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Home / Conferences & Seminars / 8th World Atheist Conference

8th World Atheist Conference


A Report on the Eight World Atheist Conference

THEME: "Atheism - An Alternative Culture"

Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), Tamil Nadu, India, January 7-9, 2011



The 8th World Atheist Conference, organized jointly by the Dravidar Kazhagam (D.K.), Atheist Centre, The Rationalists' Forum, was held on January 7-9, 2011 at Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), Tamil Nadu, India. Large number of delegates from across the world, representing U.S.A., U.K., Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Nepal and from different part of India , right from Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, participated in the three-day conference. The historic conference was witnessed by over 8000 people from across the world and many more in India, through T.V., radio and newspapers.

Day 1: Jan 7, 2011

Introduction:

Welcome Speech by Dr. Veeramani
The inauguration of the conference took place at Kalaivanar NSK Auditorium, Periyar Centenary Educational Complex, Trichy. DR.K.VEERAMANI, President, D.K. presided over the function. Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Veeramani stated that, the core point in Atheism is to create unity among people by inculcating good qualities and thereby creating good human beings. Every person has to become a self-thinker. Atheism is not a negative concept. It is a positive thought to establish new society with rationalist humans. Belief in an obscure and orthodox system never allows one to think innovatively for the betterment of the society. Whereas atheism leads one to think freely and innovatively, for it is free of the restrictions of thought and act. Veeramani recalled Periyar as saying, 'Forget god; think of human.' What Periyar had meant was that we should serve the society and Periyar's contribution had made his followers think and act rationally. He highlighted that the State of Tamil Nadu, wherein Periyar was born, is enriched with rationalists. The ideology of Self Respect propagated by Periyar is the main source for the enrichment of rationalists in 21st century. Certain people question why World Atheist Conference is convened. World Atheist Conference is organized to reform the society, identifying and exposing the people who cheat the masses in the name of god.

Dr Vijayam on the Theme of the Conference
Mr.V. Kumaresan, General Secretary of The Rationalists Forum welcomed the gathering. DR.G.VIJAYAM, Executive Director of Atheist Centre, Vijayawada delivered his address explaining the theme of the Conference "Atheism - An Alternative Culture". He stated that, Periyar was a legendary figure in the atheist movement, who withstood the onslaught of religion and kept the flag of rationalism and atheism high. He was an embodiment of courage of conviction and determination to spread rationalism in the nook and corner of the state. Similarly in Andhra Pradesh Gora championed atheism, right from 1930s. He was dismissed twice from colleges for his atheist views. Along with his wife Saraswathi, he founded the world's first known Atheist Centre in 1940 and promoted atheism positive way of way of life. Gora went round the world twice in 1970 and 1974 for the cause of atheism and social change. He recalled the significant contribution of Gora, MN Roy, Periyar, Abraham Kovoor in promoting atheism to free society from superstition and obscurantism.

In spite of centuries of hegemony, religions could not make the world a better place to live in. Religions could make some good individuals, but not build a better society. It is because theism tried to build society on false foundations of non-existent god. Religions tried to bring brotherhood of man through fatherhood of God. The non-existence of god was not helpful in building a better society. The 21st Century is a century of atheism, humanism, rationalism and freethought. The need of the hour is the development of atheism as an alternative Culture. All aspects of life, such as social, economic, political, cultural, psychological-must be taken into consideration. The emphasis must be placed on development of critical thinking and promotion of scientific outlook. Scientific temper should reflect in all aspects of life of the individuals and of society. Article 51A (h) of the Indian Constitution, harps on promotion of scientific outlook, spirit of inquiry, humanism and social reform. It is a necessary first step in the right direction. Recalling Goraís words, he stated that, going beyond caste and religion is of utmost importance. Gora said, the spread of atheist outlook is hope of humanity to turn from war to peace, from slavery to freedom, from superstition to a sense of reality, from conflict to cooperation.

Inauguration


MR.LEVI FRAGELL, former President, International Humanist and Ethical Union (lHEU), Norway delivered the inaugural address. He stated that, to encounter the negative image of atheism, we need to present ourselves as persons who not only turn our back to religion - but we are friends and neighbors who reach out for the best of human values, we show empathy with the poor and suffering, we fight for the suppressed ones - being women, poor or casteless, and we struggle for freedom, equality, brother - and sisterhood. Indian atheists have given us the best examples of this strategy, but not only the strategy - but also a demonstration of what these values mean as a lifestance, a philosophical and ethical alternative to religion. You may call it positive atheism, which it really is. Others use different labels for the same conviction. And we all assemble under the banner of atheism and Humanism, he said.

