Religion: A waste of time

The recent news of the Ayodhya verdict have started a spate of debates across all media (from NDTV to Facebook!).

That apart, so many discussions wherein people end up confusing religion and god. I thought it was high time I pen down my thoughts on the difference between the two and whenever such a discussion occurs, I’ll proceed to give the link instead of going into the details of explaining the difference (funda re-use!!).

All religions have been started by men in order to lay down a set of agreed upon rules and norms for their community. This community could be brought together through mutual agreement (pagans, hindus, etc) or by instilling fear. Fear of being a heretic (islam, christianity, etc). The details are irrelevant, since in either case one thing rings true – its a social construct.

A social construct which generally pre-supposes the presence of a superbeing to keep all the community within line of the norms. If you break the norms, your soul will rot in eternal hell/netherworld/underworld/etc. If you follow all the norms like a good little boy, then you have chance to enter heaven/valhalla/olympus/etc. All these created craftily to breed only one type of behavior from the masses –

Compliance.

Now this superbeing, is usually god (sometimes it is the devil), but most of the times; it is god.

You take away all these rules and faff (the stuff I generally call as कर्मकांड), and you are still left with god. So what good is god without religion.

A lot. The idea of god, gives us faith, the faith that even if one fails, by some miracle (and these do happen :)), the intended outcome will be met. God is faith, and that’s precisely why atheists and theists will keep on arguing about God … because each will not let go of their faith.

So for god’s sake don’t waste time on religion, but still keep the faith :)

God

I am fascinated with God. Obsessed even. That’s precisely why I have jumped out of bed at midnight and started writing this post. This post came to me as an epiphany :-) (yes, even I have those  every now and then).

God is a concept people made to turn internalists into externalists. The concept turns them from someone who believes that his outcome/success is in his own hands to someone who believes that there is a supernatural force who is acting in his/her divine wisdom. It’s a concept which turns lions to lambs.

This to a confirmed pro-theist, is kind of an eye opener. An atheist friend of mine will be more than happy to say, “Gee, Kida, I told you so. I was right.

But I still have faith. I still believe in god, not as an excuse to turn into an externalist, but simply for the purpose of having and nurturing faith. Believe in god, but not for the sake of that exam/interview/proposal, etc. All those things are purely in your own hands, and if you don’t move your lazy arse on the hard work required, then trust me, no god will be able to help. Chance, perhaps, god … no.

Faith

Me and Amit have been having this debate since the past 2 and a half years now. It’s on the existence of god … I take the side of the theists and Sharma takes the side of the atheists. In fact he has gotten so good at that that by now he is a moderator in one of such inane communities. I just believe in god. I cant prove god’s existence, its a premise for me. And its blind acceptance to that fact.

This weekend, I had been to my family’s guru’s ashram. I was going there after an absence of 12 years (not that I missed not going there). Whilst on the way, I was questioning the many practices followed there … no leather items, lower castes may not enter certain areas, lower castes have to wait for the brahmins to finish their meals, et al. My mother seemed to take this to heart, the next day when we were having a discussion with the high priest over there, she asked him this question about why no leather … and the explanation he gave … or rather the answer he gave set me thinking.

The disciple does not have to look at question or logic for answers, he needs to look at his faith for those answers. The moment we start looking at other sources than our own faith, we have lost our faith in that particular thing. Be it god, be it science, be it the paranormal. Mulder had faith in aliens, Scully had faith in science, I have faith in god … what do you have faith in?

God as a Brand

I tend to have these philosophical discussions with my roomies. It can meander from God to Good and from behavior to endeavor. The works. If I document these entire discussions, then that itself would be a blog. So, one fine day we were discussing God. I know, its such a great topic … if only I had a rupee for every time god was discussed on a blog, I would not need to work then.

We were discussing God as a Brand … and a very successful brand at that as well. Imagine, even the non-believers discuss god … effectively people who refuse to accept the existence of the brand also accept the brand. Can there be a greater brand recall and brand value. I think not!!

Also, imagine, each religion has a different brand of its own. So the concept of god is actually a category and not a brand :-). Being a Hindu, I can only say that my religion has a multi-pronged strategy … multiple brands. A good example of Segmentation-Targeting-Position. What say?