What is Religion good for?

In many parts of Europe, religion has become an important topic only in the last few decades. In the 1970s, religion or rather Christianity, which used to mean religion then, seemed obsolete. It was considered something for children and old people. Ever since Christians got the freedom to leave the Church not so long ago (in the 19th century in northern Germany), many did so. And after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin came back from space and declared that he had not come across God, the Church lost out further.

Just an example: when I was a child in the 1950s, in our small town mass was held every day at 6.30 a.m., at 7 a.m. and 3 times a week at 8 a.m. Since long now, there is no daily mass. Only the three services at 8 a.m. have survived. When I was a child, three hours of fasting were mandatory before taking Holy Communion. Now it has been scaled down to half an hour. Earlier, missing Sunday mass was a grave sin that would be punished with hell fire. Now one can attend it on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Religion seemed on its way out, yet suddenly it is back and very prominent in the public discourse. The main reason is the increasing visibility of Islam in Europe. When the first Turks came to Germany as “guest workers“, it was considered great that our boringly uniform society turned “multicultural”, with more interesting looking people on the streets. Meanwhile this enthusiasm has dimmed considerably. Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the multicultural experiment has completely failed. (It is all the more intriguing why one year later, in autumn 2015, she literally invited refugees  into Germany.)

It is for the first time, after Christianity had crushed the pagan faith in Europe, that the locals are confronted in their midst with a substantial population of followers of a different religion, which, as aggressively as Christianity, proclaims that it alone is the true religion, and whoever does not join it, is damned to hell forever. Moreover, many of those followers seem to take their religion really seriously.

This jolted Germans who did not identify foremost with being Christian anymore.Yet apparently, now they feel the need to counter Islam with Christianity. Angela Merkel exhorted Germans to go back to Christian values. In 2011, she invited the Pope to address the Parliament. While strolling through Munich city on a Sunday morning last winter, I saw many, including, fashionable youngsters, streaming into a big old church. Later I came to know that the priest of this church was very popular.Yet even in the small town where my mother lives, I saw many young parents take their kids to church for the children’s service. It would have been an unusual sight in the 1970s, when those same parents would have opted for a picnic instead.

What draws people to religion? What is it good for?

The most important point is in all likelihood an intuition in human beings that there is a higher, unfathomable power that is the cause for this vast universe and is also the cause for our own existence. Further, there is an intuition that this power somehow knows us and even guides us in life by this small voice of our conscience. There is an inner communion possible, be it through prayer or a feeling of awe.

This intuition makes sense. It is natural and does not require the label of “religion” and for many thousands of years it never had this label. The logical consequence of this intuition was to search for that power in oneself and outside. It prompted people to become mystic sand scientists who pondered on what is true. We know that this went on for ages in the Indian subcontinent as many invaluable ancient texts are preserved.

However, in the last 2000 years of the long human history, this intuition that there is a higher power was exploited to promote ideologies that claim supremacy and strive for world dominion. An elaborate story was invented about this higher power. It was called “God, the Father”, and it was claimed he had one son and had sent this son down to earth, etc.To make matters worse, it was declared that this story is the only truth, and everyone has to believe it. As soon as Christianity became state religion of the Roman Empire, its followers rolled over mystically inclined locals and forced their belief on the people of vast areas in Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

A few hundred years later, another story was woven around this higher power. It was claimed that this power has spoken again through a prophet, and this was for the very last time that it has made its Will known. No more direct message from the highest power in future. Unfortunately, here too, this story was declared as the only truth and everyone has to believe in it.

It did not take long and the followers of those two different stories were at each other’s throat with each one claiming that the highest power wants everyone to believe their story and not that of their rival. Obviously, the highest power was misused as a front for gaining world dominion.The second story got in many areas soon the upper hand “with fire and sword”, as we can unfortunately vividly imagine. And of course, it did not bypass the wealthiest land on earth at that time – India.

Both these stories were called “religions”. In fact, Christianity and Islam are the main religions that come immediately to one’s mind when one hears “religion”. Hinduism is often not even mentioned when religions are listed, and this should be taken as a compliment.

In the Indian tradition, the intuition that there is a higher power was not exploited to enforce belief in one story as the absolute truth and to rule the world. Here, not one story, but innumerable stories developed. These stories exist peacefully side by side. Devotees of Ram, Krishna, Shiva, Ganapathi, Devi, etc., are reminded that they must never be narrow-minded as Ram himself worshipped Shiva, etc.

