How important is Religion ?

Sahil Sharifdin Bhat

Religion is the convincing answer to thousands of the absolute questions of people . In the same breath , it must be articulated that religion itself raises thousands of disturbing questions in the minds of logically thinking people. It is very easy to shout at or threaten the people who do not share your ideas , emotions , principles and beliefs. But , you must have oceans of peace , forbearance , fortitude and kindness at your disposal to respect the people who you do not agree with in terms of ideas , emotions , principles and beliefs . Some people claim that religion is past its expiry date . Some assert that religion is yet to reach its full bloom . Some argue that religion is a human invention . Some preach that it is a divine truth . Someone transforms into an angel by practising religion . Someone metamorphoses into a monster in the name of faith . Some run away from the fold of religion giving various reasons or lame excuses . Some enter the fold of religion seeking peace of mind tranquility of soul , solace of heart and meaning of existence.
Those who have a problem with religion name themselves atheists, agnostics , non-believers, satanists or whatnot . There number is about two billion at present in the world . Most of them dwell in China , Russia and Europe . They produce numerous arguments against religion and God . For example, they argue that God can not be seen with physical eyes or there is no empirical proof of His existence or the religions that He has sent down to people are not objectively verifiable . They also ask why is there injustice , anarchy, hunger, illnesses , deaths of innocent people or unequal distribution of wealth , health or beauty if an omnipotent and just God exists ? They further contend why is there a need to test people to see whether they obey or disobey God if God already knows past , present and future of every person ? The list of their arguments is very long . They do not find religious scriptures and teachings intellectually correct . They also do not feel impressed with the personal lives of the founders and the prominent propagators of various religions . At least , they claim so . Nevertheless, when they ( Anti-religion people) are asked to present a better substitute for religion to the humanity , they say that there is none . Some of them suggest to use logic and common sense . Some emphasise on studying science . To tell you the truth, logic , common sense and science have their own limitations. They answer a handful of queries but raise a containerful of new questions. It is logical for one person to cremate his dead relatives but quite stupid for another. It is logical for one person to bask nude on the beach but quite foolish and immoral for another . It may be logical or a common sense for one person to indulge in incest or eat his own young kids but quite horrible for another . It is ok for one person to murder people or consume intoxicants or accept bribery or molest young lasses for pleasure or do robbery but not ok for another. Who will make a list of do’s and don’ts based on logic and common sense and why will anyone follow that list ? As for science, it never tells you why things are the way they are . It only tells you what things are . In other words , science tells you that a rose has thirty petals and the colour of the petals is red or white or yellow. It never tells you why a rose has thirty petals and why not twenty or forty . It also does not tell you why the colour of the petals of one rose is red and of another rose is white though they both grow from the same soil . Similarly , anti-religion people following flawed logic , science and common sense declare that there is no God just because He is not visible to their eyes . They also claim that the universe came into existence due the Big Bang but the question is who created the gases that caused the Big Bang ? In one sense , an atheist and a believer are alike . They both claim something they do not have any proof for . Had the anti-religion people produced arguments powerful enough to persuade the religious people towards disbelief , they would have succeeded in doing so in last two to five thousand years of their struggle . If the horse of religion is running on three legs only , the horse of atheism is hopping only on a single leg . Anyway , respect the creator . If He does not exist , atheists as well as believers will have no problem. If He exists , atheists will have a big problem after death .
An honest atheist does not argue with theists. He does not mock them or persecute them . He does not do crimes and practise immorality in the name of atheism . He does not spread disorder, anarchy , depression and frustration in the world . He disbelieves only to serve the humanity better . Likewise, an honest believer in God believes in Him only to serve the humanity better . However, there are atheistic fanatics as well as theistic fanatics . They both misuse disbelief as well as belief for their vested interests and to increase the quantity of agony in the world . Moreover , the anti-religion people destroy one’s comfortable home and then plead helpless to give him a better home. They throw him into the world where there is no God , no scriptures , no powerful moral laws , no trusted norms , no hope , no meaning of life , no reason to love , no urge to survive and no rationale to procreate .
As long as there are people asking themselves ‘ whence we came and whither we go ? ‘ , there is religion . It is religion that stops billions of people from incest and cannibalism. It is religion that desists millions of people from committing suicide and gives them a hope to fight for themselves and for their loved ones . It is religion that inspires rich people to run schools, orphanages , charity hospitals , and other philanthropic institutions and organisations to help the unfortunate communities. Religion acts as an agency of socialization. It helps in building values like love, fraternity , friendship , empathy, compassion, respect, loyalty , truthfulness , harmony etc . It gives a new life to drunkards , druggists , tyrants , adulters , thieves , rapists , sex workers , the defeated and the broken people. It imposes some necessary restrictions on people lest they should not live , eat and die like wild animals . A truly religious person is always a compassionate and disciplined person . He does not harm anyone with his tongue or the hand . To sum up , religion may not be the solution to all of your problems . It may even create a few problems for the humanity if misused and misinterpreted . But , it is the easiest solution to most of the problems of the humanity.
Since there are numerous religions in the world , one must follow the religion that makes better sense to him . It is true that all religions can not be right at the same time . However, almost all religions teach their followers to have faith in the creator of the universe who rewards the good people and punishes the evil people . Why will a logical person invest his time , love and wealth in others if there is no God , no judgement day and no hope of reward and no fear of punishment ? Therefore, follow the commonalties of all religions and tolerate the differences among them . It is possible to choose one common religion for the humanity among the existing religions after peaceful debates and friendly discussions . Let that process take decades or centuries . There is no hurry. But, there is no possibility of doing away with all religions for ever . That step will bulldoze the wall between human beings and animals . Human beings are human beings and unlike animals only because they abide by rules and norms . Most of these rules and norms are rooted in religion . Any attempt to abolish religion will give rise to anarchy . People will follow their whims and impulses and thus the law of the jungle will prevail . To conclude, religion is the most powerful unifying force in the world . It is capable of uniting billions of people across the globe under a single umbrella to fight for a common cause or partake of a happiness . Its best example is the Haj when people from almost all countries , all castes , all colours , all genders and all sects circumambulate the holy kaba together with mutual love , respect and honour. Religion is like the big river that separates animals from human beings . Its existence is vital in the lives of human beings. It can bring members of a family or a society or a big community or the whole humankind close to one another emotionally as well as ideologically if practised sincerely . It may grow healthier. It may fall sick sometimes . It may modify itself to meet the challenges of the changing times . But , rest assured, it will never disappear completely, no matter how hard the anti-religion people will try.
Special thanks to our regular Columnist Aubaid Akhoon Sr Edp Head and Counsellor at DD Target PMT for sharing this master piece of Columnist Sahil Sharifdin Bhat.
About The Author
The author lives at Lethapora Pulwama. He is a lecturer of English language and literature. He writes poetry as well as prose. He has authored many books. He can be reached at sahilsharifdinenglish@gmail.com)