Why Millennial Women Are Embracing Atheism

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Danielle Schacter never thought she would become an un-Christian. “I slowly became more and more disgusted by the way I saw people treating others,” says the 32-year-old, who was raised Baptist. “I didn’t want to be associated with a religion that preached so much hate.”

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Danielle Schacter, who identifies as agnostic, is one of a growing number of people who identify with no religion. Photo courtesy of Danielle Schacter.

Schacter, like so many millennials, has chosen a secular life, and she’s not alone: according to the Pew Research Center, only four in 10 millennials say that religion is very important to them, compared with six in 10 Baby Boomers.

The numbers of religiously unaffiliated support this, too : 23 percent of the population identifies with no religion. This number is up from 2007, when it was only 16 percent.Of older millennials, 35 percent are religiously unaffiliated— and they’re driving the overall growth of the nonreligiously affiliated in America.

“I didn’t want to be associated with a religion that preached so much hate.”

This is a big deal. To be religiously unaffiliated means you not only avoid identifying as a Christian or Jew or Muslim, but that you eschew organized faith altogether. From there,”nonreligious” can be broken down into four categories: secularism (the belief in separation of church and state and that all beliefs are equal), agnosticism (the belief that it’s impossible to know if there is a god), humanism (the idea that human reason drives us, not higher powers), and atheism (the belief that there is no god). This last group,the atheists, has become increasingly vocal in recent years. They are fighting to keep religion separated from laws that affect them and to shift society away from religious trappings.

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Kayley Whalen, a queer transgender Latinx woman who identifies as “a humanist and an existentialist and an atheist.” Photo courtesy of Kayley Whalen.

What’s fascinating is that while millennials are moving away from religion, they are moving toward spirituality. This demographic considers itself just as spiritual as older demographics, even as they represent an exodus out of organized religion and into the throes of secularism. When you consider the issues facing young people today, the reasons for the exodus are easy to understand. In rejecting religion, millennials are asserting their progressive attitudes and passion for social justice. They’re committed to the idea that they don’t need religion to know the difference between right and wrong.

Perhaps no one represents this cultural shift better than millennial atheist women. While they may sit at the most extreme side of the nonreligious spectrum, atheist women are fueled by the same concerns plaguing millennials in general: a quest for independence and a rejection of the status quo.

The Atheism and Feminism Connection

Lauryn Seering, 27, has never been religious, but she found atheism in high school in reaction to mainstream fundamentalist Christian ideas that condemn her lesbian mother. “Millennial women want autonomy over their own bodies,” says Seering, communications coordinator for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting the separation of church and state.

“They recognize that all the arguments against this autonomy (contraception, birth control, marriage) are religiously fueled,” Seering continued.”Women aren’t being pressured by society anymore to get married at a young age, have children right away, and tend house while their husbands work.”

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Lauryn Seering, an atheist who works for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Photo courtesy of Lauryn Seering.

Schacter identifies as agnostic. She’s based in Kansas City, MO, where she founded a digital marketing agency called Boxer & Mutt. To her, growing secularism is a sign of independent women. “It’s becoming more socially acceptable for women to think for themselves and really question why things are the way they are rather than blindly accepting them,” she says.

Kayley Whalen, 31, is a queer transgender Latinx woman who identifies as “a humanist and an existentialist and an atheist.” These different identities certainly influence how she approaches the world.

“We have ethical values without the need for the supernatural,”

Whalen says. “We believe in social justice,that we can live a life with meaning, purpose,and dedication to social justice without the need for supernatural guidance.”
Unsurprisingly, Whalen’s beliefs are tied up in her activist work: she’s the digital strategy and social media manager for the National LGBT Task Force and is on the board of directors for both the Secular Students Allians and the Trans United Fund.

As Whalen epitomizes, many young women who do not believe in God share a point of view that goes beyond just being atheist or just being a woman. The two are intertwined identities oppressed similarly in the United States.

“We have ethical values without the need for the supernatural.”

Lee Blackwolf, who runsthe popular Facebook Page Black Atheists, constantly copes with this intersection. “It’s important to me because, as a black bisexual woman, there’s not many of us who are atheist,” explains Blackwolf, a 29-year-old stay-at-home mother in Twinsburg, OH. “We’re not welcomed in most spaces that are atheists. We already have a lot of hurdles to jump through in life so it takes a lot of strength. I lost an entire family because of it. I actually have the luxury to say that I’m better off without them. It’s not the same for most.”

