The creation is creating the pseudo-creators or social-Gods
1. There is one creator of the universe, and all religious scriptures agree with this concept. Giving different names to same God is not an issue, as well. Then what is the problem? All religious leaders believe that others should follow their ideology, which God has communicated directly through their prophet. Often they insist on it and ask their devotees to convince non-believers in their religion – heretics, or infidels, as fundamentalists call non-believers – and convert them to their brand of religion. The hard-liner devotees use threats, intimidation with display of force or violence, and/or financial incentives to influence the potential conversion candidates.
* It is like a corporate war of supremacy in number of devotees; as numbers do matter. More numbers of devotees, implies more revenue, more religious tourism, and a feeling of pride as number one in the rat race of numbers in the World.
Supremacy in numbers versus qualitative improvement
2. The hunger for supremacy in numbers has become the primary goal of all religions. To motivate the existing devotees to live life with Godly principles, takes a back seat. This approach has resulted in emergence of militancy and militant groups: IS, Taleban, Boko Haram, and Al Shabab. The fundamentalists who indulge in militancy are omnipresent, in every religion – Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and even Buddhism.
3. Did God create Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Christianity? His creativity couldn’t have been imperfect and erratic, which would have resulted in further sub-divisions in religions. All religions got subdivided due to other man-made issues such as: who will govern, and who will control the revenue.
God and Social-Gods!
4. The real loser in the plethora of religions is the God, who is now represented as: a Muslim God – Allah, for two warring groups, Shia and Sunni Muslims; a Christian God – the Father, the Word,and the Holy Spirit – for two, not-at-peace groups, Roman Catholics and Protestants; a Hindu God – actually there are 330 million Hindu Gods – and a Sikh God – Waheguru for 3-4 Sikh groups, socializing but avoiding matrimony with other groups. We can call these Gods as Social Gods, who are perceived as different from each other by humanity, as they have conflicting interests, and are subservient to their dependent societies.
Impact on society:
A Muslim was killed on suspicion that he stored cow’s mutton in his refrigerator.
5. A Hindu fundamentalist leader believes,” Let Muslims be considerate towards religious feelings of Hindus for cow. Hindus constitute nearly 80% of Indian population. Muslims should avoid eating beef – he meant cow – as it is a sacred animal to Hindus. Then they can stay in India.”
* Religion should teach tolerance. Here a fundamentalist, Hindu leader lacks the basic human trait ‘tolerance’, which is essential for a religion, in any civilized society. He is dictating, what a Muslim can eat. Majority of Muslims eat buffaloes meat, which is known in India as beef and is cheaper than poultry and lamb.
* In this case, religious sentiments of Hindus were being exploited, as elections in Bihar – a state in India – were due after a week. A classic case of religion encroaching the domain of democracy!
Religious beliefs are the spoil-sport for any social life between Jews and Muslims
6. There is tense ambience in a Jew and Muslim religious site, Flashpoint in Jerusalem – Temple Mount for Jews and Haram al-Sharif for Muslim. If Jews and Muslims could believe that the Muslim God and the Jew God represent same entity, then there would have been no problem. But there is trust deficit between Jews and Muslims. Although there is one God in the World, in Jerusalem, there are two social-Gods – a Muslim God and a Jew God. Thus when there are two religious sites, within a locality, there will be clashes over time-sharing and space-sharing for the religions’ activities. Palestinians fear that the present arrangement will be tampered in favour of Jews.
Two social Gods in India too – a Hindu God and a Muslim God
7. In India, Hindus claim that a mosque was built in 16th century for Allah, a symbol for Muslim God, after demolishing an old Hindu temple, which was the birth place of Ram, a Hindu God. If only Hindus and Muslims in India could realise that the Hindu God and the Muslim God are two names of same entity, there would have been no dispute, and no violence. The glory of God is not affected, whether we rebuild a mosque there or a Ram temple. But when we talk of social-Gods – Muslim God and Hindu God – the glory of one social God, say Allah will have negative social impact on second social God, say Ram, and vice versa.
Caricatures or imitation of Prophets hurts sentiments
8. In India, a self-appointed guru, known as ‘Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insaan’ is facing the ire of Sikhs. His unusual name is a complex name, encompassing names of: a Hindu God, a Muslim synonym for Allah and a humane trait of humanity. He had once, in the congregation, appeared, dressed like a Sikh guru, while giving the spiritual discourse to his followers – which hurt the sentiments of Sikhs.
* A caricature of the Muslim Prophet in France and Sweden newspapers resulted in avoidable bloodshed and killings. We may insist on freedom of speech, but equally important is not to proactively comment on a social-God or Prophet, if it does not affect our lives, but may hurt others’ feelings.
9. We are vulnerable, as any fool can disturb peace and harmony.
* If a Hindu or Christian fundamentalist pushes a piglet in a mosque during prayers, riots can start, and human life is at stake.
* If organs of a cow are thrown outside or near a Hindu temple or a Hindu house, then riots can begin in no time.
* If a holy book of any religion is torn and its pages are dumped in garbage, it can create riots.
The last word
10. Should we react like this? This is not the devotion to God. It is not a right behaviour of a devotee. A civilized society, must be strong enough to maintain harmony, in spite of such provocations. Secular education to all sections of society, will be an effective antidote.