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Friday, September 01, 2006

Random thoughts on religion and software

First, this is the headline that got left behind: Open Source religion – a short proposal.

Okay, I have been writing a lot (no links due to obvious factor of anonymity) on software and of late more on pros and cons of Open Source and proprietary software. Then here, I had been writing on Hitler and religious fanaticism (as you might have chanced upon). This has resulted in the concoction of a cocktail of thoughts and I started thinking how religion is like software today.

Islam is to religions what Microsoft is to software - predefined, and with proprietary verses.

Islam behaves like Microsoft as well – monopolistic and radical. There is little or no opportunity to work upon, modify and enhance the fundamentals. The whole operating system of Islam is the Koran - just like the Windows OS. You have everything on it. The mullahs define it and the laymen follow it blindly just like Microsoft gives its customers a finished product that does almost everything he wants his OS to do. It is very difficult to build add-ons or extensions unless Microsoft is literally forced to part with its source code.

Sufism was what I would term as Islam Lite. It flourished in the middle ages, but then the monopolistic practices of mainstream Islam killed it.

Compare that to say Firefox, god bless this browser. You can develop and users can add any number of extensions to Firefox.

Two more things on that:

i) Islam in religions is therefore like Microsoft in software biz – has a good popular finished product (read Windows OS) but without any scope for outside enhancement, modification, customization outside MS-set parameters.
ii) Modified Islam – like the Ahmadiyyas or the Imailis are often not recognized by mainstream Islam and look upon them as illegal and cracked versions of the main OS which was developed back in the 7th century.

Similarly, Roman Catholicism and Judaism are like proprietary software as well.

Hinduism on the other hand can be likened to true Open Source software. You have all the freedom to develop, change, modify, or even start new extensions based on the fundamental principals. There are hundreds of streams, cults, sub-faiths, off-shoot religions etc. You too can start your own cult and it would be perfectly accepted as a part of mainstream Hinduism. Not only that, with a little bit of 'kernel programming' with new philosophies, ideas and thoughts, you can start an entirely new religion – like Sikhism, Jainism or Buddhism.

Other variants of Christianity too have similar Open Source qualities.

To end: I am looking forward to the days of open source religion – like Firefox, extensions including.

If you happen to read this, do let me know about your thoughts. Feel free to modify, enhance or edit whatever I said here in your comments. It would be very interesting to hear your views.

The Guru will be back soon. Au revoir.

Update: A friend has pointed out this migration from proprietary to Open Source.


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5:48 AM  
Blogger shlemazl said...

LoL. I like your comparisons. Still there are a lot of "Lite (bad?) Muslims", who don't stick to the more extreme aspects of Islam.

Judaism is also "open source". There is Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and many other "Judaisms". They write their own commentaries, take different aspects of religion, and have very different practices. All adherents recognize the other versions as Jews. In fact there are at least as many versions of Judaism as there are Rabbis and possibly as many as Jews. There is no central authority that sets the standard.

In fact Christianity started as a sect within Judaism, so Judaism is as "open source" as it gets - you can make your own religion with it.

Mohammed also borrowed parts of the "code".

7:19 AM  
Blogger vin said...

Man created computer hardware. Man then created software to run on the hardware and so created the virtual world. Since this occured in our times we know this to be a fact. The passage of time has not been sufficient enough to create myths and legends out of these facts.
In creating the virtual world man imitated the real world before him in which he lived. That is why he created Object Oriented Programming because he saw how real world objects behaved with each other. Man did all this to solve the problems of the real world where the numbers were becoming too large for him to handle rapidly and efficiently.
In ancient times also there were problems but nothing that man could not handle by himself, so he created religion to unite men and synergize their energies. Remember there was no law and order at that time so religion set down codes of conduct for men to follow. It is another thing that too much of anything can lead to bad things. Thus too much religion in the hands of fundamentalists whether Hundu Muslim or Christian has led to strife and wars.
Is it then any surprise that the virtual world resembles the real world?
For further info on how united the real world really is :

1:26 AM  
Blogger John Smith said...

How about some an article about this:

1:53 PM  

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