Sunday, April 28, 2013

Victims of India's VIP culture...

I read recent news about detention of Uttar Pradesh (UP) minister Mr. Azam Khan at Boston international air port which was followed usual reactions from various quarters from India. The minister felt that he was victimized because of his religion (because he is Muslim), even he sees some kind of conspiracy behind this incident (actually this is a pathetic attempt to get some political mileage out of this trivial incident). This is not the first time this type of incident happened or such news appeared in Indian news media, there was similar reaction when Shahrukh Khan was detained for some questioning during his visit to Yale last year and in both these incidents the person claimed that they were questioned because of their religion but this is far from the actual truth these people are so called VIPs (very important persons) or I must say VVIPs in India and are used to get royal or exceptional treatment everywhere in India and by 'everywhere' I really mean "EVERYWHERE", at airports, hospitals, police stations, courts, on roads, anywhere they go they are not used to stand in line, wait for their turn or worst get questioned (this is huge insult for them). They just hate being questioned because one they are VIPs in India not only they expect whole India to know about their status, position and qualifications (if they have any) and behave with them accordingly but also expect rest of the world to follow the same norm, some of these creatures are pathetic examples of people living in self made world where everything comes after them, they and their ego is supreme and rest all is secondary.

Every day hundreds of people are detained for security reasons and are questioned at airports all over the world, this has become a normal procedure after attacks of 9/11, the procedure follows certain protocol and in one way is very necessary for that country's security. Because of current international conflicts and also political and social situations many countries face continuous threat of terrorist attacks and they need very robust and reliable system to maintain their safety with minimum inconvenience to people (their citizens as well as visitors). As I said many of these so called VIP people get very preferential treatment in India, they are not used to be treated like common person anywhere and many of them then start thinking that they totally deserve this special treatment. When Shahrukh was detained last year that time it was also revealed that before him many eminent personalities like former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and defense minister George Fernandes were also detained for similar reasons in past but none of them created any issue about this, they understood that this was a part of normal security proceedings of the country they were visiting but these other VIPs thought differently somehow they think that its only because of their religion they are questioned, I don't think that they even tired to understand how this system work and what is wrong is going through this procedure. Every day many people face this situation, they all go through little inconvenience, feel some irritation but all these procedures are in place to prevent some big disaster like 9/11 from happening again and I don't think any sensible human being want these incidents to happen again anywhere in world.

These people who make such a big fuss about some very regular and crucial safety procedures are actually biggest beneficiaries and at the same time are in one way victims of VIP culture in India, they get VIP treatment in India almost everywhere, roads are blocked causing inconvenience to common public for hours when some of these people travel by road, sometimes they delay trains or even flights by forcing them to wait so that these special people can board it at their own convenience, even they get preferential treatment in hospitals, all this makes everyone around them including themselves to believe that they are more important than others. This all creates a big bubble around these people and many of them feel very comfortable in that bubble, start living in that bubble and slowly start feeling that this is how the world works and should work. Whenever I read this type of news along with anger I feel sympathy for these creatures who can not digest the fact that they can also be treated like common people. 

As far as the question of religion is concerned this is a pathetic attempt to dig for something which doesn't exist, as I said because of current international political situation and presence of so many terrorist organization pledging their association with Islam and recruiting youths from that religion heavily it is quite possible that terrorist database must be flooded with many names belonging with Muslim origin and whether anyone likes it or not this is a fact and we all know it. This is not related with how good or bad Islam is as religion but totally because of current state of affairs in world around us, very simple thing to understand and I am sure these so called VIPs know very well about this and if they don't then they should educate themselves with some of these simple facts. 

