I wrote this shortly after the bombings on London?s transport system. The Hindustan Times published it on August 3, 2005:
Religion is not about bombing
THE RECENT London bombings have made me think.
The city became the world's largest in 1825, even though the British empire is now just a history lesson. Yet Oxford still has great snob value. Maybe that is why there's still a Commonwealth of Nations with governor generals yielding political power in many countries (India excluded, of course).
The US-based John Templeton Foundation just allocated Rs 9 crore for a two-year Oxford scientific study to determine the relationship between religion, pain and terrorism, One hopes that the world's second largest democracy, in supporting this study, will reveal among other things that the recent London atrocities and the WTC destruction were not motivated by Islamic philosophy, but by twisted terrorist sentiments, often around an imagined after-life paradise.
Suicide fanatics are occasionally promised unlimited concubines and intoxicants if they give their lives to damage any part of an "evil empire (London and New York have sometimes been characterised citadels of oppression and wanton living). Of little worry to such maniacs is the fact that most of their victims are innocent citizens.
The concept that the 'big eight' are part of a sprawling rank of global infidelia is undoubtedly on the cards. But terrorists mock real warriors.
British newspapers say the Oxford study aims to develop new and practical approaches "for promoting well-being and ultimately maximising individual human potential".
One hopes it wil generate a deeper understanding of religion's nature; that it will help establish that real religion strives for harmony. Jesus Christ wasn't called the Prince of Peace for nothing. Although research can be most helpful, thoughtful spiritualists don't need 'proofs' to know that gratuitous killing isn't part of God's kingdom.