I once came across a sad story about a student who was denied exit from a school building during a fire emergency evacuation. The people who were regulating the exit of the students pushed the teenage girl back into the building because her dressing was viewed as indecent. This incident is an extreme case of a crisis in thinking that is common in our lives.
The Crisis In Thinking.
Basically, the people regulating the exit had to decide between Protocol and Objective. The objective was to save as many students as possible, and a part of the school’s protocol was that everyone dress up in a certain way. The men regulating the evacuation gave in to the temptation that most of us face; a tendency to stray from the objective and context of a situation.
When a routine is conducted many times, there’s a risk that the original objective or aim may be forgotten. This is what has made religion somewhat sacred for most people; an idea that partly hinges on the ignorance of the definition of Religion itself.
Do you still remember the context of religion or you’ve strayed from the point of it and are, like the men in the story, swallowed up in routine?
What is a Religion?
A religion is basically an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Examples are Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism etc.
Is Religion Reasonable?
Look at a sky full of stars. Think about the intricacy of the human being and other creatures. Think about the Fibonacci sequence and other designs in nature. Consider the structure of the Cell. How is it that morality seems to be absolute? As if that’s not enough, just the chance of the force of gravity being correct for intelligent life to exist is a baffling one chance out of 14 billion billion billion chances. If you cannot fathom this number, follow this illustration: If a card were placed in a box every second that the universe is scientifically estimated to have been in existed up to now, we’d be having only approximately 440 million billion(less than a billion billion) cards in the box. Now, imagine having to pick a particular card at random from 14 billion billion billion cards, such that only one of the cards would guarantee the existence of a gravity that can sustain life. Isn’t it amazing how that the existence of deity(god) is one of the most empirically verifiable ideas yet one of the most intellectually resisted?
Furthermore, even Science has taken up the question about the possibility that a creator or creators exist. Watched Jupiter Ascending? It’s just a movie, common! Wait, is it? Do research about junk DNA and the Human Genome Project. If you’re a lazy reader then this is the summary: Basically, there is reason from DNA analysis to believe that the human genome may have been coded consciously and it’s not surprising that Science’s best guess is that this was done by some extraterrestrial intelligence. The intelligent guess that there is a creator or creators is the basis of most religions. This begs yet another question:
Are all religions the same, and what does the answer imply?
Truth is that almost all religions are fundamentally different and superficially similar at best. The ideas of religious unity and that all religions are the same is often times thought to be politically driven. It’s not hard to see why this is so. Politics and religion are just hopelessly interwoven. In many parts of the world politics simply does the administrative work for Religion. Actually, religious unity is viewed one of our best chances at attaining world peace. In my opinion this is why the talk that all religions are the same is being popularized. Could we be wrong even though we mean well? Is this really the price of peace, or are we simply thwarting the efforts of people to try find answers about the purpose of existence among other equally daunting questions? Are we shielding people from the possibility of discovering Truth which by definition is independent of our opinions?
Another truth is that almost every religion directly, or indirectly claims exclusivity. For Islam, Allah says in the Surah ikhlas which is chapter 112 of the Qur’an,
Say: He is Allah,
The One and Only.
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute.
In the bible, Jesus says
Jesus said to him,
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father(God) but through Me.
It’s easy to believe that Hinduism is inclusive because generally many claims of deity are considered to be a reincarnation of the one god Brahman. However, consider this, Lord Krishna, one of the incarnates of god Brahman, says in Bhagavad Gita ,
“Those who are without faith in my teaching, cannot attain me”
Almost every religion seems to deem itself to be the true one, and it’s actually a better thought than thinking that all religions are the same because, simply put, they are just hopelessly irreconcilable. Also notable, thinking that your religion is the true one, yet still being ignorant about other religions is an act of losing the context of religion, to begin with and might be a very huge risk. Why is this so?
The Context of Religion.
What’s the context of Religion? Well, it’s simply to reach out or establish communication between people and god(s). Now, most of the men who laid out the foundation of almost all religions were generally truth seekers. They were focused on getting answers for life’s questions. That’s mainly why religion in its purest context should not be scared and the discretion to chose a religion should be advocated.
The context of religion is as if to find the answer to one plus one. It’s not reasonable to insist that one plus one equals two, five, seventeen or thirty-six without having an adequate justification. Ask, say, and listen in to the world views with a humble heart. Pride thwarts even the purest of intentions. Don’t be afraid to discuss and don’t be unnecessarily defensive. Discuss within the context that’s the main building block of religion: To discover Truth.
Why are we here? What happens when we die? There are so many variations in the market place of ideas for these and other similar questions and it’s easier to either render all claims false or to pitch tent at one religious claim. But I challenge you to become a truth seeker; to follow the evidence wherever it may lead you. Test your religion if it’s logically consistent and empirically relevant. Think for yourself, don’t be like sheep! Is it the answer of one plus one you want, or you’re willing to take your chances with an answer that someone wrote in your palm at some point? If you have to be religious, at least do it right!