Actually in my opinion many of these VIPs should be thankful to all common people in India (who are the actual victims of this ugly VIP culture) just for the fact that they don't complain about all the inconvenience they have to face because of preferential treatment offered to them, all these people have to wait endlessly on roads, in trains and even sometimes outside hospitals because this VIP culture. These VIPs should feel little shame to complain about inconvenience which they sometimes face which common people face everyday in their lives. We need to abandon this VIP culture so that these pampered beneficiaries of VIP culture (who are also victims based on symptoms they show) learn to live life like common people and won't feel victimized or discriminated just because they were treated like common man, we need them to expose to reality which they conveniently choose to forget.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic. 

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)

Related Links:
1. News about Mr. Azam Khan's detention
2. Azam Khan claiming conspiracy behind his detention

Friday, April 26, 2013

Justice is delivered?

I heard this line so many times while I was following the news related with hunt and arrest of Boston bombing suspects. Finally police department successfully arrested one of the suspect and other one died during the encounter with police. The news channels said that as both the suspects are either arrested or killed justice is delivered and all those who suffered or got affected with this bomb blast must feel satisfied that justice is delivered, simple and straightforward definition of justice, get an eye for eye and be happy, feel safe.

But is it that simple? Will this stop any further attacks like this? Do we know why those two people acted like this? Does our definition of justice itself is subjective? Do we adopt different standards with different countries or people? There are many question s like this which come to my mind when I hear this line "Justice is delivered". I was really horrified to see some people celebrating with joy when 9/11 terrorist attacks happened in USA, those people were celebrating with the same feeling 'justice is delivered' but how correct they were in their assessment? Whenever any terrorist activity happens in USA it gets covered all over the world, print and electronic media covers is very aggressively, people from many parts of the world want to know what happened, how happened and who did it? Curiosity about these things is huge, one reason for this curiosity is that US has such a strong system to track culprits and best equipped security forces in the world so to breach this system is not that easy, another reason is they have their interests involved in so many countries and regions that there are many who feel that US is somehow directly or indirectly responsible for their hardships and problems and they watch these incidents with feeling 'now they must know what we feel and experience everyday because of them'. These things create very complex relationship between US population and rest of the world (specially people from developing and third world countries). So in today's world the term 'justice' might be interpreted totally differently with respect to same incident in different parts of the world.

Any bomb blast or terrorist attack, anywhere in the world is unfortunate and sad event, many innocent people die for no fault of theirs, it creates lot of anger and restlessness among people of that region, they want answers, they want revenge, they also want justice. Whenever the culprits behind these attacks (mentally sick or religious fanatics, extremists, etc.) get arrested or killed then people feel that justice is delivered, which actually is a sort of revenge, not the actual justice but just half of actual justice. No doubt these culprits need to be punished, they need to face trial and proper punishment should be awarded to them there is no doubt about that but if we ignore the reasons behind the crime then it's just matter of time when next incident will occur, names and place might change but it will keep on happening because we treated the symptom but not the actual cause. Most countries have functioning judiciary and very severe punishment for acts of terrorism or gruesome violence but still these things keep on happening on regular basis, so one thing is clear that these people (criminals) are not afraid of that punishment, there is something which overrides their fear for punishment and we need to tackle that 'something' in order to stop or minimize these incidents.

Radicalization of society based on religious beliefs and propagating use of violence for the sake of protecting religion is one of the major cause of these terrorist activities, we need to confront these type of ideologies wherever we face them, they all start as some benign movement or some conservative groups which claim to protect sacredness or original form of that particular religion which they think our modern civilization or developing world is trying to destroy and slowly these movements become radical, sectarian and particularly target youths (because it's east to misguide them) and some of these organizations use these youths to create violence. We need to stop this, all religions are guilty of this activity, they all used this tactic sometime or other in history. Just punishing culprits of such heinous crimes is only a part of solution we need to go beyond that and attack the root of the problem otherwise it will keep on resurfacing in some form or other. We need to change the way society looks at religion, sexual orientation, gender discrimination and educate all so that we understand each others choices and differences and learn to respect them and live with them. We need more tolerant and flexible belief system which helps in making society more inclusive and peaceful, justice system need to be uniform so people won't feel cheated and discriminated. These things are not easy to bring in practice but we must try otherwise we will find our self mourning for many more tragic incidents like this and wondering what went wrong each time. 

