March 9, 2011
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Religion can be explained as people’s beliefs and opinions about the existence, nature, worship of a deity and divine involvement in the universe and human life. I have always wondered if a distinction could be drawn between God and religion. Has anyone ever thought about it? Does God exist outside our various religions? From the definition of religion above, it doesn’t seem very probable. But I believe we all worship one God, whatever your religious faith. This is exactly why I have never understood fanatics or extremists in any form whatsoever. I admit, I am not a religious person. I don’t take religion too seriously. I was born a Muslim, but there are so many things about Islam that I simply don’t take cognizance of. You could say I’m simply picking what suits me about the religion. That’s one way to put it. However, I know that if I were a Christian or something else, I’ll still feel the same way.
Let’s face it, the major religions we have are more of a man-made business than God’s. Why would I become a fanatic about it? Almost everything regarded as orthodox in our religions was set down thousands of years ago. Times are changing, and everyone is aware that the two major religions have been trying to adapt. As Helen Keller, a US writer and lecturer wrote: “the heresy of one age becomes the orthodox of the next”. As far as I’m concerned, just because I don’t take religion too seriously, doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. I’d really like to believe a supreme being exists, co-coordinating the affairs of the world. Look at the universe in its totality; can you still say with conviction that no divine intervention is involved? The truth is science would never be able to explain many things, and not everybody would believe that God exists, until the Day of Judgment. To those who don’t believe in God, all I have to say is, wouldn’t you rather believe than eventually find out you are going to be burning in hell for eternity?
I want us to always remember that God predates everything, including Islam and Christianity. Often times, people forget this basic fact, and attention has shifted from worshipping God to what religious faith a person belongs. I know that it is emphasized in churches and mosques, without employing the use of any euphemism and clearly, that members of the other religion are doomed, and that they can only be saved if they converted. Very helpful in fostering unity and peace, isn’t it? Honestly, I feel intellectually superior to people who think in such a ludicrous and laughable manner. We have all forgotten that we are human beings first, before we fall into various classifications such as sex, race and religion. The damage done to life and property because of fanatical and extremist dispositions, and other forms of discrimination over the years is incalculable. Do you remember the numerous religious wars, the holocaust? Or the massacres in the north? And apartheid?
Whether your black or white, Muslim or Christian, man or woman, Jew or Arab, gay or straight, we are human beings first. Liberalism would do this world a lot of good. I consider myself a very liberal person. That is why I have gone to church more times than I can remember. That’s why I used to have a gay friend (he was smitten with me a little bit, but I didn’t mind). I am also very sure that, if I had been a German during the holocaust, I would have been willing if I could, to hide Anne Frank from the Gestapo.
My final words would be from the song “Imagine” by John Lennon, a member of The Beatles:
“Imagine there’s no heaven….
No hell below us,
Above us only skies.
Imagine all the people, living life for today…
Imagine there is no country….
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion too,
Imagine all the people, living life in peace”
He is right you know. Would the world be a better place without religion, or countries? Think about it.

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