My son, a strapping young Gen Y, a well read individual with strong convictions said to me – ‘amma, religion is an outdated concept and really needs to go.’ When I asked him why he said that, his response was – ‘well maybe people of the past needed the guidance of religion to help them define their moral code. I don’t need it. The set of morals that I follow are not really drawn from religion but my experiences in life’.
He then asked me – ‘what do you think amma?’ I said I agreed with him. I believe that religion is unnecessary in this day and age. Religion is divisive and creates more evil than good. The terrorism and tension world over can be attributed largely to religion. What good is it when people kill in the name of religion? I don’t think I would have an issue if my children were non-religious but good human beings. Although I admit that I would like them to be spiritual, I’d prefer for them to be more moral and less spiritual if these two values had to be mutually exclusive!
Despite feeling so strongly about it, I confess I like the idea of religion. I feel the ‘presence’ in most places of worship – whether it is the Lotus temple of Baha’i faith or the Notre Dame cathedral or the Chidambaram temple. I like the little practices associated with each religion – the festivals, the celebrations, the colour and the pomp that defines the celebrations. For me life would just not be the same without Navarathri – for me, a festival that involves doing arty things, socialising and dancing garba and dandiya. It is the one time of the year that I look forward to every year. Though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I love the festive atmosphere during the Christmas season. I love Holi, I love Deepavali. I am not sure if I am ready to live in a world without religion if all these festivals will be taken away from my life. How boring and drab would life become!!
I say the same about castes. I abhor the caste system and really don’t believe in its relevance at any point let alone today, but there is so much beauty in the traditions of each caste. It is almost like a tribal tradition, that’s all it is but it is so beautiful. Much as I hate what the caste system has done to society, I do love the traditions of a Brahmin wedding – kaasi yatrai, oonjal, kanyadhanam and sapthapathi. How boring would a wedding be without these little rituals!
In principle I do agree with the concept of a society free of religion but not at the loss of the fun bits associated with religion!! Why can’t everything be in moderation??!!