Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Religion: Private or personal?

Is practice of religion, something private or personal?  I've not really studied the dictionary and the etymological meaning of the two words but feel that there can be a distinction drawn for clarity.  Most often, the developed world tends to keep religion to the private.  That's something not to be paraded about in the open.  Unfortunately I feel this should be the attitude of theistic countries!  Countries and places where the unholy mix of religion and politics breeds nothing but vice! 

I would rather look at religion as something personal.  This way, principles and convictions one lives by are something totally of the individual and not something enforced by him or her or enforced upon one - in the name of religion.  These are matters which guide and direct one in ones life.  Keeping religion private would mean something hidden and secretive.  That festers fermentation and is bound to explode sooner or later.  Treating religion as personal does not mean that it is hidden or totally out of bounds for anyone - it remains open to challenges, by the individual himself/herself, by the society, by anyone.  The concerned individual need not respond to all the challenges thrown at him or her.  But that the individual is open enough to review those challenges.  That openness is obliterated if religion is treated as purely private. 

The acid test for this is to ask if one's experience of God (one of the integral aspects of religion) is personal or private.  In both the cases, it is a one-to-one relationship.  However if the former, it shades and affects everything else the individual does.  If the latter, the affects of that experience will be buried deep within the individual and nothing of that experience will ever flow into (or from) the rest of one's living - a clear watertight inner experience!  

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