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Random notes on religion

Simon Brunning is pondering over religion this morning evening ( web makes me forget physical distance - he must be enjoying a cool English afternoon :-)). Religion always prompts random thoughts in me. I think it is good that it stays random, because usually the result of focussed thoughts on religion quickly becomes fanaticism.

In my opinion, all religions try to answer the question "Who am I?" (except for those who follow Perl-ism and Emacs-ism; these religions try to answer the question "Who are they?", non Perl/Emacs users :-))

I’m somewhat of an atheist who believes man created God. But it is comforting at times to use God as a supreme excuse or as some imaginary being who is looking after you when you need it. Works fine as long as you don’t leave everything to the will of God.

Bottomline is that everyone has their beliefs - which are usually a set of prejudices acquired in the process of growing up. And everyone is entitled to have their beliefs. Things get messy if you want to force your beliefs on others. That is one reason why I agree with Simon when he says “all these theists look equally odd to me”.

I was born and brought up as a Hindu. Even now, when I go to India, I visit some temples - not the famous and crowded ones, but small and quiet ones that have a very comforting ambience. Do I practice Hinduism? I don’t know. I don’t know how you define a Hindu. The ancient Hindu text books have pretty good philosophy, but that is the extent of my interest.

I don’t really see the point in people trying to define themselves as Hindus or Christians or Muslims. Again, problems happen when people try to define others. These usually surface in claims like “I’m very moral. This other person is very immoral”. What can I say? “One man’s morality is another man’s belly laughter.” Such proclamations about morality is common in communities that don’t realize the world is a very diverse place; some communities (hint, hint) don’t even realize there is world outside the political boundaries.

This is not only the case for religion. Take a look at the following phrases and decide for yourself how others will feel. What makes you proud might very well make some one else from another continet laugh. And vice versa. These are all politically correct things, but deep in your mind, what do you feel about each phrase?

  1. French Culture
  2. American History
  3. British Royal Family
  4. India - Unity in Diversity
  5. Windows Servers

My Principles For Living

  1. Have convictions and beliefs of your own.
  2. Respect others' beliefs.
  3. Don’t follow Oprah Winfrey.
  4. Religion of any kind is just a mean, not the end goal.
  5. If you can’t do it, some one else can.
  6. But as long as that some one else is not around, do it yourself anyway.
  7. Take pride in what you’ve done. So do only prudent things.

Footnote: One of my close friends follows Jainism. I’ve known him since 1989 and I think it has worked out pretty well for him.

  1. Just so long as everyone remembers the most important rule -

    Obviously, this doesn't apply to Perl users, though, as we Pythoneers know. ;-)

    Posted by: Simon Brunning on September 5, 2002 04:45 AM
  2. Wow! That was a fantastic piece on the Onion. Simply brilliant.

    Posted by: Babu on September 5, 2002 06:37 AM
  3. Wasn't it just. Satire at its finest can be much more than just funny.

    Posted by: Simon Brunning on September 5, 2002 07:24 AM
  4. Hey, What's wrong with Oprah? :-)

    Posted by: Harpo on September 12, 2002 02:55 PM
  5. Oprah? Nothing wrong with her. But her followers seem to think completely along her views! To an extent where they don't want to have individual opinions.

    This, I think is pretty much the problem with any religion - follow any thing - TV show, religion, sport - but a human being needs to realize that s/he is also an individual. The power to think is too valuable to waste.

    Posted by: Babu on September 12, 2002 06:44 PM
  6. Need to conatct Simon urgently

    Posted by: stuart on June 15, 2004 09:43 PM