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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keep the Faith

Yesterday and completely unknowingly, I uttered, "The only true equivalence to organized religion is organized crime" and earned nods of approval and the odd stare. Though I did not shovel a lot of thought into it, thank you ADHD, I keep coming back to it. How much credibility does this statement and indeed this argument merit?

Religion came about as a guideline for a "flock" of humans to live together in harmony and with an odd power struggle thrown in for good measure. The fact that religion did not establish the general laws of being a sentient human being, those coming directly from common sense, what it did was present those principles to the congregation with a sugar veneer on a fancy plate.

This does make sense, as a way to avoid complete anarchy, religion works wonderfully as a tool of control and discipline. People feel safer following and when the majority tends to agree with something, everybody unarguably, gets a sense of what is right and wrong.

What went wrong in all this, according to me, is that the "Rules for good living" are dated and stagnate as we tend stretch them out too far. So the practise of "Sati", honourable at one time, is abhorred now and rightly so. Like any organism, religion has to stay vital and fight for survival. And the way most religions did it, is through power and money.

Cashing in on a devoted fan following is not a new concept, as opposed to what some Babas and Gurus would have you think. Creating enough gravity through religious books, saints and seers and the occasional God, with plenty of folk yarns about sins and virtues thrown in to stitch it all together, not a lot of people escape this black hole without feeling a huge void. And all the capital that goes into creating an even bigger pictorial representative of how good religion is.

With the current state of all religions being so abominable, thanks to wars, discrimination and the kind, what happens to faith and belief? Well, what happens is, people are forced to rely on their common sense, which unfortunately, they have been stripped bare of. The euphemism that is religion, relies on some basic human values which do not need any tome or recital. To simply put it, I quote the lead singer of Slayer, Tom Araya, who is a devout Roman Catholic. He says, "I might not clearly know what is right and best, but I and everybody else do know what is wrong. There are some things that you do not do, doesn't matter what religion or caste you come from."

I have already signed an agreement to comply with whatever Tom Araya says, in Slayer or otherwise. But, I do welcome everybody to ponder over his statement, leaving aside the fact that he is the lead singer of a band which has made albums like, "Hell Awaits", "Haunting the Chapel" and "Christ Illusion".

Bottom-line, every human, with some basic rules, can carve out his/her own faith that he/she can live with comfortably and still be a "good" human. Some may point out the underlying convenience that features so prominently in the previous sentence and others might paint horrible word pictures of anarchy. But, if you have a brain of your own, not beset by the woes of ADHD or any other mental illness, please do ponder over this.

To me, religion is not an important thing. I would rather ignore it than waste any brain power thinking about it. And I do stand by my sentence about it being criminally equal to organized crime. To put it very simply, back when the Italian mafia in New York was only 20 years old, a leading light of that fold said "We are bigger than U.S. Steel!" and that for them was a great landmark, an absolute pinnacle of how far they come, earning money from shady schemes.

Everytime I look at a temple, mosque or church, it dawns on me, the fact that, organized religion controls more power and money than many a U.S. Steel and some countries put together. Hard to forsake all that, ain't it?


  1. I don't see the point in the post at all.

    Are you saying religion extremists are causing terrorism in the world? Did you forget about the infinite wars over power? Over hatred? what about slavery? Religion is not the culprit here, human beings are the culprit. They will do the same even in the absence of religion. Blaming religion is pointless.

    Are you saying quacks cash in on religion? See the stock market. Organised groups cash in on bet-ers everyday! Its human nature. No need to blame religion for it.

    Are you saying religion is an organised crime? Well, think of the nexus between corporations and politics and the police. It is more organised and harmful.

    Do you see pattern here? Its the human nature to fuck up everything. Religion or no religion it is not changing.

    Now, the religion today has been morphed and changed by blind faith. I am sure sati-ism, untouchability were all added later by wretched minds. Blame the humans. Blame faith. Imagine a world where the reason for whatever religion prescribes was written down. There would be no blind faith and religion would be good! I think what you are arguing against is blind faith and NOT religion.

    And all this assuming all the stuff religions say is false and only meant to let people stay together...

