Monday, June 23, 2008

Religion Is A Toolkit

Religion is simply a toolkit for unlocking the soul. Through religion we learn disciplines which can help us to lead spiritual lives.
Religions are composed of disciplines and myths designed to help our spirits grow. Often in religion, we are given examples of how one should live if he/she is a spiritual person. Many times we are given guiding principles to live by, and often we are even presented with a holy person to emulate.
So often in religion it is so easy to take the guidelines we are given and to use them as a checklist -- believing that we are successful so long as we do the things on this list. But when we do this, we miss the point of religion entirely. We become focused on the habits of religion rather than the rebirth of spirit. Often persons of religious habit grow very bitter and judgmental, because religion provides such little fulfillment as its own goal.
Often it takes conviction to find spirituality through religious practice. Religion offers guidelines, but cannot force a person to open his/her spirit. The spiritual journey must be undertaken by the individual. And so, each of us can find meaning in our lives through religious discipline, if we so choose.

There are so many different religions in the world. And each of these has been shaped around the culture in which it was born. This doesn't make any one religion more valid than any other. Rather, it offers differing viewpoints so that a person may choose what works best for him/her.
Among desert peoples religion often focuses on a harsh god or gods who demand strict obedience. But in the East, where life is not so harsh, often there are no gods in religion, and when there are they are often seen simply as embodiments of a greater all-pervading spiritual force.

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