Patrix got me thinking this morning when I read this post on his blog. Rather than take up his comment space, as I will probably end up being verbose and not clear at all, I thought I will express the thoughts that came flooding into my head here. The question that started this flood of thoughts was “Are Hindus more likely to be Atheists?” And the first sound in my head is a resounding and joyous “YES”! Now why is that? Let me try and explain.
First, some caveats. This is a theoretical physicist’s answer in the sense that it is correct in the context of the ideal system and may not be valid in the more complex real world. The reason I need this “ideal system” assumption is that Hinduism is really a social construct rather than a religion. And the society is complicated. The simplifying assumption I am making here is that I am visualizing a Hindu society where there is no caste. Caste is just a designation of your profession and comes with no associated mental stigma or physical discrimination.
Given all that, why do I think Hindus are more likely to become atheist? To understand this, I need to first say what an atheist is. Conventionally, an atheist is thought to be a person who says “there is no god”. This is not quite right in my mind. It should really be a person that says “I have no god”, in exactly the same tone of voice as one would say “I have no washing machine”. Hinduism has this freedom inherently built in. In the Hindu environment, gods come in all colors and flavors. There is the “goody-goody” Rama, there is the incorrigible flirt and master of cunning,
Do you think you agree?