Terror for religious causes: Time for having a Spirituality sans religion !
One could straight away infer from these alleged religion-centered acts of terror, persecution, life-destructive rituals etc. that, religion is more a community oriented phenomenon than metaphysical and moral, because, if religions were more centered around Godliness,holiness and piousness, terrorist acts would never have originated from such a source. Hence, terrorist acts can not ever be purely for religious causes, as religions are basically spiritual in nature, and by goal.
Something or other has gone terribly wrong about religion in modern world, or some or other worldly agencies are using the name of God and religion for achieving personal or professional motives.Or, religion is causing dis-stabilization of the person-hood, or the sense of self of individuals. This write-up is an attempt to have a sincere and open probe into these areas of human mind, and emphasis that, it is high time for REINVENTING HUMAN SPIRITUALITY on a new footing, and on new foundations.
Besides the plain terrorist acts like the recent Peshawar killing of 142 school children, the Sidney ( Australia) 'lone-wolf' terrorist keeping dozens of people as hostages for more than 24 hours and finally the terrorist and two hostages getting killed, the Syrian/Iraq IS unrest etc, many other life and peace destroying activities are also being undertaken in the name of religion. The IS war and atrocities to establish an Islamist Caliphate in Gulf-region and the Boko-haram terror in Nigeria for a similar goal, the threat of the Indian right-wing Hindu outfits to convert its 2% Christian minority and the 13.5% Muslims in the country to Hindus within the next 10-12 years etc. are also equally deplorable acts in the name of religion.
A very strong and influential development in human history and civilization- -the emergence of religions; if it causes more harm to human-kind than any good, it deserves serious probe by every responsible society, and their respective socio-political institutions.
Let us consider a few very relevant arguments against people, institutions and groups, who use religious causes for terrorist and life-disturbing,destroying acts
Then, how did old nature-worshiping primeval communities had embraced modern religions ?
In the course of history, when individual selves were not as rigidly formed as on today, wherein large groups or communities had one single mind like that of animal herds, mass conversions to other faiths had often taken place.Those mass conversions (or migrations) to major world religions of today had happened because man had a more or less tribal-life under a tribal-leader, ( like that of the origin of Islam) emergence of a distinct spiritual leader or a prophet like Jesus Christ, Buddha, or Mahavira or Confucius, or some such religions becoming state-religion ( like Christianity under emperor Constantine,or Islam thrived under many powerful King-like figures in the later years of its development)
Large scale forced conversions also took- place at many instances in history.As we know now, colonization was more on its way as adventures of Christian missionaries, to 'save' the lost souls of the world ! It was natural for that old Western world, who, by all standards of that age, were far ahead of men and communities living at other parts of the world, in areas like modern weaponary,life-affinities,scientific-spirit, education and health-care. Their wish was to share these signs of advancement,or 'modernity' with fellow-communities in the world, even by using 'force' to achieve this goal. It was like giving a painful injection to a sick tribal man even using force ! They thought they are doing 'good' for him,and the world ! When merchants and nations too followed these early missionary adventurers for economic and political goals, colonization had become an altogether different game, with clear signs of imperialism.
Basically, they were not religious 'conversions' in the strict sense of present times, as there weren't any organized religion prior to such periods in modern sense, from where these men could be 'converted' to.World was a congregation of various tribal societies and beliefs,largely worshiping various forms of nature, or some or other kind of traditionally followed myths and stories about super-natural powers ! So, we could only consider the old mass migrations to certain world religions as natural development of human mind or societies, internalizing these faiths for a more organized, or systematic moral and spiritual way of life. Or, perhaps, it might have offered them a sense of 'belonging-ness to an organised community'.
The story was more or less same with regard to conversions into Islam too. The Muslim conquerors who had traveled to many regions in the world had used force and compulsion to convert the natives into their way of life and beliefs. The total conversion of Zoroastrian Iran ( old Persia) into a Muslim nation was one prime example. All the Muslims in India too were,allegedly, forced converts from primitive Hinduism.
Every large collective entity in the world, who possess either military,industrial or sheer number Power, whether religious or political, wanted all other men like them, or under them, as deviations are thought to be signs that might weaken their superiority and majesty in the long run.
One's sense of right will always get self-doubt, or even sense of self-threat, when others around too lead equally confident, or more contented lives ! This might be due to the existential necessity of every man to be grounded to his own kind of reality. If the other leads a different kind of life with a different culture, language, or tradition, the sense of self of the former starts losing his sense of absolute reality. Man indeed requires this sense of absolute reality and truth about his self and 'being', per nature's mysterious ways ! It seems, even in these days of enlightened modernity and progress, mankind and communities suffer from these old and primeval obsessions, fears and weakness.
