More and more, a tenuous ideology as it has traditionally existed. Increasingly, we are seeing how conventional belief systems are becoming less and less able to minister to the spiritual needs of believers at large.
As our spheres of existence evolve, leaping and bounding into the digital age; as we progressively become part of a smaller and smaller global village, we are being faced with challenges hitherto quite unprecedented in terms of how we interact with the communities we live in, and others around the world. More and more we see how intolerance, strife and suffering are being directly perpetrated in the dubious paths of organized belief systems. The way i see it, we have slowly but surely lost our humanity to the puissant machinations of modern day religious powerhouses.
What is faith then, in the current times? What does it mean to be devout and devoted? Is it a copious measure of ritual practice while the heart continues to race in fear and the mind is a cacophony of discord in times of trial? Is it the demonstration of exalted acts performed in the way of glorifying one’s particular faith which, at their very core, are underscored by bigotry, inequity and divisiveness? Where every “good deed” is discharged on a quid pro quo basis: you are charitable primarily so YOU can go to heaven, and not because someone is needy – (that’s just a circumstantially advantageous outcome). You go to church and to the mosque so YOU can get into the Almighty’s good books so YOU can skip into Eden, not because you have the well- being of your community at heart. All, spiritually depleting ideologies of faith practised solely from a fear of consequences, rather than the simple desire to exteriorize and celebrate our humanity.
What is it to believe then? Could it be simply, the genuine attempt to be the best version of oneself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically? To be able to look within to become a force for good without? To be able to think for oneself more and to rely less on the dogmas of centuries ago? To finally pay fit tribute to our innate “God-given” spiritual and mental assiduity? To finally breaking through the meretricious matrix woven by self serving belief systems and sifting through the spiritual antimatter for ourselves.
Look around you. Nature itself has manifested how irrelevant caste, creed and racial differences are. How even more insignificant religiously wrought community and political boundaries are. Why then are we not heeding what we instinctively know to be true? That our shared humanity is bigger than any individual religion. That our communal joys and sorrows are more spiritually potent than any Sunday service or Friday ‘Khutba’*. That together we are a stronger, better, more spiritually evolved species than we are when projecting our ecclesiastical differences. Because at the end of the day, the very essence of all religions is entrenched not only in equality, kindness and charity in and of themselves, but in thoughtfully and inclusively channeling these all-embracing attributes to ensure one becomes a more universal force for good.
It is time. Time to break through the inertia-encumbered shackles of our different religions; of the ensuing illogical but deeply ingrained ways we are habituated to hate one another. It is time to start having the difficult but essential discussions on breathing fresh life into archaic, counter intuitive belief systems.
My religion is Humanity. What is yours?
De khudai pe aman.
*Khutba: publicly held formal sermon, especially delivered after the communal Friday prayers in the Islamic religion.