In India the natural, mystical path was pursued. The Rishis pondered deeply and came up with profound insights. They defined absolute truth as That which is always – in past, present, future, and which shines out of itself. Is there anything that fits this definition, as the whole universe obviously does not qualify as being absolutely true? Yes, there is, the Rishis declare: Pure, thought-free consciousness is absolutely true. But to really know this as true, everyone needs to find out in himself.

Neither Christianity nor Islam has a solid philosophical basis. They consider as absolutely true what simply cannot be absolutely true: a story about the Highest does not qualify as That which always is, as it depends on thoughts. Further, the claim that the Highest, by whatever name it is called, is a separate entity apart from creation is scientifically not tenable.

Only the Hindu tradition is solidly grounded and does not have to fear scientific discoveries. In fact, it is supported by and can lead to further scientific discoveries, as western scientists found out and took advantage of, for example in nuclear physics.

Not surprisingly, those religions, which don’t have a solid philosophical basis, rely on force and on catching young, impressionable minds. They expanded their reach by violence and kept their flock in check by brainwashing children and by threatening the adults with severe punishment if they dared to disagree with the story/ dogma that had to be accepted blindly as truth.

Ever since Christianity lost its power to enforce blasphemy laws and punish heretics, it lost followers. Nobody knows how many Muslims would leave Islam, if heretics were not punished and there were no blasphemy laws in place.

In contrast, the Hindu tradition has no blasphemy laws and does not need any. Its philosophical basis is solid. Even in the face of danger to one’s life under Muslim rule and of being exposed to ridicule under British rule, most Hindus held on to their tradition.

However in independent India, an insidious teaching that “all religions are the same and deserve respect” did a lot of harm and enticed many to convert for some benefits. “Respecting other religions” was said to be in tune with Hindu values, not realizing that it meant respecting those whose explicit goal is to wipe out Hindus.

Clearly, something is wrong with religions that need to threaten their followers with grave consequences, whether in this life or in the afterlife, if they dare to question the story they have been told to believe as the only truth. Further something is clearly wrong with the claim that the Highest is partial towards one group and will be exceedingly cruel to all others in his creation – letting them burn in hellfire for ever and ever.

Some Christians realized this and also dared to say it. Voltaire suffered in prison for his outspokenness. One of his comments is still highly relevant. He said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

Mark Twain also called the bluff of the organized, dogmatic religion. He said, “Religion was born, when the first conman met the first fool.”

However, dogmatic religions are still going strong. Too few people question. Too few dare to look closely. Too few object to the outrageous claims that are made. Is it not outrageous to claim that Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, will burn in hell if they don’t convert? If a cricketer is not allowed to say this on the field, why are preachers allowed to spread this “absurdity” all over? Does it not encourage those who believe it to commit atrocities?

Those who had the good fortune to grow up in the Indian traditions, which allow freedom of thought and a genuine enquiry into truth, need to be alert and guard this freedom. If this freedom is lost, humanity will be truly miserable.

Sadly, it is lost already in many places on this earth. Saddest of all, it is lost in what is today Pakistan and where thousands of years ago human civilization had reached great heights.

By Maria Wirth

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58 comments

  1. I simply salute you for this article !!!

  2. Dear Maria,
    Very good article and take on Christian/Islam/Post Modernists. I hope Xn/Islm would realize that there is no point in forcing others to beilieve in their version of story. they should also realize that truth is not absolute unless realized by self as did the rishis of india and the divine experience can be acheived by everyone who is willing to experience it (Yog/Meditation)
    If Xns do not want islam to force its view on them then xns should also be willing to shed their urge to force others to convert to their view.
    I think its all about powerful chruch/government who continue to exert power on the people and the tool they use it called “RELIGION”
    Thanks
    Ajay

  3. A very insightful article from a unique perspective that Fr. Wirth is certainly privileged to have, as a European living in these times in a differnt space! She accurately summarizes European christianity’s re-invigoration precipitated by the injection of islam brought by “gaest arbeiter”s and also possibly fuelled by western society’s post-9/11 angst.

    We live in troubled times and it is becoming increasingly clear that harder times are ahead of us with the Isis challenge. A reflective, equanimous, tolerant and meditative state of acceptance must be reached by a larger fraction of humanity for lasting peace to exist. The solution is not in adding corrosive acid to corrosive alkali with the hope that a neutrality is somehow reached. It just will not rest at that, that is the nature of reaction and reactive thinking! I hope more receptive minds worldwide will tune into these wise observations.

