Why do we learn history in our schools?
Isn’t it so that we learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and don’t repeat them?
Well in the case of religion, it certainly seems that we have a lot to learn.
While all religions at their core espouse love, peace and understanding, religious fanatics have a way of perverting religious teachings to suit their own agendas.
Religious violence has been responsible for the systematic killing of millions if not billions of people throughout history.
‘Holy wars’ have been waged in the name of God as early as the 11th century by the church who killed millions of people during the Crusades.
Unfortunately, religious fanaticism and intolerance are on the rise today and is still responsible for the deaths of millions worldwide.
Here in India, religion has been a major source of conflict and has led to a significant amount of bloodshed.
The partition of India done along religious lines displaced around 15 million people, and resulted in millions of deaths of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.
During the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 and the anti-Muslim riots in 2002, the the police were given specific orders not to interfere as members of these faiths were hunted down and killed by mobs.
There have always been forces who seek to create disharmony to divide and control people.
Deliberately pitting one group of people against another has been an age-old strategy used by governments and religious radicals to rise to power.
They do this by creating an Us vs Them mentality, and unfortunately, this strategy works well even today due to the tribe mentality of the masses.
Communal intolerance has reached a fever pitch in the nation, where a massive amount of false rumours and misleading stories are circulated on social media to incite hatred and violence along religious lines.
Since these malicious but fake content often seems believable, many mindlessly forward and share them. The algorithm of social media platforms isn’t helping either, as they tend to push content that is divisive in nature.
As individuals, there may be little we can do to resolve this, but at the very least, we can stop adding to the problem.
As a collective, it’s high time we rise above tribal thinking and exercise empathy. We must refuse to get sucked into viewing people differently or stereotyping them based on their religion.
Countless lives could be saved from meaningless religious violence if all schools teach things like empathy, emotional intelligence and religious tolerance.
Throughout history, horrific crimes have been committed out of love for God. Therefore as a collective, if we need to stop fighting with each other and coexist peacefully, what we may perhaps need is a love for humanity.
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