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic. 

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Why science is considered as force against religion?

Many people (specially orthodox religious or so called conservatives) think that science is the "force against religion", and they offer very strong arguments to support this hypothesis. One can ask what is science after all? Is it something which we humans invented or something which existed all the time we just discovered it and named it or is it just way of thinking? Basically science consist of the stuff that people have found out about things around us, they use this knowledge to figure out the things and also to create or design things which can make our life more comfortable. In very simple terms science is just people finding out what the stuff is and how things around us work and this logic can be applied anywhere not just for science subjects like chemistry, physics, biology and maths. Any rational or logical analysis and reasoning is science, that's how I define it, for me science doesn't just means few subjects to study. 

The reason why some people think that science is bad for religion is because science has allowed people to figure out things on their own that people didn't know back when the first draft of the many of these religious or holy books were written. A very simple example of this is where rainbows come from? The bible answered that it was from god; he created rainbows after the great flood to show that he wouldn't create another world- wide extermination. For people back then, it answered why there were rainbows, it was very simple explaination and went very well with the story in book, it satisfied their curiosity but now, people have looked into it and found that rainbow is just the light reflecting of the water in clouds (this is simplest way to describe it). We now know that it has been like this since the beginning of the earth, and that's just how light works, it's the property of light we just didn't know about it back then. I am giving this particular example just to show that people took the explanation from Bible as truth because rainbows seemed so magical and they wanted an answer...but back then they didn't know, there was no way to understand this phenomena because they didn't have the knowledge or techniques to study this phenomena, it was impossible for them to know this...then they heard stories of the God (more or less all religions have some stories like this) and one of the stories said that the rainbows were from god, an all powerful being, creator of universe, he created everything including the rainbow. If it were me hearing this for the first time, I would believe it, because something so beautiful and grand as a rainbow must come from something beyond this world. Back then there were many things like this which required some sort of explanation (like sunrise and sunset, solar eclipses, floods, earthquakes, various epidemics, etc.) and concept of 'God' and its ultimate powers gave very satisfactory explanation for all these phenomenons, and remember Bible is just one of the texts which gives such explanations there are many books from many religions which offer similar explanations and stories.   

People then believed that this person named 'God' (addressed by various names in various religions)  must be real and he must be the power behind causing the things that people don't have control over or can't explain......human nature and mind is very curious, these simple answers satisfied curiosity of lot of people but not all of them were happy with these answers. Some of these people started to look into these things, a few thousand years later and after many experiments they discovered that rainbows are a lot simpler than we thought, one can even create their own rainbow on any bright day or under lights with simple water hose or fountain...so people figured out where they come from and this is what science is, simple rational and logical thinking. It is not a rule book, or something to live by, it's not a lifestyle, it is just a way of thinking. They also figured out that earth is not stationary but it moves around Sun and that's why we experience sunrise and sunset and many more natural wonders. But the problem was these things contradicted the things mentioned in some scriptures which attained status of books revealing absolute truth by the time these discoveries were made, and then this conflict or war started, science vs religion.

Science also doesn't claim to deliver absolute truth. Everything in science is tentative, open for debate. According to science, there is no way to prove anything absolutely, one can question everything no matter whose theory it is and how old it is. The beauty of science is if you want to disprove anything in science, you would be using science to do it and whole scientific community will welcome any new discoveries or theories. But current form of any religion doesn't allow this, it demands faith, total surrender and many people do this, feel happy about it, nothing wrong in it as long as it works for them and helps these people to solve their problems and coexist peacefully but one is forced to confront some of these beliefs when they create division in society, stereotype people based on their beliefs and preach hatred. It surely is a matter of concern when people start killing each other because of differences in their religion and faith. Anyone who questions any religious belief is branded as atheist and is subjected to lot of criticism and hate. I already shared some of my views regarding this topic in my post about science and religion where I discussed how both these things can complement each other but unfortunately it is not possible because of rigid attitude of people from both the fields. Science doesn't run away from any question, but sadly same can not be said about religion and that is why people think science is a force against religion but in reality science is a not a force against anything, it's a very simple thing which helps us to figure out the stuff (including some irregularities in science and its theories).  Religion would have benefited immensely from science if it would have embraced many discoveries which cleared many doubts and explained many natural phenomena (same thing which religion tried to do in the beginning), rather than accepting these facts it took a stand of rejecting them and insisting that whatever is written in some holy books is absolute truth and this created a rift which is widening day by day.

