Disclosure: I was born a Hindu, which means I belong to a timeless pacifist religious following called “Hinduism”.
This post is not about Hinduism per se, but about my experiments with religious thoughts and couple of religions. I am well exposed to multiple religions where I live, and have lived in the past. I am not propounding any religion, not even Hinduism.
There are no good or bad religions. All religions provide a foundation for building one’s faith in humanity and this world which revolves around our foibles. That’s all there to any religion. Following any religion does not provide a follower with any kind of “power” over other followers of the same religion, or over any other “unconnected” person in this world.
Religion, any religion for that matter, does not condone killing in its name or in any other name. That is a misnomer. Given that there is so much more focus these days on the destructive influences of religions, it is only worthwhile for us to examine some ideas in this regard.
I was very much a practicing Hindu for a long time – in the sense that I was pious, went to temples regularly till I graduated (and for sometime after that), and thought that it is imperative to pray every day even for a couple of minutes and seek something from the Almighty.
There was a gradual disengagement from such practices as I realized that most rituals are just meaningless perpetuation of age-old procedures with no impact whatsoever on one’s life or on the society around. Most rituals provided a “networking” opportunity with family members and friends, and formalized a milestone in one’s life for example – such as baptism, coming of age, marriage, anniversary, et al. While most religions have rituals embedded in them for execution of such milestone events, no one thinks or questions the validity or usefulness of such rituals and accept these as fait accompli.
Such embedded behaviour creates an affinity with one’s religion, which when taken collectively with similar folks, generates some passions and behaviour which is different from others living around you. While it does not lead to fundamentalism in 99.99% of the cases, it is important that religious herd behaviour makes us hard followers steeped in religion and religious practices.
Disillusioned with that happening around me, I tried to embrace Christianity in 2005 (I have written about that experiment earlier in my blog). I read the New Testament in partnership with couple of other Christians in my office, and challenged them on the concepts found in that text, raised queries for which they struggled to find answers, discussed many issues in a team setting of like minded folks later on, etc., I even went to the Sunday Mass at a big church a few times which was not liked by my family, they thought that I was getting converted.
But, I was not. I explored the beauty of Christianity and realized that notwithstanding some issues that I found, it is indeed one of the world’s great religions, though it has been sub-divided into factions centuries ago. I also appreciated its history and the beliefs that originated from that history. I indeed liked some of the Concepts in the New Testament. I still preserve that easy to read book.
But then, I decided against pursuing Christianity further, as unfortunately I found that there was commercialization via dancing and shows in the church that I went to. May be it was a wrong choice of church. However while that did not take away the positives of Christianity, I decided to take a break from my religious experiments.
So, now let us take a break in this posting – wait for my next one !
23rd August 2014