Public Gathering for Inaugurations


Dr.M.Naganathan, Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Commission of Tamil Nadu flagged open the Science Exhibition, in which school students displayed scientific models. They also exposed the myth of miracles Dr. A. Ramasamy, Vice-Chairman, Tamil Nadu State Higher Education Council, inaugurated the Book Exhibition which had a collection of books by world renowed authors on atheism, humanism, rationalism and social change .

Release of the Conference Souvenir and Books:

Unvieling the Conference Souvenir by Pekka Elo
Mr. Pekka Elo of Free Thinkers Association, Finland, released the Souvenir of the Conference It was edited by Dr. Veeramani, Dr. Vijayam, Vikas Gora and Kumaresan. The high quality Souvenir is very informative and analytical and it gives a glimpse of the march of atheism, humanism and secularism in various parts of the world.

Some books were released in English and tamil on the occasion. Mr.Sanal Edamaruku, Indian Rationalist Association, New Delhi, Mr. S. Ratnakumar, Singapore, Dr.Soma Elangovan, Periyar International, U.S.A. and Mr.K.R.R.Anbazhagan, Organising Secretary, Malaysian Dravidar Kazhagam also addressed in the inaugural session.

Conference Souvenir


The inaugural function was very colourful with delegates from various parts of the World and also all over India, speaking diverse languages. It was a symbol of unity in diversity for the cause of atheism and social change.

Guests from across the world


As it was a very large gathering, simultaneous sessions were held on various aspects of atheism, humanism, science and scientific temper and social progress which enabled greater interaction and sharing of experiences in promoting atheism.

Plenary 1

Chair:Prof. Narendra Nayak
Panelists: Dr. P. Jagadeesan, Member, Tamil Nadu, State Planning Commission, Dr. Arasu Chellaiah, USA and Prof. Bulabai Desai, Gujarat Rationalist Association and others.
Date:Jan 7, 2011
Time:14:30-15:30


Dr. Narendra Nayak
Dr. Narendra Nayak, Prof. of Bio-Chemistry and President of the FIRA, highlighted the need to expose godmen who promote miracle mind among common people. Miracle mind is a bane of progress. Education system must reflect critical thinking and questioning spirit among people.

The resource persons explained the role of atheists, rationalists and humanists in exposing godmen and miracle mongers. It is matter of regret that even the highly educated fall a prey to god men and perpetuate ignorance and oppression.

Session Highlights:

Session 1: Atheism and Humanism - A Way of Life
Chair:Mr. Lavanam
Panelists:Mr.R.G.Rao, National Secretary, FIRA, Mr. Anilkumar, General Secretary, Kerala Yukthiwadi Sangam
Date:Jan 7, 2011
Time:16:00-18:00


Mr. Lavanam
Mr. Lavanam, reiterated that, now it is time for us to go beyond religion, nationality and imaginary belief in god and create a new universal human society based on reason and compassion. Thus atheism is an alternate culture to theism based on reason, compassion, freedom, equality and mutual cooperation which creates a universal human society going beyond all divisive tendencies. In the theistic culture as inequalities and exploitation are on a large scale, the rights of the suppressed and exploited, are becoming important. In atheistic culture all humans are treated equal and we try to promote more and more equality. One humanís duty is another humanís right. Mutually when oneís right becomes anotherís duty, oneís duty protects anotherís right. Thus the problem of rights is not exclusively related to some people alone. If every one does his or her duty, everybodyís rights are protected. Again this will promote mutual understanding and mutual cooperation in a better way. The panelists highlighted the need to strengthen critical thinking and free inquiry in the society. The need to maintain secularism is the utmost need of the hour. The role of atheists, humanists, rationalists and freethinkers is significant in building a post religious society.

Session 2: Atheism for social transformation
Chair:Mr. G. Karunanidhy, General Secretary, Federation of All India Backward Class Bank Employees Welfare Associations (AIOBC)
Panelists:Prof. A.Karunanandan, a historian, Prof. P.S.Elangovan, Organising Secretary, The Rationalists Forum and Ms. Nau Gora, Atheist Centre and others.
Date:Jan 7, 2011
Time:16:00-18:00


Mrs Nau Gora
The speakers voiced the need for a post religious society. A society that recognizes the values and rights of all the sections of the society irrespective of their affiliation. They voiced that the religious institutions promote superstition, submission and oppression. Hence emancipation of the poor and downtrodden members of the society is not possible through religion. All the religions promise better life in the afterlife and promote the need to please the gods through prayers and offerings in this life and hence blind to realities.

