Religion is a privilege, not a mandate!

As the title suggests, to me religion is something obtainable piece by piece analogous to getting an academic degree (such as a PhD), that is, it requires a lot of thinking and reading on a daily basis. Of course, religion and academic degree have different values and purposes. Similar to academic degree, religion needs some physical and mental abilities; otherwise, it is open for everyone. The bottom line is that being religious requires a lot of efforts, knowledge, and courage. If you do not have enough of those, you may not be qualified to be one. As, not everyone in the world needs to or can hold a doctorate.

I believe, one thing that has downgraded religion over the course of history is the fact that it has changed from something obtainable to something mandatory or given. It is now proven to me that people don’t care much for the things which are assumed granted, such as health, fresh water, environment, and many other things that they don’t even know they exist; no matter how vital they are for our existence. Over the years, people took religion for granted, or sometimes even worse, they are enforced to acquire one. Hence, people gradually started to ignore and forget, and then, finally, ruin it.

To be able to picture the extension of the disaster, imagine a country or an era where people are enforced to inherit a degree from their parents, so you can easily see what would be the future of that particular field. To be more practical, imagine you are entitled to be a medical doctor only because your parents were ones. Then you could just imagine, as a “born doctor”, what type of medicine you would prescribe for yourself and the others, and what horrible consequences are awaiting for you and the others. At no time, you will not only corrupt medicine as a field, but also you start to harm yourself and the people around you in the worst possible ways.

It is not hard to imagine that the same thing has happened to religions over the years. People born with a particular religion, without knowing much about its foundations, started to harm themselves and the others. More importantly, they ruined the whole religion itself, whatever religion they are entitled to. Without further ado, let me finish this post with stating that: neither religion is inheritable, nor everyone deserves to be affiliated with one unconditionally, but it is like an academic degree, we should obtain it for making a better life.

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6 thoughts on “Religion is a privilege, not a mandate!

  1. Thanks Fred for this interesting discussion.
    I think to agree or disagree with your opinion, one needs to know your definition of religion. However, I would extend your statement about religion and say that choosing and living consciously, any way of life or world view ” requires a lot of thinking and reading on a daily basis….requires a lot of efforts, knowledge, and courage”.
    I think one of the factors that can ruin any ideology/world view is to become obsessed by its surface and to try to enforce it from the outside instead of nourishing it from the inside when the soil is ready. in other words, the problem is that we, too often, are paying attention to the finger that is pointing to the moon and don’t even notice that the purpose is to point the direction in which we can connect to our inner light and wisdom.
    I also think using the word “deserve” is a bit strong here. because each of us has different levels of understanding and ,as you mentioned, physical and mental capacities. But we all can have our own take on wise teachings and move towards a wiser, more balanced being. The key I think is the rightful intention and living in peace with others. and unlike a degree in which you have to meet all the requirements and be awarded the certificate, I think there is no end to steps in a spiritual path. you are always moving “towards”, you are always a student 🙂
    In my opinion one of the main causes why any authentic world view/religion can lead to harm is that we, human beings, cling to ideas so much that we want to believe that “this is the one and only right way”. We forget the simple essences that are pretty much the same in all teachings and stick to complicated differences.Then arises hatred and aversion and exclusion of other ideas and worst of all neglecting the right of others for choosing and following their own path.

    Thanks again for bringing up interesting topics 🙂

  2. Sepide jan, thanks for your comment. My definition is religion is rather general; a religion is a set of beliefs and world views which connect us (as human) to an order of existence [see Wiki].
    Although I agree with what you are saying, I should say that my point was more regarding the ignorance rather than obsession.
    I agree that being obsessed with any ideology would ruin us and the ideology itself, however, I was trying to say that, ignorance would have the same negative effect.
    I believe that if we really earn our religion we would be more open to any discussion about it. Additionally, I was trying to emphasize that we are not allowed to affiliate ourselves with any particular religion unless we really obtain it. That is, just because we are coming from particular family we do no deserve to call ourselves followers of that particular religion.
    I also agree that the comparison with academic degree is not perfect, for example as you mentioned there is no end to any religion, however, the point is that we should really work hard before associate ourselves with any worldview.
    Thanks again for your comment.

  3. Thanks Fred for your reply to my comment 🙂
    I totally agree with you about the ruining effects of ignorance.
    I guess the question now is about your statement “we are not allowed to affiliate ourselves with any particular religion unless we really obtain it”. How do we gauge if we have “obtained” it? when are we allowed to affiliate ourselves with a world view? where is the bar and who sets it?

    my regards

  4. Thanks for your reply. That is an excellent question. To briefly answer, I should say that, to be able to affiliate yourself with a world view, you have to engage yourself with the principles and actions of that world view *on a daily basis*. You should investigate and perform the exercises routinely. Once done, you could safely attach yourself with any particular world view. Perhaps, the perfect measure is the level of our engagement, at least in my opinion.

  5. Good point. But according to which interpretation? See for example the extremist view of a religion and on the other hand, the liberal more internal interpretation. Which is a gauge?

  6. None is the gauge. The actual gauge is how much time you, yourself, would spend to read, think, and practice. After your investigation depending on which ideology you find yourself closer, you could associate yourself with that particular one and practice that. The same thing is true for academic degrees, for example in particle physics there are several distinct and different theories, after years of investigation you would find yourself closer to one (or sometimes none) of those theories. The main point here is that in order to lawfully associate yourself with each you should do your homework.

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