Of Violence, Peace and Religion

Dec 13, 2010

Today the world is marked by two eras, era before 9/11 and era after 9/11.

The attack on America shocked the world and left Americans speechless. These attacks were claimed by some Muslim fundamentalist groups as revenge for whatever reason. Attacks on Christians in Orissa were appallingly alarming. Insecure Hindus feel threatened that Christians and Muslims will dominate them. Muslim militants attacked a church in Baghdad recently and killed at least 40 worshippers. There are many more instances where ignorance of the people has been showcased in the name of religion.

I think there is a deviation of attitudes among people of goodwill. Religion is a platform to create a disorder and chaos in the universe. A true religion does not promote violence in order to spread its religious values and virtues. Every religion I have known promotes peace and harmony. No one has the right to curb the freedom of a person, and if it is done then the person is dehumanized and considered to be below human dignity.

Enlightenment attempted to keep religion confined to the private sphere but 9/11 proved to be the end of privatization of religion. I have a problem here in both aspects: on the one hand, a religion cannot be private because it concerns universal matters, and on the other hand religion cannot produce fundamentals who think that their religion is the true religion. How do we analyse this problem? Is it anything to do with religion at all or just politically motivated ideas? Is it the fear of insecurity that drives the thirst for blood?

I was brought up in a lovely neighbourhood consisting mostly of Hindus and Muslims. Do we not live as one family despite our differences? Do we really make differences based on religion? I was born in a village which has no hospital, and in fact a Hindu woman helped my mother during her labour, that is how I was born. I owe this Hindu woman a lot. She is no more now.

I think we transcend our little ghettos of religion when we consider others as our fellow humans. During my high school days, I used to work in an estate owned by a Muslim, and he paid me for my work which helped me pay my fees. Time and again this Muslim estate owner checked my progress in school. This shows his concern for me regardless of my religion. I am indebted to this Muslim. Whenever I go home I have a warm welcome from my Hindu and Muslim neighbours apart from my family. Isn't that lovely? It raises my hope for humanity and its prosperity. It shows me how God works in different people and religions.

Do we really need religion if it divides humanity into several painful fragments through means of violence? I do wonder at times why some people slaughter other people in order to promote/safeguard their religion? I don't think God will appreciate the destruction of His own creation by His own creature. God created us in His image and likeness because He wants us to be like him, if possible strive to perfection.

Those who try to destroy peace and harmony of the universe are clearly evil-doers within religious spheres. They work subtly by indoctrinating or brainwashing the innocent tender youngsters. They sow seeds of enmity between brothers and sisters and these seeds do yield fruits to a large extent because evil is alluring and gives the appearance of victory.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between good seed and bad seed of evil, thus both prosper. As Jesus said, let the weeds grow along with the good crop, a day will come when the entire weed will be gathered and burnt in the fire. This should be our hope if good is to triumph over evil. Evil cannot conquer well but it can overpower the good to some extent. Let us hope against hope that one day this world becomes one religion, a religion of love and peace. 

By Jerry Melwin Dias, London
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Comment on this article

  • Felix F., India/Ksa

    Thu, Dec 16 2010

    Ibrahim Manna H. Kattpady, Kattpaddy/Mangalore. With all due respects to your wisely worded comments, I wish to comment on your statement,

    "From the above, we should not fight for everything but should evaluate where our religion has gone wrong." as follows.

    In my opinion, Your religion has NOT GONE WRONG, but Many of the followers have gone wrong, either by not understanding the correct teachings of Islam, or making themselves as know all of Islam by having little or no correct knowledge of Islam.

    There are some Muslim scholers/Drs whose main job is to attack and discredit other religions, instead of educating Muslims to live as per the teachings of Qu ran.

    Now the things are changing for the better. Saudi Arabia is taking the lead to show the world, the peaceful nature of Islam. Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia, has asked Muslims to promote peace. Prince Sultan said “We have to work together to bring nations closer, serve humanity and deepen the values that have been upheld by religions and cultures,” he said. “Islam calls for brotherhood, mercy and tolerance, and spreading the values of justice and love all over the world.”

    This should apply to followers of all relgions, to promote peace for peaceful co-existence.

