Friday, June 19, 2009

Atheist : Be proud, Come out

I had never really understood the concept of Gay people "coming out" or "Gay Pride" until I "came out" as an Atheist and identified with "Atheist Pride".
I used to think both sexuality and religion were matters of personal concern and not something to be worn on the sleeve, but now my opinion is changed. The social stigma attached to both surely needs to be addressed. While I am neither qualified nor familiar to talk about the former, here's my 2 rupees worth on the latter.

Those who have been visiting my blog for some time might have noticed the scarlet A on my sidebar. For the benefit of the few reading this from a feed :
The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism

The scarlet A of the Dawkins' out campaign. The symbol of Atheist pride. So why do some Atheists feel ashamed to come out?

The biggest misconception Theists have about the Atheists is that all Atheists are immoral. When I first told a few religious people many years back that I didn't believe in God, I got quite a reaction from them. It's the same many reaction many people feel all over the world. They just assume, that a Godless person is automatically an immoral, disobedient person. The idea that an Atheist can be equally if not more kind, generous, altruistic is lost on the religious.

How can you be moral if you don't believe in someone who Judges you, they ask. Where do the Atheists draw their Morals from, if they disregard the religious scripture? The short answer to this would be that the Moral code has always existed in the society.. the Theists just needed to invent an invisible being for Authority.

Anyone who thinks Morals and ethics are standard and stagnant over time is simply fooling himself. They evolve just as surely as everything else in the world. All but a few Bible thumping religious zealots would follow every word written in the book. Who would stone to death a disobedient teenager just because the Bible says so? Who would kill a person who works on a Saturday because God commanded that none should work on the Sabbath? If every "word of God" were to be followed by the Christians, the population of the world could comfortably reside within the Vatican city.

And what about the Hindus? The Christians, for all their flaws can atleast claim a central and somewhat consistent scripture.. but Hindus have no such thing. That aside, would you seek morality from Maryada Purushottam Ram, the preserver of Dharma, who goes against Yuddh Dharma(rules of war) and kill a Vali while hiding? Or would you follow everything Krishna says to Arjuna about duty and go ahead in a figh to death with your kith and kin over land.

The point I am trying to make is that even the religious choose the good stuff over the bad/irrelevant stuff. Common sense and altruism direct the religious to differentiate the good and the bad anyway, so why should it be surprising that atheists could do the same?

The other major concern some atheists have about atheism is the word itself. They refuse to be labelled as atheists and instead use pretentious word like "Brights" or "Rationalists". The problem they have is one about identity. An atheist, by their definition is one who is Anti theist, and so they would not like their identity to be dependent on that of a Theist.

So here's an answer which might put their concerns away. I have read this bit somewhere over the internet and can't remember the source, or I would surely credit the person who came up with the following reasoning.

Atheism is not Theism with an A but rather Atheos with an ism.
The first definition put us as negating the theists. Which is to say,our belief system/philosophy is a negation of that of the theists..
Atheos means godless. The second definition, Atheos with an ism, makes an atheist as having a philosophy, which is simply godless. The lack of god is just one minor thing in their existence and not the whole point of it. This definition makes us have a separate identity as against a direct comparison with theists.

I prefer using definition 2. And as long as you identify yourself this way, you shouldn't have a problem calling yourself an Atheist.

So, be proud. Come out.
And check out the Out Campaign.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Today, I have nothing to write about



Today, I have nothing to write about

No coherent thought from my chaotic mind

Nothing to rant, no axe to grind

No inspiration, it’s hard to find


Today, I have nothing to sing about

No tale of happiness, no tale of sorrow

No song about today, nothing about tomorrow

No tune I could steal, no tune I could borrow


Today, I have nothing to paint about

No ethereal vision, no enchanting sight

No beautiful rainbow, no playful light

No paint on my canvas, try as I might


Today, I had nothing to write about

But I did write, a poem of some kind

But I did write, and will write again on the morrow

But I did write, and now I feel alright

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Abou Ben Mayhem

Abou Ben Mayhem (may his kind decrease),
harbinger of destruction.. enemy of peace.
Awoke from his slumber.. to a deep chill and gloom..
As a demon made way, into his room .

