Where will secularism stand in the year 2112? The Crusaders and the Jehadis will grow stronger by the year. Modernity or 21st Century had no effects on them. Their operations only drew strength from technological empowerment of the human society. The verbal violence of their speech, followed by physical violence of bomb blasts and suicide attacks, threaten only to increase. With every little success(?) of their operations, world peace is threatened. They have been pursuing a single point agenda of establishing the rule of their own religion alone.The world is not designed to have any kind of uniformity- religious or political or economic. Conflict is essential for the universe to remain in motion perpetually. The religious fundamentalists don’t understand this simple fact and do not acknowledge reality. They are so much accustomed to violence and fundamentalism that they see no alternative to their own supremacy and rule. Non-violence is treated by them as a sign of weakness and cowardice. History is on their side, because they have succeeded in the past in capturing vast territories and occupy them forever. They established in the captured territories religion as the creed of the state. Theocracies provoked political thought in the conflict zones. Democracy and communism followed this conflict of views. However, the clash of ideas has not yet stopped.
The human society has suffered innumerable wars. Only till about 70 years ago, the world suffered full fledged world war. It was followed by other wars, with different names like armed conflict etc. But the most prominent of the wars of the last 60 years, called the Cold War, ended some thirty years ago and was greeted profusely by the votaries of world peace. It was imagined that after fighting deadly world wars and the cold war, the world at large would opt for peace. Everyone was proved wrong. Howsoever one might try to underestimate the dangers from the radicals, peace and non-violence and secularism would be a costly option. Particularly for isolated countries, non aligned by religion or any other treaty, it will be fatal to pursue soft foreign and domestic policies. It would be doubly foolish for any country to go on losing its territory by partition, illegal occupation, infiltration, remote controlled insurgency, civil strife between communities, insecure borders, failure of internal security measures, failure of governance, economic aggression or outright corruption. Tolerance of religious expansionism of fundamentalist forces of crusaders or jehadis or patronizing it for vote bank politics and enforcing secularism for others will prove dangerous in no time. Adjusting foreign policy in the name of ensuring regular supply of energy is just short sighted. What will happen after next 100 years? The world’s energy resources are estimated not to last longer than that. The threats to world peace from policies forcefully articulated by countries like Iran, Organisation of Islamic Countries(OIC), Pakistan, Taliban etc hardly leaves any room for accommodation of the other’s point of view. If Israel responds as harsh as these countries, how can one canvass secularism or peace with her?
In the medieval Age, the world consisted of “believers” only. Then science compelled people to change their thinking. Under the logic of modernity, science & technology, a majority turned “disbelievers”. The world is not yet “non-believers”. And there lingers the danger of brute violence making people submit to the dictatorship of the religious fundamentalists, for whom religion is their only source of livelihood. Beside incomes that make them richer than kings, they exercise all the powers of rulership over their followers. That gives them an aura, an other worldly feeling, a halo and they think they possess spiritual powers! What is surprising is the habit of living the delusion of grandeur even when nobody has been able to capture God or visit Heaven or Hell and come back to Earth to report his experience. What will happen to God if He or She were to descend on earth to tell that whatever is being sold in His name is a hoax, a big fraud, a trick on innocent believers? Will the fundamentalists spare his life? When nobody can answer this question, how can anybody justify violence in the name of religion?
It is surprising that people don’t take into consideration the fact that there are innumerable treatises on religion in several parts of the world, a galaxy of propounders of religion, renowned preachers, known scholars, respectable faithfuls and many inquisitive devotees, but there is no single established doctrine that can be followed by the whole world or a single person to follow. Doesn’t it leave us to wonder if all the religions have their own logic and all of them are worthy of faith for the followers? It also whets the hunger to learn from other religions. Comparative study of religions is genuinely engrossing. However, fundamentalism is intolerant of such liberal views. There lies the conflict. The conflict that demands attention before humanity is drawn into another dirty world war. The world will have to devise a road map for the human society for the future. The question that needs to be answered is: Which Direction Should The Human Society Move?
Surely the heroes of wars do not set the direction for us. If that were so, all religions would have died down by now under the power of the sword. It means the human sapiens attach more value to something other than violence. May be it is peace, may be non violence, may be happiness. A straight jacket answer has not been proffered, probably because the individuals had exercised their free choice- a choice free from the compulsion of obeying a laid down line of conduct. The course was set in by progressively enlightened souls, who were followed by others and which became a general practice in due course. Our guide in life should be the conduct of the great human beings who walked on the path of happiness and glory. The essence of religion is very deep. One lifetime is too small to unravel its mystery. It demands not worship of God, but understanding the whole Creation, its cause, its logic, its life, its science, its technology, its philosophy, its sociology, its physics, its chemistry, its biology and its several other laws. Is it possible to understand all this vast knowledge and imbibe it in the span of one life? That is why it is suggested in almost all religious texts to follow the great men and women and learn everything yourself. That alone is religion. That is the meaning of Sanatan Dharm, meaning that which alone is. It exists. It has been there and shall always be there. It stands on its own, without the violence of radically fundamental people. Life is for attaining happiness in the company of such a beautiful variety of creatures and other phenomenon. Who would not become inquisitive to know it? That pursuit alone is religion. That psyche grants accommodation to others, tolerance of others and respect for other points of view. That is secularism. Fundamentalism is just the opposite of it.
However, words alone will not deter the fundamentalist forces from disturbing world peace. The human race must, therefore, ponder over the world in the year 2112, that is exactly after 100 years. We are witness to so much change in less than 100 years. We have seen so much of bloodshed in these years, so much destruction, so much devastation. Is there any guarantee that the coming hundred years will not see any of these? If the crusaders and the fundamentalist radicals and Talibans have their way, the world will witness worse than can be imagined at present. We need to decide in advance the direction to move in. We can revert back to medieval ages and become staunch fundamental religionists or adopt a more liberal approach to religion and establish a New World Social Order in which individual freedoms of faith and customs will be respected without hindrance. A world which will be devoted to scientific pursuits to unravel the mysteries that religion only guessed; an Order where secularism will become the creed having sway over other religions; a global community that will not demand conversion from one religion to another under the fear of the sword or other inducements; an Order that will be informed by the freedom of the individual choice and where an environment of non violence will prevail.
Nothing is impossible on this Earth. Still human beings have only disturbed this Order. Providence has to repeatedly intervene to restore order in such chaos. Actually, it is the self healing properties of this Order. It can accommodate disturbance to the permitted level only, where after it goes into auto correction mode. That is how our own body works. So long as we do not disturb the chemical balance of the body, we are healthy. No sooner this balance is disturbed that we suffer from disease. Treatment reverses the process and restores our health. The same principle applies to water, air, earth, sky etc which sustain all forms of life. Let air disappear, and the whole world will collapse in no time. Let water be contaminated beyond treatment and all life forms will die. Let the Sun not shine and the entire world goes somewhere else. Let the sky fall, and we know not what remains thereafter. But nothing like this has happened so far. The scientist have attested that the universe is some billion years or billion light years old. If it has not come to an end so far, it shall not happen anytime in the future. What can religion do in this matter? The Truth is that the universe exists in the midst of irrefutable logic.
Why, then, not make the best of it? Why not enjoy this wonder of all that religions can imagine? Let us work sincerely for a healthier World Social Order 2112.