Misinterpreting science and religion – by Niaz Betab

The science and religion, both of which have an uneasy relation, are enormously misinterpreted to achieve personal and political aims easily that are, owing to their extremely dishonest nature, hard to be obtained through simply honest and virtuous means.

Naturally science is liberal, neutral and generous. Hence, its only moral is to teach facts and to increase our knowledge and understanding of the world around us. The scientists want to sow the seeds of happiness and prosperity through advancing different tools. They are not selfish, like science itself, but generously and continuously contribute efforts to make life more livable on the planet earth. They shared a lot of things which shaped life physically and edified minds intellectually.

Religion’s most significant functions, as described in religious scripts are: to provide peace of mind, spiritual strength, teach mutual love and coexistence, virtuous acts, non-violence and social solidarity. It must teach human how to enter in the gates of constant prosperity and happiness. Its social and economic importance has been excellently accepted by leading sociologists like Emile Durkheim, A.W. Geen, Max Weber and Sombart. Furthermore, the very effective message that almost every religion gives is that the service of man is equally the service of God. To put it precisely, religion is a good thing when properly and justly employed.

But things seem totally different in the present time. The defining function of Science is dangerously changed. To barrow from Martin Luther King Jr., we have definitely guided missiles but utterly misguided men. Today, it can be easily noticed that Science has been betrayed, kept deprived of morality and shamelessly misused to develop destructive weapons to make wars possible. Gandhi had put it rightly that without morality, science causes violence. He was right. Similarly religion has been used as a tool to kill innocent people with full impunity. Like the recent dangerous wave of killings that are taking place recurrently in different areas of Pakistan on the name of religion. Thousands of Shias, dozens of Ahmadis and secular individuals have lost their loved ones in this war of hatred. The Hindus, due to constant lawlessness and life threats, are migrating to India. This all is happening on the name of religion which rigorously restricts human from committing a minor violence.

Deceitful minds knew one would fail to serve their wicked desires, and therefore they have so fiendishly and equally misused both Science and Religion. The former was used to create destructive weapons and the later to use them against humanity, respectively. The governments remained willingly inactive, in other words, passively gave them enough time and space with frequent support to achieve their malicious targets. The terrorists fully exploited such auspicious opportunities by successfully and effectively conditioning people’s minds. Therefore, now they sincerely and happily execute whatever they are ordered to. Now when you talk to most of the people in Pakistan about violence, you feel they are bursting with happiness secretly, as if you are telling them about a very delicious food that they would be served in a while.

Rationalistic observations prove that the situation in Pakistan is growing grossly dangerous. Here, when, one is accused of doing something wrong, especially something religious, people want he/she must be hand over to them to be burnt alive. No such case has been properly investigated before being flared up. Rimsha, an 11-year-old Christian girl, mentally unfit, who has been accused of blasphemy, is a prototype example. It shows clearly how mob rule is spreading swiftly which is frequently granted. The recent gruesome attack on buses and killing the Shia Muslims is an example. It does not stop here; Shia Hazara killing in Quetta is in full swing. At least 500 Hazara Shias and 200 non-Hazara Shias have been killed in Balochistan in the last few years. One concludes logically by reading these examples that we are in an intolerant age.

Let’s explore the simple and comprehensible causes of the rampant intolerance we experience. First and foremost, Pakistan is a country which places lesser importance on creative education. One can not find here an education that is equal, inspiring and refreshing. No imperative steps have been taken so far to improve the educational standards. Text books are full of self-praise and religious ideas; liberal ideas are extremely suffocated while ingrained prejudices and hatred are nourished to grow stronger. Secondly, the right to information and the right to ask are totally rejected. The people who demand their rights, like Baloch and Sindhis, are killed and dumped ruthlessly without any proper trial. Thirdly, tolerance and religious harmony is stopped dead. Religion is made an inseparable part of the daily politics and the religious clerics are left free to manufacture violence and use against those who don’t comply. Fourthly, due to unconvincing steps taken by the inefficient governments, people are manipulated and attracted more by the religious terrorists as they are not fully informed about anything themselves. These are the basic contributing factors.

Realistically the time calls for much consideration, much attention and a great deal of careful efforts to promote religious and social tolerance. Text books must be reviewed, discriminatory materials erased and the rights of the religious minorities must be ensured. Good men (especially the influential religious and liberal intellectuals and scholars) must come forward and ingeniously spread the true interpretation of Religion and Science while denounce the bearded and shaven beasts publicly, and indict them in harshest terms equally; otherwise a vibrant and tolerant society remains a vague dream. As we know, time is a great enemy, it runs too fast. That’s why; I fear if intolerants were not tightly reined soon then, those being brutally and mercilessly slaughtered and disrespected, as a last resort, would act upon the words of Malcolm X, the famous revolutionist: “Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the gun down”.

Niaz Betab is student of English literature. He originally belongs to District Awaran, Balochistan. Twitter @Niaz_betab



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