How to stay positive despite the horrors

A post for freethinkers, Humanists and atheists who are concerned about or dealing with violent oppression for their world view.

This is based on a question I got over at my Bollywood Humanist youtube channel. Queen movie Review: Bollywood/Kangana


I am a Humanist myself, nice to see your review. Specially incidents of the world now make me feel sad. Recently Saudi Arabia order beheading an Atheist. Similar punishment for Blasphemy was also there in Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia and other country.  Being a Bengali and Bengal is divided by British into Hindu and Muslim ( West Bengal and Bangladesh now) parts. Hindu Part fall into India and Bangladesh was under Pakistan then they fought for a secular country and make Bangladesh. We Bengali's from both side of the border share same language, culture, book, foods and also writer and bloggers. 18 writer, bloggers, cartoonist, publishers and were killed just because they were Humanist and spreading their message in Bangladesh, by ISIS. Hack to death in streets between 2015 to 2016. In India 3 humanist were killed recently H Farook was killed for posting "No God No God No God" in his Facebook status in Tamil Nadu.

We also see the rise of Right wing like Trump in USA, British, India now right wing leaders like Yogi Adityanath who previously openly used hate and threatening speech to all Muslims are elected in India. There were Hindu terrorist who are killing people for selling or consuming beef ( Cow is considered sacred among many Hindus).

Other secular country like Turkey becoming more of a dictator, arresting Atheist and Human Right activist. Saudi Arabia will be head of UN from 2018 ... I am not feeling good the direction the World and World politics are moving towards. What you thing and how we can promote human rights and harmony when hate and divide in the society is increasing ( as my observation).

My response:

Yes - it's a scary time and the entire freethought community is upset about the killings happening in the Bengal areas.  And yes, religious authoritarianism is on the rise in many places.   The good news is that there is resistance to that everywhere and we just have to keep resisting and finding positive ways to talk about life and be alive.  

I have been wavering between hope and despair for months now, but I keep finding reasons to be hopeful. For instance, Republicans in the US partnered with Dems to pass a budget that rebuffed the worst of what Trump proposed.  I am dividing my time between acts of resistance and acts of creation.  In times of great turmoil - creating beauty is in itself an act of resistance. One of the best lessons on this was the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. People realized that as oppressive as the state was - they operated mostly on fear. People were afraid to resist because of the threat of retaliation. But the artists involved in the Velvet Revolution created box art that could be shared and they decided to act as if the state couldn't find them - which they couldn't - not really. They resisted through art.

One of the reasons I wanted to review movies from a Humanist perspective was to highlight the work artists are doing to promote humanism and human rights even in the midst of societies that are doing their best to suppress dissent.

The other thing that keeps me hopeful is that a futurist/humanist I saw talk years ago said that religious fundamentalism/extremism would peak in 2014.  We are in the peak right now.  If we can resist and maintain positive pressure - we should be able to get through this despite the setbacks.
One way to understand the violent backlash against humanism and humanists is that this is part of the extinction process. Old ways of being never go quietly into the night. They fight back to regain supremacy. If they lose, they fight back harder and harder.  If they were winning, they wouldn’t need to fight. This violence is part of the behavioral extinction process.

On the other hand, there will always be people fearful of change and what it will mean for them and they will always be willing to fight for their truth. So even as society becomes less violent, and it has been getting less violent, there will always be people who agitate for violent change and for that, we have to remain vigilant. Which brings me back to the need to resist beautifully.

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