Find five minutes to go through this one. It’s long and it’s unconventional. I hope you will find a very different and new perspective if you are patient enough.

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First things first, I am a born Hindu. So, that’s that. Now, here it goes…

Religion has given people great comfort…in a world torn apart by religion.

Religious violence has been on a steady rise recently, almost worldwide. No religion has been immune to it. Hinduism has seen its share recently, Islam has been boiling with it for sometime now, Christianity had a long violent streak before moderation and slowly, it is reverting back to a more conservative philosophy.

So, why hasn’t God just settled this dispute over religion? Who’s right? Just get it over with. Doesn’t he ever think, okay. . okay. .this has gone on long enough! Does God enjoy watching people murder each other in the name of religion? Is is right to say that a religion is violent?  Or religion and violence are antithetical?

There is a huge lack of proper communication on the part of people from all faith. We either viscerally vilify faiths, blaming them for crimes or completely relieve them of all their deficiencies, Trying to completely divorce religion from violence is also wrong.

Case in point here is violence caused by ISIS. While some people totally lay all the blame at the doorsteps of Islam, others say Islam has nothing to do with it. If you concurr with the former, you just eviscerated a faith followed by more than 1.25 billion people. At the same time, we need to resist saying ISIS has nothing to do with Islam or that violence in the name of religion has nothing to do with religion. Of course it has to do with religion. If ISIS calls itself Muslim, we should probably take them seriously.

Saying ISIS is Muslim is okay as long as we realize that the tens of thousands of people that they kill are also Muslim, and the tens of thousands of people fighting them are also Muslims. So if ISIS is Muslim, and their victims are Muslim, and the people fighting them are Muslim — that doesn’t really say anything all that interesting about Islam itself.

There is obviously a serious problem with religious violence, and particularly with Islam and in the Middle East. But if we’re going to blame religion for violence in the name of religion, then we have to credit religion for every act of compassion in the name of religion, we have to credit religion for every act of love in the name of religion, and that’s not we people usually think. We focus very much on the negative.

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Part of the problem is that there is this misconception that people derive their values from their scriptures. The truth is it is more often the case that people insert their values into their scriptures. Otherwise, every person of a faith who read the texts would read it exactly the same way. Both slave owners and abolitionists not only used the same Bible to justify their viewpoints, they used the same verses to do so. That’s the thing about scripture, it’s power comes from its malleability. You can read it in any way you want to.”

If you are a violent misogynist, you will find plenty in the Gita or in the Koran or in the Bible to justify your viewpoint. If you’re a peaceful feminist, you will find just as much in those scriptures to justify your viewpoint.

Without our interpretation, scriptures is just words on a piece of paper. It requires somebody to read it, to encounter it to have any meaning and obviously in that transaction we are bringing ourself, our views, our politics, our social ideas into the text.  How we read scriptures has everything to do with who we are.

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More than 8 out of 10 Indians will identify as Hindus! 7 out of 10 Americans will say they are Christians! Now, think about that for a minute. Do they go to temple/church everyday? Do they read a Gita/Bible on a regular basis? Can they tell you anything meaningful about God other than their rituals? No, of course not. The vast majority of the people when they say I’m a Hindu/Muslim/Christian,  they are making a statement of their identity that includes our nationality, our ethnicity, our worldview, our politics, all of those things are wrapped up.

The thing about religion we people have to understand is that it’s far more a matter of identity than it is just a matter of beliefs and practices. Those things are obviously important but when we say , I’m a Hindu/Muslim/Christian, you’re making an identity statement far more so than a statement of the things you believe in. Religion is about who we are as a person more than it is about what we believe in the rituals that we practice.

GOD DOESN’T’ MAKE ANYONE A BIGOT, SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST BIGOTS!

Thanks for reading!
👍👍☺☺

This was mostly inspired by an interview of Resa Aslan, an Iranian-American religious scholar by comedian Jon Stewart in this video of The Daily Show.

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29 thoughts on “Religion – A Blind Caterer ( Bloggers Marathon #2 )

  1. Nice thoughts. Couple of things :
    1. I think there’s a typo. In this sentence you probably mean “billion” not million — “…… a faith followed by more than 1.25 million people.”
    2. Religion imbibes value systems and is not just a sense of identity as written above. Thats the purpose. ‘Dharma’ is always misinterpreted as the faith one belongs to, whereas it really means doing one’s duty. Doing what one ought to do. Doing unto others as you would have others do unto you. Broadly speaking. These good thoughts will surely reflect in one’s actions. So in that sense my view is its not just a matter of identity. Its much deeper than that.

    Just my views. Best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Appreciate your input
      I just limited myself to the conflict among religions without exploring the obligations.
      And thanks for pointing out the type.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What the hell does peaceful feminist even mean?

    As for all other thoughts i agree.

    for more knowledge hinduism is not a religion it is a way of life. It is way more peaceful that any other religion.

    Next thing is that you cant interpreter gita in any way to justify violence. Violence is always reactionary for hindus.

    I am an atheist, still i am accepted in hindu community, no religion will accept me as their own. hindus are tolerant, and will only resolve to violence if forced upon.

    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Feminism is more about men than it is about women. And when you said ‘these people’ you did exactly what the people you are opposed to, do when they describe men.
                      And yes, feminism has changed. Do write about it. 👍

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. ideologys are ideologys and Feminism is an ideology. ideologys are made for people not other way around. I think debates is impossible until we define what is Feminism.
                      If Feminism is about equality between man and woman then i agree. but if it outmaneuvering man then i dont follow it.

                      Like

                    3. Feminism is a debate in itself and it is evolving itself. I don’t need nessarily agree with everything done in the name of feminism but that doesn’t meant feminism in itself is bad.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. We are in same page. ideologies are never bad but people who follow can be bad. well that also depends upon what is the badness?. haha do not want to go that deep now. But we are on same page.

                      Like

  3. Can’t agree more to this, share same view, may many ppl read your post spzly who are blindfolded in stereotyping and judging ppl and can understand the individuality and beauty of each human. Religion is made to maintain the humanity, unfortunately some ppl use it to justify their wrongs and defame it, it’s just few of them not whole human race, may all can understand this fine line of right and wrong…your post is kind of eye opener for ppl who are judgemental if they are ready to explore and understand world more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for your post. Through education, dialogue, discussion people understand each other better and relations improve. Whatever religion we are we are bound to share a common world and live together. The more we understand and accept each other, the better.

    Like

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