Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Here, Take My Religion... I don't Need It

Religion is very confusing – as a word, as an institution and everything else it may represent. So here’s definition I found quite apt – “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects”. And all such definitions were centered on terms like belief, rituals, faith and devotion. So that’s settled then. Extrapolating the definition a bit, we find that science is a religion too. And so is shopping, sleeping and not giving a shit because a lot of us have faith, belief and devotion for the said practices.

On a more serious note though, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism etc. and Cricket are the real ones we recognize as religion. They have their teachings, religious books, so called Gods and their own dedicated fan following. The set of beliefs that a particular religion represents can be misconstrued and misinterpreted in different ways and this does happen. A lot. And these varied interpretations may gain a following and may lead to the birth of a different sect within a religion. Sooner or later this would create a conflict. There is no international organization like the BCCI to make rules for everyone to follow.

And even if there aren’t sub-divisions to fight with, there are other religions. And guess what, my religion is better than yours. My area’s MLA’s driver saw the movie PK and came back red faced over the disrespecting portrayal of his boss’s religion. Now I didn’t see the movie but fuck that. How dare Aamir Khan, or anyone for that matter, disrespect my religion uh.. like that driver says ?? My religion preaches compassion and forgiveness. But fuck that. Let’s troll Aamir first.

It’s not any religion’s fault but the mindless population blindly following a god-man or freelancing with their own religious opinions. Most likely, no one exactly gets what his religion, that he so ferociously protects, teaches. Not many have read the religious scriptures in their lifetime and if they have they hardly understand what It means. They just go with what that Godman says. And ‘that’ godman may be different from someone else’s. And BAM! We have got ourselves a difference of opinion which sometimes gets magnified to extremely dangerous proportions.

Sometimes with no fault of their own and sometimes with, these godmen enjoy a dangerously powerful position in the society. They have the public, which lacks the magical power of ‘thinking’, into their hands and can be easily manipulated to incite one sect or religion against other. This right here is a politician’s orgasm – the power of manipulation. Religious extremists employ religion as a means to sway the population any which way they prefer. They don’t deter from using violence to point across and then use religion to justify. And this exists across religions.

Religion in India is an extremely sensitive issue. If you do a random activity, like say make a movie, chances are you will upset someone. That little anecdote you so stealthily tried to hide across 10 different scenes spread over 2 hours of runtime will come back to bite you in the ass. In a country of over a billion, there must be someone who will get offended by a dialogue, a character, a distant synonym of a word which referred to some caste millions of years ago and believe me, the media will not let him keep that to himself.

I found it best to keep my distance from religion. Currently I am somewhere in the middle of being an agnostic and a full blown atheist. I have my reasons. I find it very challenging to keep up with countless customs and guidelines a devout follower of a particular religion has to abide by. You are not allowed to eat meat on certain days because you’ll get a straight red card to hell if you as much as smelled meat on the unanimously set days. And you are allowed to commit murder on the rest of the days without being fouled by God.

And I get annoyed by strange restrictions forced on me by my devout parents. I am not allowed to have a haircut on certain days due to different reasons and that leaves me with a window of a couple of days to part with my hair. I am not allowed to buy new or wear new shoes, clothes on some days, not to travel on certain days and to sleep with my head pointed in a particular direction. I don’t remember the specifics because I do not care. Never did. There are numerous other strangely illogical superstitions resulting out of religious beliefs somehow.

I always have had a hard time standing in front of an idol, and praying with closed eyes. That, for me, is laziness and a pessimistic lack of confidence in one’s own abilities. According to some popular beliefs, God helps those who help themselves. Then by asking the almighty for some extra marks, money and blessings defies the very sentiment of the statement. A little faith in oneself, in one’s own power and capabilities more than makes up for the fact that you need someone’s blessings to accomplish a task.

Why are we required, by social convention, to try and please a deity which is nothing more than a rock figure we have surrendered ourselves to?? A religion is nothing more than story developed to answer what science can’t. The universe wasn’t created by a God, nor will it come to end due to one, and he certainly doesn’t control and command the weather and the rains.

This entire web of words is not merely the rant of a soon-to-be atheist. I am in no way suggesting that you let go of your religion and follow me in my own directionless quest of nothingness. I am not asking you to forego your family’s traditions and customs. . I do not use my lack of religious beliefs to mock someone who does have a dedicated faith in his religion. There is faith and then there is blind faith. The least we can do is keep our eyes and mind open and weigh some logic defying customs and avoid being a tool for someone for his/her own selfish gains.

There is no hell, only the obnoxious reality we live in. And heaven is just some optimist's overly creative imagination.

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