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vishnu narang

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Should there be different religions and castes? Is it time to think big and accept humanity as a religion?

I can proudly say that I'm an Indian...and without any hesitation, I can say I'm human....but when someone asks me what religion I belong to ....I hesitate...I don't say Hindu so freely....because i wonder what difference does it make in today's world if I'm a Hindu or a Muslim or Christian....do i get some perks at job for being a hindu? No. Do people hate me because I'm hindu? No.
People are smarter today .... and they follow the traditions and rituals their ancestors followed...but I believe deep inside they must feel more HUMAN than HINDU or MUSLIM.

The more religions, the more the discrimination and problems in society....so why do we need religions?

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    Oct 13 2011: "The more religions, the more the discrimination and problems in society....so why do we need religions?"

    So instead of making one big religion, let's not have religion at all.
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      Oct 13 2011: exactly.....lets not have religions at all.... completely agreed :)
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    Oct 21 2011: Does the ending of, or the, homogenation of religion also dispose of faith and the belief of something bigger than ourselves? Not neccessarily a heaven or hell concept but more of world hunger and the faith that it will be resolved. I don't believe that discrimination comes from religions, it comes from the hearts and minds of people using religion as justification. There are many more people of faith that don't discriminate than do.
    Religions are cultural, just as food traditions, dances and languages are. I don't think creating one type of food will solve heartburn or creating one type of dance with solve my two left feet. Nor do I think having one language will solve the misunderstandings of communication.
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      Oct 21 2011: Well sir...that is the whole point....if they use religion as justification why give them the religion in the first place...
      when a child is born just take him away from all the religion or make him follow all the religions ....
      that is the only way....

      and sir i beg to differ...religion and culture seem to me to be 2 different things...
      you dont say to anyone that my dance style is better than your style....everyone has a different taste...
      and even if you say so...nobody minds...they understand that....

      but when it comes to religions you cant compare 2 religions....have names for different cultures...
      you know...like western culture and eastern culture...indian culture...etc...

      but to have religions is not the idea...
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    Oct 18 2011: the reason i dont say that i'm hindu is because it really does not make any difference to me if i'm hindu or muslim....
    hats off to your religion which says that all religions are valuable but sir not all religions are the same....
    and yes it does not matter if i'm hindu or not....i do agree and follow with your motto....
    what ever i feel is right i follow it.....that should be the thinking...and i dont think we need a religion to think like that...
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    Oct 18 2011: Hi Vishnu, you say: "I can proudly say that I'm an Indian" You probably did not choose that country but were born there, right?. You are proud being an Indian, why can you not say I'm proud being a Hindu??
    Sometimes people are more distrusted or disregarded if they say what country they are from than what religion they belong to.

    I think religion is important for several reasons.

    1. Because it gives us a focus outside of ourselves. It seem AA is using that 'tool' because that outside focus make it easier to give up something we love, like drinking.

    2. Not only just a focus but also a reason for being and for being human. Animals do not have a religion.

    3. And I love my religion, Swedenborgian, because it answers all my questions about the next life. And I'll hasten to add that we accept every religion on earth as valuable.

    My motto is, If whatever you believe, makes you a better person, believe it!
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      Oct 18 2011: What if the religion is wrong? What if the religion is nothing but a made up device to control a populace. (please do not mistake this as an attack on you or your religion, I am simply posing the question)
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        Oct 19 2011: One quote from Emanuel Swedenborg is:
        “All religion relates to life, and the life of religion is to do what is good.”

        In my opinion no religion is perfect, only God is. Only with God there is genuine or Divine Truth. As finite beings we cannot comprehend Divine Truth perfectly. In fact we have to eternity to study it and apply it. I see the different religions as spiritual car-pooling. Go with the one that goes where you want to go.

        The above quote is from this little book if you'd like to have a look
        http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/Doc_Life.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

        I'd like to think the result of religion can be that the populace will control itself because it has learned to do so and ended up loving that life.
        In a way we do the same with our kids. We guide and control them when they are young. If they obey we may give them a hug, when they don't we may punish them. Initially they may behave well because they don't want to be punished. After living/behaving like that for a while they start liking the feeling and the connectedness with the parents and friends.

