The View from the End of the World

India, like all other countries of the world, is embedded in the larger context of the world. Naturally therefore India’s fortunes and the prospects for its development are circumscribed by the world’s prospects. Religion — especially the monotheistic ones — are arguably one of the most powerful of the forces that shape the human world. One cannot hope to study economic growth and development without understanding how religion is impacting the world at large. One fact is undeniable: when societies undergo severe stress, they fracture along predictable lines. The most prominent of these fault-lines is religion — and I stress once again, that monotheism is at the heart of all major religious strife. That is so because monotheism does not, by its very constitution, suffer non-believers to exist or even tolerate a plurality of views. The danger to the continued existence of human civilization on earth may proximately arise from such matters as doomsday nuclear warfare but the ultimate cause can definitely be traced to anti-humanistic monotheistic religious dogma.

I cannot stress how important it is for us to understand what is happening around the world within the context of the monotheistic religions. One of the most articulate and serious researcher in this line of work is Sam Harris. Here’s a talk that Sam Harris gave at The Long Now Foundation back in 02005 December. (Note the leading zero.)

I hope you will take the time to listen to this video (there’s really nothing much to see), and if you would please help raise public consciousness about the topic. As Sam Harris says, “how we criticize, or fail to criticize, the religious beliefs of other human beings at this moment has an extraordinary significance for the maintenance of civilization. It could well be the most significant variable that is in our power to influence.” Please do take some time to listen to Harris.

India is likely to face some very major stress — centered most likely on resource scarcity such as water, food, or energy — in the not too distant future. When that happens, the split will be along religious lines. The government is etching even more deeply the religious divisions within society. It should keep us awake at night at the thought of the deaths of innocents by the millions that could easily be the result of the inevitable division caused by the cynically manipulative actions of the government. Then there’s another thought: didn’t these people themselves choose all these Congress governments which over the decades has been creating the conditions for the slaughter to come.

It’s all karma, neh?

Related Post: The Problem with Atheism. (Jan 2008)

4 thoughts on “The View from the End of the World

  1. choultry Saturday September 26, 2009 / 5:17 pm

    While Harris has had his uses, here is a piece that discusses the more problematic side of the “holistic world view” mumbo jumbo of the “Eastern” faiths.


  2. amity Sunday September 27, 2009 / 12:23 am

    Oh, man. Not this Marxist anti-Hindu Meera Nanda – who aims her guns only at Hinduism, while ignoring the real global threat from monotheistic religions.


  3. Atanu Dey Sunday September 27, 2009 / 8:56 am

    choultry, thanks for the link to Meera Nanda’s article. I read it and considered the possibility that she has reading comprehension problems. For instance, she makes it sound as if Harris has claimed that Eastern people are never violent or that Eastern religions don’t have the potential for any violence. She is at best misrepresenting what Harris says, but more likely she is deliberately lying to further her own agenda. Harris has consistently maintained that there is a difference in the inherent violence in religions and that fact makes a material difference. The monotheistic religions are extremely violent compared to the eastern religions. There are qualitative differences between the two groups. As Harris points out, the more fundamentalist a Jain becomes, the more nonviolent he becomes; the more fundamentalist a Muslim becomes (take Osama bin Laden, for instance), the more violent he becomes.

    I don’t know who Meera Nanda is. I would not be surprised if she is motivated by her hatred of Hinduism, as amity points out above.

    I will not grudge Nanda her hatred of Hinduism, however. I am myself antagonistic to monotheism. We are not all alike. Some of us like this and some others that. She is welcome to express her admiration of monotheism and I will continue to express my distaste for monotheism.


  4. mkhan Monday November 15, 2010 / 7:48 pm

    The world will not end because of earthquakes, tsunami, meteor strike, nuclear war, supernova, or any other natural or man made disaster. End will not happen on any arbitrary date like December 2012. The end of the universe has been designed into the laws of the universe by the creator. The contraction of the universe will commence the beginning of the end which will last for thousands and possibly millions of years. We will however be gone far before that time removed from the dying universe.


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