We are meeting in Oslo on a historic occasion of the World Humanist
Congress and the World Founding Congress of Freethought.
21st Century is a Century of atheism, Freethought, humanism, Rationalism, secularism and skepticism. The whole world is moving towards a post-religious society.
We have come a long way. In spite of stiff opposition and malicious propaganda of religion, vested interests and persecution of some atheists, atheism has come to stay. There is no force on earth which can stop the onward march of atheism. The growth of science, scientific outlook, and rational thinking opened up the minds of the people in different parts of the world. The dawn of democracy
in different continents of the world, emphasis on human rights, social justice and yawning for freedom, equality and justice brought tremendous change in the world. Democracy has not only given “one person, one vote”, buts also made people think that there should be ”one person, one value.”. The spectacular growth of science and technology, broke the barriers of distances. It also liberating people from mental barriers and establishing the means of communication. Now it is “one world, one humanity.” The revolutions in communications, the computer revolution, the internet, world-wide web, brought a tremendous revolution in the minds of people. Distances disappeared.
The monopoly of religion and thought control of governments lost their ability to shackle the minds of people. It is leading to a great mental liberation. It is a psychological revolution and that is sweeping now the whole world.
People started feeling free, and liberated from all kinds of controls. They may still be economically poor, unemployed, but they are thinking and bold enough to act in their own way. They feel that they are masters of their future. They may be socially backward. They have many other limitations because of centuries of degradation and thought control. Religions made people think that they are inferior and that is God supreme and everything.
But, the fact is that the world is free—free to think, free to act.
With the result, God and religion have become irrelevant. Atheism is leading to a great social change. It is a silent revolution with profound consequence. We salute the atheist heroes of the past who suffered persecution in different parts of the world. “I could see further, because I am standing on the shoulders of giants”, declared Newton. Yes. It is true.
Now, Atheism is a worldwide revolution.
Atheists are still known in different parts of the world by different names — Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Rationalists, Secularists, Skeptics. They were known by different names because of social, political, cultural and psychological reasons But one thing is clear that all these are Nonreligious streams and they have very many things in common. Diversity is the law of nature. There is unity in diversity. People can use any name of their choice. But they all agree on fundamentals of Non-Religion.
Thus, 21st Century is distinctly different from the past. This is the age of common humans. They are ready to act. Atheism, humanism, freethinking, Rationalism, secularism and skepticism are, no longer, mere philosophical discussions. They are leading to a way of life. This atheist way of life is distinctly different from religious way of life. Atheism and all non-religious streams are no longer parallel to religion, Atheism is an alternative to religious way of life. Atheism is a life –stance.
Humans can make and unmake the systems of Government, social relations, cultural moorings and come out of the psychological barriers. They are free to reject old customs and traditions. New age requires new ideas and new institutions. People do not need the prop of imaginary god and the intuitions build around that falsehood to perpetuate the slavery of people.
Morality is a social necessity. It has nothing to do with the belief in god and religion. Real morality comes when people become atheists and non-religious.
In the 21st Century, the whole humanity is moving from the imaginary god-centred universe to the Human-centred. Time has come now to rebuild all institutions and organizations based on truth and reality. Re-build all institutions on the principles and practices of reality, social outlook and development of Individual’s personality. What we need is scientific temper. Humans are born free; they are born equal. Hence they should live equal. Freedom, equality, fraternity and justice are the hallmark of atheism. We need atheist reinterpretation of history.
What is to be done to Strengthen atheism?
- Be bold and declare you are an atheist
- Strive to make education secular
- Write and publish atheist literature
- Start atheist educational institutions
- Fight superstitions and blind beliefs and expose miracles
- Promote atheism through media for wider outreach
- Secular social work to help the poor and the needy
- Be in the mainstream of society and strive for a nonviolent social change.
- “Think globally and act locally”
- Promote scientific temper in society
- Practice atheism in daily life
- Develop practical programmes to popularize atheism among common people
- Develop comprehensive outlook to strengthen atheism world-wide.
- Be innovative, creative, constructive in thought and action
- Make a common cause with all like-minded people
- Develop atheist families. Atheism by action. Give secular names to the children.
- Observe secular festivals
- Donate liberally to atheist movement
- Develop atheist funding organizations — national and international
- Spread the message of atheism far and wide
- Promote atheism through fine arts, songs, dance, drama, music, sculpture, and literature.
- Culture is secular. It is not the monopoly of any religion.
- Science and scientific outlook must go together.
A Glimpse of What Atheist Centre in India is doing to promote atheism as a positive way of life
Atheist Centre was founded by Gora (1902-1975) and Saraswathi Gora (1912 -2066) in 1940.
Since then it has been in the forefront of promoting atheism for social progress.
- Atheist Centre is striving for a post-religious society
- Atheist Centre champions atheism as a positive way life
- Gora’s World Tours in 1970 and 1974 for the atheist cause.
- Eight World Atheist Conferences organized by Atheist Centre, India in 1972, 1980, 1983, 1996, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. It also organized other international Conferences. The participants include atheists, humanists, Freethinkers, Rationalists, secularists, skeptics and champions of social change from all over the world.
- Secular Social work
- Science and environment exhibitions.
- Disaster relief and rehabilitation in Natural calamities
- Medical Social work
- Counseling and rehabilitation of HIV/AIDS victims and their children, street children, women with social problems. Works for integrated rural development.
- Sex education and health education
- Fighting superstitions such as witchcraft, sorcery and other blind beliefs.
- Development of philosophy of positive atheism.
- Atheist cultural programmes—dance, drama, songs, painting, and others.
- Common cause with others
- Political, social, economic, psychological aspects of atheism
- Hundreds of marriages breaking ten barriers of untouchability, caste and religion
- Publications of Atheist books and Atheist journals since 1940 in English and Indian languages
- Starting soon International Atheist Research Centre
As Gora said: “The spread of atheist outlook is the hope of humanity to turn from war to peace, from slavery to freedom, from superstition to a sense of reality, from Conflict to cooperation.”
For further details:
Benz Circle, Vijayawada 520010,
Andhra Pradesh, INDIA
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