My blog post of last month addressed the notion of purpose of violence in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka. We saw the involvement of religion and politics in the aftermath of the incident, over the past month. The intention of this blog post is to help us to understand how religion and politics positively and negatively impacted the lives of people.
Since I am not an intelligence, theological or political science expert to make judgements about what happened, and who was responsible for what happened, I request you not to take the assumptions I make in this post as truth. I am far away from the inner circles to know the truth and I am basing this blog post on what I have heard from trusted personalities such as the Cardinal of Sri Lanka, the Commander of the Army, and a retired intelligence experts known to me personally.
Religion was at the centre of what happened, as Roman Catholic churches were bombed on Easter Sunday by people who are known to be radicalized by well know groups who use teachings from the holy Quran and present these in a manner that makes members of such groups believe that their purpose is to sacrifice their lives while taking the lives of those from other religions, with the expectation of heavenly bliss. The Roman Catholic Cardinal of Sri Lanka, His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith became a national figure of peace and reconciliation soon after the attack, when he appealed to the Catholic community not to attack Muslims, as it was not Muslims in general but an international terrorist organization with a different purpose behind this. This ensured there was no backlash, but instead compassion, love and tolerance.
Meanwhile the politicians were blaming each other and various government organizations for the event. Many of them saw this as a great opportunity to pin the blame on others to gain political capital for the upcoming elections towards the end of the year. There were also various groups who wanted civil riots for their own benefit and since such riots did not take place, they created a riot three weeks after the incident, which was quickly brought under control by the military. The military gained a lot of respect for having done an exemplary job in dismantling the mechanism responsible for the Easter attacks and the riots that took place three weeks later. Over 99% of the population, individually and through civil societies and think tanks, tried their best to help people to make sense of what happened, to avoid them taking to hatred, dis-harmony and violence etc.
This account of events shows that some groups had noble purposes supported by noble values, which were displayed by their actions. Some other groups had destructive purposes supported by negative values. Some had purposes based on misguided education and beliefs. The negative result is the loss of hundreds of innocent lives, destruction of property, mistrust between communities that lived in harmony for hundreds of years, negative impact on businesses and the negative impact on the economy and damage to the image of the country. The positive result was the emergence of many individuals and organizations who became a voice against the negative forces.
The question I want to address is; how do these purposes of larger organizations impact personal purposes of individuals. These events have impacted personal purposes of individuals in many ways. Many of the family members who lost their family in the attacks have been questioning their beliefs. Why did God have to take my parents, children, siblings and friends? Some of them who were driven by a spiritual purpose has started to question their religious beliefs and their purpose in their lives. Some who had lost their businesses, jobs and income sources have changed their purpose of serving others, their society and environment, and has changed their purpose to find money to put some food on the table. People who had a selfish purpose of enriching their businesses and personal wealth, has started building peace and harmony within their communities with the intention of improving the business environment or creating a better country for future generations.
Conversations I had with many people since the attacks have shown that the Easter attacks have changed their perspective of life, trust, security, peace, politics, religion, social service etc. and many of them have changed the notion of their purpose in this world. I hope the events help people reflect deeply, avoid being reactive, understand the real motives of politicians and various religious sects, be careful in accepting news to avoid being misled by fake news and be able to make more sense of the true nature of this world. While we value, sympathise and respect the lives that were sacrificed, I hope their sacrifices helps people become more positively purposeful and help this world become a better place.
The intention of this writing is to give you some material to help you reflect and make sense of what happened, its impact on your personal purpose and the way you choose to live your life. I also recommend that you reflect on the steps you can take to make sense of your purpose and help others in your life make sense of their purposes in the backdrop of these new developments, with the intention of living a better life to make this world a better place.
This new phase in this series on ‘purposefulness’, which I started five months ago, is dedicated to address living issues and struggles related to purposeful living. I hope this short blog post inspires you to find ways of making sense and dealing with struggles that arise when trying to live purposefully.
I wish you purposeful living!
4 thoughts on “Impact of religion and politics on personal purpose? – Purpose of Living – Part 27”
This is good article and all of us have responsibility to maintain the peace and harmony in SL. All Of is should act wisely in this case and intellectuals like you can closely be with this process. CZ people listen to many ideas (right/wrong) and try to be adopted as most don’t have the knowledge to reconcile what is right and what is wrong.
I.e avoiding Muslim shops- most of the people are confused whether this is right or wrong.
Thanks for your response Chandimal. Yes It is important to look at this issue intelligently. Regarding your comment about avoiding muslim shops, this is done by people who ‘generalise’. Generalisation is one of the root causes for the problems we have in life. If you take ‘one person’ or a ‘small group’ from a particular community and assign it to the whole community it is generalisation. It only makes more people from the community supporting the thinking and action of the ‘one person’ or the ‘small group’. So my thinking is, let the law enforcement and intelligence find the real perpetrators and punish them through the legal system and let civilians not punish the rest of the community without any conviction.
As I read your excellent blog I am going through much pain and agony as we bring the month of Ramadan to a close. In a time when those claiming to be Muslims has ripped the life of many apart and the opportunist are making every effort to destroy the very threat that weaves us in to one nation brought under one single flag and anthem. Much of Sri Lanka has lost it’s purpose. Petty struggles are taking a toll on the of simple people and the leadership seems to be making sure that their lives are safer by purchasing newer and more protective vehicles and increasing the security forth themselves. I just feel as the Civil Society we need to redirect this nation but we need to find a common purpose together.
Thanks for your response Tanzi and I understand your pain and agony. I feel the same, oh what has happened to us? Sri Lanka is going through defining times and it’s important to find a common purpose and a set of noble values for the country. While we can make contributions individually or through civil societies let’s hope we get the right leadership to unite, align and energise all Sri Lankan’s.