Friday, January 9, 2015

Of Riots And Religion

Articles on religion have been done to death of late. They either stem from extreme criticism to ridiculous lengths of justification for the crimes people commit "in the name of God".
The latest unfortunate episode being the Charlie Hebdo attack in France by the so called "defenders of faith".
I believe that we've reached an impasse of sorts when it come to dealing with those who live in the paranoid insecurity that their faith or way of life is in grave danger.
An episode of mindless fanatical bloodshed is followed by more angry responses by the twitterati, "eminent" thinkers, pseudo intellectuals and sensationalist journalists. Which after a brief lull is followed by more bloodshed.
Notice a pattern here?
People find more time in condemning an incidence and lambasting a certain line of thought instead of finding actual solutions. While satire is an excellent tool in terms of keeping untoward politics and social tendencies in check, it fails miserably at dealing with the most glaring issue at hand here. That issue being religious extremism. And frankly satire is best avoided when it comes to dealing with fanatics I assure you.
The religious extremist is an angry, paranoid fanatic who is ridiculously insecure, not to mention dangerous and prone to extreme violence. A diagnosis so bleak needs a very different form of treatment. And obviously this is a plague that has gotten hold of multitudes of people. A pandemic of epic proportions, spreading fast and spreading with violent consequences. In 17th century England, families would visit a mental asylum to gawk at the lunatics housed there. They would even poke and prod at them with sticks to provoke them further. Well fortunately for them, the lunatic in question was safely housed behind bars, otherwise it would have lead to some unfortunate consequences. Now imagine if there were multitudes of these mentally deluded individuals. I suppose you know where I'm going with this.
Satire doesn't provide a solution. It merely states the obvious and succeeds in instigating the aggressor further.
Wars have to be fought with skill and intelligence rather than overt emotional reactions and extreme maneuvers.
A religious extremist's notion of a world where everyone adheres to the same principles that he does, and an atheist who wishes the elimination of religion altogether are going both going to be grossly disappointed.
The answer to religious extremism is in the hands of the religion itself.
As long as humanity has existed and will continue to exist there will never be universal method of worship. Variety and variation are the hallmarks of nature. Perhaps if majority of the faiths that exist today accept this central dogma we can be rest assured that plagues like these never surface. The very notion of a central dogma and a central mode of worship which governs the whole world is both ludicrous and impossible. That day shall never come.
Perhaps if the leaders of most of these faiths would get their judgmental heads together and spend more time in an inter faith dialogue and reforming their respective faiths, it would benefit humanity considerably.
The faiths today ought to learn from the old religions, which in my opinion were more inclusive and more open to ideas. The Egyptian Goddess Isis was worshiped in Roman Pompeii.  There was never an instance when a devotee of Isis would call a devotee of Artemis as a devil worshiper, heathen and doomed to spend eternity in hell fire unless they accept Isis.
Faith was more inclusive and accepting then.
Faiths today are more involved in mud slinging, accusations, judging people on their habits, converting others to their fold to score brownie points with God (which I can assure you is another ludicrous notion) and actually turning a blind eye towards extremism and social discord.
An idea that does not evolve is doomed to perish. It could be an art form, a system of government and in this case a religion.
Extremism is a scourge on religion. And any faith that encourages a notion that their central dogma holds true and the rest of the faiths are sacrilegious is doomed to extinction.
God doesn't need to be protected, propagated or jealously defended. The voice of God is the voice of reason. Its the defense of reason that is of paramount importance.
If Governments can get actually eminent thinkers and religious leaders with an open mind to openly condemn and reform their respective faiths, we all stand a chance of some peace in our time.
Else the situation from here on will actually become worse, and hell fire will actually descend upon humanity by these so called men of God.