Somewhere, I wrote, Communism is also a religion – Communists follow the principle “No god is my god”. But, the trigger is a tweet by Prof Makarand Paranjape – Sir, isn’t terrorism itself a kind of religion, with a wide range of adherents, some fanatic, some moderate, some even “liberal”?
This makes one think of the concept of a two-dimensional religion, which coexists with the existing religions and lives in a different realm. It’s some thing like religions are verticals and these alternate religions are horizontals, cutting across all the religions. Take, for example, the three which I am going to consider – Capitalism, Communism and Terrorism. A Hindu can be a Capitalism or a Christian a Communist – they just follow different religions in different dimensions.
Max Stackhouse, professor of Princeton Theological Seminary, defined religion as “a comprehensive worldview or ‘metaphysical moral vision’ that is accepted as binding because it is held to be in itself basically true and just even if all dimensions of it cannot be either fully confirmed or refuted” It is this moral vision I am more interested in.
We traditionally treat god as a being in a higher dimension who is all pervading and powerful enough to control every act of yours. Now, the question is this – can the god which drives you, can he be an idea – a powerful idea of individual or collective will which can decide the way a society is modelled? Let me consider three such ideas.
Capitalism is worship of money. Communism is a rebel child of capitalism like that of Buddhism. Terrorism is worship of anarchy with the aim to topple the existing order.
Even in these three cases, you strive to reach your god. Unlike the Abrahamic religions, these follow the pattern of oriental religions. Ravana is the ultimate protagonist. But, he is also a great scholar and a devotee, probably the greatest.
The ultimate aim of a capitalist is to earn as much money – anyone who worship money to the extent I do will receive salvation. No one can be perfect and you do something for your employees. The level to which you do something to your employees move you towards Communism. An extreme communist declares there is no individual – all money is public. In his version, he also practices a religion – he abhors individualism. The level to which you are ready to accommodate the ideas of the ‘other’ religion decides whether you are a fundamentalist or a moderate. And as like any other religions, there are a thousand flavours. Take Communism. You got Marxism, Trotskyism, Maoism, the way followed by Tito, Che Guevara, North Korea and some more who are yet to come.
Same goes for terrorism. They relish in anarchy and would dream spreading the anarchy to the extent that it topples the existing order. All his life, he strives for the ultimate. What happens once he reaches the ultimate? Well,…Do you have an answer what will you do after you reach god? The extent to which you would wish to accommodate peaceful solutions decide whether you are a moderate or an extremist.
So, the question is, who is going to formalize these ‘religions’? Or may be, there are books already like Das Kapital, just that they are not popular enough or not convincing enough? Are they going to stay forever or are they going to wilt away like Nazism? Or is Nazism just another combination of these three fundamental religions in this dimension? Saying that, does it mean that anything which happens in the physical plane, god willing, is a combination of these three religions? I guess, this is worth exploring a bit more deeply.