Religion for many is an obfuscated topic, and therefore, they just take things for granted that are recorded in the scriptures. It renders fear in our heart, and out of fear we designate our time and thought to our creator without having been able to consciously decisive on the existence of any super being, God per say. Our habit of questioning ‘why’ and ‘how’ becomes silent when it comes to the topic of religion, or God as religion prohibits us questioning saying those exercises are equivalent to being suspicious which is a sinful act. Religion teaches us to believe and follow without questioning. It threatens us with severe consequences in case of any doubt in our mind. So, the question is why and how we should, or should we after all believe in something without being inquisitive?
Before even going there, the vital question is what is religion? If it refers to a system of belief, the next question will be why do we need a super being in that system? If religion simply means belief in divinity, then this definition must fulfill our thirst about what is divine, who it is, where does divine reside, which divine power do we believe in as there are numbers of different types of religions around the world for different groups of people, why there is not one religion and divine power people can devote their heart to instead of numerous types. Why is this confusion? Why do we believe in something that we can’t see, feel, hear, or touch?
There’s a belief that religion helps people to deviate from sins and wrong doings. True, to some extent it does, but by keenly analyzing this statement we will see that religion is only 4.5 to 5000 years old, but civilization started 4.5 million years ago. In that case, shouldn’t we ponder about why didn’t the ‘creator’ send someone to guide those people who lived before the beginning of religion? Was s/he lazy then? Or, didn’t think that it will be required to send religion and its’ messenger(s)? In either case, can we then conclude that God did not master the mastery of knowledge, or is not that matriculate as we accredit him/her for? If God makes such faulty decision, then is s/he really that credible after all? On the same note, did we ever think why we don’t have messenger any more for century after century?
It is being stressed by every religion that its’ purpose is to bring peace and harmony to the world. Well, then has it really established a harmonious situation at all? There are different reasons for people being killed, but religion is the prime one that killed and still is killing people in numerous ways. It teaches us to hate and avoid, be malevolent, in cases even to kill people with different religious affiliation. It restricts us to see human beings with their humane, benevolent qualities; instead, it forces us to categorize people based on their religious dogma. That’s why, we see chaos amongst us. Being the beholders of the most complex brain, we, human beings have failed to stand under a uniformed umbrella because of the division engraved in our heads by religion. It not only infested and contaminated our prodigy with extreme animosity and abhorrence coated antagonism followed by egocentrism, but created a rigid wall amongst human beings. At the same time, it coaches us to undermine humanity and embrace atrocity, brutality, hostility, savagery, and so on.
For instance, 1971 is our proudest, yet wistful, melancholic, troubled and disastrous time of all. It gave us independence, a map on the face of the world that cost 30 million people of all ages, social class, gender, religion, and the chastity of 2 million women. The reason lied in socio political, economical injustice and aggression of Pakistan towards the Bengali nation, but as it became intense, religion played a significant role in it. Pakistani Govt. thought of the Bengali to be inferior in every possible way, but religion was one of the vital causes behind such thought. They killed innocent people because they were not Muslim, but killed Bengali Muslims as well in the name of Islam. They wanted the then East Pakistan to be Islam oriented only. The massacre they did is incomparable to anything in the world.
In the name of religion, people are brutally killed, tortured and abused all over the world. It violates people’s rights to enjoy freedom, make free choice, and have conscious decision. However, the most affected group by it is women from the birth of religion up until now. Regardless of types of religions, it restricts them from having a normal life, and gives all power to a man over a woman. This power shifts from that individual female’s father/brother to husband and even to the males of husband’s family. Some notable examples from Quran regarding the roles of women can be as follows: it gives more rights to men than women regarding divorce, while Muslim men can accept up to four wives fulfilling some basic requirements (“It’s ok to have two, three, or four wives, slave or free” 4:3), women have no such right at all, husbands have the power to beat up their wives as needed, a man’s inheritance is twice than the female child of the family (“Males are to inherit twice that of females” 4:11). Not only that, when it comes to witness, two women are equal to a man (a woman is worth one half of a man. 2:282) which undermines their judgment and intellectual abilities (“Women are feeble and are unable to devise a plan” 4:98).
Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism don’t teach us different regarding these views; of course, there are many more proofs of how it lowers women as whole, and some are the extremes of the extreme. By looking at some of the quotes below about women that reflect on their humiliated position in Hinduism and Christianity it becomes clearer how each religion had placed women under the threshold of hatred.
“Father protects (her) in childhood, husband protects (her) in youth, and sons protect (her) in old age. A woman cannot be left unprotected” (Manu Smiriti 9.3).
“Lord Indra himself has said that women have very little intelligence. She cannot be taught”
(Rig Ved 8/33/17).
“Women code says that women are without energy. They should not get a share in property. Even to the wicked they speak in feeble manner” (Yajur Ved 6/5/8/2)
“O Husband protect the son to be born. Do not make him a woman” (Atharva Ved 2/3/23).
Not to mention, the existence of “Sati Partha” was the cruelest of all where a widow woman had to be burnt alive with her husband.
"When [the women] came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven... But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense."--Luke 24:9-11
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiple thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Genesis 3:16).
“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (Corinthians 11:8-9)
“Give me any plague, but the plague of the heart: and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman”. (Eccless. 25:13)
“Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die.” (Eccless. 25:22)
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (Corinthians 11:3)
One can easily be made bombarded by more quotes as the above ones on various issues. Overall, religion confines women in the roles of sinners, vacuous, greedy, source of misdeed and mischief. And, its’ purpose is to make women docile, accommodating to men and their needs, but not limited to those in any case.
Religion hinders us to have a free mind and soul. It influences us negatively while paralyzing our rights to think, question, and comment. It forces us to obey without any doubt, hesitation, and bribes us with greed of rewarding in our afterlife though it fails to prove of its’ existence. It is a poisonous tree that has spread its’ roots and branches, and can harm us by its fruits and seeds. It has engulfed our days and nights with its verses, and made us robotic followers. It made us less humane, while promoting and nourishing an unsound arena of superiority complex in the context of religious differences. So, it is up to us to decide what should we accept and how shall we proceed. Should we blindly believe because religion said so, or should we attempt to justify the statements within our limits? Shouldn’t we lay our eyes on the contrasting factors of science and religion, and then decide which one to choose? In the peak of scientific and technological era we can’t help but being aided by them, but by accepting religious myths as facts, we are not only undermining the contribution of science in our lives, but are taking a hypocritical stand.
One of the 16th century’s most significant philosophers Francis Bacon stated, “Knowledge is power”, but religion stops us from igniting our thirst for knowledge. It offers us an illusion of the utopian society up front, but the underlying current is ignorance, hostility, savagery, division, spiteful behavior, and therefore, cruelty with blindness. It navigates us to the world of unconditional submission. The tool is in our hands to determine its’ effect. We are the ones who will decide if we should ride our cars into the dark tunnel, or choose the radiant ones instead. Bacon also said, “Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased by tales, so is the other”. And, what is religion other than tales that is being applied to frighten us using death and torturous afterlife as the symbols of our destiny if the ‘God’ provided discipline has been violated by us?