Do You Really Need Religion To Tell You Right From Wrong?

Posted on July 2, 2013 in Society

By Nishtha Relan:

[An Agnostic’s Prayer:] “O Lord – if there is a Lord- save my soul – if I have a soul. Amen.
– Ernest Renan


When a friend dragged me to go watch the movie ‘OMG: Oh My God!’ I had thought I was in for a load of crappy ideological lectures. However, I found myself nodding and betting on, and validating Kanji Bhai’s arguments with all those instances that I cannot help referring to while talking to my overtly religious aunts and uncles. And, of course, my friend gave me a smug smile for having established his worth again, while we discussed the magnificent and grand stories of the Gods in Hindu, and then the tenets of Christian mythology. And I realized, that unlike Paresh Rawal’s character, I won’t have a guide in this debate, not in this society.

We have changed, haven’t we? We think, we ask. The hot debate of Science vs. Religion has grown hotter, with the idea of atheism and agnosticism infiltrating our minds at maturity. We see morality for what it is – a potent method of controlling the masses. We know that the crude demarcation of black and white hides many shades of grey. We are beginning to accept subjectivity of thought. The social media has helped us to realize that there are more people who scoff at the idea that God will shower on us a flower to symbolize acceptance of our prayers. And some of us simply find it cool to be atheists. So Rad, man! What is it that has made us, the youth, the Generation Now, come out of the cocoon of the teachings of our parents regarding our beliefs and religion and made us voice our doubts? “Did God invent us, or did we invent God?” (Eddie Izzard)


Of course, it is the times, and the rational clairvoyance that comes with observing the degeneracy and the extent of corruption in our society, and the ingenious mind-washing of human minds. We have seen riots, blasts, tragedies, and the division of lands on the basis of religious beliefs, always accompanied by brutal bloodshed. We have cried out at the political parties fighting over idols and temples, when they should be working for justice and sustenance. We have seen our parents believe in outrageous religious practices, and their stubborn will to listen to our arguments. We have seen casteism, racism, misogyny, and patriarchal domination take hold in our society with religious propaganda. We can no longer stand Francis Bacon’s ideas. More importantly, we see how being evil comes naturally to humans. We agree with comedians like George Carlin and Eddie Izzard, when they ask us to believe in humans.

“Good people can do good and bad people can do evil. But for good people to do evil – that takes religion.”
– Steven Weinberg

The Indian constitution doesn’t even recognize Atheism as a possible choice, despite there being a Nastik school of thought since ancient times. And it isn’t easy to be an agnostic or an atheist in India. Our parents will pray constantly to the Lord to make us sane again, they will take us to religious places hoping we will see why God obviously exists! Our relatives will debate with us over your lack of belief, and then call us ‘bigde hue’ stubborn brats. And we may give in to the pressure, remain silent, or resilient, or we may keep voicing our ideas louder. The world around us will keep moving at its own pace.

I hope the atheists don’t get as violent as the fanatics, though. That would mess up the mess further. In any case, more common sense to the humans!