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All In The Name Of Religion

By Aditi Munot

29 November, 2008

Most often in our world, bloodshed is carried out in the name of religion. From the gory Partition in 1947, to Israel – Palestine problems, to Nazi atrocities against Jews, to 1993 bomb blasts, to Ayodhya, to Catholic – Protestant tussles, to Forward Class – Backward Class discrimination, to Godra bloodbath, to London, Banglore, Malegaon, Jaipur bombings and now to the past few days in Bombay…… all this and much more has been done in the name of Religion.

The roots of all these atrocities are in Religion and Religious Beliefs alone. To quote in the words of Blaise Pascal, ‘Men never take to evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction’. This is precisely what Religion does to individuals…. It preaches discrimination, breeds differences, encourages belief in one God and disrespect of any other God. Religion empowers and motivates individuals to hate, to kill, to rape without remorse. Every religious scripture talks about discrimination against women, creation of lower ( impure ) castes, treatment of children as property, creation and ownership of earth for humans only, superiority of the human species and ignorance towards other species. Religion teaches faith….. an unquestioning belief. It teaches the mind to shy away from facts, findings, exploration, inquisitiveness, the urge to know the truth. All Religion really does is it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not knowing, not understanding, not questioning. And above all Religion teaches us guilt. It teaches us to feel guilty of every act. This is the power religion has over us.

When we look around the world, all these facts are visible everywhere, in every human action. Each and every terrorist attack is in the name of Religion. And the backlash to these attacks is also in the name of Religion. What is the point in blaming any individual terrorist? If the mind is indoctrinated since childhood to believe in and to follow the holy books and scripture, the mind learns and believes only that. If there is no exposure apart from religious texts, the mind cannot grow beyond that…. It becomes the world view. This is what madrasas do, teachers do, priests do, parents do, society does. If an individual truly believes he is being a martyr and will go to heaven and meet God by fighting for the cause of his Religion….. he is bound to follow this belief and teaching. The lure for martyrdom or paradise makes a terrorist or suicide bomber of him.

After what has happened in Mumbai in the past few days, shouldn’t we sit back and ask why??? What can motivate 18-20 year old boys to pick up AK47s and RDX and grenades and kill fellow human beings? What can drive young boys to such madness? The answer really stares back into our faces. The answer is Religion. And the question is not which religion….. because most of us would like to escape from the situation by pointing our fingers towards Islam. No. Be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism…… they all preach almost the same things…. Hatred and Disrespect in the name of God.

The common man is being played around by a handful few…. Priests and Politicians. We believe, follow, trust everything these idiots tell us. And it is common people like us who become suicide bombers and other vehicles of terror. It is never the priest or the politician who puts his life on the line for Religion. Its because they know its nonsense and use the common man by fooling him to fulfil their selfish motives. In the words of Seneca the Younger, ‘Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful’.

Its time we ask ourselves honestly….. What good does Religion really do? Will we be happier if we subtract Religion from the equation of life? Has Religion done more evil than good? Isn’t it time we stop all this nonsense?

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