Monday, November 3, 2008

Religion? Opinion?

The word for religion is matham in India, and its root meaning is
opinion. Usually we hear about panditha-matham, which means scholarly
opinion. The use of the word matham for religion implies that there
is so much in common between religion and opinions. A religion may be
seen as a set of beliefs or opinions about human life, and a way of
life developed based on that.

Considering the basic questions of life such as what life is and why
we live, we have only opinions, and they vary from place to place,
time to time, and from people to people. However, there can be
similarity in the essential purpose of all religions, which is the well-being and growth of the humanity.

When people who belong to various religions live together at the same
place, they have two options: One, pay attention to the common
essentials, and stand together. Two, pay attention to the
insignificant differences and fight with one another.

The world may be seen as a classroom in which God has placed us to
learn the lessons of life. The various religions may be seen as
different groups of students who try to explore and untangle the
mysteries of life. The short-sighted among us often hate and fight
with those in the other groups by forgetting that we are in a
classroom and are here to learn.

According to our tradition, the whole humanity came from Adam and
Eve, which makes all human beings brothers and sisters. What we have
among each other is blood-relationship, and we should not let our
opinions and beliefs affect our blood-relationship.

Our tradition also teaches us that a human being is the image of God.
Being an image, a human being (or the humanity as whole) is a visible
representation of the invisible God. We also learn from our tradition
that a human being is the temple of God.

Jesus, our Lord, taught us that the soul of a human being is more
precious than the whole world. Mark 8:36. Jesus also taught us that
the heavenly father loves all people in the world unconditionally.
Mat 5:45

Thus according to our faith and tradition, any kind of discrimination
between one human being and another one is wrong, inhuman, and
ungodly, whatever the reason be. We are expected to respect and love
all human beings as our brothers and sisters.

Although we belong to various races, we are all Homo sapiens.
Although our skin color varies, we all have the same kind of red
blood inside the skin. Although we belong to various classes, we all
came from our mothers' body naked, and we all will eventually sleep
inside the body of mother earth. Although we all hold diverse
opinions of God, God loves us all in the same way unconditionally.
............................................................
I wrote this about two years ago and posted in the indianorthodox
discussion group. I am posting it again in the context of what is
happening in Orissa. This is a part of a larger discussion
on "Difference of opinions and relationship". Click here to read the
complete article. http://www.geocities.com/johnkunnathu/essay-opinions_and_relationship.htm

No comments:

Monastery of the Holy Martyrs - Orthodox Monastery, Syriac Orthodox

 Have you stopped the monastery's new web site?  Come on by and visit, either on line or in person.  I love meeting new folks and make n...