Friday, October 12, 2012

The University and Religion Analogy

As a continuation of my previous post here, I wanted to draw an analogy which I have in mind.

The organization of Religion to me is analogous to a university where you take admission to learn. You take up a religion to learn about how to live your life.

University:Your end goal is to get a graduation degree.
Religion: Your end goal is to "reach" God and become "one" with God.

University: There are different departments at the university like Mechanical, Computer Sc, Automobile, etc
Religion: There are different religions in the world with different names like the Abrahamic religions of the West and Middle East or the religions of the far east.  
[Just like after school anyone can take a subject/department of his choice at the university due to liking or on recommendation of friends and family, similarly one can take up any religion based on choice or recommendations.]

University: There can be different uniforms for the different departments, different mode of teachings, different set of rules and regulations to follow in each department etc.
Religion: Each individual religion can also has its own set of rules, different methodology of teaching, different sense of dressing etc.
[Just like one religion say it is okay to eat meat and the other prohibits it. That does not mean one is better than the other. It should just be taken as a rule or condition keeping in focus the end goal to get the graduation degree. More often than not, people who take up religion keep fighting on such petty issues and forgetting the end goal.]

University: There can be different forms of test for each department.
Religion: There can be different set of tests for each individual religions.
[Just like the tests and exams for the mechanical department maybe on a Lathe machine and that of Computer Sc on a computer or laptop similarly one religion might test you by asking you to fast or another by asking you to give up worldly possessions or another by asking you some rituals etc. But the end goal is still to be with God.]

University: Once you end up with all the learning and going through all the tests taking your time you finally become a Graduate.
Religion: At the end of the complete process or even a lifetime you are finally one with God.
[Just like at the end of time you are recognized more as a Graduate with a particular specialization in a department, similarly at the end of your religious life once you are one with God it is not much important which path (religion) you took to reach Him. The end result is that you finally found Him.]

I know the above might sound very naive and unrealistic but still I feel if we allow others to follow what they want until it does not harm others in any way, things might be better in the world. No religion is above any other and should be considered as different paths to reach the same end goal. Because as a believe of faith I cannot believe or agree that "if" there is really a supreme power running this universe, then it distinguishes between someone eating meat or not eating meat, fasting or not fasting. I think HE would be more interested to see how you lead your own life and how well you treat others around you and how well you make you world a better place to live in.

But, till we realize what I said above, I also cannot deny the saying ... Misinterpretation is an easy stick to beat people with. I hope TIME prove me otherwise.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Don't ask, don't tell

After reading a post by a fellow blogger, there was a rush of thoughts that went in my head. I wanted to document them as a post. Though a bit late but still, I wanted to keep my word of writing my own post on the same topic. The topic of Religion.

This post is not meant to offend any one or any thought process but merely reflects my opinion on the topic. I strongly feel that religion is a very, very private concept which should be kept personal. It should be your own personal duty to explore religion and understand it rather than blindly following it by imposing your own ideas and concepts on others. 

Usually, I don not even talk on this topic openly. A friend of my father once gave me a great advise. It was when I was going on my first individual trip away from home all alone for a trekking adventure. I have great respect for him so went to meet him before my trip to take some tips. One of the tips which still stand firm in my head is related to this topic. He told me that if you are alone and away from home and suddenly you find yourself sitting with a group talking and chatting and out of the blue, the topic of religion comes up, stand up and walk away from that group at that very moment. At that time I hardly understood what he meant. But slowly with time I realized its true meaning and importance. I experienced over time that - Misinterpretation is an easy stick to beat people with. This is the reason I said before that this should be very personal and private. Thoughts and ideas can sometimes conflict and cause problems leading to severe consequences specially on this topic. Events mentioned by the fellow blogger are a good proof of this.

It is an open fact that in history there is more blood spilled on the name of Religion than for anything else. Wars have been fought. People have been slain. Generations have been wiped out. It comes as no wonder that even learned and famous people have spoken against it since ages. One of the most famous comments come from Karl Marx who said - Religion is the opium of the people. Even Friedrich Nietzsche could not resist in saying - Faith means not wanting to know what is true.

Incidentally, I was in discussions with some colleagues lately on the same issue. Last month a colleague came to work and gave us the news that he has officially left the church. Actually in Germany, as a catholic or protestant you are officially registered with the church. Being a member of the church, you also have to pay a church tax from your salary every month. There are a few perks which come along paying this tax. This way you are officially allowed to attend the Mass and also the right to religious burial etc. I asked him the reasons to leave the church. He said he was not very happy to see the current state of affairs relating to religion, particularly his own. He rightly mentioned how in history horrendous acts of brutality have happened on the name of his religion. Also, the latest abuse scandals totally distanced him from the church. This is not just his story but as I observed over the years, the story of many in Germany. A few days later, I read a related news which did not surprised me and proved that this phenomena is really challenging the church. My colleague also suggested me to watch the movie, Magdalene Sisters. It was quite new for me to learn about that true story.

It immediately reminded me of all the scandals happening in India related to the so called "Holy Men" like Nithyananda to name a few, tarnishing the meaning of Religion. None of the religions I know have been spared by the misdeeds of a few bad men. There have been and there will be people misusing the name of religion for their own benefits. But that does not mean the whole concept of religion is bad.

Even after listing all the criticism against religion, I can still say that I am a religious person. I still have a faith in which I believe strongly. Because for me an atheist is also believer of a faith. The faith in the "absence of God" because like a person who cannot prove the existence of God, an atheist can not prove its absence.

I follow my religion which is relatively new and open. The interpretation which I made from it on the topic of religion can be compared and related to the structure of a university. Let me elaborate it in my next post.