A long time ago there were many saints in Europe. They were living amazing magical lives, they used to perform plenty of miracles, the crowds would flock to bow at their sanctity, their remains were worshiped and kept as long as possible for the next generations to maintain the devotion.
Then they became scarce, nowadays there is none left. In order to find currently living saints, one has to travel to other countries, like India for instance. It seems like India is the very land where saints can be found at every street corner. So I wondered. What do India from nowadays shares in common with Europe from the old days?
Both cultures are so opposite that I only see a single common feature : the disrespect for human life.
In the middle-age Europe, marriage was primarily an arrangement between 2 families. The bride had to come as a virgin, fitted with a jackpot. Most of the population was super-poor. There was nothing special about starving to death. A little minority of chosen ones called "nobles" had absolute rights from birth. The poor people striving to become successful could at most become only “bourgeois”, namely despicable low people who had the luck to live in comfort. Kings and landlords could kill or arrest anyone they wished. Religion was all-powerfull, working hand in hand with royal power. Religious conflicts could bring about arrests, tortures, massacres. Superstition was deeply rooted in culture, it would systematically take over science.
India operates more or less the same way nowadays. Weddings are arranged according to the social position. Virginity and dowry are mandatory. Even when he becomes rich, an Intouchable remains Intouchable and his children while inherit from this social burden. However the Brahmins are superior to the rest of the population and they pass on this right to their offspring even if they are tackled by bankruptcy. Corruption is so widespread that in case of trouble, people try to sort out things on their own without calling the police. One just needs to say something unfriendly about a guru to end up in a hospital, in prison or in morgue. Superstition is such that some gullible and desperate devotees go so far as committing human sacrifices to quench the gods anger.
Isn't it a puzzling coincidence? When people are treated like shit, saints sprout at every crossroad. When the people are treated with respect, when comfort is guaranteed, when it is allow to express oneself freely, then saints wanish. How to explain this strange phenomenon?
I say to myself that when public authorities depletes us like raptors, when birth irremediably locks our way in life, when death awaits at every street corner in general indifference, when our very family, our last haven, sees us like an object to trade for social advancement, then what is left? The only thing left to do is to raise the eyes to heaven to cry. That's what the Europeans used to do in the middle-age.
Religion is the only way to get a little bit of regard, safety and affection in the midst of absolute distress. Above the cloud, a wise invisible bearded man wants the best for us. Pain makes sense thanks to religion. It is the price to pay to earn a ticket for paradise.
Religion also provides a clear conscience to the tyrants who misuse their power. They are allowed to abuse others because god gave them the relevant authority to do so. If what they do is evil then let god come and deprive them from their powers. As thunder never falls from the skies to strike their head then they infer that god approves and blesses their deeds, for reasons that low people are too stupid to understand.
In a society where violence and contempt daily ruin human life, most of the people suffer with self-abnegation because individual and massive complaints are useless, revolution is the only way to change the rules. Given such a lethal context, the resistance abilities vary from one to the other.
Those who are gifted with foolproof strength of character, extraordinary resilience capacities and absolute positive mind, are able to stick to a compassionate attitude. The kindness and pacifism contrasts with the overall perversion. They are seen like outstanding beings, precious, smooth. Like superhuman able to save mankind. In general they get sympathy from people. Of course, they look towards divine concepts because it is the only support they can really rely on.
Those who are weak slope easily into madness. If their behavior is highly irrational, their survival chances are slim. In order to avoid that tragic fate they can desperately hold on to something, like one grips to a lifebuoy to survive in a storm. The only help in a corrupted society is heaven, it is divinity. That's how some insane people engage in religious flavored behavior. The people which is craving for saviors hastily beatify these persons. No one understand what they say, no one understand what they do but they remind of the salvation scent of religion.
Middle-age is long gone. Everything has changed, except religion. We still admire the one who displays compassion in spite of dramatic circumstances, we call him “wise”. We also still admire the madman who does anything supposedly in the name of god, we call him “saint”. We still consider that pain is the best way to advance spiritually. We still consider that self-sacrifice is the feature of god's servants. Chastity, fasting, deprivations, altruism, silent self-abnegation, death of the ego... everything that belittles us moves us closer to god.
We have been complying faithfully to these principles for milleniums. What have we reaped? Holy wars, forced conversions; pedophilia, embezzlement, brainwashing, abuse of power, collusion with dictatorship, adoption of unfair rules, enslavement, cruel traditions... Isn't it high time that we stopped the damages? Isn't it the right time to question our views on religion and god?
Maybe we should stop exalting diregard for life. Sacrifice doesn't move us closer to god. Austerities don't move us closer to god. Sexual deprivation doesn't move us closer to god. Contempt for women doesn't move us closer to god. Pan make us raise our eyes to heaven but isn't it better to walk willingly to that direction instead of being violently pushed toward it with tears in our eyes?
Maybe we should stop believing in elected one chosen by god, blessed among all, coming from above to save us. This notion has been used so far mainly to deliver scandalous license to do anything, to those who pretend to have a more or less direct connection with divinity. They have taken advantage of it to exploit human species to serve their interests. The “servant” of god grants himself the right the he wants and the duties that suit him.
Maybe we should stop assuming that madness is wisdom. We consider that god's ways are unfathomable. Therefore when someone behaves in weird ways, it must be because he is aware of divine secrets that we ignore. What if it was wrong? What if that person had simple lost his mind? When dogmas are full of paradoxes we infer that there are divine revelations so mystical that no one understands a single thing. What if it was wrong? What if it was just nice mental manipulation churned out by wicked people? Maybe the precious writing left by the wise ones after they passed away, have been remixed by power mongers, eager to brainwash people in order to dominate them.
It is said that we are god's children but there are all kinds of children.
There is the lazy or scared child who lets his parents be in charge of his whole life. He wanders fevirishly in live like a snail without a shell. He depends on them in every aspect of his life, he is unable to do anything on his own.
There is the reckless or whimsical child who takes advantage of his parents protection to do all kinds of stupid things with full impunity. He also remains dependent on his parents for his whole life because he needs them to make up excuses and bear the consequences of his misconduct
There is the child who wants to grow. He wants to gain in autonomy, knowledge and power. He looks at his parents to learn by imitating them. He wants to become like them and be better than them if its is possible. That child become more and more independent everyday.
It is said that we are god's children. What kind of child do we want to be?