Session 3: Role of Pinjus (Atheist Buds) in disseminating Atheism
Chair:Mr. Prince Ennares Periyar
Date:Jan 7, 2011
Time:16:00-18:00


The young minds of children are tampered through religious ideologies. Parents and the society at large tend to inculcate fear and submission to the unknown. Right from their childhood, children tend to believe in ghosts, spirits, devils and demons and this belief is further supplemented through the movies which put a fearsome face to the evil. God is shown as the protector and saviour. The ability of questioning this is challenged through a backlash from the family, peers and friends. Hence, there is utmost need to strengthen rational and critical thinking and promote questioning. Atheism stands for building young minds with the freedom to question. Children in this session presented their views on atheism as the need of the hour to promote a rational society.

Fire waking Demonstration and Cultural Programme

Date:Jan 7, 2011
Time:18:00-20:00


After the conclusion of parallel sessions, a demonstration was conducted on "fire-walking." The theists ascribe divinity for their fire walking within a specified span of time. But as per the contention of atheists there is no correlation between divinity and fire walking. Anybody can perform fire walking. Many delegates, including from abroad, walked on fire

Following the fire-walking, the cultural programme commenced. The students of Periyar Centenary Educational Complex, Trichy performed the cultural event in an interesting manner. The saga of atheism and science was depicted in song and drama in a lively manner. The cultural evening enthralled every one with songs and playlets. At the end of the day 'Periyar' movie was screened in Tamil which gave a glimpse of the life and struggles as well as achievements of the great man.

Children singing on the need for scientific temper and rational approach


Spreading awareness through dance


Role Play of Periyar


Day 2: Jan 8, 2011
Venue: Periyar Maniammai University, Vallam, Tanjore

Introduction:

Tree Plantation initiative as a mark of sowing seeds of rationalism and atheism
The second day's proceedings of the Conference were held at Periyar Mainammai University (PMU) Vallam, near Tanjavur. It is 50 kilometers from Tiruchirapalli. The delegates travelled by special buses and they were given warm welcome. A reception was held in the Bamboo Gardens in the University. After an hour tour of the University campus and also planting of hundreds of tree saplings, the proceedings of the Conference started. The University students and Staff of PMU also joined in the deliberations. Through the University FM Radio, the proceedings reached to over 8000 students and community members, assembled in many halls of the University.

Dr. K. Veeramani, the University Chancellor, Prof. Ramachandran, the Vice Chancellor, R.K. Sudan, an engineer and a staunch atheist from Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Vijayam, Levi Fragell, IHEU former President, Ms. Kristin Mile, Secretary General of the Norwegian Humanist Association, Sanal Edamaruku of the Rationalist International, Babu Gogineni of IHEU and others spoke on various facets of the theme. After the plenary parallel sessions were conduted on various themes.

Thousands of delegates were accommodated in different Conference halls and the classrooms of PMU and the closed circuit TVs enabled them to join in the proceedings. The resource persons were introduced by the College students in each session. Thus youth and the children were given due importance in conducting the proceedings.

Plenary 2
Chair:Mr. Babu Gogineni
Panelists:Prof. Sudan, Jammu & Kashmir, Ms. Kristin Mile, Norway
Date:Jan 8, 2011
Time:11:30-11:45


Mr. Babu Gogineni sharing the importance of scientific temper
Mr. Babu Gogineni highlighted that the foundation of humanism is atheism. The progress in science is immense and more so specific in the year 2010. It witnessed the creation of the first human made artificial cell and the big bang experiments. However at the same time, there is also growing superstition among the literate as well as the illiterate communities. Quoting the cases of how superstition influences the lives of people, he share that the launching of satellites in the space was postponed for astrological reasons and politicians changed their names for winning elections. Hence, atheism plays an important part in strengthening scientific temper and spirit of inquiry, which is the need of the hour and hope for the future.

Prof. Sudan from Jammu & Kashmir, highlighted that there is a dearth of social reformers like Periyar and Gora in North India, more so specific in J & K as reformers help in promoting peace and reducing conflicts. The need for philosophical direction and alternative to religious fundamentalism is urgently required. There is also a need to invest in youth who are a potential force and are highly emotional. Atheism is the only alternative to theism. Atheism also supports the value system and promotes ethics for the betterment of the society. Educating the masses and the children is very important in the present day society, especially on critical thinking.

