Do You Really Need to Pick a Religion?

Celestial Phenomena known as "The Eye of God"
Celestial Phenomena known as "The Eye of God"

Can a Person Move Beyond Religion?

Today, as most days, I did my normal routine – work, kids, home, friends – the usual routine of a middle aged mother and helpmate. I must confess that I did not expect anything unusual to happen when my other half and I were discussing some issues while hiding from the children in the garage. We usually have to hide because they outnumber us.

I was listening to the man I follow, and frequently, pick up after, talk about his feelings on religion and spirituality. He frequently does this, correlating end time prophecies with current events and his belief that we are living in end times. It comes complete with relevant quotes from scripture and other reliable religious sources. He weaves a compelling argument any time we broach this topic. I listen in fascination as the man who forgets birthdays and other important dates remembers chapter and verse some pretty amazing biblical quotes and pronounces Roman and Jewish scholars like they were his personal friends.

Serpent handling is practiced mostly in rural mountain areas of Appalachia.
Serpent handling is practiced mostly in rural mountain areas of Appalachia.

When he is speaking on this topic, I mostly remain silent. It’s not because I have nothing to say. I have plenty of opinions, thoughts and feelings on this matter myself. Unfortunately, for me at least, the man is so passionate in his beliefs that I can’t get a word in edgewise. So, thanks to Hubpages, I have found a perfect way to tell this man what my thoughts on this matter are and to share them with the rest of you as well.

Let me begin by saying, I have no religion. It’s not that I don’t have spirituality; I just don’t have a preferred religion. Born Lutheran, raised Catholic and living smack dab in the middle of the bible belt does tend to expose one to the various tenets of Christian faith. In addition, I served in the first gulf war, where I was exposed to differing religions than that of Christians. Out of curiosity, I’ve read articles and books on many different religions that would be considered pagan. So all in all, I would consider myself modestly knowledgeable about religion.

 

Out of all of this, I have come to the conclusion that religion itself is a man-made article used to disseminate the ideas of man about God. Every religion tells its disciples, how to live, how to worship, how to get to the next level of existence, i.e. heaven, paradise, or whatever that particular religion calls it. But, you will cry out, the Bible, Koran or other holy teachings are the word of our particular God. I respectfully disagree. These holy books are the writings of men about what they believe God, Allah, or Yahweh, etc, etc, etc, has enlightened their minds with. There is no book that specifically IS the Word. They were all written by men who are fallible, prejudiced by their times and cultures, and imperfect. Human beings just like you and me, that although they may be wise learned men, they are not GOD.

Out of these books and teachings comes Religion. Made up by men who believe that they have been enlightened enough to tell others the recipe, secret formula or correct behaviors that will get you to Happy Ever After. There are religions within religions because men who follow after a particular religion sometimes convince others that they have a better, truer meaning of these books and teachings. Christianity is such an example. Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Church of England – all considered Christian but varying widely within their belief system. Sunni, Shiite, Moderate, Radical, and Fundamentalist; all considered Muslim, yet still varying widely in their belief system as well. So Religion, formed on the teachings and wisdom which is based on the thoughts and experiences of people from another age, time and culture, is a man made article.

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Infidel! Heretic! Spawn of Satan!  I can hear the screaming beginning
Infidel! Heretic! Spawn of Satan! I can hear the screaming beginning

Most religions have Jesus or a Savior in them, whether as a prophet, learned man of God or the Son of God himself. My question in all of the wrangling as to his status is this: The New Testament has four gospels by the disciples, why isn’t there a Book of Jesus written by him? After all, no matter which religion you look at – he is a pretty important figure. You’d think that he’d leave behind some kind of definitive written teachings that would clue everyone in the world as to what to do to please their Maker. Instead, we have strife, killings, prejudice - all in the name of God, Allah, Yaweh, etc, etc, etc.  I really don't think that this is what the Maker would want for his creations.  We can all agree that the killing is wrong- but we want to end it on our own terms - with a winner and a loser- not because killing diminishes both the victim and the attacker.  

Got the nooses, pitchforks and burning brands out yet? Its okay, I understand if you do and wish to quit reading. But, if you can bear it a moment more, I’d like to tell you what I think in simple terms.

Now, I do believe in a Supreme Being – a creator, maker, builder of all that we see in heaven and earth. Because of my upbringing I usually call him God. But to my mind, He has many names, each personal and unique within each person. After all, something as complex in its entirety yet connected intimately from the macroverse to the microverse had to have someone pretty powerful and wise to design it.

