclasm that the community is far too familiar with. For the Hindu, there is absolutely no difference between their Idols being desecrated by the Islamic hoards and being buried in the steps of a mosque, their Ram Temple being demolished by invaders to build a Mosque and then deny them their rights and what Armin did. Essentially, it was an outsider, an Islamist, perhaps, who desecrated their faith and presented the remains as an offering at the foot of Abrahamism.
One simple account of the hatred Muslims had for idolators comes from a poetic account of what Ahmad Shah did at Sidhpur, available in Mirat-i-Sikandari, the history of Gujarat, written by Sikandar ibn-i-Muhammad alias Manjhu ibn-i-Akbar in the first quarter of the sixteenth century. He marched on Saiyidpur,— writes the historian, on Jamad-ul-Awwal in AH 818 (July/August, AD 1415) in order to destroy the temples which housed idols of gold and silver.
As quoted by Sita Ram Goel in his book, ‘Hindu Temples’, the poetic account is as below:
He marched under divine inspiration,
For the destruction of temples at Saiyidpur,
Which was a home of the infidels,
And the native place of accursed fire-worshippers.—
There they dwelt, day and night,
The thread-wearing idolaters.—
It had always remained a place for idols and idol-worshippers,
It had received no injury whatsoever from any quarter.
It was a populous place, well-known in the world,
This native place of the accursed infidels.
Its foundations were laid firmly in stone,
It was decorated with designs as if drawn from high heaven.
It had doors made of sandal and ud.—
It was studded with rings of gold,
Its floors were laid with marble,
Which shone like mirrors.
Ud was burnt in it like fuel,
Candles of camphor in large numbers were lighted in it.
It had arches in every comer,
And every arch had golden chandeliers hanging in it.
There were idols of silver set up inside,
Which put to shame the idols of China and Khotan.
Such was this famous ancient temple,
It was famous all over the world.
By the effort of Ahmad, it was freed from the idols,
The hearts of idol-worshippers were shattered with grief.
He got mosques constructed, and mimbars placed in them,
From where the Law of Muhammad came into force.
In place of idols, idol-makers and idol-worshippers,
Imams and callers to prayers and khatibs were appointed.
Ahmads good grace rendered such help,
That an idol-house became an abode of Allah.
When the Sultan was free from Saiyidpur, he marched on Dhar in AH 819 (AD 1416-17).
One has to understand that for a Hindu, what Islamic invaders did to their temples and their idols is no different from what Armin Navani or any of the other ex-Muslim Atheists did to the image of Maa Kali. In both cases, the iconoclasm was exactly the same. In both cases, the followers of Abrahamic religion (yes, Atheist is also an Abrahamic, Monotheistic religion, which I will explain later in the article), desecrated the idol that they sacred. An idol and a faith that did absolutely nothing to deserve the kind of humiliation that it received except the fact that it chose to exist and fought, fiercely, the attempts to convert.
The urge to desecrate Hindu idols comes from the basic contradiction between Hinduism and other monotheistic religions. The icons of Hinduism are expressionist while the monotheistic religions are mostly suppressionist. While Islam and Christianity are political ideologies, Hinduism is that which depends on its adherent’s experience and spirituality. While all you need to understand and even criticise Islam and Christianity is a study of their text, what you need to criticise Hinduism is experiencing and ultimately, working up to understanding its scriptures.
While Christianity and Islam focus on a binary value system, Hinduism has multitudes of value systems that can even be at odds with each other. That Islam and Christianity both function on the basic premise that any human emotion is to be suppressed, Hinduism believes that it is to be celebrated and expressed, and it is this expressionism and the lack of binary value systems that Abrahamics find so difficult to rationalise.
The binary model simply does not work with Hinduism and thus, the frustrations of a suppressive culture is often expressed by desecrating symbols of an expressionist, spiritual religion.
