Religion: Ab Initio to Ad Infinitum Of Life?

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been told by my family that one should pray. Praying to God has always been an inescapable part of life. Every day in school, in the morning assembly it is a mandatory affair and a necessity to pray. A large group of students who stand in the morning assembly don’t even know their prayers completely. And a vast majority of them are not fully aware of the meaning of praying to the Almighty. But, it still forms an inseparable part of our lives. It just shows how much of social construction and interpretation religion has undergone so as to be given such compelling importance. Willingly or under persuasion, religion is something that one has to abide by in order to receive support, that being social animals we require and fall back upon.

Idol worship, ritualistic festivals, fasts, mythology—all these are different forms by way of which society makes religion an essential part of our lives. It is considered blasphemous if we do not give God credit for the success and happiness in our lives. In times of despair, even the most ardent of atheists take heart from the fact that there is a force (God) that will save them.

Religion has extended considerable influence over our lives such that every phenomenon has a religious base to it. This is simply because the credibility and the acceptance of that phenomenon becomes ever so easy. The blind folded belief in everything preached in the name of religion has been given a clean chit by society. Even the concepts of something as brutal as slaughtering of animals to appease deities in religious festivals, fasting even if one is suffering from some disease that strictly prohibits such detrimental practices; these practices are still followed mindlessly by the people.

Spreading peace and happiness in the world or brain washing young minds in order to spread terror: people make use of religion in all sorts of situations. Suicide bombers who form a major chunk of the terrorists, who have perpetuated some of the most brutal and barbarous of terror attacks on humanity, take their underlying inspiration from religion. This gives us a clear portrayal of fundamentalism, which again has been able to thrive by twisting the religious texts for its own benefit.

We now move on to another group of people who claim to have understood the basic exaggeration attached to religion and religious preaching. They have taken a completely opposite stand turning themselves either into atheists or deriving their beliefs from some mystic spiritual source that does not preach hypothetical concepts and ideas. Today, it is the trend to be an atheist and to out rightly condemn everything related to religion. This despite that many of the people may don’t have a very thorough knowledge of the religious texts and the counter arguments to justify their stands.

Thus, what I am pointing out is not the fact that people do not know religion. There are obviously intellects and learned men and women who believe in God and understand religion in the untampered way as it was perhaps devised by the founding fathers. They know religion just the way it was supposed to be understood: something that unifies the people and gives some codifications to act, think, decide and understand. Neither is the idea of not being religious implying not believing in god. One shouldn’t emphasize on finding and remembering God because HE ‘should’ be remembered and we owe it to HIM. We need to open up our thoughts and ask ourselves, “do we actually need to blindly follow something written in the religious texts and inculcate it without thought?”.

There is a need to see through the brain washing which fundamentalists put us through, all in the name of religion. We are actually constantly falling prey to something very calculative and are being bullied. The source of power is within us. Religion apart from other things tells us to find God within ourselves. It is up to us whether we want to pray or not. The most important thing in life is to be a good human being. That according to me is the best form of worship.

Arpita Chakraborty

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