Blackwolf’s concerns hint at societal assumptions about atheist women, which every woman we spoke with touched on: being a woman who isn’t religious breaks away from the social norms that frame femininity. Emily Greene, an artist and activist working in promotional marketing in Augusta, summed it up best. “You’re probably seen as less feminine,” the 32-year-old said. “You’re definitely judged, looked at more harshly.It’s an assumption that it’s a negative thing.”

Ironically, being atheist can mirror being religious, as it plays a role in many aspects of young life. “That was very important to me inchoosing a partner,” says Katherine, a 32-year-old HR manager in California.”I have gotten into some debate with friends before where they’re like, ‘If you’re an atheist, why do you care if the other person is of faith?’ I’m like, ‘You— as, say, a Christian person — would not want to marry a non-Christian person.”

Why Are Young Women Interested in Atheism?

Phil Zuckerman, professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College, believes that young people are turning away from religion as a result of how closed-minded andconservative many congregations can be, particularly when they are responsible for enabling xenophobic and queerphobic mindsets. For instance, many churches reject the idea of same-sex marriage, while 71 percent of millennials support it (in comparison with only 46 percent of Baby Boomers).

“A lot of young people are being turned off of by that brand of Christianity,” he explains. “They’re just seeing religion as an institution and saying, ‘Ah, screw it.’ Even though that brand of Christianity is not the majority — most Christians are decent, kind people who aren’t anti-gay and aren’t racist and aren’t anti-Islamic. But they don’t make the headlines. They’re not dominating the news.”

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Emily Greene, an artist, activist, and atheist. Photo courtesy of Emily Greene.

The internet is also serving as a conduit for less religion. As technology occupies more of our time, says Zuckerman, it chips away at “religion’s ability to maintain a monopoly on truth . . . It’s really corroding religion’s ability to dominate our culture and dominate people’s lives.”

While there have always been religious skeptics — the farthest back is believed to be the Charvaka movement in 7th century BC — the present shift away from religion is notable because the numbers of religiously unaffiliated and atheists are way up. Although the movement is still predominately male and white, more women are stepping forward as religion reveals itself to be optional in their lives —and sometimes to stand in the way of their independence.

Zuckerman believes this has to do with traditional organized religions’ male-centrism: teaching women that they’re second class, must remain virginal, and must stay out of leadership positions. Pair this with the amount of women in the workplace rivaling men, and the group doesn’t need to turn to a church for social or financial support that churches typically offer.

Being an Atheist Is a Political Act

Molly Hanson grew up in a Catholic household but has always been skeptical of the”invisible man in the sky” who tells people what to do. The 23-year-old Hanson, like many atheists, finds that questioning faith and religion makes people wonder ifsomething is wrong with her womanness.”

If a woman doesn’t bow down to this god and lord, she must have an issue with that god or lord,” says Hanson, an editorial assistant at the Freedom For Religion Foundation. “She must have been damaged. There’s a reason why she decided to leave that god. She might have been morally corrupted by another man or might have — I don’t know — been wronged.”

This issue isn’t confinedto religious communities. One woman — a 30-year-oldIndian American writer in New York who declined to give her name — finds this flaw in atheist leaders, too.

“The movement itself is really alienating toward women,” she says.”Leaders like Richard Dawkins are pretty sexist and condescending and talkdown to women. Women have been left out in those major discussions of atheism.”

The nonreligious believe that, once the church is taken out of the state, equality can be achieved.

Whalen agrees: “It’s really difficult that one person like a Richard Dawkins or a Bill Maher can be seen as the face of atheism. The difference between a woman who is an atheist, and a male, cisgender atheist is that a woman doesn’t have the choice to be a single issue. She can’t say, ‘Oh, religious discrimination is the most important thing —and being a woman comes second.'”

For women who are atheists, discrimination is complicated further by the many ways their identities intersect. Gender as it relates to religious affiliation is complex, and it’s even more complicated as it relates to black female atheists, as Blackwolf can attest. “A lot of black atheist men are often heard saying, ‘Black women sure do love them some church!'” she says.”When we start having adiscussion, there are implications about where my place in the community should be, and that’s behind the man.”

