Truth Is Illusion without Wisdom

By Nargis Khatoon and Sanya Kashyap

(20/05/2020 20:00 IST)

A youngster, Abhijeet Sadhukhan, 23 years old was hired to roam in the streets as Yamraaj (god of death) costume. Why?

Mr. Sadhukhan used to work as a bouncer in a club, but in lockdown he lost his previous job and then was offered with this job to spread awareness about corona virus disease by few local clubs. The purpose of roaming in the streets in Yamraaj costume was to convey the message that they (people) are playing with their lives by getting outside. This is how religious mythology was used to create awareness.

Religion teaches us morals, humanity, love and to live in harmony, during this pandemic communities are also making efforts by attending online prayers, praying at home and maintaining social distancing. Communities are making efforts, especially Sikh community in India, which is famous for its bravery and helpful nature, again it stood out of the crowd by risking their own lives and serving the needy by feeding them and providing shelters too.

COVID 19 has strained the entire world and unfortunately this struggle is for a long time to be dealt with, countries are already struggling with their ongoing challenges, some understand the graveness of the situation, but some don’t and are giving worth to only faith over wisdom which is worsening the situation:

In Israel, a small group of orthodox Jews has refused government’s ban on gatherings.

The issue which has been making the breaking news in India, Tablighi Jamaat, a religious gathering which was held in March in Delhi’s Nizamuddin and as consequence COVID 19 positive cases appeared in major number (accounting for 30% of the total cases in the country as of 4th April). This gathering also took place in other countries like Pakistan and Malaysia with similar results.

A religious gathering at the Shincheonji, Church of Jesus in South Korea created the same problem (at one point accounted for half of all cases in South Korea) that was in early March before the WHO’s declaration that the world is going through a pandemic.

A few Christians in the US have also refused the ban on gathering in churches they don’t want online prayers, even few preachers are asking their followers to attend church gatherings. Rodney Howard Browne (Christian evangelist) was finally arrested in due to same.

In Punjab, Baldev Singh attended a large Sikh religious gathering named Hola Mohalla and later died due to corona virus, after that around 40,000 people were quarantined.

In Kerala, 28 people were arrested, including temple trust office- bearers when a crowd of Hindus gathered at the Malayinkeezhu Shree Krishna swami temple.

In all around the world such issues are taking place; no religious sect is free from blind faith. Such faith is just increasing the burden which is already loaded with enough challenges.

Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.

-Bruce Springsteen

Blind faith in anything, will get you killed, but right now the phase we are going through our blind faith can kill our near and dear ones too. This kind of faith can lead people to indulge in absurd actions, for instance; cow urine drinking in India in the belief that it can cure the disease. Apart from this it can create conflicts between communities and can even lead to increase in crimes.

Blind faith destroys one’s wisdom and kills rational thinking.

In Pakistan, a clergy warned the people by saying, “to avoid mosques on Friday would only invite the god‘s wrath at a time when people need his mercy.” And a trader states, “We cannot skip Friday prayers because of the fear of Coronavirus, instead, we should gather in even larger numbers in mosques to pray to God to protect us from this fatal disease.”

Though the intentions are not evil, but good intentions do not mean that it can result any good at all.

Circumstances like these are bound to happen when people doubt mankind's capability to control the situation and leave everything upon the higher power, if it even exists, and lose their trust in science and technology regardless of their exceptional achievements.

People have to rethink their religious practices and determine what is essential and what is habitual.

-Nidhal Guessoum

Although faith is important for the peace of mind, excessive faith in anything that leads you to lose the touch of reality is extremely dangerous. Self-efficacy is highly important when it comes to combating situations like these instead of losing hope. Mentality like "things will happen when and where God wants it" is very toxic when you violate national protocols in the name of god. Instead of bettering the situation, as people might ironically expect after disregarding the rules of social distancing, the situation has only worsened, as mentioned above. While the question “will god intervene and get rid of the pandemic if many people offer heartfelt prayer” is a matter of faith, it is also a very uncertain one to ask, and assuming the answer to be yes has risked many lives across the globe.

It’s not that social distancing is against any of the major religions around the world, in fact, most religions even preach the idea of social distancing, in order to spend more time with yourself to achieve enlightenment. Evidently, these religions wouldn’t even be born if it weren’t for social distancing. Buddha, Prophet Muhammad and Moses, all of them attained enlightenment while being away, practicing what some people today refuse to. To illustrate more, Indian mythology is full of instances of sages meditating on isolated mountain tops, Shiva is the biggest example.

No one is prohibiting practice of faith in the comfort of your home, in whatever solitude and tranquility you can find. Therefore, to say that social distancing comes between religion and religious people is an unreasonable acquisition to make.

About Authors.

Nargis Khatoon

Desk Editor

Sanya Kashyap

Desk Editor

References.

  • www.patch.com
  • www.firstpost.com/opinion
  • www.qz.com/india
  • www.thelogicalindian.com/news
  • www.thehindu.com/opinion
  • www.opindia.com
  • www.theprint.in/opinion
  • www.nytimes.com
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