PRACTICISING HUMAN RELIGION FOR HARMONY AND PEACE ON EARTH
The God dwells in the heart of every human being. The religion is a component of human culture. During the past 100,000 years it has been serving as a survival tool and technique for many human groups. Our hunter-gatherer primitive ancestors were able to win their way to civilization after they learnt to cultivate, ending their nomadic life.
In those ancient times our ancestors felt the need to have a common code of conduct for uniting and disciplining people. They conceived and nurtured the concepts of religion and politics. The concept of religion was then quite uncomplicated. It was our ancestors’ recognition of some higher and unseen power as having control of their destiny. Religion became an integral part of the civilization where it grew.
It was a bonding factor for uniting people. Unity was an essential ingredient for making a civilization cohesive, strong and progressive. The ultimate objective of religion is to improve the quality of life of human beings.
Human religion is very close to ideal religion. An ideal religion not only incorporates religious aspects but also an overall progress of various social, personal, moral and political issues. Human religion can be interpreted as an effective and enduring medium for comprehensive development of human beings and, thereby, of the society. This all-round development should be in the spheres of personality development, social enlistment, national and international harmony. An ideal religion encapsulates the following aspects –
• Character development
• Understanding social obligations like helping needy , respecting laws
• Awareness of one’s national integration and working for national growth
• Concern about international harmony
• Concern about protecting our environment
• Respecting all religions equally
The diversity of religions in the world has been a fact throughout the entire history of all the world's major living religious traditions. Religious beliefs vary in terms of their origin, tradition, mode of practice and rituals. But these religions often share similarities as far as their basics about the phenomenon of God and ethical principles are concerned. Many religions also share similarities in the performance of rituals and other religious practices.
All religions produce a kind of elementary religious chauvinism because of universal human weaknesses. However, only the monotheisms raise this homegrown psychological hostility to diversity into a theological principle. It is very tempting for one who believes that one universal deity created and controls the entire cosmos to assume that this deity wants only one religion to be practiced by all humans.
There is a diversity of beliefs and religions but all religions teach us to practice –
• Religious tolerance, which means to respect people of all religions, even though we may disagree with their beliefs and/or practices. We should carry out our beliefs without any kind of prejudice or discrimination.
• Religious freedom, which means to have the right to believe, worship according to one’s own will; to change one’s beliefs or religion. Religion should never be used as an excuse to wage war.
• Religious help: It should be rendered to maintain compatibility among various religious groups.
Even though religious and secular ethics do not derive their authority from the same source, all religions preach and promote good ethics, good human conduct in the luminosity of good moral principles. Every religion endorses goodness, forgiveness, faithfulness, benevolence, friendliness, generosity, goodwill, honesty, kindness, mercy, righteousness and humility. Following are some ethical principles that every religion asks their believers to practice –
• Benevolence: help those in need.
• Honesty: do not deceive others.
• Rights: acknowledge a person’s rights to life, freedom, and pursuit of happiness, information, privacy, free expression and safety.
• Harmlessness: do not harm others.
• Lawfulness: do not violate the law.
• Justice: acknowledge a person’s right to follow due process, fair compensation for harm done, and fair distribution of benefits, fair payments for the job.
• Autonomy: acknowledge a person’s freedom over his/her physical or spiritual actions or physical body.
FUNDAMENTALISM IN RELIGION
Root of problem in today’s world is fundamentalism in religion. There are religions which assume that they are superior. Fundamentalists believe that they are fighting for the very survival of their Faith. They kill innocent people in the name of faith and God. But it is not understand why people join fundamentalist movements and embrace a set of beliefs, values and norms of behavior that are counter-cultural.
Fundamentalism is neither new nor limited to any particular religion or culture. It existed in various forms but it was milder, less violent, and it took a long time to flare up in its present form. The Middle East, for example, is a vast area and was known for its rich culture, warm hospitality and assorted traditions. It is the birthplace of many civilizations and major religions of the world. However, many of its regions have been lately suffering and caught up in vicious and destructive activities that are killing its people, destroying its assets and damaging its rich cultural heritage. The horrifying implication is that the people of the Middle East are the primary victims of this holocaust. Fanatical religious fundamentalism is a threat to civil society and is having devastating effects on social, political and economic life of all countries. Hardly we find a country which is not affected by Terrorism which is mostly linked to religion in one or other firm .
Human Religion can combat fundamentalism
Religious and political leaders should emphasize that their Ethic of Reciprocity applies to persons of all religions, not just for fellow believers. In addition, they need to stress the importance of –
• Treating followers of other religions with respect
• Religious leaders and followers need to speak out forcefully, when they see other people’s religious freedom being oppressed, whether the victims are from their own faith group, their own religion, another religion, or from a secular group.
• Religious leaders and followers need to engage in more inter-faith and peace promoting activities with non-believers and secularists.
• Until the religions of the world realize that in history religion was the main cause of hatred, strife, and genocide, the slaughters will continue unabated.
