This view has been extracted from the interview by Professor Dr. K.V. Dominic. It appeared in Selected Interviews of Stephen Gill (www.stephengillcriticism.info) edited by Dr. Anuradha Sharma, and released by Orientalia in 2011. Dr. KV Dominic, a prominent author of literary and critical studies, has participated in international literary conferences, and his writings have appeared in a number of respectable journals.
Professor Dominic: Since terrorists are often driven by religious frenzy; don’t you think that a world without religion is the need of the day to save it from destruction?
Stephen Gill: There are political elements that exploit religion for their own interests. Terrorists fall victim to them. These exploiters and terrorists are in a small minority. To do away with the strength that has and still is contributing to the amelioration of society for the sake of this microscopic minority is not a wise step. Moreover, it is not possible to have a world without religion. Even those who do not have religion develop their own religion without a set of dogmas.
I believe that humans need a religion in one shape or the other. It starts from childhood when a child feels comfortable in an atmosphere that is caring and, in the parents, who are stronger than he or she is. Probably father appears to be the strongest and the bravest person in the world. It begins to dawn in adulthood that father is not the strongest and the bravest in the world. The adult keeps looking for another figure, focusing on a super power. The image of God fills the gap. No matter at what stage of development a human is, there will always remain a need for a father or mother figure.
Also, there is a psychological need for a reliable source where a person can go with problems. Most people need a patient silent listener. One way is to go to a psychiatrist or a counselor for guidance. Most of the time merely expression of the problem lightens the burden. For such persons, God fills the need of a counselor.
Then there are people who believe in miracles. This belief is the outcome of one’s religious faith. There are even prominent scientists who believe in miracles. I know a strong organization of medical doctors who have witnessed miracles in their profession and believe in healing through prayers. They have a truck load of cases to prove their belief.
From a practical point of view, the superpower emerges as the most loving and caring embodiment of peace. A human who does not believe in an organized religion, but believes in peace and love is religious to me. What are important for me are peace and the use of peaceful means to create peace, because without peace there is no prosperity and health of any kind. It does not matter to me whether an individual believes in a superpower or not. A belief in peace and the use of peaceful means are the main points in my way of thinking.
Every religion has the possibility of indulging in corruption, though some may have more possibilities than others. At the same time, every religion has the capacity to overcome that corruption. I believe that in spite of corruption religion is still the rock of hope.
Please click below to read some memorable lines from Stephen Gill’s works on his philosophy of love: http://stephengillcriticism.info/STRIKING%20lines%20on%20love.pdf
StephenGill, a multiple award-winning Indo/Canadian self-exiled poet, fiction writer, and essayist, has authored more than thirty books. He is the subject of doctoral dissertations and thirteen books of critical studies have been released. The focus of his writing is live and let live. Available For: writer or poet in residence.