How we as individuals, choose to treat, glorify and listen to this God, is nobody’s business but our own. Not a priest, imam, shaman, minister, or other supposed conduit to God – it’s just between you and your Maker. A direct line, no operators are standing by 24 hours a day. God listens to you and you listen to God without even realizing you are doing it.

All religions agree that we are made for a purpose. It is up to us to discover and nurture that purpose within ourselves with the guidance directly from the Maker with no go betweens. It is up to us to define good and evil within ourselves and to act upon it accordingly. Go ahead, use the great teachings and words as a guide within your life, knowing that they are not infallible in their wisdom just as all human beings are not infallible as well.

Broaden your horizons and wisdom by looking at other cultures and their beliefs. The Maker created us all- black, white, red, brown and yellow. No single culture or group has a better understanding than another; rather they have different understandings in which true wisdom always shines through.

There is no one way to get to where you want whether that is heaven, nirvana, paradise etc. Instead, you will go to where and when the Maker decides and it may not look anything like you were taught. After all, no one has really come back with a firsthand account. Sorry folks, not even Jesus did that – he just said that on the third day he rose from the dead. He didn’t give a description of where he’d been for those three days.

Remember that however, whenever, and wherever you choose to worship, talk to, commune with, or glorify your Maker, nobody has the right to tell you how, where and when to do it. I don’t care if you are in the shower, sitting on the freeway, hiking through nature, taking a call from nature, hugging a tree, hugging a child or sitting in a pew, kneeling on a rug, or dancing around a fire. However, you decide to contact your Maker, it is your personal way. I wish you the best of journeys in discovering it.

Now, I know that there are a few of you out there, just quivering in front of your keyboard, dying to set me straight and show me the errors of my ways. Feel free, go ahead, and tell me your understanding of your Maker. I will listen, I may even learn something and I will respect your understanding. After all, knowledge and wisdom should be shared. If I don’t see your point maybe you’ll be helping someone else find theirs.

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Comments 17 comments

ronibgood profile image

ronibgood 7 years ago

I feel exactly the same............ Good article.


Cuz Tom 7 years ago

Starting with your man... "The biggest conspiracy out there is the conspiracy of the conspiracy theorists that are trying to conspire to get us to think there is a conspiracy." ~ Me.

I'd be more apt to believe the world ends on Dec. 21, 2012 as we pass through the galactic ecliptic due to unknown pressures in space. But as the planet alignment back in what, 2002? Nothing happened.

Starting with me... I died once. I remember a bunch of people milling around, standing, talking. I did not recognize these people and the light was so bright it made things look black and white, until you got up close to someone. I remember asking someone something and they directed me to this lady I have no clue of who she was, but she took me aside and talked to me. I don't remember what she said but have a distinct feeling she told me life was about choices. Somehow I ended up back here.

So, my choices are is was that a dream or did it really happen. It sure was a wonderful dream, if that's all it was.

My God! I believe God is just everything. You know, the planet/s, you, me, my cats, the trees and everything else in the universe. Since we were given the gift of reasoning, I would conjecture we are to take care of our surroundings and they will take care of us.

The God of the bible is to get people on the same page to fight against those arrogant tyrannical leaders so that all peoples can enjoy God. Lest you believe in that God of the old testament.. that guy would smote the earth toot sweet! .. and did :P

All I know is I always seem to be in the place I am supposed to be for whatever reason. It is my choices that make the difference. So have a good base of principles and morals you can live by and your choices will always be easy.


Cuz Tom 7 years ago

btw... my posting is very over simplified. Just not enough coffee in me to go indepth, but I think I rambled enough.

Religion is still a leap of faith. Those who say they cannot see God just aren't looking. As I reach out this instant and poke my lcd monitor, I hope God isn't giggling like the Pillsbury Doughboy. God just is, everything and everywhere, take a look, there he is, every day, where ever you look. See? Right there! ;) So it's no wonder we were created in God's image, we're all part of the same thing, God.

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him. ~Voltaire


Cuz Tom 7 years ago

Oh, the book by your Cuz Bill.

Yeah, he's smart, very smart, overly smart sometimes. Limited in some ways but this is what you give up to study in certain directions.

He reminds me a lot of my dad except how dad should have been, not who he is. So, this means... is the world ready for my nieces? o_O


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Hey Cuz - Glad you made it by! I'm sending your conspiracy theory on to the other half! See? I knew we had more than cats and computers in common! I couldn't help but give Bill a boost- what goes around, comes around! Hope he gets some sales... As for the nieces - If one has already taken Paris by storm - Look out World!!!!!


oscarwms profile image

oscarwms 7 years ago from PA

Did you pick your parents? I don't think so, so why pick a religion?

