Have you ever thought why you are a Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, Moslem or Hindu? Is it because you have analysed every religion threadbare and come to the conclusions that yours is the only true one? Most of us do not attempt to do anything like that. We just believe what we have been taught from our very childhood. We do not question what has been imparted from day one. That could be the reason why children born to Christian parents become Christians, those born to Hindu parents become Hindus, and Moslem parents Moslem. Yes, there are occasional ‘jumps’ from one faith to another. This is a universal phenomenon and is not confined to any one in particular. There have been mass conversions too. When the Roman emperor converted to Christianity the entire subjects had to become Christian. When the Persians conquered India, millions were converted forcibly into Islam. Today also mass conversions do take place, mostly in the developing countries, due to traceable reasons. Even in the advanced nations, conversions happen from one sect to another due to mostly selfish or social motivations and preferences. But these are exceptions and the vast majority remains steadfast in the religion of their birth. Our childhood brain gets programmed into believing our birth-religion. We do not question its veracity or analyse critically its basic tenets later. We are led to simply continue to believe.
You may at this point jump up to say “what nonsense are you saying? I believe in it because I know it is true, I have experienced it. But then the experience we feel is simply produced by our brain as per our intense belief.. The religious experience of a Christian is totally different from that of a Buddhist, Moslem or Hindu. No religion is better than another one. Every religion has good points. experiences vary according to one’s own beliefs. A true Buddhist is does not believe in God. He may not have the experience which a monotheistic religious follower like that of Christianity or Islam has. A communist who is an atheist does not experience God at all. A Hindu believes that the underlying principle of everything in the universe is one: the absolute Brahma. God is not separate from the person; God is you. Christians look for a spiritual heaven where they can experience the Almighty God after death, Moslem look for a material heaven. For Buddhists it is Nirvana: the escape from pain and pleasure, cold and heat. The Hindus long for redemption from the birth-rebirth cycle. The basic tenets are all totally different. Still, people continue to believe what they have been conditioned to believe. Every sect believes too that its religious text is sacred, holy and unquestionable.
In the absence of the early childhood programming , how many of us will believe what we do now? We go on as per the software implanted in us from our home environment, religious institutions and culture. And we believe what we believe is true too to the exclusion of all the others. We are compartmentalized which lead to wars, communal strife and conflicts forgetting we are ll brothers and sisters.