Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Religion: Inside out

From our earliest memories we can retrieve what we learnt in our schooling – to read, write, arithmetic, what is good behavior and what is bad behavior; imbued moral values and ethical principles while participating in worships in temple, mosque, church, gurdwara and synagogue. Though we claim to have learnt much from past experience, where are we now? Are we better ourselves today is the question that we should ask and seek answer? Our answer should never be in favor of one body of people over another or trying to balance or accommodate, but ought to revolve around one question that pushes us to ask: Is our education or religion or mores or culture or tradition or ideology or belief system enabled us to become or to be better people?
Religion is at the core of all the contestations that we have globally and more particularly we as Indians confront in our day-to-day existence. Religion per see has been interpreted in such ways to suit the whims and fancies of the priests, theologians and politicians deviating from the very essence and core principles. As a result, religion has replaced humanity and, in its place, pitched lust for material things, power and authority. Core ethical values such as compassion, service, love, peace, justice, honesty, dignity and equality have been shelved. Human-constructed religions have enslaved humans to ideological, theological, political and philosophical tenets and premises.
I’m reminded of a few who viewed religion not in traditional ways but in different ways: One such thinker is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a protestant saint, philosopher and theologian succinctly used “Religion-less Christianity” – an inquiry that goes beyond Christianity as a religion. Osho, one of the great thinkers, while articulating about religion said that: “True religion can only be one, just like science. You don’t have a Mohammedan physics, a Hindu physics, a Christian physics … But that’s what religions have done … they have made the whole earth a madhouse. If science is one, then why should the science of the inner not be one, too?” These wise statements need deeper probing. Amidst this confluence, Seneca, a renowned philosopher beautifully articulated that: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Depth of wisdom that merits deeper inquiry, probing and contemplation.
To sum up, let me bring to the fore Thomas Easley in his own ways reiterates that “In the end, it’s not what we believe; it’s how we behave that constitutes good or bade behavior …there is no difference between people, only a difference in levels of awareness of non-attachment, of seeing through ourselves into a world without us in it. A world we can better ourselves unhindered by the approval or disapproval of external interpretations of good and bad. The point, the goal of betterment, is how to live with each other, not change each other.”
Dr. I. John
Mohan Razu
Professor of
Social Ethics

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