Religion, Education and Bioethical Maturity

- Raghwesh Ranjan, Ph.D.
Anarde Foundation, 1087, Sector - 15/Ii

Gurgaon - 122001, Haryana, India
Email: raghwesh_26@yahoo.com

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 11 (2001), 110-111.


Introduction

In his brief essay, Raghwesh Ranjan raises the issue of education, which is one critical focus of bioethics. I hope that his thoughts will spark further thought and dialogue regarding the appropriate role of religion in education and bioethics.

- Erin Williams
Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary defines religion as belief in existence of God or Gods, who has/have created the universe and given man a spiritual nature that continues to exist after the death of the body. According to Ogburn, a definition of religion should be based on the characteristics of all religions, not just the one we possess. But as a matter of fact the form in which religion expresses itself vary so much that it is difficult to agree upon a definition.

Religion has no circumference, no perimeter. It is even beyond the bondages of words. The definitions are efforts to describe personal perceptions in words on the subject. Charles Y.Glock and Rodney Stark in their book " Religion and Society in tension" defines religion as, "those institutionalized systems of beliefs, symbols, values and practices that provide groups of men with solutions to their questions of ultimate being".

Education is etymologically related to the Latin verb eeducare' that means to bring up and is connected with the verb eeducere' which means to bring forth. Aristotle said that, to educate means to develop man's faculties, especially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, beauty and goodness. The education system is aorta of every nation. Education propels constructive actions by strengthening the power of brain. It shapes up the thoughts, perception and vision of an individual. Education glorifies the humane attitude of a person.

Bioethical maturity is a concept introduced by Macer (1994). I think it is the state of respect for nature, and fellow beings. It is understanding of moral obligations towards society, nation and environment.

Religion, education and bioethical maturity are interlinked and inter related, all the three aim at attaining sustainable living. They improve the quality of life, imparts a meaning to the survival on earth.

Religion And Education Must Come Together For A Bioethically Mature Society

Education without religion is meaningless. It is like river without water, sun without glow. Generally this perception is not digested with ease. I argue that there must be a paralysed and immature brain behind every raised eyebrow and pointing finger.

Religion is beyond the concept of a lay. Religion is not just Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity etc. Rather these are different paths for understanding the supreme power eGOD'. God doesn't signify anything against science. Instead, science is an attempt to explore the infinity of God. Religion lends an attitude to refine the art of living. Live life, human style is the goal of religion in cosmetic language.

Religion is universal, as it is for every existent living organism. The sphere of religion includes non-living as well. The living depends upon the non-living for their survival, satisfying their longings and curiosities. Living and non-living interact in many ways and religion refines the inter-dependent relationship. Religion develops respect for inter-living relationship as well. Religion teaches symbiosis and kills parasites attitude.

Religion is about intensity and luminescence. It intensifies the spiritual and humane factors or genes, which therefore expresses to enlighten the character of a person. The person is referred to as "yogi" and the phenomenon as "enlightment".

Education in its core has the same goal. Education propagates religious concepts and in turn religion ensures that education performs its duties for the society. So education and religion are inseparable. Vivekananda once said, " Science and religion will meet and shake hands. Poetry and Philosophy will become friends. This will be the religion of the future, and if we can work it out, we may be sure that it will be for all times and people."

Religion refines the soul, keeps brain cool and concentrated. Religion teaches tolerance, humbleness and respect for fellow beings. As already discussed, Education propagates religious concepts and this leads to the birth of a Bioethically mature society.

Religion and morality reinforce each other. A morally mature society is therefore a bioethically mature society.

Conclusion

We must broaden our thoughts and accept the natural relationship between religion and education. The religious ideas must become universal and this can only be achieved if we make efforts to explore religion. Only sincere thoughts might bring the desired concept of " bioethical maturity" come true. I remember what Vivekananda said long ago-

"Religious ideas will have to become universal, vast and infinite, and then we shall have the fullest play of religion, for the power of religion has just begun to manifest in the world. It is sometimes said that religions are dying out, that spiritual ideas are dying out of the world. To me it seems that they have just begun to grow. The power of religion, broadened and purified is going to penetrate every part of human life. So long as religion was in the hands of the chosen few, or of a body of priests, it was in temples, churches, books, dogmas, ceremonials, forms and rituals. But when we come to the real, spiritual, universal concept, then and then alone, religion will become real and living; it will come into our very nature, live in our every moment, penetrate every pore of our society, and be infinitely more a power of good, than it has ever been before."

Vivekananda further says, " Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs idiot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library."

References

1. Macer DRJ, Bioethics for the people by the people, Eubios Ethics Institute, 1994.

2. Swami Buddhananda, Complete works of Swami vivekananda, Advaita Ashram, Kolkata


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