Misusing religions to achieve personal goals | Daily News

Misusing religions to achieve personal goals

Unity in diversity, our strength.
Unity in diversity, our strength.

This is Sri Lanka. The majority population of this country are Sinhala Buddhists. Sri Lanka is also home to Tamils, Muslims, Malays and Burghers in addition to Buddhists. It is the same with Thailand, Bhutan and Burma etc. All of them are Buddhist countries. The majority of Indians are Hindus. There are Islamic countries in the world and there are Catholic and Christian countries as well. There are a handful of non-religious individuals in all those countries.

Sri Lankan people mainly adherents of Buddhism. Sri Lankan Muslims freely practice Islam. Sri Lankan Tamils freely practice Hinduism while Sri Lankan Catholics and Christians also practice their religious faiths without any problems. By now there are many other sub sects of all those religions which have worshipers and religious institutions. In addition to these, there are non-religious individuals. But each and every individual should respect the country’s law, cultures and religions no matter what his/her personal belief is.

There’s an old American saying, “your freedom ends where my nose begins.” In the 19th Century, it was a reminder of the limits that necessarily exist for all freedoms. “You can swing your arms, but you are not free to punch someone else’s nose,” explained a judge.

The Sri Lankan Constitution protects Buddhism and freedom of believing and worshiping all the other religions has been ensured through the Constitution. But the current Sri Lankan Constitution does not permit anyone to defame any religion. It is considered a crime. The Profane Publications Act Number 41 of 1958 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act number 56 of 2007 very clearly state that no one can defame any religion.

Why are we talking about this topic today? It is because some people freely defame some religions while some other individuals try to declare the sole ownership of religions all the time with various objectives in mind. It is very interesting to analyze this matter because it reveals the personality of those individuals and organisations which defame religions and those who try to declare that the real religions are with them and not with officially recognized religious institutions and clergy.

Certain individuals and organisations mainly defame Buddhism and sometimes some individuals and organisations defame other religions as well. Buddhism is at the receiving end of all defamatory acts of individuals and organisations because it is not a religion but a philosophy. Anyone is free to follow it or not. No one gets cursed or punished for not following it. The foundation of this philosophy is ‘Ahinsa’ (Kindness).

It is very interesting to find out who defames religions. People have never seen educated, reputed and popular figures defame any religion. It is because such persons do not have anything to gain through defaming a religion. They are already there and they already have required popularity and they can get the citizenship of any country at any time due to their recognition. Seeking asylum is not relevant to them at all. Money is nothing for them and they do not need to earn money by using religions. It is because they have all the other income generating avenues. They are qualified and talented.

But it is not so for some other individuals. They do not have paper qualifications and they are not talented at all. They know nothing about any professional fields such as medicine, engineering, arts etc. They cannot act or sing. They know no craft at all. Due to their weak bodies, they cannot indulge in any sport or do anything to capture attention. Their appearance is not pleasant at all. No one likes them as individuals. At least they do not know how to win people using positive things. Due to this reason, they hate almost everything and everyone. Some of them do not have homes and families.

Such individuals can do one thing. That is using social media to propagate evil. They just want a smart mobile phone and that is all required for them to win the world through cultivating hatred toward all and everything inside ordinary people’s minds for no reason. They can very easily do this while resting in their bed. The entire country and the world got to know several such individuals during the recent so-called ‘Aragalaya’. They were ‘nobody’ before the so-called ‘Aragalaya’ and they became ‘somebody’ after the so-called ‘Aragalaya’. Now they think they are the ‘ones’ and ‘Apithamai hondatama kale’ (we did it most successfully).

Anyone who is ‘nobody’ can become ‘somebody’ using anything but they cannot hurt the ordinary people or they cannot defame religions. They should not sling mud at others to become ‘somebody’. There are adequate laws here in Sri Lanka to control such individuals but no one is interested in implementing them until an individual or an organisation come forward and make a formal complaint. This part of the existing law in Sri Lanka should be changed with immediate effect.

The Government and the law enforcement authorities should be allowed to start an investigation immediately without a formal complaint whenever something is reported in the main media or in the social media.

If the Government and the relevant authorities can implement this strategy, social media will have self-control soon because no one likes to get punished and be in prison for ten years. But all will love to get free publicity while getting arrested and the Government and the relevant authorities should create a special system to prevent main media and social media covering the moments of arresting such individuals and bringing them to courts and transporting them back after court proceedings.

It is more interesting to examine how these types of individuals and organisations mushroom without any problem. The very first reason is the level of ordinary people’s low level of education. The second reason is the ignorance of top religious leaders in the country who should safeguard their religions. The last reason is not implementing relevant rules and regulations properly by relevant authorities.

Although Sri Lanka’s literacy rate is above 92 percent, the ordinary people of this country are more attached to their respective cultures than their religions. Even VVIPs believe in cultural things rather than religions. This is the reason for them to believe in the middlemen of religions rather than the sacred religious books, historical documents and educated religious leaders. This is why they believe myths and mythical practices.

Nowadays Buddhists believe in various individuals more than Buddhist monks and believe in the various powers of various individuals rather than the willpower of themselves. But no religion on earth teaches us to believe anything or anyone else other than yourself, god of the relevant religion and the basics of relevant religions. But what is happening today is people believe everything and everyone other than the original religions. This is the base for all types of troubles.

On the other hand, top religious leaders of all religions should protect their religions against all types of threats and they must protect their worshipers from crooks and all types of businessmen and businesswomen. This is something that should be done immediately by all top religious leaders in all religions in Sri Lanka considering it as an urgent matter. A proper guidance should be provided for the people by religious leaders in connection with their religions. Leaders of all religions should get together to do this.

According to historical Buddhist books and documents, the Buddha has mentioned about the current situation of Sri Lanka and the world in ‘Uttara Sutta’ (Uththara Suthraya). In Uttara Sutta, the Buddha had stated that in future certain individuals will tell people that ‘the real Buddhism is only with me and therefore come to me and believe me’. It is happening today in front of our own eyes. Everyday we watch this over the television. Every night we see over the television how an individual claims a pure religion as his/hers. In history, King Dharmashoka had chased away 60,000 Buddhist monks from the Buddha Sasana because they were not fit to be Buddhist monks. The Government and the Buddhist religious leaders can take those historical facts mentioned in historical Buddhist books and documents as examples and act accordingly.

The last reason is the most important factor when it comes to protecting ordinary people and VVIPs against crooks. It is implementing the country’s relevant laws swiftly without leaving any loopholes for the crooks to mislead the innocent ordinary people and well educated VVIPs. The law enforcement mechanism should have a proper system to monitor ‘religious crooks’ and ‘mud slingers’ without waiting for someone to come forward and make a formal complaint. 

Add new comment