Saturday, August 16, 2008

Live to Die? No, Live Forever!

Above were the words on a pamphlet handed to me a few days ago as I was walking on Commercial Street.
Science has advanced in so many directions, even to exploring space - but the subject of DEATH remains largely unexplored. Few are the doctors, scientists and philosophers who have studied the subject of Death - of the phenomenon of Death itself and of what happens after Death. Scientists are ever expounding to the world truths about the human body and its brief existence on this planet, about the atoms, and about natural cataclysms - but little is taught about this terrible end called Death that comes to every man.
Religious fundamentalists have long stopped considering science as something they can condemn, or even make people condemn. Some time during the battle between religion and science, science won, not in the sense that the battle succeeded in getting many to abandon blind faith, but that religious people now began to accept science (while not letting go of religion) and people who favored scientific and rational thought in the first place, have long abandoned religious ideas.

The stance changed from 'There is no science' to 'There is science in religion too'.
So now how could we still incorporate something scientific into our teachings, and yet make it sound like we're the ones to follow?
And then the answer, that comes, I presume, after extensive research, is Death.
.. One person alone has unlocked the mysteries of Death and revealed to mankind the "New and Living way" to life and immortality..
Since you can guess the rest, I won't quote it.
But it was distasteful. The common man is afraid of death. To play on a person's fears to convert them to a particular religion is distasteful. It is just not right. Our country grants you the right to follow whatever religious practices you might want to. But to mislead and market a religion taking advantage of the vulnerable man's fear of death is wrong.

I disapprove of trying to convert people to another religion in a way that one would want to take over the world. If you want to co-exist with science, you can also co-exist with other religions.

It reminds me of childhood days where all of us had come up with explanations of why we all prayed to different Gods. There is only one God we believed, we all just have different versions of him. No one wondered why the one God wanted to go through the trouble of being available in different versions to different people on the earth and yet didn't want to actually show himself. A lot of things didn't add up, but we were peace-loving, unquestioning good kids who didn't try to one up each others deities. We had a lot of respect for one another.

Wonder what happened to that kind of thinking.


Jayanth T N said...

Brilliant post. I totally agree. In fact, it isn't just death that the fundamentalists use; any sort of misfortune would do. But, what is more poignant than death?

The Mad Hatter said...

Only tangentially related, but if you haven't watched Julia Sweeney's stuff yet, please do.
(a lot of it is available on youtube)

I think she's the ambassador the atheist/agnostic community needs. She's normal, funny, and able to meaningfully relate to the pathos of death, mortality and loss and the linkage of all that to religion. She is also a heck of a lot more likeable than the intellectual alpha-males that form the vanguard.

Suprita said...

"we were peace-loving, unquestioning good kids who didn't try to one up each others deities. We had a lot of respect for one another.

Wonder what happened to that kind of thinking."

.. I keep searching for that answer as well. Sigh..

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