Atheist Women Want a Future of Equality

In speaking with young atheist and secular women, some through lines appear, among them a hope for equality that could be stymied by religion’s grasp on society. There is a desire to normalize differing points of view, from LGBTQ people to atheists.

Katherine sees public events like the inauguration of President Donald Trump as a perfect example. “I was really struck by so much praying happening,” she says. “I’d like to seeus move kind of away from that and use logic and science and that holistic definition of freedom.”

The nonreligious believe that, once the church is taken out of the state, equality can be achieved. Hanson believes these roadblocks arise as the result of unequal representation.”Women understand what it’s like to be oppressed by laws that are rooted in religious ideas that oppress women and their sexuality,” she explains.”To get more women in government positions is going to be a challenge,especially right now.”

When women hold elected office, it inspires more women to run— and more women in government has a powerful trickle-down effect on women as a whole.

But what if these women leaders were atheists? Would they still succeed?

Surveys have shown that atheism is ine of the traits in a leader that Americans are most biased against. “I cannot imagine a president who identifies as an atheist,”says the Indian-American writer in New York. “I’m a woman anda person of color: a female person of color who is an atheist could never be the president of the United States. It feels like another barrier.”

Others, like Whalen, see these many layers as vital to change: “I want a woman politician to run and say that she’s an atheist and that she’s for reproductive justice, that she’s for transgender rights, and win. I want a transgender woman to be able to do that.”

Ultimately, for atheist women (and atheists in general) to succeed at changing society, they need to continue on the path they are on and not settle for being silenced. Zuckerman draws parallels to the LGBT community.”Coming out does have an effect,” he says.”More and more people feeling comfortable saying ‘I’m not that religious’ has an effect.”Atheists just want to be seen as starting from the same place as any other decent American.

Greene sums it up nicely: “We want to get up, go to work, and enjoy our friends and families and our lifestyles just the same way as the person who gets up on Sunday and goes to church. We have our own ways of self-care. A lot of people find religion and that’s how they take care of themselves — and that’s great. We just do things a different way and that’s OK.”

Source : popsugar.com

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What is Atheism Really All About?

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Atheism is something that is becoming more common these days. In a world in which many people need to find something to believe in, atheism is becoming popular. There is increasing pressure in today’s world for people to declare what they believe in. People must put a label on their beliefs. Atheism is one such label that people can choose. But what is atheism, and what do atheists do and believe in?

What is Atheism?

In simple terms, atheism is the belief that God does not exist. In particular, atheism is the belief that there is no such thing as any God, as described by any religion. In addition, atheism is the belief that there is no heaven or afterlife of any kind. People who practice atheism typically don’t believe in any of the things associated with traditional religion. They usually don’t observe rituals of a religious nature, or religious holidays. Cultural traditions can often dictate that people who practice atheism would also observe some religious holidays suchas Christmas. However, traditionally, a part of atheism is not observing religious holidays. Atheists will usually form their ownmoral code based on what they think is right themselves. They will not pay attention to morality as decidedand dictated by religious organizations and religious texts.

What is an Atheist?

An atheist is someone who believes in and practices the lifestyle relating to atheism as discussed above. Many atheists will have come to their opinion about the non-existence of a deity based on their analysis of the available information about all of the different Gods and deities that people believe in. Usually, an atheist will come to the conclusion that it is impossible for a God of any description to exist. Following the lack of proof in the existence of a deity, atheists usually come to the belief that no such being exists. Atheists are people who usually have faith in science rather than religion. They often believe in the scientific theory of “the big bang” to explain how the earth came into being, along with the believing in evolution to explain how humans came to be what they are today.

What Kind of People are Atheists?

There is a certain preconceived opinion that exists about atheists. Many people assume that atheists are also Satanists, Communists, anarchists, and Humanists.
However, it cannot be assumed that all atheists are any or all of these things also. It is important to remember that people vary so much that some atheists many be some of these things, but that not all atheists are the same. It is also assumed that atheists are people who are lacking in a moral code or accountability for their actions.
However, as discussed above, most atheists will have developed their own moral code based on their upbringing and their own thought processes about what is right andwrong. Atheists still make up a small minority of the world’s population.
However, the number of atheists are rising, particularly in countries where English is the predominant language spoken.

In conclusion, atheism is a belief that cannot be described as a religion because its belief is the very opposite of that of most religions. Atheism is all about the belief that no God or deity of any kind exists.

