Religion. What actually is religion? Do we actually understand religion, something for which there have been so many wars fought and still being fought both peacefully and using violence. In this article I will try to shed some light on the topic “Religion”.
Shiva: Hindu God
Wikipedia defines Religion as a cultural system of behaviors and practices that relate humanity to “an order of existence”. Wikipedia sure is a smartass. Something which is quite vast and has numerous forms, some still unknown to the general public and Wikipedia still manages to define it in a single line, covering almost all religions. But the problem of being a smartass is that whatever you say can be interpreted in a million different ways. This is fine when you are an online portal or a website, but the struggle a smartass faces in a real life cannot be expressed in words. Some famous reactions include- ignoring you using a joke, ignoring you by humming (while paying attention to the surrounding), ignoring by trying to change the topic, Ignoring by pointing out what’s wrong with you or the last resort asking you to just shut up. In short you just keep getting ignored, which forces the smartass to write these things down. Some really smart ones tries to explain you using stories inspired by some true life events.
You must be wondering where this guy is going. This is not at all related to religion. Well, I would say read again. Because whatever we know about a religious history comes from written text. Some smartasses who were way ahead of their time, not appreciated and understood by their own decided to write it down for when the time is right people would read his/her words and learn from it, be inspired and do the right thing. The greater number of people that text inspired, greater society it formed. And bigger the society, more followed and respected religion it became, while the smaller and lesser known text were lost in the name of fairytales, to be read as bedtime stories.
Lotus Temple, Delhi- one of the newest form of religion, with an aim to unite people of all religion by making the teachings more relevant for the present time
Coming back to the definition of religion, a religious person would interpret the term “order of existence” as how life came into existence, how God created life on earth. His believes, how he classifies a behavior good or bad, divine or evil, just or unjust- so that mankind could follow in his footsteps and create or find heaven- a place where he is at peace. Being a religious person for about 22 or 23 years of my almost 27 years of existence on this planet I can easily say that I have done justice to religious beliefs in most respectful manner.
Reading the last paragraph might have made many of you think why I was not religious for the remaining 4-5 years of my life. The answer to that is that being a religious person I would have seen just one possible explanation to the term “order of existence”, but being an atheist opened my eyes to a whole new meaning to things. I interpret “order of existence” as a set of rules and beliefs formed to unite the group or the society where everyone helps each other and derives their own success from the others success and not their defeat. This meaning or interpretation is closer to the Latin word religiō, believed to be the origin of the word religion and one possible meaning of the word is understood to be “to unite” or “to bind”.
The important point to be noted here is that both the interpretations are right and should be respected equally, both by theist and the atheist because both the interpretations or understanding or school of thoughts motivate people to live peacefully, along with each other. Helping and progressing with each other.
Above text if conveys anything near to what my intentions were or any good as I see it, will give rise to few questions. Such as if both interpretations point to same thing why are atheist against theist or is religion really good or if it is this simple then why are their conflicts, not only between theist and atheist but also between people of different religions ??? Based on my understanding from reading various books from both the point of view and have worn both the shoes I will try to share my answers with you in the next few posts.