Organized religions out!  Let in rational humanism?

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Speak up, what do you say?      –     dr.james kottoor (Chicago)     

James kottoorRationalism alone has the substance of permanence, we believe. Hence the adage: “truth is mighty and will prevail.” But what is it that rules the world today?, that ruled the world yesterday? and will rule the world in the foreseeable future? It is any of the following: 1. Might is right belief, 2. Religious fundamentalism or radicalism, 3. Money power or craze for profit.

Might is Right?

Might is right ruled roost when men lived in the jungles or “Bush Era.” Those who want to take a dig at ‘George Bush’ the phrase is used in a double sense. Since  Bush means jungle, they imply, that if Bush had even the semblance of brains of those who live in the 20th century he would not have committed the Hymalayan blunder of destroying Iraq for unearthing the non-existant  ‘weapons of Mass Destruction’. 

What is done is done, let us forget his Himalayan blunder. Today no one believes in ‘Might is right’ principle but still many practice it for short term gains. They are those who take comfort in thinking, they would be proved wrong only after their death. “So let me enjoy and rule now,  have a gala good time and let the deluge come after me,” they reason.

Organized Religious Redicalism?

Organised Religious radicalism is a plague from which no religion in the world has liberated itself totally, even now. That is why we already wrote an article on future of religions: “If no collaboration, goodbye to organized religions”(See CCV, 28/8/17,  ‘Muslim take over of Europe). This is not to say, ‘Religiosity’ will vanish. No, it will not. It becomes poisonous, only when it is used for the benefit or vested interest of the organisers, just as political parties become detestable, when they are used to serve the private interest of organisers. See below what another writer from Delhi, says in his letter to the Hindu:

Think of Crusaders!

Every religion has its extreme violent expression. Recall the crusaders who wanted to kill every one who did not accept Christ, as an infidel.” Crusades have been a fact of history. Was it ever approved by Jesus who, Christians claim founded the Church? Jesus who taught to show the other cheek, never founded any of the thousands of churches, that exist today and fight against each other for prominence. All of them are even ashamed of the crusades now  and so  proclaim publicly that they don’t fight among themselves  and point to their “Ecumenical activities and cooperation on paper” as proof to ‘save their face’ not to ‘save their souls’. 

The hypocrite of a Pharisee praised  himself all the way saying he was the only just one before God unlike all the rest of sinners, far better than even the publican at the far end of the Temple, beating his breast for his unworthiness even to look up to heaven. Of course the unworthy publican went out justified before Jesus. Such is the case with every Christian who claims the church he belongs is better than all other churches.

This is again my strong reason to assert that I cannot in conscience belong to any of the existing organised churches without bearing counter-witness  to Jesus, the last thing I ever want to do. So I am only a distant follower of Jesus – distant because it is a Hymalayan job  to be a close follower – and if I belong to any group it is to the CATTLE CLASS group of Jesus where everyone is trying to take the last, not the first place. If this is the case with Christianity which claims to be the best of all religions what about all other religions, especially the other world religions like Hinduism, Budhism and Islam?

Ecumenical white wash 

Yes ‘Ecumanism’ is only a ‘face savor’, a skin-deep white wash only, because if you ask any of the Church personnel: “Which is the best of all the churches?” he/she will respond: “Of course, the Church I belong!” implying, all others wrong or less good than the one he/she belongs. Here they are caught by the very principles they preach and hang on to: ‘The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican praying in the temple,’ (Luke18:9-14), just to get hanged!

To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus and him alone, not to create a new church better than the existing ones .That is why the Nazaranies, the first Kerala Christians, called themselves Christians but (“Margam koodiyavar) ‘those who joined the path of Jesus,’ and Jesus is the one,  who ‘emptied himself totally’ to start his life in a Cattle shed. Jesus lived that humble simple life with the lowly, lost and forsaken who surrounded him during the three years of his public life. This is what is described by our title: the Cattle Class.

Hinduism

You know what is happening in India where violence, crime, shooting down of dissenters and lynching are carried out by  Holy cow Bhaktas or vigilantes in broad day light  with the patronage of the promoters of Hindusim  to make Bharat, a real Hindustan to counter balance Pakistan. This is done,   especially in BJP ruled states, while the doyens of true  Hinduism go on batting  for unity, universality and brotherhood of peoples and nations. Listen once again to that gem of a Hindu: “I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.” (Vivekananda)

Bhudism

When we come to Bhudists what is happening in Sri.Lanka and Myanmar where Buddhism is the state religion and we see it at its terrorist worst. In Myanmar  it is cruelty  and militant intolerance on a rampage against Rohingya families. Compare it with the closed eyes of a Buddha meditating peace and uttering ‘Om Shanti Shanti Shanti’. Any similarity, even distant, between the founder and followers of Budhism? Read more from the  letter below of Devaki Jain from Delhi.

Where is then room for peace, tolerance, dialogue and reason which should persuade these Budhists led by blind faith in terror? They should instead cool down saying: Faith in religions, especially blind faith, must decrease and pursuit of Reason must be made to increase.

 Islam

Finally what about Islam which means peace, peace all the way and their understanding of the practice of Jihad which is supposed to be a conquest of one’s evil tendencies and not  conquering others. Even when they vociferously assert, all terrorists caught are not Muslims, 90% of them are. Why is the whole world led by President Trump, fighting against ISIS and Muslim state or why the fear of the whole of Europe becoming Muslim  and posing a threat to the rest of the world?