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Hawking: ‘I’m an atheist, science is more convincing than God’

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The world’s preeminent theoretical physicist has explicitly acknowledged for the first time that he is an atheist, explaining that “science offers a more convincing explanation” of the origins of the universe than ‘God.’

In an article published in the leading Spanish daily El Mundo, Hawking clarified an in famous passage in his international best selling book A Brief History of Time, in which he wrote:

“If we discover a complete [unifying] theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we should know the mind of God.”“What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t,” Hawking, 72, told El Mundo reporter Pablo Jáuregui. “I’m an atheist.”

“Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe,” said Hawking. “But now science offers a more convincing explanation.”Although Hawking does not believe in any supernatural ‘God,’ he is convinced that earth isn’t the only planet harboring intelligent life.“The idea that we are alone in the universe seems to me completely implausible and arrogant,” Hawking told El Mundo. “

Considering the number of planets and stars that we know exist, it’s extremely unlikely that we are the only form of evolved life.”But Hawking warned humans would be wise to proceed with extreme caution when attempting to reach out to extraterrestrial beings, comparing any first contact to Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas.

“[That] didn’t turn out very wellfor the Native Americans,” he noted.

Hawking, who has previously stated that he doesn’t believe humanity will survive the next thousand years “unless we spread into space,” reiterated his assertion that space exploration was humankind’s best hope for long-term survival.

“It could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonizing other planets,” he said.

Hawking’s ‘coming out’ was among the worst-kept secrets in the world of science. He has strongly hinted at his atheism on numerous occasions.

In a 2010 conversation with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, Hawking was asked if he believed the origin of life on earth is nothing more than coincidence.

“The existence of the earth and the properties that made it possible for biological life to develop depend on a very fine balance between the so-called constants of nature,” he explained. “If they were more than slightly different, either planets like the earth would not occur or the chemical processes necessary for life would not take place.”

“One might take this as evidence of a divine creator, but an alternative explanation is what is known as the multiverse,” Hawking continued. “The idea is that there are many possible universes [and] only in the small number of universes that are suitable will intelligence beings develop and be able to ask the question, ‘Why is the universe so carefully designed?’

“Hawking has even resorted to the sort of provocative anti-religion rhetoric that made Dawkins a household name and the world’s most famous atheist.

Comparing the human brain toa computer, Hawking suggested to the Guardian in a 2011 interview that ‘heaven’ was a “fairy story.”

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” he explained when asked what happens when people die. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
When asked by ABC’s Diane Sawyer in 2010 whether there was a way to reconcile science and religion, Hawking cited a “fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason.”

“Science will win because it works,” he asserted.Still, Hawking has also occasionally confused observers by seemingly leaving the door open to the possibility of a ‘God.’

During a 2010 CNN interview with Larry King, for example, Hawking said, “God may exist, but science can explain the universe without the need for a creator.

”But his “we could know the mind of God” passage has been seized upon by some religious believers, who erroneously claim Hawking is aman of faith, or at least an agnostic. His latest comments, however, leave no doubt abou this atheist beliefs.

Source : Digital Journal

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Atheist : Origin of Species

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The 2009 atheist bus campaign. Photograph: Frank Baron for the Guardian

Nick Spencer ( Atheists: The Origin of the Species ) doesn’t believe the standard creation myths about atheism.

According to the standard account, atheism is the produce of reason and science: “men began to work the metal, which they called ‘reason’, using it to forge a new weapon, which they called ‘science’, and they used ‘science’ to attack the monster, and the very clever men.”

The monster, of course, was religion, and the men of science “had to be very careful at first because if anyone was caught using ‘science’, they would be dragged into market squares where they would be burned alive, and indeed this was how many men lost their lives.”

Spencer argues that religion had a more positive role in forming atheism, and science had little to do with it: “

Modern atheism did indeed emerge in Europe in the teeth of religious, i.e. Christian, opposition. But it had only a limited amount to do with reason and evenless with science.

The creation myth in which a few brave souls forged weapons made of a previously unknown material, to which the religious were relentlessly opposed, is an invention of the later nineteenth century, albeit one with ongoing popular appeal.

In reality . . . modern atheism was primarily a political and social cause, its development in Europe having rather more to do with the (ab)use of theologically legitimized political authority than it does with developments inscience or philosophy.”

