I hate writing about religion. Yet today I am going to tread this dangerous path. It seems to have become a passionate cause for thousands across the world – a cause important enough to defend, fight for and even kill for.
What is religion? A set of rules that its followers swear by? Beliefs that they want to thrust down unwilling throats using any means they can? Or does it stem from an insecurity deep inside them that makes them want to control and dominate? Or better still, is it a tit for tat game pitting one’s God against the other?
How can we deceive ourselves into thinking that God really cares about our dietary preferences? Or about what we wear and how and where we worship? But have these become the parameters that measure virtue today? Whatever happened to reason, common sense and most of all compassion? Have our respective Gods too decided to do away with these “frivolous” values in pursuit of the more “important causes” that our respective religions staunchly espouse?
The crossroads that my country stands at today frightens me. On the one hand we are the world’s fastest growing economy but we are also heading towards becoming the world’s most mislead minds by mimicking radical sects that spew intolerance and hatred. Why are we as a society seeking to safeguard our culture by trying to efface others? Whether it is dictating what foods our neighbours stock in their refrigerators, whether it is allowing the caste of a person to determine who can and cannot enter a temple or controlling personal choice in matters of love and marriage – are these today the causes that are driving us as a society? Is this truly the focus of our life and the reason for our existence?
It’s a pathetically pitiable condition to be in – an insult to human intelligence not to mention the wisdom of our ancient philosophy that we pretend to take so much pride in. If religion unleashes the beast in us it is best left alone. As long as we think of religion as an identity to cling on to rather than a way to live and let live, we will never rise above all that is base and lowly – a far cry from what religion actually meant us to be – humane and magnanimous.
A related read: Ensnared