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by Prem Kamble

Religion Born out of a Marriage of Convenience between Concept of God and A Code of Conduct 


Please read Chapter 5 Section 1 of the book to know how Religion was born. You may click on the link or read the extracts reproduced below:


Chapter 5    What is Religion?

Religion originated as a code of conduct. The ancient learned men created a set of norms related to positive thinking, good social behaviour and good hygiene for the common man. Sometime in the early history of mankind, these rules of good behaviour had a marriage of convenience with the concept of God, and religion was born. Let us examine what could have been the circumstances leading to this marriage of convenience.

1.       A Code of Conduct for Hygienic Behaviour

The ancient holy saints were learned and they knew what was hygienic and what was not. They perhaps knew about disease, what caused it and how to prevent it. They wished the welfare of the common man and wished to create the

Religion originated as a code of conduct. The ancient learned men created a set of norms related to positive thinking, good social behavior and good hygiene for the common man 

norms of good social and hygienic behaviour. But they could not explain sense to the illiterate and ignorant common man and ensure compliance. Even if they knew about the existence of germs, they knew they would not be able to convince the common people that there were germs around us which were invisible to naked eye. They had no microscopes to prove or give clear evidence for people to see and believe. They probably found an easy way to convince people to follow hygiene, to avoid disease and at the same time ensure compliance – they gave a religious tinge by saying that it was the “will of God” or the “word of God”. The best way to ensure conformity was to tell the common man that such behaviour pleases God, or that the religion preaches such behaviour.

 Disease and suffering were explained as God's curse against our misdeeds, or as results of our sinful deeds ('paap'). Religion came in handy to explain to the common man how he could avoid disease. Hygienic methods to avoid diseases became religious rituals.

So most of the religious beliefs and rituals have a very scientific base. The problem is that they were probably quite relevant in those days, and may not be so today. Today scientific and medical techniques are so advanced that there are preventives or cures for some diseases, thereby obviating the need of some behaviours which have become rituals today.


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