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Spiritual Meditations ( 30 Nov 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Has Religion Lost Its Relevance In The Modern Society?

‘Religions of Peace’ Have Been the Cause of Bloodiest Massacres on Earth

Main Points:

1.    20TH century has witnessed some of the most brutal massacres in the name of God.

2.    Srebrenica massacre was perpetrated in 1992.

3.    Rwanda genocide was perpetrated in 1994.

4.    Genocide of Muslims by Muslims happened in Bangladesh in 1971 in the name of religion.

5.    Muslims of Myanmar were massacred by Buddhists in 2017.


By New Age Islam Staff Writer

30 November 2021

Religion has been the main guiding force for man since the beginning of the human life on earth. The concept of God provides man with a spiritual source of survival and a purpose of life. In the primitive age, man was surrounded by a hostile nature without any power to fight it. Therefore, Man depended on an invisible force which would provide support and protection from the hostile nature.   Gradually, human society developed scientifically and intellectually and became more and more confident of their survival due to newer tools and technology to protect them from the hostile forces like nature and wid animals, natural calamities and diseases. However, the concept of God remained important for Man for spiritual purposes. He found someone more powerful than his scientific and technological devices as most of the times, his scientific and technological tools and devices could not tame nature or calamities. This strengthened his belief in the existence of an invisible power that governed the universe and their lives and affairs. Prophets and seers contributed to the strength of belief in the concept of God. Therefore, as times passed and science and technology progressed, the importance of religion grew because religion was seen as a social and political discipline. Religion filled the spiritual vaccum created by the material and scientific development.

However, since no two men agree on an issue, they also differed on which religious course was better for them. This led to the different religious paths and ideologies. And the followers of each religion or religious ideology vouched for the truth of their own religious ideology. This ultimately caused clash of faiths of clash of civilization. Though every religion claimed to be the religion of peace, the same religion became the cause of bloody strife, massacre and manslaughter. The pages of human history are filled with the details of massacres and bloodshed perpetrated by the followers of different religions.

Not to go much farther back. If we see the history of massacres perpetrated in God’s name, we come across details of slaughter of human beings in different religions of the world. The 1994 massacre of Rwanda was the most heinous act committed in the name of God when the perpetrators said God was on their side. In this genocide, more than 500,000 Tutsi tribe people were massacred and the Catholic church were held responsible for the massacre.

Another big genocide in the name of religion happened in the East Pakistan in 1971. Long ignored and deprived of political and economic rights, Muslims of East Pakistan declared independence from the West Pakistan, forming an independent nation called Bangladesh. Pakistan army invaded East Pakistan and massacred the people of East Pakistan. It is said that about 500,000 people were killed by their Muslim brethren. The massacre is one of the most brutal genocide in the human history. After the defeat of Pakistan army, genocide of Bihari or Urdu speaking Muslims happened in Bangladesh as revenge. Lakhs of Urdu speaking Muslims were massacred by Bengali speaking Muslims. Another lakhs of Urdu speaking Muslims are still living in Bangladesh as Pakistani refugees though they are Muslims.

Another big genocide of Muslims happened in Myanmar where the Buddhists are in a majority. They feared that the Muslims may one day dominate them and face a threat to their religion Buddhism as they had destroyed Buddhism in India after the arrival of Muslims in the twelfth century. Therefore, they tried to make Muslims weak politically and economically. In the decades after 1960s, various steps were taken to marginalize Muslims in Myanmar and finally in 2017, the Myanmar army with the connivance of Buddhist monks massacred millions of Rohingya Muslims. It’s an irony that Buddhism forbids killing of any living being, leave human beings. But the followers of Buddhism took active part in the genocide of Muslims and thought that God was on their side.

In 1992, the Srebrenica massacre was also committed on religious lines between Christians and Muslims. In this massacre, about one lakh Muslim women and boys were massacred and thousands of women were raped. Thousands of Muslims were expelled from the area. This massacre was another example of massacre driven by religious motives. Even decades after the massacre, Muslims and Christians have not taken any lesson and the hostilities between them continue on religious lines.

In 2014, the Middle East saw another round of massacre on the basis of religion. A militant Islamist group unleashed a reign of terror in the name of establishing the rule of God in the region. They killed millions of Muslims, Christians and destroyed religious buildings and enslaved thousands according to their interpretation of religion of Islam. Millions of Muslims and Christians were displaced and had to take refuge in other countries.

In India, religious affiliation played important role in communal riots between the majority Hindus and minority Muslims. The followers of both the religions Islam and Hinduism claim that their religion preaches peace. Still, driven by insecurity complex, nationalist groups clashed with each other killing thousands. During the last 70 years of independence India has witnessed hundreds of thousands of small and big communal riots in which millions of people have lost their lives.

In Pakistan, after the independence, anti-Ahmadiyya riots took place in which thousands of Ahmadiyyas lost their lives. This was perpetrated by the followers of Islam though they claimed that their religion preached peace and respected the faith of others and that no being will carry the burden of others. Even today, members of the minority communities in Pakistan are attacked, kidnapped and killed by the majority community members in the name of religion or God.

Sectarian violence among the followers have also tarnished the image of religion as a civilizing force. Sectarian violence among Jews, Christians and Muslims have been recorded in history and put a question mark on the relevance of religion in human society. Jews fought among themselves on sectarian lines. During the 3rd to 8th century, Christians killed each other on sectarian lines. This hostility continued till the 17th century.

Muslims are divided in 72 sects and the followers of each sect consider themselves to be on th true path and declared all the others dwellers of hell and even worthy to be killed. This belief has caused many massacres and violence in the name of God.  Muslims in India, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and all parts of the world where they live are divided on sectarian lines and often engage in violence.

The emergence of militant and terrorist organizations only aggravated the situation. They carry out suicide attacks periodically on housing complexes, markets, hospitals and even in graveyards to kill the members of the Muslim sect whom they consider infidels.

The Quran chides Man for his quarrelsome and violent nature. Man always wants to impose his view or ideology on the people his dominates. Therefore, the Quran says:

“Man is the most quarrelsome of all the things.”(Al Kahf: 54)

“Made man out of a drop then he became quarrelsome, talking big.”(An Nahl: 4)

God never asked men to kill other human beings for his pleasure because he does not derive pleasure when any of His creatures is killed. But the self-proclaimed authority of religion promote violence and killing in the name of God.

The culture of violence all around the world in the name of religion or religious domination has put a question mark on the relevance of religion in the modern day. This violence killing children, women and the helpless and non-combatant people has turned many humanists away from religion. They have lost faith in the utility of religion. A universal morality has developed according to which people decided what is right and what is wrong. They do not care for what the religion has to say on a particular issue.

 Most people who are inspired by science or have scientific insight do believe in a power that drives the universe but they do not subscribe to any religious belief. For example, Einstein believed in a power that governed the universe but did not believe in a personal god. For this reason, he believed that Buddhism was the religion of the future world as it did not believe in a personal God.

Many individuals of the younger generation in Muslim majority countries like Turkey do not believe in Islam but believe in Deism.  As human civilization is progressing and exploring outer space and landing on other planets, their idea of a personal God is going a sea change. They do not see or understand God as the people of primitive age saw and understood Him. And insisting on this primitive understanding of God will be a foolish thing.  The man of the modern age, therefore, does not give much importance to religion as a binding force but only as a means of providing spiritual solace and support in times of crisis and stress.


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