Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article introduces the aims and activities of atheist, humanist and rationalist groups with a focus on the lived experiences of atheists in present-day India. At the same time it discusses the scope of the Oxford Handbook of Atheism’s understanding of ‘atheism’ with respect to India. It argues that the focus on the belief in God and gods can be misleading in the context of Hindu religious traditions. Against this background it is a topical question whether contemporary atheist groups in India are merely a global expression of post-Enlightenment Europe or whether their roots reach further back into Indian history, probably even, as claimed by atheist representatives, back to Vedic times (the materialist traditions referred to as Lokāyata or Cārvāka). As a possible answer to this question this article employs an illustrative analogy between ‘modern atheism’ and ‘linear perspective’ in painting.

Keywords: atheism, rationalism, humanism, materialism, India, Lokāyata, Cārvāka, perspective, Hinduism, Hindu traditions, God, gods

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.