As once referred above, modern Hindus in India now try to 're-convert' Christians and Muslims in the country, under the new confidence they gained from having the newly elected Hindu majority party ( BJP) in power. The logic is that, India must be free of these foreign religions, as they can not have 'belongingness' to the father nation ! Christian and Muslim minorities, who comprise about a total of 15% of the population of the country, are living in the land for more 10 to 20 centuries in many cases ! Still, the majority religion feels that the land should belong only to them exclusively, and they can not bear the sight of any 'other' in their habitat ! Every one should live in a particular land with same the beliefs, myths, life style and also with particular Gods the majority believe-in ! The majority religion also forgets or ignore that, pre-British India was not one nation in nay sense.It was comprising more than 600 local Kingdoms, engaged in perpetual war between each other. It was first the Muslim invasion, and then the British colonization that made the land integrate into one geographical and then one cultural whole !
The resurgent Hindu right-wing elements prefer to call this objective of converting Christians and Muslims 'Home-returning', in the sense that the entire land had only Hindus in the past! As mentioned above, modern Hindus fail to recognize the fact that such re-conversions will tear-off the sense of self of Christians and Muslims, as each individual of these two minority communities had been born into these faiths and religions, their customs,beliefs, life-style etc.except perhaps a minority new converts, who got converted due to various other reasons, including perhaps, succumbing to some kind of allurement, or force. Now these minorities feel threatened and terrorized like every minority religious or cultural groups in other lands where the majority population belong to a different religion or culture. Hindus in Muslim majority Pakistan feels the same as Muslims and Christians in India !
More over, Hinduism is one of the few religions in the world today that still keeps it primordial nature worshiping traditions. Its deeper metaphysical thought system ( like Upanishads etc) were developed perhaps centuries later, after their remaining as plain nature-worshipers through-out. But this deeper Hinduism and its unique universality and thorough spiritual nature, remains unknown to majority of its believers, chiefly due to its unavailability to the ordinary class of people under the fierce hegemony of the old priestly class in the past, and the strict caste-system within the Hindu-tradition.In the sense as nature worshipers, every primordial society in the world should be called Hindus, as that was the only religious sign and tradition for every ancient human-community. So, calling back the world to go back as Hinduism now will be a calling back to the entire earth population to become nature-worshipers once again !
By this logic, every organized modern religion should be treated as some or other kind of 'development', or a step ahead in the natural progress of humanity. At this stage, it is unnatural that any one religion attempt to establish its own superiority over other religions, as religions are like languages, or colour of the skin, or food and cultural habits that human-kind got from their parents and communities in near or remote past. World has no option but to accept all such events,or courses of the past, mass or individual conversions as irreversible course of history.
Better we compare these past conversions with the modern phenomenon of men getting converted into different economic classes,( such as the modern middle class) drastically altering their life-styles, behaviour, food-habits, man-woman relation, dress-codes etc. Irrespective of the religion, skin-colour, language or past-culture, modern middle class,employed in corporate sector live and behave as if they are an altogether different global class, and a different social-group in the world !
Modern phenomenon of Democratic Politics, and its number-strength oriented entanglement with religions
How come these modern religions then had become means of terror and cruelty ? Let us consider another angle.
We have seen that our modern world religions were more or less different 'life-style' communities, and different 'social-entities' than large groups of men believing in different Gods. Spirituality always stood-away, more or less personal and independent for human-beings, even while their belongingness to the above culture and life-style' based deep religious-groups.
After the advent of democratic politics in modern world, wherein it was the 'rule of majority', or the rule of the 'most organized' political group('gang', if we use Ayn Rand's wording !) with maximum number of followers, or at least that group or individual who manage to collect maximum electoral votes, keeping larger groups by religion, culture, language, geography, occupation or whatever, has become the top priority of those who wish to grab the THRONE ! This inevitable requirement of needing to have the vote and support of larger groups of people in the country to form government and to occupy the throne led every political party to woo religious groups, one of the best source for having large-masses under one umbrella, or one pack ! Though after the reign of Science in the world from 17-18th centuries, the intensity of belief in God and religions had greatly deceased. For cure of illness or ensuring better life, medicine and hard-work were thought better options respectively, than praying to Gods.