I mentioned in my previous post also that I don't think them (science and religion) as a force against each other, both can be complementary to each other if people want, but if I have to choose only one I will definitely choose science because it's more logical, rational and not dictatorial.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic. 

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing) 

Reference:
1. http://www.reddit.com/r/Christianity/comments/10q3qq/so_many_things_online_convincing_me_that_my/
2. http://selfrealization-vinay.blogspot.com/2012/03/science-and-religion.html


Friday, April 19, 2013

This is how you teach kids rape culture...

I read this news article recently and was thinking really this is what we want to teach our kids? I see news articles about jeans ban, skirt ban or some other ban (even burka or veil ban) in many schools and colleges, all over the world, specially in so called conservative or traditional societies and cultures, these bans are more about girl's clothing and behavior compared to boy's so there is also issue of gender discrimination here. But issue of gender discrimination is not the whole point here, the issue is what type of message we are trying to give to our kids? Do we want to tell them that women are responsible for (or they control) man's behavior? Do we want to tell women and girls that if these so called men get 'distracted' by your dress and do something inappropriate it's 'their fault' as they were not dressed 'properly'? Do these people who are so enthusiastic to implement these dress codes know the consequence of this practice?

Putting restrictions on women (about their dressing, behavior, etc.) or on any section of society by dominant class is not a new phenomena, it happened many times in our history and sadly it's still happening, this is how one group or gender tries to maintain its hold on other group or gender. We need to stop this as this is not a sign of healthy society where everyone should have equal right and opportunity. People who defend these dress codes and want to control freedom of women defend their actions by saying that these type of dresses and behavior provokes man's feelings and force this poor creature to commit a mistake or crime, so the offender is somehow painted as a poor victim and surprisingly blame is entirely placed on real victim in this case, strange but this is how these people think. This also gives an impression to all men and young boys that it's OK to loose your control under certain cases where women violate boundaries set to them by our society or religion, it's OK to violate their rights, attack their bodies just because they didn't follow 'the rules'. Most of these rules are heavily biased and targeted towards controlling women's behavior, I feel this is terrible and also wonder how people can recommend something as primitive like this? 

Sexual harassment is a very serious issue and we need to take it very seriously, always blaming females for crime committed on them is not going to help at all. We also need to educate males how to control their emotions and behave with opposite gender, this has to be part of their education. Nothing should be taken for granted just because of external appearance of someone, be it a man or woman. I think we as a society are civilized enough to understand that we should not judge anyone based on their gender, race, nationality or external appearance, as a human we need to respect other human being and this means respecting their freedom, choices, etc. I agree that we are also animals inhabiting this planet like many other animal species but there is a huge difference between us and other animals and we should always remember that before justifying some cruel behavior as animal instinct. Always putting blame of victim the way she was dressed (or saying she was too much drunk, walking alone, etc.) not only shows how insecure place our society is for women but also shows our tendency of not to search for real reason of this problem. By putting blame of these type of incidents on victim people are indirectly encouraging or protecting the offender which doesn't help to stop these type of incidents.  These type of comments convey a indirect message to all males that it's not their fault if they misbehave or lose control of their emotions under certain circumstances and I think this is very dangerous and this is what I mean by teaching rape culture and we need to stop this.

