Religion

The Religion of Dogma vs The Religion of Reason

DogmaReason

I recently came across this news article, it talks about how an Organization in India is carrying out attacks all across the country because of the alleged distortion of History in the movie. During the making, the director was attacked on the sets and recently the main lead tweeted, pleading the Government to stop this

 

Ironically, the movie is inspired from a Novel and isn’t history.  But to use reason and analyze things for such people is almost blasphemous. When I shared this news with many of my Muslim friends they were quick to blame it on Hindu Religion. “The religion of worshiping Cow, drinking urine and washing God’s dick,” they said, referring to their interpretation of Hindu Goddess, Bhumi,  Upanayana ceremony, and Shivaling.

This made me curious, it was so easy for people to put it on others. These friends of mine never questioned the killing of Ahmediyyas by Muslims in Pakistan, the protest of Muslims at the screening of Omar Series, Riots started by Muslims because of a mere cartoon etc. And they had all the philosophical understanding behind the symbols of removing prepuce from dick (circumcision), cutting the hair of a newborn (aqeeqa), the benefits of drinking camel urine.

It amazed me how one can remain completely blinded on the conduct of their own community and at the same time criticize the conduct of another community, a conduct occurring in the exact same context.

I think it will be a flawed generalization to say that all Muslims are like this. Just that we know that only a minor fringe of Hindus have a serious problem with the movie and not the entire Hindu community. If one studies the nature of people who have a problem with the movie and the nature of people among Muslims with extreme opinions, one will see the same carbon clone nature present in both. The traits are as follows

  1. These people are filled with emotion to such an extent that their entire conduct is driven by their emotions
  2. They see reason in a negative light, almost abhor it. Doing anything based on reason in religion for them is almost synonym with disbelieving in God
  3. They are very sectarian, they think that their way is accurate and more importantly the other’s way is wrong. Sometimes they have more confidence in latter than former.
  4. They believe that they are the representatives of God. If they don’t do what needs to be done for God, then God will lose this world, hence they are the last hope for God
  5. Salvation is theirs and more importantly, it’s definitely not for others.

The above list, of course, is not exhaustive. I’m sure there are many more character traits, but the above 5 are more easily visible than others.

Contrary to them, there are other types of People in both the religious communities, in fact in every religion.  I’ve noticed that these people also have similar traits. Like following

  1. They are more concerned with their flaws and how to improve them instead of criquing others.
  2. They usually have a sound understanding of their texts but are curious to learn about other religions too, without feeling any insecurity or any need to pass a judgment
  3. They are peace-loving people and are more concerned with improving the state of the needy and a general state of the society.
  4. They have a relation of humility towards truth and a relation of empathy towards their fellow humans.
  5. They don’t have a problem in changing their opinions if a mistake is pointed out

The above points, again, are not exhaustive. But something which will be readily seen.

One has to be careful here, that we don’t want to paint a black and white picture, the above two types of people are the two extremes. There is a huge–and the majority of people fall in this–spectrum in between. Many people will have some traits of one extreme and some traits of the other extreme.

We can say that we are living in a spiritually–for a lack of better word–healthy society when we acknowledge such traits irrespective of religion. And we acknowledge that one extreme is good, a utopia like, and should be a goal to achieve, while also at the same time, abhor the other extreme. To create such a society, and to inculcate this thinking in our people should be our Goal. I’ll like to end this blog with a quote from one of my favorite teacher of 21st century, Sal Khan

If you believe in trying to make the best of the finite  number of years we have on this planet (while not making it any worse  for anyone else), think that pride and self-righteousness are the cause  of most conflict and negativity, and are humbled by the vastness and  mystery of the Universe, then I’m the same religion as you.

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