Religion and Politics. 20 Feb 2009
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Author: Abraham Paul. email@example.com Tweet @pa_paul
Introduction: The happenings across the world of late, clearly indicate that Religions controlling Politics is more harmful and dangerous than Politics interfering in religions. The hyper active wings of dominant religions with the patronage of political hierarchies indulging in anti-secular, anti-democratic and anti-minority activities have become a common scene in many countries across the world.
The apprehension of hard core religious activists about loosing the strength of their fold because of many from them cross over to other religions is quite understandable. However, the political parties enticing any religious groups to malign in any form or initiating or encouraging to resort violence against people following other religious faiths for their political gains and grabbing power through it; are totally reprehensible and therefore, unacceptable in any society. Any effort to bring a country under the control of groups or organizations claims to represent the majority community religion undermines the basic ideals of Democracy.
The results of such uncanny approach of some political parties and the resultant actions and counter reactions are mainly the root cause of pushing various religious fundamentalists to grow and get involved in activities of terrorism in every country. Therefore, instead of trying in vain to suppress the few individuals who have fallen as puppets in the hand of some perverted factions in political groups, religious extremists and regional fanatics in isolation with draconian laws, terrorism should be dealt with far deeper insight by identifying the root causes that are far different in different regions and treating them accordingly.
Politics vis-à-vis Religion:
Nature like in its every other forms of creation, created humans in various tribal forms which later got transformed to various creeds with different shades of color. These tribal formations had created and followed their own social and community strictures and rules and followed them religiously. Then came in the ‘Politics’ of convenience that created all forms of Casts and sub-Casts within the tribes everywhere by the have-ones within these tribes creating divisions basically to make use of the have-nots among them.
For the chauvinistic Socio – Economic upper class everywhere, there had always been this hidden agenda to obstruct the efforts to up-bring the down trodden by giving them education and improving overall welfare by Government and NGOs, so that the poor remain perennially illiterate, dependent and oppressed.
The majority communities also influence Governments that come to power with their support, to rule over the poor and down trodden among common people, according to their agenda. Equally reprehensible is the oppression of women by male chauvinism in different forms where it exists in the name of religion and else.
The factional ideologies being formulated and promoted by some in the Political arena, irrespective of who started those and when, with the sole intention of getting into political power, are becoming catastrophic and can cause permanent damage to the secular fabric of humanity.
2. The rise and fall of new ideologies.
Is it not strange that even the Communists who ushered in major change in the humanity as a whole by striving to bridge the gap between rich and poor, also started playing communal cards to gain political mileage here and there?
Is it not weird that Theist beliefs that have deep roots here for over 5000 years in case of Hinduism, about 2000 years in case of Christianity and near to that later with Islam, are being challenged by an ideologies even in its original form, facing death in it’s infancy across the world?
Can it be just the clash of beliefs of the “Creation Theories” about origin of this planet and the mankind, considered by some as a God’s special creation, against those who believe in theories that these are just a natural or an accidental evolution? Or is there a sudden reckoning by a section of the society, that different forms of Theism as followed by many present day Religions are repressive and anti people? Or is there something else?
3. Is Theism in all its forms is slowly approaching its death?
The questions arise are; if Theism as approached by humans is dying, can Atheism or Deism be alternatives? What does God look like beyond a dying Theism? Does such a God matter? By rejecting Theism, does one necessarily become an Atheist? Is stepping beyond Theism necessary to follow Secularism? To propose one to move out of Theism need not be to join the secular sojourn in a meaningless Deism. Then, can Theists and Atheists approach and coexist hand in hand in Secularism?
There should be no problem for a theist to be secular. It has to be, according to saying of Jesus “Give to Caesar what Caesar’s is and to God what is God’s”. This proclamation of Jesus clearly indicates that His manifesto is more about a “Way of Life” that could be practiced without discretion of religion, cast or creed or politics.
However, Theism when misconceived in the hands of fanatics is worse than Fascism. Where Theism and Atheism refuse to coexist harmoniously under Secularism or in the worst case under an Autocracy, it leads to anarchy.
4. Experience God’s effects, not God’s being.
One never can see God as a dis-incarnate or separate Self. A famous writer wrote an analogy of ‘Essence of God’ with the ground water flows beneath the surface of earth. The springs, rivers, lakes, wells and oases; no matter how differently it tastes from one location to another, and no matter how the water is used, it still comes from the same source and it is ultimately of the same radical oneness. One shall visualize and experience God’s effects, not God’s being.
5. God being life and love transcends all boundaries.
If God is not a ‘Being’ but the ground of ‘All Being’, the Source of Life and the Source of Love, can any one any longer claim that the fullness of God has been captured by any particular group; without practicing it religiously? Will it not be anything but idolatrous and foolhardy if any one claims to know God and then do just the opposite? The fact is that human beings try to approach God only with human analogy, nothing more. Even some dared to create Gods in their own image and of many other different shapes and characters.
One cannot begin at a point where he is not; one must begin where he is. Can God be contained within any one religious system, or can any people continue to live as if God were the tribal deity of their particular nation or group? See how political divisions in different parts of the world found expressions by religions to historically make much of these divisions that are part of their tribal mentality. Are many of these religious propaganda we see around now bordering fanatic ideologies, sustainable any more? Please see my blog ‘The Essence of Religion’ http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-5M
- God is real or not?