Not targeting any Religion

The thread of argument in this piece, is not against any particular religion and its teachings, but  is against the way  organized  religions make their practitioners function. The whole world speaks gloriously about democracy as the best form of government invented so far, but rail against political parties calling  them as dens of looters and thieves. Enough to analyze the political parties in the two largest democracies of the world. Most of them are corrupt to the core even when they affirm politics to be the best place where a person with idealism and commitment can do maximum good to the maximum number of people.

Similarly all religions are good and beautiful as they emerge from the mouth of their founders – Jesus, Buddha, Hindu sages and Gurus like Vivekananda or Muhammad — but become bad and revolting in the hands of the organizers and practitioners of these religions. This is what forces us to say that days of organized religions are over, a post-religious world is knocking at our doorsIts name is Rational humane humanism. For us it is modeled on the historical Son of Man, his humane humanity for all times, places and peoples. Its style of functioning for us, is that of the CATTLE CLASS where every one rushes to take the last place and serves the ones most in need first!  james kottoor, editor ccv.

Please read  below 2 letters to Editor in the Hindu Being a rationalist


K. Natarajan, Madurai, Letter to Editor in  The Hindu, Sept.14,2017

UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 00:59 IST

As a nation we have been pandering to religious sentiments for too long. Right from the days of Partition, the various riots, the demolition of the Babri Majid, the Gujarat riots and beyond, the trail of violence and loss of lives and properties caused as a result of religion is too large to document.

Even the father of the nation was eliminated by religious fanatics. Religious bigotry did not spare artist M.F. Husain who was forced to seek asylum. Rationalist Sanal Edamaruku is in self-imposed exile after his criticism of a miracle. Salman Rushdie had to be in hiding for several years. There has been the physical elimination of intellectuals such as Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.

The ‘graded inequality’ among people of the same religion imposed by the caste system — and despite legislation banning it — continues to inflict unspeakable misery on a significant section of the people to this day.

It is shocking that a Central Minister implies that students should accept god without critical examination. Non-believers are dubbed as being immoral or evil. It is time that we started exposing our children to rationalism so that they can evaluate its merits and choose for themselves what to believe in. ‘Forget god, consider man’ is good advice as humanism is the only way which will take mankind towards peace and progress. (K. Natarajan)


On  Religious Intolerance

Devaki Jain, New Delh, in The Hindu, Sep.14, 2017

UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 01:00 IST

Every religion has its extreme violent expression. Recall the crusaders who wanted to kill every one who did not accept Christ, as an infidel.

We have seen it in other widespread religions whether it is Islam, with the new Islamists called the Islamic State ISIS and Hindus. But what seems so incongruous and striking and tragic is that this intolerance has expressed itself in violence., cruelty of the worst kind amongst the Buddhists. This seems unimaginable when we visualise or when we bring to our minds the Buddha. It is all Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. Eyes closed, meditating, Peace. And yet Buddhists have turned out to be some of the most viciously violent communities.

Recall Sri Lanka. Buddhists were on a rampage against Muslims and then of course the Tamils and even now continue to hold the state at bay.Now we see its expression in Myanmar. It is difficult to imagine that Buddhists are now not only killing but also enabling the exodus of Rohingya families — children women and aged are running across dangerously. I ask myself this: What would the Buddha have thought of these followers? Intolerance is one thing but terrorising others is another.

I am devoted to the Dalai Lama. He is an extraordinary human being who holds his spirituality at his finger tips — so genial, so unfussy. A ‘Man of the People’ as they would say.

I went to Dharamsala some years ago as his guest and went through all the expressions of Buddhism. There is a sense in which the best of Buddhism, peace and humanitarianism, is tangible. All these are rare spaces where Buddhism is not part of the government religion. But in the case of both Sri Lanka and now in Myanmar, Buddhism is the state religion and we see Buddhism at its terrorist worst. It is cruelty apart from intolerance and it is almost militant intolerance.

I cannot help thinking how this large population of monks could be at peace when they are preying upon minorities — persons from other religions. How does one shame them! How does one tell them that this is not Buddhism?

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  1. almayasabdam says:

    Vrghese Pamplanil writes: Sir, Thank you Dr. Kottoor for your perceptive article titled “Organised religions out! Let in rational humanism? and the highlighted caption “ Organised religion is a sham and a crutch for weak minded people who need strength in numbers.” The letter to the Editor of the Hindu by K. Natarajan hits the bull’s  eye.

    My study of the bible has revealed that it’s compilers have put innumerable words  into the mouth of Jesus’, his own sayings being limited as few as a dozen. That may be the reason for the book  containing so many contradictions and dichotomies. If  one  reads it horizontally, the incongruous stare at one’s face. The messages of Jesus, Buddha etc were turned on their heads to become diametrically opposite of what they really meant. These prophets have been deified so to make their messages “divine commands”  and absolute truths. At least in Christianity, the priest-hood’s diktats were enforced with extreme violence.

    Organised religions, even today increase their hold by material inducements, false propaganda, catching the young in their infancy and other questionable means. Once ensnared, virtually there is no escape. The poison  is passed on from one generation to another unhindered mostly by uneducated and unenlightened mothers.

    At least in Europe where humanistic secularism is gradually taking hold, organised religions are  on the retreat. Bemourn the fate of the people of India that is Bharath.

    Varghese, Austin, Texas

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