Don’t compare them spanners with hammers

Which is the better tool – a spanner or a hammer?

We all know why this question is ridiculous. Spanners can tackle nuts and bots, while hammers deal with nails. The better tool depends on the problem you are dealing with.

Which is a better religion – Hinduism or Christianity?

Which is a better philosophy – Socialism or Capitalism?

Like spanners and hammers, religions and philosophies are tool kits designed to tackle specific societal problems. Sure, they are more like Swiss Army Knives than spanners and hammers. Nevertheless, they are relevant to help people in contexts that are linked to historical eras, geographical environments and cultural beliefs. They are tools to be invoked rather than ‘truths’ to be defended with religious armies in bygone eras or with armies of internet trolls in today’s age.

Like all tools, they can also go obsolete. Other than museums and private collectors, we have moved on from Remington typewriters.

We are all craftsmen trying to design a better world. Good craftsmen have a variety of tools in their toolkit and the knowledge to invoke the right tool in the right situation.

If the only tool you have is a hammer though, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail.

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