  • Bulsam, Mangalore

    Thu, Dec 16 2010

    M/s Antony, Justin, Santosh, Mahendra, Mathew, Ibrahim, Felix and Jerri, I appreciate your reaction to my comments with good spirit. I feel that none of the religions is teaching to kill the fellow human being instead the true believers respect their fellow human for what they are and not for what religion they follow.
    However, I am sorry, my earlier comments were just for argument sake and I have no hatred towards any religion for their past misdeeds. My appeal to the readers is that we should teach our Gen-Next to be tolerant towards others religion, respect and understand their teachings, inculcate few messages from other’s religion that suites their living style and be a good human being. As Jerri said, sometimes it is hard to distinguish between good seed and bad seed of evil so let us forget the past and create a new history of harmony and goodwill.

  • Jerri Dias, London

    Wed, Dec 15 2010

    Dear readers, I am sure we should not forget our History but I have a theory, can we learn from our mistakes, if not at least can we make sure we don't repeat the History rather we create a new history of harmony and brotherhood. Our siblings will be delighted to read History we create. Our children will be glad to accept every human beings as their brothers and sisters forgetting our differences and more importantly the HISTORY. I am sure we all like to be in the company of trusted people. Can we walk hand in hand with everyone without even entertaining the thought of difference. After all we are human being with same colour of blood flowing in our vein. Let this be our vision for today and tomorrow and days to come. It makes me sad when we try to discuss, we bring in History to prove or disprove something. Please let us be aware that History will lead us nowhere. Thanks a lot.

  • Felix F.,, India/Ksa

    Wed, Dec 15 2010

    Santosh Kumar, India
    In response to your comments, my practical experience is, Islam is a Peaceful religion, but unfortunately majority of the Muslims are NOT.

  • James Fernandes, Barkur/USA

    Wed, Dec 15 2010

    Imagine there's no heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today...

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace...

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world...

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    [Hope is still around.]

  • Clara Lewis, Kemmannu/Dubai

    Wed, Dec 15 2010

    Mr. sunny, UAE I agree with you.

  • Ibrahim Manna H. Kattpady, Kattpaddy/Mangalore

    Wed, Dec 15 2010

    Bulsam, author has placed harmony of ‘Religion’ in his article. Further, let me talk objectively…

    @ Antony, although he agrees with Islam as Religion of Peace but last few sentences holds good. Do we
    have answer to it ?
    @ Sunny, UAE is matured in his comments.
    @ Felix, it is his own personal opinion. But we have to respect it whether he is right or wrong.
    @ Jossie Mello & Fr. Manoj, very much pubic soaping and soothing and diplomatic one. Although
    their personal ideologies and practices are very different. They never come to fight openly even on
    14/9 2008..chruch attack…hypocrites.
    @ Justin and Santhosh, both regret whether Islam is religion of Peace or of blood going by our religion
    history and its present scenario of violence everywhere in the world caused due to Islamic terrorists.
    @ Mahendra, he says it is only our religion taught about ‘eye for an eye’…and none of the religion exists
    in the world taught about it. Therefore, see around the world all violence root cause is doctrine of
    ”tooth for tooth”. We fight everybody..everywhere…if not found anybody to fight…we fight among
    ourselves…Iran and Iraq fought themselves for 7 years.
    @ Mathew’s abstract songs has no end..like air blows in all directions..can ignore…far from reality.
    From the above, we should not fight for everything but should evaluate where our religion has gone
    wrong. Bulsam, you have to show to the world Islam is religion of peace without further argument,
    making peace with the writer and with all other above commenter’s if situation is so (all of them
    above personals can’t be wrong. Finally , you should be wrong, therefore, none of your brothers and
    sisters supported to your arrogant behavior ! nor I too.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Tue, Dec 14 2010

    Mr. Jerry Dias stated a very
    interesting experience of life.
    He worked for a Muslims, but he
    was greatly concerned with Jerry's
    education and grades, so checked
    with the school authorities like
    a responsible guardian.

    When he went to visit his family,
    his Muslim and Hindu neighbours were happy to see him.

    Majority of us had the same experience with the neighbours, who were of different religions.

    But, why that atmosphere of
    friendship and harmony was gradually gone from the society?

    It was due to the crooked politicians who were too tricky
    to inject with the venom of
    religious fanaticism and created
    division in the society to take
    advantage of their vested interests.

    Can we read that history of
    political tricks now! We look at
    our neighbours with doubt and fear,
    while the leaders somewhere
    enjoying great feast and laughing
    at their victory. God didn't
    create religion, but the human
    being created religins, and the radicals added a spirit of terror and finally religions became
    a vast playground in the game of
    creating bloodbath.

