Religion, 21st century and growth of rationalism
The present era is marked by a rapid increase in science and technology. Each and every moment the world is becoming more and more advanced. The standard of living is becoming higher and higher. Change is inevitable in the present time something that is relevant today may become irrelevant tomorrow. People nowadays are leaning towards rationality, logic, reasoning, and are not going to accept anything without any careful analysis and customs of religion. Parents suggest to their children, intellectuals also advise the masses, to be open-minded and not to become narrow minded and fundamentalist. The whole world wants to deal in those things that provide any material gain and not where there is tough labour and less production.
At this juncture how can a concept like “Religion” can survive, how the tough practices related to religion can be observed strictly for this generation and for the future?
Development of Society and religion
The world has witnessed the harsh treatment of Religion for centuries, which is still prevalent today. The sociologists, while explaining the development of society, have shown very harsh treatment towards religion. Some sociologists have classified the development of society into three stages.
- Theological stage: The initial and backward stage. There was great influence of religion and everything used to be explained through religion. No place for rationality, logic etc.
- Metaphysical stage: The next stage after theological stage. A combination of religion with some logic,reasoning and rationality.But very less scope for technical advancement.
- Positive stage: The present stage is termed as positive stage where everything is to be explained on rational basis where there is every scope for development and free intellectual discourse.
Explanation about religion from today’s generation.
Today we have a democratic set-up, a system of protection for fundamental rights, where there exists right to express one’s thought. In consequence different explanations are being provided to crack the concept of religion. One view describe it as a creation of “elite class” to rule over the working class, while the other view call it a creation of the mind of priests, mullah, etc. for their own business. Taking into account the different views and the different intellectual feedbacks, people start losing their interest in religion and began accepting that it does not matter what the religion of the person standing in front of us is, we all are human beings and humanity is the only religion. Then different communities start living together, merge themselves into each other’s customs and practices and the importance of religion is left far behind. With this, they also refer the notion of “religion” as an instrument used by politicians to divide and separate them and receive gain in the form of votes, from a community. For this they also hate politicians.
Further proceeding from that stage and coming to the recent position nowadays, there is a hue and cry against different customs, practices and personal laws being prevalent in different religion. It is being argued that there should be a uniform law for all religions. That means different personal laws should be replaced by a single uniform civil code, applicable to all. Then the settlement of dispute will become easier for the courts and lawyers. That also has legal recognition under “Article-44” of ‘The constitution of India’, that is also supported by courts in several cases like-‘ Sarla Mudgal vs Union of India AIR 1995 SC1531’, and many others. That shows that law also recognize that religion is not an integral part of life and there can be a society without religion.
Here, we will try to analyse below questions.
- Major factors responsible for hatred against religion.
- Why do we have reached to a stage where no requirement of religion is felt.
Thinkers, publicists, intellectuals, describe ‘several factors’ as a reason of hatred against religion. In this work, we will deal with the two major contentions against religion and will try to rebut them. One major contention is that being more religious leads to fanaticism that has devastating consequences, also it is a well known saying that, “nothing engulfs more person than what is done in the name of religion”. This very conception has been rebutted to a large extent by saints, Ulemas, etc. Religious leaders from different religion can be seen making their points that the purpose of religion is to protect humanity not to destroy it. There is only misinterpretation, misunderstanding by those who read from the scriptures, the same scripture is misused by some evil minded persons, sometimes a wrong picture is erected by the media.
The personal fault of any individual, of any community can’t be called as the teachings of any religion.
Do Religion make an individual weak and submissive?
The other famous contention is that, through religion one becomes weak, feeble, helpless, and submissive, one becomes timid, and practicing more may make him dull and the person may become unable to face the world. If the person is weak and feeble and can’t mend his ways, can’t manage his day to day dealings, then the person refer the matter to God, as a way to escape from this tough and harsh competitive world. The concept can be more clarified through an Illustration. “Sister of a meek, coward and a timid voiced boy, when regularly chased by the fellow classmate of that boy in front of him, irritating the girl that ‘let’s see what your brother will do.’ Here the boy lacking in physic, weak in almost all respect can’t face the classmate therefore he refer the matter to God that He will do justice.” Here it is contended that one believes in God or refer to God because that person can’t take steps on his own part. Or conversely, believing in God shows your incompetence. For an open minded person, religion has very little role to play in one’s life-one thing is that it provide mental peace to the individual, and next there is a promise of heaven or hell after death and nothing else.
The Major factors for these types of conscience and understanding is – Man is born free and wants to remain free, want freedom, freedom from all bounds, all restrictions. This is overridden by religions and its teachings. Therefore right from the beginning man had a negative approach towards religion. Referring it as old and obsolete, they criticize it and try to explain the concept through various theories as per their own critical mind and own presumptions. One other factor for hatred against religion and questioning its validity in the present time is that, we have treated religion merely as a temptation to celebrate festivals like Eid, Holi, Deepawali, etc and observing particular practices, rituals and traditions. Emphasis on the teachings and its strict observance was left far behind. The point can be more clarified on thinking over a well known query of majority of the Indians that “Although India is a land of sages and saints, land of Sri Sankracharya, Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, and many Gods and Goddess along with Sufis like Khwaja Moinudin Chisti, Hazrat Nizamudin together with saint Kabir, Mira Bai and many others, still the land is among one of the most corrupt countries where crime is most prevalent and major social evils exist”. After thinking for some time we can derive the answer that, “ After having gained the teachings and guidelines of religion people used to discuss those teachings and practice among themselves. Gradually they stopped discussion, referring those teachings that they are known things, as a consequence gradually their importance began to decline from their heart and mind. When no value was left for those teachings in the heart of man, they started abandoning the practices related to them. And started copying the practices that amuse them and which is more suitable for them as per their social structure.
So the question is: what is the true picture? What religion actually provide to the humanity?
- When any person believes in god and submits oneself. Then it is a submission to an authority, which is the most powerful one. And when that person starts practicing as per the wishes of that authority, a close tie is established between the authority and that person i.e.- person becomes closer to god, means closer to a powerful one. And it only empowers him it never makes him weak or feeble. The person gain extra strength, extra confidence. A person having a complete faith in GOD can openly challenge the world that “no one has the capacity to chase me”.
- Through the teachings of religion one comes to know those things that are out of the range of the human mind. What is ultimate purpose of life? Who has sent us? Why we have been sent ? How to spend our lives? It provides goal of life. That ultimate goal may change the whole process and structure of life. Our thinking may be changed; way of spending life may be affected. For instance – A person having the aim to gain ‘Heaven’ after death will always go in straight(right) path and will always try to keep himself far from worldly desires( which led to crimes and corruptions). While a person having the only goal to achieve more material comfort and gain, can go to any extent for the material gain in this world.
- That belief relieves us from depression and shows hope. When absolute justice is not possible in this world, as a consequence when any person does not get justice then the frustration in his mind may lead to crime and suicide etc. But the faith will stop him from that and the expectation of justice ‘here –after’ will become the reason for survival.
No, religion will not just survive but it will dominate.
Although the world has shown hatred towards religion ,it is still being practised by a majority of the world population. Criticism related to religion is the result of wrong appraisal by the critic,it is the fault of the critic not the fault of the religion. Therefore it is only the view, the pre-supposed analysis, the narrow thinking which is responsible for the illusionary concept relating to religion. If there would have been no religion the society would have strayed far away from its path. It is the religion that maintain the standard of morality in the society otherwise the people may alter the standard according to their own convenience. The purpose, the ways of spending life, provided through the teachings make our life easier peaceful and harmonious.
Religion still exists at a high pedestal in this century and will remain so in the coming centuries
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