When we were young, our parents often taught us things like respect your elders, don’t lie, help whoever you can, etc. This kind of advise is the same in all families, be it a Hindu family, a Christian family, a Jain family or a Muslim family. I think these are some basic human values that everyone is taught, irrespective of what religion they follow.
Then why do we differentiate on the basis of religion? Why do we bear notions of how the people in other religions are? Are all the people, of one religion, the same? People expect the followers of one religion to have the same mentality and ideas. Why do we judge people on the basis of their religion?
The Encyclopedia of Religion defines religion this way- “In summary, it may be said that almost every known culture involves the religious in the above sense of a depth dimension in cultural experiences at all levels — a push, whether ill-defined or conscious, toward some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life. When more or less distinct patterns of behaviour are built around this depth dimension in a culture, this structure constitutes religion in its historically recognizable form. Religion is the organization of life around the depth dimensions of experience — varied in form, completeness, and clarity in accordance with the environing culture.”
I feel that religion is just a philosophy that people believe in. It is their faith. Religion is a set of common beliefs and practices generally held by a group of people, often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. No doubt that it plays a very important part in our life, however, I feel that we should realize that like our religion is important to us, other people also hold their religion as important.
I feel that our religion should be confined to the way we think and feel. It should definitely not affect the way we think about others. It should not give us any reason to disrespect any other religion. Our faith should not make us form any kind of misconceptions of other religions. No religion in this world tells us to hate people from different backgrounds. And if we are willing to follow everything in our religion, why do we ignore this?
Religion, in today’s world, has come into every sphere of our life. We think of the other person’s faith before we even think of being with them. What is wrong with a catholic girl getting married to a Hindu boy? I don’t see anything! In today’s day and age, when we have advanced so much, why are we still so orthodox in our thinking? India is supposed to be a secular country, then why are we not secular? I think this a question we must all ask ourselves!
(image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/getdown/114668345/)