Last week I hosted a discussion with a fine group of thinkers at a club in Delhi. Doctors, scientists, engineers, corporate guys, and journalists gathered for an interactive time to look at how we can see genuine change in the lives of individuals and the city of Delhi at large.
Many of us were shaken by the news of a father who recently killed his daughter and son-in-law in Haryana. What shocked us further was the father’s attitude and statements after his gruesome act. No remorse, no repentance; instead he was proud of what he had done. This and many other happenings in Delhi made our group ponder on the reasons that lead to such acts.
One of the prime reasons people do what they do is due to their pattern of thinking. For the father, his value of pride in his society or the pressure of living in a shame culture led him to believe that killing his daughter was justified and a thing to be proud of. His pattern of thinking, his belief system, his world view, influenced his action.
A man’s action stems out of what he believes
Historically we have seen evil patterns which have caused people to do things which we now know are wrong. One such practice was Sati—a practice in which a widow was expected to burn herself alive in the funeral pyre along with her dead husband. It was only Raja Ram Mohan Roy and William Carey that saw the evil and changed their pattern of thinking.
We can look at these examples and consider them as extreme cases. But this applies to all of us. I want to suggest that each one of us has a belief system, a pattern, a world view that we hold on to. Our actions are an outcome of our world view.
Those who are religious look for the miraculous. The superstitious often find their actions to be fear based. The corporate capital of India, Nariman Point in Mumbai has buildings that say they do not have a 13th floor even though they have it. They call it 12B, not 13. Their superstitious belief system has caused them to be afraid.
Some have a scientific world view and constantly wonder if faith in God is compatible with science. Ascribing intrinsic value to an individual is possible for someone who believes man was lovingly created by God, but if he is only a product of some scientific activity then a person is no different from all else and can be viewed as just another product.
Many intellectuals have discarded God and become atheists. Now, Atheism finds it difficult to accept morality in absolute terms. Here there is no God and there are no morals set by God. Each person decides his own morality based on relative benchmarks. A young person once said this to me: something is not nice only when someone does not like it. If everyone likes it then it is nice. He found it profound. However, this thinking bases morality on people’s views rather than something that is clearly wrong.
What’s your world view?
Here’s a Biblical thought – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This raises a few questions for us all. Am I conformed to a pattern of thinking? Does my thinking reflect what is good and pleasing? Do I need a renewal?
Let’s look within and ask: What’s my world view?
PS: Click the image above and see the patterns change.