Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Other Side of Compassion

 


One of the mysteries that has baffled me again and again, like a cancerous pain, is the cosy coexistence of religions and cruelty. All kinds of cruelties were imposed on fellow human beings in the name of gods ever since religions were born. We did it in ancient India. They did it in all ancient civilisations.

Compassion is the very root of Christianity’s theology. Yet no religion was as ruthlessly cruel as that for centuries in the medieval period. Islam has continued that ruthlessness, which Christianity gave up a few centuries ago, up to this day. Hinduism, under Mr Modi’s charismatic leadership, seems to be all set to take up the same tradition now – with a slight difference: Mr Modi’s acolytes have changing tastes. Young girls seem to be the favoured targets these days. Lynching in the name of cows was in vogue till the other day. Perhaps, the fad may change again soon since fads don’t have much longevity even with divine sanctions.

Why are our gods such dismal failures? There are numerous possible answers. I would like to focus on one, however. Our religions have got certain fundamental aspects wrong. Compassion for fellow creatures is one such aspect.

Religions teach compassion for all possibly wrong reasons. They teach us things like all creatures are divine sparks and hence the other is no less divine as I am. I am taught to respect the divinity in the other person. Just imagine the nine-year-old girl being asked to see the spark of divinity in her eleven rapists! Imagine a Karel Hasler or Otto Wallburg being told to appreciate the divine spark in Hitler. I wonder how many victims of the Gujarat riots of 2002 would be able to stand in reverence before the Modi idol in that Rajkot temple dedicated to him.

Nah, it is rather cruel if not pernicious to teach that sort of compassion to people just because we live in a world where the wicked flourish and the innocent perish. Gods are good moral tales but bad life skills. That’s why they fail inevitably. Show me one god who has succeeded in making the human affairs an iota better.

Religions should change their teachings. Instead of teaching divine sparks and all that stuff, teach rational compassion. Teach people why compassion is a better choice than anything else. Teach people to choose goodness because that is the only reasonable choice they really have. Everything else creates hells and hells aren’t quite comfortable places to live in. We deserve better. We can get a better world. That better world is our choice, our creation, our own heaven.

Our dream, rather.

PS. This blog is participating in the #MyFriendAlexa campaign of Blogchatter.

 

 

22 comments:

  1. Well said Sir, No religion, no preach, no worship, no admiration matter if we fail to understand humanity, if we fail to behave compassionate.

    Archana Srivastava
    archusblog

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    1. Precisely. As long as our religions fail to make us better creatures, they are no better than resounding drums.

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  2. I think compassion should be taught by parents rather than people outside the home. But yes if school and religion contribute, it would make this world a wonderful place.

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    1. Emotional education begins at home, no doubt. The society plays a major role afterwards. One can't expect to meet compassionate people in a society that teaches hatred as a sacred duty.

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  3. As the world 'progresses' we the people are going back. We have become selfish and self-centred, and compassion for fellow creatures, be it animals or humans is the casualty. Religion is just an excuse.

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    1. Selfishness is another vice which religions try to cure with its opposite of altruism. In the end bigger evils are perpetrated in the name of altruism. Lynching, for example.

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  4. Loved reading it. In my opinion, compassion can only be learned with family than any external force

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    1. Family is the first school. But greatness has come from ignoble families and vice-versa.

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  5. Compassion and humanity should be the religion but nowadays people seem to have become religious and forgotten these two qualities completely.

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  6. Man is an animal just summarizes it all...

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  7. I agree compassion is one of the most important quality that makes a person a better human being but unfortunately it is getting missed in today's society. Glad you had spoke about this in this post.

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  8. You said it. Rational compassion is required. And speaking be plain and straight, religions are not required and gods (as they are depicted in mythological stories) were no better than the error-prone human-beings. Hence let's take the task of bettering our lot on our own shoulders, not the divine entities.

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  9. I remember reading it somewhere that God is the biggest scam man ever pulled. I kind of agree with that. It is better to believe in tangible like nature, compassion towards others rather than doing something for a better afterlife.

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    1. The whole concept of immortality and afterlife is absurd. If that life is real and better, why don't people put an early end to this wretched affair here and go?

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  10. Somehow it makes me think that the whole concept of religion and God itself should not have been there or taught... World could have been then a far better place to tolerate and live in.

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    1. I share that thought. I think the world would have been a much better place without the notion of God(s). People should be taught to make use of their brains better.

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  11. What do you think about the philosophy of Karma? Does it even exist?
    To me religion is inessential.

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  12. We are regressing as a society and there is no doubt in that . Wicked flourish and the innocent perish... absolutely agree sir!

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