We need salvation from certain kind of Religion


The phone rang just as I finished my breakfast.  It was my sister calling from Kerala. 

“Do you remember that professor who got into a controversy with a question he had set for an exam on Muslims?” asked my sister. 

“Yes, has something happened to him?” I asked with a sense of foreboding. 

“He was attacked by a group of people this morning and his palms have been chopped off,” said my sister who lives quite near to the college where the professor teaches.

I switched on the TV.  A Malayalam news channel reported that about eight persons intercepted the professor’s car as he was returning home from church.  They were carrying weapons like knives and axes.  They also attacked the women in the car though not fatally.  

My thoughts raced back to J. S. Bandukwala’s article in the latest edition of Outlook which I read last evening and the interview with Salman Rushdie in this morning’s Literary Review of the Hindu.  Both Bandukwala and Rushdie are Muslims who think that there is something seriously wrong with their religion today.

Bandukwala traces the Islamic frustration primarily to the political clout that the West wields exploitatively over the rest of the world, particularly the oil-rich Islamic nations.  Al Qaeda and the Taliban are results of that frustration, argues Bandukwala.  He also identifies “the absence of education, in particular, science education” as another factor that worsened the problem.  Related to this, he argues, is the absence of wise leaders in the religious community.  Finally, he lists “obsession with the past” as a serious problem.

Rushdie also laments the pathetic narrow-mindedness of Muslims today.  They wish to subsume human universals into the relative truths of their creed.  Rushdie grieves over the death of the composite Sufi culture which was an example of how a religion can absorb elements from another religion and be more humane.  The tragedy of the present Islam, as Rushdie understands, seems to be its blindness to the inevitable pluralism of human cultures and traditions.  Laying strictures on the human imagination and potential for dreaming with the straitjackets of religion is to kill humanity itself. 

History bears testimony to the fact that whenever any religion tried to assert truth as its sole prerogative, humanity with its infinite varieties was the tragic victim.  Christianity subjected humanity to that sort of a diabolic terror in the Dark Ages.  Is Islam going through its own dark ages? 

Islam stands in need of an intellectual and imaginative awakening.  It needs genuine leaders other than Osama bin Laden and the Taliban jihadists. 

May Allah save us!


About matheikal

My more regular blog can be accessed at www.matheikal.blogspot.com
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10 Responses to We need salvation from certain kind of Religion

  1. DMR Sekhar says:

    All religions including atheism restrict free thinking. Science education however influenced religions to change their positions. Reforming a religion needs to be left to the followers of that religion which is a time taking process but we can’t help it. Pocking into other religions should be strictly avoided.

    DMR Sekhar.

  2. john.p.abraham says:

    Shocking.I suppose religions are suppose to be like that.In a world of free thinking there would not have been organised religion.Each will have her own or his own religion.Organised religions do not give that freedom due to growing insecurity from other beliefs.

  3. Matheikal says:

    Thanks, DMR, for the comment. I agree with you that reforms should start from the particular religion itself. But can’t others question the wrongs done by the religion? Can’t others suggest ways out? Can’t others express opinions?
    Let me quote Rushdie (who quotes from one of his characters in the Hindu interview): “In Paradise, the words ‘religion’ and ‘argument’ mean the same thing, and there is no suppression in religion.”

  4. john.p.abraham says:

    Religion used to create a fear and awe with symbols like miracles.This was easier in the earlier stage of the evolution of religion.Now fear and awe has to be created with guns and bombs

    • Matheikal says:

      Both your comments underscore the insecurity that religions experience today and the resultant violence. I strongly feel education is the answer to the problem of insecurity, as suggested also by Bandukwala whom I have referred to in the article. Modern, science education will equip the believers with the combatibility required in today’s competitive world. When you can’t fight at the intellectual level, you tend to fight at the physical level, I guess.

  5. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    You know how I feel about relgion … I simply cannot get all upset about this news item … Tough luck … Call me insensitive … I will not accept. Call me inured … yes.

    I have no idea why DMRS persists with his equating atheism to a religion. I dare anyone, including DMRS, to show any specific instance where an “insult” to atheism’s credo has brought any response traceable exclusively to that creed which parallels the numerous not-anymore-shocking religious responses.

    I am sorry.

    Raghuram Ekambaram

    • Matheikal says:

      Love to have you here, Raghuram, with your always-enlightening comment. I can easily understand your angst with DMR’s initial statement which I intentionally overlooked. I hesitated a moment whether DMR was serious about his view on atheism.

      No, you are NOT at all insensitive. In fact, you are one of the most sensitive and sensible people I have come to know, in however limited a way. Unfortunately, atheism remains a highly vilified standpoint in our world which is supposedly very scientific!

  6. Madhvi says:

    This episode has not surprised me and I am sure we will keep on hearing such barbaric measures to settle issues. I don’t consider this an act by religious people but by those whose idea of religion is distorted. They can easily be swayed by their emotions and hurt others like criminals do. Religion is only a facade to give vent to their inner anger.
    If muslims don’t stand up against them, which they won’t, they will pay for it. Their religion has already been hijacked by likes of these.

  7. dawnanddew says:

    I am really saddened to read the news discussed in the blog. I don’t know whether to be happy that you have written after a long time or to shed tears for the innocent people and the noble suffering at the hands of the ignoble.

  8. Pingback: Cheerless Gods and their Fundamentalists « Matheikal's Blog

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