        There are three stages a person can develop through. First it is civil, "I do as I'm told". The next stage is moral "I do it because it is the right thing to do." The third is spiritual "I do it because I love to do it."
        And only with this last stage it becomes part of us, our character.
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          Oct 19 2011: I agree, the only perfect being is God. However, what if you get into a broken car? What if where you want to go is not where God wants you to go, or is God not sovereign.

          I will also concede the point that no religion is perfect which is why I don't have one, but a relationship with Jesus Christ.

          A path to God is not relative, John 14:6 says "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." If all religions are true, then that would make this statement true as well. Which in turn contradicts the prior assertion.

          The above quote is from the Bible, New International Version. You could Google an online Bible if you so desired to confirm my quotation or read the Word of God if you would like. I am not attempting to force Christianity upon you in any way, only to provoke thought and to show my beliefs that I hold as true.
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        Oct 19 2011: Thank you Andrew for your very thoughtful response.
        You say,
        "What if where you want to go is not where God wants you to go."
        God created us human beings with 100% free will for a reason. We are to become what WE want to become. We did not get this freedom and then are told 'YOU MADE THE WRONG CHOICE !!

        What you said made me think about the relationship between Jesus and God. I call my approach the 'fish tank'
        Have you ever created a fish tank and while doing so thought 'this is nice now but at some point in the future I'm going to have to go in here and do a major clean up, because otherwise fish will die. And I love fish. When that time comes would you jump in? Use a power washer? I doubt it. You would probably stick your hand in there, with a tool and clean things up with the least amount of disturbance to the environment.
        Now, please put this scenario over the creation of the world. It was good and beautiful at first but God said right from the beginning, 'some day I'm coming down and there will be a major clean up'
        He could not come down Himself because that would have killed everybody in the world (tank). He had Mary make Him a body and had Him named Jesus.

        That is the Trinity we are talking about. God is the father or soul of Jesus as the person or body, with Jesus' influence on humanity as the Holy Spirit. As you know, we have been created in His image and likeness. That means we have a trinity as well. We have a soul, a body and an influence on the world around us.
        Much better this is explained with Bible quotes in this sermon.
        http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/studies/Who_is_Jesus.pdf

        You said
        "I am not attempting to force Christianity upon you in any way, only to provoke thought and to show my beliefs that I hold as true."
        That sounds perfect to me and how things should be, because that is what I have also been doing here and nothing else.
        If any force is needed it has to be forcing self, never someone else.
        I'd love to hear your reaction to this.
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          Oct 20 2011: I would first like to say that I have enjoyed this correspondence, and hope to continue it. You have provoked much thought over the past two days.

          You stated that God gave us 100% free choice. The Bible however, uses words such as "predestined" to describe the workings of God. Take a look at the verses: Romans 8:29, Romans 8:30, Ephesians 1:5 and Ephesians 1:11. Specifically look at Ephesians 1:11 for it says, "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will,"

          That verse reveals to us that God does have sovereign power over us and can use that power to predestine certain events in the world and our lives. Conversely, I do not believe that God micro-manages our lives, like the Christian doctrine of Calvinism believes. The best way to describe my position on this topic is like this: a mother picks out two outfits for her child, but she knows which one the child will pick. However, she still gives her child the choice of which outfit to select, because she loves her child and does not want to control every aspect of her child's life.

          This is similar to the way God is over us. He is not a "hands-off" God. If He was then He would not be sovereign and omnipotent. Which we know to be true because He created the world. He gives us a choice, knowing what we will chose. He does make a habit of forcing us to do things, but rather knows us better than we know ourselves so he presents us with choices out of love for us. Because controlling is not love, and God loves us. (Psalm 136:2, Psalm 52:8)

          You are correct in your "fish tank" analogy. God does not use a "power cleaner" to "clean up", but rather works through his smaller tools. Those smaller tools are human beings whom he created and loves.
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        Oct 20 2011: Thank you for your kind words.
        Your quotes related to the word "predestined" are in the Bible but are the words of Paul or other Apostles, not the words of God. We believe that only the words of the Lord create a spiritual connection between us and Him.
        I very much regard the situation the Lord presented, "I knock on your door.." as the way we are 'controlled' (with this I mean NOT controlled or predestined).
        Swedenborg uses the word "predestination" (and you could Google 'Swedenborg' + that or any other word) however he says 'We have all been predestined to heaven" but only if we want to. We are not punished by the God of love and send to hell (although many seem to say that). We would 'die' anywhere else as a fish out of the water. We punish ourselves by living with others that love (or hate) the same things. And it is the hate that is called 'the fire', since it is a spiritual world there cannot be any physical fire.