Essentially, when Hindus say that Abrahamics do not understand Hinduism enough to criticise it, they mean that until they have gone through the experience of being Hindu, there is no text that they can read and claim proficiency in the religion, unlike Islam and Christianity. To top it all, other than the painful ignorance of Hinduism itself, the Atheists and anti-theists who have denounced Islam do not understand the cultural context of the Hindu communities struggle with Iconoclasm and thus, have not the faintest idea of the scars that have been inflicted time and again.
For a Hindu, an Atheist is only deepening the scars left by the religion they claim to have denounced. For a Hindu, what the Atheist does is no different from what the adherents of Islam did to his idols and temples. And this cultural context cannot be ignored simply by repeating the “all religions are equal” trope, because they are certainly not.
Why Hindus endorse desecration of Islam but not of Hinduism
20-year-old Yazidi girl Israa, who had been rescued from ISIS, burnt her hijab as she was surrounded by the Kurdish forces in 2019. The image, that powerful image, became one of the symbols of resistance against the Islamic forces.
In her interview, she had said that she felt suffocated the first time she was asked to wear it and she wished she could burn the ISIS terrorists just like she burnt her hijab.
Why did Israa feel suffocated with the Hijab and why was burning that Hijab such a powerful sentiment for her? For that matter, why is burning the image of Adolf Hitler such a powerful image for Jews? Why does a Yazidi celebrate when symbols of her oppression are destroyed?
Because the hijab symbolises and is a manifestation of her oppression. Her scars. It symbolises the very people who took away her dignity, her faith, her family, her community, her temple, her everything. It is a symbol of those who pushed her and her family to darkness. It is a symbol of those who she wishes to destroy, not because she hates Muslims, but because the staunchest followers of Islam destroyed her life and desecrated on everything she and her ancestors held dear.
Given the history of Hindus and their subjugation by Islamists, the sentiment mirrors that of Yazidis. When symbols of oppression are destroyed, Hindus are bound to support that as an act of defiance. It becomes even more pronounced when that destruction of oppressive symbols comes from those who claim to have left the faith of Islam.
It is essentially seen as a validation of vindication of their pain. The reason why Armin got support and coverage when he desecrated the Quran is for the very reason that a Yazidi woman would burn her Hijab or be jubilant when someone else does. It was a destruction of the symbol of centuries of oppression. It was an act of defiance, the same defiance felt by Hindus. It validated the angst felt by Hindus.
Now, imagine claiming that the destruction of the Hijab by a Yazidi is the same as the destruction of the symbols of Yazidism. While Islamists consider Yazidis as devil worshippers, would it be fair to assume if a Yazidi is happy about the destruction of the Quran or even that of the Hijab, she has to mandatorily be accepting of the destruction of her faith when has done nothing to receive that ire?
This analogy is exactly what is needed to understand why Hindus supported the desecration of the Quran by Armin and not the desecration of Maa Kali. Hindus saw their vindication in an ex-Muslim recognising that Islam is a religion that has the potential to subjugate non-believers because that premise has been responsible for their own humiliation for centuries.
On top of that, it helped them reinforce that what the Left has been telling them to almost gaslight them, about Islam being a religion of peace is not true – and this came not just from Hindus, who were the victims, but also people who used to be Muslims and have since left the faith.
Then came the inexplicable desecration of Maa Kali and it jolted Hindus from their stupor. They wondered why an Atheist ex-Muslim would desecrate their faith when they had done nothing to deserve that ire. Armin tore the Quran because his experiences taught him that he did not want to endorse the ideology in the Book. What was his experience with Hinduism that drove him to desecrate Hinduism? Nothing except the notion that all religions are equal.
Hindus would endorse the desecration of the faith that subjugated them and reject the desecration of their own faith that has been subjugated by the oppressor.
Interestingly, Atheists seem to not have the bandwidth to grasp the fact that by desecrating Hinduism, they have only cut the branch that they were sitting on.
