Atheism is superficially viewed as the philosophy of negation of god and considered as the agenda meant for the accomplishment by the intellectuals and the educated masses.
Practically, atheism is an alternative way of living. Human potentials are inhibited from their transformation into action for the progress of human civilization and prosperity.
The major inhibiting blocks are ‘GOD’ and its institutionalized fortified edifice, ‘RELIGION’. The belief in God and in prayer manifest themselves in the form of rituals at the time of ceremonies.
Rituals have become an integral part of human lives. Even those who have got scant respect for god and belief in it are performing the rituals meticulously for the sake of social integrity. Such people who are numerically more do not have the confidence, and are unable to realize that human lives could be possible and in fact could be brighter outside the ambit of god and religion.
More than the barrier of negating god, what would the rest of the people in the society would consider, if god is negated and rituals are forbidden? – These are the inner inhibitions, running in the minds of such people. They are fearful of being boycotted in the society and from the circle of family and relatives.
Many of such persons who are mentally rationalists, but externally orthodox by performing rituals, find it difficult to reveal their individual identity. Their real identities get diluted and dissolved in the religion-ridden social behaviors.
Revealing as atheists individually would not sustain longer because the atheist has got bearing on the collective living. Unless the belief in atheism is nurtured and adhered to collectively, the non-belief in god of individuals would remain meaningless.
Such nurturing could be continued through propaganda and publishing literature through magazines, newspapers, books in as well as through e-medium.
Any extent of such sort of nurturing will not favour the faster and effective reach of desired destination. The remedial mode for the effective reach is visual mode of atheist propaganda.
Among the current visual communication media television assumes significant space. Instead of selling the consumer products at places convenient to the sellers, selling them at vantage points of customers would result in enhancement of sales volumes.
Substituting ‘the belief and philosophy’ in the place of ‘product’ could be influential on the propaganda of atheist ideals. Instead of inviting people to listen to atheist propagandas at common places, TV media are capable of penetrating the households of all the people.
The least efforts are sufficient on the part of the listeners to view the propaganda programmes, compared to their initiative efforts to reach the propaganda places in the other usual propaganda modes.
So far, in the prevailing commercial TV channels, short time slots may be available for atheist propaganda, the effect of which would be made ineffective .
Recently, for the first time ‘American Atheists’ have announced the launch of ‘Atheist TV’ with base at Cranford, New Jersey, USA.
It is an exclusive channel for the propaganda of atheist ideals. At its launch event, David Silverman, President- American Atheists has said that the channel would provide a breath of content from science to politics and comedy. All these propaganda programmes would focus on ‘our common freedom from religion’.
The promoters of Atheist TV assert that they would advocate absolute separation of Church and State. Besides, they say they would not present science fiction or pseudo-scientific claims as science fact.
This shows clearly the twisting of fiction and the deliberate attempts made by the vested interests to project fiction and pseudo-science as science. Gautam Adhikari emphasizes in the sub- editorial, ‘ God’s Disloyal Opposition’ (The Times of India – 9th August 2014) secular view of life thus:
“In that world secular view, assertions of bigoted charlatans, who masquerade as scholars that ancient Indians know about stem cells, motor cars and computers should either find no place in modern discourse or must be vigourously dismissed.
Atheists and non-believers are well positioned to challenge such idiotic obscurantism. Secular science forms today’s foundation of knowledge”
The world’s first atheist probably emerged in ancient India. Charuvakas, sect of non-believers in India rejected the super-naturals and insisted, “only the perceived exists”.
Buddha, the well documented pioneer rationalist and non-believer of God was the first to take up the atheist propaganda on a mass scale. But the movement founded by Buddha was tainted under religious cover and ultimately assimilated in its country of origin, India by the vedic religious dominants.
And Buddha was fabricated as one of the avatars of God Vishnu. Knowing the past history of atheist movements, Periyar founded the Self- Respect Movement and propagated the cause of humanism with strategic support of atheist ideals.
Periyar was very cautious in framing the atheist propaganda without giving any avenue or loopholes for its fabrication thus:
“There is no God, There is no God at all.
He who invented God is a fool.
He who propagated God is a scoundrel.
He who worships God is a savage.”
Periyar clearly spelt out as above which could not give any chance for the vested interest to convert him as an avatar of any God.
Periyar founded his atheist organization not merely as intellectuals’ forum but conducted it as a movement of mass participation. In respect of the organizational framework, the atheist mass movement, founded by Periyar and presently led by Dr.K.Veeramani is unique world wide.
The Pew Survey conducted in the year 2012, suggests that atheists comprise just 2.01 per cent of the world population.
But if the proportion of the ‘ non- religious’,is included, the overall percentage of non-believers may tally between 16 to 18 per cent of humanity. In US, a country which is deeply religious, those who don’t believe in any particular religion plus atheists and agnostics account today to the total close to 20 per cent of the population.
In England at the time of recently held World Humanist Congress at Oxford in August 2014, it was enumerated as nearly 51 per cent of the people of England are non believers.
Gautam Adhikari points out that the happy feature of atheism and non belief is that all the needs for an exclusive religious identity are obviated.
Every devotee of any religion designs a path to truth at the exclusion of every other religious view. Thus religion divides us. Secular humanism has emerged in modern civilization as an antidote to religious division. Atheist propaganda would favour and facilitate such emergence.
Periyar Movement in Tamil Nadu, India, has planned for the establishment of Periyar TV in its agenda for the propaganda in future. Dravidar Kazhagam , the pivotal organization of Periyar Movement has been publishing Viduthalai, the only rationalist daily in the world with the editorship of Dr.K.Veeramani, exceeding half a century.
‘Viduthalai’ is acclaimed as the first loaded e-paper in Tamil. With that technological infrastructure and effective utilization of information technological advancements, Periyar Movement is likely to launch Periyar TV at the earliest.
New era has been commenced in the atheist propaganda by the launch of Atheist TV in USA. Let the pioneering role of Atheist TV pave way for the establishment of many atheist TV channels which would counter the religious fundamentalism and obscurantism to facilitate harmonious co-habitation of human beings beyond the antihuman barriers.
Such ternd would ultimately weaken the faith in God and religion , the major hurdles for the progress of humanity.