We need to educate both men and women about their rights and responsibilities, teaching only one gender about their rights and putting whole burden of responsibility and morality on other gender is not a solution as it creates very unbalanced society in many ways (it might have worked in past when structure of society was totally different from today). We need to change this attitude no matter how difficult it is, don't always teach not to get raped to girls, at the same time teach boys not to rape, then only it will work. Both genders are part of this problem so both of them should be equally involved to create the solution otherwise it won't work, there is no weaker or stronger sex here, both are equal and should be treated like that, when everyone of us will understand this then only we can dream of safer world for women, till then we need to work to educate people around us, just by making laws and punishing few criminals won't solve this problem.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic. 

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)

Reference:
1. http://feministing.com/2013/04/10/this-is-how-you-teach-rape-culture-to-12-year-olds/

Sunday, April 14, 2013

We need to redefine the concept of Manhood and Womanhood..

Recently I heard very interesting talk on TED which was shared by one of my Facebook friend, the talk was by Colin Stokes and it was titled, how movies teach manhood ? I loved the talk for so many reasons one of them was the way he explained in very simple terms how opinions and thinking of kids (both boys and girls) are shaped by watching these movies. Most of these movies (including many classics like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc.) project women as some helpless characters who can't even fight even simple injustice done to them and are always waiting for prince charming to rescue them. In all these stories finally prince charming comes, performs all heroic acts and rescues poor princess of story and gets his reward...then both live together happily ever after. Nice and simple story line, few things change here and there, names of characters may change but the central story line is same (even today) in most of children movies or even love stories, women is projected as a 'trophy'..something man has to win by rescuing her from trouble...most of female characters cannot come out of difficulties on their own, they always need to rescue.

The beauty of all these movies is that they are so well made that we don't see anything wrong in them, they are classics...I agree that they are just for the purpose of entertainment and one should look for anything else in them, but is it as simple as this? Directly or indirectly don't these movies shape our thinking also? Do these movies teach wrong concept of manhood and womanhood to us and our kids? I think they do, and this is the message Colin Stokes want to give us from his talk. Honestly I never thought about this issue (impact of these type of movies on our thinking) but after listening to the talk I thought about this and found how correct he is about his assessment. I love many of these movies, watched them again and again, read most of these stories in my childhood. My kids also love many of them and when I look back I clearly see that many of these movies consciously or unconsciously shape our thinking.  They have capacity to stereotype particular gender or class in our society, boys start looking at girls as their 'victory trophies', something which they have to win, claim..and girls start dreaming about some prince charming who can rescue them. I know that all this sounds little too exaggerated and over the top but there is an element of truth in this TED talk, I highly recommend it. 

Another example of this which I see today is many taunts and poor jokes purposely targeted towards gay people in many Hindi movies, these jokes are many times totally unnecessary and are in bad taste but it seems no one is bothered about these things, it seems people don't find anything wrong in poking fun at gays for no reason, targeting that community and making them object of ridicule. Superficially it looks very harmless and just for entertainment which should not be taken too seriously but any comment on any other serious or sensitive issue is not taken in same spirit. Couple of jokes here and there are fine but when only particular gender or group is targeted continuously and consistently then definitely there is some problem and we need to address it. Movies are very strong medium they affect many people and also in some way they also reflect our society's mindset. 

Movie making is a business after all and they sell what people want to buy, lot of money is at stake and they need to make profit, lot of profit, we can not expect that industry to reform the society but at least we can play our part and try to nullify any negative effect produced by some of these movies, after all we all know that some things are not that harmless as they look. Already we can see the effect of these type of stories and movies on our own mind and our society. I am not telling to discard all these movies or to dump these stories, we need to tell them with clear 'disclaimer' that these are product of pure fiction and they don't have any relationship with real life, we also need to tell some stories with powerful female characters so that our kids won't get some stereotyped one sided impression about their gender, it's not only our responsibility but need of our society also. Let's try to redefine manhood and womanhood, let's give these terms some balanced meaning. 