None other than hard core atheists, would doubt that Theists and Atheists have their right to exist as every other. The fact is that human words, human formulas, human made systems never could fully capture that reality and meaningfully pass it down through the generations. Mostly, this is the basis of the ill feelings between some of the present day religious practices. It being so, how can the religions stand up and fight those who oppose Theism?
- Disorientation of the belief.
The basis of any Religion that matters, cannot preach or practice the doctrine; “I am OK, you are not OK”, which carry the implication that “you will not be Ok until you become like me”. Unfortunately, such has become the posture of many religious factions for decades now. It is quite obviously the stance of the superior to the inferior. It is judgmental, rejecting, negative and hostile. Surely, Love the embodiment and the “Essence of God”, cannot be professed amid judgment and hostility. It is because of the above reasons; some of the Religious leadership, had been perceived as disoriented from the thought processes of main stream humanity with their irrelevant religious sideshows of promoting factional thinking and therefore, are in drastic need of reformation.
- Love is the foundation of every righteous religion.
Love is the embodiment of every righteous religion leading to the Essence of God. A religion of Love without boundaries and barriers, Love without divisions, Love without discretion of cast, creed, rich or poor, Love without animosity and an ultimate state of Love that make one love his foes more. Where there is Love there is Forgiveness, Compassion and Kindness.
It cannot be believed that either skin pigmentation or ethnic background and regional disparities constitutes a matter of superiority or inferiority and any traditional or social or religious system that operates on that assumption is to be regarded as unworthy of communal life as those do not fit into the agenda of any healthy form of humanity. Please see my blog: ‘The essence of Christianity’ http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-5T
9. Do God need help of one set puny humans for protection from others? According to scriptures of some religions, God loved “MAN” whom He made in his own image, over all other creations. Then God would definitely despise ‘humans indulge in hatred and hurt and kill each other living in fear, pain and sadness. The opposite to hate is Love, the most valuable thing in the eyes of God. Only deeds evoke and involve Love please God. Where there is Love there is Forgiveness, Compassion and Kindness.
I have no much scholastic wisdom of various religions; and don’t mistake me that I am trying to propagate any particular religion. Being happened to be a Christian by birth from dynasty of ancestors who once belonged to the local religion of the region then and thus were of same DNA and blood which I am always proud of; please allow me to mention how I understand the essence of Christianity and practice it as of now in my life.
As I understand, every righteous religion in its real sense is more a “Way of life” than doing anything differently with humanity as a whole. The purpose of Religion shall be to deal with humanity with humility and dealing with God hand in hand with due reverence”.
Sadly, the literal faith stories across the generations, simply do not communicate meaningfully the “Essence of Religion” and the “Essence of God” through it. It is therefore, that essence of religions are being misunderstood by many including its current followers such as the few new era groups taking on conversion as their main agenda of their groups. One do not become a ‘follower’ of a particular religion merely by changing his name or attire or being undergone religious rituals by other fellow mortal beings.
A true ‘believer’ is the one, and only the one, who has faith in the teachings of the founder fathers of that religion and follows the path shown by them, whichever may his worldly tribe or traditions be. I strongly believe that any form of ”God worship” and every form of ”Compassion” are two sides of a coin, both having equal value only when with the other.
10. To conclude; the need of the day for all real believers of GOD who embrace, adore and adhere the traditional faith order and beliefs irrespective of the faction, the tribe, Cast or Creed they happened to be in now, and likewise for the Atheists, is to escape the harmful influence of vested interests of disparate fundamentalist groups, ignore the legacy of confrontation, and explore the path of re-conciliation and united they shall seek the essence their Religion or other beliefs in a similar manner in the light of forgiveness and Love, and move on to share the Essence of life through it, harmoniously amongst themselves and others.
When the formations of true believers of every religious forum by which the basic traditional faith orders are formed and are comprised of, and the Atheists for that matter, stand united at their level in the right belief, forgetting the factional thoughts with staunch desire and intention to meaningfully unite in humanity, the political distracters will inevitably have no choice other than to fall in line. If we can see ‘Essence of life’ accordingly, it becomes more clear why it is meaningless to fight in the name of various religions and various beliefs in Gods.
I have full faith in the younger generation in India, who will definitely safe guard the culture of this country and continue to upkeep the magnanimity of Hinduism and other religions, the like of those one can seldom see elsewhere world over; and take this country marching forward with renewed unity, with all its diversities.
However, it is worrying that in certain parts of the world the conflict between religion and politics is becoming beyond reconciliation. Experience is showing that conventional wars cannot contain such extremism. More effective method is to restrict money supply to such groups and organizations. Here is where advancement in technology can be of help. I have been suggesting to use Power of Virtual money as effective solution. By moving over to Virtual money universally Governments can monitor and control money flow is perhaps the only way to effectively restrict extremism. Please see my blog http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-Ku.
Please also see the relevant parts of my blog “The bitter pills for India reprieve’ http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-5I regarding the dangers of political parties mixing religion with politics.
by Abraham Paul P. firstname.lastname@example.org