Ultimate authority over all religions must rest with state

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By Udayshanker Kasinadhuni    
Via e-mail

Hinduism is not a monotheistic, or more appropriately,a monolithic religion unlike other Indian or non-Indian religions.

Christianity without Christ, Islam without Mohammad — the Prophet, Buddhism without Buddha, Jainism without Mahavira, Sikhism without Guru Nanak, will certainly have an identity crisis.  Hinduism too can have the same fate if it also believed in this kind of idolatry of their respective founders.

Democracy is all about people, and religion is about individual conscience or God. Religion should be about  one’s free will and individual freedom. All attempts to organize people in the name of religion will only foster alienation and contempt for each other. Man is the only intelligent being on Earth and even so we are still trying to live with each other more amicably and peacefully, without conflicts though not with much success.

No religion worth its name was ever designed to be secular. Tolerance of another religion was always considered a sign of weakness and never as some misperceived moral superiority.

Humanity, as an intelligent race, should be united together instead of divided in the name of nationalism or religions. All divisions — national or religious — will only result in conflicts and tensions. However, such utopia is no more than a pipedream of unrealistic proportions. Tole-rance is certainly not a virtue if it comes from a state of vulnerability and weakness.

The claim for tolerance loses its credibility if we allowed ourselves to be ruled by an enemy so few in number for such a long time in history.

All impositions in the name of religion impinge on individual freedom and hence by definition unholy and irreligious. Instead, governments must put their trust in mass education of people in the fundamentals of civics, ethics and laws of the land. All religions must be forced to abide by the laws of the land pertaining to national safety and integration.

Organized religions must enjoy no more freedom than that of an individual citizen. No religious leader must be considered above law. Citizens must have the ultimate freedom for or from any religion. It should not be an illegal crime or a religious sin to be an atheist or an agnostic.

Democracy is the brain-child of Western countries and it was not based on secularism but on the principle of — government of the people, by the people and for the people, and only in that sense interference by religious figure-heads was not permitted. However, it is becoming increasingly clear why a secular democracy is the only the best available form of government for civilized societies today.

The state, in the interest of people, must have the ultimate authority over all religions of the land for they should not become fascist organizations.

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