  4. Dear Maria!

    Any religion which has lot of restrictions to its followers would never last for long once the followers realize this. That is what the case in Christianity and Islam. Sanatana Dharma knew about this so many thousands of year ago, and allowed its followers to ‘walk free’ along with it.

    In this dharma, you can follow (moderately or in advanced way), explore (in Grahuashrama itself or become a Sanyas to Tapas). Choice is yours! Even you can dare to question the Dharma, nobody will ask you how can you question a religion or punish you. In fact people come forward to answer your queries (like in this blog, readers come voluntarily to answer such queries).

    Physics says, ‘anything that was not created, cannot be destroyed’. Sanatana Dharma was not created by human, thus cannot be destroyed.

    Feel, explore, walk along and enhance your life are the bottom line of Sanatana Dharma.

  5. This is truly a wonderful article on Religion. Everybody should read it.

  6. A very informative article and let as many people of all religions read and enlighten themselves

  7. kalyanaswamy · · Reply

    satyameveh jayathe.
    In tamil language there is a saying: Dharma may be subdued by evil temporarily, but dharma will win eventually.
    Truth can not change even if you stand on mountain top and yell.
    sat-chit-ananda is the guiding force for every one of us.
    kalyanaswamy

  8. Excellent article by Maria Wirth. Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that when man was created, the thought of God was put in him. Time magazine said a few years ago that man is hard wired to God. Man may ignore God, but sooner or later will come back to God. The communist countries proved that right.

  9. ராமச்சந்திரசேகரன் · · Reply

    The recent upsurge for christianity in Europe is also due to Evolution Vs intelligent design.
    The age old Vedas clearly said intelligence is behind all creations.Scientific man was present
    even in vedic periods.To-days costly science must be viewed as a tool for survival & can’t be used
    to understand the intelligence or its myriad ways.

  10. Good being · · Reply

    It’s fabulous to the core

  11. Very well said, Maria. It is true that some politically motivated decisions imposed on the education system as well as the categorization into minorities, etc has played havoc with the beauty of the Indian socio- religious ethos. Many of us are aware of these hazards but are helpless, because of too much variety among st the people, at every ten miles there are differences; but the undercurrent of unity which too is strong is getting contaminated by too much consumerism and in the name of socialization people are being encouraged to succumb to greed and asking for rights without understanding duty and work culture. It gets more and more complicated because too many influences are involved. But I am sure that the catholicity, openness,and so much which is nothing but truth, beauty and goodness will remain. The sanatana shall prevail, dharma consciousness in its true meaning shall prevail. It is of course a pathetic state because Sanatana dharma is not meant to meddle with, it is not organized, yet it has been going on because of faith for centuries, but on the name of secularism, equality, and so on a vicious atmosphere is definitely being created. However, it is really very complicated.

  12. Some Christians realized this and also dared to say it. — He said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

    Mark Twain also called the bluff of the organized, dogmatic religion. He said, “Religion was born, when the first conman met the first fool.”

    Indian religion is not a religion. It is way of life or art of living. It is not constant. It is vibrant. It is not static. Global family ( World is our family ) and seeing God in guests ( Atithi Devo bhav ) is the Indian culture and perhaps not a religion. Religion is explained by many stories which just can not be washed away. There is no compulsion by state or society to worship Monkey like God or Elephant like God . No tax is paid. Money is given by free will which is utilized to serve humanity. Service to humanity is in the Indian DNA. This is incredible India. Worshiping Black Goddess, Wealthy Goddess or Education Goddess is way of life. Although faith may create some times problem or inconvenience to others, but tolerance is time tested in Indian religion.

  13. Sudha Sinha · · Reply

    Live long Maria and write truth like this. I want to see more.

  14. Sudha Sinha · · Reply

    I feel you know Hindi ! I Can send you some articles.

    1. dear Sudha,
      i understand quite a lot (learnt Hindu by listening to Baba Ramdev on Astha…), but find it still difficult to read…

  15. Reblogged this on kitturd and commented:
    excellent article; thanks to maria

  16. shobana ramkumar · · Reply

    wonderful article – bold, original and thought provoking. the world has seen many true saints and seers of different faiths, all of whom I think have said the same thing and that is the religion of love. it is infinite in time and space. it simply is. If there be such a one, that is Truth because then it is everlasting. Truth, Love, Consciousness, all sublimate into that one Eternal.

