Do you need religion?

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So now I talk about one of the subjects that I hold dear. Religion. Funnily, I don’t actually practice or partake of any religion. But the subject is dear to me because of three things.

Knock, knock

Firstly, I was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness (here in after refered to as JW). Some people know of JW’s. They’re the people who knock on your door at the most inconvenient of times. They have magazines called Watchtower and Awake! They are normally law-abiding citizens who cause no harm to anyone other than some inconvenience. Most people also know JW’s because they refuse blood transfusions. This normally gets them media attention.

My upbringing was not attending Religious Knowledge or RK lessons as they were known when I was at school. I didn’t partake in any religious aspect of school assembly. I was picked on at school because of the religion my parents chose for me. Everyone knew I was different. I was like the lone orange in a fruitbowl full of apples. Even worse as a child was that I went with my parents knocking on people’s doors. Wondering if it was going to be one of your classmates that answered. That was scary. And embarrassing. But it all just passed me by.

Now a full-grown adult (mostly!), I make my own choices in life. I choose no religion. Some of the reasons I choose no religion are because it seems to cause wars. I’m fairly indifferent to religion, in as much as I respect each individuals choice of religion. I’m open-minded to religions and what their beliefs are and also the ethics that go along with some.
What this does for me personally is open up a whole new world where I can try to understand why certain people, ethnicities and religions do certain things.

For example, did you know that Hindus have hundreds of gods? Did you know that the “Devils Advocate” is a real position within the Catholic Church? Did you know that Muslims call God by his name, which they believe to be Allah? Did you know that JW’s also call God by a personal name, which they believe to be Jehovah (or its other incantations, Yahweh, Jah or Yah (which is also used in Rastafarianism))? Did you know that Yahweh is the primary Hebrew name of God in the Bible, which is considered to holy to say so therefore they do not verbalize his name?  Having an open mind to religion opens up all sorts of realizations.

And then it hits you. Regardless of what they call him, which mountain Jesus or the Prophet Muhammad stood on or how they pray or where they go to pray, they are all praying to the same person! Much like our newspapers, they each have their own version and they all read it and believe what it tells them they must do (Bibles, Quran, Scriptures, Torah, Shruti etc). Their faith is such that they do not question it. For Muslims it is a way of life. For JW’s they must preach it. For Jews, it is belief. Each have their own definition of what it takes to reach The World to Come (Olam ha’Ba), Everlasting Life, be rewarded after death or whatever the final goal may be. Perhaps this is the literal carrot dangling?

Enlightenment

Secondly, I read something somewhere that made me ponder longer than normal. Did humans invent God (whatever form that may take to the different religions) just so they had hope? Do humans need hope? Without hope would we be human? Is religion some sort of comfort blanket for humans? Do we really need religion?

By that stage, I had already chosen no anyway. My personal thoughts on religion are that it is one of the main, if not the main source of conflict on this planet. Religion and politics – two things which I’d rather not get involved in. A world without religion may take away the hope that many people rely on. But it may also take the conflicts away which many politicians rely on. Without conflict they have no headline grabbing policies. Anyway, I digress.

Question time

Thirdly, if there is a god I have a few questions for him/her/it (referred to as he for now)

  • Is there more than one of you?
  • How did he come to be? My JW upbringing taught me that everything we see is created.
  • Who created God? Why?
  • Does it matter which church, prayer hall, synagogue, or temple I go to?
  • If I pray, is it important what I call you and where I am at the time?
  • Would you answer my prayer or would something happening just be coincidence?
  • If you really do exist, isn’t it more important whats in my heart? What my real intentions are/were?
  • Was Jesus really your son and did he really die for our sins?
  • If he did, why did you set us up to fail? We, as humans are imperfect, so why do/did you expect us to try to attain perfection?
  • Most importantly, does it matter what religion I am or believe in?

So, do I need religion? Personally for me, nope. Do you? That’s your choice. We are each individuals that make choices as we journey through life. Those choices define us. Religion is one of those defining choices. My choices define me and made me the person I am today. I’m happy with who I am and what I have become.

Whatever your choices and religion, thanks for reading. Have a nice day!

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