This is an interesting opinion piece by my friend LeftyChemist on the concept of religion and the faith and belief in it. Here he talks about the thinning line between religious beliefs and superstitious beliefs and cites some examples in the Indian context to accentuate his points. I have to thank LeftyChemist for his contribution to my blog and I hope to receive and share many more such pieces from him.

Drawing the line

‘You’re so far away from the line that you can’t see the line… The line is a dot to you..!

                                                                                                -Joey Tribbiani

I’m talking of the line that separates religion from superstition and the line that separates science from religion. Let’s face it- the one thing that has the highest double standards is religion. What my religion is to me is pure superstition to someone else. Let’s see some examples:

  • Women are not allowed to enter places of worship during their periods.
  • A piece of bread is worshipped as God
  • A stone is worshipped either by bowing down at it or by pouring milk on it.
  • A monolith of a naked man is drenched in ghee, milk and what not…

Religion for one, but total superstition to another. What on Earth makes people believe in these things? Tradition? Fear? Damnation? I say it’s a mixture of everything, but I’m sure that you would agree that one of the main reasons would be that people do not think for themselves.

There are many things in the world that are taboo. One thing which is a universal taboo is going against religion. Try observing the expression seen on people’s faces when you question and logically argue ideas about their religion. Try observing it when you ask them if their religion makes sense. You’d get a flat reply saying ‘Believe if you want to believe, and if you want to believe you need faith.’ When asked about what faith is, you wouldn’t get a straight reply. I’ll give you a simple explanation.

  • We know who our father is, isn’t this because our mother told us so? We believed her, simply because we had faith in her.
  • We believe that we won’t be cheated in a relationship simply because we have faith in our significant other.
  • We’re not sure if we’d be alive tomorrow, yet we plan for a future. This is faith.

In a nutshell, ‘Having faith is simply believing in the things we cannot see and can never see’

Now this can be misinterpreted anyway… ‘no matter what anyone does, nobody can stop a person from thinking the way he wants to’ and this power of thought is the only unrestricted thing in the world. What I would say is that you argue stuff in your mind, think, and keep all options open. Religion tells you not to doubt, just believe… I say that the people who told you this, do not know what religion is.

Thoughts created religion and thoughts worked into actions have been responsible for the world as we know it. Take it or leave it, but never stop thinking, never stop exploring those deep recesses of your mind, who knows… You may find your faith hidden in there and if you get lucky… You may even find God..!

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