Neil Gaiman begins his book American Gods with the following quote quote from Joe Miller's jest book
: The boundaries of our country, sir? Why sir, on the north we are bounded by the Aurora Borealis, on the east we are bounded by the rising sun, on the south we are bounded by the procession of the Equinoxes, and on the west by the Day of Judgmen
t. It may have been words mouthed in jest way back in the XVIII century but in our times where boundaries seemed to be placed within boundaries and more boundaries, these words are poignant to say the least. All across our planet innocent people are being killed. Missiles bring commercial flight down, and missiles rip through schools for children. People are killed in the name of religion leaving us wondering what religion truly is and what kind of God allow such aberrations. I for one am lost. Children die each day by the thousands whilst their country mates throw food with impunity or pour milk on stone deities. Again in the name of religion making me almost feel that 'religion' has become a multi-headed hydra monster.
The blood of every human, whatever her or his creed, caste, social or economic status, colour is red. A child is born from a mother's womb after nine months. The pain of a mother losing her child is the same the world over. People suffer pain the same way no matter where they come from or which God they pray.
How wonderful then if we could in all seriousness define the boundaries of our country as it is in the quote and do away with all the divisions and barriers and walls created by humans and see ourselves as inhabitants of this beautiful planet whilst remembering that one of the boundaries is the Day of Judgement. Wishful thinking but worth a thought.
I embraced Hinduism with pride. That is not because of what its written word is, but because as I was growing up in a Hindu family though my parents were not overtly religious and far from being fanatics, whenever I asked a question pertaining to other religions and how I should view them, I was always told to embrace them too! As a child I, lived in Morocco where I had Muslim and Jewish friends and whoever I asked my parents whether I could fast with them during the Ramadan month or partake of the Sabbath meal, the answer I always got was a resounding yes with a small caveat: provided you do not hurt their sentiments. Having spent some of my school years in a Convents I, like all my catholic friends, said the Lord's prayer with conviction and attended mass as I was in the choir. For me I was just praying to God, and my God had no specific religion. To a child growing up far from her country, Hinduism seemed a wonderful religion and making it mine was a matter of pride.
Then came the fanatics and everything changed. I was deeply hurt when a mosque was destroyed in the name of a temple and other terrible things happened in the name of religion. No God can approve of killing innocents. It does make sense.
Religion to me should be contained within the walls of your home and should not cross the door. The problem is that it is a wonderful tool that all rulers have used to control populations and exercise power with impunity.
The day of Judgment that lies on the west according to the quote awaits us all. I still believe that the maker we will ultimately meet whether we are cremated, buried in a shroud or grave or left to the vultures will never forgive us what we have die in His Name.
I just hold on to the religion I was taught, even if at times it is almost impossible to do so.