Religion | Part 2 | What is Religion?
What is religion?
Before we answer 'what is religion', let’s explore our reaction to the word. Many of us baulk when we hear the word ‘religion’, and understandably so, as we may recall childhood or adult experiences where we are taught/told:
- We are evil / we are sinners
- Women are less, especially dirty when they menstruate, and need to sit in a different area of a sacred building or are not allowed to enter at all
- We need a middle man to get to God – we cannot access Him on our own
- We are not His children – only one person was, and we were/are so bad he had to sacrifice himself for us to be saved
- We need to wait around for another saviour to come and, basically, without that, we are a lost cause
- We need a particular building to access God. We cannot access Him in our bodies, or our homes
- We need to pay money to access Heaven or God
- We need to recite particular words to be atoned
- We need to seek forgiveness for our sins, the biggest of which is the fact that we are human at all
It is fair enough that we would baulk at the word, religion. We have been taught that we are evil, less and God is some almighty being that sits above and meters out judgement and punishment. Can this really be religion?
In many parts of the world, wars – some of the most horrendous we have ever seen, have and are launched in the name of religion. Religion is the reason given for the separation and slaughtering of people – as has been done throughout history. Can this really be in the name of God?
In other parts of the world, some people claim that God is actually just for them and that unless you name yourself as one of them, you’re going to Hell (or the equivalent). Some religions say – this is the way it should be, and if you fit outside that, you’re less, you’re damned and that’s basically the end for you. Others say – the only way to reach Heaven (or a higher state) is to sit on your backside for many hours a day and read and recite ancient words. Don’t worry about living in the real world, religion and the real world can never be mixed.
When we sit back and really look at all this, does it actually make sense?
What if there is another way?
If we stop to ponder on it deeply, we may find that it is not the fact of a supreme being of love or the possibility of there being such a Godhead that we are reacting to, but the way the word ‘religion’ itself has been used, and what we have seen and been taught.
We may find that, deep down, we do really know that there is such a thing as a supreme being – we may choose to call Him God, or we could just call it Love – it is one and the same and doesn’t matter. Whatever you choose to call it / Him / Her, there is a spark of that being that lives within each and every one of us, and no one person has it more or less than any other.
Living from our own inner-most heart, we can access that spark and if we want to, we can choose it be our source of self, our true essence or light --- not following another or putting any one or ones ahead of us or as more important, but following the light within our own inner-most.
To live religiously is simply to live in connection with your essence, or some may call it, your Soul – the truth of where we came from. This is actually no big deal….
The original meaning of the word, ‘religion’ is to ‘re-connect’, ‘re-turn’ or ‘re-bind’.
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