  17. Foreign land is reminding Indians of what they have lost. An exceptionally great article.
    Hatts off.

  18. An exceptionally great article. Indians must learn from you.

  19. Do you believe that these religions should not be allowed to preach? Would you seek to protect the freedom of thought and expression by.. banning certain thoughts and expressions?

    I find that whatever the philosophical basis, in practice, a lot of Hindus are also bound by dogmas and rules. Maybe there are many Hindus who also feel oppressed by their religion. It’s Hinduism’s problem if people can be persuaded to follow something else. I have no data so I might be wrong but it seems to me that most conversions in India are carried out with promises of say, two meals a day guaranteed in the bargain for believing something- who are we to judge the giver or the taker in such matters and desperate situations? I wouldn’t give a damn about the ‘strong philosophical basis’ of my religion if I can’t drink from the village well, or I don’t know when I can afford to my next meal.

    Of course part of protecting freedom to religion would be to prevent conversions by threats and coercion or undue pressure.

    Besides I don’t think conversions are a threat to the Hindu way of life, it is much stronger than that. There is more to fear from people who want to ‘protect’ it by imposing their specific idea of it while restricting the freedoms of other religions – very much against the spirit of what it stands for.

    No easy solutions – but I think part of it should be the genuine freedom to be able to call out any religion and say that their claims are outrageous without fear of persecution for ‘offending religious sensibilities’, not banning Christians and Muslims from trying to preach in good faith – don’t you think?

    1. Dear Mr. MD

      While I welcome your thoughts (as comments), let me also say this that one should not be stopped from converting his/her birth religion by force. The failure of religion begins when this is done. Probably this is one reason as far as Christianity and Islam is concerned when the implemented blasphemy in their religion for religious conversion or talk against.

      Think it, you allow other people to come into yours but won’t allow one from yours to other! What kind of justice is this? Sanatana Dharma never did this for thousands of years. Neither it welcomed nor it prevented! The status is called in Gita is “Sthitapragnya”. Sanatana Dharma gave freedom to decide what is good to follow by oneself. Whether you follow good or bad, based on your way of life, you receive the fruit. This is what Krishna says in Bhagavadgita. Even he never talked about any religion. Nowhere, Hindu deity name has emerged in Gita.

      According to your comments, freedom to practice has never been stopped in India (a country of Hindus – it does not mean other religion cannot stay / co-exist), but we Hindus, collectively raise voice only on the conversion based on enticing people. This should be avoided and prevented. When AR Rahman converted into Islam who stopped? It is the same case with Mamta Kulkarni and the famous Musician Ilayaraja’s son Karthik Raja. Anybody spoke anything about this?

      Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavantu!

      1. Hi Balaji,
        I’m not sure whether you’re disagreeing with me – I’m saying forced conversions are bad, voluntary conversions are fine, and preaching should be allowed within fair rules of play.

        I’m disagreeing with Maria where she implies that Abrahamic religions should not be allowed to convert people. Banning conversions is against freedom of religion AND the spirit of Hinduism.

        Freedom to practise has never been stopped in India, like you say (I didn’t say otherwise), and it should not be stopped now. -MD

    2. dear MD, as i see it there is something seriously wrong with the expansionist religions that claim they alone are true. it is obvious that the claim is based on thin air.
      so why would a Hindu convert? if he is convinced that Jesus is great, he is free to worship him. No need to sign up and become club member. Yet Christianity/ Islam also demand that he now looks down on his Hindu brothers and even believe they will burn in hell if they don’t convert. this is not only nonsense but dangerous, harmful nonsense that should be exposed.
      are those two big expansionist religions not responsible (together with communism) for millions and millions killed?
      i met once the real life hero of the book /movie “City of Joy”. he was nice, unassuming, genuinely devout. His name was brother Gaston. he told me that he does not know of any genuine cnversion in his long life and he stopped baptising adults, as inevitably there is some other motive behind converting, like material advantages etc.. he did not approve of such conversions.

      1. Thanks for your response, Maria. I agree religions have a lot of harmful nonsense — I just think that when we tackle them we should not do so with the bottom-line: let’s ban conversions. Especially while implying that Hinduism is somehow intrinsically greater. This is because

        1) Like I said, regardless of the solid and very interesting philosophical basis of Hinduism, in practice it can be quite messy and dogmatic.(We have to take into account all realities of Hinduism, not just the high-level philosophy)

        2)It might be counterproductive to say you can’t convert people because their own religion A is better which exactly the same claim the converting religion B or C is making.

