Eminent British biologist and author Richard Dawkins was one of the more vocal writers to defend Salman Rushdies right to express his views while demolishing the idea of faith and religion. An ardent proponent of atheism,professor Dawkins,who wrote The God Delusion called Rushdies absence a lamentful disgrace and deplorable,a day before the Midnights Children author’s video link at the Jaipur Literature Festival was cancelled due to protests outside and inside the venue.
Religious faith is a state of mind,that leads people to believe in something,without a whisper of doubt. It is so strong in some cases that they are prepared to kill and die for it. This is the terrifying thing about faith; wherein those taken over by it,are not open to reason or argument. Faith is powerful enough to unite people against pity,forgiveness and decent human feeling, said Dawkins,lashing out at the idea of faith with precision taking over every word he uttered in his packed session.
Author of The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker,books dealing with gene-centric view of evolution,Dawkins is known for his strong views on evolution and the origin of the universe. At the overcrowded festival,Dawkins charming style of decoding science,paired with his views on faith,was sprinkled with many Dawkins moments lauded at regular intervals.
Our whole society is soft on religion. The assumption is remarkably widespread. Without being religious,we might find all sorts of things offensive. I have been deeply offended by things that are a part of Christmas Baby Jesus,Rudolf,the reindeer,but if I like to act on these prejudices,then I will be held accountable. But let somebodys religion be offended,and it becomes another matter entirely, said Dawkins,who added that the antidote to any religious indoctrination is education,specially scientific and critical education and protecting children from indoctrination.
Talking about separating religion from politics,the antagonist in him wants no privileges given to religion via the state. He said,I suspect we have already seen several atheist US presidents,they just didnt admit it. I suspect Lincoln was an atheist,probably so was Kennedy. Obama is an intelligent man,so I wouldn’t be surprised if hes a closet atheist.
When asked if he would like to be immortal Dawkins said,The idea of eternity is frightening; would never want it.
With inputs from agencies