Jawaharlal Nehru gave India a slightly different version of secularism from what the west practises. Nehru’s secularism not only dissociated politics from religion but also gave full freedom to all religions. In other words, while the west sought to discredit religion altogether, Nehru accepted religions and let them be. But religion should not be a matter of any importance for the government as long as it does not pose any threat to peace, to law and order.
Nehru was not a believer. He was of the opinion that religion prevented the intellect from developing. The religious approach is dogmatic and authoritative. Such approach will breed superstition, bigotry and intolerance. That was Nehru’s view. But he also knew that the majority of Indians would not understand his enlightened view. So he let religions be.
Religion is an infantile need, as psychologist Freud said. Like children needing the constant care of parents, the religious believer seeks god’s protection all the time. The believer refuses to grow up.
To some extent, religion may help people to avoid egoism and cultivate certain virtues. However, religion is not essential for anyone to cultivate any virtue. You can be good if you realise the simple truth that goodness is better than evil. I guess one doesn’t need much brain to understand that. Try spreading goodness around and see the difference, if you still don’t understand. There’s no need of any god for you to be good. Goodness is your choice. Evil is your choice too.
Anyway, with all these religions around the world hasn’t become any better a place to live in. On the contrary, religions seem to make the world a worse place. Look at what is happening in India these days. Just imagine if those two guys who have created a gigantic mess in India now were secular. If they were, probably India would have been the best nation by now.
I have seen good people who are religious too. But I have always felt that they would be good without religion too. Goodness is their choice. God is just a convenient addition.