I come from a very religious (but not superstitious) family. The mother, the father and the brother are very pious and spend long hours praying. My summer vacations were all spent in places like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Rameswaram etc. Each member of my family has at least one reason due to which they believe strongly in the almighty (interestingly, my mom’s reason is my birth (something that medical science had convinced her would never happen) knowing myself like I do, I can certainly tell my mom that she should have turned an atheist the day I was born!). But I never felt any pull towards God(s?) In fact, I never really felt that there exists someone up there who makes the world go round (apparently…)
I have, more than once, felt blackmailed though. Whenever I have questioned the heavens (by heavens, I mean, I looked up at the sky, clouds, moon, stars etc. in the manner of old and dramatic films) an answer would be given – my mother would fall sick. I would then go down on my knees (as taught) and say “Please God, I am so sorry God, please make my mommy alright.” And sure enough, she would recover in about three or four days. If God does indeed exist, then this is kinda really immature behavior! Not expected out of the omnipresent, omnipotent, omni-other things Him.
Several things made me denounce my religion (and eventually god). Those who know me know that I am easily influenced and hence end up making bad (realllllly bad) decisions. But in this matter, I believe I drew the conclusion based on things I have seen (or heard) happening (not stories of hardcore atheists or anything of the sort). For example, recently an incident occurred that disgusted the living daylights out of me. A friend of mine decided to take a friend of his on a Bangalore tour. A cow (the over-abused stereotypical cow in the middle of the Indian road) was strolling around and suddenly decided to pee. A bunch of people came running from all sides of the road, like potatoes rolling out of a sack… why – to get the blessings of the “pee”! oh yeah, they just grabbed handfuls of blessings right there! Why, oh god (oh cow?) why??!
There is a certain sect of people in this country who consider it auspicious to enter a new home only (and ONLY) if at first a cow enters it. The poor animal is dressed up for the occasion, and thoroughly tortured (i.e., made to walk around in finery looking (probably also feeling) like a fool) Assume the cow doesn’t enter, are u gonna throw the house away (by that I mean, are you gonna forget the money you spent on it)? If it’s so inauspicious as you say, then do you not have any qualms on giving the house for rent? May all your miseries fall on someone else’ head? Is that ok?
No person is free from biases and prejudices. It’s just human nature. But it angers me that there are people who criticize my people for eating beef (note: if you’re not a beef eater, you’re missing out on some great Keralite cuisine (and other cuisine), and also, you will never know what steak tastes like. Your loss!) BUT they go ahead and build temples for mortal celebrities. If you are a believer then in no way should you equate God with those people who appear on a screen – whose only godlike quality is…(pause… long pause… longer pause…) ok, I can’t think of anything. Nor is it ok to equate god with dead relatives. They are dead. They are not watching as you think they are. If they are watching over you, then let your belief save you, but don’t say you’re afraid of ghosts later on. Dead Relatives/Cows/Celebrities not = God.
People consider religion to be the same as God. It isn’t (in my opinion – not forcing it on anyone). While god is a force, religion is what writes down the rules to follow the force. People should be allowed to follow their beliefs any way they want. Writing down rules is an unnecessary pain. Would we like it if the government told us how to live? Religion results in too many contradictions. Small head, can’t keep up with every rule, every doctrine. Don’t know what’ll offend whom and don’t know how much of my (once much-appreciated) frankness will be appreciated in such crowds. There is so much anger, so many heated debates, all because people just cannot agree with each other over which text book to follow.
I will live in a happy cocoon if need be, but I just cannot be a part of a system that 1) is not united in their beliefs 2) contradict each other 3) perpetrate nothing but hate in an already hate-filled world.