Wednesday, August 17, 2022

When Spirituality Gets Hardened Into Religiosity

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 17 August 2022 “Spirituality is a simple thought. When this thought gets hardened into religiosity, it becomes a religion and every religion is an inveterate ideology. The degeneration of a thought into an ideology, esp. a religious ideology, is the tragedy of mankind because when you entertain an ideology, you think it to be the best and all others being subservient to it. " -Turkish poet and thinker Nazim Hikmet When some ignorant readers criticise me for condemning all religions and gods, I just tell them that I don't want to carry unnecessary burden of an ideology because any ideology, however exalted it may seem or sound, is a specialized prejudice. We tend to judge people through the prism of our religious ideology and that wreaks havoc. I left all faiths and ideologies and dispensed with my father's Hinduism (my mother had no religion; an exceedingly rare phenomenon for a woman to have no faith) because had I remained a Hindu, I'd have subconsciously and unwittingly judged other religions with respect to my Hinduism. Somewhere, I'd have believed that my Hinduism was the best. I'd not have been able to study other religions dispassionately. I, therefore, dumped all in the dustbin of time and history. With ideologies come judgements and judgements cloud our perceptions. Your nationality, religion, sect and all those frills are fixed ideas or ideologies that you carry the way Sindbad the sailor carried the old man on his shoulders. They become so intrinsic and integral to your existence that if you ever try to get them off, they refuse to relent just like that old man, perched on Sindbad's shoulders like a dead albatross. Samuel P Huntington's ' The Clash of Civilizations and the Making of World Order, ' warns us of this Ideological Troglodytism mankind is afflicted with since the beginning of human civilization. Noam Chomsky also believes that humans are still unable to shed their feral past when our ancestors started living in herds and the lowest denominators of survival were their most rudimentary beliefs that brought them together. Those primitive beliefs graduated to becoming ideas and ideas hard boned themselves into today's host of ideologies for which humans are killing each other like beasts. You've the worst ideology of religion and god. Together, they've become a scourge of mankind. You're killing and antagonising people just because their (religious) ideology is different from yours. What a prehistoric notion! Until we all drop our outdated beliefs and remain holed up in the matchboxes of our futile ideologies like religion, nation, province etc., we shall not be able to rise and call ourselves to be completely free individuals. But for the ill-evolved and god-terrified humans, there's still a watered down solution: Continue to believe in a Supreme Being or a Transcendental Reality without the 'help' of any man-made religion and its otiose scripture. Don't give a name to this so-called divine power. Don't call it a god or Allah or Bhagwan. Just believe in it and don't tie yourself to the apron-strings of any religion, sect or 'holy' book. But then, you need to evolve considerably. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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