Is Religion Being Led By Irreligious? By Fr. Anand Muttungal
20 Feb 2012
There are many religious leaders who do not fit into our concept of religious leadership but it is hard to question them due to the power they wield. A religious leader according to general concept is someone who is dedicated to a life that will help promote God experience in believers as per the set norms of the religion. His/ her life is a total dedication to the cause of religious principles given by the scripture. A religious person begins his/her life as a strict follower of the religion and gradually ascends to a spiritual leader.
However, those deviate from the common beliefs and practises through incoherent actions to what they preach and practise is considered as irreligious. Some of their common characteristics are; ignoring the vision of the founder and gets tied up with set norms and traditions. Such persons cannot remain longer in this state instead move to losing the fear of God. Subsequently, it results to formation of arrogance mixed with crude indifference to not only to the believers but also the religious tenets. It moves a step further with loss of faith in the divine providence and fearlessness in the divine. We can find some practical symptoms in them such as not attending common people, attending mobile calls in serous meetings, rarely attends missed calls, SMSs, revengeful and competitive spirit in everything, searches ways target those opposed to their ideas, uses people as pawns to find self satisfaction and above all they perform all religious ceremonies mechanically.
The concept can be clearer with the parable of a religious leader who he spent long hours with God and people. He taught people ways to lead a happy life. He guided people in all round development. He established number of charitable institutions across the country for the people. He took up difficulties as part of his endeavour to help people to reach God. One day morning his disciples found him dead. After a few days they elected a new person to head the organization. As soon as he began his reigns, he made a list of people who had personal problems with each other. He appointed them all with persons whom he felt are not supporting him. As he had thought, through their fights he got information about each other and he played well the role of a healer. He told them all one-day, “God has chosen me to be Superior over you. He has given me wisdom to be perfect in all matters. So all activities will be planned by me, if you have any idea share with me, if I am pleased you can do.” He made many small committees of sycophants to execute the works. He placed such people in most charitable organizations that can generate income. Slowly all his charitable institutions began to mint money and common people were out from the map of the organisation. He avoided facing people and doing any work so he created occasions to visit his organizations all over. His religious ceremonies had no religious fervours. He interpreted rules and regulations to suit his claims. People never approached him for spiritual guidance. Within a few years he became a man with a religious title but lived like an ordinary man in his mansion with a few flatterers.
This story tells how the religious leaders slip into the array of leaders who are without religious principles. There are many religious groups being led by such irreligious leaders. Their leadership has brought the religion to all time low status. We need religio-spiritual leaders who have sufficient experience of the divine. If we are looking for divine experience then we need to pray for ordinary persons in the divine garbs. It might look impossible in the modern world but “nothing is impossible for God”. So pray for divine intervention, God can do wonders with seemingly useless persons too!