Fact 1: There is no established religion in the world, which has not given rise to sects, sub-sects and secondary sub-sects. It is difficult to find any religion that does not encourage sectarianism.
Fact 2: There is no religion whose followers have not done the opposite of what their prophets have preached.
Fact 3: It is difficult to find a religion without foolish disciples who believe that their religion is the best, and priests who live off this foolishness and encourage ignorance.
Fact 4: There is no religion in the world without its band of shopkeepers catering to the naïve men and women willing and eager to jump into the whirlpool of miracles and superstitions.
Fact 5: As ritualism and fanaticism increases in every established religion in the world, its true beauty is lost.
Fact 6: The person who believes that his religion is the best can never be secular. The first requirement of secularism is the belief that all religions are the same. There is a natural acceptance of the best in every religion. All mankind has a right to the best in every religion.
Fact 7: It is permissible to convert one’s religion. But it is not permissible to make others convert. The value of any religion cannot be judged by the number of people practicing it. Just as the value of a river cannot be judged by the number of fish that live in it.
Fact 8: It is the duty of every person to understand and avoid the limitations of the religion he was born into. The religion of humanity is superior to any other established religion. The religion of humanity favours democracy.
Fact 9: Mankind cannot do without the support of religion. Religion has been a painkiller and a tranquillizer for innumerable ages for human beings faced with suffering and death. Even if religion is only a consolation, it is widespread and almost harmless.
Fact 10: It’s not a small thing to be an atheist. An atheist’s quest for truth cannot be considered lesser in any way. But it is not necessary to believe that an atheist is also automatically a rationalist. The real measure is the measure of devotion to truth. A difference of opinion or belief that leads to conflict is a sign of immaturity. It is dangerous to democracy.
From Dr. Gunvant Shah’s book ‘Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein‘
Translated by Farida Noorani, Batul Mukhtiar, June 2008