In the name of God

Disclaimer : This post neither preaches nor condemns any religion or the existence of god. It merely tells my own short story, in my own words. So, don’t leave hateful comments. I am a very sensitive. (Just gulp it down on a lighter note!) 😛

When I was eight years old, I remember going to a pilgrimage, high in the mountains. I remember hiking 13 kms (one way) on my own feet and how terribly drained I was. My lovely fellas overestimated my abilities. I wasn’t a sporty kid and that long walk took a toll on my baby muscles. I kept halting every five minutes while they motivated me to chant the name of god. So, I sang along and crawled for another five minutes until I came to the next halt. I kept wondering why reciting the name of god doesn’t work for me. It clearly did wonders for all others on that pilgrimage. 🙄

And then, after a day long hike, when we were just a kilometre away from the holy shrine, I threw a revolt, demanding to sleep. It was peak of the night and everybody knew what this would mean -they would miss the opportunity to see the shrine with an EMPTY QUEUE.

They gave up. Not b’coz they were scared of my rebellion but because they couldn’t carry me on their shoulders. 😆

And we slept in an ashram nearby. For seven whole hours. It seemed like a minute. I was so exhausted! Next morning, we woke up to find a kilometre long queue to the shrine. I remember my fellas being unhappy as they kept moaning – if only I could have walked that one last km. I wasn’t guilty. I was rebellious. I decided to skip walking entirely during the return trip downhill. 😎 They paid someone to carry me on his shoulders, while they all walked along, singing the name of god. That was the first time I questioned my faith in almighty. Does he really exist? Why do we have to go through this pain to see him? Does he even care?

Fast forward two decades. And here I am – An atheist. (agnostic would sound better, more diplomatic. but I like to be honest with myself). I can’t justify my belief or how I ended up being so, but I think atheism is also a faith (in non existence of super power) , just like any other faith you may have. I often wonder about all the things we do in the name of god. Maybe we believe in his existence, maybe we don’t. But, maybe we should question the things we do in his name.

Why do we pump billions into building churches & temples & all those gigantic holy monuments? Do we have such surplus that we can afford the luxury? Why do we politicize religion? Why do we propagate religious riots? Why do we practice rituals that clearly don’t sound logical?Why do we cultivate superstitions that we can’t prove ourselves? Why do we boycott those who question them?And most important, why do all the things that we do in the name of god, go unchallenged?

Do we base our morals & ethics on humanity? Or do they exist to please the gods? Perhaps we induce fear of non compliance under his name? (Is that why we curse about going to hell.). Should we not justify our actions based on how they impact other humans? Or do we want our gods to own our actions? (Gawd! he must be really brave to take responsibility of our holy deeds!)

Things we do in his name!

P.S – I just realized that I am writing this post on the day, when the foundation stone of Hindu temple (Ram Mandir) is being laid. It is a historic moment as this happens almost three decades after the Babri masjid (mosque) was demolished from this exact site (a reason for riots in 1992).

© Copyright 2020. Megha Gupta. All rights reserved.