I watched this documentary the other day called The Unbelievers. In short, it’s about two scientists who travel across the globe to speak publicly about the significance of reason and science, rather than religion, to explain the origins of our existence.
I was born into a Hindu family so I have familiarized myself with temples and poojas and complex mantras, but recently I have been questioning religion, in general. At first I was extremely scared for myself, and I didn’t want to feel spineless for easily being persuaded by a one hour documentary (Woody Allen was in it, so it was kind of hard not loving the film within the first few minutes). But then I realized that it is okay to question your religion, I mean we have the ability to do so, so why shouldn’t we?
It’s hard to have conversations like this, the whole Is there really a higher power thing, because some people are extremely defensive and rooted in their religion and other people would rather avoid such heated discussions. But really, it is hard to talk about things like evolution and natural selection without trumping everything certain religions put out there. As a Hindu, I’ve absorbed few concepts (it is kind of a complex religion that encapsulates spirituality more than moral policies – no premarital sex isn’t really a thing, interestingly and thankfully enough) such as karma, dharma, moksha, samsara, nirvana, and so on. These things make sense to me in some ways, and in other ways, don’t. Hinduism is more about relying on your present actions and choices in your life for the determination of future results, in my opinion. It’s more than just wearing fancy sarees and attending poojas to gossip about your kids. But really, I do find myself sitting down through a prayer service sometimes and asking myself why the hell we are doing this, why I don’t know the mechanics of the prayer service, why I don’t understand it, and why it makes no sense in light of science.
This is the thing though, the whole point I was trying to make past “it’s hard to talk about science without trumping religion” thing: Is there a correlation between higher education and atheism?
I remember Dawkins (I am pretty sure he pointed this out) saying that only one person in Congress (at that time) had openly admitted to being an atheist. And that he believed there were probably way more people in Congress, highly educated people, of course, who were, but didn’t want to admit it because of the high disdain towards atheism (being on par with rapists, studies show!). He named a few presidents, saying it wouldn’t surprise him if they were atheists.
I can’t find anything on this. Anything credible, that is. I found this, but it doesn’t seem good enough. I also saw this graph, and yeah it makes me feel good about myself and my religion, but um, I got it off of this Wikipedia article:
I really do want to know if there is some link between atheism and higher education. I still identify as a Hindu, and I am not afraid to be open-minded towards and learn about other beliefs – or lack thereof. I am not afraid of losing my beliefs with attaining a higher education. I don’t really become defensive in conversations about evolution, because I appreciate raw answers and proof. I’m not scared of being wrong, and I am not scared of my religion being wrong. If anything, I want answers, even in this meaningless universe.
Quote: “Richard, what’s more important in a sense, if you get a choice – explain science or destroy religion?” – Lawrence Krauss