Their aim in desecrating Islam was that its tenets are inconsistent with the modern age values that the world espouses. However, one of the tenets is to slay polytheistic religions and as a result of that, idols are desecrated. Essentially, the Atheists ex-Muslims seem to have done exactly what their erstwhile religion ordained them to do, it was only cloaked with Atheism and not Islamism.
The ire of Hindus was expected, and necessary because for far too long, their faith has been desecrated for no fault of theirs, simply because the Abrahamics cannot accept polytheistic faiths. Saying ‘enough is enough’ is important.
The shaming of Hindus when they voiced their disgust
We have already established why Hindus were disgusted and outraged at the conduct of Atheists against Hinduism and the depiction of Maa Kali, however, what was more unpalatable is the response of the Atheists, ex-Muslims and Hindus to that outage. Outright, Hindus were labelled “just as bad as Jihadis” for protesting against the blatant disrespect for their faith, for no good reason.
What is essentially wrong with this assertion is that first, the ex-Muslim atheists and Liberal Hindus were trying, rather hard, to draw a false equivalence between Hindus and Muslims. That is almost the same as drawing an equivalence between Jews and Nazis when a Jew criticises the desecration of its faith by ex-Nazis. Or saying that a Yazidi is “as bad” as an ISIS terrorist because they differentiate between the burning of the Hijab and the ruination of her faith by the very people who enslaved her.
What the Atheists and Liberal Hindus essentially wanted was to submit to the whims of those who clearly have no idea of the cultural context of Hindus or worse, know and don’t care. Personally, I believe it is the second because I have seen several videos where these ex-Muslims discuss Hinduism and I find it hard to believe that they would have no idea of the cultural context.
Essentially, the Atheists ex-Muslims and Liberal Hindus wanted Hindus to submit to the desecration of their faith, quietly, demurely, or they threatened to label them just as bad the very people who raped, subjugated, murdered and forcefully converted them to Islam. The manipulation in this tactic is staggering.
Essentially, this is akin to telling a victim that she must not voice her opposition to what the perpetrator did against her or she will become just as bad as the perpetrator himself and because the victim harbours such visceral hate for everything that her perpetrator stands for, she would somehow be brainwashed and gaslighted into silence.
The debauchery of this argument was further exposed when some of the Hindus started telling their fellow Hindus that Hinduism is a tolerant religion and hence, any and all desecration must not be responded to aggressively. What they wanted to tell Hindus is that they should accept the desecration of their faith to display how tolerant they and that if they don’t, even their words of protest would be right compared to those who were murdering and burning down entire cities because they were offended.
Perhaps the overtly erudite Ex-Muslims and Hindu Atheists and liberal Hindus need to pay attention and read Karl Popper. He says:
“Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant“.
Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance is an apt description of what Abrahamics and Liberal Hindus want pious Hindus to follow. Essentially, these elements want Hindus to be tolerant to a level where the intolerant reign over the tolerant and the tolerant espoused by Hindus dies along with them. Certainly, one can see how that is a principle that has never been one that can be followed without the complete annihilation of the community that wishes to be tolerant to the level of their own destruction.
It is essential to understand here that Islam took over 500 years to find footing in India because of the deep faith that Hindus held. Despite the barbarity heaped upon them, they refused to submit to the rule of Islam and held on to their faith despite all odds. When the Liberal Hindu and ex-Muslim Atheists want Hindus to inexplicably let go of that faith in the name of tolerance, what they do is create a situation where they leave the faith open to the onslaught of Abrahamics – the intolerant.
Does the last standing major pagan religion in the world deserve to be annihilated on the basis of hollow principles like tolerance? This is a question that Hindus need to ask themselves without consideration for what Abrahamics believe they should do. But under no circumstances should Hindus be played by moral pleas of tolerance and in no manner, should they be manipulated to believe that their words can be deemed just as violent as rampaging mobs burning the world down.
