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The power of religion

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I think the question that captioned yesterday's article by Dennie Quill: 'Does religion make Muslims happy?' is relevant but should be more balanced and comprehensive in scope. Maybe it should read: 'Does religion make anyone happy?' In an attempt to answer this question, there should be a clear distinction made between happiness and joy.

Maybe one of our psychologists needs to do a study to see what are the links between religion and those extreme limits to which the human will go to commit acts of crime and violence against his fellows. But without the advantage of raw data from a scientific research, I have observed that religion seems easily to breed bigotry, intolerance and by the most part usually comes as a cloak of authority from God (as perceived by unbridled proponents) for extreme acts against perceived enemies or antagonists.

Yes, Jamaica is considered a Christian country by virtue of its proliferation of churches, but being a member of a church does not make one immune to the oppressing circumstances that prevail in this country. Our economic policies alone are enough to drive a poor man over the edge of bitterness, and when he gets there it is no stopping what he will do to protest, be he Muslim or Christian.

Honest opinion

So, this is where one's religion is tested. Does his religion help him to be happy, joyful and hopeful through these oppressing trying circumstances? Having never been a Muslim, I cannot represent an honest opinion on this question. But for the Christian, his hope in the better future life through Christ buffers him through the circumstances of the present. His religion then not only makes him happy but gives him joy. Happiness is based on favourable events while joy is an abiding principle that keeps him focused on the better to come even when everything seems to be going wrong around him. That is the power of religion.

I am, etc.,