I have been to a missionary school and an RSS-supported school, both places gave me an education. Yes, there were prayer meetings at both places but I never cared about what I was mumbling as I was busy with my friends all the time, for me god was a scary one who spied on you all the time just like the Sports teacher with a stick in hand. God was as mysterious to me in those days as the algebra. I was more curious about Tom sawyer adventures than the speeches of Jesus at a missionary school. I was more obsessed with Sherlock Holmes novels than the rituals performed at Hindu school.
We as kids did not care about cultures, religions, casts, and ideologies. That’s when we were truly human. When I was told Jesus was the only true god at the missionary school, I was confused for the first time why the regular gods at home were not mentioned. So I was reluctant to agree. I was frustrated while listening to an old man giving hate speech on Muslims at the Hindu school after Kargil war, for he himself had stated “Vasudhaiva Kutumbam” or world is one family.
The more I was into religious beliefs, the divide among the people was more visible. I was always asked to shut my mouth and follow what is said by my parents when I questioned them, even when they did answer, the answers were not satisfactory and had no factual evidence. I gave up questioning just like every kid and started believing god, the easiest option available. I was against other religions and took great pride in the cast I belonged to. I was convinced our culture was under threat.
Still somewhere I was reluctant to be so, I was not happy and most of the time I was disappointed. How Hiranyaksha a mythical demon rolled Earth like a carpet and hid it in the seas? How the Noah’s arc was able to hold all the animals on earth at a random location in a 45-foot boat. Why a loving god ordered his followers to kill the nonbelievers.
Then, History started to come up with evidence of religious and racial cruelty. I came to know how Red Indians, Aborigines, Mexican tribes were eliminated by European explorers. How Islamic kings have converted people forcefully and the disgusting practice of untouchability carried on. The painful death sentences given to people who questioned religion etc.
I have realized that I was in support of a system that has done nothing but spreading hatred and divide among people to protect interests of powerful people in its support. Religious beliefs turned me into an idiot while education made me a constant questioner. I was appreciated and encouraged on questioning during science classes, I could feel the difference between religions and science.
I was never told to shut up and listen in science class unless the teacher had no Idea about the subject. I came to know that it’s the same thing with other religions also, there are divisions there too, they were also not allowed to question. This pushed me to look for answers. That was the moment I have decided to go by evidence and not mere fairy tales. I stopped doing poojas, running around trees expecting good times, reading zodiac based future predictions etc.
I started questioning again.
It took me 25 years of education and rational thought process along with the habit of questioning everything to get out of the mire of communal hatred.
Religion stands on two strong pillars
As we humans began to flourish into civilizations, there was a need to inculcate order, since no human was immune to desires and fears, which was realized by few clever people of past, the concept of religion was designed and propagated.
With time, few people wanted to take advantage of this system as they saw profit and a great opportunity to exercise power on large groups of people. During the dark ages, religions flourished like mushrooms, wars and battles happened to impose one’s religion / authority over the other throughout the world.
With the advent of scientific temperament in people, religions are constantly getting punched in the face, with scientific breakthroughs from Heliocentric theory to Gravitational waves.
Once the people get educated enough to realize the facts, it won’t take a long time for religions to fade away.
-Krishna Mohan Vasa