        Mentioning the 'spiritual world,' there is a book by that name which compiles Swedenborg's 30+ books into one. Especially intriguing is the 'thought' we live in that world right now..
        http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/TheSpiritualWorld.pdf

        The other side of the coin is that we are not life itself, but are receptacles of life. 'We can do nothing except it be given us from heaven', "Without Me you can do nothing"
        To us that means we are finite, created entities that are given the freedom to use our smarts/loves to fully attain the position of images and likenesses of God. The Lord would like nothing more than for us to be His conduits of love to others and the world. But, again, only if we want to.

        Your paragraph "This is similar.." is, in my opinion, right on!

        In addition to the "fish tank" analogy in relation to us, I was also saying that we ourselves do the cleaning (with our arm and tools). Our arm is very much a part of us, not someone else. It is to explain the horrendous interpretation that God had His son killed to feel better.
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          Oct 24 2011: Excuse me for my long absence I was quite busy and was unable to visit this site in any capacity.

          You assert that the claim of predestination is from Paul and not God. However, you do agree with me on the fact that God uses humans as His tools(fish tank analogy). I believe Paul was one of God's tools and He wrote parts of the Bible through Paul. Since God is sovereign(Genesis 15:2, Genesis 15:8, Exodus 23:17, Joshua 7:7, Judges 16:28, 2 Samuel 7:18), He can predestine certain events because He is Lord of all. Also, take a look at how the disciples came to be. They didn't just decide to follow Jesus; they were called and followed because they were called to(Matt. 4:19-22, Matt. 9:9). I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, so I believe that the words Paul wrote down were not inspired by Paul, but by God.
          Furthermore, you do agree with my parent analogy which is great, but look deeper into it. If God is the parent, then He is the one who chose the two outfits. He is the one who decided what was good for us. We didn't go searching the closet for the outfit we liked, He picked them out for us knowing what we needed already.

          I would like to touch upon Swedenborg's claim for a bit: He says that "we are all predestined for heaven" however, that cannot be. If that were so, then there would be no reason for the "fall of man" (which is the banishing of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden). God cannot be with sin, and we as humans sin constantly against Him. Hell is eternal separation from God. What that entails, I cannot be certain besides the obvious denotation, I have never actually visited Hell.

          Lastly, you say "It is to explain the horrendous interpretation that God had His son killed to feel better." God did not arbitrarily have His son crucified. He did it so that way we could be saved.(John 3:16, John 14:16) God loves us, but not everyone loves God.
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        Oct 25 2011: Hi Andrew, good to see your back. Indeed God does use humans as His tools. However that is not what the 'fishtank' was about :) I used that analogy to 'show' that the arm and the person who 'created' the fishtank is one and the same person. Not two different ones.

        "He can predestine certain events because He is Lord of all."
        Absolutely, He can do almost anything. And I say 'almost' because God cannot go against His own spiritual laws. For instance, In no way will He take our freedom away.
        We believe Paul's words were his, and allowed by God, because they are good words to be used by a church, but they miss the spiritual connection with God that is established when we do read the Lord's words. It is also Paul's words that have caused the most heresies in churches. But that is my opinion. But God allows so much that there are people who e.g. hear about an earthquake in Turkey and conclude there is no God.

        Just a question, since there is so little to say in 2000 words, if I leave a link to a book or article would you take the time to read that at all?

        Yes, the 'parent analogy' is right on, and God obviously knows what we will choose and decide because He is not bound by time and space like we are. He is in the past, present and future because they are NOW to Him. So He knows, but that does not mean he does, or predestines things, for us. Otherwise what is the sense of this life if God can just do everything (or just one thing) for us without involving us? Besides, there is, after all, a hell, does that mean He did not make the right choice for us? We have been created 100% free to choose what we will do and love. Anything less than that would make us puppets.

