While driving to work this morning, I was hearing NPRs broadcast about the latest series of allegations of child abuse against priests in the catholic church. These priests are supposed to be people in God's service and they behaved worse than animals! Even more disgusting is the fact that their higher ups actually tried to protect the predators instead of stripping them of their titles and kicking them right out of their community. How will people continue to have faith in a religious institution if they know that even the most vulnerable and innocent members of it have no safety?
Not long ago, another of those Hindu Con men, sorry God-men, in India got exposed for what he was - a greedy, lustful charlatan. This is not the first time this is happening. Religious and spiritual figureheads being caught doing immoral, illegal and criminal activities is something which happens in India with even greater regularity than the coming of summer. In fact, the more I read such news, the more I wonder every time I hear about a new God-man or spiritual guru, as to when exactly that person will be found to be a fraud as well.
Given that such news has become a fact of daily life, I have never been able to look up to a religious or spiritual figurehead. Since childhood, I have always strongly felt that my religious faith and my spiritual inclination is something intensely personal between me and the supernatural force that I believe guides the universe. I do not need a "broker" to talk to God or a spiritual guru (the very term spiritual guru sets my fraud alarm bells ringing) to guide me onto the path of truth or whatever, thank you very much. Really, I cannot see what makes someone else, who is just as human as I am, closer to a higher power or more blessed or more divine because they claim that is so.
However, there are plenty of people, not necessarily illiterate or uneducated who totally believe in their gurus no matter what anyone else says. I was seeing a rather disgusting interview on the internet the other day where the fraudster Swami was giving some cock and bull story as to why he was inculpable and the interviewer was actually looking at him like he believed every word was true! Whoever came up with the phrase "blinded by faith" knew what they were talking about.
I guess for every hundred fraudster gurus out there, there might be a genuine guru. But if you were so enlightened and free of the materialistic world, why would you encourage people idolizing you and worshiping you as God? Isn't renunciation of all worldly wants the first step towards a "pure" life?
However, as I said, faith is something which is intensely personal and I have no interest in questioning other people's choices and beliefs especially since I get annoyed when people question mine. Live and let live without causing any harm to anyone is my motto.
Still, it does not stop me from feeling anger at the gullibility, naivete and faith of people which enables the fraudsters, every time such an expose happens.