A local newspaper reported the “Atheist Bus Campaign” from UK. The campaign consists of placing atheistic messages on buses throughout the country in response to evangelical Christian advertising. I was intrigued. While finding out more, I learned that the year 2009 happens to be the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s book The Origin of Species and 200 years since his birth. To celebrate the occasions, people from all over are planning pompous events called “Darwin Day” celebrations. There will be symposiums, exhibitions, lecture series by eminent scientists etc. A replica of H.M.S. Beagle, the ship that carried Darwin around the world, will retrace his path. This January, Stanford University let a group of 90 people do something similar albeit more comfortably, on a private Boeing 757. Anything else that could further the cause is also welcome. My trail got lengthier and deeper.
A magazine is a complex affair. You have many people who take care of their own responsibilities like writing, editing etc. Others who perform intermediate tasks complete the whole show. Nevertheless the magazine team represents one single unit one that has to be unified in its purpose. The reason why I bring this up seemingly abruptly has a reason. During the course of working on the present issue, I came across a queer situation. One of our team members expressed his doubt to me about the need for an entire issue discussing Darwin and his contribution to the world. A mention here and there or a reference to some of his work was understandable to my friend but a thorough discussion was certainly unwarranted. There was no need. Surely, there were many important concepts in the realm of spirituality that needed urgent discussion.
To set things straight, I explained to him whatever I could, and he became pacified. But this had me thinking. If a member of my team itself was not clear about why such an analysis was necessary, other probable readers were not to blame if they would put forward their doubts. It is then that I concluded the need for a brief explanation such as the present one.
I found some statements by leading atheists of the day. Some of them are very blatant about their views on God and religion. They didn’t mince words when it came to describing their hatred for anything that is even remotely suggestive of religion or belief in it. Our editor revealed that the BBC portal on religion treats atheism as another religion. Atheism indeed has its own prophets, its own sacred scriptures. In fact it has its own (faithful) followers too who won’t give up their allegiance no matter what.
Delving deeper into the origins, I found out time and again, the pointers for any materialistic/ atheistic thought would eventually point in the direction of Darwinist thought. The explanations provided by Charles Darwin in 1859, in a simple way took God out of the picture and placed all control in the hands of nature. What more could benefit the atheists more?
Thus was born the idea for the current issue. We have tried to inspect Darwinian thought through a variety of angles. This is an attempt to give the readers the most in a single issue. Hopefully, our purpose will be served. We want to present in front of the masses our case against Darwin. Our tiny squeak may not even be noticed by the opposite party but our only hope is to attract the merciful glance of previous acharyas, especially His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada who always showed an undaunted spirit for repudiating atheism in all forms. If we can please him we are successful.
(Nanda Dulal Dasa)