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Why do good to others?




Courtesy: polyp.org.uk
“Most people would rather die than think and most people do,” said Bertrand Russell in his characteristic witty way.  Professor of Philosophy and author of many books, A C Grayling, is of the opinion that religion has continued to survive even in today’s scientific world because people don’t want to think.  They would rather accept readymade answers given by religion.  God is the ultimate readymade answer for a whole lot of problems.  And a very easy answer too.

If we really think and evolve our own moral systems instead of borrowing them from religion, we will be far better human beings, says Grayling in his latest book, The God Argument.  If we think sensibly (common sense would do if we cared to use that faculty), we will realise that we all have a duty to contribute to the welfare of the entire human species.  The simple logic is that when the species is “flourishing” (Grayling’s word) we too flourish. 

When we ignore the welfare of the other members of the species, we indirectly inviting problems for ourselves.  For example, when we allow others to be victims of injustice or other such maladies of any social system (though not created by us), the victims of such a malady may eventually become a problem for us too – “in the way of crime, revolution, conflict or breakdown of the social order.”  Maoism in India, for instance, is largely a product of an unjust socio-economic system.

If every one of us thinks with what Albert Camus (philosopher and Nobel laureate novelist) called “intellectual honesty”, religion will be redundant and there will be much, much less evil in the world.  But I’m left wondering which is at a greater premium: intellect or honesty?

Comments

  1. That's right.
    Religion was introduced in a much worse time where there was no recourse but to look up at a higher power and blame things on that power.
    But today, the species has evolved enough to think and solve problems on its own. As a result, religion now serves another purpose - that of dividing people, that of oppressing people, that of suppressing the potential of the human race as a whole.

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    1. Why don't people fail to realise that fact, Brendan? The enormous lot of atrocities committed in the name of religion, for the sake of Gods who never seem to care the least, and all the other evils related to religions should be enough to make people SEE!

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  2. A religion is flawed only because a man is flawed ! nicely put up

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    1. I agree with you for me Religion is not required at all...And I have a post written on it..Now-a-days we all use religion for our benefits..I always say Humans Created Religion and not the other Way Round...
      If you have time read this one -- http://allresourceupdates.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/religion-what-it-is-and-what-we-think/

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    2. I'll definitely read the post. I support your effort to bring more sense to fellow inhabitants of the planet.

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  3. Loved the post and I'm in sync with what Grayling said...it's high time we better our moral values instead of turning things around in the name of religion!
    Intellect to at least be honest with oneself, I think that would be the greatest premium.

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    1. Being honest to oneself - yes, Aditi, that's just where to start. thanks.

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  4. The habit of religion is an easy way out of personalthought - Peter Ustinov.

    RE

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    1. Thanks, Raghuram, for adding another quote that resonates with Russell's words.

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  5. You say it right. In this modern world with such immense technological development, there is no requirement of religion. Unfortunately people don't accept this simple fact and so there is an existence of unjust socio-economic system!

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    1. We can all try together to get rid of this menace called religion. See how many people in this space think alike!

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  6. Sir.. lets be truly secular .. no caste..no states..no religion .. only One identity Indian ... give 50 years .. the founder of the concept will be considered God .. the Secularism will be a religion .. and things will again become the same :) Human tendency is to react only in adversities ..after all we are animals who can think .. categorization is in us and looking for a leader whom we dare not question and be sure we he takes us will be right ..
    hahha I feel , God made us this way .. Himself.. I dont find any reason why we are born and die .. :D pure baseless.. What fun did God get by making the entire universe :D I think there is no point .. he gives us problems solutions .. an imperfect world .. a good accompanied by bad .. so that they die fighting .. hahhaha the more I have started knowing Him ,I feel, there is no reason we are born .. and when we die .. there is no hell or heaven ..The more I believe Him .. He gives bigger reasons to believe there is No Super Power at all :D

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    1. Dear Jack, thanks for that outpouring. There is no God. As Sartre would say, 'see the hole in the door, that is God; see the emptiness in the sky, that is God...' But ordinary people don't like holes and emptiness, so they fill it with God.

      God is an illusion, a delusion. chosen by man.

      Life has no purpose other than given by each one of us. Death is the end just as the sperm and the ovum meeting (accidentally, shall I say) was the beginning. Human beings are no more special species on the earth than are the grass and the worms. In fact, the grass and the worms would not have destroyed the planet as we did. They deserve this planet more than us! ...

