Speak out moderate religion, I can’t hear you.
This blog is in response to a Commentary by Kashyap Vasada in The Indianapolis Star, April 14
Religion has its place, but it’s not in a science class
Kashyap Vasada is a Professor of Physics at IUPUI in Indianapolis.
Finally, a rare voice of reason from a religious minority, Hinduism. I congratulate Professor. Minority religions too infrequently speak out in the public arena for their rights. Your voice of reason and moderation is welcome.
Prof. Vasada’s believes all religions have a right to practice, promote, and evangelize, but not in the science classroom. He suggests a World Religions Class so religious beliefs could be taught in a public school, as long as the teaching introduced and summarized all religions fairly without the indoctrinization of students to one particular belief. I believe all those favoring a secularist government including those professing no religious faith, would wholeheartedly agree.
Prof. Vasada, is Hindu, and like most Christians is not of the evangelical philosophy, that aggressively promotes one belief at the expense of another. I have always understood freedom of religion to be an American birth right guaranteed by our Constitution. Recently those who believe America is a Christian nation, founded by Christians, for Christians, have challenged this freedom of religion. Evangelicals believe other religions and non-believers should be tolerated but are not entitled to the same rights as Evangelical Christians. I understand the dilemma of the Evangelical community: they feel an extreme obligation to spread the “good news about Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers to all.” Their theology runs smack up against the intent of the founding fathers, so they are forced to interpret the Constitution to suit their evangelical needs.
Prof. Vasada goes on to briefly explain concepts of Hinduism, since it was one of the religions mentioned in a recent failed Indiana State bill. His moderate interpretation of Hinduism is his own, but probably is reflected by much of the Indianapolis Hindu community. It seems to be a tolerant interpretation; one quite compatible with other moderate religions and also with those who believe religion is not necessary to live a moral and successful life. Prof. Vasada explains how he believes Hinduism can be totally reconciled with science. His brand of Hinduism is in stark contrast to the fundamentalist supernatural interpretation of the Judeo-Christian bible.
Perhaps Prof. Vasada’s most profound statement is: “In my opinion, there is no conflict between belief in God and science (as long as belief in God is consistent with the laws of nature). The fundamentalist Christian community does not agree and rewords the statement. There is no conflict between belief in God and science as long as science is consistent with the religious doctrine, a huge distinction. In the past, Christian theologians have vehemently maintained this stance and burned those who believed differently. Today, dissenters are discriminated against and their rights are taken away.
I wonder why more moderate Christians and those of other moderate religious beliefs have not spoken out like Prof. Vasada has. Where are the voices of religious moderation? They need to stand with secularists, atheists/agnostics, and those of no religious belief who fear the establishment of an American theocracy. An American theocracy is the stated goal of the evangelical community who cleverly uses its political power to manipulate and coerce politicians to publically sanction and promote its brand of Christianity. Where are the voices of moderation, reason, and secularism?
What’s that you say? I can’t hear you.