        In Swedenborg's time there were believers in predestination and his reaction was, well if you want to believe in that "we are all predestined for heaven" but he does add "if we want to" No one is forced to go to heaven, and not everyone wants to go there either. One's heaven is another's hell and .
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        Oct 25 2011: And the last point I'd classify as the most important of all. And that was also what the fishtank alluded to.
        May I leave this link to a sermon with you? It is taking all the relevant Bible text and putting them together, explaining things to us in a way that the people 2000 years ago had no way of understanding. It is how God's Trinity relates to, or has determined, ours.
        http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/studies/Who_is_Jesus.pdf

        Now I can go to bed :)
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          Oct 30 2011: I want to sincerely apologize for my long absences. My schedule has been very packed and has left me little time for anything else.

          I believe that we are actually arguing the same point here. I do not believe in 100% God predestines every action and event. I do believe human beings have a free will. However, nothing can be done against the will of God. However, again I do not believe He sticks His hand in the fish tank and moves the "fish" to action. He rather influences us in certain directions. I do not claim to fully comprehend God, but one thing I do know is that in the end, everything will bring glory to Him. Even things that are against Him will in the end bring glory to God.

          I do agree that some people take predestination and think they are part of the elect so they do whatever pleases them. You are not the only one who shares this opinion. Also any links you leave I will attempt to read, but my schedule is so packed I may not be able to fully read everything.

          I am surprised here, this is my shortest reply yet. This is mostly because I think we are of the same mind set.
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        Oct 30 2011: "I think we are of the same mind set." It certainly seems that way.
        One thing I'm sorry I did not make clear. The fishtank was not to show "He sticks His hand in the fish tank and moves the "fish" to action" It is only to show how, we see, the arm that is stuck into the tank as God, called Jesus. "I and My Father are One" This Trinity of aspects, not persons, is what the link is all about. It also relates that concept to us, as we have a trinity as well.

        And having a free will does not mean that God lets us go, or wander, as we want. He does guide us and protect us every second of our life. He will even allow bad things to happen to us that may make us think a better way. Obviously He is not out to make our life comfortable in the here and now. He is concerned about our eternal happiness, not our temporal comfort.

        There are files on the above link that may explain God in a way you may appreciate (and have time for :) ) but please feel free to browse and see. God gave us all free will and I'm not taking that away at all. This is about making choices, and we cannot make a choice about what we don't know..

        And as you say "some people take predestination.. " etc. Now there is the option of seeing that the literal text has a spiritual level or meaning. I love it! Hope to hear from you soon.
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          Nov 7 2011: Well I have to say I have enjoyed this correspondence and will hope to see you around TED from time to time. Thank you for being courteous:)
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        Nov 7 2011: Thank you Andrew, it was a pleasure to exchange ideas with you and we'll meet again, I'm sure.
        Your kindness is appreciated.
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    Oct 15 2011: Why is it a problem that some thought methodologies are better than other. It allows more mental diversity for one to choose how from. If everyone thinks the same we will always have the same problems and really never know if our ways are the best. However if we are surrounded by people who all think in different ways we can choose the ways that best fit us and bring about the most good. Sure I guess some will be offended but that's the price of progress.
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    Oct 13 2011: . So if the only reason can get along is if we all think alike then we really haven't progressed that far. I don't know why we need different religion maybe to teach us that there are different ways of proccessing reality (some better than others) and we have to figurre out a sensible way to deal with that
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      Oct 14 2011: Some better than others........there is our main problem....Religion is something you cant compare....if i say that my religion is better than your religion....i'm offending you....or other way round....i'm being offended.....
      Hence better to erase the word Religion from every Dictionary.....
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        Oct 17 2011: Sir I would like to ask what makes your view of atheism better than a religion? In your view since no religion is better than the other, would that not make atheism no better than a religion? Or is there a double standard? Furthermore, to erase religion from the dictionary would also mean to erase atheism as well, since it is a belief system.
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          Oct 18 2011: i am sorry but i do not accept that my view is atheism.....all i am saying is why do you need so many religions and so many gods when we can do better with just one...
          and hey if you are comparing atheism to just one religion....they may be the same....
          but if you compare it like..."atheism" Vs "All Religions together" then Atheism is far too better than a religion....at least people would agree with each other....
          you know at some level Religions and Racism are on same lines....only religion is slightly better...that is my view about many religions and my experience with the problems faced...

          and erasing religion and atheism from the dictionary is better than keeping them both....
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        Oct 18 2011: I'm sorry I did not mean to jump to any conclusions, but your arguments appeared atheistic in nature and I assumed that you were in fact an atheist. My apologies.