The conflict was not science v. religion, or reason v. faith, but a battle over the sources and nature of authority: “the history of atheism is best seen as a series of disagreements about authority, the concept in which various concerns – does God exist, how do we know, how should we live and who should we obey —coalesce.”

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[कविता] : धर्म

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नफरत हिंसा द्वेष घृणा का ढूंढा तो आधार धर्म ।
जितना खून बहा है जग में उसका भी आधार धर्म ।
विश्व विवादों की जा जड़ में देखा तो आधार धर्म ।
भूख गरीबी और शोषण का इनका भी आधार धर्म ।
आतंकवाद का पहन के चोला करता नरसंहार धर्म ।
रूढिवाद पाखंडवाद पाषाणवाद का खोल धर्म ।
छल प्रपंच का जाल रचाकर ठगने का ब्यापार धर्म ।
सारे पाप माफ हो जाते लगता यह पचनोल धर्म ।
पोप पुजारी जी को करता देखो मालामाल धर्म ।
आंख के अंधे भक्त गणों को करता यह कंगाल धर्म ।
स्वर्ग नरक भगवान भाग्य का फैला यह भ्रमजाल धर्म ।
तीर्थ और ब्रत में जा देखा पोपो की हर चाल धर्म ।
गांधी को गोली से उडाया इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
ईसा को सूली पे चढाया इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
दयानन्द को जहर पिलाया इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
मोहम्मद साहब को भी सताया इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
किया अहिल्या का मुंह काला इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
एकलव्य का कटा अंगूठा इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
सति बृन्दा के सत को लूटा इसका भी आधार धर्म ।
फिर बचा कौन दुष्कर्म जगत में न जिसका आधार धर्म ।
मंदिर मस्जिद बैर बढाते इतना तो शैतान धर्म ।
इनसे तो अच्छी मधुशाला इतना तो बदनाम धर्म ।
तर्क इसे न अच्छा लगता अक्ल पे ताला पड़ा धर्म ।
सुंदर सुघर सलोना मुखड़ा दिल का काला किन्तु धर्म ।
ढोंगी और पाखंडी कहते हिंदू सिक्ख इस्लाम धर्म ।
संत फकीर सभी यह कहते ईसा मूसा राम धर्म ।
ज्ञानी ध्यानी सव जन कहते वेद पुरान कुरान धर्म ।
सौ बातों की बात एक है मानव का इंसान धर्म ।
कोई कहता है आचार धर्म कोई कहता है ब्यवहार धर्म ।
पर मेरी समझ में यह आया बस मानव का उपकार धर्म ।
मानव सेवा ईश्वर सेवा मानवता ही है सार धर्म ।
कबिरा ने सिखाया प्यार धर्म बरना आडम्बर यार धर्म ।

– Yadunandan Lal Lodhi

प्रस्तुतकर्ता सिकन्दर कुमार मेहता

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Burn Your Money

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Here in India we have the festival of lights, Diwali. These days it wouldn’t be wrong to call it the festival of sound as well. Sometimes I think, it would be right to call it the “Money Burning Festival”. I’ll tell you how.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about sending a message.” As the Joker put it aptly. What we’re doing during this festival, is just that. Burning money. We light crackers (or as some would say, ‘burst’ them) all through the evenings. Some people don’t stop till 1 in the morning. But why do we partake in this act of futility?

Because a lot of us don’t fucking care. We don’t care about the people and animals who we are troubling. We don’t care about the air and the environment we’re destroying. It’s evident in Delhi, where the air quality index has more than doubled since Diwali started. In Mumbai, where I live, the pollution isn’t that bad because it’s near the coast, while Delhi is in the interior.

This year I did not light a single cracker, nor did my little sister, who would, until last year, put up tantrums if not allowed to light some. But others? Oh well. What kind of message do they want to send?

As a sidenote to anyone reading this who is not acquainted with practices in India, it’s not a tradition to light crackers during diwali. Since centuries people only used to light lamps, candles and diyas, in remembrance of Ram’s return to the city that he ruled. But during the early 19oos, some apparently sociopathic businessman who was into the matches industry started promoting crackers as a way to ‘celebrate’ the festival. And a lot of us Indians have fallen prey to this sinister plan of his, not bright enough to understand that it’s a waste of money and resources, and in no way does it represent the spirit of the festival. So until there’s a reform, feel free to burn your money and send a message !

