“Why do people give so much importance to religion?” If religion did not exist half the worlds problems would be solved.”
An agnostic’s view coerced me to define religion in a modern context to render it more comprehensive to people torn between scientific theories such as The Big Bang theory or Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and the biblical story of how god created the world in seven days which is synonymous with the Hindu belief that the Hindu God, Brahma, created the world and all the living things in it.
My son being my guinea pig I carried out the experiment with him to measure the rate of success I would have with listeners. So, one fine day when the subject cropped up again, I told him to picture religion as a brand and the miracles, parables, allegories, prophecies, narrative etc. as persuasive devices used by the creator of the brand to sell it to consumers who are people born with a need to belong to someone or something for stability, security and support. Different religions, I mean different brands, use different visual or language techniques and special effects etc. to influence the consumers of faith to buy the idea or concept that they are selling. The number of followers depend upon how attractive or persuasive the brand is. The main idea all the different brands are selling is that with the ownership of the idea/product people gain access to a certain lifestyle. I could tell that I had a buyer since the guinea pig could not disagree. He began to see religion from a new perspective and the analogy to commercials or the advertising world suited the modern context. And Bingo!
Call it a brand or not, there is competition between religions or among religions to establish itself as the most authentic faith. One of the ways the advocates of a particular religion try to win the competition is by pointing out the maximum number of inaccuracies in the holy books of other religions or by manipulating ambiguous statements within these holy books to their advantage or to suit their purpose. What these ardent propagandists are failing to comprehend is that the holy books recorded life as it happened in the period in which it was created, which dates back to 2nd Century BCE and a few others date back to several thousand years ago and its authors could not have foreseen the scientific advancements and technological developments which are the outcomes of modernization. Finding inaccuracies in such compositions, sacred or not, is but normal as the books are not a reflection of the contemporary world and the current lifestyle. The focus of all the holy books being “the ways of living”, its relevance can never be questioned. The crux of the holy books being live and let live.
We know that the success of Shakespeare is because of his themes’ universality and human emotions such as love, jealousy, greed, ambition etc. which are same no matter where they are or in which era they live. The holy books are also known for its universality of themes such as creation, ways of living, good vs evil, poetic justice, battles and lessons learned, prophets and their message, futuristic destruction of the world, the day of judgement etc. Several modern day adaptations and appropriations of Shakespeare’s sixteenth century plays have been made by famous film makers as it continues to sustain the interests of modern audience when presented in celluloid. Even though there are a large number of theists in the world, religion could benefit from a few marketing strategies to reach out to those who need more convincing about the spiritual benefits of the brand.