What is religion?
As per my ‘belief’, it was supposed to be the law. It was supposed to be something that identifies a nation. But that’s in the past. Now, each country has in place its own set of laws, which may have built upon the basic tenets of religious scriptures but are fundamentally independent texts.
‘Religions all have different names, but they all contain the same truths’, stated by Muhammad Ali, seems apparently false. It is blatantly untrue that all religions convey the same message- some say find peace in praying, while others ask us to help fellow humans to be at peace, each values different animals, foods, drinks, days, places, and they all enforce widely disparate paths to their respective destinations.
The only thing each religion reiterates is to live in harmony. Then why are many people who consider themselves pious intolerant of others who just chant a different name? Does religion not tell us to be tolerant? Why do so many slaughter others in religion’s name? Does this not bring to our minds the question: SHOULD religion exist anymore?
Religion was supposed to form a group of people, who would follow a certain way of life and would identify as part of that group, but now we have a constitution in place for that. Religion, meanwhile, is a control freak attempting to regulate one’s life by pre-defining one’s beliefs, without giving one space to question and doubt.
Now, religion has become a competition in many minds as they fight over whose is better, rather than accepting the fact that they’re both nothing but different ways of looking at the same thing. The modern era has changed its basic essence for the worse and has made it perverse in order to benefit certain sections.
Maybe it wasn’t so in the past, but now the world has become more connected, more accepting, and more diverse. So, we need to question ourselves- do we really need to follow something that has become outdated, rather than changing and evolving to better suit the modern times?
We must also keep in mind that we cannot accuse religion of being the mastermind of every atrocity we’ve faced so far; ultimately, it is people who take such actions under the guise of religion. We have to accept the fact that religion is also one of the things which has helped spread some very good social norms. It provides hope to many. It was one of the earliest and most widely accepted forms of civilisation that many chose to believe in and spread. Religion is also one of the first established mechanisms compelling people to spread harmony, behave nicely with others, and nurture many other traits which make a person likable and worth spending time with.
While it is not a single individual’s place to question something which existed over hundreds of years, it is true that we need to improvise and help religion evolve into something that will fit the present society better. I believe that religion’s evolution will help eradicate certain things seen as a taboo in the present society, and will also help in reducing many conflicts observed worldwide, thus making it more peaceful.
Hence the real question would be-SHOULD RELIGION EXIST AS IT IS, OR SHOULD IT EVOLVE INTO SOMETHING BETTER?
~ Anushtup Nandy, Amity International School, Noida
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