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic. 

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing) 

References:

Friday, April 12, 2013

What 'Anasakti' (अनासक्ति) means?

I came across this word 'Anasakti' (अनासक्ति) many times while reading translations of Bhagavad Gita or commentaries about it, even one can find mention of this word in general reading stuff about Hindu religion or Indian mythology. This term has been used in many ways to describe detachment or non-attachment from worldly pleasures or bonds. Generally most people misunderstand it as 'aversion' but according to me it's not aversion even though it's very similar to it. Actually aversion is also one form of attachment, it's a negative attachment, some one is attached to wealth and other person is attached to renunciation of wealth, so both are strongly attached with some feeling (either affirmative or negative towards same thing). One is running towards wealth and other one is running away but both are running, they are performing same action but in opposite direction. We can call one as a positive attachment (that is running towards something) and other as negative attachment (that is running away from something) but both are sort of attachments according to me.

That's why I think 'Anasakti' or non-attachment is totally different stage than aversion, it's not a attachment for sure but it's also not aversion, I think it is the stage where you don't get affected by attachment or aversion (love or hate), where you act as a mere spectator no matter what is the situation. Wealth or no wealth person behaves same, he/she is neither addicted to sex nor hate it, no matter what food they get they enjoy it (as long as it's edible and safe). Wearing saffron clothes, leaving all worldly pleasures or abandoning home doesn't make a person non-attached but he/she gets to much attached with the feeling of rejecting everything. 'Sakti' (सक्ति) means compulsion, some thing one is forced to do or follow, like rule of law or some dictator's commands, there is no choice one had to follow it whether like it or not, but 'anasakti' means non-compulsion, life of free bird, life without any compulsion. It sounds really simple and many be one can argue that it's easy to live life without any control (where one can do whatever he/she wants) than life of control but life without compulsion doesn't mean life without any control or wayward life, it means life without any desires, without any feeling of hate or love. Basically hate or love are the two most dominant feelings which control our life, our all feelings or actions are result of either one of these two or mixture of both these feelings in different proportions.

The meaning of 'anasakti' sounds very simple but I think it's very difficult to practice, it's not easy to detach ourselves from everything (whether we love or hate those things), we can see that even people who claim to be detached from worldly pleasures and declare themselves gurus or sanyasis are strongly attached to their own God (many refuse to accept this as a form of attachment) or beliefs or faith, they are so attached to these things that they almost repel all other things and then feel happy about it. This so called detachment of many people is very superficial and just for show, in real sense everyone is attached to something no one is completely detached with everything. Getting attached to something comes very naturally to humans, we are born that way that's why we need to take lot of efforts to detach our self from anything, let it be anything (our own ego or any thing which we love or hate). Aversion is comparatively easy, it's easy to reject things which one doesn't like, to love something or somebody very passionately is also not that difficult, but to detach completely from something without any emotion (love or hate) is not that easy, but if we can do it, then nothing like that. Total detachment or non-attachment has an potential to make our every act selfless and enjoyable, we can act without any expectation or frustration. I know that it's not possible to do it for everything but we can try to do it whenever we can and slowly learn to practice it, I personally felt very happy whenever I can act like this. Feeling of love is very beautiful and one of the most essential part of being a human but sometimes it can also create a problem and we all agree that anger and hate are not good for us so it will be great if occasionally we can make our self free of all these feelings and act like a free spirit, I think it will be cool let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic. 

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing) 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Why more and more people are moving away from religion?