Pick a relationship with God. Christianity is not a religion as many suppose but a relationship with God. Can you show me a religion that has an ongoing relationship with their God?


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Thank you sir for your comment!

I think every religion would claim to have a relationship with God. The problem I always have is that every religion says that their way is the only way.

You put it very well - don't pick a religion - pick the relationship.

I'll remember that the next time I hear someone try to tell me how to go about religious matters.

Thank you!


Simply Bill 7 years ago

Tom clued me into your site here. I appreciate the plug. Funny how it is the most expensive book on your list. It does come in paperback which is cheaper. Actually this book was written for people just like you, people who can't get their arms around the whole "God/Religion/Why-life-sucks-and-does-it-really-matter" thing. It was an attempt to help people, overwhelmed with the frequently all too man-made complexities of "Religion" and Christianity, digest true Christianity in clear and logical terms. Christianity, if understood and applied as God intended, works, not in opposition to, but synergistically with our daily lives and our quest for real truth. It is also the only "Religion" that answers all the deep and profound questions that torment our mortal souls. I have many thoughts and comments on your post and intend to address them as I have time. In the meantime ponder on this: What is the most important question you can (and must) ask? And where will you go to find the answer?

P.S. I am impressed with your service in Iraq. I don't think I know anybody who went over there. It must be a singularly gut wrenching experience to go into a situation like that, regardless of your personal role in the grand mission. I presume you left family behind. I doubt there is little anyone can do to repay you for what you, and those with whom you served, did. Thank you.

Bill


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Welcome to my little world Bill! Glad to finally meet you - althogh after a while - you may not say the same thing.LOL

You're not the most expensive - the Collins book is!!!

As for Iraq- I was a single mom at the time - necessity and the desire to try to give my girls a better life is primarily what drove me. Luckily, it was not the kind of war then that we have now. I would seriously rethink my position if I were still in today as a single parent.

Thank you for thinking about that - hardly anyone realizes how hard that can be unless they are directly involved with family or a service member.

Use the contact me button by my pic and send me a note - that way you'll have my direct e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you.


ralwus 7 years ago

Aphrodite. Love. my religion


GeneriqueMedia profile image

GeneriqueMedia 7 years ago from Earth

Love this one very much, too! Thanks...very interesting line of thinking and topic for discussion.

"How we as individuals, choose to treat, glorify and listen to this God, is nobody’s business but our own"

Amen!

Hopefully we'll all see it this way someday. =)


Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

Thumbs up. I don't have a religion, I got out of the one I was born in. People can move beyond religion, I've no doubt of it. It helps to have some guidelines, something to reflect off but at the end of the day, for me anyway, it's all a matter of who I be while I'm here and I can only do that by being me and not what I'm told to be.


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Thanks GM and Jewels, I'm grateful for your thoughts :) I just wanted to put down what many people privately think and feel but often times are to afraid to say out loud. Maybe if we as a humans did that - there might be a little less strife - worship and let worship.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

I think lots are speaking out now. Did you know we are the third most popular out of the religions. That says heaps to me.


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Jewels- coming from a woman dressed in a cat suit and holding a whip... I'm becoming afraid, Very afraid!!!!

Seriously, are you talking about the christian religion when you say the third most popular? I'm curious as to what #'s 1 & 2 are?


Gloria 7 years ago

I was raised Penticostal and must say that there was a lot of brainwashing in that religion. It took me many years to break the mental hold this religion had on me and start thinking for myself. In recent years I have examined many religions and realized that none appeal to me.

What I have learned is that I do not believe in an all powerful being who, in the KJV of the bible, loves us so much that he gave his only son and yet can allow millions of children to starve to death or allow child molesters/killers to never face justice. The KJV of the bible states that God answers prayers for those who believe. What about a parent who prays to God to bring back their missing child but the child is found raped and murdered weeks later, don't you think that, of anyone out their praying, that they are believing and hoping above hope that their prayers to be answered?

I have a problem following a God who turns his other cheek while small helpless defenseless children suffer at the hands of pure evil men and women. I have asked myself why I would want to follow a supreme being who has the power to change our world for the better and yet chooses to allow such evil to exist.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

depend ourselves to decide what religion which suitable for us. just follow your heart. So we can get the spiritual experience.

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