A religious point of view | Sunday Observer

A religious point of view

In our Motherland, freedom is provided by law for anyone to follow his or her religious practices.

Way back in history, the world was not so free to conduct religious practices or worship freely as the environment was not favourable.

People with knowledge and education respect the rights of the other communities. This is what the world recognises as human rights.

All religions are based on rules and practices of how a person should live his life and conduct a peaceful living without disturbing the others.

Despite fundamental differences among the religions, the basic teaching is centered on discipline. No religion commands its followers to be violent.

Today there are various breakaway groups from the main religions who adhere to their own tenets. The mission of these organizations is highly personal, self-explanatory and they have their original scriptures tampered with according to their own perspectives.

This is the area when freedom or human rights come into question.

The main religious organizations should have the authority to control or contain the fundamentalists or extremists spreading their sectarian views, policies or practices among the public.

The breakaway groups even challenge and criticize the original teachings of religions.

A person leaving one religion and embracing another may be acceptable but such a person joining a breakaway group of the same religion is a different issue.

Followers of each religion need to be enlightened on its actual teachings to make sure that they will not be misguided by these groups as all these religious groups have manipulated the original scriptures and the teachings to attract members.

These breakaway groups or Congregational Separatists may have various ideas. Their main idea is to grab as many people as possible from the main religions to their organizations.

It may be that some wish to maintain their status with the funds they gain as ‘offerings’/donations or tithes because fund collection is a main topic used by them in preaching. Adequate measures should be taken by the authorities to monitor the funds raised by these organizations and initiate audit investigations.

All these organizations that I call Congregational Separatists are internationally linked and maintain a vast global chain.

These separatist elements are found in every main religion with a huge group of followers. They are financially sound and will invest on any public program to increase the membership.

It is regrettable that legally there is no provision to ban them or curtail their activities.

The recent incidents in the country are also a repercussion of permitting these unwanted organizations to grow in a free and friendly atmosphere. They conduct their own agendas and teachings.

Due to some reason or other the campaigns against these congregational separatists were very minimal allowing them to spread in the country. As an independent country, we could have taken preventive action in advance to curtail the spread of these congregational separatist groups.

For example, the prevailing law does not obstruct any Tom, Dick or Harry in the country to form a new religious individualism and conduct teachings by enlisting followers. This is freely occurring in Sri Lanka almost in every religion.

These reformist religious groups started here five or six decades ago, and now they run their own churches, mosques, temples and kovils.

The Government and the main religious organizations being fully aware of these, need to limit their growth. This country hardly requires any new temples, churches, mosques or kovils. Financial reports of these organizations should be audited by the authorities and their funds monitored. These organizations should declare their, assets and income and expenditure quarterly to the respective Ministries.

That the majority of these organizations use their funds on personal agendas was proved after the Easter Sunday attack as those organizations have gained enormous funds from many parts of the world.

Therefore, the authorities and the main religious organizations have an obligation to the public and the followers to ensure that no organisations would be formed under their religions to spread false teachings which will disregard their faith and lead them to conflict.

Had precautions been taken by the authorities and religious organizations, the past incidents would not have happened.

At least now, it is hoped the Government will take appropriate preventive action.