Whoever said Faith is dead? That religion has become obsolete? Faith is still alive and kicking. It’s only that its address has changed. It has a new portal. In fact, man cannot live without some kind of faith or other. Now and for aye.
True, fewer people go to church. Few believe in God. Few profess a religion. But it does not follow therefore that faith is dead. Non sequitur. Many of those who believed in God earlier have now just switched to the forces of the universe as expounded in the bestseller The Secret. Many who have given up the Jesus of Nazareth are ready to believe in the Jesus of Kashmir if the media proclaim him. If they cannot accept Mary Magdalene as a devout disciple of Christ as the gospels testify they readily welcome her as his mistress or wife if The Da Vinci Code or some mysteriously discovered little fragment of papyrus in Rome says so.
If, for centuries, people of all faiths found solace in believing in God, now it is time to move on to adopt the “willing suspension of disbelief” in Richard Dawkins, high priest of secularism who categorically declares that God is a delusion. That is the new gospel liberating those who were “oppressed for centuries by the teaching of the Church.”
The world has already ended a number of times in living memory, according to the prophets of the media. The latest we know was the Mayan calendar date of December 21, 2012. The date was awaited with much trepidation just like the packed up Corinthians in Paul’s time awaiting the Second Coming of Christ. The appointed date in December came and went, leaving us unscathed. What went wrong? Oh, it was some miscalculation.
The next time the prediction will certainly be accurate. You see, it was just like the errors in the Bible. Wrong reading. On March 13, 2013 a doomsday cult leader Luis Pereira dos Santos in Brazil gathered hundreds of his followers in a suicide pact to consume a drink laced with poison. Earlier, they were convinced and persuaded to leave their jobs and give away all their possessions. Luckily, the police barged in minutes before the tragedy and saved precious lives.
The new creed says parents and teachers are not to be trusted. But you can repose all your faith in SMS, email and Facebook friends. One fine morning you get an email or cellphone message that have you won $1,000,000 in a lottery in the U.S. Just give your bank or credit card particulars and some Aladdin from Nigeria will open the door to his legendary cave for you, the chosen one.
Or, you are a teenaged girl with overprotective parents. Your glamorous male friend on the Facebook is the spiderman ready to liberate you from the home cage and launch you on a grand career. Just meet him unaccompanied at a restaurant away from home. And don’t be silly to inform your parents, who will play spoilsport. Hundreds of Indonesian girls have bitten this bait and tasted the bitter chocolate of brothel bondage.
Traditional wisdom says money does not grow on trees but surely it does so in Ponzi schemes. Invest in this money-spinner and your money will yield amazing returns. Buy a share of Rs. 1,000 and get a fabulous monthly interest. What a boon! You invest, and presto, your promised interest materialises. Why should you alone enjoy this windfall? You rope in your dearest friends and relatives and they join the scheme too. Then, suddenly, the interest payment blinks out and the masters of the scheme vanish into thin air with your principal. This wonder happens again and again every few years. And it is an unfailingly roaring success because people believe they deserve the best as the ads say.
So when will faith cease? When will the world end? Wait for the media to tell us like the dogged musicians on the fast sinking Titanic who went down playing “Nearer my God to Thee” in the final moments of the disaster.
(The writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org)