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प्रो. स्टीफन हॉकिंग से 10 सवाल,आप भी पढ़ें

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सवाल 01 – अगर ईश्वर का अस्तित्व नहीं है, तो फिर दुनिया की हर संस्कृति में भगवान को सर्वशक्तिमान और सर्वोच्च सत्ता क्यों माना गया है? ईश्वर की अवधारणा सार्वभौमिक यानि यूनिवर्सल क्यों है ?

प्रो. हॉकिंग – मैं ये दावा नहीं करता कि ईश्वर का अस्तित्व नहीं है। ईश्वर या भगवान एक नाम है जिससे लोग अपने अस्तित्व को जोड़ते हैं और अपनी जिंदगी के लिए जिसके शुक्रगुजार होते हैं। लेकिन मेरी समझ से सौरमंडल के इस तीसरे ग्रह पर जिंदगी और अपनी मौजूदगी के लिए भौतिक विज्ञान के नियमों का आभार मानना चाहिए, न कि भगवान जैसी किसी सार्वजनिक सत्ता का जिसके साथ व्यक्तिगत रिश्ता जोड़कर हम खुद को भुलावे में रखते हैं।

सवाल 02 – क्या कभी ब्रह्मांड का भी अंत होगा ? अगर हां, तो इस अंत के बाद क्या होगा ?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -एस्ट्रोनॉमिकल ऑब्जरवेशंस बताते हैं कि हमारा ब्रह्मांड फैल रहा है और इसके फैलने की रफ्तार लगातार बढ़ती जा रही है। ब्रह्मांड हमेशा ही फैलता रहेगा और इसके साथ-साथ ये और भी ज्यादा अंधकारपूर्ण और खाली जगहों को जन्म देता रहेगा।ब्रह्मांड का जन्म बिगबैंग की घटना से हुआ था, लेकिन इसका कोई अंत नहीं है। कोई ये भी पूछ सकता है कि बिगबैंग से पहले क्या था, लेकिन इसका जवाब भी ये होगा कि जैसे दक्षिणी ध्रुव पर पहुंचकर दक्षिण दिशा लुप्त हो जाती है, उसी तरह बिगबैंग से पहले कुछ भी नहीं था। क्योंकि बिगबैंग एक शुरुआत है, इस शुरुआत से पहले कैसे कुछ हो सकता है।

सवाल 03 – क्या आपको लगता है कि मानव सभ्यता का वजूद इतने लंबे समय तक बरकरार रहेगा कि वो अंतरिक्ष में गहरे और गहरे छलांग लगा सके?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -मुझे लगता है कि मानव जाति के पास अपने अस्तित्व को तबतक बचाए रखने के बेहतर मौके हैं जब तक कि हम अपने सौरमंडल को कॉलोनाइज नहीं कर लेते। हालांकि इस पूरे सौरमंडल में हमारे लिए पृथ्वी जैसी माकूल कोई दूसरी जगह नहीं है, इसलिए अभी ये स्पष्ट नहीं है कि जब ये धरती ही जीवन के किसी भी स्वरूप के रहने के लायक नहीं रहेगी, ऐसे हालात में मानव जाति बचेगी या नहीं। मानव जाति के वजूद को ज्यादा से ज्यादा लंबे वक्त तक बरकरार रखने के लिए दूसरे सितारों की दुनिया तक हमारा पहुंचना जरूरी है। अभी इसमें काफी वक्त है। हमें उम्मीद करनी चाहिए कि तब तक हम पृथ्वी पर खुद को बचाए रखने में कामयाब रहेंगे।

सवाल 04 – अगर आप अल्बर्ट आइंस्टीन से बात कर सकते, तो उनसे क्या कहते?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -मैं उनसे कहता कि वो आखिर ब्लैक होल्स में यकीन क्यों नहीं करते। उनके रिलेटिविटी के सिद्धांत के फील्ड समीकरण बताते हैं कि एक विशाल सितारा या गैसों का सघन बादल खुद में ही नष्ट होकर एक ब्लैक होल को जन्म दे सकता है। आइंस्टीन खुद इस तथ्य को जानते थे, लेकिन फिर भी उन्होंने किसी तरह खुद को समझा लिया था कि किसी भी धमाके की तरह हर विस्फोट द्रवमान या वजन को बाहर फेंक देने के लिए ही होता है। यानि वो मानते थे कि सितारों की मौत होते ही एक धमाके के साथ उसका सारा पदार्थ बाहर छिटक जाता है।लेकिन अगर विस्फोट हो ही नहीं और सितारे की मौत होते ही उसका सारा द्रव्यमान बस उसके एक ही बिंदु में सिमटकर रह जाए तो?

