The Evolutionary Basis of Religious Conflicts

Posted on September 30, 2013 by shantanup

Religions are psychological units in humankind that form in order to devise a way of propagating humanity generation after generation. Religions have arrived independently in different regions of the world and have led to the proliferation of the human species worldwide. They are all different and evolved in their locations in accordance with local needs and circumstances. When these peoples come together however through passive migration or colonisation the differences between how the groups live cause conflicts. That is very natural.

Religions and philosophies are human constructs some facilitated by God through divine inspiration. Although vast sections of humanity live under the umbrella of certain religions they do shift and change their religious beliefs to varying extents depending on the strength of the religion. This is because the individual is guided by guna-consciousness and evolution takes place under it as described here: Thus, all human beings belonging to a particular religion do not behave in the same way in their day to day lives and do not conform to the philosophy prescribed by the religion. Only their macro actions are religious in nature.

The strength of a religion is its ability to survive these associations between religions when people end up living in the same geographic area. When humans of different religious persuasions come together, there is competition that takes place between them as to which group will survive in the long term. The weaker philosophy disappears in the course of time and the stronger one survives. That is evolution as it affects the human species.

Most major world religions have holy books written for the people to follow. It is a form of coercion and mental slavery to get people to conform to the goals of the religion. This has been permitted and tolerated by God because God wished a quick way of humans multiplying so that they occupied the whole Earth. The religions ensured that humanity proliferated and spread throughout the world. Today we have 7 billion people on Earth as a consequence. That was God’s plan. But as people multiplied and had to migrate and find niches for themselves the units of religious groups had to adapt within themselves and interact with other beliefs. Thus, even within Islam different sects fight each other and kill in vast numbers to assert themselves. Some like the United Kingdom developed multiculturalism instead of coercing the entire population to live according to fixed principles in a single homogenous religious or non-religious culture. Is this sustainable? I believe not as seen in the rise of the Engish Defence League, the British National Party and now the United Kingdom Independence Party. People living in a particular geographical area will eventually live to a common culture for they have to reproduce and produce the next generation with or without marriage. One or the other groups will have to dominate or a new grouping will emerge.

Religions are not cast in stone for their persistence through all eras of humanity. They serve purposes in time and place according to God’s vision. We have now entered an era where individual religions are being increasingly compared and scrutinised publicly. When we approach the optimal world population in a globalised world community the question will arise as to which religion is appropriate in which part of the world or for the entire global population. Has Buddhism got the legs to take the world into that era where nations are going to be judged on how humane they are and demonic states will be marginalised out through sanctions and wars? Some in western nations are now describing themselves as a Judaeo-Christian grouping? Will it survive the Islamic onslaught from its migrant Muslim populations? Islam is a proactive religio-culture that seeks world domination through civil war if necessary to impose itself on society while Christianity is more meek and altruistic. How will these nations adjust? Or will Sikhism or Hinduism or some other new religion come to the fore in western countries?

Hinduism has something very important to tell humanity. It does not go by any particular holy book because it encourages individual thought and analysis. That is why has come about where people share their knowledge and experiences. That is how Hinduism has prospered and propagated itself though time immemorial: from writings and discussions of people who have truly experienced life. They talk and write about self-improvement through yoga, a central aspect of Hinduism being that it is never too late to improve oneself from learning and experiencing truth. I have used the term satya-advaita to describe this as truth accommodation: to learn what is good for oneself and society and change oneself to optimise oneself to perform the role that one is able in society within the framework of the acceptance of reality. This is actually the ‘dharma’ that Hinduism instills. As has been written Dharmo rakshati rakshita: if you practice dharma dharma looks after you as an individual. It draws on traditional Hindu beliefs. Hinduism is a secular religion that is tolerant of other belief systems so allows multiculturalism in that it appreciates that it is not the business of secularism to prevent or curtail the expression of any faith, no matter how extreme it is perceived to be: this is the idea of the acceptance of reality. It has therefore been described as a way of life, rather than a religion. Will Hindus change their outlook and practices in the future? – there is nothing indicating that this could happen for it is perfection of living in my opinion.

Apart from religious groupings humans are now contained within nation states. With globalisation in the internet age the period of diverse religious faiths will come to an end as human values become more homogenous. The question that will emerge for the globalised world in which global population has got to be just maintained at the planet’s sustainable level rather than be allowed to increase will be which nations practice what kinds of government and nationhood and whether eventually the global human population will follow a single popular religion whatever it might be. Nation states may be run on the basis of religions as Islamic states are or they can be run to a different criteria in which humans are living for cultural interaction with each other. The latter allows freedom to the individual and so is more humanistic. Nationhood requires people to describe themselves as a nation of human beings interacting socially with each other and not according to their religious beliefs to meet obligations and compulsions of God service. The basis of this nationhood is economic and cultural development in terms of values that are important to the people of a given region whose needs are assessed and met. Within it, it is more desirable that people have a choice on what religions beliefs they hold and practice within the limits of the nationhood that is declared in the state’s Constitution. India should not be a Hindu state any more than other nations should be an Islamic state or Jewish or Christian or Buddhist state. But it is for each nation to determine its own future. Through this interaction of religion and the state the future of humanity will play itself out in the course of time.

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