Rethinking public religion: Word, image, sound

This inevitably leads us to question ourselves if Singapore has done enough in addressing racial and religious discrimination. Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student. Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. We will occasionally send you account related emails. Want us to write one just for you? Super Ways to move around the city Essay. Facilities offered in indian bullet train Essay.


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Science is about correcting System 1 biases, McCauley says. We must accept that the Earth spins, even though we never experience that sensation for ourselves. We must embrace the idea that evolution is utterly indifferent and that there is no ultimate design or purpose to the Universe, even though our intuition tells us differently. We also find it difficult to admit that we are wrong, to resist our own biases and to accept that truth as we understand it is ever changing as new empirical data are gathered and tested — all staples of science.

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Even without organised religion, they believe that some greater being or life force guides the world. Additionally, non-believers often lean on what could be interpreted as religious proxies — sports teams, yoga, professional institutions, Mother Nature and more — to guide their values in life. As a testament to this, witchcraft is gaining popularity in the US, and paganism seems to be the fastest growing religion in the UK. Religious experiences for non-believers can also manifest in other, more bizarre ways.

Anthropologist Ryan Hornbeck, also at the Thrive Center for Human Development, found evidence that the World of Warcraft is assuming spiritual importance for some players in China, for example. The threat of an all-powerful God or gods watching for anyone who steps out of line likely helped to keep order in ancient societies. And again, insecurity and suffering in a population may play a role here, by helping to encourage religions with stricter moral codes. In a recent analysis of religious belief systems of nearly traditional societies from around the world, Joseph Bulbulia at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and his colleagues found that those places with harsher weather or that are more prone to natural disasters were more likely to develop moralising gods.

Helpful neighbours could mean the difference between life and death. In this context, religion evolved as a valuable public utility. Across cultures, people who are more religious also tend to have more children than people who are not. For all of these reasons — psychological, neurological, historical, cultural and logistical — experts guess that religion will probably never go away. If not, it would no longer be with us. And even if we lose sight of the Christian, Muslim and Hindu gods and all the rest, superstitions and spiritualism will almost certainly still prevail.

More formal religious systems, meanwhile, would likely only be a natural disaster or two away. As soon as we found ourselves facing an ecological crisis, a global nuclear war or an impending comet collision, the gods would emerge. Crisis of faith Japan, the UK, Canada, South Korea, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, France and Uruguay where the majority of citizens have European roots are all places where religion was important just a century or so ago, but that now report some of the lowest belief rates in the world.

Enduring belief For all of these reasons — psychological, neurological, historical, cultural and logistical — experts guess that religion will probably never go away. Why was this so? Hindus, according to Savarkar, were members of a single nation because no matter the countless diversities they counted within their ranks, no matter how fragmented they were, they saw India not only as their motherland mathrubhumi and fatherland pitrubhumi , the land of their ancestors , but also as their holy land punyabhumi. Muslim and Christian converts might fulfil the first two criteria but they did not envision the subcontinent, defined since antiquity as the land between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean, as sacred - it was in Mecca and Rome that their sacred sites were located.

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While the inclusive nationalism of Gandhi, Nehru and assorted political leaders came from direct experience of fighting for freedom, Hindutva was constructed by thinkers who were not active participants in the struggle against imperialism. Golwalkar, built on this and rejected the notion of territorial nationalism, as promoted by Gandhi, Nehru and the freedom fighters.

Are they grateful…? Do they feel that they are the children of this land… Do they feel it a duty to serve her?

Together with the change in faith, gone are the spirit of love and devotion for the nation. But this predictably controversial Hindutva vision existed largely on the fringes of society. While the inclusive nationalism of Gandhi, Nehru and assorted political leaders came from direct experience of fighting for freedom, Hindutva was constructed by thinkers who were not active participants in the struggle against imperialism and therefore could fabricate theories divorced from the lived experience of the masses. In actual fact, most Hindus hardly saw themselves as a fixed, united group who could transform that identity into a rock-solid sense of nationalism.

Even the question of who exactly a Hindu was, in practical terms, remained frustratingly unresolved. But caste appeared among Muslims and Christians also. Some, such as a Brahmin census commissioner in princely Travancore, argued that Hindus were those who accepted the faith of the Brahmins, which, however, ran into trouble when one considers the words of J.

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Massie, who as early as pointed out that to consider the Brahmin as representative of all Hindus was as bewildering a statement as saying that the Italians represented all Europeans—there was too much diversity for simplistic statements to be true. The issue of diversity and nationalism and whether they complement or oppose each other, then, boils down to which vision of the nation is embraced. One can assert proudly a patriotism that rises over and above other feelings, without clashing with individual and group identities.

In this vision of the nation, nationalism is not a zero-sum game; it can coexist with a variety of other valid sentiments. It draws wisdom from the past, but is oriented towards a progressive future. As Nehru saw it, it was predicated on a national philosophy featuring the seven goals of unity, parliamentary democracy, scientific temper, non-alignment, socialism, industrialisation and secularism.

Some of these values may change with time, as we evolve as a people, but the Indian nation is not threatened if a state voices sharp concerns, or if raucous debate and disagreement take place routinely, so long as they occur within established institutions and in keeping with certain ground rules by which everybody agrees to play. Indeed, it creates checks and balances that prevents any one group from dominating the rest; any one region from engulfing others; and one version of a religion from enforcing its principles on even the last rationalist, or those who believe in a different definition of the same religion.

The principle was that we could all continue to embrace our differences while staying wedded to a national consensus. The other vision of nationalism, meanwhile, has mutated into a one-size-fits-all variant, which is at odds with history, and denies consensus as the guiding principle of the nation.

This is a nationalism that follows one definition, one form, one loyalty, and one narrow ideology. So, for instance, all Hindus must avoid eating beef though several castes happily did in the past and should avoid meat in general though a number of Brahmin communities too were not vegetarian.

Nationalism must have a fixed language—Sanskrit is ideal but in the interim, Hindi will do - a language that to large numbers of Indians is hardly less alien than English, with which the country has made its peace. And then dress codes, social behaviour and much else must also fall in line, creating more a sharp machine to nurse insecurities than an organic people who live, breathe, prosper and preserve their diverse traditions and personalities.

One-size-fits-all rules, however, have a tendency to backfire in India. And decades and generations of officially promoting diversity means that attempting to reverse the flow and manufacture a narrow nationalism will provoke challenges, if not long-term disaster.

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When, for instance, Hindi nationalism was force-fed from Delhi, the powers in Karnataka responded in with a Kannada-oriented sub-nationalism that even flew its own flag. The historical lesson is clear - there was a reason why in India prevented nationalism from distorting into a rigid beast and envisioned it as a more malleable reflection of our multiple realities.

To re-engineer this mature, long-standing policy in black and white today will only prove calamitous, showing that far from making India great again, what we will end up doing is breaking India.