The fundamental idea rooted in Human Religion is that mankind is the godhead to be worshipped and served by man. Consequently, the progress, the betterment, the well being of the human being and human life are the chief duty and the chief aim of the human spirit. Everything else should be secondary to the humanity. Human Religion views all men equally irrespective of creed, caste, religion, ethnicity, nationality, status, and political and social advancement.
The basis of Human Religion is not conversion one faith to another, but the acceptance of every religion as the path to the same ultimate Truth. Every religion is different from its counterpart in terms of the way it advocates in order to achieve the ultimate Truth. But undoubtedly the essentials of all the religion are the same. Christianity says love your neighbor, have faith in God, be good, be moral. All the other religions whether it is Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism preach the same thing. All the other religions believe the concept of oneness of God. All these could become the factors for uniting all religions. Nobody can be God. God is one. And religion is also one. If God is one, then how religion can be different?
How does it matter whether you are a Hindu or Muslim, a Sikh or a Christian? What is necessary is to believe in your faith, love, compassion and prayer. The facts of stating one’s religion, denomination, creed etc are of extreme unimportance. God does value age, race, color of the skin, religion and denomination. We all constitute one race, the human race, and we should all plan for a global unity. Regardless of our religious beliefs the forces govern us. Everybody can have his or her own belief system but we must agree that we do not understand everything and no religion is absolutely correct and no religion is wrong or irrelevant.
Religions have made both positive and negative contributions toward the development of civilization. Although religious organizations have built educational institutions and hospitals and, at their best, have encouraged the spirit of love and charity, many of them have also caused human suffering by being intolerant of those who did not accept their dogmas or creeds. Unfortunately, some misguided religious organizations have been fanatical and repressive, narrowing human hopes, limiting aspirations, and spreading religious conflicts and violence. The narrow interpretation of religion creates hate between people instead of uniting them. When interpreted correctly and practiced seriously, every religion can become a cohesive force to focus the best energy and potential of humanity, utilizing the sense of shared strength among its followers.
According to the above discussions, religious fundamentalism is intertwined with many different motives and can be a serious source of intolerance and conflict. This is, of course, not to argue that religion itself has no positive functions at all. In fact, a well-interpreted religion can foster inner peace, tolerance, and love, feeding, thus outer peace and social harmony in their broader sense. In the final analysis, religion is a dual-sided sword. How it is interpreted depends on
human mind as well as social conditions. It has been addressed that the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism could involve both value and interest driven motives. It can be a
reflection of subjective beliefs. It can be a vehicle of expressing accumulated frustration, and it can be a utilitarian activity aimed at certain changes for the better order. Failure to understand such complexity and crucial role of a single factor like ‘ism’, may lead to a great threat in the new century.
EPI CENTRE OF ALL RELIGION IS SUPREME GOD
All regions owe their allegiance to some God or the other, even though many are unable to define the term ‘God’. But it should not be difficult for anybody to understand the oneness of God. This concept is rather simple and uncomplicated.. When one examines the concept of Unity in depth, the entire world of religion seems to revolve around this pivotal point. The religion that God has assigned to sect is not different from the religion that the same God gave to other sects in different languages to different communities in different parts of the world. Whenever one religion claims to be the one and only path to God and condemns other paths, remember that any person of any religion can claim the same. Moreover, every religion claims that their God alone created this world. Unfortunately, this world is only one and different Gods cannot create the same world.
HUMAN RELIGION KEY TO WORLD PEACE
Human Religion can be discussed from many angles, but the absolute and immediate importance of religion lies in its emphasis on morality. Human Religion endorses that both moral and spiritual values can be practiced irrespective of whether one believes in one religion or another or whether one does not believe in religion. Both morality and spirituality can be independent of rituals and ceremonies and of any acts specifically prescribed by any particular religion. And both of them are independent of any authority except that of one’s own free judgment and direct spiritual experience. Human Religion can be regarded as one ordered system of moral values. Moral values that we look for in the moral sphere are those of truthfulness, sincerely, obedience, selflessness, self-control etc. Truth and righteousness will always protect everyone and the youth of today should have these virtues as the object of life. Moreover Human Religion is a safeguard for human rights.
REFORMS IN RELIGION
There are many religions promoting oneness.
Let all religious heads follow and teach following to their community.
1. No Religion is superior to others.
2. Learn to respect others religion.
3. God is one and same for all religion. The form of god changes as per geographical location as there is change in culture and language from one geographical location to another.
4 The Community should boycott and maintain a distance from any religious Head which teaches hatred and superiority to other religions.
5 The school curriculum should be modified to include above teachings.
6 Cash in religious donations should be banned in all places of worship. Beggars should not be allowed to roam near temples.
7 The agents of performing rituals should not be allowed to work.
The ostentatious convention of taking out religious processions on roads should be banned.
It serves no purpose for any mankind. Such Processions are going on since last 100 years or more. The Processions were done in past to get publicity as there were no fast means of communication.
But the world has changed and we have faster made of transportation, TV media and so on.
The Procession blocks traffic, cause Pollution and waste of man hours.
In place of procession, one can use media to highlight religious events.