सवाल 05 – ऐसी कौन सी वैज्ञानिक खोज या विकास है जिसे आप अपने जीवनकाल में ही साकार होते हुए देखना चाहते हैं ?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -मैं चाहूंगा कि मेरे जीवन कास में नाभिकीय फ्यूजन ही ऊर्जा का व्यावहारिक जरिया बन जाए। इससे हमें ऊर्जा की अक्षय आपूर्ति होती रहेगी और वो भी ग्लोबल वॉर्मिंग या प्रदूषण के खतरों के बगैर।

सवाल 06 – मृत्यु के बाद हमारी चेतना का क्या होता है? आप क्या मानते हैं ?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -मैं मानता हूं कि हमारा मस्तिष्क एक कंप्यूटर और चेतना उसके एक प्रोग्राम की तरह है। ये प्रोग्राम उस वक्त काम करना बंद कर देता है, जब उसका कंप्यूटर टर्न ऑफ हो जाता है। सिद्धांतत: हमारी चेतना की रचनान्यूरल नेटवर्क पर फिर से की जा सकती है। लेकिन ऐसा करना बेहद मुश्किल है, इसके लिए मृतक की सारी स्मृतियों की आवश्यकता पड़ेगी।

सवाल 07 – आप एक ब्रिलिएंट फिजिसिस्ट के तौर पर मशहूर हैं, आपकी ऐसी कौन सी आम रुचियां हैं,जो शायद लोगों को हैरान कर सकती हैं?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -मुझे हर तरह का संगीत पसंद है, पॉप, क्लासिकल और ऑपेरा, हर तरह का। मैं अपने बेटेटिम के साथ मिलकर फॉर्मूला वन रेसिंग का भी मजा लेता हूं ।

सवाल 08 – क्या आपको कभी ऐसा लगा कि आपकी शारीरिक अक्षमता की वजहसे अपने शोध में आपको फायदा पहुंचा, या इससे आपके अध्ययन में रुकावट आई ?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -हालांकि मैं खासा दुर्भाग्यशाली रहा कि मोटर-न्यूरॉन डिसीस जैसी बीमारी की चपेट में आ गया, इसके अलावा जीवन के दूसरे सभी मामलोंमें मैं खासा भाग्यशाली रहा। मैं खुद को काफी खुशनसीब समझता हूं कि मुझे थ्योरेटिकल फिजिक्स में काम करने का मौका मिला, और अपनी लोकप्रिय किताबों की मदद से मैं जैकपॉट को हिट करने में कामयाब रहा। ये काम के ऐसे कुछ ऐसे गिने-चुने क्षेत्र है, जहां शारीरिक अक्षमता से कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता।

सवाल 09 – जिंदगी के सभी रहस्यों के जवाब लोग आपसे जानने की अपेक्षा रखते हैं, क्या इससे आपको एक बड़ी जिम्मेदारी का बोध नहीं होता ?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -देखिए, जिंदगी की सभी समस्याओं का हल यकीनन मेरे पास नहीं है। फिजिक्स और गणित ये तो बता सकते हैं कि ब्रह्मांड का जन्म कैसे हुआ, लेकिन इनसे मानवीय व्यवहार के रहस्यों को नहीं समझा जा सकता। क्योंकि अभी बहुत से सवालों को सुलझाना बाकी है। लोगों को समझने के मामले में मैं अनाड़ी हूं। दूसरे लोगों की तरह मैं भी अब तक ये नहीं समझ पाया हूं कि लोग किसी चीज पर विश्वास कैसे कर लेते हैं, खासतौर पर महिलाएं।

सवाल 10 – क्या आपको लगता है कि कभी ऐसा वक्त भी आएगा, जब मानव जाति फिजिक्स के बारे में सबकुछ जान-समझ जाएगी?

प्रो. हॉकिंग -मुझे लगता है, कि ऐसा कभी नहीं होगा

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