Ms. Kristin Mile appreciated the efforts of atheists and humanists in strengthening the movement in India. She stressed the need for building critical thinking and free inquiry in the minds of the younger generation which would help in building a rational society.

Session Highlights:

Session 4: Atheism - A bedrock of Science and Scientific Outlook
Chair:Dr. D.Kumar, Dean of Research, Periyar Maniammai University
Panelists:Dr.P.K.Babu, HoD, Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering, Dr. P. Purushothaman, Director, CUll and Students, Sowkarthika and P.E.Elavenil, PMU and L. Suresh, State Agriculture department and others.
Date:8, 2011
Time:11:45-13:15


The panelists satted that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God. It is only a belief. In the modern world science and technology have grown far and wide and they have been adopted in every aspect of today's life. However, the belief in God has increased now in some developing countries. As religion lost its hold over human affairs, religious intolerance and fundamentalism are growing which cause a grave concern to all. The god-business and godmen are growing and they are thriving on the ignorance and illiteracy and because of traditional belief systems.

The lack of reasoning is responsible for growing superstitious practices in the society. Many of the superstitious practices are detrimental to the personal health, development and overall well being of the society as they hamper and dampen progress. Reasoning is the right path to knowledge which will help to strengthen informed decision making. There is a greater need to strengthen atheism as an alternative and also there is a strong need to promote scientific outlook.

Merely being a student of science does not make one scientific. But incorporating the learning from the science in personal lives and building the spirit of questioning will help develop scientific outlook. This is the major reason why there are many scientists who cling on to blind beliefs, but in professional lives propagate reasoning. These educated followers of blind belief stand as bad examples to the future generation. Hence strengthening scientific temper among all generations will help build a society that is healthy and progressive in all spheres of life.

Session 5: Atheism for Women Empowerment
Chair:Dr.M.Thavamani, Principal, Ethiraj Women's College, Chennai
Panelists:Ms.Daisy Maniammai, Chennai, Ms Santhi Chitra, Asst. Prof., Dr.Vijayalakshmi, Deputy Director, COADE, Ms.G.Kanthimathi, Asst. Professor., Ms.P.Narmada, Asst. Professor, Ms T.Priyanka, A.Nazirudin Banu, Mr. P. Elangovan and B.Elakkiya of PMU and others.
Date:8, 2011
Time:11:45-13:15


The panelists presented that Atheism stands for women empowerment and social justice. In this modem era, women have marked their significance in each and every field of life, like Marine Engineering, Aeronautics, Defense service, politics etc, and they proved to be equal partners in progress.

This equality is a result of tireless efforts of some of the prominent atheist, humanist leaders and social reformers like Gora & Saraswathi Gora, Periyar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Mahatma Phule, Ranade, Maharshi Karve, Kandukuri Veeresalingam, and Ambedkar who strove i to empower women and fought for their equality in every sphere of life. They have been instrumental in building a society wherein women could breathe without the fear of oppression, exploitation, apprehension and discrimination.

The status of women in India has been undergoing a sea-change, supported by constitutional guarantees to ensure dignity and equal opportunities, their active participation in all walks of life including education, politics etc.

Session 6: Sciences Vs. Pseudo Science
Chair:Dr.V.Sundararajulu.
Panelists:Dr.Kannan, Medical Practitioner, Madurai, Dr.P.Rajasekar, Ms.K.Manonmani, Dr. Maru of Atheist Centre and students Mr.D.Dinesh, R.Praveenkumar, T.S.Prabakaran, Ms. S. Nayakara, V.N.Sathiyabama of Periyar Malliammai University and others
Date:8, 2011
Time:11:45-13:15


Dr.Maru speaking on Science and Pseudo Science
This is the age of science. It revolutionized every sphere of life. But some people promote pseudo-science. It is very essential to distinguish between science and pseudo-science. Science is verifiable and it can be judged on the touchstone of reason and experimentation. Pseudo-science is based on a belief system. Many of the age old customs and beliefs and practices need to be changed so that society can progress with redoubled vigour. In the session the resource persons gave many examples of pseudo-science and harped on the necessity to promote science and scientific temper.

