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The Enigma of Religion

By Dr. Mohammad Ala

The purpose of this article is to share some ideas which involve religion in our daily lives.  Religion promises great things after life.  It offers incentives to do honorable and good deeds.  Is there life after death? 

As I mentioned in Religious Freedom (August 2004),  religions are belief systems which started by thinkers, prophets, or clerics who were looking for people to follow them or their belief systems.  Religion is such a dominant force that there are governments that are theocracies.  Although the tenets of religion, such as eternal life, have never been proved, people must literally accept faith on faith.

Religious people contend that when one dies, he or she spends eternity in happiness if he or she believes in God.  It is easy to talk about future when people are dead.   

We have to like this world to want to make it better.  The beauty of life impresses me, not the life after.  Unfortunately, the idea of an afterlife is not separate from religion and the concept of a "God" or some supreme being.  If there is an afterlife, great.  If there is not, that is great too.  What is it that people are scared about?  The religious people are as much fearful of dying or life after death as nonbelievers.  In fact, research has shown that deeply religious people are most likely to insist on extraordinary efforts to prolong their lives, even when there is no hope of recovery.

Everything that lives dies, but humans are the only creature that knows it is going to die. If there is life after death, who do you think it is likely to find it?  Clerics or scientists? 

Why funerals (especially religious ones) are not parties?  Why people are not happy that their loved ones have gone to their eternal bliss? 

Why Allah?  Why not Zoroaster, Buddha, or Jesus? Or any other ancient myth?  Why believe in something that might or might not exist?  Why not share your beliefs without the help of religious clerics and let others judge them.

Members of each religious group promote theirs as the only true religion and invite others to join them and donate money to them. Such people do not consider other religions as worthwhile. However, just as advertisers do not necessarily convert all consumers about the superiority of their products, so self-promotion of a particular religion by its advocates often does not result in conversion of others.  In fact, history has shown that even violence and persecution will not necessarily result in conversion of others.

If all the money that goes into religion went into education, eradicating poverty and many diseases, everyone will be better off. 

People have opinions and beliefs just as one may believe there is no God.  Perhaps one day, people can acknowledge religion is made up and advance to a rational way of thinking.  It is true that fairy tales give hope and illusions of safety and happiness, but they are still fairy tales.  People are capable of making heaven on earth.

We don't have to leave earth to find heaven.  We can choose to embrace this heaven, or choose to wait in the hope that there is something better somewhere.  How could there be anything better than fresh fragrant of flowers?  This life has so much potential to explore.

Choosing a religion is not only a reflection of one's beliefs, it has been a pragmatic decision for career advancement.

It is argued that masses are ignorant, they follow the clerics.  Some fundamentalists believe they are doing God's work in forcing weak believers to practice their religion. In order for evil to triumph it is for people to stand by and do or say nothing.  Salvation is found by seeking the truth, not with superstitious dogma.

People should be free to choose any path in conformance with their belief system. Even non-believers have made a choice regarding religion. No choice should be ridiculed because it is different from another.

Some clerics use religion as an instrument of control, not as a means to self understanding, and building a personal relationship with the creator.  Organized religion is rife with lies and superstitious.  Deciding there is life after death should be a personal matter and not to be exploited by clerics.

 "When I die, I am content to fade away, into nothing.  No show, no matter how good, could conceivably be good forever." - H. L. Menchken

I agree with Menchken;  it reflects my feelings on this subject.

... Payvand News - 11/09/09 ... --

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