Monday, February 06, 2006

Religion and economic activity

Religion is the opium of the masses, said Karl Marx. I am not sure in what context he said that, but when are people drive (addicted is more like it) to religion? If you look around yourself, regardless of religion, people who are the most religious are those who have nothing else to do. It sometimes means the old, sometimes the rich, sometimes the newly retired...

The rich and those who are gainfully employed rarely find time to indulge in religion. When I say indulge in religion, I dont mean a prayer here and a prayer there or a pilgrimage here and there. I also dont mean those who follow a certain dietary habit or a fast here and there; I mean, those who play police within (occasionally without) a religion imposing customs (on others) and spend their life trying to bring the "glory back to their religion".

The antidote to religious extremism is, very simply, money and work. Many rich turn to religion once they have made too much money (which is when they have nothing to do) or when they suddenly feel that their money must, as I mentioned above, "bring glory back to their religion". Surplus money finds it way into these religious causes. There are surely other reasons too like at times money finds its way to "charities" that are fronts. Many of the poor turn to religion because they too do not have too much to do (and they dont have money in the first place) and their basic needs are provided for (there is an economic benefit in being religious). If these "poor" were gainfully employed in other areas, they would be better served as would the world. Like the mid-day meals which we use to lure children to education, very often it is the fact that basic necessities are provided for by religion which lures people to religious causes. What motivates the rich to donate to religion and often to related terror causes?

I mean, otherwise, who has the time to stand and protest (and then riot and burn and arson) for days on end when one is busy earning ones daily bread.

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