Session 7: Youth - Humanism and atheism
Chair:Dr.llakkuvan Tamil, Periyar International, U.S.A
Panelists:Dr.Palani Arangasamy, Director, Centre for Periyar Thoughts, Dr.M.Gabriel, Dr.S.Arunachalam, Ms.G.Umayal, Dr.A.Kovalan, D.Jeyakumar, Ms. B.Elangkavin, G.Kalaipriya, of PMU, Dr. Chandran of University of Trivandrum and others.
Date:Jan 8, 2011
Time:11:45-13:15


Youth play a crucial role in building an alternative culture of atheism and humanism. The whole world is moving away from religion. At this crucial juncture the youth should play a decisive role in fighting superstitions, blind beliefs and strive for casteless and religionless society. They should marry breaking the barriers of caste and religion. They should not fall a prey to religious fanatics or fundamentalists. They should strive to herald a new society which aims at equality, freedom and social justice.

When scientific temper spreads in society fundamental changes will take in the 21st Century. Hence the role of youth is crucial in social transformation for a better society.

Session 8: Role of Education in promoting scientific temper
Chair:Dr. G. Samaram
Date:Jan 8, 2011
Time:11:45-13:15


Dr. Samaram, National President of the Indian Medical Association 2010 and a known medical science writer, and a prominent functionary of Atheist Centre, addressed the students of the University on the Role Education in Promoting Scientific temper.

He said that education plays a major role in moulding the life and personality of an individual. The students spend their best part of formative life in the portals of the educational institutions. Hence the content of education must promote critical thinking, rational outlook and questioning spirit. Outmoded customs and traditions have no place in the modern world. It is not enough if people enjoy the fruits of science. They should develop scientific temper. They should act boldly and defy the customs and traditions which thwart the onward march of society. The whole world is moving towards a post-religious society and the youth must be the harbingers of change.

Superstition Breaking Procession & Public Meeting
Flagged by:Mr. R. Gunasekaran, Deputy General Secretary Dravidar Kazhagam
Date:Jan 8, 2011
Time:17:00-22:00


In the evening a big procession started from the Conference venue to the public meeting by foot. It was flagged off by R. Gunasekaharan, deputy General secretary, DK. The colourful procession with drums, music, and demonstrations exposing the myth of miracles and exposing the magic tricks started through the main roads. Youth pulled a car by having hooks in their bare backs. A large number of people from all over Tamlinad and also many delegates joined in the procession showing their solidarity with the cause. From a high platform on the way Dr, Veeramani, Mr. Levi Fragell, Dr. Vijayam, Ms. Kristin Mile and others greeted the procession. Finally it culminated at the meeting place and a mammoth public meeting was held in the Centre of Trichy City.

Pulling the car through hooks to the back


Fire in the mouth..revealing the tricks


Mammoth Public Meetings in the City on the 8th.

Dr. K. Veeramani and other dignitaries and some delegates spoke in the public meeting. The proceedings were in the Tamil language for the benefit of the common people. Highlights of the Conference were shared with the people and the meeting was held for nearly three hours.

Suba Veerapandian, Arulmozhi, and Durai Chandrasekaran, Kanimozhi, Poet Kali.Poonkundran and others participated the meeting. M.Sekar proposed a vote of thanks.

Dignitories on stage at the Superstition Breaking Procession


Audience at the Public Meeting


Audience from across India


Dignitories in the Public Meeting


Day 3: Jan 9, 2011

Session Highlights:

Session 8: Role of Media in secularism, atheism and humanism
Chair:Dr. Dhaneswar Sahoo, of Odissa Rationalist Association.
Panelists:Dr. S.Arulchelvam, Professor of Media Sciences, Anna University, Dr. Yadaiah Hyderabad, , Boudhika Pranalah and M.V.Kanimozhi of Government Law College, Chennai and others.
Date:9, 2011
Time:09:00-10:30


The resource persons highlighted the role of media in the modern world. They also stressed that the media should be objective, responsible, positive and secular in its approach. In a multi-cultural and multi-religious and multi-ethnic society, communalism and casteeism and religious fanaticism leads to disastrous consequences. State must be secular and should be above parochial considerations. Similarly, media must not subscribe to superstitions, blind beliefs and it should not propagate miracle mind in society. thus media has a special responsibility in promoting scientific and rational outlook among the people. Critical thinking is the need of the hour.

Session 9: Role of Atheism in safeguarding individual and social health
Chair:Dr. G. Samaram, Atheist Centre, Vijayawada
Panelists:Dr. Muthuchelvam, Dr. R.Gowthaman and Dr. G.P. lniyan
Date:Jan 9, 2011
Time:09:00-10:30


The resource persons in the session stressed the need to eradicate superstitions, blind beliefs and the culturally rooted beliefs such as witchcraft and sorcery which cause untold misery to the individual and social health.