Freedom of Speech – The hypocrisy of it all
Neo-Atheism and especially, those by Ex-Muslims and Ex-Christians are essentially based on two concepts that they consider the axiomatic truths – Universal value system and binary value system, as discussed before, that draws heavily from the Enlightenment philosophy. Essentially, this means that Atheists believe that there are certain universal value systems that are to be accepted without any question. Individual rights, the dominance of man over nature, freedom of expression, overt reliance on logic and essentially, rejecting everything that is not “real”. The binary logic sees everything in black and white and is a concept of absolutism.
Essentially, Atheism gives no room for any deviation from what it believes to be the ultimate truth and/or the ultimate value that is to be espoused. When ex-Muslims criticise Islam for its dogmatic practises, they must essentially declare that all religions are to be treated the exact same way since their binary logic does not allow them to understand a construct where a religion like Hinduism can have multitudes of value systems.
When they talk about freedom of expression, they must be absolutists because any limitation means that they are being thoroughly non-binary. For Atheists, they must desecrate Hinduism if they desecrate Islam because since one religion is problematic, all religions must be equally problematic. If one religion has Jihadis who burn the world down, the other must also have the same kind of adherents even though there is no empirical evidence to prove the hypothesis.
The beliefs of Liberalism and Atheism come from the enlightenment age which had no scope for the understanding of Hinduism since it was aimed at overthrowing the dogmatic Church. Thus, Hinduism and its criticism thereof simply remains a product of the Abrahamic lens that is donned by Liberals and Atheists without really the consideration that none of these principles applies in totality to Sanatan Dharma.
In that sense of absolutism, freedom of speech and expression is also meant to be absolute according to most liberals and atheists, however, just as any absolute ideology, this too suffers from its inherent hypocrisies.
Every culture has its natural limits to freedom of expression that draws from the cultural context of that particular society. For example, one would not go to Israel and name their child Adolf Hitler because there is a contextual limit to FoE that comes into play. Similarly, one would not use the “N-word” in the USA because attached to it are tales of suppression and one has to give due importance to the cultural and societal context before being an absolutist as far as FoE is concerned.
This was proved remarkably well when in a podcast by Kushal Mehra, who calls himself a Hindu Atheist, three ex-Muslims refused to use the “N-word” even when the subject came up. The ex-Muslims on that podcast included Harris Sultan who is now equating Hindus to Jihadis because they would not roll over and accept the desecration of their harmless faith.
How do we criticize Religion? https://t.co/5ckHxZ03ya— कुशल मेहरा (@kushal_mehra) September 5, 2020
If Harris Sultan was indeed an absolutist when it came to freedom of speech, he should have ideally had no problem with using the N-word rather openly. He did not because Sultan seems to be more clued in and respectful of the cultural context of the country he lives in and more importantly, the culture he has adopted as his own.
Extending the same rationale, one has to question the Atheists that if they would not demand absolute FoE to use the “N-word” because of the history of subjugation attached to that word or would not expect a Jew to ‘tolerate’ anyone ‘hailing Hitler’, why would they then expect unbridled and unrestricted freedom of expression when talking about Hinduism?
If these ex-Muslims would not call Jews ‘just as bad as the Nazis’ for voicing their exception to their faith being desecrated in the same manner as Hitler did, why would they say that Hindus are as bad as the Jihadis when Hindus were voicing their exception to their faith being desecrated in the exact same manner as the Jihadis did?
To take this a step further, their wails of ‘freedom of expression’ became a loud shriek and words such as ‘Mujahindus’, drawing an equivalence with Mujahideen, were thrown about. Atheists posture as the arbiters of morality but here they are, conflating people trolling a person on social media with cast distance between them with actual terrorists. Speech is now violence we are to believe. And such people pretend to be FoE absolutists.
The amusing aspect of this is the fact that Abhijit Iyer-Mitra himself does not hesitate to abuse the parents of individuals he disagrees with. Coming from him, it is especially difficult to accept such an argument. The other argument, presented by Kushal Mehra is that people in India do not understand how neo-atheists in the West operate.