  • Bulsam, Mangalore

    Tue, Dec 14 2010

    The Portuguese sailed to India in 1498 more for saving “heathen” meaning irreligious, uncultured, or uncivilized souls than for profiting from spice trade. Hindus and Muslims populated the Indian coast of Malabar peacefully trading with the Arabs. The communal Portuguese believed that Indian souls needed to be saved, and salvation as only a Christian would know it, had to be offered to the misguided “heathens.” The Portuguese had persisted in finding nautical route to India in order to strike a blow against, mainly the Muslims who practiced the same religion as the hated “Moors.” After half a century of trying, the Portuguese finally succeeded in finding a route to the west coast of India. Unlike other ships that came ashore for buying goods, Vasco’ ships had twenty cannons mounted prominently on it. Calicut was a thriving port where Arabs, Chinese and Hindu merchants from all over Asia and East Africa came to purchase pepper, ginger as well as gold, ivory and silk. Nevertheless, in 1502, Vasco da Gama returned with fifteen heavily armed flotillas and bombarded the port of Calicut into rubble. Eight hundred Muslims were tortured, cutting their hands and noses off first, and then sent to zamorin, the local king, for his “curry.” Such torture and plunder had achieved its intended goal.
    As to the goal of proselytizing “heathens,” (in other words of baptizing the irreligious people) the Portuguese never wavered, even up to the twentieth century.

  • Mahendra Madivala B.R, Darawada

    Tue, Dec 14 2010

    Mr. Bulsam, Justin Lobo Bangalore is 99% right as per its own revealed history. Absolutely you lack knowledge but you possess only that arrogant (eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth)natue that once was taught ! Tell me who taught this and for which reason it was taught ? Was it not terror inflicted one ? Still continues....

  • Santosh Kumar, India

    Tue, Dec 14 2010

    To all the commentators: I am surprised to hear a few of them are voicing Islam is a peaceful religion. What is it mean? If peaceful is it imperative to pronounce? Will it not spread itself the aroma and fragrance of peacefulness around everybody? Is it really peaceful? (What is the fragrance around you only the perfume?) Why not the people are calling Christianity is a peaceful religion, Hinduism is a peaceful religion, Sikhism is a peaceful religion, and Judaism is a peaceful religion? I leave it to commentators to perceive wisdom

  • Justin Lobo, Bangalore

    Tue, Dec 14 2010

    Mr. Bulsam, I quote your comment: where as Christian missionaries with the purpose of spreading Christianity plundered India and attacked the trading Muslims and Hindus of Malabar and their peaceful existence with hatred and vengeance". Your allegations are the burning desires of your own jealous feelings. Christian missionaries never plundered wealth of Muslims traders or Hindu traders instead they spent money to poor and many of them embraced Christianity willingly unlike Tippu Sultan and Aurangazeb who used force to Christians and Hindus to convert to Islam Tippu Sultan even tortured those not becoming Muslim. Aurangazeb introduced Jizya tax on non-Muslims. Actually the terrorism was started since 1400 years and still practiced.

  • Fr. Manoj SJ, London

    Tue, Dec 14 2010

    Dear Jerry, well written. Congrats. Wish you read many more articles from you.

  • Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala / Qatar

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    Bulsam, Mangalore, Ask any of the over 1.8 billion Muslims alive in the world today whether they were forced to change their religion ! A big NO. The largest Muslim country in the world today is Indonesia - and there were never any battles fought there or swords used. Again, NO.
    Theologians among Christians have many interpretations on following words of Jesus
    (Luke 22:36) - "And He said to them, "But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one."
    Some say, Jesus was talking about division in the family because of Him. However, skeptic contest that the word ‘sword’ should not have been used, had Jesus meant about real Peace.
    As I said in the beginning ‘religion’ is a complex issue. Everywhere there are misunderstandings, misconceptions and contradictions, you and myself can’t help it.
    My real sorrowful thought was to share about the last paragraph of my comment as an insight… how a tiny group are misguided about the religion that was really once founded and preached upon “Islam is a religion of peace’.

  • Jossie D'Mello SJ, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    Jerry Melwin Dias thanks for the article on the need for religious harmony. I think, when we speak about religions there is a dimension of particularity. My religion is something special and unique to me. But this experience must help me to respect diversity and plurality. One needs to respect God experience of the people of other faiths. If the presence of other religions becomes a threat to me then the very essence of religion is questioned. It is high time that we begin to respect the religious sentiments of others. Greater respect towards other religions will bring greater harmony and peace. The word “Dharma” signifies righteousness. When everybody is truly righteous then one will see unity and harmony among religions.

