Must we be religious?

While this post might end up to be another preachy-sounding heap (since I always seem to conclude my posts with the message–“keep an open mind and keep learning”), I still feel the need to write about it.

I’m just going to put that out there. I’m sick and tired of people trying to convert me. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your own religious beliefs, and I have no problem with that. But it’s just that I will never, ever, be religious. I have decided that it’s not my thing. “Spiritual but not religious”; yes, it’s a thing. I don’t want to call myself a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a Catholic, or Muslim. I recognize each and every religion and the positive things they offer, but I don’t intend to belong in any of them. This may sound outrageous to some of you, but just bear with me here.

I don’t believe there is one single religion that is right religion, just like I don’t believe there’s only one God. Or rather, one version of God. Religions, after all, are products of culture. That is not to say I am an atheist and I deny the existence of God (that is not to say I reject atheism, either–in fact, I think there are valuable lessons from both religions and atheism). I’m just saying aspects of religions are cultural. I don’t think God is cultural, although God most certainly can be. If the image of the Buddha was conceived in the Western world, he wouldn’t look like what he looks like now, would he? He would probably look more like Jesus, white robe and long beard and all.

I do not wish to offend anyone, because I know some people can become quite defensive over matters of religion–like the way homosexuality is persecuted by religious fanatics. Sometimes I feel like people don’t care much for God–they just want to be bitter.

Anyway, that’s not what I want to write about in this post. When it comes to religion, or questions regarding to religion–questions such as, why don’t you believe in God? Or more specifically, why don’t you believe in this particular God from this particular religion? Why don’t you go to church? Why don’t you burn incense? Why don’t you kneel before the altar and show your respects? Why don’t you believe in this, why don’t you believe in that, why don’t you do this, why don’t you do that?

To me, that’s just completely missing the point.

To me, the question we really should be asking is why do you choose to be religious in the first place? Maybe you grew into it because your parents were religious, maybe you wanted a better life and you sought improvement, and maybe you wanted to repent and become a better self, and maybe you wanted to pursue God because you want to be good, and you want a better spiritual life.

Why do we seek God? Why do we place our faith on something, someone, that is seemingly forever beyond our sight, our reach? Why do we believe?

If the reasons you seek God is, like I just mentioned, is to become better, to improve, to repent, to find a spiritual oasis–

Does it matter if there is no God in your life? Does it matter if I don’t believe in God, but I still seek to be all of those things? I still seek to become better, to improve my person, to repent for my mistakes, to find a spiritual oasis–maybe God isn’t the all-powerful in my life, maybe God doesn’t have to exist. Maybe God exists in the way I treat others, the way I treat myself, the way I love, the way I view the world, and the way I choose to do the right thing.

It’s pointless to try to separate one religion from another, or separate religion from atheism. Because all you are doing is separating people. We’re separated as a group of people as it is, in my opinion. Let there be one less reason for us to antagonize each other. Persecuting or reprimanding somebody for having a different religious belief–that’s essentially a kind of discrimination, isn’t it? Except it’s not based on race or gender, so…it’s not really discrimination, is it? We’re just defending our God and spreading God’s word. All of a sudden when there’s God involved, it’s all so sacred. It’s not. Discrimination is discrimination. Just because you wear God on your sleeve–it doesn’t mean you are exempt from morality or human principles.

God will be sad when she sees the shit we made up to hurt each other, in his name. Or maybe he’ll just laugh.

Having read thus far–you maybe wondering–so do I believe in God? Am I religious? Spiritual? Am I atheist?

Yes, I do believe in God. I believe in the Buddha, the Christian God, Allah–but at the same time, not Buddha, not the Christian God, not Allah. Let me put it this way: I believe in the pursuit of God; I believe in self-betterment and the act of seeking. I believe that we are all part of something bigger. Religion, to me, it’s just a technical detail–it’s a way of life that we have chosen to follow through–that is best, for us personally. It’s something we choose to identify with, to live by, to learn something from. But it’s not absolute, because nothing is absolute.

Maybe God is absolute, but maybe not.

That will be another post.

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