While atheism and Christianity may seem at polar opposites in mainstream discourse, the reality is that they are actually singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to Hindus.
The denigration of Hindu civilisation and culture to which the western world owes so much is enacted with the standard neocolonialist and racist mindset which stalks the narrative as a common ‘killer app’ of both atheism-rationalism-secularism-humanism and its conjoined twin of fundamentalist Christianity to the extent that on reading such ramblings it is hard to determine on which perspective this blind faith is being pushed.
Yet both these dangerous utopian and western universalist contagions find Hinduism a threat to their very relevance which is why they work so hard to keep Hindus out of the picture unless it is to use them as human punchbags on which to relieve their frustrations.
The present accepted dichotomy between atheism and religion, and its more popular subset of scientific rationalism versus faith, dominates the narrative on belief in not just the western world, but also India. Before his death the noted writer Christopher Hitchens engaged in several debates with Dinesh D’Souza on the subject of belief and non-belief, more especially that of atheism versus Christianity.
The late Hitchens in some ways met his match with Christian apologist and American conservative D’Souza. A long-time darling of the American Right, D’Souza was born in India and takes the occasion of his debates with Hitchens to take the usual swipe at how backward and oppressive Hinduism was. However for the most part Hinduism is excluded from the debate. In fact can one even call it a debate? What we have here is actually a fratricidal and war of words between two aspects of monotheism because atheism is nothing but the unwelcome kith and kin of the very Christianity it despises.
Excluding Hindus from the Great Faith Debate
Hinduism only comes into the debate when D’Souza castigates it with the freedom and equality which he claims Christianity offers the oppressed masses of India. It also comes into the slinging match when groups such as the Indian Rationalist Association and a host of outdated Marxist groups employ similar language to fundamentalist Christians in knocking down the casteist and backward beliefs of Hinduism. In fact there is precious little difference between the side represented by Hitchens and that of his supposed diametric opposite in the form of D’Souza.
In Britain the Humanist Association held a conference on caste inequality. It might as well have had D’Souza addressing it with all the nineteenth century colonialist, racist and Social Darwinist catechisms it employed.
In their debates both Hitchens and D’Souza claimed science was on their respective side. Now being self-appointed guardians of rationalism the atheist camp has long claimed monopoly on science and all things scientific. This is most obviously used by Richard Dawkins, renowned biologist and close associate of the late Hitchens. Yet not to be outdone D’Souza also claims this mantle in arguing that Christianity believed that universe had laws long before any other belief system, including atheism and rationalism. In a bizarre way he is correct because Christianity inherited these ideas from the ancient Greeks, which is exactly what the atheist-rationalist camp claim descent from.
Beware of Ancient Greeks bearing Science
When Galileo suffered at the hands of the Church in the seventeenth century, he was not just undermining the long cherished beliefs of Christianity. After all Pope Urban was his good friend. By asserting through his astronomical observations that the solar system was heliocentric as opposed to geocentric, he was actually undermining the very philosopher whom the British Humanist Association and a host of other atheist groups hold in such esteem. It was not Christianity which first formulated the idea of the planets and sun circling the earth. It was Aristotle.
His model showed the heavenly bodies circling the earth by being transfixed to concentric spheres. Without knowledge of gravity Aristotle asserted that the planets and sun moved in their respective orbits due to the force of the Prime Mover or Demiurge. The Church adopted this to mean God.
If this was all Aristotle could be forgiven. But for the atheist-Christian axis matters only get worse. When Arabic numbers arrived in western Europe during the Renaissance in Italy, they encountered resistance from the Church. Of course using decimal numbers was much more nimble than the clunky complex Roman numerals. Of course these Arabic numbers, as the Arabs themselves acknowledged, were actually Hindu in origin.
The most important of these numbers was zero which was the symbol of nirguna-brahman (Brahman without attributes) or shuniya. It was ‘zero’ that was most resisted by the Church. For Christianity zero represented the void and hence chaos, something Satanic and the very opposite of God’s creation. Indeed rationally speaking how can something represent nothing? How can zero be a number. I say rationally quite deliberately because the concept of zero does not sit comfortable with the very rational and scientific mindset preached by Dawkins. No surprise then that here again the Church had a mentor in those very heroes so espoused by the British Humanist Association, the ancient Greek philosophers.
The Threat of Zeroism
For the ancient Greeks the void also meant chaos and anarchy. They were aware of the idea of zero of the Babylonians. Yet they rejected it quite deliberately jut as they rejected its diametric opposite which is the concept of infinity. In this the Greeks were behind the Maya civilisation of Mesoamerica. But above all they were behind the Hindus. It was after all ancient India which accorded zero number status and had no problem with either zero or infinity.
The latter fits well into the idea of innumerable births and creations. Zero itself was only possible because in a civilisation so advanced that it could realise moksha, that of liberation from the karmic cycle of death and rebirth, rather than an eternal damnation in Hades, a tortuous limbo world guarded by a three-headed dog.