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  7. I so truly agree with you! These days religion is nothing but a set of scriptures that were written in ancient times to help ancient people. And till date, even though irrelevant, we continue to follow those in the name of religion while ignoring the actual virtues that religion teaches.
    I dont think religion is bad, for it provides many good philosophies as well, which, if followed, can do us immense good and progress but unfortunately, today individuals dont follow religions, they follow gurus, who often manipulate religion to their own interest.

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    1. Religion is a business, Rajrupa. Gurus and god-men/women are entrepreneurs.

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  8. It doesn't have to be that way. We, as humans, as the most advanced species to inhabit earth, do need to let go of the least resistance path of nature and pursue reason. Religion has evolved from practices, which held relevance to the times that they originated. But just like you said, a malady for someone else might soon become a plague for the society, a thing that works in one age might be disastrous for the next, or maybe for the seventh generation in the future. Religion needs revision, constant revision, like we revise scientific texts.
    God as I see Him, is a centrepiece of humility, something we acknowledge as a grand scheme far beyond our comprehension. Accepting God allows us to say it is not me, but His grace, we learn how to be grateful and it humbles us. The universe humbles us. We're dwarves.
    But the sad part is, we don't follow religion either, we follow charlatans of religion, impressed by their glib talking and we seldom stop to question why, or how.

    Regards,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Religion never revises itself. It always follows the age-old scriptures and believes them to be the ultimate truth. Religion worships fossils and ossified notions. Religion is death. Religion should be eliminated if the human species is to be saved.

      Charlatans are all that's left in religion. They carry poison in their hearts and smiles on their faces besides rules on their tongues.

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    2. Religion is made by men, and men only can reform it. What Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswati, Vivekananda and other reformists achieved was nothing less that a revision.
      But first, we've to unshackle ourselves from this notion that Religion cannot be revised, otherwise it never will.

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  9. Religion was made for good of mankind, but now it is being used as an evil

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    1. Wasn't it used for evil purposes most of the time? Look at what our ancestors did to the low caste people. Look at what the Catholic priests and their bishops and cardinals did to the laity. Look at what the imams and mullahs did to the ordinary Muslims...

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  10. The world would be much better place when people would become free from the burden of God & Religion!
    Regards,
    Jahid
    Flashbacks

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    1. "burden of God & Religion" - exactly. Why not throw it away and be free?

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  11. I think the basic essence is for all of us to be free of any shackles, whatever holds us away from doing good. Reminds me of one of my favourite songs from John Lenon - Imagine.

    And if I may add, another powerful poetry from Rabindra Nath Tagore-Where the mind is without fear.

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    1. It's nice, Ranjana, you've added John Lennon and Tagore to this short blog. Yes, Lennon, Tagore and so many good people strove to wield mankind away from stupid rituals. I'm reminded of Tagore's poem which asks the reader to leave the chanting and singing of absurd Vedic shlokas and go to the fields and such places where god will be found in the sweat of the labourer.

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  12. Great writing and lively discussions.
    For me religion is a set of blinkers which I use so that I can tell myself 'oh, really? I didn't know it!'....all the while being aware of the facts... so that I can absolve myself of any responsibility for my selfwill, nonchalance and lethargy. Jo hoga hoga, kya farak padta hai .....
    Being part of a religion is like playing a game...keeps you occupied... and you get some goodies on the way!

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    1. Thanks, Dom, for such a candid comment. Jo hua achcha hua, jo ho raha hai achcha ho raha hai, aur jo hoga achcha hoga... Lord Krishna told Arjuna in the game filed of Kurukshetra. Arjuna did get his goodies!

      I'd rather be occupied with more meaningful activities. A person who wields certain authority over me accuses me relentlessly of being unfit to be a teacher because I engage in meaningful activities. He wants me to be waste my time in futile exercises designed by him: he's a very religious person.

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  13. I guess honesty. Intellect is always there but most of the times it's used to gain power and wealth. If everybody started practicing honesty, I wonder would we even need law enforcement divisions?

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    1. If all people were honest, the earth would be a paradise. What I meant by the question is: which is more rare - honesty or intellect? Even intellect is not as common as we think. At least, people don't make use of it - except for the purposes you mention.

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    2. Tomichan, I understood your question and that's why my answer was honesty :) It's my observation that out of 100 people, you will be able to find around 10 intelligent people but if you are looking for honest people from this group, you might get 1 if you are lucky :)

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  14. Artificial intelligence is swiftly taking the place of common sense. Soon, we will have a surplus population of zombies

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  15. Why we all have Gods
    that’ll die
    if we who believe in them
    don’t survive
    is another WHY
    that, mostly unasked,
    went by
    by her ancestors and mine...

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