Stop signs originated in Michigan, USA in 1915. Seems quite recent. I thought people had learnt how to stop and when to stop much earlier than that. Stop signs are a type of a self-control, partly imposed partly observed by the members of a society. They instruct drivers the use of their right of way and to ensure proper notice is taken to avoid chaos and accidents. Even when there is no stop sign on a particular intersection, and because there are stop signs on some other intersections, the driver implies and knows that he or she must observe caution and make a complete stop at crosswalks, neighborhood streets, school zones, parking lots and intersections that are not controlled by traffic lights. Drivers are supposed to stop and look both ways, check all options, scenarios and probabilities, before proceeding. If they cannot see well enough they roll forward slowly to expand their view and be sure before making a judgment. They wait for their right of way and reassure safety for oncoming traffic, cyclists, pedestrians and themselves. This does not mean that if drivers didn’t stop at the stop signs, implied or existing, accidents would definitely happen. We know that many people don’t stop at the stop signs, violating the rules, but still don’t get in to accidents. The fact that some follow and some don’t follow, the sanity prevails. Imagine no one follows and there is chaos everywhere. Stop signs even if followed or not, create a sense of safety and security in the society. They ensure that utter chaos does not exist or is at least controlled to a reasonable level.  They ensure that when wives send their husbands to work in the morning, they would return. When mothers send their daughters to school, they know that drivers would stop at stop signs and let them cross the roads. When fathers let their children use the car keys on a Saturday night, they know that they won’t get in to accidents if they stopped at stop signs. Stop signs maintain a sense of belonging, a sense of discipline and a sense of well-being and love for the society we live in.

There are many stop signs on the roads of our lives. Some exist and some are implied. Religion is one of them – probably the most significant one, also, probably the most misunderstood one. Some times its presence or significance in our societies is undermined. Now that you have started the second paragraph, I urge you to go back to the first line of the first paragraph and start reading again. You will understand the significance of the religions a little more.

Advertisements