This is how I answered a rather badly composed query that was posted on my timeline on the social media:
The explosion of science in the 19th century was set off when atheism became an acceptable, if not entirely respectable way of thinking. Nobody pulled out the tongue and wired the jaws of Darwin, none impaled Sigmund Freud, neither the religious nor the rich shot Karl Marx; the Pope did not dare order that Pierre and Mary Curie be tied to quartering machines and have their limbs systmatcally and religiously broken with sledge hammers. The last man to be inquisitioned and publicly hanged was an English teacher in 1826 for being a theist – not even an atheist. Till then were the days in Europe when it was not enough to believe in God, but to believe in a particular category of God – Catholic, Protestant or Anglican depending on who found you.
Scientific findings went against the teaching of the Bible. Darwin’s theory made God unnecessary. Imagine the fate of anyone if he or she discovered DNA and XY chromosomes in the 17th century, proving that males have only a minor role in procreation – a nature’s (or genes’) way to avoid packing of an all-female humanity with identcal clones. If physical strength was the sign of superiority, then Orangutans should be considered superior to humans, more so the smelly bears.
The killer God had ordered in the Bible that those who did not believe in him be killed by the edge of the sword – men, women and children as well as cattle; wombs of pregnant women be cut open and the foetuses destroyed, children of Babylonians be dashed on rocks, and the believers rejoice by washing their feet in the blood of the non-believers. The effects of such evil exhortations had progressively diminished as atheism (then euphemistically known as free thought) which, in the West, sprouted as late as the 17th century to the gory death of many. a man and woman, but found some acceptance in the 19th and became a full-fledged scientific principle in the twentieth. By 1998, about 93% of members of NAS declared themselves to be atheists or agnostics while only 7% thought otherwise. It’s another matter that the gullible laymen (not to exclude women) of America reverse that percentage.
Religion is a fiercely competitive, profit-making corporate affair. When corporates face competition from outside, they forget their rivalries and unite, bribing the government to let them keep their privileges. That is why the onrush of atheistic and agnostic thoughts in literature and scientific journals during the nineteenth century made Christians of all shades hurriedly organize the Parliament of Religions in 1893. Suddenly, but temporarily, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and even tribal religions became respectable in America. The only one who refused to join this melee was E.W. Benson, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, on the ground that none other than Christian denominations qualified as religion.
Naturally, no corporate monolyth could cooperate with another for too long, so soon the split widened. Seeing the popularity of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam rising, Christianity displayed its fangs. Nonetheless, Muslims made mosques all over Europe and the US; the more religious ones segregated themselves in Shariah areas defying the law of the land. Hindus dotted the landscapes with their extravagant temples while their Gurus set up camps in prime acres of land in US cities, their ‘Ashrams‘ gradually degenerating into nuisance for the local population. Some Gurus expanded on ancient Hindu wisdom; others let their camps become dens of decadent affluence and vice. New Christian cults took shape, some encouraging polygamy and marrying of underage children as a sacred duty, others persuading their adherents to commit mass suicides anticipating the soon-to-be apocalypse. To the utter shock and chagrin of this century, primitive cultural traditions became acceptable within modern civilization.
The only humans who remain on earth that do not accept the equality of men and women are religious bigots; xenophobia and racism are characteristic traits of religion. Religious scriptures glorify slavery, degradation of women and punishment of children. Bible admonishes that children who disobey or accuse their parents be killed by stoning in public after falsely accusing them of being drunkards. A Hadith of Islam states that Allah keeps a special place for those who keep a whip in sight of the rest of the family to instill fear among the many wives and dozens of childen; that it is Ok for a father to kill his son of the age of 10 or more if he refuses (even fails) to say all his five regulation prayers. On the other hand, atheist-sociologist Phil Zuckerman voices atheist thought that far from bringing children up in a moral vacuum, atheism can give them better clarity about right and wrong . The child’s character, he wrote, would then be formed by empathy rather than fear of punishment.
Religious intransigence againt consensual homosexuality forced Alan Turing, one of the greatest contributors to the origin and growth of computer science and the one who devised programs to decode vital Nazi messages to help Allies win Second world war, commit suicide after facing extreme humiliation. Religion that interferes in every aspect of human life does not allow a person to live one’s life the way one wishes or according to the dictate of one’s genes. The far more civilized atheism says what one does in private is one’s business; leave the person alone as long one does no societal harm. Who is a third person to make judgment?
Atheism is an evolved thought process that is nourished by scientific research, discoveries and inventions. As more and more educated men and women throng the lecture halls and debating sites, paying for tickets where Richard Dawkins, Sam Haris, Daniel Dennet (not to forget Abraham Kovoor till a few decades ago and Christopher Hitchens till a decade ago ) among many other enlightened humans spoke, you’d find less and less church attendance. Except in the backward US South where Christianity, and hence white supremacism thrive; gun violence abounds in churches, schools, nurseries and streets.
The sphere of rationalism, like the universe itself is forever expanding, and would one day put an end to the wars that are regularly fought and the suicide bombings that are carried out in the name of religions in every part of the world. From amalgamation of races would emerge superior, stronger and far better evolved humans. There will be far less persecution of people for their choices, far fewer priests who sodomize children; even fewer paedophiles who run Christian charity homes with the aim to rape adolescent girls. Muslim parents will not resist polio vaccination to their children; Jews and Muslims will not mutilate the genitals of their children except for medical reason; little girls will not have their inner or outer labia or the hood of their clitoris incised to give them life-long agony. Pastors of the US will not preach against vaccination that has made America the breeding ground of measles. Hindu bigots will not waste time debating the entry of women in a temple in Kerala while those rendered homelss by the unprecedented deluge wait hopelessly for succour.