- Kimberly Okesalako
Man today, finds himself trapped in a swirling maelstrom of materialism, greed deceit, anxiety & ill health. As the saviour from these sufferings, man created “religion”, a means by which he may fortify his faith in God & derive strength and reassurance from His almighty God. However, the great diversity of this magnificent earth human population resulted in the formation of various different religions, all prophesying a different way to reach God & escape from the worries of the daily existence. Therefore to my mind, religion forms the most effective painkiller in the word. Yet religion is but a double-edged sword; on one hand serves humanity as an opiate, a smoother and on the other hand causing other problems and evils. Hence I totally agree with the saying that religion is not nobly the ‘opiate’ of the masses but also the hindrance to humanity.
We have all seen the disastrous and devastatingly destructed nature of religious fanatics clashing the world over, on trivial disagreements regarding whose Holy books are correct or whether one should eat pork or beef, even over ancient lands shared in the past by various religious groups. Just when it appears as though the human race has come of age physiologically and spiritually and is ready to establish everlasting world peace in the interests of humanity and its rapid progress in other fields. A few religious fanatics feel necessary to wage Holy wars on other sects simply because one person (expressing his freedom of expression) wrote detrimentally about their religion.
However, we are also aware of the fact that if religion were to be abolished, man would die out through the sheer pressures of several in our earth. Not to mention religion is so deeply ingrained in our social fabric of so many worthy societies that wiping it out is almost impossible. The communist countries of the last century were successful only in suppressing religion, but not in wiping it out and with the fall of communism broken people to seek shelter from religion to tide them over bad times. Coming back to the main issue of how religion affects the overall progress of humanity.
It is clearly visible to us from the carnage in Karachi, Ayodhya, the bold shed in Mumbai and the brutal murders throughout the Middle East, that religion can be extremely detrimental. How can a developing country, like our own ever expand of resources on technological development? Abolishing poverty and education of the masses, when immediate problems (such as bandaging the bleeding masses who indulge in communal battle) face then constantly.
As we have seen and learnt from the story of Jean the maid, any person placing one’s country above one’s religion and reaching out to God without religion has no place among the mortal man and is destroyed. The same holds good today. This then makes it impossible for any country (where the people are free to profess, practice and propagate any religion) man realize the true essence of religion and follows it wisely but not passionately as passion in religion would only lead a man to the same fate.
Religion can be a saviour and shelter for one soul, but one is too fanatical then it brings only violence, unhappiness and discontent. I also appeal to all who believe in God to do so away from the constraints of organized religion because mortals like us may be easily swayed by their judgments and often wrongful in their conduct.