Aao hum bhi haath uthaye, jinhe rasm-e-dua yaad nahin, jinhe soz-e-mohabbat k siva koi khuda yaad nahin. -Faiz
I could doubt my varsity’s role in teaching me History but within the time I’ve spent in the university, I’ve definitely learnt that “it is widely believed” is not a concrete argument. As a kid, I simply could not comprehend that something like religion, that gave people an excuse to go for each others’ throats, could be made by a supreme entity, if it existed. Growing older, I actually found evidences in History of how each major religion accepted today came up, Hinduism is widely believed to be the oldest religion in the world but I remember an interaction with a professor, who told me that we were here (at the university) to question beliefs. According to his belief, Palaeolithic art found In the Altamira caves, in Spain provide the basis for religious origin, these are at the least 35,000 years old. As a student of history, two things were sure to me, I could literally point to a time and trace a timeline through history to show you the gradual emergence of religion, hence it was made by the people and second It was simply hard for me to accept the Oxford definition of religion “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” So I made up one on my own, “Religion was created by the people to credit their existence to a supreme entity and In the modern world is used to divide people and is used by humans to achieve their motives” but the problem with these definitions are that they reject Buddhism , Confucianism, Taoism or Shintoism from being regarded as established religions.
As students of history, we learnt that religion had once worked as a mode of unification in tribal communities that shared the same language, culture and beliefs, while the entire tribe gathered to perform rituals and ceremonies collectively. The world has changed since then, people in an attempt to understand religion and form their own definition out of that understanding in the process have sometimes redefined religion, and at different time periods have given contrasting definitions.
To Some religion is a mode of unification, to some it creates divisions, to others it is vote bank, to some humanity is their sole religion, to one person god may be religion and then to another god may not be the central theme of religion.
My father is an extremely pragmatic human being but I feel his understanding of his religion sometimes may have tampered with his judgement, according to him, faith was more important than reality, and it was wrong to try to equate science or reason with religion because according to his belief religion began where science ended, so even though he knew the possibility of everything he believed being untrue, he still took solace in his understanding of religion. So I felt it was okay for me to stay ignorant about religion because I felt that an understanding of religion could tamper with my worldview, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still remain ignorant about religion right up until today. People might give n number of definitions of religion but to me, it is important for religion to be associated with the supreme because if you try to imitate a thinker like Confucius or Siddhartha and tell people that there is no god, they will make you their god, theists are beneficiaries as religion teaches you humility, when you don’t believe in an entity which is superior than you, you feel that your fate is in your hands and you feel that you are entitled to your success due to the hardwork you put in, you feel thankless and you credit yourself for everything, this causes a sense of pride and when you have a sense of pride, there is going to be profanity in your speech, you will speak words that will sting others and you will sound offensive and you will be held responsible for what you say, and I have learnt this from two instances in my life, nobody likes a boisterous human being and I feel every loss we suffer in life, occur from the lack of humility which results from the absence of belief.
Theism begins with the acceptance that you aren’t the supreme authority who governs your life, when you understand you don’t control everything that is going wrong in your life, you feel relaxed, you feel less burdened as you feel the weight of the world is lifted from your shoulders, religion is the soul of the soulless and the heart of the heartless, Religion is the opium of the masses. You feel very humbled when you finally accept the Theory of Theistic evolution and you have to know wisdom to accept that there may be something beyond the visible universe and you need humility to give up that control over your life and submit. Exactly along these lines is the serenity prayer, which is said verbatim by Christians around the world. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”