This reason had hugely affected the number of temple,church and mosque goers all the world. But the cunning-ness of the newly emerged political parties who were stuck with the necessity of large-vote-banks, had used every ammunition in their strategy armory to integrate various religious groups in nations like India. Intentional inter-religious conflicts and tension had been planned well and executed, causing fierce religious polarization. People were put under compulsion to stick on to their religious identities, for more voice and representation in political affairs of the country. Thus, even those who were earlier liberal about their own religious identity had decided to be more-religion oriented, and mindful of their respective and unique religious identities. Political parties had succeeded in creating a new sense of 'entitlement' and representation based on each one's religious identity.
No open minded man can ignore the above role of modern democratic-politics in creating and sustaining social tension under compulsions of modern 'number-strength' oriented politics. Religious conversion is also one in such dubious political strategies of modern politics.
The counter-effect: Identity deprived men under modern politics seek other identities for rooting their selves !
The fiercely 'impersonal'nature of modern democratic-politics, ie. embracing and considering large masses of men as more real and concrete for head-count oriented modern politics, had in-fact caused serious isolation and alienation of modern man today. Forces of industry, forces of religion and politics are constantly trying to target him, his attention, support and vote has seriously affected the integrity of his sense of self ! He is once again forced to seek his lost individual identity in religion, as, without linking one's self with some concrete reality, one tend to loses his sense of person-hood.
Though religions were originally originated with the intention of linking man with the 'other world', away and free from the turbulence and changes of life, they had ended up as different 'life-style' communities as seen above. Every religion has become this worldly, mostly rituals and collectivism oriented. Their metaphysical and spiritual dimension totally lost. Spirituality as such today, truly speaking, has become a very personal relation of each person with ultimate reality and source of his 'being'. Prayers and other intense-linking with his spiritual roots has become an essential need of many men today, that he always fulfill while he is alone, during or after the participating in the community level gathering and rituals. While religion is a social umbrella that define his collective identity, spirituality of each person, if every one frankly look within and examine, has become every one's very personal interaction or synergy with God, or whatever he has kept and defined as his source of origin. Whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh, each individual has kept his spirituality a very subjective and personal affair.(Please share a dedicated blog that dwells deep into this SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY need of modern man, at link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/spiritual-integrity-man-possible-existence-abraham-j-palakudy?trk=mp-author-card)
In short, modern democratic politics has absolutely failed to uphold individual's much-required, unique sense of self. Though it was the post-enlightenment, LIBERALISM oriented social and political ideals that had given birth to modern democracy, it ended-up in the DISINTEGRATING man's sense of person-hood. He has, more or less got lost in the crowd, ever groping in the dark, searching for his real self ! Instead of providing him his real sense of self and freedom, modern democratic system left him as an irreverent piece in the mass-crowd. This factor also has prompted modern man to seek increased bond with his/her religious identity, to compensate his lost personal identity in the impersonal political jungle !
What has become special about the Muslim world ?
Unlike all the other world religious followers or the followers of local religions like Sikhism and Jainism, Muslims find it extremely difficult to merge and mingle with the mainstream,globalized population, by the very way they are supposed to dress, groom the body,( keeping a beard etc) odd religious practices like circumcision and the mutilation of women's body, 5 times a day prayer etc. So, these men always find themselves at odd with the mainstream world. Even if they want, they can not throw -away these strict religious codes and practices without rousing the ire, and even the threat of excommunication from the community fold ! Physical threats, and even killing can not be ruled out. So, these men are forced to be different in the mainstream in every sense, this cultural and social isolation is, without doubt, could be a major cause for serious internal conflicts.
Unfortunately, the so called mainstream world is a western-culture oriented world. As we have seen above, masses of people get mingled and even migrated to cultural and social trends and ways, many a times as a social and personal need. The self of man tend to internalize whatever ever he thinks fit and right to glorify his self. This could be learning of new language and culture norms, adopting new dress-codes, behavior and food habits etc. Vast majority of modern world, thanks to the contemporary globalization tendency, adopt the ways and style of this trend, and merge with the said mainstream, irrespective of whether these new converts like or not. Many of them do so out of professional ( read 'survival' needs !)
But for the Muslim world, despite the unbelievable oil based affluence of the Gulf-nations, their men are still outsiders to the said mainstream for reasons above seen ! Any kind of cultural or education reforms will not, or can not unlock their above, very particular,visible differences ! Even when they convert into the above referred 'new economic-middle class', they fail to mix into its cultural separateness due to the hard-pull of their close religious community. So, they are a kind of 'locked-into' the same old mold of that ancient Prophet.Mohammed started Islam religion and tradition for ever.