        I think the focus should be on the ridiculous claims and debunking them (without fear of persecution for hurting religious sentiments).

    3. prakriti · · Reply

      I think I can leave an input to your query. Question is not which religion is better or which is bad. Question is freedom of thought, and if you know the basics of Christianity and islam, you are bound to think and believe in a dogma. Christians have to believe that people from other religions are under satanic God’s influence. they have to believe in that theory this world is divided into God’s family and anti God’s family.
      While being Hindu, You are still free to love Jesus or other Messiahs. So When Maria says when Hindus don’t have any problem in loving Jesus, why they need a label, because if they get a label of Christianity, They are not free and more important, they are contributing towards hatred by believing in division of God. For Hindus, all human beings are included in God’s family, there is no division, and only that philosophy can open doors to global peace. I am a hindu and celebrate christmas with the same spirit as Diwali but vice versa can’t be true. By converting or walking out of Hinduism, you are loosing your freedom. Thats the point.

  20. Krishan Saxena · · Reply

    Hinduism was based on truth as science or the modern scientific enqyuiry is based on truth. Nothing else other than truth matters.only truth is enduring.

  21. What you write in this post is amazingly clear, yet many of us, amazingly, have believed – and many continue to believe – in one or another of these stories as being uniquely and exclusively true. It is like the myth of the ego, which believes itself to be unique, separate, and independent. Hence the atrocities you talk about.

    When religion becomes ideology men are very easy to manipulate.

  22. I liked most of your post. It is a very clear picture of the history of religion. But I disagree when you say: “Only the Hindu tradition is solidly grounded and does not have to fear scientific discoveries. In fact, it is supported by and can lead to further scientific discoveries…” On what basis do you make the claim that Hindu tradition is supported by science?

    1. In Hindu tradition the cause (Brahman) for this manifest unisverse is not a separate entity, like in Christianity and Islam. Brahman has become this manifold variety. Basically, essentially, we are that great One. this is in tune with science.
      In Christianity and Islam it is heresy to claim onemess with God/ Allah. a separate entity is not tenable.

    2. Well Agnel, Sanatana Dharma (or what generally being called now a days is Hinduism) is all walk of life is Science. Right from wake-up from bed till reach to bed for sleep. Need instance?

      As we awake from bed, a Hindu won’t stand up and walk immediately (this culture is slowly spoiled and discontinued now a days). One will not open his/her eyes first but Smaran ‘Sri Hari’ 3 times and later we pray ‘Karagre Vaste Lakshmi..’ sloka and watch our palm. Later Smaran Goddess ‘Bhoomadevi’ and then before put his/her leg on earth, will touch earth first and later to his head as Namaskar.

      These processes have two justifications;

      1. By doing this, as you woke-up you first Smaran of God who created you and thank him for giving one more day. We watch our palm because, in the front part of the palm resides Lakshmi, in the middle (of the palm) Saraswati (resides), and at the root of the palm (manibandha) Gauri resides. Therefore start the day by looking at your hand (and remembering these gods, and reminding yourself that you should do good deeds with this hand today)] It is in your hand that your Karma resides – Hasta Samudrika (palmistry) also supports the same. With the hand we DO things, it is the symbol of ‘work’. Therefore everyone should start the day by looking at the divine hand (so that he would do good deeds only with it), The Goddess Bhoomadevi, we Smaran because we walk, run, spit, kick and do all nonsense on this earth, but still She is kind enough to bear all these, we thank for this.

      2. Scientifically, when we sleep we go in a state of trans and when awakening takes place, the trans is get disturbed which might disturb your walk immediately, even you may not come out from asleep, may want to go sleep again, may be some will get morning hangover. By doing those processes, will bring you to normalcy so as to you can start a day normal way because you started to focus on God. Waking-up before sun rise, drinking water in empty stomach, finish breakfast before 8 ‘O clock, lunch at 1 ‘O clock, dinner before 7.30, using turmeric for bathe (for ladies), Mango leaf at entrance of house, Neem tree at in-front of house, washing legs/feet before food, etc…etc… everywhere you can find science in Sanatana Dharma. It is vast subject to talk exclusively about this. There are plenty to say, less space to share! Maria Wirth ji knows enough about these! Her knowledge is extraordinary about Sanatana Dharma. Thanks Maria ji for your worth-full walk along with this Great Dharma! We are grateful to you Madam!

