is a paradox in itself. While it is a very personal thing, it also
affects the lives of many millions all over the world. Religion,
although of a spiritual nature, is manifested physically countless of
times throughout history, whether it is in the guise of a person or an
entire country. Lastly, while religion is mainly in the mind, a
somewhat ‘mental' creation of man, it is all too real in the modern


religion is a means where man can face his own inner demons and battle
against his morals and conscience in peace. Through the act of
conferring with a higher power, justified or not, man has sought advice
throughout the centuries to deal with matters in their own lives, be
they mundane or essential. It is a sanctified area of the mind where
man can retreat in solitude to be alone with his god, away from the
bustle of daily life. Well-founded or not, a religion can provide
comfort and solace in times of mortal danger or great stress. A person
is never ever truly turned away from his personal god, and many a soul
has found peace and acceptance in his religion.

the current era, fundamentalism and extremism are on the rise.
Religions, especially the major ones, are closing ranks rapidly to weed
out ‘negative' external influences. One particularly great problem
resulting from the rise of fundamentalism is linked to that of
religious texts. The Bible, for Christians. and the Koran, for Muslims,
in particular, have been greatly misinterpreted throughout the years by
religious fundamentalists. In fact, some parts of these religious texts
have even been selectively ignored in favor of more ‘agreeable'
information. The ‘Thou shalt not kill' commandment in both the Bible
and the Koran perfectly illustrates the point. It must be noted that
throughout history, more people have been killed in the name of God
rather than anything else. Hence, it seemed that this ‘technical
legality' contains in it a caveat of sorts which involved the possible
‘bending' of the rules to justify one's cause. Misinterpretation of
one's religion has led to many conflicts all over the world.

In the recent furore over the publication of the Danish cartoons that were said to have ‘infringed'
on the ‘delicate sensibilities' of Muslims worldwide, it seemed that
someone failed to remind the fundamentalists of what the Koran
specifically said with regards to such situations. In fact, the Koran
advocated the rights of the non-believers and constantly preached that
a proper Muslim should be able to take criticism in his stride and
ignore it. Numerous examples exist in the Koran where the Prophet
Muhammad demonstrated such wisdom, but sadly, it is ignored by the
Muslim fundamentalists today, many of whom still mislead the masses
with their crass behaviors.

is also a highly effective way to manipulate the masses and dominate
over people who are uneducated. The famous writer Rudyard Kipling was
partially right when he wrote ‘East is East and West is West and never
the twain shall meet.' In the current era of globalization and the
seemingly ‘shrinking' of the world, it is inevitable that religions and
civilizations collide. The main religions of the West, Christianity,
and that of the East, Islam, have in particular seen numerous disputes
breaking out over issues that were not of any particular importance.

The enormous similarities that both religions share due to them
originating from the same branch of Zoroastrian beliefs do not help
either. Thus, a tussle for power and seniority is prevalent among
followers of both religions, driven on by fundamentalists hell-bent on
seeing their own religion standing victoriously over the dead lifeless
body of the other. Religion is often used to persuade the common people
to do things they would not normally do rationally, a somewhat macabre
manipulation of a person's beliefs by promising them rewards in an
intangible ‘after-life'. It is only through such vile machinations of
the mental makeup of a person that suicide bombings occur in the Middle

The suicide bombers were manipulated and exploited by their inadequate
grasp of their religion to believe that by causing maximum damage to
their enemies upon their deaths, they will die as martyrs and would be
presented with countless rewards when they reach Heaven. Such is the
blind devotion to their cause that many of them willingly lay down
their lives on a fool's errand without a blink of an eye. However, many
a time, the chief casualties consist of innocent woman and children of
the same religion, a mistake written off as ‘a sacrifice that has to be
made for the greater good'. It is only when religions come to the fore
and aids the diabolical teachings of some misguided people that such a
callous statement can occur. Hence, even indirectly, religion has led
to the ruin and death of many men, with more to come in the future.

teaching of Science has not been spared from the biased taint of
religion. Once an antithesis to Science, religion has now started to
play a role in many American classrooms. Numerous Christian community
leaders, especially those residing in the Bible Belt, have called for
the teaching of Intelligent Design during Science lessons, on par with
Darwin's widely accepted and esteemed Theory of Evolution. Intelligent
Design or ID is just a front for the story of Creation in the book of
Genesis, in the Bible. The farce that resulted can only be described as
an affront to scientific beliefs in education. Scientists throughout
the world regardless of race or religion protested, stating in no
uncertain terms that doing so would represent a step-back for Science,
a setback in its development. The spreading of religion into secular
fields of our lives is also widely denounced by people who believe that
religion and education should be separated, not intertwined. This
debacle is further debated by the fact that Intelligent Design is
slanted towards Christianity while ignoring the various creation
theories of other religions.

is shown to be prone to misinterpretation and even worse, the
interpretation to follow one's own whims and needs. It also presented
itself as having a strong helping hand behind numerous deaths and
conflicts throughout mankind's history. Lastly, it is encroaching on
the progress of humanity in the field of Science by presenting itself
as a valid alternative to the more orthodox theories of our world which
are backed up by credible evidences and rigorous testing.

The world would be a much more decent place, if not better, without religion. Religion
is a prime avenue of exposing and highlighting our differences rather
than giving priority to our similarities. Instead of becoming more
civil, religions have torn civilizations apart, based on nothing more
than our beliefs.

What do YOU think? Keep your comments flowing as ALL opinions are equally valued!