Inquiry and Religion

It will cease to be an inquiry if answers are accepted without a challenge. Learning is to see “what is” against perception. We build analogies to compare the unknown. We get restless upon seeing something new. With haste we put a name to it. A tag that helps us bring it within our realm of knowledge. When a person doesn’t behave as we expected, that behavior is outside that realm. We struggle to accept it without reason.

Then how do we proceed without naming things? We must know what is it that we are looking at. We are scared of the dark, afraid of walking ahead. At home, the most familiar place, we can move around with eyes closed. The same goes for other senses.

When we meet a new person, the same feeling creeps in. Unable to know about him/her, we make assumptions. What holds us back from knowing a person? Lack of interest, opinions, fear of an unpleasant experience. We assume that we can know a person by their appearance or opinions that others hold of them. This gets in our way. We look but do not see. We blur our vision with the prejudices to avoid making mistakes, emotional or otherwise. To avoid attachments that may not be mutual. Yet, all this is not part of the person. It is us.

This continues as long as we have a sense of security. There is no space for anything new. For every time we see a new face, we associate an image to it. New associations cease to emerge when we are content. We expect a certain behavior. Conformance strengthens the mental image, deviations challenges it. It leads to generalization. Experience adds new types of people. These are bins in which we categorize people. Some can belong to more than one but each belongs to at least one.

This holds for things beyond people too but all cannot be covered at once.

Let children be taught about religion a bit later. Like many things we shield them from, religion be one. Not because it is bad or harmful but it places a set of views, considered true, into young minds by those they trust a lot. We let toddlers to learn walking. They try, fail and eventually succeed. We can help but not rush. Similarly, the mind should learn to explore and not accept.

Why assume that the best minds in the past knew better than us? At a certain age, old enough to vote or choose a career, youngsters may pick a religion. It should not come by birth. It is not in our genes or blood. It thrives in the mind. A set of beliefs which creates faith to rely on. It is after all, a choice which we never make.

So let it be chosen and the things be put to test. In absence of imposition, fewer conflicts will arise.

We need humanity to be driven by simple values. A religion that requires extraordinary intellect to be understood or a guru to shed light on it, inhibits curiosity and dampens inquiry.

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