Religion 2025

"Religion is a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values." "If one person has an imaginary friend, he is crazy, but if many people have the same imaginary friend, its called religion". Yes, both are kulted (copied). First one is from wikipedia and second one is from the dinosaur-asking-questions meme. I just needed a formal start before I can punch in my views. Here I go.

Being from an above-average religious family, this topic has always had a place in my head. I was also raised to have faith and belief in the concept of God and its worship. But as I grew up, started going to school / college and getting exposed to more than a home ecosystem, my faith kept on declining. This should be a case with almost everyone of my generation. Our parents were a part of older India, a closed one. Their definition of respect included not to argue / question their adults. But we were born in a different world. A globalized one, with more openness. Today, we ask questions. And technological advancement in making the world smaller just added to that. You can just google about stuff or ask a question on Quora and you can get supporters / answers / criticism from everywhere in the world.


As a kid, it starts with stuff which you aren't allowed to do in the name of religion / tradition / culture (i have always been confused between the boundaries of above three). Say you aren't allowed to touch food before bath if you just had a haircut, or cant trim your nails on some particular day of the week, or not allowed to wear black in a wedding / family function. And then you have stuff which you are supposed to do. Like, going to temple, or burn logs of wood on holi, or kill goats on Bakri-id. I am just quoting these examples from my neighborhood, which is primarily Hindus. I am sure, other religions will also have stuff like this.

The way I see, it is the problem is extrapolation. Most of the festivals, are an extrapolation of some mythological event. Holi, Dusshera, Ganesh / Durga / All types of visarjans, Bakri-id, etc. All were merely symbols of something good in respective religions, be it the burning of holika instead of prahlad, or the miraculous swap of prophet's son with a goat, or ram killing ravan. These were just supposed to be symbolic. That doesnt mean you have got to repeat them every year to remember / appreciate it! You dont drop out of the college just because Gates and Jobs (God-ly people?) did and they earned a fortune. They are just meant to be an inspiration. There is a huge difference in the 'era' from when all this started and today. We have shifted from burning a few logs of wood here and natural mud-made Ganesh idols to tons and tons of them and to the ones made by Plaster of Paris. There was no melting ice-cap, or energy-deficit or a polluted ocean then. We have now. Some people, including my best friends say, they get the "feel" watching holi burn or bursting crackers. Well, facts are more important than feel. If we continue doing this mindless business every year without even questioning or thinking about it, your next or next to next rebirth may not even have clean air or water to feel the feel.

Another level of extrapolation happens when someone tries to prove that their religious theories are correct. I always have this kind of arguments with my mom. She says "x" is true according to both, religious theory and common sense / logic / science, you should have faith and assume that "((x+y)%8)^2" is also true. Her argument, science didn't support "x" before 500 years, now it does, and so in future it will support this another complicated function also. But that's just not the way it works. You cant take things for granted. Not even in science also!

Many people say its the source of spirituality or inner peace (Skadoosh ;-) ). Well that's because you have been trained in that way. From childhood, if you had any problem or wanted a good luck charm, you were TAUGHT to remember the God and picturize him. You were taught to pray to him to make things better. And then the law of extrapolation works, and we name it spirituality. How about teaching them to hold a pencil or count from one to ten or plant a tree! When they grow old, they might start finding more solace by doing that.

And then there is money (gujju factor). From Pope to POP statue of Sai baba, all are insanely rich. Thirupathi, is supposed to be the richest God in India. It adds 1500+ crores to its coffers every year. The insurance cover of God's jewels is 50k crores. The money which grows every year, but you cant tax a single dime. And when tried to do so, people started protesting. Well do something with that money! God is not gonna do anything with it.

I hope we get this shift from practicing materialistic religion to a life governed by a simple set of logical rules someday. This could be well guided by the existing model of religion. I would say, religion need not always be adversary of science. So many religious theories, so many avenues for research. Anyways, any change, particularly change in the mindset, inevitably takes time. I think it should happen in a decade or so. Till then, ask questions and try the 'plant a tree' spiritual example with your kid. :)

Comments

  1. Being an agnostic myself i agree to most of what you say .. but then the religious celebrations are a way of socializing for many . honestly i moved out of the country and i barely have anything to look forward to except for a long weekend every other month .. but does it really have all the fun you get out of spraying colours or burning crackers (or even sacrificing a goat for some people) ?? Probably not .. Living a non-religious life is fine but then not celebrating just 'cause there is an energy deficit doesn't sound right. We make energy to support our everyday needs. What if using huge lamps and loud speakers just a way of me socializing with my friends during the navaratra ? is it still a wrong idea considering the energy deficit ? The spirit of festivals have a lot offer even to agnostic/atheists like me. Your concerns are genuine but relating it to religious fanaticism doesn't seem right. And next time I'll use environment-friendly ganpati .. just sayin ;) either ways .. amazing views :)

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    1. Ronty! Long time. Anyways thanks. Energy deficit was just one point. Such small small points contribute towards it. I agree, its contribution cant be made so high because of the reasons you mentioned.

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    2. yeah long time indeed!
      how have you been ? (well sorry for making it a chat thread) :p

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  2. true to an extent. but within its sphere of application, very aptly placed. Though there is this possibility of the function to be true in the future, actions of today cant rely on it. As far as the importance goes, we can still have a jolly good time with festivals and religions. Liked the point of view :D
    Oh and this reminds me of an incident my mom once told me. She was standing at a bus stop next to an elderly man and this other guy in a neat clothing walks up with a tin can and says, " ame *something* committee maathi chiye, *someplace* ma mandir banavu che, tamarathi banti hoy etli madad karo to saru"
    a normal sentimental gujju would give in to the sympathy,but the elderly man next to her more aptly replied, " aa desh ne mandir ni nai, balmandir ni jaroor che, e banavta hov to hu paisa aapu"
    #truestory :D

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  3. Hmmm... for your age, pretty good! Keep up the good work. and if time permits, read Fountain Head and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. :D

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  4. A very interesting post. Though just for passing my time on trains I started reading God Delusion, it has become a major contributing factor to the way I think today. What we need to do is to think. We need to think why are certain rituals done in the name of god. Sacrificing a goat in the name of god for Dusshera is not a great idea. Rather, it is very contradicting. You are not supposed to eat non veg on some other Durga puja day, but eating goat meat is mandatory on the 10th day of dusshera.

    I have a strange perspective of god. In my view, there is nothing sacred about the human form. Human just seems to be a pretty large race with the ability to build and do stuff more than other animals. I believe there is some force, imperceivable to us, but definitely not in the way we think he is. How can god have a form like Humans. It betrays the benevolent form of god, saying god takes care of every being on earth. For that matter, what is so sacred about Earth?

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  5. True that. Why don't we give Science and Moral education more importance than religion? If not more, somewhere close ?
    Human race has been subjected to changes- both social and psychological at an alarming speed since evolution but, we don't see the same happening to our religious practices. Every year, we waste myriad number of natural resources on these processions without even thinking for a second.

    Sure, technology has advanced. But humans are still shackled in their erstwhile religious traditions-hampering growth in countless ways.

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