Religious choice is not an argument. Religion is not about rejecting. It is about accepting. I have seen and met many Christians and Muslims that are very devout and go to church, or pray five times a day. They all follow all the customs and traditions. Yet most of the time they treat other people like dirt.
Religion is a set of doctrines that outlines a belief system. In the end, even though religion does provide a crutch, and even though it does offer solace and charity to many around the world, it is also a major source of divisiveness, hatred and violence.
Religion is mostly a behavioral system. But you don’t need religion to abide by a valuable behavioral system. The most important behavioral values are as old as mankind and will continue to be valuable in perpetuity. They never change and they never diminish in importance, no matter what else is going on in the world.
The 12 Lakota Virtues are a very good example. Prayer is one more of the virtues. If you read these carefully, you will recognize how they are embedded in the parables and teachings of all other religions.
Religion is also a meditative philosophy. The Buddhists consider meditation a form of prayer. Christian, Muslim and Judaic prayers all strive to achieve a unity with God or a higher Divinity. Prayer is a powerful life force because it focuses energy on positive results. Which is also why unselfish prayer very often does work.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all based on the Old Testament Bible. Many of the core stories in the Old Testament Bible are based on Sumerian mythology. The Old Testament Bible was also based on the writing of at least 4 different authors, rewriting the work of other authors, and then edited and interpreted by more authors in the early Vatican. The New Testament and the Quran were both interpretations of oral or written perceptions both authored, well after the deaths of Christ and Mohammed. And then reinterpreted by the Vatican, or Imams and religious leaders over the centuries.
Ascribing to a religion is less important than ascribing to a behavioral code. Buddhism and Hinduism believe that what you do now will determine the position you will be in when you return to life on Earth. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all believe that what you do here on Earth will determine your salvation in ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise’ after death. They all employ either reincarnation, heaven, or paradise, to influence how to behave while here on Earth.
How you treat others every second of every day is more important than doctrines, churches, Mosques, Synagogues, heaven, the next life, or paradise. How you treat others every second of every day is more important than religion.
Several years ago an ancient manuscript was found in two different places that claimed to be the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Although pieces of both manuscripts were missing, it revealed an amazing Truth. Mary Magdalene was very close to Christ and after Christ died she told the other Apostles that Christ had revealed to her a message that he had not revealed to the others.
Several of the Apostles did not at first believe her. It illustrates how women were often judged not equal to men in preaching the Word of the Gospel. This continued for generations, supported by the Catholic Church and up to this very day. But it also provides the most critical revelation. The importance of the teachings of Christ is not so much about the ‘resurrection’, nor is the primary importance about ‘eternal life and the abolition of original sin’. The most important revelation from the teachings of Christ is simply ‘to learn how to teach others how to teach enlightenment‘.
Religion is a personal journey. It is a personal revelation. Religion is enlightenment. Knowledge is enlightenment. Knowledge combined with wisdom is true enlightenment. Research all religions. Understand why they believe what they do. Show compassion for others and for their beliefs. Learn to develop a conscious dialog with the Divinity of existence. Treat other people with respect, kindness and compassion . . . always.
Learn to do these things and you will never need organized religion. Yet you will feel comfortable in any religious gathering, assembly, or structure you will ever visit.