I recently had a breakdown of sorts, and the stifling confines of my room tightened its shadows on me, as I desperately tried to get out of that place. But where would I have gone? I certainly had no means to a Tesla or the unending country roads to hit like BoJack Horseman, so I ended up quietly muffling my screams in my pillow. And while I was grappling with desperation to end my life, my eyes met God’s. Before I venture any further with the narrative, I must tell you that I am the son of a devout Hindu, so it is quite natural for the walls of my room to be installed not with posters of cool bands and stuff but with posters of cool swagger Gods. My mother, who I dearly adore, has tried her fair share and beyond to turn me into a devout as herself, but has not fared so well yet. The least I could do was not frustrate her attempt at installing Durga’s (a Hindu Warrior Goddess) poster in the most visible spot in my room. Initially, her belief was that it would aid me to gradually turn into a god-fearing inmate as herself, but now she has given up all hopes on me and doesn’t care as long as I do no harm to her or society in general―especially by spreading or committing blasphemies.
Now, when my eyes met God’s, I felt the excruciating urge to ask for her help–putting myself in another struggle with my rational self–which clearly has not yet accredited any credibility to the existence of any such deity and considers it a sham. There, in the midst of this struggle, both my selves settled on a critical question: why is faith important if it is a scam? To answer this, I had to first address the victims of atheism: the millennial or Generation Y. As evidenced by memes, a more than qualified instrument to gauge the collective mindset of the globalised culture of the millennial, we are all pseudo-nihilists and pseudo-existentialists with no particular belief system.
This culture of disbelief is a stark characteristic of this generation and is so as a consequence of science, which has with all its enigma deinstitutionalised the notion of religion or anything that it entails. Now, what I have to ask here is, if it has deinstitutionalised the institutions of faith, what does it provide us in return? What does it offer us to cling on to when we are at our worst? Does it offer itself us a replacement or does it offer the idea that we are apex beings and nothing is higher than us? Now, although I am not in denial of science’s contributions towards human society, what my problem is that science is at the end of the day esoteric, exclusive. It is not everyone’s club to join, and so the multitude with all its disillusionment is without a purpose.
Science has taught us that we exist for no purpose and our existence is more of a chance happening than something in the blueprint of a god. Science has since its birth marshalled forward to perish existing belief systems, appropriating the office of the apex belief system to itself. No wonder why such extreme efforts are made for space expeditions, it is because science has run out of things to unravel; science has run out of purpose as well but is simply continuing with the faith in its purpose of serving mankind in ways greater than itself. Ironically enough, while science has robbed us of the notion of faith and belief and has left us naked to the vile truth of the universe, it has itself nestled in the belief of something greater.
Here we understand the importance of faith or communal belief systems. I am not a student of theology so pardon my ill-service towards what I am going to say, but, in my belief, communions or religions have existed since societies were conceived for a very real reason. A society just like any organisation is unmanageable without a fixed set of rules and morality that everyone who is a part of such has to adhere to. This fixed set of rules and conduct of morality has with time festered into unquestionable beliefs called religions. Now, where religions came in handy back in the day was that they gave men a sense of purpose. And, as is evident, man needs a purpose to go on in life. The piety towards those set of rules existed because men believed that we exist for a purpose and by following those rules we would have served that purpose and at last be in the hands of Nirvana or whatever it is called around the world. I am not at all bailing religion out of the many evils it has committed, but what good it has reaped has to be stated. Religion’s greatest victory was that it took the human psyche into consideration, unlike science, and pandered to our greatest need, the need for validation. Now, this might seem like a coarse conclusion, but this is what it is. Human species, in general, has the vehement need to be validated, of our deeds in particular and existence in general. It is this need for validation that gave birth to the question of “What is the purpose of life?” And that is where many irrational beliefs of religion come into aid. Reason gives us the validation we require in life and also places us in the hands of faith which can get us through our most devastating times—giving us meaning and purpose throughout all of it.
Now, it may seem like I am antagonising science and making religion the protagonist, but that is not the case. I am simply defending the case of religion where it is due: it has given men a purpose and a belief in the fallacy that there is something higher than us who is watching over us in our thinnest of times. Some might argue here that it is better to be out of the shackles of religion and feel liberated at being able to create our own purpose as Nietzsche proposed, I argue otherwise. What Nietzsche has proposed doesn’t apply to the multitude; the multitude isn’t capable enough to create their own purpose in life and requires a master to guide them. Imagine a herd of sheep bound by fences - they stay in it, they work in it, and one day, a novel sheep kills the master and breaks the fence and opens the sheep to an unending expanse. Although at first, the change might enthral them, slowly they’d start feeling lost and purposeless, because now they do not serve anything or anyone and are simply roaming free. After a while, they scamper in insanity to find a purpose, but due to their limited intelligence and faculties, they fall short. It goes fairly Orwellian from there, the sheep, tired of such liberty again hands themselves over to a new master, and that master in our case is science. Although science has done great services to the society and we have enjoyed such for a long time, we now have come to a standstill where nothing makes sense anymore and our existence is boiled down to absurdity.
So, although religion has propagated many evils, it has time and again given men purpose and a much needed coping mechanism to deal with their problems. And now that we are disillusioned and hopeless, it might not do us much harm to commit the psychological suicide that Albert Camus proposed, because unlike those thinkers, we are a herd of simpletons with limited faculties. But that is not possible at this stage, so I guess we are simply doomed with depression. All we can simply do is stall our time by looking at memes.
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