Monday, December 1, 2014

Genuine Religion



The season of Advent has begun for Christians who will be celebrating the birth of Jesus 25 days from now.  These 25 days are supposed to be a season of abstinence from certain foods and drinks so that the believer prepares himself spiritually for Christmas.  Religion has no significance unless it makes one a better person and the practices like abstinence are meant to help one in the process of self-renewal.  But can a set of practices or some rituals make anyone a better person?  They can help.  But Jesus was explicit in saying that religion is not a matter of rituals or regulations.  Religion is an attitude of love and compassion.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the best in the Bible.  A wayfarer was beaten up by thieves, stolen of all his possessions including his clothes, and was left “half dead” on the roadside.  A priest came along but went away doing nothing to help the dying man.  Then can a Levite.  A Levite is a semi-priest in Judaism.  He too refused to help the victim.  The third person to come was a Samaritan.  The Samaritans were religious converts and were held in contempt by orthodox Jews during the time of Jesus.  


The Samaritan in Jesus’ parable went to the wounded man, treated him with whatever medication he had with him, took him to an inn and looked after him.   The priest and the semi-priest were not religious, according to Jesus.  Religion is not the uniform of the priest, or finding one’s residence in an ashram or presbytery.  Religion is not recitation of prayers or performance of rituals.  Religion is love and compassion.   That’s basic message of Christmas, of any religion. 

12 comments:

  1. I wish all religious leaders, especially the fake ones got this message right. In which case, we wouldn't have to spend 27 crores to arrest the so-called self-styled Godman! And put up with so much hatred, greed and lust in this world!

    I wish...!

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    1. Unfortunately, the situation in India is going to be vitiated further by certain sections who think they have the support of the Union govt.

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  2. I think religion is an internal choice of being of service to others,we go overboard with everything..Nice article

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    1. Religion is an attitude, a set of values and principles, a mental framework, a worldview... define it as you like, but without good actions it is all useless.

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  3. I swear. In any religion for that matter.
    It's weird that people think that one is 'good' when he or she is into fasts and regularly attending prayers even though they are doing badly in the 'consideration for others' department.

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    1. Precisely. That's all that I'm saying too :)

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  4. So right - Religion is an attitude of love and compassion.

    Thanks for sharing the story, it kinda reinforces goodness.

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    1. December makes me feel a bit nostalgic for Christmas. This Christmas I will be in Kerala enjoying quite a different atmosphere, after a long, long time.

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  5. Actually ordinary mortals create the rituals of a particular religion for the mob. They don't love anyone but themselves. They have many masks to express goodness. They use religion for the same purpose. Religion is only an illusion. It will never die. Thinkers will keep questioning it. Keep questioning it. Keep....

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    1. Ordinary mortals make all the difference. I won't question you on that. Illusions are necessary, I won't question again. But you want me to keep questioning and I will. There are so many things to question :)

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  6. Sir, may I know, on what you want to question me ultimately? ...:)

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    1. Not you, not at all. I want to question my PM, his party, and so on.

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