First off, I am not asking you to convert to another religion or become an atheist. I am sure religion is useful and also useless at the same time.
Religion has been a very useful tool in my life all this while. For instance, I don’t drink because Islam prohibits one to do so. And I am happy I am not hooked to drinking. A bad habit is very hard to kick once it is installed in our mind. Ask a smoker and they will agree. If a smoker tells you he can quit anytime he wants, rest assured he is in denial.
I used to base my self-esteem on my religion. I used to feel good just because I am a Muslim. But after some soul searching, I find it artificial and shallow drawing my sense of self-worth from the religion that I practice. I realised that I should not feel good about myself just because I don’t drink and some other persons choose to drink.
It is a you versus me mindset. Most organized religions indirectly indoctrinate this way of thinking. I used to tell my friends that there is no reason for us to be religious because the world itself is not religious. You go to a mosque observing Friday prayers and after that you find your pair of shoes missing. You go to a mosque, park your motorcycle in the mosque compound and later your helmet is missing. The world is not that religious after all.
Most religions encourage herd thinking too. You have to do like the rest of the people and then you will be saved. Isn’t it ironic that people like Muhammad, Gautama and Jesus of Nazareth themselves were rebels. They unite the people during their time and yet they never ask those people to follow him. Never. People instead chose to follow them.
And these individuals too have done something which we overlook today. Becoming a better person starts by becoming a free and independent individuals. Questions and challenge the status quo if it is not conducive to our life. Avoid becoming a conformist that blindly follow the crowd. Muhammad, Gautama and Jesus – all of them walked their path and inspired people to follow them.