Religion, the Opium of Masses

The well-worn clich�© goes- religion is the opium of the masses. How true! Majority of the 6 billion inhabitants on this planet get their ultimate high from religion. They chant and pray, pray and chant, for what? So that God may intercede on their behalf and somehow make their sorrows melt away, their wildest yearnings come true. And if despite all the chanting and praying the sorrows still remain, yearnings still remain unfulfilled, what do they do then? Of course, they chant some more, pray some more. And so on and so forth. The wild dreams, remain just that wild dreams, but the chanting and praying goes on and on, till one day they die, devolving the responsibility of appeasing that forgetful supreme authority called God on the next generationâ�¦

The lynchpin of faiths is the concept of miracle, which must be seen as the driving force behind every religion. Any religion would not be tempting enough to its practitioners unless it could dangle the carrot of a miracle being conjured out of nowhere and improving the circumstances of every devotee. ‘Oh is life too difficult for you to live, just come into the fold of the religious leader, surrender your soul, your mind and your wallet as well- your payment for the shortcut key that opens the portals of a soothing new world where miracles are always round the corner. Even if the miracles never happen, the hope is always there, lingering in the background, like the soothing miasma of opium smoke.’

Before the devotees know it, they have bypassed the usual humdrum of working their way into turning dreams into reality, they can take it easy, let God and his acolytes, the priests, do the work. But God’s watch never keeps pace with our own, so don’t expect a windfall anytime soon, you may have to wait and wait, in most cases the wait stretches forever. The most sordid aspect of this culture of prayers, however, is that if miracles are what make a religion attractive, they do so only at the cost of making a scathing or insulting attack on the very morality of God. Every religion preaches that God made the world. Let us accept that as truth for a moment.

If God made the world he must also have made its laws, not the laws of politics, but the laws of natural science, which control the physical properties of every thing contained in the universe. Now a miracle is something that happens against the laws of natural science. Men cannot walk on water, but if some seer or sage walks across the water, without getting his feet wet, it is a miracle. If a disease gets cured through medical science then it is not miracle, but if the mere touch of any so-called holy man cures it then that is a miracle. But if God has made the laws of nature why should he allow them to be broken to let a seer walk on water, a holy man cure disease by mere touch, or by fulfilling dreams and desires, of every devotee who chants and whines some meaningless hymns.

The concept of miracles is by itself a worst insult heaped on God, and this is a crime of which all religions are guilty of. If God has indeed created the universe and its laws, why should he allow his laws to be broken? And God does not allow any such thing! The universe is a perfect entity; its laws are sacrosanct. If its laws were to be turned upside down in answer to the prayers and whining of every Tom, Dick and Harry, then the universe would collapse upon itself in moments. A great scientist has said, ‘God does not play dice with the universe.’ Succinctly put! If anything, God is not like our parliamentarians who pass new laws in the parliament and then flout the laws themselves, in order to show off their power.

Surely, God does not need to showoff his power by flouting his laws; he would never break the laws that he has himself given birth to. Call it God, or call it nature, the entity governing the universe never breaks its own laws. But if the concept of miracles is a contradiction in its own terms, then the concept of God is even more so. During the middle ages of Christianity, devout apostles would spend years, or even decades debating over the questions evoked from God’s so-called omnipotence.

‘God is omnipotent, so can he build a wall that no one can jump across. Of course he can, he is omnipotent. But as he is omnipotent, he will be able to jump across. And as he is able to jump across, he has failed to create a wall that no one can cross. Meaning- God contradicts his own omnipotence.’ ‘God is omnipotent, so can he dig a sea that no one can swim across. Of course he can, he is omnipotent, but then being omnipotent he should also be able to swim across. Thus God contradicts his own omnipotence.’

The contradictions in the argument can be resolved only if we acknowledge that an omnipotent God is just not possible. But even to think in these terms would have been sacrilegious not to say heretical for the apostles, and so they went on debating for years, decades and centuries, with no hope of ever reaching any solution to the long drawn out conundrum.
Compared to the long history of religions based on the fallacious faith in omnipotent God, who can create miracles for his devotees, the belief in science, logic and reason, to find answers to the mysteries that surround us, is fairly recent. Even the brief interaction with these new concepts, have managed to impart a whole new meaning to atheism. An atheist is no longer a heretic, who should be tied at the stake and burnt alive, he is a man who has chosen not to be herded as God’s sheep, rather he wants to live his own life, on the basis of his mind, his work, and his judgment.

More than a century ago, Nietzsche wrote, ‘man has killed God.’ What he meant was that the advent of science had made devotion to God into a feat impossible to practice. For a scientific man, yes, it is difficult, if not outright impossible to believe in God, but what about the person, who chooses to remain blind to the wealth of evidence around him. Isn’t that how majority of us are? Like ostriches poking their head in the sand, with utmost complacency we blind our self to any reality that confronts our established belief systems and threatens to force us to think.

However, the way civilization is progressing, it is now only a question of time before God is transferred out of the places of worship and packed off to his final resting place- the museum, where works of primitive minds are stored.

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