Religion is a controversial topic which is a boarded in the two following books: The Kite Runner , by Khaled Hossein and The Power and the Glory, by Graham Green. Both books are based on this topic and they show the good and bad aspects. It is important to poit out that they are not about religion but many important things that happen in this book talk about religion or are related with religion. These books do no attack directly any religious group but focuses on religion as something general.
The good aspect that religion has is that they comfort others and the bad aspect is that in occasions it is common for people to take advantage of the ones who have less. Unfortunately with in religion social groups are formed, with this everyone feels obligated to support economically their religion, in order for their sin to be forgiven.
In the power and glory the author criticizes how the church takes advantage of the faith people have and the money they give with devotion. This is personified by the lieutenant. Unfortunately this is very common, the people that have less money are the ones that are always willing to give more even though they don´t have the possibilities. “the old peasants knelt there before the holy images with their arms held outin the attitude of the cross: tired by the long day’s labour in the plantations they squeezed out a further mortification. And the priest come round with the collecting bag taking their centavos, abusing them for their small comforting sins, and sacrificing nothing at all in return-except a little sexual indulgence.” PAG. 22,23 The priest takes all that the peasants have and acts like if he were to abolish all the sins they have committed.
The loss of faith is something very common because when people are having adversities it is then that they question everything, mainly the existence of God. Mexico is a perfect example of this type of religion. Mexico is one of the most religious countries, Mexicans believe that there is a god who is good, as well as the saints, it is costume to venerate these saints. But when the Mexicans do not get their wishes granted they turn their backs on the saints and start complaining like why did God do this to them. “They were quite accustomed to people dying , but an unforeseen hope of happiness had bobbed up among the tombs: they could boast after this that one at least of their family had gone into the ground with an official prayer.” Pag. 48
This is a point that favors religion because it makes people stronger especially when they are in a difficult situation. To accept the death of a love one is the most difficult thing in life, but many people have the comfort that they are going to rest in a better place. In order to lead their soul to rest they must pray. And light a candle in order to illuminate them. But let us not forget that this prayer also helps comfort the family.
And because of things like these the lieutenant did not believe in any religion he was always on the defensive. This is similar to the saying that talks about that everyone sees or have are different perspectives of the same thing, in occasions this is because of the previous experience they have had. “It infuriated him to think that there were still people in the state who believed in a loving and a merciful God. There mystics who are said to have experienced God directly. He was a mystic, too, and what he had experienced was vacancy-a complete certainty in the existence of a dying, cooling world, of human beings who had evolved from animals for no purpose at all.” Pag. 24,25
“an enormous temptation came to Padre José to take the risk and say a prayer over the grave. He felt the wild attraction of doing one’s duty and strecheda sign of the cross in the air ; then fear came back like a drug. Contempt and safety waited for him down by the quay: he wanted to get away. He sank hopelessly down on his knees and entreated them: ‘leave me alone .’ H e said, ‘ I am unworthy. Can’t you see?-I am a coward.” Pag. 49
Priests are people who have an important role in society they have to have a proper behavior. But they are humans and this should be kept in mind, they are not perfect. Another thing is that priests should be at the service of the community. They also commit mistakes or act in a selfish way, for example when a priest does not want to revel his identify because he is aware of the consequences that this will bring to his life.
“It is wrong to think that just because one diesâ€¦ no. I tell you I am in a state of mortal sin. I have done things I couldn’t talk to you about”. Pag.127 Sins are a religious concepts that difference the good and bad. Religion is always in charge of the moral aspects and dictates the rules that a person should follow in order to be a good person or if these rules are broken they are considered sinners.
He said, ‘I don’t know how to repent .’that was true: he had lost the faculty. He couldn’t say to himself that he wished his sin had never existed, because the sin seemed to him now so unimportant and he loved the fruit of it. He needed a confessor to draw his mind slowly down the drab passages which led to grief and repentance. Pag. 128The concept that the church manages in many occasions crashes with the interests and necessities of the people. and when are seen from another perspective are not at all bad or incorrect. When father or mother have a child that is a sinner according to church rules, they fell ashamed or have to act distant. When they actually feel happy or do not want to turn their backs on theier sons. This is comun in teenage mothers, even though they are seen as sinners thay have the support and comfort of their parents.
The kite runner is a book that is focused on the religión of the pakistan´s, even thought thi book does not mention much about religion, it is considered that the most important characters are the ones that have had an encounter with it.
In this quote they mainly talk about the religion seen as a sin. But ironically they sil did not handle the concept of sin. He though us the intricacies of performing the five daily namaz prayers, and made us memorize verses from the Koran-and though he never translated the words for us, Pag. 16
“They do nothing bu thumb their prayer beads and recite a book written in a tongue they don’t even understand .” He took a sip. “God help us all if afganistan ever falls into their hands.” 270 these people learned the koran because they felt obligated to do it. Even thouh they read the Koran they could never understand what the texts meant. They where with the religion but they blind they could see no farther then what was convient for them o believe.
Never mind of those things. Because history isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religión. In the end, I was in Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was sunni and he was Shi’a and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.
But we were kids who had learned to crawl together, and no history, ethnicity, society, or religion was going to change that either.” Pag. 25 With this quote the author implies that religion divides people, this is similar to what was seen in power and glory. But in the kite runner this is presented with amir and Hassan, their relation was conditions to their social status, they had different religions and their relation had to be only cordial. This was thanks to their differences, it is always common to see the differences between people should be pointed out instead o the similitude between them.
We listen to what God says and we obey because we are nothing, but humble, powerless creatures before god’s greatness. And what does God say? I ask you! WHAT DOES GOD SAY? God says that every sinner must be punished in a manner befitting his sin. Those are not my words, nor the words of my brothers. Those are the words of GOD!” Pag. 270
This is also an example on how religion uses a sin to punish others, but this could not be seen as a sin but justice. At the same time this I quiet ironically, because how can you tell a person to not do things when this person does not predict with the example.
It is important that people understand that religion can provide comfort and strength sometimes, but also they need to be aware of how religion has the power enough to dictate the values and attitudes of a society, and sometimes some actions that religion promotes can be questionable. Therefore, attitude towards religion should be more open, enough to be able to see the advantages or disadvantages of it. Besides, beyond religion, people should be conscious that freedom and civil rights should not be threatened or restricted by any type of doctrine. This is difficult to do because religion is something that most people have in their lives and when you grow with certain concepts and principles they become part of who you are and to question any of it implies to confront yourself, which is a thing really difficult to do. If you can decide that religion serves you and how does it serve you then you will also be able to say when religion is being used as an abusive powers instead of a moral guidance for the common good.