Recently when one of my friend forwarded me statistics about religion in USA I was surprised to see that almost ~16% people don't like to affiliate themselves with any religion. After ruling over people's mind for centuries I think slowly religion is loosing its grip on people, at least trend in USA point to that direction. It's not surprising phenomena but on wonders what can be the reasons behind this shift? Organized religion is at its best now a days as far as aggressiveness is concerned, money is not the problem for them, these organizations are very rich and powerful, their network is huge, they have large dedicated workforce, all resources are at their disposal to propagate their views (including TV, internet or any other modern tools of social communication), so technically they have all physical requirements which is necessary to become a successful enterprise. Even after all this its share is on decline, but still no one can argue that even now religion is a major force which divides or unites groups, it polarizes people's opinions and most people still like to associate themselves with some religion. All organized religions ruled this world unconditionally until progress in science and technology started helping people to figure out the things and their dependence on religion started reducing. I don't think fierce competition between different religions or violent conflicts between them or super conservative nature of some these organizations and their unwillingness to change are the only reasons for its decline, these things were there since religion started but its growth was not affected because of these factors.

Religion is a product of intelligent human brain, there was a time in our civilization when there was lot of confusion around with lot of questions about things happening around people, there was not a single force which can unite people of that time, there were no proper tools to find out any answers for their questions and at that time organized religion and concept of God came to their help, it provided them best possible answers based on current knowledge of that time and rest all (which one can not explain at that time) was attributed to God and its powers (they call it as miracles). Everything was settled, people were happy, most of their doubts were cleared. Then slowly religion got converted into organized institute with rigid rules and requirements, it also became big, very big so these rules were necessary to run the organization smoothly. But at the same time there were always skeptics and non believers who thought differently or didn't believe in all these explanations offered by religion and its books, some of them developed their own philosophies which slowly developed in other religions, some challenged the concept of religion and God itself, some of them survived and many perished (or got executed). 

This whole process continued for many centuries and one after another many religions came, with that came fierce competition, tough race to recruit more subjects, once they get them then they need to retain those subjects and this started conflict between different religions, they were fighting for same subjects, the competition became tough and conflicts became serious, so serious that many times it turned violent resulting in mass killings, riots just because of difference in their beliefs and this exposed the ugly, cruel side of religion to people where group of people who claimed that their religion and God taught them love, peace and compassion started killing others just because they didn't believe in same set of beliefs and ideas which they believed. But still this didn't reduced popularity of religion because the hold of religion was very strong, people needed something to identify themselves, some common identity to feel the part of group, part of society. Because of presence and emergence of many religions people got divided depending on which religion they follow and this conflict is still going on where there is a continuous struggle between different religions to expand their base and this invented the process of conversions, re-conversions, etc. 

At the same time rise of science and technology as separate field caused major dent in the belief system of all religions, it helped people to find reasons and logic behind many things which were supposed to be divine and God created or controlled. Initially organized religion tried to stop this from happening but the evidence was too overwhelming to suppress. This slowly busted the bubble of false belief created by religion to some extend and then slowly there was explosion of knowledge and then there was revolution in communication techniques at the end of twentieth century, this revolution virtually brought the whole world together. Atheists, skeptics, non believers formed their own societies, in modern world it was not that easy to prosecute them or eliminate them. Slowly they also started sharing their own doubts, own ideas and there was a audience for them, many of their questions sound very logical, their concerns and doubts sound very rational and they all demonstrated on thing very clearly that one doesn't need any religion to be a good human being. I think the result all this is that 16% people who don't want to associate themselves with any religion, they have their own set of ideas and are fine without any particular belief system, one can see that this trend is all over the world. Unless organized religion and its gatekeepers recognize this issue and mend their ways accordingly this trend will continue, it's very small dent right now but I am sure they are concerned of it getting big and if they don't change anything I am sure it is going to get big, more and more people will move away from religion. To counter this trend I think either they will either become more aggressive in preaching (most possible action according to me based on history of organized religion) or they will try to adjust with changing environment of today's world (which is very unlikely to happen according to me), it will be interesting to see which direction organized religion takes, its future depends on what they choose.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

(Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)


Reference:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States
2. http://www.examiner.com/article/rise-of-the-nones-us-religious-affiliation-at-lowest-point-ever