Birth of a new Faith (fiction-6)

After Sucharitra’s passing, the new religion took roots; it needed to be propagated well and soon. After all, the king of Amor was supporting it. Rising of Suyesh from his grave had been the most amazing and scariest incidence that any Amoran had ever experienced. To start with on a Friday, they all had brutalized, crucified and finally buried Sucharitra. And now his so called rising and vanishing into thin air on following Sunday, was being termed as an act of god. And this act had put the king and his men in deep thought. Discovering a real body converting into mud; they analyzed, ‘is this why they say dust unto dust?’ No one could think of a more sensible or realistic scenario. King’s ministers made everyone believe, ‘vanishing of a dead man from the grave’, as logical. As though with utter fright, all the subjects of Amor turned into Amoran Sucharitrans…

Well enough of beating around the bush. As the time passed, new faith spread. It went beyond the boundaries of Amor or shall we say Roma or Rome. Followers of this new religion believed in miracles. Of course we are talking about Roman Catholics or Christians. There can be no confusion now. Leadership of this religion has always projected to the followers that the clergy in order of hierarchy has direct links to god. Only way to god is through Fathers and nuns in a church. Only they are qualified to lead you to heaven. The church desperately wanted to hold all rights and routes to god. So, they covered most things with sheets of unexplainable mystery. There are a few examples that can put it in a perspective –

  1. Initially church believed that the earth was flat and no one was allowed to have any other view or version.
  2. Church believed that earth was at the center of the universe and all other planets revolved around it, including Sun. Nicolaus Copernicus had propagated heliocentric theory, which banned for nearly 200 years.
  3. Later Galileo was prohibited from towing Copernicus line. In 1633 Galileo had to face a trial by Inquisition, because he wanted to spread his knowledge of our solar system. He had discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way round. This had angered the Pope. Galileo was brought to Rome to face the trial. The Church banned his book and he was sentenced to house arrest at his own home in Florence. He finally died there after going blind. Finally, as recently as in 1992, the church officially reversed its more than 450 year old belief from illogical to a scientific one. Pope John Paul II, officially reversed church’s stand, ‘earth was not stationary and it revolved around the sun’. But poor Galileo had to suffer insults and lost invaluable time at the peak of his most productive life. What a waste of a great scientific talent?
  4. A few months back BBC did a story on bicentenary of ‘abolition of slavery act’. Modern world was horrified to know that the church owned and used black slaves on their plantations, for more than 300 years. Slaves were not only used, they were also brutalized. The Church apologized for its part in the cruelty and hardship of the thousands of black men, women and children. Somehow now, they are considering compensatory payments to them.
  5. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI was part of an unwarranted controversy, in quoting a 14th century Christian king. The quote, ‘Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things’; started a huge uproar around the Islamic world. There was no need to repeat a 700 year old quote in public, especially when entire world is so sensitive to religion.
  6. Lastly there is an incidence again 0f 2006, when Vatican had invited top scientists for a conference on cosmology. During question answer session after the conference, Pope asked Dr. Stephen Hawking to not study the beginning of the universe before the ‘big bang’. He said it should be left alone as an act of god! Unbelievable! It is sad when some one wants to control people by using their ignorance. Brief conversation became public soon. Vatican later said that Dr. Hawking misrepresented what was said.
  7. A very important negative point is clergy’s sexual abuse of young children. Internet space is crammed with these scandals. Over a few years many feature films have been released on the subject of pedophilia among highly placed clergy. Wave of this has put them very strongly on the back foot.
  8. Only a good Christian would be allowed to live in the ‘heaven up in the sky’, since no one knew anything beyond the solar system. The telescopes then were not powerful enough for peeping into the Pearly gates of heaven.
  9. Church has custom of canonizing clergy with sainthood. Understandable requirements for a person worthy of being conferred ‘sainthood’ are, “you must lead a flawless exemplary life and must inspire faith.” But soon, things turn weird with, “after you are dead, two miracles must be attributed to you, unless you are martyred as a result of your faith.” These miracles can be manipulated by investigating people. If I am a saint then society will recognize me as one and on its own call me a ‘saint’. I can not imagine an external agency deciding whether Kabir or Sai Baba of Shirdi were saints or not. Sainthood is not like conferring doctorate on worthy by a university. No one can become a saint because a powerful organization pronounced, ‘from today onwards you are a saint or you are a saint because I chose to call you one.’
  10. Church is also too paranoid about the numbers of its followers. They know that there is huge power in huge numbers. Initially they had set up missionaries to spread their religion, but later they were used for, conversions. And this luring or forcing people to embrace Christianity has had a few set backs too.

It is a very bad idea to look down upon other faiths to make yours look better. There can be immense problems if you start thinking that other religions are baseless compared to yours. Such an attitude will only establish spiritual shallowness of your thinking. Respect me as me, and I will think high of you too. But if you tell me that shelter inside an enormous church is more spiritual than my own space then it is high time you faced a mirror and asked, “Are you really the prettiest of them all?”