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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

Gandhi and the Troll

Every Sunday, two of my limericks appear on the edit page of the Sunday Times of India. Here’s today’s installment.…

Train

Mid Day reports: Talk about catching a lucky break. A 60-year-old woman at Ghatkopar station yesterday sauntered onto the platform,…

Sandy the Dandy

Once there was a guy called Sandy Who behaved all macho and randy, But guys who flex their pecs Usually…

Jawaharlal Nehru: Not a Saint, Not a Sinner

It is ironic that one of the great unifying forces in Indian history has become such a polarising figure decades…

The Pandit and the Bovine God

Mr Modi said, ‘I won’t allow A sale of the public sector now.’ Well, I have to agree With Mr…

20 December, 2007

Atheism = Not Collecting Stamps

Chad English of Ottawa has sent this superb letter to the Economist:

SIR - You ask what accounts for the failure of atheists to organise or wield influence ( “Believe it or not”, December 11th). The answer is easy. Atheism is a religion in the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby. When you understand why there are no ‘aphilatelist’ conventions, you will understand why atheists don’t congregate.

We don’t want power and influence as a group. We don’t care if a government member is an atheist any more than we care if they collect stamps. What we do care about is that government officials can separate their personal religious beliefs from their governing duties. A philatelist government that pushes laws favouring stamp collecting at the expense of those who don’t collect stamps is a bad government. The same is true of a religious one.

The separation of church and state is a fundamental principle of a free society. Failure to embrace this principle is to the eventual detriment of the church, the state, freedom, and society.

See you at the next non-meeting.

Chad English
Ottawa

Bravo!

(Link via email from Joby Joseph. Earlier posts on atheism: 1, 2, 3.)

Posted by Amit Varma in Miscellaneous

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