Not sure why people are surprised when they see me attending festivals that are often religious…. and my answer is that it is the aesthetics that drives me there and that often does not answer it completely…. So we need to think why do people think that aestheticism and atheism cannot go hand in hand….
Agreed that it is counter to the theists argument that concepts like beauty cannot exist in an atheistic world with no gods…. May be because aesthetics has often been a religious vehicle of communication… and not an atheistic vehicle…. Also atheistic art is either non-existent or not always very aesthetic…. Festivals definitely have the religious aspect to it…. some more than others…… but beyond that it is a gathering of human beings who sing, exhibit color & beauty, dance and enjoy….
It is important to break open the ‘rigidness that exists with atheists’ as well as ‘the theist’s expectation of atheism’…. when I write poems and mention the word ‘soul’, there are people who ask me… how can you do that…? you do not believe in it….. and I tell them I can go a step further….. I admire architecture and art in churches and temples, love sufi, enjoy Rumi, love listening to gospel music and bhajans and listening to stories from all religions
True that I don’t like some of them and it is not because of religion but because some are very poorly sung, tuned, written, constructed or choreographed just like any other art form….. My taste buds are never defined by religion or the lack of it…… I once knew someone very close who would not let me listen to ‘Nusrat and Sufi’ because she felt it was unpatriotic or unhindu… how sad…. if you make your views so narrow you become blind…. be it a theist or an atheist….
I always wish to look at the world in complete humanness that I exist…… being an atheist does not mean every atheist should be correct….or that you should agree with everything another atheist says….. there are many atheists I cannot stand the sight of….. : ) and many theists I love the company of…….. for me it is important to be a human, husband, father and friend before you define yourself as a theist or an atheist…….
Atheism should never be treated like another religion, not by theists and definitely not by atheists…… One has to be rational but not unreasonable….. if people who oppose you cannot talk to you then there is a problem…… I have seen unreasonable theists and atheists and I keep away from both of them…..