    3. Basis of science is that you discover/Verify the truth yourself. It encourage its followers to ask question, discover their own path, discover its own truth. It does not have specific rules to follow but only some loose guidelines. It always gives priority to Karma & Dharma is not universal, but its is “a person’s own situation,work” etc.. So, it doesn’t collide with science anywhere and leaves it open for followers to discover the truth.. it doesn’t question any scientific facts but it adapts to it…

  23. Wonderful!!!

    Need to be shared by all Hindus with their brothers professing religions for a gently dialogue and exploration of these thoughts! Yes, gentle but perserverd exploration – perhaps together! Not to do tu-tu-mein-mein but to take a snapshot of reality!

    And yes, unless the hindus transform themselves – ever to be more solid than the foulmouth sickulars, we will soon be extinct ~ caught between the clash of ‘religions’!

  24. kedar vaze · · Reply

    This is such a good article. Thanks for the same.
    Going further, do these nations do not understand this. Or it is like using the religious army to create disharmony in other nations so that they keep fighting and never rise. Also by creating a permanent rift in societies and supporting the Christian population under the garb of UN, human rights NGO’s etc. All this just to craft a chance to tap the resources.
    All the scientific minded people around the globe know the truth but still behave in a very mysterious way.
    Further here this is to underline the fact that even the volumes of scientific research and the best education system, the discipline and the morality taught in the schools of developed nations has failed dramatically and drastically to weed out the religious hatred. Is the education system really headed in right direction? Or does the political brain rule the educated brain. How much greed will the humans labelled as Christians have? How many lives will be lost just for the establishment of religious supremacy, Just not to accept the truthful facts? I wonder!

    1. kedar vaze · · Reply

      Would like to know that why even after so much of research and development in the developed nations the education system has not been able to free the people from the philosophy of untruth. Is it dude to the clubbing of religion and education. The convents being not able to show the true path of knowledge? And it can be easily seen that the uneducated people in India have more tolerance than the educated in developed nations.

  25. Maria Wirth , an excellent article . Hinduism, remains a valiant survivor down the ages ,carrying on its shoulders, the burden of a long and lonely journey of struggle for freedom of spiritual thought and belief. That freedom was never cherished or valued by others. Those who compelled others to see the light , never saw it themselves. A fanatic can give his life or take that of another’s for a heaven promised by others who have never seen that heaven. The struggle against darkness continues. The negation of that spiritual freedom continues even today. It impedes progress of spiritual and moral values , making us lesser beings. It even degrades us mentally and physically in narrow rivalries. Hatred becomes its instrument and intolerance its master. It makes the world subhuman. A smaller and sadder place to live in. Vividly recalling and describing in words personal memories of the Church in the early days and comparison with the present, was indeed refreshing. Coming to Europe and the West , it was a matter of concern for the future .A different landscape in a changing world. Nevertheless ,hope remains with Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone shall triumph). Many thanks for sharing your enlightened thoughts in a well written article..

  26. surya usa · · Reply

    as always very articulate Maria. I lived in Hamburg in 90s and realized that the christianity was on the wane bigtime there and in rest of northern and western Europe, and understandably so. Intelligent Germans cant be tied down to the fairy tale forever, can they.That part of world produced great thinkers like Socrates etc., but then they deteriorated slowly thanks to the unending campaign and savagery by the catholic marauders.

  27. Greesh sharma · · Reply

    The article is very enlightening .
    Greesh sharma

  28. Truthseeker · · Reply

    Intellectually, an excellent blog written by the blogger. And by this blog, it is obviously clear that the Christianity has its own Truth, the Islam has its own Truth, the Judaism has its own Truth and the Hinduism has its own Truth, far different by those three religions.So, this is natural that each religion calls herself a true religion. But, even by the basic human understanding, it can be said, “All the four religions – the Christianity, the Islam, the Judaism and the Hinduism might be wrong at the same time, but all of them may not be true at the same time”.Then, which one is a true religion, and who has the ultimate Truth ?

