I always had trouble with religion. I do understand that, the human race being so frail and fragile compared to all other animal species in the world, needed something to identify with, to believe in and why not, to blame or praise for the good things and bad things that happen. That's how religion was born.
Also I must say, the first 'religious' persons to come around must have been quite entrepreneurial as they created a job for themselves, gaining thrust and being revered as the 'servants' of the gods and gaining power and high rankings in any society embracing any type of religion.
I was born in Malta, a Roman Catholic country. When I was young religion was quite imposed on us kids, be it at home or in school. Religion was a daily chore and everyday I had to go to morning mass as an altar boy and in the eve after school have my religion lessons to prepare me for my communion and later my confirmation. To add insult to injury after dinner my parents used to make me sit to recite the rosary with them - which apart from being a bore of repeating the same prayer for 50 times and answering to each other in a weird way, I ever could grasp the concept why praying shouldn't be easier!?
Growing up and meeting other cultures I started seeing similarities in the religions and their messages. Nearly all speak of one god, even Hindus, which even though they have a multitude of deities and gods, the trilogy of gods at the top because one, or so it was explained to me some years back in India. So I wonder, why is it so complicated to communicate with god? If god as all religions say is benevolent and loving and a father or mother figure, why do we need complex prayer structures, ceremonies and the lot to get through to him?
I guess the answer is simple - religions around the world have made a name - created a brand for themselves and as any other commercial company their aim is to grow and prosper. They keep you within their grasp, explaining that without them you cannot reach god or you will be in sin or will loose eternal life after death if you abandon the church (whichever that is).
Yes it's all a business model and it's proven wrong by the very pure people that dedicate their lives to god - hermits living in total poverty, away from the crowds and fortunes and fame, monks in remote monasteries etc. These people dont have churches or gold or huge buildings adorned with marble etc yet they have a contact with god, a contact through the greatest church of all - nature.
Two days ago the pope of the Roman Catholic Church announced his resignation. There was a media frenzy, people even started to fear that it might be a sign of something bad! But one thing that people fail to realise is that the pope is a man like us - he is human, Fresh and blood. He even poos and pees and yes he can resign too if he desires. So what's the big deal?? I only wish that the pope had the guts to resign and retire in a humble monastery somewhere in the hills not inside the walls of the Vatican, with all it's riches and comforts, which even Jesus himself denounced.
Religions are so caught up in tending to their brand they don't realise they are veering off from their original teachings and whilst preaching humble lives, love and understanding, they are the first to accuse and prosecute, to threaten and point fingers.
I do have my beliefs, but surely not in a man made church, as I do not need anyone to tell me how I should 'pray' or how to find god as he is there always and I don't need the church or even utter a world for him to know!