This ancient Indian saying came to mind when a friend said in anger, “I am so sick of these ultra-religious people!”
She had been reading news about religious teachers raping girls and molesting boys in the name of religion.
I am reminded of the movie And Never Let Her Go, based on a true story. The protagonist is a rich, prominent lawyer, who is married with four kids. He is religious, confident and arrogant. He manipulates women who love him by getting them to do what he wants, including buying a gun for him, and lying about his whereabouts.
He uses everyone, including the governor.
He stalks his lover, Alice, when she wanted to break up with him. When his wife is murdered, Alice becomes the prime suspect because of the physical evidence he plants on her. The plot thickens when the murderer (the protagonist) taunts the police to catch him. Since he knows all the politicians, he thinks he is beyond the reach of the law.
When he uses the name of religion to get what he wants, it gives me the shivers.
I have seen and heard people like him! I once believed that anyone who is religious can be trusted completely. I have since learnt a lesson about trust and religion.
I have seen people swearing in front of a picture of their God and proclaiming their innocence even though I know they have severely wronged someone. Aren’t they afraid of their God who can see and hear them?
I am exposed to religious people like these. I have seen how religious business people donate money to projects for the poor organised by their places of worship but they exploit their staff, use disadvantaged people for free publicity in the name of corporate social responsibility, back stab and manipulate people or small businesses with no patronage so that they can get business contracts from certain parties.
I have seen religious people refusing to touch disabled persons or screaming at the top of their lungs when a Down syndrome person accidentally sits on their chair or uses their cups. I have heard religious people talking bad about other religions for hours, and comparing their God with others’.
And these are the very people who try to convert me.
They believe that converting more people will earn them points to get to the after-life places they covet. If I say “no” to the invitations, some will get angry and lecture me even more.
When I am caught in the eye of the storm, witnessing what their God manifests through them, many questions come to mind.
How do they tell their God what they have done? Do they say things like: “I have taken this thing from this person but I know you still love me because I am your follower and I can do no wrong.”
Nowadays, I have stopped asking questions and seeking answers. I have stayed away from places of worship no matter how many people try to convince me that their places of worship are the best and that others misrepresent their God.
I haven’t told them that I have discovered the truth on my own – that God lives within me, and God alone will judge me.
By Chong Sheau Ching