In the article “Relegate religion” (Open Page, March 7), Jemila Samerin was forthright in quoting Jonathan Swift: “We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” This observation finds ample reflection in the words of C.C. Colton, a 19th century clergyman: “Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but - live for it.”
Today, no effort is spared by unscrupulous and vested interests to unsettle people's faith in the religion into which they are born. As Benjamin Franklin wondered: “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it?”
K. Gopakumar Menon,
Religion cannot be displaced by intellectual argument for it provides a primordial identity to many. What is needed is a public policy aimed at creating space to strengthen secondary identities. Education should encourage children to cultivate a scientific temper in all spheres of life. When reason takes centre stage, religion will automatically get relegated.
The identity of views in Ms Samerin's article and a letter I wrote to a friend recently is indeed remarkable.
I am fed up with Muslim fundamentalism. If it is raising its head in secular India, along with Hindu fundamentalism, you can imagine its magnitude in this country [Pakistan]. I wish you [my friend], I and other like-minded persons unite and demand from both India and Pakistan to cede a contiguous portion of land where we set up a small state in which there is no religion in public. People may follow any religion and worship in any way but inside their houses. Outside, there should be no sign of any religion. No mosques, churches or mandirs. Even names should be such that no one could say whether a person is Hindu or Muslim.
While all religions are good and preach peace, their followers seem to have the tendency to become narrow-minded and bigots. More people have been killed in the name of religion than in the name of any other cause. I just do not understand how people think what they believe alone is truth and the rest of humanity which thinks otherwise is wrong, even though all religious beliefs remain theories and shall remain so till eternity.
J. Salahudin Mirza,