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?