Aditya writes in:

I admire Sachin because he is a good cricketer not because I perceive him to be a super human perfect being. I don’t look to him for philosophical analysis but for good batting. If a belief in an invisible friend in the sky or divinity of a dude with an afro helps him to do his job better who am I to complain?

I don’t think there is anything wrong in admiring some qualities or opinions of a person while disagreeing with others.

My problem with religious people starts when they try to dictate my and everyone else’s lives around what some arbitrary dude hundreds or thousands of years ago might have said. As long people do whatever they want with their own money and in their own life I say let them.

I agree, in part.

Sachin is one the greatest cricketers and his admirers are having to reconcile with the fact that he is a devotee. Some fans admit that he has a moronic side while others feel that they need to separate the cricketer from the devotee. After all, they admire Sachin for what he does on the field.

But it is complex and here’s why you cannot just separate the two: Such high-profile people are largely responsible for no legal action against misdeeds — to put it mildly — of gurus. Imagine a politician saw Sachin or a similar high-profile person visiting a spiritual guru, turned curious, paid a visit himself and became a devotee. Years later, a case is filed about serious crimes. This minister, now perhaps a central minister or worse, the Prime Minister, writes a public letter saying they stand by their guru. (That’s pretty much what happened.)

I have no issues with my family or friends being deeply religious — it is a personal choice which affects no one (unless we’re talking about a Butterfly Effect). But religious people who wield a certain influence often conflate their beliefs with their duties. And that is a problem.

If I am intellectually honest, I’ll say that he is the greatest cricketer but he has a side that, while personal and not rational, can have harmful side-effects. And whenever I applaud him, I will remember that I am adding to his influence which I know has certain harmful side-effects.

This need not be your view.

***

Just for completeness’ sake, let me add that I have no issues with even fraudulent spiritual gurus. They are entrepreneurs. But we ought to draw the line when they commit crimes — just like we would do for anyone else.

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