So much tensions, riots and wars have been caused by religion and philosophy. Religion and philosophy give people meaning to life. They take comfort in them and react violently when there are conflict of beliefs or when faith or religious institutions are threatened. Recently a blogger and a member of parliament was detained under the Internal Security Act because they touched on religious issues. All this is to me is making much about nothing.
I view religion as a form of philosophy. The purpose of philosophy is not to help men find the meaning of life but to prove to them that there isn't any. How do we know there is a heaven or a hell? How do we know what happens when we die? How do we know what God is like? Or what is God? So many definitions, so many explainations. How do we know which philosopher is right? One seems right until we read or hear another. Then both seems not to have it all right when we read another philosopher. What is truth? - was the question Pilate posed to Jesus and Jesus had no answer....I had often wondered why the great Master had no answer to that question. Here was an opportunity to tell the world what is truth and Jesus remained silent. Perhaps it was the wise thing to do as there is....no answer?
It is this insistence of meaning of life that makes man so complicated and confused. Once there is self reliazation i.e. when man realises that, ALONE, he is of no importance whatsoever in the vast scheme of the universe, that no possible significance can be attached to his activities, that it does not matter whether he lives or dies, succeeds or fails, he will become more humble and the world will be better off than it is now. Blessed the humble, they shall inherit the earth! says the Master.
Religion is based on faith or superstition. Philosophy is based on reason. Reason is the most naive of superstitions. It is delusion to believe that things can be understood when in fact the universe is a state of contradiction. It is in the nature of opposites. The duty of philosophers, religous teachers and thinkers is not to explain but to demonstrate that nothing can be explained. The purpose of philosophy is not to seek knowledge but to prove that knowledge is impossible to man because nothing is ever static in the universe. Everything is fluid, in a flux - impermanent. And what happens when philosophy proves that knowledge is impossible to man? What is left? Instinct. We are like the all other living beings- relying on our instincts. We are of the same kind, different only in degree. When in doubt, trust our instincts. Its the only reliable barometer for truth. It is my instinct (it is subjective) that we have to respect each individual and their beliefs. Love thy neighbor. If we love our neighbor, we accept and respect their beliefs and not make fun or critisize them. We can have a sharing of views and be entertained by such fellowships. We let others have the freedom of expression of differing views and we teach society to accept freedom of expression with no threats of detention without trial. A matured society would value transparency, an open sharing of thoughts and beliefs rather than censorship. Our minds are big enough to accept conflict of views. Unity in diversity is a crucial lesson a developed and civilised society needs to learn ever so badly in a world that is getting smaller by the day.