As people age, there one thing that they fear the most. No, it is not health, not even wealth or that they will be missing their charming youth – It is becoming irrelevant. It is the thought that they would brushed aside and no one would even try to explain stuff to them as it would be deemed too much of an effort or worse unnecessary and useless. So, as people age, they try and do stuff that is like “See, I too know it”. That is why you see the posts of “Radiation tonight, switch off your moblies or you will be blown to oblivion” kind of posts from parents and grand parents. Well, this post is not intended to make fun of them. They still mean good but yes they are becoming irrelevant faster than their ancestors.
That brings us to today’s post. What is happening to our elders is also happening to our religion but as usual we choose not to accept it. Religion, which enjoyed so much respect and relevance in the past is fast loosing it. In really old times, religion did several important functionality. It was a “Completed Encyclopaedia of Science” – anything that required explanation from rainbows to thunder storms were documented in full detail. It had definite, beyond doubt convictions about birth, death and even after death. It had clear description of the process of creation and the eventuall end of universe too. It was also the one point “Legal Reference Section”. If you had any doubt how much needed to be paid to the owner of a slave girl, who you had mistreated, you can readily find the answer. List of Punishments (sometime laugable by today’s moral standards) were provided with clear conditions. It also helped the ones in power, including Kings to keep the masses in check and to provide them with a common purpose and meaning to their life. Above all, it brought in love and hope to the poor, suffering downtrodden masses as it promised something out of thin air – a hunger-free, melodious, peaceful retired after life.
Let us see where these stand now. Science has completely taken over and no one in their right minds believe we have a hell lurking beneath our feet now. We also know that we are not the centre of universe or creation but just another species which evolved from monkeys, living in just one of many planets in one of many star systems in one of many galaxies in our immensely large universe. Nothing revolves around us except just one pathetic moon. We know how rainbows and thunder storms happen. The Governments and Courtrooms have their own reference manuals now and religion has been stripped of all legal status except to take oath, now.
However, there is still one major role that religion plays, though it is clinging for dear life there. That is, giving hope of a better afterlife to millions of people who’s earth life is still miserable as they endure suffering, discrimination and oppression at the hands of the powerful. Even, for well off people, during times of personal grief and stress, religion offers a powerful alternate that can surpass all challenges and go beyond what mere mortals can hope to achieve. It also offers solace (It is definitely a pleasing thought to picture your departed loved ones, beaming with pride near your God as it is to think that those who wronged you on this earth will be brought to justice later, even after death). But time is running out for religion. The day when we overcome all health hazards including death, it will become extremely challenging for religion to stay relevant in its current form. However, if there is one big plus for religions, I think it is the ‘love’ that all religions invariably speak about and propogate and personally, I think if they stick to only that and be a religion without ‘laws’ but with lots of ‘love’, then they could be relevant for a long long time.