A harsh growl emerged,from the creature's throat.
As it read from the parchment, which his masters wrote.
"Hear now the words, of the lords whom demons hail,
Heed the words of Lucifer. Beelzebub and Azrael.

This be the list of the damned, that God sent forth.
It is bad news for you, but for what it's worth.
Of all those who sinned and those condemned,
you lead the list.. you await judgement."

"This isn't news to me", Mayhem grinned..
"Satan is my master, its for him I have sinned.
A faithful servant,I have been to my Lord.
wont Lucifer make me, the leader of his Hordes?"

"The demon burst out laughing.. "surely you jest..
Satan make you captain?? hah.. you imbecile pest.
Of the tools of evil.. you're but one of many.
You'll all face the heat, the Master doesn't spare any".

"Go to sleep tonight, tomorrow the Reaper comes.
I am off on my trail again,to cover more homes.
Be not deluded..because as much as I can tell.
Ages of torment await you.. see you in HELL."

Note : Written with the deepest respect to James Leigh Hunt and Abou Ben Adhem. This poem provides an inverse case study to the original poem. Read the original here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Dreaming Forgiveness


my eyes grow heavy..
..my breath turns rasp
life seeps away
death's within grasp

shut all my senses
nothing left to feel
my life flashes by
like it were a 35 mm reel

i see all that i've wronged
oh, how i now repent
i see those that i loved
alas, so little time we spent

if.. if only there was time
to right what was wrong
and one last kiss to my love
i wouldn't make it long

i realise i don't deserve my love
with that i've made my peace
but let me have my forgiveness
that's all i ask.. please

oh death.. dont take me now
come back when i am awake..
because while i am asleep
I'm dreaming of forgiveness.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't take your love away

Just seen the latest episode of Smallville. While the episode was okay-ish(Doomsday being the only saving grace), this song at the end totally blew my mind. A quick Youtube search and :

Friday, October 17, 2008

Give me a place to stand


Give me a place to stand
And I will move the world
Give me a cup to fill
And I will drink the ocean dry

Give me a sad face
And I will bring out a smile
Give me a sympathetic shoulder to lean on
And I will cry you a river

Give me courage to fight
And I will win you a war
Give me a cause to believe
And I will bring you a revolution

Give me a violin to play
And I will write you a symphony
Give me a pen to write
And I will script you a masterpiece

Give me some optimism
And I will rule tomorrow
Give me a reason
And I will forever let it be /* thanks to Poornaa */

BUT

Please don't give me a deadline for my project. I don't think I can f**k*ng finish it on time. :( BOOHOO

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Heartbreak of Tubby Mouse



Hickety Dickety Dock
The Mouse ran up the clock


And so it was, that late at night
Nested away, out of sight
In that cozy little clock, in the alcove
The mouse did scurry, to meet his lady love.

"Blessed be the eyes", the little mouse said,
"that have ever gazed upon your lovely face.
Of all the mice ever, be they alive or dead,
you're the prettiest ever, I rest my case"

"Your whiskers' woven from silk, your tail's made of felt,
And the fragrance of your sweat, sweeter than cheese."
She blushed upon the flattery, while the mouse knelt
"I want you to be mine forever, will you say yes Please?"

She paused for a minute, stared at his pale face.
And burst into laughter, our mouse was in a daze.
"Oh my sweet Lord, this is all so funny,
You, my dear boy, were just my little bunny."

"Despair not, cherish the moments few
Remember fondly, our regular rendezvous.
Wish you could stay longer, my dear Tubby
But off you go now, there comes my hubby."