  2. @Jitesh :

    "Its the human nature to fuck up everything" -

    Agree. Lets just take care of one fuck up at a time. Scandinavia and many other countries are doing fine(more than just fine?) without religion.

    "The religion today has been morphed and changed by blind faith"

    Correction : More often than not, religion IS just an "organized" version of blind faith. Faith is belief in stuff without evidence. Pick a religion that doesn't need/expect you to do this - difficult.

    Religion came out of the need for the ancient human minds to make sense of the world around them. We know much more now. Lets give up stories and rely on the scientific process, an iterative, self correcting process that neither claims answer to every question nor is it static and unchangeable like religious dogma, a place where unknowns are unknowns and falsifiability is a virtue. Lets unveil the universe one onion layer at a time and dispel the dragons and unicorns :)

    Mandatory reference to Richard Feynman : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfjWa6yW2mk

  3. Well ... religion is a word defined by humans and we humans defined the various constructs of a language. Lets not freak out when we do not have a standard definition for religion and each one of us takes religion differently. We humans believe in intuition and reflexes. At the same time, we also want control. There comes the tradeoff. You can hit a fly but you cannot harm a fellow human even if it is an reflex reaction conjured by nothing but involuntary muscle contraction.
    We try to define rules for the nature. It works most of the times but there are always exceptional outliers not conforming to the rules. Apply this to religion, it works normally but a few outliers always show up.
    It is also in human nature that we generalize things we observe even though the sample set is not large enough. And generalization leads to prejudice. This loophole between intuition and control is where money comes from. People with good business acumen take control hereafter.
    According to me, I guess dying with your husband made more sense in those days. In those days if you are a girl child you are raised by your father and then taken care of by the supposed husband. Now if the husband can no longer take care, she can actually be a victim of the crazy and sex hungry men of old. It is better to die than be the meat shared by hundreds of men. The words we sometimes hear only in relation to the military, "Die with honor".

  4. Well, since religion is constructed and defined by humans, it should be easy to get away if you can and want to. That is why I wanted to separate faith from religion. And about "Die with honour", I think that decision should be left to the lady who is about to lose her life because of some chauvinist bastards. Society has no fucking right to tell her to kill herself.

  5. @letronje
    "Scandinavia and many other countries are doing fine(more than just fine?) without religion."


    Just saying! This high crime rate might not be related to religion at all, but saying they are "doing fine" is wrong. People fuck up everything!

    I rest my case!

    "Faith is belief in stuff without evidence. Pick a religion that doesn't need/expect you to do this - difficult."

    Lets take Jainism as an example. The founding principles of Jainism is "Anekantvaad" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anekantavada). The principle says that a truth or reality has multiple point of views. Everyone is true from their point of view. For the science in Jainism I urge you to go read the "Aagam" which even has the concept of an "atom" and lot of physics explanations about why stuff is the way it is.

    But again, as per anekantvaad you are right from your perspective, so there is no argument here really :-).

  6. lol... i liked jitesh's last comment. anekantvaad is very interesting and i completely believe in the concept. Everyone is always right... haha :)

    and yet i agree about ppl f'ing up everything.
    but why do ppl always have to do that? the world should have been a little more beautiful than that.

  7. and manan, it is sad that you always think abt all that when you look at a temple or mosque. No matter how fucked up the world is, the world is still what we think of it. Sometimes it is wiser to close your eyes and have faith.

  8. Ketaki, well after I am done admiring the architecture, which is primarily why I go to any religious building, sadly, it is the truth. Don't get me wrong, I respect people having true faith and all. I have been very close to that, almost became a monk and then I saw the flip side of it. That is what pushed me away. So I have my own things that I believe in, maybe music is the closest I can come to religion. But that is about it.

  9. I loved the post and replies to it :)
    I completely agree with the part Rules for good living are dated and stagnate as we tend stretch them out too far.
    Each and every religion is an interpretation of someone about how a man should live his life and hence is subject to change from person to person. I guess if a person follows his common sense, he can lead a better life than any religion can tell him because human life is such a complex thing where a person can come across any situation anytime and how that is to be tackled can't be found out in religious book always hence applying your own common sense is the best solution.