Old Testament : Amos 8:4 – 6
New Testament : James 1:19 – 27
Gospel : Mathew 25:31 – 40
The 128th Birth anniversary of Dr. B. R Ambedkar falls on Sunday, 14 April, 2019. On this particular Sunday it is important for us to have a bird’s eye view of how Ambedkar looked at religion. Interestingly, his understanding of religion has resemblances with the passages given here. Let us examine how Ambedkar viewed religion:
According to Ambedkar the life and practices of the society lay the foundation of religion. Therefore, religion is part of one’s “social inheritance”. He affirmed the role of religion in the society and life of people, but he never endorsed hypocritic expressions in the name of religion. Religion, to him, is the driving force for human activity. He elsewhere remarked that “Man cannot live by bread alone. He has a mind which needs food for thought. Religion instils hope in Man and drives him to activity.” He linked religion with the social being of the people. He remarked, “The religion which discriminates between two followers is partial and the religion which treats crores of its adherents worse than dogs and criminals and inflicts upon them insufferable disabilities is no religion at all. He wanted a religion which was all inclusive and open to all. Ambedkar also was of the opinion that religion should be rites and ritual free. He emphasized the social value of religion. The social values talked about by Ambedkar are dignity, equality, liberty and fraternity which are the core values of a society. Ambedkar believed that for betterment of socio-economic, religious and political way of life, “the prescription of equality, liberty and fraternity was needed.” Ambedkar in his response to religion sees religion in the interest of establishing a society of equals. For him, the questions of the origin, nature and practice of religion were not essential; instead he studied and assessed various religions from a social perspective of justice. Thus, we can say that for Ambedkar the search for a new religion was less of a spiritual quest and more of a longing for a religion free from unnecessary rites and rituals and built on the principles of justice and equality.
Similar to Ambedkar’s views, the prophet Amos criticised religion which discriminates people based on their economic back ground. His criticism is meant to evolve a genuine religion. Let us now look at how the prophetic voice of Amos described the characteristics of genuine religion: Read more