Why is religious studies necessary?

Despite excited and zealous slogans about erasing religion from human society with the advent of industrial and scientific eras, religion and religious values ​​stare confidently at such claims. Nothing has stopped people from being religious. The reality is that religion is not a work of man. It has a supernatural essence and origin. There is no alternative to religion because if religion is abandoned by force and coercion then people would appreciate any other ideology as religion like communism, capitalism, materialism or nationalism often gains a religious fervor among their adherents. No Friedrich Nietzsche, no August Comte, no James Frazer, no Bertrand Russell, and no Richard Dawkins could stop people from being religious. The reason is not that people are fools or superstitious or lacking in intellect, but that such intellectuals overestimate their own intellect. The reality is that religion is as real as any other human institution, and the necessity of religion is not to please yourself, but to make your own society an abode of love, harmony and order. No law or ordinance encourages a person to do or seek good for others but religion! Religion teaches selflessness and activism to help others. The motivation and conviction that religion evokes in people to engage in peaceful relationships, charitable works, volunteerism, fair dealings, no other mechanism can match religion in achieving that.

The cause of strife and violence is not religion as some men claim to be non-religious or non-religious. It is beyond the scope of this short article to list all of these. The seeds of violence are in the man himself. Any phenomenon could be manipulated by man for his own selfish purposes and religion is no exception! However, man must fall back on religion every time he thinks of deliverance from the misery of worldly life. And until people do not make proper use of religion, they will fail to achieve peace and tranquility in their individual and social lives. And the hard fact is that only religion can save humanity from the doom of uncertainty.

The main cause of religious tensions is the ignorance of other religions. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan has rightly noted that the ignorance of other religions is the mother of injustice. So to diffuse and pacify the tensions and build on the cordial religions and the spirit of mutual coexistence, religious literacy is the necessity of the hour. Islam, which is sadly much blamed for the violence and broadcasts that go on day in day out in the media against Islam, is perhaps the only religion that has urged its followers to enter into a dialogue with the followers of Islam. other religions. And it would not be inappropriate to say that it was the Qur’an that spoke of other religions at a time when people of other religions were reluctant to recognize even religions other than their own.

Religion is not an achievement, but is already embedded in human nature. People are religious by birth, although their religious disposition is sometimes manipulated in other ways, if not polished in the right way. Hans Kung has rightly pointed out that peace in a society cannot be achieved until religions are at peace with each other. Religious beliefs and rituals have a huge influence on men in a society. Religion could bind a community into a strong cohesive union or it could divide communities in antagonism. Thus, the correct understanding and understanding of the essence of religion becomes immensely important. Religious people have a huge responsibility to participate in the restoration and overhaul of the world. All the religions of the world have clear and common contours that if they worked in unison, religion could be taken away from the troublemakers and haters, fanatics and opportunists.

Although religions have similarities, they also have differences from each other. But religions have the capacity and ability to engage in meaningful dialogue based on academic arguments. The differences as some people believe as the cause of violence is the greatest folly! There is no field in human life where differences of opinion are not manifested. If dissent led to conflict and violence, no human institution would survive. The choice of religion is thus a fundamental human freedom. Although learned men of different religions have written books on religions and have tried to cultivate religious understanding among different religious denominations, the need for academic departments is equally urgent. In this direction, the Department of Religious Studies of the Central University of Kashmir, of which I am a member, is a welcome addition to the religious understanding and communal harmony in India. The syllabi framework and competent faculty of the department meet all the needs of students to develop an aptitude of common well-being, religious understanding, broadening of the intellect, human progress and the true expression of religious temperament.

(The author is Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Central University of Kashmir. Email: ashrafamin121@gmail.com)

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