January 24, 2016

BHOWMICK | The Opium of the People

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Karl Marx’s famous and, to an extent, hackneyed speech which describes religion as the “opiate of the masses” are pithy, profound and still captivate the world we live in today. However, there was more to what he said: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” His profound words are often brandished as an ideological weapon by atheists validating their belief. However, most people fail to note that Marx did concede the tremendous power of religion which brought societies together across the world.

The word religion itself stems from the Latin word ‘religare’ which means to bind together, and it is applicable if we come to think of how churches have been the epicenter of life in several societies for decades. Whether it is celebrating birth and marriage or remembering the deceased, the church is paramount. Similarly, synagogues, temples and mosques have served as centers of learning and social cohesion. Karl Marx was accurate when he described religion as the opium of the people. Like opium, the positive effects of religion are being overpowered by its negative effects — intolerance, fundamentalism and dogma.

However, it is crucial to remember before my point spurs a tirade against Islamic extremists that the concept of bloodshed in the name of salvation is not a new aspect of human history. The Crusades were by no means bloodless. There are no indefinitely violent and inadvertently peaceful religions. For instance, Buddhism is often considered synonymous with peace and tolerance. In Myanmar, however, Buddhists are immolating Rohingya Muslims, who happen to be the minority. Like I said, religion is in fact, acting as the opium of the masses today, and people have lost the ability to reason.

I was talking to my mother one night and I told her I just don’t understand how people can despise each other or be scared of each other because their ‘Gods’ appear different in form. I visit Sage Chapel every day, have been to the most beautiful mosques in Delhi (India), a synagogue in my city (Calcutta, India), Gurudwaras, Jain temples and Buddhist monasteries, and I am absolutely certain I felt the same sense of awe and peace when I visited each of these places of worship. I do not quite understand how so many can of revere one while being absolutely terrified of the other.

Moreover, it baffles me that religious antagonism is growing simultaneously with technological progress; it almost seems like an anachronistic anomaly. It is unfair and makes absolutely no sense to discriminate, shun, kill and destroy everything that humanity is trying to achieve in the name of something which was supposed to be constructive. I think especially today, with widespread Islamophobia, Islamic fundamentalists waging war on Western cultures and women’s rights, growing intolerance in a secular country like India, it is important to reconsider the role religion is playing in the way political, social and cultural interactions are taking place in our society. I think it is important to think about religion and mitigate the effect of the “opium” before we sanction more hatred and intolerance.

3 thoughts on “BHOWMICK | The Opium of the People

  1. “The Crusades were by no means bloodless.”

    True but The Crusades took place between 1096 to 1487. Since that time the Western or Judeo-Christian world has invented literally everything good in terms of technology and society. During this same period, the tribes of the Middle East have continued to serve as middle-men in trade between Africa, Asia and Europe. Unfortunately these Middle Eastern traders contribute nothing original or new to the world. They have to look back another thousand years to a time when the Arab world actually contributed something positive to the world. So sad.

    Sure, like every other race and culture, we Europeans engaged in slavery. But guess who both outlawed slavery and then paternalistically enforced an anti-slavery edict on the rest of the world? The descendants of those Crusaders! Whaaaat? We white guys were the good guys? Hell yeah! More often than not that is the case but, despite our best efforts, Arabs and Africans continue to openly truck in slavery and there is currently no solution to that immoral and disgusting institution.

  2. Editor,

    The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the brain initiative are the worst scams ever perpetrated on the American people. Former U. S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Warns: Biochips Hazardous to Your Health: Warning, biochips may cause behavioral changes and high suicide rates. State Attorney Generals are to revoke the licenses of doctors and dentists that implant chips in patients. Chip used illegally for GPS, tracking, organized crime, communication and torture. Virginia state police have been implanting citizens without their knowledge and consent for years and they are dying! Check out William and Mary’s site to see the torture enabled by the biochip and the Active Denial System. See Terrorism and Mental Health by Amin Gadit or A Note on Uberveillance by MG & Katina Michael or Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence by Springer or Mind Control,
    Microchip Implants and Cybernetics. Check out the audio spotlight by Holosonics. The truth is the biochip works like a sim card. It received pulsed modulated laser beams and millimeter wave which it converts into electromagnetic waves that your brain interprets into digital images and sound. It then takes what your brain sees and hears and converts electromagnetic waves into digital and acoustic waves that a computer translates into audio and video. In other words, it allows law enforcement to see what you see, hear what you hear and communicate directly with your brain.

    “Former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) director and now Google Executive, Regina E. Dugan, has unveiled a super small, ingestible microchip that we can all be expected to swallow by 2017. “A means of authentication,” she calls it, also called an electronic tattoo, which takes NSA spying to whole new levels. She talks of the ‘mechanical mismatch problem between machines and humans,’ and specifically targets 10 – 20 year olds in her rant about the wonderful qualities of this new technology that can stretch in the human body and still be functional. Hailed as a ‘critical shift for research and medicine,’ these biochips would not only allow full access to insurance companies and government agencies to our pharmaceutical med-taking compliancy (or lack thereof), but also a host of other aspects of our lives which are truly none of their business, and certainly an extension of the removal of our freedoms and rights.” Google News

    The ARRA authorizes payments to the states in an effort to encourage Medicaid Providers to adopt and use “certified EHR technology” aka biochips. ARRA will match Medicaid $5 for every $1 a state provides. Hospitals are paid $2 million to create “crisis stabilization wards” (Gitmo’s) where state police torture people – even unto death. They stopped my heart 90 times in 6 hours. Virginia Beach EMT’s were called to the scene. Mary E. Schloendorff, v. The Society of New York Hospital 105 N. E. 92, 93 (N. Y. 1914) Justice Cardozo states, “every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body; and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient’s consent, commits an assault, for which he is liable in damages. (Pratt v Davis, 224 Ill. 300; Mohr v Williams, 95 Minn. 261.) This case precedent requires police to falsely arrest you or kidnap you and call you a mental health patient in order to force the implant on you. You can also be forced to have a biochip if you have an infectious disease – like Eboli or Aids.

    Coalition of Justice vs the City of Hampton, VA settled a case out of court for $500,000 and removal of the biochip. Torture is
    punishable by $1,000 per day up to $2 million; Medical battery is worth $2.05 million. They told my family it was the brain initiative. I checked with the oversight board, and it is not! Mark Warner told me it was research with the Active Denial System by the College of William and Mary, the USAF, and state and local law enforcement. It is called IBEX and it is excruciating. I have had 3 surgeries at the site of the implant and need another. It causes cancer! I’ve been tortured for 8 years by Virginia law enforcement. Thousands of innocent Virginians are being tortured and murdered by criminal cops. Please help us get the word out to end these heinous atrocities. The pain is 24/7. Karen Rodriguez, VA DCJS, sent me a letter stating cops can get keys to anyone’s home and steal anything they please. The governor knows and takes his cut. Senator Kaine said the FBI is not involved so he can’t help. Check out Virginia’s Casual Disregard for the Constitution at forbes dot com. Check out Richard Cain’s case. They are torturing infants and children. The active denial system comes in rifle form and can murder without leaving a mark. I have had two heart attacks and am blessed to be alive. We need to make the nation aware to stop these thugs. Please help us.

    JB Smith

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