Dr. Samaram said that the youth should have sex education and educational institutions must teach sex education right from the teen age to make the younger generation responsible citizens in the long run. For a long time, religion opposed sex education and also family planning. The Atheists and progressive minded people boldly supported and propagated family planning and inculcated scientific thinking among people. Poverty cannot be eradicated unless the unbridled growth of population is checked.

The Medical doctors in the panel discussed at length the ways and means to fight superstitions and blind beliefs.

Conferring of K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice

Periyar International, USA has instituted an award titled "K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice" which is periodically conferred to persons who contribute for the cause of Social Justice. For the current year, Mr.G.Karunanidhi, General Secretary, All India Federation of Other Backward Class Employees Welfare Associations was honoured with the presentation of the "Dr.K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice", which carries a cash award of Rupees One Hundred Thousand and citation.

Valedictory Function
Chair:Dr. K. Veeramani, Dr. G. Vijayam and Mr. Levi Fragell
Date:Jan 9, 2011
Time:11:30-12:30


Mr.V.Anburaj, Headquarters Secretary, D.K. welcomed the gathering at the Valedictory function held at 12 noon. Mr. Vikas Gora of Atheist Centre summarised the overview of the conference. S. Arivukkarasu, General Secretary, D.K. read the Declaration of the Conference Dr.Soma Elangovan and Dr. Iakkuvan Tamil, Director of Periyar International, U.S.A, Prof. B.A Parikh Former Vice Chancellor of South Gujarat University and Dr. Pirainuthal Selvi, Deputy General Secretary, D.K. spoke in the valedictory function.

Ms.Kristin-Mile, Secretary General, Norwegian Humanist Association shared her thoughts. Mr. Levi Fragell also spoke about the growing atheist and humanist movement in the country and the signs of increasing rationality. Dr.K.Veeramani, delivered his presidential address. Mr. V.Nehru, President of The Rationalists' Forum proposed vote of thanks.

The conference happily ended with the celebration of secular and harvest festival namely Pongal, a cultural festival of the toiling masses in this part of the country.

The 8th World Atheist Conference was a land mark in the onward march of atheism. The theme, "Atheism-the Alternative Culture" received wide attention in the press and in the electronic media.

Valedictory Address by Levi Fragell


Dr Veeramani fecilitated by Levi Fragell and Dr Vijayam


Ms Kristin Mile being felicitated


Levi Fragell being felicitated


Dr Vijayam being felicitated


Audience for the Valedictory Function


Conference Declaration

We, the Atheists, Humanists, Rationalists and Freethinkers from around the world assembled here in Periyar Centenary Educational Complex in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India, for the World Atheist Conference, January 7th, 8th and 9th, 2011, reiterate that atheism is a positive way of life (life stance).

We identified that:
  • Youth are a potential force and scientific education is a necessary pre-condition for liberating people from ignorance, illiteracy and supersitions and in strengthening social transformation.
Deeply concerned with:
  • The growing religious fundamentalism, sectarianism and violence.
  • The rapid deterioration of environment and climate change and appeal for eco-friendly development.
  • The blasphemy laws and hence support their abolision.
Affirm:
  • All are born equal and hence they should live equal.
  • Critical thinking, scientific temper and free inquiry are essential for thought and development in the society.
  • The right to dis-belief in god and to act accordingly.
  • For gender equality, economic betterment, social justice and equal opportunity, so that the innate capacities of women fully contribute to the growth of the society.
  • The necessity for socio-economic and political equality and cultural development of the people by upholding human values.
  • The seperation of religion from politics, education and law and in strengthening of secular ramparts we guard.
  • Upholding of human dignity, self respect and equality of all people, irrespective of colour, caste, creed, sexual orientation and economic status.
  • Science and pseudo-science must be clearly distinguished.
  • Realization of human rights of the children, women, differently-abled, elderly and the marginalized sections of the society.
  • That no religious freedom should be above human rights and the welfare of the society.
Propose:
  • Upholding secular and democratic values in every sphere of life and for the promotion of active citizen participation.
  • Spreading of atheist outlook, which is the hope of humanity, to turn from war to peace, from slavery to freedom, from superstition to a sense of reality, from conflict to cooperation thereby march towards a new society with humanist values.

Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India, 9 January 2011.