Can’t change society without hurting feelings

The battle between science and religion is perennial. Scientists don’t hack people who refuse to believe their theories, but fundamentalists do.

Sentiments will always get hurt, especially religious ones. There is no other way. Society cannot just stand in one place. Nothing will progress in this way. People averse to the idea of progress will not accept it, and will raise questions.

People don’t act out in such barbaric ways when other sentiments are hurt, as they do when religious ones are hurt. Why are religious sentiments so important?

Some say this is because a large portion of the world is religious. I often hear that it is not right to hurt the sentiments of 1.5 billion people.

People are giving too much importance to the number of people here. It seems like you can offend people in small numbers, but offending large numbers of people is a problem. Would it be okay if it was 150 or 1500 instead of 1.5 billion?

People who support the bloggers are saying that the bloggers did not hurt religious sentiments. So, do they also think that it is wrong to hurt religious sentiments? This is where the problem is. I have noticed that even the liberals seem to find it hard to accept that hurting religious sentiments is not a crime.

It is completely wrong to want to spend your entire life without an instance where your feelings might be hurt. It is normal to be offended by different things. There is not a single person in this world who has never been offended by something or other. People are bound to be offended multiple times every day when they socialise with different kinds of people. That is just life.

Imagine A says that he believes in socialism and B says that some socialist leader has character problems, and that socialism has no ideological value.

Then is it okay for A to say that B has offended his political sentiments? And this gives A the right to sue B and maybe also slaughter him in public? B has, in fact, hurt A’s political sentiments. The question is, so what?

These incidents don’t happen when other sentiments are hurt. They only happen when religious ones are hurt. Why do we have to be so respectful of religious sentiments? Because religion is true, or because many people love the religion?

People who think religion is true should learn to react to it in the same way they react when their other feelings are hurt. The politics of sentiments is not new.

It has been raging against democracy, knowledge, science, women’s rights, human rights, and equal rights for all. Now we must choose which side we want to save — religious sentiments or democracy, knowledge, and equal rights.

The politics of religious sentiments has taken a violent turn. The solution for this is not to protect religious sentiments. Rather, the opposite. It must be attacked constantly. Even more so than before. This is how people will eventually learn how to deal with it. Otherwise, the people in the business of religion will destroy what is left of society.

No one has been able to achieve women’s rights without offending misogynists, and no one has been able to establish human rights without offending people against equal rights for all. From establishing democracy to science — some people have always been offended. If the business of religion is to be stopped and stale social norms are to be broken, religious sentiments must be regularly attacked.

If you want to side with the bloggers or the atheists, it is not appropriate to say that they did not hurt anybody’s religious sentiments. Rather, you should say that they attacked people’s religious sentiments because it was necessary to do so. The fundamentalists want the word “atheist” to be a curse word. If “atheist” is a curse word, then “believer” is the same.

You may curse as you please, but violence is not acceptable. Ideology must be fought with ideology. The battle between science and religion is perennial. Scientists don’t hack people who refuse to believe their theories, but fundamentalists do. This will not stop unless the entire country protests together.


  1. richardt says

    But I wonder whether any rationalist analysis actually hurts the feelings of the 1.5 billion religious folk but enables a few self appointed spokespeople to shout in mock outrage. I have watched on TV fulminating angry mobs in Pakistan for example demonstrating and shaking their fists at something or other but when you look carefully, the shot is framed to hide the fact there are only a few, maybe fifty or so, actually there.

  2. StevoR says

    Stay safe and stay well Taslima Nasreen, please. Be yourself – but take care o yourself. I worry abut you y’know. For whatever little i t may be worth.

  3. Parimala says

    What a woman you are?? Even when the whole world says something you follow what your rational mind says. You dont mind how big is your opponent. You mind only truth and reason. hats off Mam!!! I had never seen a woman like you in my life. I just want to see you in person and realise one such woman existed in my life time….

  4. Pieter B, FCD says

    So glad to hear you’re safe. I’ve been worried. With luck I’ll see you at the conference next week.

  5. jerry roldand says

    so… I’ve been wondering why my other email was blocked from a place called a free thought blog. I know it was because I was poking holes in feminist articles, but I would like you to unblock everyone who has ever been blocked if you’re going to call this a free thought blog.

    • StevoR says

      @ ^ jerry roldand Taslima only controls her own blog on FTB not tehwhole network. Each individual blogger is the same situation with the FTB blogplex network thingymajig being run by Ed Brayton from what I understand.

      • StevoR says

        IOW. She doesn’t have the power to do what you ask even if she wanted too which I very much doubt she would. You may want to contemplate why you’ve been banned from the blogs you’ve been banned from and try to contact those specific bloggers.

  6. says

    Hi, Taslima i am an atheist activist from.pakistan we are equally in danger and recieving death threats from militants please raise your voice for us

  7. StevoR says

    So glad to hear you’ve escaped India and are safe and well in your new home, Taslima.

    Hope you are happy there keep up your great outspoken work even more powerfully than before and that your being forced to flee triggers a debate in India and Pakistan that leads to a massive change in mindset although that will clearly take time (years? decades?) to happen.

  8. says


    Sampsonia Way Magazine is trying to get in touch with you for an interview about the status of press freedom in Bangladesh and the threats you and other writers have received. Could you please email me at caitlyn@sampsoniaway[dot]org for an interview? Thank you and best wishes.

  9. says

    Dear Ms Nasrin,

    I am a high school student who is currently working on a censorship project.
    I have read your book Lajja, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, hence I chose it as the subject of my assignment.

    I connect to your liberal views on humanity and plan to present my case against the censorship of your work.

    There are are plenty of resources and links to why Lajja was censored and banned. However, there has been no news/factual quotes about the response of Bangladeshi and Indian authorities. I would like to include, in my work, some response from the officials as evidence for their argument. As no solid information had been witnessed on their behalf, at least on the internet, I have assumed that they were rather reserved regarding this matter.
    Would it be possible for you to provide me your take on their response and any information available from the Officials?
    You could share some documents or point me to resources on the internet.

    I shall be grateful.

    Thank you for your kind attention,
    Sitaraah Joshi

  10. says

    I am blogger myself writing in Sinhalese and English. I am an Atheist as well. I am glad you raised this issue. I think we have to make some noise too. It seems These people uses critical mass theory like @richardt says. They are few but big voices and their agents in media make it big. let’s start making some noise.

  11. says

    Absolutely right, ideology must be fought through ideology only and violence of any kind should not be tolerated. But the hard fact that sentiments always get hurt is not correct because humans had never emotional. Rather humans had always been selfish / commercial and is comfortable with every change which would improve their financial or social status. Our life itself is sufficient to justify the non emotional nature of human being. A kid is happy with parents/guardian as long as completely dependent and then keep on changing companions as per their choice after getting little independent. Then job become priority and readies to do/sacrifice anything for the same. This process continues till get married when complete set of emotions changes. There are no feeling for parents, brothers /sisters and close ones. It is only the spouse and career where humans get occupied. This phase too gets old when they have their children and …. Where are emotions in humans life. There can’t be a single valid reason for being extra emotional. So, emotional games must be dealt firmly.

  12. Bushra says

    Ms. Nasreen Good morning,
    I saw an article in Hindi local newspaper Dainik Jagran, your interview to the correspondent Smitha, I just read the heading azad kahan hai aurat ( where is the woman free??
    can you please elucidate your views in short, what is freedom n to what extent you need freedom??

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