Religion can be constructive or destructive, it represents contradictory understanding to different people who term themselves religious. As a human race we search for meaning in things around us and have a myriad of questions concerning existence itself and because answers are not found we cling to religion in hopes of finding solace and easing the numerous unanswerable questions within and around us.
Something Carl Jung said in his book Memories, Dreams and Reflections has stayed with me and made me relate to my own life that “he understood religion as something that God did to him, it was an act on God’s part in which he was supposed to yield and not the other way around.” In my opinion this is the most definitive, accurate and accommodating description of religion because one who experiences true religion knows it not from others but from God. Clement of Alexandria said “one who knows himself/herself knows God.”
Religion is not supposed to hold captive rather free, it doesn’t matter the denomination/religion in question, whether Islam, Buddhism, Presbyterian, Catholic whichever it is. “Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged” ― Jalaluddin Rumi. I have found some religions very limiting even through social interactions, acceptance of others due to religious affiliations and many other mundane reasons which in my opinion don’t make sense. These kinds of perspectives hinder people from experiencing the true nature of God often creating an arbitrary conceptualization of God from projections and points of self morality. They prevent knowledge to take its course both in its pure and impure form by formalizing religion through imposition of inherent dogmas and inhibit learning about God’s likes & dislikes, conversing with Him like a friend, a partner but still recognizing His majesty.
Carl Jung goes ahead to say that human beings are subject to all sorts of self-seeking traits and therefore he doesn’t understand that analogy of imagining the nature of God incorporating human behavior, i.e we are created in the image and likeness of God. So in order to experience His grace human beings must retain an incorruptible and open spirit, just like that of a child who believes in everything told to him /her by a parent requiring one to be naive of sorts; to be open to learning and correction, to be grown in wisdom and sage but still have the heart of a child. Unfortunately when looking around all that can be seen are people stuck in fallacious beliefs searching for meaning where they need not but rather seek self-awareness. “People fight over religion, because they don’t understand religion. They think reading a Bible, Quran and Vedas makes them religious. Books are not religion. Real religion is realization of the self.”―Abhijit Naskar
A man who has learnt to trust in God has gained wisdom. Therefore religion should not restrict/bind rather it should be freeing, to give room for a person to strive to learn and experience the nature of God. There is a question that people ask a lot “If God exists why does he allow bad things to happen?” but doesn’t the Bible say ” It is He who gives understanding & wisdom and reveals things that are deep and secret?” – Daniel 2:20 How can we ask such questions if we have gained His wisdom?