The Times of India reported May 2013 that ‘More Indians have stopped believing in God.’ A Global Index of Religion and Atheism WIN/Gallup International survey revealed that there was a 6% increase in non-religious people from 2005 to 2012. In 2005, 87% said they were ‘religious,’ and in 2012 that percentage dropped to 81%. Yet, this does not speak in their belief in God.
According to CensusIndia.gov.in (2001) 827.5 million of the 1.03 million Indians were Hindus (138 million – Muslims; 24 million – Christians). And in 2011, the India Census reported 966.3 million or 79.8% of their population as Hindus.
About 78% of Indians claim to be Hindus (2016). And according to the Hindu religion, they believe in a Supreme God called by various names, such as Parameshwar (Supreme Lord), Paramatma (Supreme Self) or Parampita (Supreme Father). However, there are a rapidly growing number of young adults that are becoming atheist. According to a 2015-2016 Quora chat topic, ‘Is atheism growing in India?’ Several responded in the same manner as this one, “Yes it is. Mainly in the young generation; but it is not yet clearly visible… once we are completely independent (from) our parents then there will be (a) sudden rise in atheism.”
Another said, “Yup, absolutely. Atheism is growing at a tremendous rate. Believe me, those who say that they are Hindus or Muslims or Christians are actually atheists disguised like that because of fear of condemnation from family and bad treatment.” And another stated, “I am not sure whether the atheism (is) growing or not but people started questioning things than just following blindly which will enhance people’s vision over outdated traditions.”
In a December 2012, PRI article, ‘Why it’s not easy to be Atheist in India,’ it reported that ‘there is no official count of how many atheists there are in India. And urban atheists say that would-be non-believers in rural areas are likely too scared to admit their atheism openly…’ A person interviewed in the article said, he ‘was forced to write a religion on his daughter’s birth certificate.’ When he tried to write, ‘none,’ the official told him that was not allowed.
The article noted that India still has ‘blasphemy laws’ against atheism and a person can be fined or jailed. Many are forces in areas of India to pick ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim.’ The article also reports that India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-1964) was openly non-religious. This is a bit ironic since he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge; yet, the British are being very non-religious as well.
In a January 2015 article, In God we don’t believe, by Calcutta’s The Telegraph, Manjula Sen reported, ‘Atheism is gathering followers among Indian youth even as older diehard rationalists pursue their campaign against superstition and religion.” The article continued saying, ‘Vidue Ramu is 17 – and an atheist. He was 12 when he stopped believing in God… His sister Sukanya, 16, became a non-believer after seeing priests harass devotees for money at the Jagannath Temple in Purl… “ The Jagannath Temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath (‘Lord of the Universe’) and operated originally by Brahmin priest.
A 2015 TripAdvisor comment agreed that ‘…the priests of the temple, especially those in the sanctum sanctorum, have the bad habit of demanding money from each and every devotee…’ In an October 2010, The Times of India online article, ‘Priests fight at Jagannath Temple over donations,’ it stated, ‘two groups of priests, locally known ass Pandas, fought over their share of donations given by devotees… it was so intense that one of them ended up getting a bloody nose.’
In 2011, a study by the University of Cambridge, detailed in Research Horizons, revealed how in India, “religious groups may act like businesses in competing to offer unique selling points…”
Nevertheless, back to The Telegraph article; it reported that “a random dipstick survey of the metros show that nearly 30% of the people do not believe in God. Of them, 17% are avowed atheists. Among those who do believe in the existence of God, nearly half approach God as an indefinable superpower rather than a religious concept.”
The article concludes, “The Internet generation atheists are not atheists because of dialectical Marxism or a belief that ‘religion is the opium of the masses’,” Dhyani says. Instead, they are identifying with sceptics and rationalists across nations and cultures, thanks to the Internet and global connectivity. It’s the Internet, again, that gives access to today’s atheists to a trove of videos, literature and American stand-up comics espousing atheism. It is, clearly, the new indie culture and there is a new wave of youth culture…”
As of February 2017, Indian Atheists (launched 2009) on Facebook had over 155,000 followers. By September 2017 there were over 205,000. Other sites like Liberal Indian Atheists had thousands of followers – an increase of about 30% in 7 months. A 2014 Rice University survey of 1,763 scientists from India reveals that only 27% ‘believe in God.’ India 1976 Constitution declares it is a secular nation.
Forbesindia.com in August 2013 spoke of the rising number of Indians that want ‘no religion’ as an option. India’s Census doesn’t allow for ‘no religion’ or ‘Atheist.’ Forbes reported that India’s non-religious doubled in 2001 over 1991 and likely doubled again in 2011. And that in 2001 the global average was 13% and that the government is wrong for falsely showing .2% on the 2011 Census.
In 2016, two IIT-Bombay surveys of their college students, revealed: 40% said they do not want to get married; and 39% said they are religious, 39% agnostics and 21% stated they are atheists. In the other 18% said they are atheist, 35% agnostic and 47% believe in God.
The point of this TheTruthSource article is not to support the rise in non-religion; but to reveal the truth that India, like nearly every nation in the world is seeing the younger generations rapidly move from belief in our Supreme and only God, Father God of our Lord Jesus Christ, to non-religion, agnosticism and atheism.
Paul said the Greeks in Athens, “People of Athens; I see that in every way you are very religious… but you are ignorant of who you worship… the God who made the world is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands… He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else… (and there) Paul was preaching the gospel of Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17).” Though the majority in India worships or believes in a supreme god they do not know, who is the Lord God; what is worse is the rate in which their youth are no longer believing in a Supreme God at all.
Even now many college aged and secular Hindus argue that Hinduism is a way of life more than a religion and that one can be a Hindu atheist, which is at odds with both traditional Hinduism and reason. Agree or disagree that the Hindu religion is full of false teachings; but do not try to say that its centuries old practices and teachings are not religious or the basis of true Hinduism.