Religion – a cynical viewpoint
A religion has come to be associated with a Prophet, a book and preferably one God.
Some religions say that there is only one God and it is their God. If you call Him by any other name, it would tantamount to worshipping false God! Their place of worship is sacred and all others are not sacred.
World is made up of many languages and each language has a different word for God. While so, how can anybody say God is to be worshipped only in this or that name?
Who is God? I could not find a good answer for this question.
Where is God – ah – all religions are unanimous in answering this – some sort of Paradise – above earth some where in the sky out of reach for mortals. One can go there only after death – if and only if you had been a good practitioner of this or that specific religion.
Then where do all the others go after death – there is a convenient location called Hell – again all religions are unanimous on this aspect too. Hell is a place that is terribly hot or cold and equipped with someone ready to torture the non-conforming soul.
Some religions believe that all the souls have to wait till the Day of Judgment – expected to come at the end of civilization as a result of flooding of the planet and the soul has to rest in peace in its grave till that day.
Now the previous Day of Judgment was quite sometime back – say six thousand years or more. Now the number of souls in waiting should be a very large number. How many? Your guess is as good as mine. Could it be millions? Billions? I think billions. Now if God has to judge a billion people how much time does it take for him – let us say one hour per person to account for his actions and be judged. Thus it would take a billion hours to judge a billion waiting souls. Wow that is pretty large – about 115,000 years. Right now the population is about 6.5 billion. That means if the End of Days comes now and Judgment day starts in the next one-minute, how many souls have to be judged? Present 6.5 billion and let us assume another 3 billion waiting from the last six thousand or so years. That is about 9.5 billion people. How about birds, animals and insects? Will their souls be judged? Let’s us assume not. Their souls will not be judged. Even so, the time taken to judge 9.5 billion souls would amount to about a million years! It may be a minute for the God – but for us, mortals, it still is one million years. That is the last person dying would have to wait one million years to be judged for his actions of, say, eighty or ninety years !
Now I understand why the punch line of almost all religions is “those who are part of us would be judged fist” – the waiting line is shorter for them. Clever isn’t it? But many religions use the same punch line. So how are we to know which will be the first line to be judged?
What happens after the judgment? They say the soul would be either ensconced in luxury in heaven or tortured in hell. Here comes the interesting part, eternally. Where will the supplies for luxury or torture come from; which organization would provide them and where are adequate resources? How long is eternity? Will the world be born again? Will the souls be given another opportunity? Not many answers are forthcoming from any of the God-given books.
Now some recalcitrant souls may start arguing with the God that they were not given a level playing field – no laissez faire – they were born into a poor family, or born with a handicap (physical or mental) were subjected to injustice and hence they are not responsible for their actions. They were not asked what their preferences would be before being sent on to the earth. How would these arguments be treated?
Books claimed to have been handed down from God himself (there are a collection of those) do not answer these questions nor do explain the simple arithmetic of waiting lines and waiting times.
Some religions believe that the soul takes rebirth to suffer the sins or pay the debts of previous life. They would be judged soon after death and sent back to the earth to suffer for their sins or enjoy the fruits of their labor. Sounds good – but considering that there are 6.5 billion people on earth, it is possible that a person is dying every minute if not every second. So the God has no time for anything else except to judge and determine the next birth. What happens to the administration of justice on earth? Do I hear you say where justice is? Perhaps that is the reason that the world is in a perpetual chaos, as the God does not have time to look into any thing other than judging continuous stream of incoming souls.
Some of the books, claimed to have been handed down (or dictated by the God Almighty himself) include chapters on how to loot other people’s property and the property includes, surprise of surprises, women too! If so that means women are not considered human beings. If so, now would their souls be judged? The same books claim that, yes, women’s souls also would be subject to God’s judgment.
What is sin or sinful act? Most God-given books dictate that stealing is sin and yet, some sanction looting. Some say lust is sin and some sanction rape. Some proclaim that having more than one spouse is sin while others sanction polygamy. Some declare telling lies is sin while some say it is OK as long as the lies are told to people of other religions. Some claim that murdering other people is sin while some declare that it is religious duty to kill people of other religions. Some books say that women are equal to men while some say that women are given by God for the enjoyment of men.
Oh God! Which of the books that are purveyed on earth in your name is correct? Which is sin and which is virtue?
I am confused and dear God, I hope that you understand.
New translations of the Ramayana by Dr. Murali Chemuturi!