Saturday, December 24, 2005

Monotheistic religions

This is from the foreword of The Way to God by Arun Gandhi:

When Grandfather confessed to his Christian friends how much he was impressed by the Sermon on the Mount he was asked, "Why don't you become a Christian?" "When you convince me that all Christians live according to the Sermon on the Mount, I will be the first to change my religion," he responded.

From an idea I got from reading Atanu's blog, the following is a possible debate about monotheistic religions vs. multi-theistic religions:

She: Isn't monotheistic religion much better than multi-theistic religion?

I: I would assume you like democracy better than communism. Yes?

She: Yes.

I: I would also assume that you like a free market rather than a monopoly of the market. Yes?

She: Yes, but what have any of these got to do with religions?

I: In the religious sense, multi-theism is equivalent to democracy in politics and free-market in economics. The moment I get ready to pray to the idols of two gods, which are beside each other, I understand that there are multiple ways to the same truth. It also makes me (and some other people) question: what is the power behind the gods. What are the qualities that can make me a replica of God. That is one advantage of multi-theism. Mono-theism OTOH, has the disadvantage that you have to accept that God is God, because He is God. You accept that apriori. It (monotheism) is good in the sense that, if you understand the core of what He said, to His chosen people, you are at peace. However, if there is some aberration in the communication, either due to the words of the chosen people, or due to your (mis)interpretation, or due to the fact that words donot have the power to communicate some ideas, then you are a dangerous entity. This is because, you believe in something blindly, and believe that it is the only truth.

She: Yes, that's a good analogy. But, idol worship could also go haywire. It could leave confused masses. It could also leave masses who accept anything less than Truth.

I: Yes. good observation. Idol worship could result in masses being ignorant of the truth. However, it is my opinion that it is a less dangerous way.

She: That's right, but how is it less dangerous?

I: Do you agree that middle way of Buddha is a beautiful concept?

She: Yes

I: Do you also agree that it is extremely difficult to practise it?

She: Yes.

I: Do you agree that multi-theism is more middle-wayed than mono-theism?

She: Yes. So, you are saying that as moderation in everything is what Buddha preached, mono-theism is a non-middle-wayed-way. The opposite of which is multi-theism.

I: Yes multi-theism is inherently more moderate and more tolerant that mono-theism and should be practised when there is a choice between the two.

From Atanu's blog, I got the link to a blog which opposes Monotheistic religions tooth and nail: It is Monotheism is evil. Though some ideas on that blog are extreme, have a set of valid points.

The following is a quote from the movie Gandhi:

I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you.

1 comment:

amar said...

What the world is facing is a fight between an extreme form of monotheism and tolerance.

The following excerpt from an article of Thomas Friedman on NYTimes maybe relevant. It was published in July-15-2005 and titled "A Poverty of Dignity and a Wealth of Rage".

Also at work is Sunni Islam's struggle with modernity. Islam has a long tradition of tolerating other religions, but only on the basis of the supremacy of Islam, not equality with Islam. Islam's self-identity is that it is the authentic and ideal expression of monotheism. Muslims are raised with the view that Islam is God 3.0, Christianity is God 2.0, Judaism is God 1.0, and Hinduism is God 0.0.

Part of what seems to be going on with these young Muslim males is that they are, on the one hand, tempted by Western society, and ashamed of being tempted. On the other hand, they are humiliated by Western society because while Sunni Islamic civilization is supposed to be superior, its decision to ban the reform and reinterpretation of Islam since the 12th century has choked the spirit of innovation out of Muslim lands, and left the Islamic world less powerful, less economically developed, less technically advanced than God 2.0, 1.0 and 0.0.