Who are you to allow me to be myself?




Not a week goes by without someone telling atheists that their religion "allows" atheism and that it "allows" debate and discussion or that it allows women to speak and go to work.

The standard response to this has to be that they can keep their permissions. They are nobody to allow anyone anything. They have no authority. The Constitution of India allows me to debate, discuss, and follow any worldview I want.

When those in power try to convince you that it is they who "allow" you to be an atheist, go to work, or speak your mind, they aren't being generous. They are simply cementing their positions of power. It's a sweetened version of the same oppression that didn't "allow" these things once not so long back, when it actually had authority.

Every religion, because it has to contend with modern realities these days, tries extra-hard to portray itself as liberal, progressive, feminist, or often even irreligious (it's not a religion, it's a Way of Life™). But the true nature of religion has always been one that tries to make decisions on behalf of its followers. It tells them who they are, who they are allowed to love, who they must hate, who they are allowed to kill, and who they must obey and adore.

It is only because of the civilising influence of modern secular society that religions feel obliged to pretend that they belong in modern times. Without it, it wouldn't take two seconds for all of these so-called Ways of Life™ to devolve into the true barbarity that has defined them since the days of the first caveman patriarch.

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