Religion is Entertainment for the rich and not necessary for the poor – 29 Sep 11

Religion

Yesterday I told you that there are Hindu organizations that dislike the missionary work of Christians who give food and support if poor villagers get baptized. I had the thought, if those Hindus have such a big problem with Christians helping people only in this condition, why don’t they ask all their Hindu gurus for help? The gurus could really give big donations to help poor people who don’t care anyway where their help comes from. As long as you feed them, they will remain Hindus. Then they could keep people from converting to Christianity and do something good for a change.

If someone from this organization read this now, he would probably leave a comment and say that I got bribed by Christian missionaries, too. They simply like to blame everything on people of other countries, nationalities and religions. Unfortunately this kind of attitude even leads to violence against people of other belief.

One such case happened when the Christian missionary Graham Staines was murdered with his two young sons in 1999. A group of angry Hindus had set the station wagon on fire in which they had been sleeping. All three of them died. The main culprit Dara Singh was convicted and sentenced first to death and later to life imprisonment. It was a big story in news many times, especially as Dara Singh was previously involved in the Bajrang Dal, a Hindu nationalist organization that I also wrote to you about.

This hatred does not lead anywhere but to violence, pain and hurt and at the same time it does not help any of those poor people at all. Think of food for poor people, not of a religion for them. If you frighten those away who have been helping them, you should be responsible for providing that same help, be that in food, money, employment or medical support.

Over and over again I reach the conclusion that religion has done and does still a lot of harm and separates people instead of uniting them. It seems that religion is something for people who have enough to fill their stomach. Religion is not for poor people. You have to do ceremonies, go to the temple, give donations, that all costs money. You cannot get blessings and good Karma without money. Poor people think of food, only well-off people think of religion. If you think of love as your religion, there is no question what poor people believe in, you have to help them, it is your duty as a human being.

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  1. Norma

    Religion can be very expensive! In Germany we have church tax, with which a percentage of your income straight away goes to the church – you don’t even notice how much is going off because you will only see the remaining amount! And then you are supposed to donate each time you go to church service and as a well-earning person your social image depends on how high your image is.

  2. Gloria

    It is very true that poor people don’t care much about which religion they belong to but at the same time you will find the most religious people among those who are poor. They have the hope that there is a higher being, that there is a higher entity that can do something for them, someone who makes their misery end. Only in this way can they see some sense in their suffering.

  3. Norma

    … I meant how high your donation is… sorry. Just to make that more clear: As a private person or company you are asked to engage in social life and give back to community. So you donate. Mostly to the church and their charities. And they publish how much you gave. If you didn’t give, people think you are stingy, even if you gave to a charity that is not church-related!

  4. Shauna Evans

    Yes, that is an interesting point. I have often thought when I hear Americans talking about helping the poor or any other social justice issue “Well, its certainly easy to intellectualize and moralize while you sit there with your bellies full in a nice, safe and warm home.

  5. Emily

    Dear Shauna,
    I understand and respect your sentiment that many wealthy people could not empathize with people in poverty because they have all of their basic needs met. But please be careful not to generalize about all “Americans.” Many Americans are very poor and hungry, while many other countries similarly have wealthy and poor people. Regardless of the reason for giving, I think Swami Ji is promoting the notion that we help others in need, whether you are American, Indian, German, Hindu, Christian, or Buddhist. While some religions judge others for the ways in which they give to the poor, the overall message is that those who are fortunate should desire to help those that are less fortunate.

    With that said, I wish you fulfillment, peace, joy, and love on your life path.
    -Emily

  6. Emily

    Swami Ji, I love this insight and agree with your points! More and more now it seems that religion is becoming a business… more concerned with making profits than with providing spiritual guidance and help to others. It’s quite sad that religions are turning toward greed instead of love.

    I might also add that religion seems to be spurred on by fear. Many people, whether poor or wealthy, join a religious movement because they fear death and their well-being in life. They think that conforming to religious rules, whether they truly believe in them or not, will protect them from harm in life and from hell and in the afterlife. Between the tactics of fear and money, it seems like religions have a pretty good hold on the world.

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