Is Religion the Root Cause of Much Evil in this World?
In this article, I will talk about my views on whether religion is the root cause of much evil in this world and if not, what is the real cause of evil in this world. I will also discuss the possible solution to destroy this evil. Keep in mind that neither I did PhD on studying evil, nor these are observed autobiographically in my life. These observations are made when I spent time in solitude praying, while caring about and observing those who are suffering.
I started playing cricket when I was studying my fifth standard. As my home was right next to a school playground, whenever any of my friends played there, I too would join them most of the times. We had often played for more than 12 hours in a day even in scorching summer. Now that's a hot game.
My friends and I often had put money into cricket and played 'bet' matches. Once I invested Rs.2/- in a match that we played against another school, and after winning I received Rs.4/-. I was thrilled. Then I invested Rs.4/- and we won again, and I got Rs.8/-. That inspired me even more.
My mother did not like it when she had learnt that I was playing bet matches. She strictly warned me not to play for money, and to play only for fun. Whenever I left home for playing cricket, and she had any doubts on me, she asked me if I were going to play bet matches. As I didn't want to offend her, I would say "No bet matches'" aloud but also add by murmuring (so she could not hear) "Just kidding. Yes, I am going to play a bet match". In that way, I used to feel righteous because I did not actually tell a lie. Or sometimes I invested in bet matches indirectly through my friends. So I thought I was still being a good boy following my mother's advice, because I did not invest directly.
It surprises me when people blame on religion as the source of much evil in this world. They would say often "Think of all the bad things that happened in the name of religion". Really? We need to remember that there were millions of murders and bad things happened too without involvement of any religion. We should not forget the fact that there were many acts of kindness done too in the name of religion. I am convinced that when people want to do something, they will go ahead and do no matter what. Just like when I wanted to play bet matches, I went ahead and played using different strategies in my childhood :)
People just use religion as the means to fulfill their evil desires. The problem is not with the religion, but with the people; I mean people with the bad motives. All the evil problems in this world can be sourced back to such people. When we dig deeper, the real source of these problems is the corrupted heart. A person with a corrupted heart is very dangerous; first to himself/herself and then to the world. Such dangerous people are everywhere, even among us, looking like saints or normal people. Corrupted heart generates either false strength such as pride/self-centeredness or false weakness such as guilt/fear.
Where there is a problem, there is a solution. Since the problem is with the heart, the solution has to do with the heart too. Any solution that does not work on the source lasts only temporarily. How can then a corrupted heart be repaired? By experiencing a divine love. This is perfectly exemplified by a loving relationship with the Creator through His Son Jesus Christ whom He sent in the fullness of time. Sometimes such divine love can be seen in humans even in those who do not know Christ. I believe that such people will learn to appreciate Christ if someone teaches them properly. Only the divine love of Christ has the power to change a corrupted heart fully into a new heart of obedience and love.
This process is called “born again". This rebirth has nothing to do with, to born again as an animal or a bird. This rebirth happens when the old self of self-centeredness and guilt is killed; not by our own will, but by letting God do it. If our will has anything to do here, it is only about being open to be molded with what He wants to do with us. There are no strong or weak people when it comes to 'will' here; only child-like or stubborn people. God prefers the former and chooses such people into His Kingdom.
In conclusion, I don't think it is wise to say that religion is the source of much evil in this world. All the evil in this world originated primarily from the corrupted hearts. If any evil seemed to have resulted from any religion, it is only that the religion is used as a means, to achieve the evil goal.
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