“A religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.”Clifford Geertz’s Theory of Religion roughly defines religion as such. There has been a lot of debate, wars and controversy in the name of religion, but I wonder how many of them actually corresponded to this rough definition of religion.
The best known example of religious war of Crusades, often romanticized by the western world as a war to recapture “the holy city”, is one of the barbaric brutal battles ever waged which certainly did not match any teachings in The Holy Bible. And we all know the actions of the modern “Islamic” terrorist activities, and I am sure the Qur’an if interpreted correctly, will certainly condemn their actions as well. Nowhere in the Vedas can we find justification of actions like destruction of the Babri Masjid, especially over a character which in all probability was fictional. Scientology should not be even considered a legitimate religion, it is just a money making scheme from brainwashing activities.
I think that there are greater religions than the ones practiced now-a-days. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc. have now become a shadow of what they meant to be through invalid interpretations, zealousness and bigotry. The obvious answer, humanism is one. In fact, all the established religions have the traits of humanism at their core. Humanism gives meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life like no other through reference to a higher power or truth – serving fellow human beings. There can never be any greater higher power than this one.
Music is one of the best examples of true religion I can encounter. A famous electronic song “God is a DJ” by Faithless illustrates this fact well. Good music can stir the souls of human spirituality like few can. There is no better place where I find peace in myself and meaning of existence than a concert or a rave party. Sport has similar qualities as well and is a far greater religion than Indian Mujaheedens version of Islam ever will be.
One can find all the strengths they need through introspection and self-belief. For them, no “religion” is necessary. In this regard, Atheism is a strong religion as well. Religion does not mean incantations, books and places of worship. Anything that gives you inner strength and makes you a better person can be considered as your own religion. God is what you make god to be, not what is imposed upon you.