From the Mailbag: Deconverting from Hinduism

Krishna

Living in a culture where Christianity is the dominant religion, I don't often come into contact with former Hindus or ex-members of other Eastern faiths. But there are atheists in every culture and society in the world, and they all go through the same intellectual and emotional struggles. I got a reminder of that in an e-mail the other day from an ex-Hindu atheist named Vikram who was seeking some advice on handling his own deconversion: Dear Mr. Lee, I have greatly enjoyed your book … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

• Witchcraft is now a recognized profession in Romania, subjecting its practitioners to income tax. Witches who are unhappy about this are responding pretty much like you'd expect. • A female activist in Israel faces prison time for praying at the Wailing Wall. The telling quote: "The religious world in Israel has become more and more extreme," Mrs Hoffman said. "Much like in Islam, religiosity is now measured by the distances at which women are kept from society." • A … [Read more...]

The Dimension of Divinity

I just finished reading The Happiness Hypothesis, a book by Jonathan Haidt, who's a professor in the new science of "positive psychology" at the University of Virginia. Most of the book is a straightforward distillation of scientific research on what truly brings happiness and contentment in life, illustrated with quotes and references to famous philosophers and sages of the past who taught similar lessons. There's nothing to object to about this - I think it's a laudable thing for science to … [Read more...]

Militant Hinduism

People in Western societies often believe that Eastern religions are more peaceful, less fundamentalist, than Judaism, Christianity or Islam have historically been. And it may well be true that the fluid, polytheistic nature of Hinduism and Buddhism makes them more tolerant, more willing to accommodate differing beliefs, than the fiercely monotheistic religions whose gods are unable to abide any competition. Nevertheless, every religion has its violent, fundamentalist wing, and Eastern … [Read more...]

An Incident in the Senate

The U.S. Senate traditionally opens each day's session with a prayer, and today's was a first: the invocation was given by Rajan Zed, a Hindu priest who was invited by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This was the first time a representative of Hinduism has ever been invited to do this. However, there was an ugly incident that disrupted the occasion. As Zed began to speak, he was interrupted by three Christians in the visitors' gallery shouting at the top of their lungs, calling Zed's prayer … [Read more...]

Religion’s Harm to Women

In our society, it is still widely considered rude to criticize opinions and practices that arise from religious belief, no matter how evil or abhorrent they are. Even when it comes to the murderous fanatics who kill in the name of Islam, politicians and other public figures who criticize them often take pains to label their actions as arising from a twisted or self-serving interpretation, as though it would be impossible for a legitimate and sincere interpretation of any religion to inspire … [Read more...]


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