In the last three days I wrote lists for three different religions, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, providing examples for strange, funny, crazy and mostly cruel rules that you can find in their scriptures. These all were taking from those books that people believe are holy, are the ultimate truth, should be taken literally and followed in every aspect of life.
I hope that my last three diary entries show that this view on scriptures is not justified at all.
Many people don’t know about these lines in their scriptures. They are presented a ‘clean version’ by their priests and people around them, free of those cruelties, which I wrote a separate diary entry about before, or cruelty only in stories which should be ‘a metaphor’, just an example. Why don’t priests usually talk about the atrocities and ridiculous orders of their scriptures? Because they know exactly, if they preached those rules, nobody would come to them anymore. Most people would run away from the violence and the restrictions imposed upon them.
While ignorance is the explanation for most people, it does not apply for all! There are also people who know exactly what is written, who have read it and studied it exactly but still insist that everything that is written in those scriptures has to be followed. Simply because that scripture is holy. No further discussion, no reasoning, no understanding. It is incredible, isn’t it?
In my opinion those collections, although they are certainly incomplete, show very nicely that scriptures were written in a time in which people had a very different life and a very different attitude than we have today. Obviously time has brought change. We cannot think like them anymore and this is why it seems ridiculous for us to read how many people we should kill in our daily lives, how many will have a ‘painful doom’ or how women should behave and be treated. It just does not fit anymore.
While it is obvious, at least to me, that these scriptures are simply outdated books, there is another interesting fact that can be observed: how similar rules these three religions have noted in their scriptures!
All three religions explain clearly that men are superior to women, that women should be obedient, submissive and not displaying or enhancing their beauty. In the scriptures of all three religions you can read that people of another belief are to be killed. No religion made an exception in this and they were not scarce on words how non-believers would be tortured and would suffer before their death and in the afterlife or next life. In both, Hinduism and Islam, I have found proof that men are allowed and even advised to beat their wives – if they don’t obey or if they don’t want to have sex. What is noticeable in Hinduism is of course the caste and the crazy and cruel degradation of people of lower castes. Whoever thinks that the caste system is not recorded and recommended in the scriptures should have a look at those verses as proof that will change his mind.
I know that a popular counter-argument, at least for Hindus, is always that the original scriptures were different and later on verses were inserted which are the base for all the bad things I am talking about. But if they were inserted, why are they today in practice and why are they still in the scriptures? And how come this is an excuse for all the bad things? Only negative points were added? Other people say that those cruel rules are only mentioned in one or two scriptures which are not really considered the main scriptures of Hinduism. There are however examples in a lot more scriptures where it may not be formulated that clearly but where you can see Gods acting brutally or without tolerance. That, too, proves the same points!
After all of this, the conclusion is as expected: you should not and cannot, in my opinion, see those scriptures as holy. They were written by men, in a male-dominated society, a society that was in war with other religions, when war, killing and fighting was a daily occurrence, when people were tortured, women were beaten and slaves were being held. People say scriptures cannot be changed. Okay, but then why do you need to follow them?
Additionally you need to realize that all religions are very similar. Your religion is not any better than the others. Even those which are not included in those lists are not very different.
So why not get rid of religion, take the experience that we have made with that over the course of history and understand that we have to follow reason, logic and our own heart and love. Don’t let a religion take away your freedom or tell you what to do. Take your own responsibility, be tolerant with others, love those around you and be free.