The clock struck one,
Down the mouse ran,
Hickety Dickety Dock

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lightning strikes twice

They say, lightning never strikes twice at the same place. The Bird's nest in Beijing begs to differ as a second bolt struck tonight.

A little while ago I made a not so good critique of the opening ceremony. The ceremony might have lacked energy but the Games sure didn't. The tumbling of records by Phelps and Bolt have truly made this edition the most spectacular ever.

Add in a dash of patriotism in Bindra's Gold and Sushil's Bronze and you have a recipe of pure joy to the Indian Sports fan.

Wishing lots of luck to the India boxers. Picture abhi baaki hai.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The birth of Ginger and garlic

A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away (time and distance amount to nothing in a mythological story), the Devas and Asuras were at war. Neither were immortals and there were heavy casualities. So, the Devas decide to churn the Milk sea(Vishnu's private Jacuzzi)to get the Divine Nectar called Amrit.

So, they approach Vishnu, use Vasuki as rope, Mt. Mandara as churning rod, yada yada yada.. find it here.. http://www.balagokulam.org/kids/stories/dashavatara.php#kurma

Now, most retellings of this story leave out a very important part. As Lord Vishnu took on the form of Mohini(a very beautiful Apsara) and tried to seduce the Asuras while slyly distributing all the nectar to the Devas, two guys from the Dark side saw through his/her bluff. They were the two strapping young Asuras named Rahu and Ketu (They had their fair share of celestial nymphs and could easily spot the wolf among the sheep).

So these two Demons jump line and join into the Deva queue and Mohini busy with the clever show she was putting on, feeds the Amrit to the two. On Surya's prodding and realising her folly, she releases the Vishnu chakra(a very deadly discus) on the two and cuts their heads off.

Now, here's the interesting part. Since the Amrit had already passed by their heads and throats by then, their heads were immortal which became the stars Rahu and Ketu. These are termed in Hindu Mythology as Demon stars (Rahu.. Ketu.. Demons.. stars.. get it?). They are mighty pissed off at Surya till this day and occasionally gobble him up to create eclipses.

The Amrit, which went through their throats spilled on the earthly ground and gave seed to the Ginger and Garlic plants. Since they are born from Amrit, these two plants have medicinal properties. While the Asura qualities make them harmful at times.

TRUE STORY!!

(This story was told to me by a teacher of mine back in 3rd or 4th standard in an SUPW class. SUPW stands for socially useful productive work. We(guys included) were taught to do girly stuff like Knitting(yuck) so one day we guys took a stand and refused to do any knitting in that class. The teacher decided to tell us this story to pass the time. I couldn't find this story anywhere else on the Internet and so decided to reproduce it here.


On a sidenote, I have always wondered why Mohini isn't counted among Vishnu's Dashavatar. Anybody have any idea?

ps1: Devas->the good guys(Jedi), Asuras->the bad guys(Sith), Vishnu->Yoda, Apsara->celestial nymph, Surya->sun god

ps2: for those whom it is not obvious enough.. True Story is Barney stinson's catchphrase for all the totally far fetched stories he tells

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mashup feeds

I subscribe a lot of feeds on google reader and sometimes the number of feeds feels overwhelming. Thus, in my attempt to organise my feeds I have come up with a couple of mashup feeds. Feel free to use them. I might come up with some more categorized feeds in the future so bookmark this post to find the edits.

Harsha's comic feed (Abstruce Goose, Dilbert, Cyanide and Happiness, PHD comics, POPsickleSTRIP, The Perry Bible Fellowship, We The Robots, xkcd) :
http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=oMdvrZRm3RGjwSX9_w6H4A&_render=rss

Harsha's Quiz feed (Daly Haal, QFI , Keep Guessing, Quintessential Theory and more..):
http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=Zk0kmKRm3RGBu9VFQBJ3AQ&_render=rss

Use any rss reader to subscribe and let me know some good blogs/feeds that I might have missed.

ps : the string "feed" occurs 11 times in this post
 
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