Therefore it was not despite their rationalism that the Greeks rejected zero. It was because of it. At stroke the very idea that ancient Greece is the mother of all scientific progress and invention becomes as laughable as they very ancient Hindu culture which the British Humanist Association join hands with the Church in castigating.
The unpalatable truth is that western science is only as advanced as it is because of the ancient Hindu formulation of decimal numbers and above all zero. No zero no calculus, no advanced calculations, no modern astronomy, no moon landings, and a plethora of other elements which we now take for granted. No zero no binary.
No binary no modern technology. Definitively no three dimensional imagery from the drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci to films such as Avatar or Gravity because such imagery requires zero in order to have a ‘vanishing point’ so essential to modern art. In fact no Richard Dawkins. Instead of the interconnected world we now live in it would resemble the largely rural subsistence peasants societies of Medieval Europe and the classical Graeco-Roman world that preceded it where a minority patrician elite of monarchs, aristocrats and philosophers (such as Aristotle, Plato and Socrates) lorded over the masses of serfs and slaves.
It was the ancient Greek ‘proto-rationalists’ with their rejection of zero which stalled the advance of western civilisation. It was therefore the Hindu concepts of moksha, nirvana and brahmgyan which formulated zero and thus laid the foundation for the very thing we call western science.
It is for this very reason why such pioneering scientists such as Einstein, Oppenheimer and Schrödinger found that their scientific advances could only be satisfied with Hindu spirituality and philosophy. Long before Dawkins made the term scientific equivalent to being atheist, Oppenheimer had equated it with the Bhagavad Gita and Schrödinger with Vedanta.
To its credit the British Humanist Association does look beyond just the classical civilisation of European antiquity. Yet here we find even more laughable and clumsy attempts to reconstruct the past. They cite Confucius. As Voltaire rightly discovered, this ancient Chinese sage did indeed construct a highly ethical system of values without the need for a supreme deity or even religion. But Confucianism did not exist in isolation.
While it governed social conduct it was Taoism which ruled the spiritual realm in China, Korea and Vietnam, and Shintoism in Japan. In all these countries another element was added. Like zero this was an Indian import: Buddhism.
Coming to India the humanists also believe they have found an ancient forerunner in the form of ‘atheist’ thinker Charvaka. But the Charvaks were only one of several schools of thought from that period of which Buddhism and Jainism survive. Charvakas themselves died out.
Going by the rational of present humanist-atheist-rationalist narrative it was therefore a failure. Undeterred they fight on in fuming about the superstitious Hindu mindset; which it must be remembered gave the world decimal numbers, zero and therefore modern science and technological advance. In India the mantle is taken up by groups such as the Indian Rationalist Association who should be true to their philosophy and disown the zero as an irrational and superstitious idea.
Of course we see none of this just as we do not see the Marxist academic, political and media elite disowning an ideology which has brought more famine, pestilence, slavery, genocide and manufacture of outright lies than ever existed. What these deluded chattering classes ignore is that the debate between Hindu thought and the so-called rationalism and atheism ended long before the mythical birthdate of the wholly mythical Jesus Christ when the Charvakas were consigned to the dustbin of history. This would not be an issue if the British Humanist Association and their Indian minions would stop looking through the disease infected rubbish like a swarm of bubonic plague spreading rats.
The problem with groups such as the Indian Rationalist Association and the Indian Marxist kleptocrats who work with them in this axis of anti-Hindu hate is that they enforce a western narrative onto the Indian masses.
This western universalism is merely a rebranding of the colonial mindset in which atheist-Christian twin mindset continue with Victorian racist, culturally imperialist and Social Darwinist prejudice by people who would nevertheless vehemently deny that they are racist or anything of the sort.
Subconscious colonialism thrives in this ‘modernist’ mindset. Instead of the creative mindset which once produced zero they nurture a spawn of zombie like mindless humanoid creatures like themselves to which resistance is futile.. If this sounds like science fiction like the Borg from Star Trek or sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the sad irony is that not only is it true but it is a ‘science’ only possible because centuries ago a superstitious backward Hindu mind thought of the zero.
It was this zero which was rejected by the ancient Greeks as such a threatening idea just as the humanists, rationalist, atheists and so called scientific ‘brights’ such as Dawkins work hand-in-glove with the very Church they despise to deny Hinduism any credit in the scientific revolution which was the child of ancient India. That is because Hindu civilisation and ideas are a direct threat to this imperialist western neo-colonialist narrative. However in India this battle between Hinduism and the pseudo-intellectual guerrillas of ‘rationalism’, Mosantoism and Marxism is set to dominate global discourse as Hindu ideas help to revive the indigenous beliefs of native peoples around the world which is presently denigrated as ‘paganism’.
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