“Free God from Religion” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

I usually don’t talk much about God and religion because I find it vague, unintelligible and divisive. I consider myself a man of ordinary intelligence, so clarity is even more important to me, nonetheless, I still try to read religious books and articles in hope of finding some clarity on the subject. Unfortunately, more I read more baffled I become. In the past, I’ve asked several theologians and godmen to explain religion and God to me. Their explanations made me even more frustrated. Oftentimes they appear mysterious, self-conceited and intimidating to me.  

I also feel that God has been hijacked by religion and He must be freed. Sometimes I listen to short lectures by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. He doesn’t preach nor does he recite garbled passages from scriptures. He clarifies matters related to spirituality in a layman’s terms. I am not his follower, but his talks make sense to me. According to him, religion is a belief. When we believe in something, we don’t question what we don’t know. Interestingly, according to him, even atheists are religious because they believe in nihility of God. Because they believe in something without questioning and without knowing, that makes them religious.

According to me, the role of religion should be limited to providing guidelines for every situation in life, spreading love and service to humanity and explaining matters related to spirituality to its followers.

Some examples of providing guidelines are five pillars of Islam, ten commandment of Christianity or four yoga(s) mentioned in Hinduism. Above, I have given some random examples to make my point. Religious practices are not limited to those only.

Problem arises when religion takes ownership of God, heaven and hell. In my view it shouldn’t be that way. In that regard, Buddhism is the only religion that doesn’t talk about God. Defining God has created divisiveness, cynicism and fanaticism among fellow human beings. Here are some examples:

The Christians believe Jesus is God, the son of God, the second person of the Trinity. Islam rejects the divinity of Christ. So, it cannot be said that they worship the same God. (Ref: An, Kirlkand. “Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God? College Suspends Professor Who Said Yes.” The Washington Post, December 17 2015).

According to Islam, Allah is the only God and Prophet Muhammad is His messenger (shahadah). Does that mean that Allah is different than other gods? No one knows.

The Hindus believe in plurality of gods but they also insist on God’s oneness. So, it can be said that it is both a monotheistic and polytheistic religion depending on who you talk to.

The concept of God should be left to individuals because all prayers go to the same Supreme Being or to the same phenomenon. I am not trying to impose my concept on others; I am simply stating my thoughts here. I worship idol figures out of fear, want and for conforming with the society that I belong to. Many (not all) in other religions do what they do for same reasons.

In my opinion, God is someone or some marvel who creates, preserves and destroys life and matter around and beyond us. That Being or phenomenon is infinite, without any beginning and end, formless, immeasurable, indefatigable, indestructible, all pervasive and inexplicable. That is my viewpoint. The choice should be left to the individual to decide his/her concept of God. In retrospect, Hinduism is the only religion that allows us to do that.

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