    1. dear Truthseeker,
      i thought i had made it clear that a story cannot be the absolute truth. Truth is what is (truly present now and always). it cannot be thought or wirtten in a book. that’s why Indian tradition compares the Vedas to a finger pointing to the moon. it can’t touch the moon. yet it can show the direction where to search for That what is (of course here and now, still…)

      so this makes it clear that there is a big difference between Hindu Dharma and those religions who claim they alone have the truth and everyone has to join them, and as history has shown which have done and still are doing so much harm.

      1. Truthseeker · ·

        …So after all these facts, is it trustworthy and safe to point and guide someone towards the truth that is found only in Hinduism ?

      2. Indian tradition POINTS to the UNTHINKABLE truth, Abrahamic religions CLAIM something as only truth that cannot be the absolute truth as it depends on THOUGHTS

      3. Truthseeker · ·

        …then does it mean that the Abrahamic religions have no other options, but to turn back to the Indian tradition for the ABSOLUTE and UNTHINKABLE truth ?

  29. great article once again maria.. wish you and your family/frds a very happy diwali.

    1. Happy Diwali to you and to everyone, too

  30. Enemy of the nation have found better way to destroy a nation. Convert locals to their culture and faith , Christian,leftist, islam are in this destrcution game. Christian 2000 yrs ,islam 1400 yrs, leftist 1000 yrs They go out and convert locals fools and poor to their faith rest follows .Locals now enemy of another local , nations on war path death and destruction in each nations follows after conversion of few .
    Want to save nation follow saudis no conversion allowed.

  31. I think all religion are lies. Hinduism like many other religion doesn’t believe in evolution. But evolution is a proven fact. So Hinduism does contains unscientific belief . I think Religion is an outdated failed idea of governing the lives of human beings . Human beings should move forward with science, non violence, critical thinking and the emotions of love, compassion, care for others….

  32. What a write up!!! Full of ignorance. I request the author to read the two subjects carefully: history and science.

    1. would be nice if you gave an example from my write up what exactly is full of ignorance?

  33. kalyanaswamy · · Reply

    another name for Rama is Mruthubaashini meaning ‘ soft spoken’. This is an inward journey and nothing else matters. For even a prostitute can successfully ‘go inward’ to (a) vast expance. Your understanding fills my eyes. My decades of learning you reflect. In bhakthi yoga one bhaktha talks and second one listens. I am the second one
    kalyanaswamy

  34. Hindu Audiobooks not only strengthen your spiritual life, but also provide a great opportunity to get in close contact with ancient Hindu scripture, learn proper pronunciation of slogans and widen their spiritual knowledge.

  35. Reblogged this on sarikanandacerebrate and commented:
    Maria Wirth has summed it up beautifully…to question is to find…if someone stops you from being inquisitive, then you must wake up to see the damages it can do to your spiritual growth…

  36. […] The article first appeared here- https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/what-is-religion-good-for/ […]

  37. […] (This article was originally posted here). […]

  38. मानस · · Reply

    I just wanted to make a short comment on how “religion” seems to function in the Western world, specifically in Canada where I have resided for the past decade or so.

    The people here (I am referring to white people) are generally abusive folks, relying on various forms of political and economic bullying which is supplemented by psychological abuse/torture implemented in different ways.

    At the same time, there are religious folks (“Christians”, generally; often also the same people carrying out the abuse which happens on an individual basis, as well as on a systemic level) who roam the country proselytizing their own “version” of dogma. Some believe in aliens, some believe in a magic “seeing stone” that was used to translate an untranslatable text.. my point is that there are plenty of hocus-pocus stories going about.

    The abuse is carried out towards anyone who isn’t already part of some form of “Christianity”. This abuse causes them to suffer financially & socially as well as mentally & emotionally. At some point, out of sheer desperation and lack of any other viable options remaining, this person will decide to start interacting with one or more of the “religious” groups that roam about. This interaction is encouraged through subtle “rewards”. Something “magical” happens at this point. Things in their life start to look better, they start to see their life improve. Of course, this is mainly due to the cessation of the abuse they were having to endure, this is mainly due to the fact that they are finally being treated as actual human beings instead of being treated as though they were sub-human slaves. To the individual, however, it’s easy to mistake this as “god”. It’s easy to get caught up in the nonsense and think that they have been horrible “sinners” all their life and now that they are “religious”, “god” is smiling down on them.

    This is severe psychological abuse and extremely vile manipulation. Their “societies” and “religions” have so little of true merit to offer that the only way they are able to “draw” people into their little bubbles is through abuse.

    1. yes, ignorance about and arrogance towards “others”. it needs strength not end up on their level

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