Most of the Gulf-nations are Kingdoms, wherein citizens enjoy only limited personal freedom. The world these men see in media sources like TV makes them excessively aware of their stark-difference from the mainstream. The generally known TWO reactions of conservative societies upon encountering modernity is,either to change themselves and become 'modern', or to contemn modernity as undesirable. Here, the second option was the only possible reaction to Muslim world, as they can never think of leaving their traditions and practices on account of their subdued individual-freedom. So, it was natural for the more-intense ones among them to go for severe fundamentalism about own beliefs and practices,and FIND VITAL SELF_EXPRESSION needs of the EGO,within their own theology, and religion.
The very direct role that Iraq-invasion played to trigger this revived Islamist revivalism is well-known. Al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed future Caliphate of of Islamic-wold was an Iraqi-prisoner under US authorities.( see references at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141201095034-97217672-ferguson-killing-why-democratic-states-rat-hunt-citizens?trk=mp-author-card)
The only way out before them is to create their own world supremacy or hegemony, wherein they need not feel 'outsiders' anymore ! This is psychologically compelling at least some of its followers to establish a modern Caliphate, where it is an altogether Muslim world, where every Muslim could feel at-home in every sense, ending the 'locked-in' state explained above. In a way, it is metaphysically and psychologically a very valid aspiration, as living as outsiders in a world that is going fast and changed every-day, far remote and different from their locked-in ways of life !
A recent 'The Economist' News paper article ( Jan,20th 2015) shows the same line of argument: ' rather than mimic the modernized West, and rather than allow it to intervene in their affairs, as it has done through much of recent history, Muslims should create new forms of politics and government proper to their faith.' (Article 'A struggle that shames' )
The so called 'mainstream' in modern world is predominantly a Western world, with its chief affinity towards the Western way of life, norms and culture. The above said modern, huge population of 'middle-class', irrespective of their nationality, language, skin-colour or ethnicity, is predominantly western in culture, aspirations and life-style. From this world, Muslims in most of the nations sense an uncomfortable distance !
This uncomfortable status, together with the alienation of those who are not part of the above mainstream in any sense, are extremely prone to hate their lives, socially, psychologically and metaphysically ! They fail to relate to anything in the immediate world around. They do not belong to it in any sense ! A strange sense of alienation is a certainty.
The ways of the modern corporate entities, with their ferocious aspiration and appetite for huge-market share for their produce, and total control over the mind of consumers, have turned the world into a 'market-place' in every sense. They let nothing more serious and deep to exist in the market-place called the world, because if they let it, the spirit of 'consumerism' will greatly subside. With the extreme eye for detail of the modern industry, they will do everything possible to prevent the 'market-place' called the world from deviating to anything else !
This particular impersonal nature of modern world mounts the hatred of the 'outsiders',towards the world, as well as towards themselves and others. These unfortunate mass of men, their kind turning 'self deprived' every day in thousands at every corner of the world, are the ones who either turn a petty criminal, a murderer, a thief or rapist, organize themselves into large rebel gangs against States seeking freedom,( eg. the Maoists in India ) or the hard-core terrorists in the hands of indoctrinating-forces og religions ! They are not human-beings at all in its true sense, features and meaning. They, like agitated atoms in the sub-atomic particle world, are core-lost entities. Because of their huge-self hatred, they could do any cruel and shameless act, without any prick of conscience. They are a species apart, for all practical meaning !
All progress of the world would become meaningless and empty, unless it identify and recognize the above process of thousands of its men turning anti-social every day. Just one of them is enough to turn life up-side-down for a city, like what happened in Sydney hostage issue recently. The threat and fear of such phenomenon itself is enough to make every progress of modern world futile. No progress is progress by its name, if the system that leads to such progress disturb, or ignore even one's person's sense of self in the process !
If every one adopts my way, or our way, I/we can be their leader, and then control them !
One of the most conspicuous features of human ego, or human-self is that it constantly look for self-glorification. It wanted to feel superior and special always. This is perhaps instilled by nature so that it gives a warning-shot to those individuals who tend to be passive and subdued in society. Without these aggressive other group, there would have been no cry for freedom and liberty ! These passive men will always be kept under control and servitude by the other group, so that social tension always remain in human-societies, a must for intellectual and moral wake-ups and enlightenment.
