Is Your Child Responsibly Religious?
It is interesting to trace the formation of religions from evolutionary or historical perspectives. Fundamentally source of any religion is a scripture of explanation for “Who is God?”, “What is his nature?” “What is the purpose of life?” “Why are we here on this planet?” etc.
The human mind, being a cause seeking machine must have a source to explain all these metaphysical queries. It is in his nature to attribute the cause of any phenomenon, which cannot be explained by logical faculties of his mind, to some divine entities. According to historians, religions are human attempts to comprehend existence. India has been a land of millions of Gods. All these Gods are nothing but a consequence of this fundamental urge of human intellect to attribute the cause of happenings around him.
In this 21st century, there aren’t many who create Gods or religions. The explosion in science and technology has almost wiped away that trend from society. At present we are rather interested in ferociously interpreting the religions which we follow and safeguard its boundaries. We work hard to explain why we follow a certain religion. And the task is all the more difficult in this era of the scientific revolution. Each moment we have to beat the ramparts of rational (logical) thinking of our brain which is getting mightier than ever, thanks to the evasion of scientific discoveries.
Knitting person and religion
Aligning personal life with religion is rather a skill which parents must teach their wards from the childhood itself. For most parents, religion is the ultimate solution for any complexities of life. Yes, it might be. But effectively figuring out effective solutions for many conundrums of life with the help of religion—it is a skill, learned skill. Blind adherence to religion will not help to develop this skill of “realistically aligning personal life with the religion”.
We, who adhere to a particular religion, weigh our decisions and choices against religious dogmas and rites. It is something we do inadvertently in all walks of our life if we are really religious. The intention behind it is to ensure the compatibility of individual choices with existential laws as explained by religion. It is our way of living in devotion to the deity or god, of the religion.
While doing this, we may flounder in our ways of referring to the religion or deriving succour from it. For instance, we may –
- Export responsibility of our health to God up in the sky.
- Believe in the power of prayer over developing good health habits and remedies…
- Explain away miseries of our neighbours as will or curse of God.
- Attribute cause of illness to the curse of God or the sins our ancestors committed.
- Pawn personal sense of agency to God’s will.
- Overestimate divine intervention and underestimate the personal effort and shy away from persistence and hard work.
These are some behavioural and cognitive patterns inadvertently develop in response to practising religious avocations and dogmas. To be frank, they often hinder the actualization of full potential as human beings. When individuals develop insecurity and never dare to think out of the box the religion has built around their consciousness, religious life narrows down possibilities for ultimate liberation.
I do not mean to say that religion is a hindrance. On the contrary, the fault is in the way an individual interprets the religion and approaches life from an unrealistic frame of reference. Because not all those pursue a particular religion fall prey to rigid choices and become stagnant. There are individuals whose religious life helps them to flourish and liberate. The difference is in the way of juxtaposing life’s realities with realities religion puts forward.
Parenting with religion
It is a hard fact that many parents, instead of teaching the child to draw sustenance for self-empowerment from the religions they follow, create some sense of slavery to the religion.