It seems for some I see it’s getting harder, to find an approach and a way to live…

There are two kinds of people when it comes to religion: those who know what happens after death, and anyone who says otherwise. If you fall into the former category, you might as well just stop reading this now. If on the other hand, you’re willing to concede that there are no certainties when it comes to the existence of God and/or the afterlife, feel free to continue reading…

I’m not out to attack your faith. Faith is a vital element to leading a meaningful and satisfying existence. The primary purpose of faith is to give humans a reason to keep on living when life unravels. Religion is a way for individuals to practice their faith. It doesn’t matter if your faith is in the afterlife or a better life - all that matters is that you find a way to keep moving forward.

Organized religion is a convenient faith outlet because it never goes on hiatus. It’s also an easy way to meet new people and keep in touch with old friends. More to the point though, these institutions prey (no pun intended) on peoples need to put their faith in something. In exchange for accepting their word as God’s word, you are promised eternal salvation. Week after week you are told that your faith will be rewarded with a place in heaven. People like being told they are going to heaven, so they naturally keep coming back.

It’s all fine and good provided the leaders of the faith are decent human beings who don’t abuse their authority - but as with any human institution that wields massive amounts of influence, there will always be abuses of power on some level. I’m not attempting to smear all organized religions as misguided or corrupt - rather to point out that no human based institution is sacred beyond the point of scrutiny. It is foolish to align yourself with any faith where finding fault with the human leadership equates to your denial into heaven - i.e. you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

My own personal faith is quite disorganized. I subconsciously* borrow bits and pieces from various religious denominations, sects, and cults. At the heart of what I believe is that there is some higher power that channels itself through human activity. I believe in karma, and that following a righteous path can lead to a better place - although not (necessarily) in the afterlife. I treat others as I wish to be treated and strive to leave the world I inhabit in better condition than when I arrived.

*I haven’t studied religion enough to what I’m aligned with, nor do I believe I’m the first person to come up with this stuff

There are no regular services associated with my faith, although from time to time I engage in travels that could be called religious pilgrimages - usually to see a band perform in concert. While many of these bands preach a deeper message in some form, at the time I’m there more for the visceral experience than anything else. Traveling to really good live shows is my religion. Often times the trips serve the dual purpose of re-uniting with old friends, and naturally I make a few new ones along the way. There are many parallels between my current religion and the organized religion I was brought up with.

A man got to have a code.

An individual’s moral equation should be derived from a diverse array of sources. People who just accept the morality stamped out by Faith Inc are setting themselves up to be exploited. The more experiences you live, the more books you read, the more individuals you engage with, the more data from which you will have to base your moral code. I think the best approach is to live each day as freely as possible while trying to positively impact as many people as possible while enjoying yourself at the same time. That code won’t work for everyone, but that’s the point - everyone has to develop their own code that works for them.

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