Religion: does it unify or divide this world?

Does faith in god really heal us or simple human bonding is enough?

Two nuns walk down the street just before sundown on a rainy evening. Though Christians form a fraction of the entire population in the Nilgiris, churches are omnipresent in Ooty.

The bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars, you would agree. Though on the surface religion appears to bring people together, to me religious sentiment seems to arouse mostly anger and intolerance among people of different faiths.

As India goes into electing its next leader to steer the country towards development and growth, the minority classes that include Muslims and Christians seem to be worried. Last weekend I was subject to the most frantic sermons from various members of the church in my neighbourhood. For me who is deeply private about matters such as faith, the speeches delivered on loudspeakers seemed to amplify the political aspect to religion more than the passionate faith in Christ of those purporting his cause. It is not easy to be a passive listener for 12 hours a day if you happen to be anything other than a die-hard Christian. Hence I’m hoping that the new leaders who form the government in May will help quell this anxiety among non-Hindu communities all around the country.

I like the simplicity in Dalai Lama’s thought on religion when he says there is no need for temples, or complicated philosophy. I couldn’t agree more when he says our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Why then is it so hard to practice something so simple?


About shabnamphoto

I'm a graphic artist with a passion for photography. I like to tell a story with my pictures. Sometimes a picture may speak on its own and at other times it may need an explanation. I'm intrigued by the ordinariness of life and enjoy documenting my life in the light and shadow of what surrounds me. Be it people, landscape, flowers, architecture or birds, the camera helps me see what I wouldn't with my naked eye.
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10 Responses to Religion: does it unify or divide this world?

  1. Anonymous says:

    All religions were invented to exercise control over the masses by keeping them mired in superstition and fear. Religion should not be confused with spirituality or a personal belief in /relationship with a Supreme Power – Lata Subramanian


  2. Pingback: Religion: does it unify or divide this world?

  3. Harvy says:

    Why then is it so hard to practice something so simple? -Interesting question you pose over a simple idea. The answer is a complex one that roots from our differences. We often embrace diversity, but in a country like India, it is often hard to embrace that form of diversity. It becomes a splitting force and society as a whole tends to conform to similarities over differences.


  4. Harvy says:

    Why then is it so hard to practice something so simple?


  5. smswaby says:

    Religion can unify when we live out love. If take a stance that alienates then our religion will divide: defensive or offensive stance, a black or white/all or nothing/ I’m right you must be wrong approach. I am a Christian, I struggle and I believe, I try to love and live up to a vision of being better. I fall and get back up and I try to help others regardless of their “code.” My faith makes me more Humane, more Human. I feel that faith can shine hope and grace, improving the world rather than merely pointing to the dark, or angrily preaching about it. Hate is not faith, it robs and narrows. That is not religion to me.


  6. Religion is a personal thing, and something to unify and make people better. But alas, also used for political purposes, oppression and power. Now more than ever it seems. Just look at the Middle East etc.


    • shabnamphoto says:

      That is so true Bente, unfortunately we all want to belong to a larger community and lose that sense of privacy. A threat is all it takes for mass hysteria to unfold…. that is what I have seen in my life time and again….


  7. Know-All says:

    it’s the opium of the masses…so, when on a high, people forget their humanity..


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