Growing up in a typical Brahmin family, I have, from a very young age, been taught the required quota of Shlokas and Bhajans. My devout mother used to conduct Bal-Vikas classes for all the children in our neighborhood and I would happily take part, singing glories of Ram and Krishna with great gusto. Those were the days when I believed that if we questioned His existence or spoke ill about anything even remotely religious, Yama Raj would ensure us a place in Naraklok. And that, if I said “Om Shri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram” 108 times a day, I would surely land in Swarglok.
And having attended a couple of convent schools, I was quite knowledgeable about the ways of Christianity and had gotten quite fond of the peace and quiet that the chapel offered. Moreover, Christmas sounded like one of the best festivals ever.
But as time rolled, I began to question the various things I had taken for granted. I began to question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. And I found that there were no convincing answers. What kind of God would let the hard-workers suffer in abject poverty while the corrupt got away with all the goodies? What kind of God would let Innocent children be ill-treated and beaten up? What kind of God would allow women to be treated as mere sex objects? What kind of God would allow discrimination on the basis of caste, creed and color? What kind of God would turn the blind eye when all around there was just suffering and indiscriminate bloodshed? What kind of God would fail to take care of those who He created?
I had been taught that God would ensure justice and that, by the rule of Karma, the wrong-doers would get punished in their next birth. But I thought that only the Indian justice system was the delaying type, not His justice system as well.
I wasn’t that great a disbeliever to label myself an atheist. Moreover, they have no holidays!And therefore I suffered a religious-identity crisis. Thankfully, I soon learnt of a word called agnosticism and since it suited me fine, I gladly adopted. Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe.
I believe that there is divinity in each of us. Being good and doing good is all it takes to bring out this quality. There is no need to worship idols or shed blood – human or animal, in the name of the Almighty. All that is required is a feeling of love and compassion towards our fellow beings.
Few nations have been so poor as to have but one god. Gods were made so easily, and the raw material cost so little, that generally the god market was fairly glutted and heaven crammed with these phantoms the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or torture. I consider it a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure -- that is all that agnosticism means.
Just to know more about the origin of this term, I googled it and here is its etymology
Etymology: from Greek agnôstos (ignorant), gnosis = knowledge.
The word agnosticism was created in 1869 by Thomas Huxley, British naturalist (1825-1895) who took inspiration from the ideas of David Hume and of Emmanuel Kant. Agnosticism is a philosophy that declares absolute, divine, metaphysics, and more generally what cannot be grasp by experiment, is inaccessible to the human mind and to perception. Consequently, the existence of God cannot be proven. Agnosticism professes a complete ignorance about the profound nature, the origin and the destiny of things. It is a form of skepticism applied to metaphysics and theology.
Already present in the Ancient Greece, agnosticism developed much in the 18th and 19th centuries because of the progress of science that provided experimental results contradicting the religious dogmas and the Holy Scripture like Bible.
God being unknowable, the agnostic cannot come to a conclusion about his existence and consequently considers that it is useless to worship him or to submit to revealed morals that should have been dictated to men.
Buddhism and Jainism are agnostic religions. Protagoras, Democritus, Hume, Emmanuel Kant, William James, Herbert Spencer, Albert Einstein were agnostic. As is Shilpa Krishnan.
Now coming to the reactions of people around me. My parents tried a little to re-convert me but I stood adamant and they gave in. thankfully, I found a few friends who agreed with me and a few others who thought that this was just a new fad I picked up. But overall, nobody was really surprised and my conversion didn’t raise much of a ripple.
Having converted into an agnostic, I could enjoy the best of both worlds. I could celebrate the festivals I thought, made sense. I could mock the rituals I thought were insensible. And I could make all the fun I wanted of the so-called god-men. So I had a galore when the Shankaracharya was charged with murder and accused of molestation. And couldn’t stop telling all and sundry about the Breast baba (apparently he molested women on the pretext of ensuring them their progeny).
All you believers out there can curse me all ye want, but I give a damn cos I don’t quite believe that such a place as hell does in fact exist. on a closing note, I would like to say that even if one might not quite believe in God’s existence, it has occurred to me that God has Alzheimer's and has forgotten we exist.
p.s. check out this joke.
“Q: What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic?
A: Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.”
Anyways, here’s an online quiz I took. Now, this might say I have Islamic tendencies, but I didn’t spend the last half an hour typing about my new-found religion, to be labeled a Muslim. I therefore insist that I am a devout agnostic. Even if this test claims otherwise.
Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com
| You scored as Islam. Your beliefs are most similar to those of Islam. Do more research on Islam and possibly consider taking the shahadah and officially becoming a Muslim, if you aren't already.|
Despite the actions of some - who go against the teachings of Islam - Islam is a religion of peace; the word "islam" means "peace through submission to God." "Muslim" means "one who submits to God." Islam is the third of the three Abrahamic faiths, and it shares much with Judaism in Christianity; its differences are the acceptance of Muhammad as the last and final prophet, and the oneness of God - in other words, that Jesus, though he was a revered prophet, was not in fact God, and only one God exists. Apparently the Taliban could not read (though their name means "students"), because the Qur'an states that men and women are equal as believers, and that all believers should be educated and seek knowledge. Modesty in dress and behavior is required in Islam for both men and women to preserve the values of society and move the emphasis from superificial appearance to intelligence, knowledge, and God.