        However, your statement "but if you compare it like..."atheism" Vs "All Religions together" then Atheism is far too better than a religion....at least people would agree with each other...." is not a good argument I'm afraid because one could also state "[Insert Religion Here] vs all religions together then [religion] is a far too better than those beliefs. At least people would agree with each other" This argument can be used by anyone for any different position.

        Your comparison of religions and racism is also only true for some. Christianity is the prime example against this claim. Through my study of the Bible I have yet to find racism and have found that in fact that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with Jesus Christ. As for other religions, I cannot testify for or against in this matter as I have not studied them intently.

        Now, your view of having one religion is a fantastic idea. This I can agree with fully. The question now is, "Which religion is best?", because we do not want an irrational religion. This would not work well at all. We must find a belief system(as I prefer to call them, the word religion carries an ugly connotation) that provides a basis for the laws of logic, absolute morality, and creation of the universe. For these plainly exist in our world.
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    Oct 13 2011: Yaa .... there are so.... There should be....

    But the thing is there should not be the things like Discrimination, Marginalization and Majoritarianism ....
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      Oct 14 2011: For that people need to be educated properly and made to understand that the purpose of Religion is not Discrimination, Marginalization and Majoritarianism.....although even educated people do that....see my reply to Mr @Frans Kellner...
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        Oct 18 2011: Ya..... truly agree you bro...

        But can this be done in the country like INDIA ???
        This will be the biggest question among all .....

        I think one should add this question to TED ... !
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    Oct 13 2011: umm...you can make anything into a religion if you want.

    The more religions, the more the discrimination and problems in society....

    you mean more discrimination and problems than a less religious society?

    umm... not necessarily(you can look at some athemism nations) The human imperfection finds its expressions in every

    way no matter how people identify themselves .Religion is just a noun. It dosent discriminate or "creat" problems itself.
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      Oct 13 2011: Yeah...Religion is supposed to be a noun...and it shouldn't create problems by itself...but its the people following the religion and miss interpreting it which creates problems...i know of many people who do not go to a church because they are not christian...or muslims do not go to temple because they are not hindu...
      people in india do not get a job if they belong to a particular religion....these problems still exist...
      i'v been through it myself...i know such people with wrong Religious believes....Every Religion have their own "GODs"
      they dont believe in other GODs....some how its funny to me...and its stupid as well....dont you think??
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        Oct 13 2011: It's not funny and not stupid.
        People try to care for their own kind and are cared for in return.
        So with more religions at one place you can divide people economically.
        It is or has been everywhere that way.

        Here in The Netherlands as I was a child things were just as you describe.
        Catholics, Protestants, Reformed, Apostolic, they all lived in their own society, went to their own churches and schools, married with people of the same faith, worked with employers from the same faith and so on. That's all vanished now.
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          Oct 14 2011: @Frans Kellner: Well Sir....its great that it has vanished at your place....its an exception i'd say....over here in INDIA and many other countries where my friends stay...i get to know that its still the same old conditions....we need education to help...some people who are educated like you and me will understand that Religion is not supposed to be for discriminating among people. ...but also there are educated people (A principal of a school i know of, a employer that i know of, ....many more ) who do not get that and still follow "My Religion is better than others" idea...
          So i feel that the root cause of all this discrimination has always been and still is many RELIGIONs...
          yeah one more thing....over here there are reservations of seats in schools and colleges and offices for people belonging to certain caste and religion...considered to be lower in stature than other castes...can you believe that...its a fact which could be a problem for me if i'm not in the top bracket of performers...because i do not get reservations...no matter how smart i may be...i do not belong to that Religion...