Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why blame religion for our failures

In order to examine what role religion plays in our lives, we should also look at what other factors influence or guide us in becoming what we do become. Any list would include, self interest, tribe, culture, parental or family influence, race, political ideology etc. In fact in much of the developed world, these factors far outweigh the factor of religious affiliation and Religion is looked upon as an obsolete notion. The developed world has in fact developed their own definitions of moral codes and morality which are exercised under man made laws in the cause of enlightened self interest.
Religion was supposed to transcend the self interest of man. It was supposed to transcend tribe,race,culture. Not replace them, but to be above these accidents of birth. Religion came when the self interest of man created unfairness and injustice and concentrated power in the hand of a few exploiters of humanity. Religion advocated a balance between worldliness and spirituality and the superiority of God's laws over those of men. It wasn't as if people were not religious before the great religions came but there was no evidence of guidance coming directly from God.

Unfortunately men used religion to create as much division as to create unity. The Crusades are only one such example. When the messages of Judaism, Christianity and Islam were still fresh, these religions helped to create vibrant tribes, nations, empires and legacies. In fact to this day a lot of our non religious morality is heavily influenced by what we learned from religion.

So we can see that religion can be a double edged sword. It inspired people to be good human beings because they believe it is the word of their Creator but it can also cause people to be bigoted, intolerant and close minded because for some reason they read into their scriptures that they are the rightly guided. The Quran is quite explicit in its texts to say that those people will not receive any guidance from it who do not think ( and are therefore embarking on a mindless activity). It is also quite clear in saying that those people will also receive no guidance from it who think but do not believe.

As long as people believe whether overtly or subconsciously that religion is but another tool to further their worldly goals, they will use it as such and not only give it a bad name but prove to those who are inclined to believe this that religion has done nothing to bring about a higher purpose of life to humanity. We live in a world today that is in need of a spiritual awakening because it has tilted far too much towards self interest and the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few exploiters. We are not in need so much of an ideology ( the ideology is already there, belief in God) as a leader. The abject failure of Obama points to the failure of the chances of such a leader coming from the secular world. The forces of self interest are too powerful to allow one of their own sons to destroy the temple on which they pray.

Although religious extremism is being blamed for the ills of this world, the twenty first Century is truly being defined by the violence perpetrated by the worlds sole super power. As if the violence was not enough this same power then went on a lending frenzy not ever seen in the world's financial systems which almost led to the collapse of the worlds economy. Millions of people world wide are unemployed and struggling to make a living because of the excesses of the United States. We live in a world that is struggling not because of suicide bombers but because of the excesses of the rich and powerful.

I am trying to put things in perspective, lest we lose sight of who or what threatens the delicate balance of this world. It is not Afghanistan or Somalia that is causing the waste and depletion of the world's resources. It is OK to say that this is the price that must be paid for progress but whose progress are we talking about?


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