When A College in India Bethune College in Kolkata, India unveiled its online application for next year’s students, there was a new option under the menu for “Religion.”
In addition to the usual options (Christian, Hinduism, Islam, “Others,” etc.), students can now select “Humanity.”
That’s not a typo of “Humanism.”
In fact, one school official said she wanted students to avoid putting down something explicitly non-religious, so this was a way for applicants to say they believe in something.
“We have noticed that some youngsters don’t want to disclose their religion. There were options like ‘non-believer’ but we thought that humanity is something that all the religions talk about. Humanity is above every religion,” Mamata Ray Chaudhuri, Principal of the college which functions under Calcutta University, told IANS. She said it is better to have faith in humanity rather than becoming a non-believer at a young age.
The explanation needs some work since there’s nothing wrong with being a non-believer in nonsense. And what, exactly, does it mean to say you believe in “humanity”? It’s a word that can be defined in so many ways that it becomes meaningless. If that’s the case, then why bother asking students for their religious affiliation at all? (It’s a required question on the application.)
I supposed it’s a pleasant thought, considering the religious strife in India, but given the options, I would still answer “Others.”
An official of Calcutta University said the authorities were supportive of the initiative. “Everyone need not be a follower or believer of a religion. Instead, they may support humanism,” he said.