So, there always had men and their leaders who desired to keep control over others around, as well as large masses of people if opportunity arise. The onus of recognizing this natural feature of man lies with enlightened societies, so that they learn the primary lesson of keeping every individual free and liberated, and never attempt to keep anyone subdued and subjugated. It is lack of this vital knowledge that modern world and its institutions suffer from most ! Whether it is polity, religion or industry, what each look-forward to having mastery and hegemony in the world. Military powers attempt to show-off their strength so that all others remain under their silent control, industries attempt to have the same goal by having absolute control over the governments and the world, and religions also look-forward to have the same kind of control over large masses of people. This is the metaphysical reason behind Muslims aim at the establishment of Caliphate,and the Western world under the leadership of USA want the globalized world under the western-free market hegemony, a disguised version of the old colonial world-control.
The crux and key this modern world must realize is that, only by liberating and ensuring the freedom of every other person that it could achieve sustainable freedom of the world, NOT by controlling every one around.
What world needs is, a Spirituality sans religions
From what we have seen above, it has come out that though religions were originated with spiritual goals, they turned different 'life-style' and cultural groups in their course of development.Every religious group was under existential compulsion to stick-on as one single life-style group for various reason listed and described above. For the inevitable spiritual need, each person, irrespective of his religious identity and life-style, tend to keep and maintain his own kind of very subjective and personal spirituality through out human-history.
With existence, it looks like that, nature or God is keeping an exclusive or unique kind of relation or contract. with every human-being. His gene-equation is so unique that no other person would be having such an equation ( the gene-combination from his father and mother, another unique pair) his very unique life-surroundings, ( the unique relation with his parents, his small community, his unique geographic location etc) his equally unique relation making with other unique people around etc etc. All the above factors make each person in the world a unique 'aggregate' in every sense and meaning.No one exactly like him exists anywhere in the wold !
Life, in this sense, is a unique opportunity, a unique aperture for each person. If God or whatever the ultimate source of reality and energies behind life and existence be, man can not connect with Him/It through collective prayer/communication process, because, what is personal is personal, and no group approach would be appropriate and effective. Collective or group rituals only would help to induce certain very personal and subjective thought-frame this way ! Every one has to go back to this source also all alone one day ! So, spirituality need to be, and should be a very personal communion or communication for every human being.
Good 'sense' in understanding God, or the ultimate essence as a PREDISPOSITION / Predilection
Instead of keeping different images of God by each religion, it would make extreme sense to understand Him as His predisposition, or predilection. The ultimate CAUSE behind creation, or having 'existence' of man,beats,plants,planets,milky-ways, space and time could be, in all possibility, the RESULT OF AN ALL PERVADING 'emotion', or a 'motivation'. The physical form the world and the emotional nature of all living beings must be 'sharing' this emotion from such an essence, and what better way to understand ULTIMATE TRUTH than getting to know such a cause ?
Common-sense would tell that even science attributes a certain 'predisposition' to existence; a certain mathematical coldness, without verification and evidence. Such a zero-sum 'coldness' is what explains the physical theories of the world, or the 'structure of the world'. It is plain that 'structure' is always determined by a hidden essence. By this logic, instead of randomly attributing different predispositions to God by different religions, if sensible agreement is arrived among all religions on this CENTRAL POINT, it itself could start a new religion sans different dogmas and belief systems- a SPIRITUALITY without religions !
( please see our work on such a sensible predisposition at links: http://patternsofapproachtodiscoverreality.blogspot.in/, http://thewhyquestionofexistenceanswered.blogspot.in/)
If the contemporary world proceed in the direction of propagating such a universal spirituality, not in any particular religious sense but as an essential personal discipline of every child and grown-up person, it will gain much in the way of avoiding religious based hatred, violence and wars. Citizens would then be lesser exploited by political entities in the world for their dubious number games. It might also end the dangerous hold of religious leaders and institutions upon human communities. Instead, every religion could encourage its followers to be simply spiritual, leaving divisions and conflicts in the name of life-style and ritualistic differences.
( for further reading on the path of new SPIRITUALITY, refer link: http://metaphysicsofthehumansoul.blogspot.in/
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He is an ardent seeker and researcher of Truth,especially in areas like Mind&Reason, philosopy,Spirituality,and Polity
Twitter: Voice of philosophy@jopan1
His profile and other blogs at:https://www.blogger.com/profile/14249415589712707293