In my reply to a comment on one of my earlier posts I called Taslima Nasreen brave but stupid. Some people have asked me to explain.
I regard her as brave because she bravely spoke out against atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh in her novel 'Lajja '.I am opposed to atrocities on anyone, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, etc
However I also call her stupid because she attacks religion without understanding the social conditions which give rise to it.
Like Taslima, I too am an atheist, and I too believe that all religions are superstitions.. But unlike her, I understand that there are certain social conditions which give rise to religion, e.g. lack of scientific understanding of the objective world, poverty, exploitation, and the chance factor in our lives. Without eliminating these conditions an attempt to suppress religion forcibly will only make people more fanatic and bigoted.
Religion first arose everywhere due to men's ignorance about nature. Almost all gods everywhere were initially nature gods, e.g the Vedic gods Indra, Agni, Surya, etc or the Greek and Roman Gods, Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, Poseidon, etc.These were personification of natural forces which could benefit man or harm him. For instance, if there is timely rain the agricultural crop would be good, but if there was drought, there would be famine. So men conceived of a rain god, Indra, who had to be propitiated to please him and avoid his wrath.
Much later the concept of one god alone arose in the Jewish religion and Islam, where God represented the Perfect Man, who did not have the failings of the ordinary man e.g. he never fell sick, was never born and will never die, and is all powerful, etc
Why do people need religion even today ?
The poor people, who comprise 75-80% of all people, need religion as a psychological support, because their lives are so miserable that they would go mad if they did not have religion as a consoler and a balm ( some call it an opium ).
The affluent too need religion because while they are rich today, they may become poor tomorrow. Prosperous businessmen today may become bankrupt in the future ( due to various causes ). Employees may lose their jobs.The chance factor is so powerful today that we cannot control our own lives, and so we believe that some supernatural entity is controlling our lives, which must be propitiated. This is also why people believe in astrology, palmistry, etc which are all superstitions and humbug.
It is true that today the chance factor is very powerful in our lives. We plan something, but something else happens. But this is due to the low level of development of science as of yet in the world as compared to what it will be 100 or 200 years hence. Science would then have developed so much that we will be able to control our lives, and then there will be no need of religion.
100 years hence or so there will be no poverty among humans, because modern industry is so powerful and so big that enough wealth can be generated by it to give a decent life to everyone in the world.
So instead of directly attacking religion, as Taslima does, i attack the social conditions which give rise to it, while upholding everyone's freedom to practise his/her religion