Relevance of Religion Today


Has religion become obsolete?

Religion is the equation between God and man. Those who appreciate this concept have no difficulty in relating man’s existence to the will of God. For them, religion is an integral part of their lives, and they can never imagine a civilized existence that is not tempered by religion. As far as they are concerned, religion is not only not obsolete today, but also it can never become so, even in the future. Whatever trials, tribulations, and doubts they come across in their lives, they hope to find suitable solutions and answers in the corpus of religious teachings itself. They easily gain the much-sought-after peace of mind by simply following the religious tenets and organizing their activities in consonance with them. No problem is too big for them to solve, as long as they moor their faith in their religion. For them, life without religion is sheer chaos, where sanity and serenity can be restored only with the aid of religious rituals.

Life itself starts only with religious overtones.

Even in the matter of naming our children, we seek the help of our religion only. We don’t name our children with any imaginary, meaningless names. Instead, we select charming religious names with deep philosophical intent. The belief is that such children ultimately grow up with those desirable qualities usually associated with the original name-bearers. At times negative impact could also result in the selection of wrong names. The classical recent evidence is the case of the only Pakistani terrorist captured alive in the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India where more than 200 innocent persons were killed by the terrorists. The name of the captured terrorist is Kasab which in Urdu means butcher. What a terrible coincidence!

In organizing our daily chores also, we usually follow religious instructions, as in the case of daily prayers, food habits, interacting with fellow human beings, marriage practices and death ceremonies. Imagine how bland these activities would be without religious overtones. Can you have computer-generated names for our children without any religious connections or arrange funeral services purely in a scientific and secular manner?

The atheists might argue, that after all religion is man-made and so is fallible. We need not to rely too much on religion to guide us in anything and everything. Science is making fast strides in almost all areas and offering answers and solutions to almost every problem that one comes across these days. So it is only reasonable that we discard meaningless rituals and superstitious practices mostly propped up by religious beliefs, and instead order our lives more on rational principles.

However, they must realize that in spite of the spectacular strides that Science has made in material and biological fields, it is still only a poor second to religion in properly organizing an individual’s life so that the society can thrive on strong fundamentals. Such a society naturally promotes religious principles among its members. That’s how religions have come to play such intimate roles in individuals’ lives. That some of these religious practices border on superstitions and harmful rituals only point to the necessity of understanding religion in its true perspective to safeguard ourselves from going astray. Exceptions do not invalidate the main argument. It cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be a valid argument to jettison religion altogether on this count. It would be just as unwise as discarding a whole ship simply because there is just a hole or two in it. No sensible person would buy that argument.

Life is an existence full of problems and challenges.

If one cannot find suitable solutions to his problems, he ends up with a totally miserable existence. This is where religion has been of immense help and assistance to mankind. It does not offer solutions to all problems. Nevertheless, it offers a promise for man’s proper evolution so that his life always remains meaningful, in spite of a spate of problems. To pull out such a valuable plank of stability from under a man’s feet is to do a great disservice to him. Sensible people have stubbornly resisted such temptations, while weaklings who do not have such deep acquaintance with the nuances of religious values have fallen prey to such distortions. So it is on very stable grounds that I can assert that religion today is as relevant as, if not more relevant than, how it was in the past, because it has delivered invaluable service to mankind and is capable of such service in the future, too. So religion is not obsolete today; nor can it become so in the future too. I mean true religious principles.

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