Saturday, September 24, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Why you should avoid religion

The purpose of all religions is to give answers to the same eternal questions. Since the beginning of humankind we have been wondering where we are from and why we are here. These questions are universal and timeless. The plentiful religions of the world  provide some of the best answers. Still, you should avoid aligning yourself with any religion.

Spiritual development is essential for being a complete person. You can not grow as a person without doing significant amounts of spiritual work. Spiritual work is the domain of religion, so why is religion not good for developing a strong spiritual foundation?

The problem with organized religion is that they provide a set system for understanding questions that by their nature are open-ended. They replace what should be individual searching for personal truths with a set of rules and explanations that claim to be universal truths. To protect the truth of their system religion discourages individual thought and questioning, either directly or indirectly.The independent thinking within a religion is always contained within the framework. God is almighty, Mohamed was the last prophet and so on. Any attempts to go outside the framework of the religion is met with massive opposition.

For too many people, their religion becomes a substitute for spiritual development rather than a tool. They go to church on Sundays, teach their kids not to swear and feel that they are upstanding and righteous. If you subject your spiritual development to a religion you hand over responsibility for your own thinking to someone else. By just accepting the various dogmas, rules and recommendations of a religion you are buying into someone else's thinking.
This is bad enough, but it gets even worse when you consider that most people don't really chose their religion. They end up following a way of thinking that is determined by their upbringing and location.

So I say stay away from all religions. But I also say that religions provide the best answers we have to questions of spirituality. How can these two positions co-exsist?

When I say to stay away from religion it means that you should avoid committing your thoughts, money, time, loyalty or anything else to someone else's spiritual beliefs. Instead, make up your own mind. Ask yourself the eternal questions, search for the answers within yourself and in any and all religions you know of. Read and listen to as many different explanations as you can. Question all of it, reject most of it, until you are left with a spiritual understanding that fits you individually.

When you have discovered your own 'religion', challenge it constantly. Modify, reject and rebuild your beliefs as needed. Never accept anything that you are not supposed to question as true. Don't buy into explanations that don't make rational sense to you. And most importantly: never think that you have found all the answers. Spiritual development is a lifelong project. Take responsibility for your own spiritual path and don't hand it over to the dogmas of others.

  1. I couldn't agree more. Good post.

  1. Håvard Hegtun, as always I enjoy reading your blog. This one on religion is very good. I have been asking the great questions of life since my childhood. I have taken many paths: born atheist, raised Lutheran, born-again Christian for 9 years, agnostic, and now extremely curious about pantheism. Pantheism is what Albert Einstein, arguably the most intelligent human being, believed in. You can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism . Unlike most religions which say there is a personal God that you can have a relationship with, pantheism says that the universe is God and that we are all parts of the universe. In other words, we are all expressions of God. You are God. I am God. We are all God. I am liking this belief more than atheism because atheism is so nihilistic with no sense of purpose or meaning in life. With pantheism there is a holy reverence for all life, and that even though there is no personal God or afterlife, life still has meaning and wonder and mystery! Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when contemplating the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of the mystery every day. The important thing is not to stop questioning; never lose a holy curiosity.” – Albert Einstein, 1955, from LIFE magazine

  1. @Brian Thank you for your comment, I am happy to hear you enjoy reading my blog.

    Just as with politics, I don't want to bring my personal opinions about spirituality in to this blog. I am more interested in encouraging people to find their own system of thought. I will however say that you and I see the world in very similar ways, also when it comes to spiritual belief.

  1. Anonymous

    Dude, I'd totally marry you...

  1. Who says blogging doesn't get you anywhere? :)

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