  • Jerri Dias, London

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    Hi Guys Thank you for your comments. But I see a certain amount of glitch in your comments. This is why I am telling it can start with these kinds of little things and go on into bigger things. therefore can we be brothers and sister without assuming anything.

  • Felix F., India/Ksa

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    Good artical but scared to call a spade a spade.

    God has no religion. God created Adam without religion. It is the people for various reasons, specially to control the masses have created religion. As a Catholic myself, I can talk about my religion. Jesus is not the founder of Christianity. Jesus message was to worship God, which means, religion is not important, it is our relationship with God, which is more important, as said by Dalali Lama as well.

    The prayer which Jesus, wanted the people to say is, Our Father, which is a universal prayer, that could be said by any one.

    God is universal for the entire world, whether one wants to accept it or not. Therefore there should be only one religion, like God, without name.

    People should worship God and accept the will of God, without having to belong to any religion. I think this should have been the final ending of this artical.

  • Coolie Baboo, Canada

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    Very well referenced and worded, whats missing here was the advent of the Crusades. Could this have been the 9-11 back then, it certainly was one on the events that marked the beginning of a new era.

    When someone moves into your land and labels your way of life and spirituality as backwards and then get your brothers, sisters and cousins to join through the offering of gifts...the walls starts to go up in between families who once loved each other, now torn apart. Certainly a recipe for endless turmoil that can lead to centuries of conflict.This is where we're at today.
    Thank You
    God Bless

  • Bulsam, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    Mr. Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala / Qatar, crusaders, jihadis, Brahmin and other religious fanatics were there time immortal. The history says that the religion that was more prosecuted and unjustly cornered reciprocated with more vengeances.
    In the case of India, the invaders who invaded & plundered this country happened to be Muslim believer. During the process of war they destroyed buildings, temples etc that was obstacle to them where as Christian missionaries with the purpose of spreading Christianity plundered India and attacked the trading Muslims and Hindus of Malabar and their peaceful existence with hatred and vengeance. I am not saying that the Muslims were saints but my point is that the true religion has nothing to do with this type of actions and reactions. As far as I know, the Muslim faith is not the religion of swords and murderers but peace. The follower of Mohamed used the word ‘Peace Be upon Him’ for even Jesus but they fought those who stopped and prosecuted their disciples from spreading the religion of Islam that was the need of the day. This is my reaction to your indirect negative comments on Islam and there are many others in queue to comment in stronger words. That is human nature.
    In this global village, the best option for the people of different faith around is to live and let live. We should practice our superior religion in our homes and places of worship and not compare and defy with others in public.

  • Bulsam, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    Mr. Jerry Melwin Dias, London, what you said is so true. God bless.

  • Sunny, UAE

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    A touchy subject and well written one. We all know that religion is the primary cause for most deaths in this world. Still people compete with each other to prove that their respective religion is the best and their respective god is the only savior. We must first practice to be good human being followed by a good believer. I hope you agree. God bless all.

  • Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala / Qatar

    Mon, Dec 13 2010

    Jerry Melwin Dias, London, you have touched a very complex issue called ‘Religion’. Although very much conveniencing yet could have given some glimpses to the readers, sharing about ‘Origin of First Religion in the world’..Divisions among them.. Birth of new religions only to counter the existent religions with vengeance. Some Religions were spread by message of love and forgiveness and some other by terror, sword and killing. There are some other faithful worshippers originated from mythological beliefs and even if it is not a religion they defend their strong beliefs and convert from other religion (Christians) to their fold mainly in the European and Western countries. Jerry, you have shared some good thoughts nor I would like to repeat them either.
    Every follower of their religion of opine that their religion is the True Religion. Therefore, each religion has become counter-productive. Divisions were existent even during Christ time. However, at the moment religion has reached so lowest ebb of the society even Taliban’s call themselves are followers of True Religion purer than Saudi Arabia and Iran worshipers. They kill worshippers inside the mosque by planting bombs..when the dead bodies are taken again exploding bombs in the cemetery with only one ambition for maximum causality. Later after some time when the prayer call comes to them they go to the nearby mosques to worship their god with all piety and reverence washing outwardly first blood stained hands and not their heart …offering prayers and thanks giving to their god saying “Oh god all I did this for you’ without a smallest remorse to humanity for spilling their innocent blood.

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