Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Slow Awakening

The Slow Awakening

Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need.
- Bill Maher

I think Bill Maher is one of the most entertaining personalities in the talk show business. He is so unashamedly politically incorrect. With his trademark brand of common-sense logic laced with acid wit, he never misses an opportunity to point out how the emperor (usually the American government) has no clothes. His books New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer and When You Ride Alone, You Ride with Bin Laden are most enjoyable reads.

I even agree with his views on religion, even though I would not go to his extreme of labelling religious people as suffering from "neurological disorder"!

Spiritual awakening to me is an inevitable phase in the evolution of human consciousness. One can be spiritual without being religious. Religion implies adherence to a formal structure, or in Bill Maher's words, a "bureaucracy"--which is often an archaic system of rules and rituals that one is forced to follow blindly.

My personal take is that we shouldn't be too hung up on religion. It's like marriage: If you find the right one, go ahead, get hitched. If you can't find that elusive life partner, no big deal, there are lots of other interesting things to do in life.

Religion is but an expression of man's desire to understand his place in the larger scheme of things. In that aspect, it is similar to the study of science and philosophy. Only the method employed by these different disciplines differs. A true scientist is by definition a spiritual person.

If you choose to call yourself an atheist or an agnostic, that's also fine. You won't go to hell for it. You might be guilty of having too much intellectual pride, but that's no big sin. You'll find your own path to spiritual awakening, sooner or later--like how a river finds its way to the sea.

If you choose to become a religious person, then that means something inside you has been awakened. But take it easy. Don't stumble out of bed immediately, you could trip over things if you are not careful. It's certainly better to remain asleep than to be sleepwalking. At least you won't be slamming planes into tall buildings.

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