I shall start this note with a line from Mahatma Gandhi: Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different road, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarreling?
I have never been a religious person; never have been and perhaps, never will be.
It’s not that I do not believe in religious institutions. It’s simply that I feel something more meaningful and profound, something that transcends all earthly and mortal practices and dogmas can be found not under the organized structure of religions but within myself. I could be one among the throng of worshippers and pilgrims and yet inside myself, I am as lost as I can be because what I am seeking by being part of a group is not found therein. I feel a considerable enjoyment being with other worshippers, but alone with myself, the emptiness comes back to haunt me — I found no joy. The search for the CHRIST has led me to attend different congregations only to find out that while these religious gatherings and rituals have the potential to show me the way to my MAKER, they have as much potential to stunt my faith since some organizations focus not in the Saviour but in dogma and tradition with the false notion that it is for glorifying the Saviour.
Religion as defined:
[ri-lij-uh n] noun
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
I have no idea what the best religion is — and I am not interested to know, because I am not interested in religion per se. I am more interested in the positive change brought about by a certain religion to specific persons. I am more interested in seeing people embrace the shortcomings of people and helping them rebuild their broken lives. I am more interested in observing whether the cancer of religious division has metastasized across social sectors or whether religions have been able to bridge gaps of faith among humankind.
The world literally overflows with religious organizations claiming certainty of salvation and yet establishing themselves as the be all and end all group. They seemingly shout to others, “Join or perish in eternal damnation.” I simply cringe at these self-gratifying claims. Aren’t we putting the Christ who died for us to shame with our self-righteous proclamation that we have absolute claim to salvation because we belong to this certain group and yet we could not coexist with one another in peace just because of the silly fact that we DO NOT belong to the same religious organization?
Personally, I believe that only CHRIST is the way. He said as much in John 14:6, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What, then, is true religion for me?
True religion is one where these can be found:
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
Mahatma Gandhi has the most profound explanation about faith. It goes this way:
“It is beyond my power to induce in you a belief in God. There are certain things which are self proved and certain which are not proved at all. The existence of God is like a geometrical axiom. It may be beyond our heart grasp. I shall not talk of an intellectual grasp. Intellectual attempts are more or less failures, as a rational explanation cannot give you the faith in a living God. For it is a thing beyond the grasp of reason. It transcends reason. There are numerous phenomena from which you can reason out the existence of God, but I shall not insult your intelligence by offering you a rational explanation of that type. I would have you brush aside all rational explanations and begin with a simple childlike faith in God. If I exist, God exists. With me it is a necessity of my being as it is with millions. They may not be able to talk about it, but from their life you can see that it is a part of their life. I am only asking you to restore the belief that has been undermined. In order to do so, you have to unlearn a lot of literature that dazzles your intelligence and throws you off your feet. Start with the faith which is also a token of humility and an admission that we know nothing, that we are less than atoms in this universe. We are less than atoms, I say, because the atom obeys the law of its being, whereas we in the insolence of our ignorance deny the law of nature. But I have no argument to address to those who have no faith.”