I’ve always struggled with religion and spirituality ever since I was a teenager. I was born into a strict muslim household and taught the teachings of Islam etc. yet, as my knowledge and capacity for independent thought grew, divisions became clear between myself and religion. I became increasingly aware of the blaring contradictions of institutionalised religion – of which I won’t go into too much detail; I don’t have all the time in the world.
The company I surrounded myself with changed drastically over the course of my time at secondary (high) school. The first two to three years I associated with people of my ethnicity and those who shared the same religious views. Yet I still felt increasingly alienated with my religion. I then began to associate myself with a more diverse group of friends, who I’m still friends with today, and this change in social connections had a drastic impact on my religious views. My frustration with religion morphed into alienation and disregard. As I became more aware of my contemporary society, the struggles faced by others in the world and history in regards to war, I reached my current stage of religious apathy.
My whole life I had been taught that religion, more specifically Islam, was the one, true religion of God and that it was the only way to lead a good life. Yet I felt more and more uncomfortable with religion, the religion that was supposed to be my own. In in my eyes it became an increasingly backward and restrictive concept. I saw the fatal consequences of war that arose out of misinterpretations of a peaceful religion but I also felt it was controlling. With the change of social groups I associated with, the life I led, and wanted to lead, simply didn’t fit with the rules I was religiously supposed to follow. Quite simply, religion did not fit in with the lifestyle I wanted. Though I was becoming increasingly detached religiously, spiritually I never seemed to lose my connection to a greater power.
One of the reasons for my disillusionment with religion is the monopolistic claim over God, made by institutionalised religion. This leads to inevitable division which seemingly contradicts the nature of God. I do not feel that the claim of having the only right to interpreting God’s will is justified because it contradicts God’s apparent nature. God may be worshipped and praised in any way a person sees fit. The fundamental aspect of any religious or pious person is to be morally righteous. How is one’s piety lessened by consuming a pig, or drinking alcohol? How does the sexual orientation of oneself lessen their piety? These, and many other examples, fuelled my apathy concerning religion and it’s hypocritical nature.
I do not mean to insult or offend any religious persons. Religion should not be banished nor forbidden. I am simply expressing my disillusionment with religion. I am not ignorant to the benefits of religion either. I have experienced how it can offer solace and tranquility. I know how religion can give hope and closure and how it can help transform a person’s life for the better but it does not suffice for me.
The problem with institutionalised religion is that it is manmade. It will always be inherently flawed when trying to translate God’s will. Therefore any claims of religious superiority are futile.
Though I became estranged with religion, my belief in God still remains. I simply cannot disregard the existence of God and believe that the universe and life was created out of chance. It may be due to nurture and I have been conditioned to believe this but I believe it is naïve not to believe. The universe and life are too complex to have been created through chance.
Religion should be free and limitless, not institutionalised and closed.