I humbly disagree with that assertion. We understand perfectly how neo-atheists operate in the West. Neo-atheists in western countries are overwhelmingly oriented towards the Left and suffer from delusions of their own. In the current context, just because they get a kick out of abusing our Gods, it does not mean that a deliberate provocation ought to go unchallenged.
There also seems to be an insinuation that Hindus ought to be fearful of the mockery neo-atheists are capable of. With due regards, there is absolutely no reason for us to be fearful of them. Instead, they are the ones who ought to be careful with regards to the manner in which they use their speech. One does not know when cancel culture strikes them down. Also, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra and Kushal Mehra are good friends of mine but I am extremely disappointed with their ideological stance on the current debate revolving around atheism and freedom of expression.
The hypocrisy of Harris Sultan is particularly astounding. He was recently threatened by a Muslim for his criticism of Islam. The offended Muslim had actually threatened to hurt Sultan’s family and had made it clear that he was aware of the atheist’s address. Hindus have done no such thing. Harris Sultan has personal knowledge of the fact that Hindus and radical Muslims are not the same. Even so, even he peddles the delusion of equivalence between the two.
Why it is perfectly okay for Hindus to endorse desecration of Quran and oppose abuse of Hindu Gods
At the very outset, it ought to be mentioned that the foremost loyalties of Hindus ought to lie with their Gods and Goddesses and not to concepts such as freedom of expression and other such things. It is perfectly permissible, even rational, for Hindus to not tolerate the abuse of the Devis and Devtas. There is no decree that FoE ought to be the foremost priority of Hindus.
Atheists might value FoE above all else, and we have already established that they are not the FoE absolutists they pretend to be, but Hindus are under no compulsion to prioritise FoE over their Gods and Goddesses. It is also perfectly rational for people to have one set of rules for the out-group and completely different for the in-group, there is nothing wrong with that.
Atheists do not have the authority to decide what is permissible and what is not. For them, insulting someone’s mother is crossing the line. We share the same sentiment. The only problem here is that we consider our Goddesses to be our mothers as well. Therefore, their insult towards our Goddesses invokes the same emotions in us that an insult to their mother evokes in them. They have no business dictating the relationship we share with our Gods and Goddesses.
It also ought to be mentioned that neo-atheism is intrinsically Abrahamic in its approach. It arises out of the enlightenment worldview that was ingrained in Abrahamic philosophy. It is no surprise then that modern atheism has a distinctly protestant approach to it. Furthermore, it also ought to be mentioned that the fervour with which modern atheists approach politics is the same as a devotee approaches religion.
Neo-atheists have merely substituted religion with the political ideology of their choice. Instead of proselytising on behalf of a religion, they proselytise to convert their people into their favoured political ideology. Instead of Gods and Goddesses, they want people to believe in absolute FoE, the rules of which they wish to dictate as the evidence clearly by the current saga, and the precepts of liberalism.
Hindus are under no compulsion to live our lives by their rules. ‘Hindu’ atheists might fancy calling themselves Charvakas but they are no different from neo-atheists at all. They have utterly failed to distinguish themselves from the ideology that neo-atheists espouse. Calling nonsense by a different name does not change the fact that it is still nonsense.
Before attempting to corner Hindus, it is incumbent upon atheists to provide evidence for their claim that the world will automatically be a better place without religion. It ought to be mentioned that the absence of religion does not automatically lead to a paradise for human rights and freedom of expression. In the 20th century, the biggest death toll was under Communism. In the 21st century, hundreds and thousands of Muslims have been locked up in ‘reeducation camps’ by Communist China. The crimes may not have been committed in the name of atheism but they do disprove the atheist claim that a lack of religion automatically leads to a better world.
If the current episode has proved anything, it is that there is no essential difference between Charvakas and neo-atheists. The other thing that it has proved is ex-Muslims are remarkably obtuse about cultural sensitivities. The only good thing that has come out of it is the fact that Hindus have demonstrated that they shall no longer take kindly to the abuse of their Gods.