An Encyclopedia of Heresy in South Asia

We know fundamentalist religion is a particularly potent institution; it’s a subset of organized religion characterized by dogma, literal adherence to scripture, hostility to critical thinking, intolerance, indoctrination, and absolute faith.

Atheists (and even moderate theists) play a critical role in countering that type of thinking. Unchecked, not only can the power of fundamentalists grow excessive, but a lack of heterodoxy, generally, also stifles overall human progress.

South Asia is a particularly religious part of the world. Religious fundamentalists – chiefly Hindu and Muslim, but also others – wield significant power, as do allied charlatans of all sorts, from “godmen” to tantriks to peddlers in black magic.

For a heretic in the region, life has always been dangerous.

In recent years, however, promoting critical thinking has become a “crime” punishable by death. No fewer than 12 freethinkers have been murdered in South Asia by religious fundamentalists in this decade.

[Read more…]

Angry Hindu Mob Slaughters Muslim Who Might Have Had Beef at Home

News reports out of India are saying that 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was killed by an angry Hindu mob because they suspected Akhlaq was hoarding beef at home. His son was also seriously injured.

[Read more…]

In Honor of Slain Atheist Avijit Roy, Here’s a Collection of His Work

Earlier this year, author Avijit Roy and his wife were attacked when returning home from a book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh. While his wife survived, Roy did not. He was the first of four atheists brutally killed in the country so far this year.

[Read more…]

Even in His Last Interview, Christopher Hitchens Didn’t Let Up on Mother Teresa

In 2011, Richard Dawkins guest-edited the Christmas issue of the New Statesman and included an interview with Christopher Hitchens. It turned out to be the last interview Hitch ever gave. He died that December.

The day after the interview was conducted, Hitchens received an award from Dawkins at the Texas Freethought Convention, where the two embraced in this memorable image:

[Read more…]

Anti-Superstition Activist M.M. Kalburgi Shot Outside His Home in India

On Sunday morning, 77-year-old M. M. Kalburgi, a notable Indian skeptic who had fought against superstition throughout his career, was shot dead in front of his home.

[Read more…]