‘Show constructive alternatives to youth’

German humanist Volker Mueller, CCMB Hyderabad Founder-Director P.M. Bhargava, Vijayawada Atheist Centre chairperson Mythri and former president of International Humanist and Ethical Union, Oslo, Norway, Levi Fragall at the International Atheist Conference in Vijayawada on Sunday. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar  

In the face of growing fundamentalism there is a need to show constructive alternatives to the youth, according to P.M. Bhargava, Founder-Director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.

Delivering inaugural address at the International Atheist Conference which coincided with the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Atheist Centre, Vijayawada, at Siddhartha auditorium on Sunday, Mr. Bhargava said most atrocities in the world were committed in the name of religion and cited the example of the recent Muzaffarnagar riots.

Temples in India hold mammoth wealth, he pointed out, suggesting that this concentrated wealth could be utilised to address hunger, malnutrition and disease. He said although he was born in a very orthodox family, he was gifted with the spirit of questioning which helped him comprehend ground realities. Stressing on the need for developing critical thinking among students, he attributed all the progress in the world to scientific advancements.

A galaxy of luminaries from the world of atheism congregated at the session. Levi Fragell from Norwegian Humanist Association, in his presidential address said atheism and humanism had great future in India, a land which was gifted abundantly with intellectual and philosophical treasure. “Atheists do not hate religion. They only criticise wrong notions projected as facts and realities. He said religions, through ages, had been misleading cultures, playing spoilsport in creation of a global society based on truth and honesty. He said humanists across the world must raise their voice against any threat or attack on human dignity or human welfare, be it from a religious or a secular ideology.

Plaque unveiled

The guests later unveiled a plaque with the slogan ‘Atheism is a Way of Life’.

Executive Director of Atheist Centre, Vijayawada, Vijayam, traced the roots of atheism in India to the day of Samkhya philosophy and the Lokayatas and Charvakas. He said after Christianity and Islam, the population of non-religious people was in the third position in the world. “Gora and Saraswathi brought respectability to the term ‘Atheism’ and infused a sense of boldness in people to be able to declare openly that they were atheists. They founded the world’s first known atheist centre and promoted atheism as a way of life, he pointed out.

Chairperson of the Centre Mythri said atheism builds courage and confidence among people to strive for an equal society.

National Federation of Freethought of France general secretary David Gorzian, German Humanist Organisation’s Voker Mueller, Norwegian Humanist Association’s Roar Johnsen and a host of representatives of various humanist, rationalist and atheist organisations participated in the session.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 9:07:31 AM |

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