Some people need religion. Others don’t.
One problem I’ve always had with religion is that the various religions and denominations of religions have become “mega-cliques.” Those who need religion and have chosen one tend to think everybody needs it, and that their chosen religion is the right one.
But religion is not a one-size-fits-all garment. Not everyone’s needs are the same, and those disparate needs cannot all be met by the same religion. That’s probably why there are so many.
I have recently had sort of an epiphany with regards to religion and God. No, God didn’t “speak” to me as others have claimed. And I didn’t run into a burning bush or get struck by lightning.
I contemplate a lot about religion. And there are a few things I’ve figured out. For one thing, I think the world, as a whole, would be better off today if religion had never existed.
Granted, religion provides a lot of comfort and hope for a huge number of people. So it can’t be all bad. People need comfort and hope. Some also need the social aspects of religion – meeting in church each Sunday morning and attending other church-related social events.
But if socializing were all religion was about, there are other ways to accomplish the same thing. What people really need is not religion, but spirituality. There is a difference.
Spirituality can also provide comfort and hope. Spirituality can bring people together; religion often tears people apart. Did God really intend to be the cause of more wars and loss of life than any other single reason?
I learned a long time ago that I don’t know what God thinks or how He works. Neither does anyone else. The problem with religion is that its subscribers believe they have it figured out and that everyone else should listen to them.
Religion also lends itself to the concept of worship. We gather together to worship God in church.
The epiphany I mentioned above is this: God doesn’t want people to worship him. He wants people to love him, to respect him, and to acknowledge his existence. But worship is a man-made creation. It is not divine.
I say these things knowing full well that I have already stated that I don’t know what God thinks. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me that God would have created beings for the express purpose of worshipping him. Is he that egomaniacal and vain that he would have to create an entire species of life to worship him?
If you are a parent, do you want your children to worship you? No, you want them to love and respect you. You want them to grow up to be high achievers. You want them to be successful, but to always remember that you helped them over the hurdles of life.
Maybe God just wants the same thing for us all. He allowed us to evolve intelligence. It would only make sense that he wants us to develop it and use it, not to live our lives based on millennia-old biblical superstitions.
We are the only animals capable of understanding ourselves. We are the only ones who can contemplate our own mortality.
For that reason, centuries ago, people needed to comfort themselves about their mortality. So they invented religion. The ancient pagans invented various and sundry gods that were in charge of different aspects of their lives. They invented worship.
Those who chose to believe in the God of Abraham picked up on the worship aspect of religion from those pagans. And, throughout the centuries, styles of worship evolved into the various sacraments of Christianity.
The bottom line is that religion and worship are human inventions. Neither will grant anyone a pass into whatever afterlife there may be.
Spirituality, on the other hand, which is the most deeply personal form of faith, is what may bring our souls closer to everlasting peace and comfort. At the very least, it could bring peace on earth, something that religion has failed miserably to do.