What do you all think about religion?
I always like Joseph Campbell's comparison of religion to computer software. Some people rely only on one type of software, some can use more than one program, and some can write their own. Mythology and religion have been a necessary part of civilizations as it basically offers some type of explanation for our world and why we are here. Beliefs are created and some type of system is set in place where there is a religious body that sets rules and regulations. As all religion is man made, a religion can have a high vibration as it does good for the community and is loving to all. However, you generally don't see that happening. Most established religions exist to maintain their own power. Like anything else that's man made, it has the capacity for higher vibration. Think of music, literature, art; some works are capable of raising a person's vibration, others are neutral and some lower the vibration.
I was raised Catholic but my family wasn't strict. I attended Catholic school until I graduated high school. But even there, the nuns that taught were more liberal. This was the seventies and the Church was still focused on things like poverty and social justice. When I was 18, I gave up the Church, I still went through the motions as I was still in Catholic school but I no longer believed. Part of this was the strong emphasis that Catholic education placed on logic and reason. We were always told to think for ourselves. And that was the problem. On the one hand we were told to follow the teachings of the Church, and on the other hand, we were told to think for ourselves. This was especially true for me with regards to the Church's view of women and reproductive rights.
I was not the only one who could not reconcile my beliefs with those of the Church. As I said, most of the nuns were very liberal (they didn't even wear habits) but we had a couple of nuns who were less liberal. During my senior year, one of these nuns stated in class that if someone didn't believe in God, they wouldn't go to heaven. Well, it was like a bomb had dropped in the class. This was a Catholic girls prep school and we were a well-mannered group but suddenly you had students that had never opened their mouth to express an opinion, on their feet challenging the teacher. That statement had struck a chord and we all felt it. It was wrong. Many Catholics of my age group left the Church and in large part, I believe it was because of our education - we did what we were told and started thinking for ourselves.
The other reason why I left is for years, the Church's teachings could never explain things that deeply troubled me. Our family suffered many deaths, and I didn't understand why. I was so sick of the priest saying "we can never understand the will of God". There were moments I just wanted to stand up during the mass and say "Well, could we do a damn sight better?"
I got into metaphysics in my thirties and have never looked back. Finally, I found some explanation to my questions and the learning is never ending. Just when I think I've figured everything out, something new comes along and my consciousness expands even further. Like the software comparison, there are people who are terrified to think for themselves. They need to rely on a specific program of guidelines. As humans, we are slowly evolving from that. We all have a direct communication with the Creator - we don't really need a middleman.
Even though I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I have deep respect for it. It was part of my life, it gave me a foundation on which I could either build from or reject. On the occasions when I have attended a service, I feel more like a visitor who is revisiting an old destination or like visiting a childhood home. You no longer live there but you still can have good memories of the place. I still love the mystery of the rituals, the music, the great art that the Church sponsored. I can visit it but not be a part of it - it's a memory of another lifetime and as it made me who I am today, I can respect it. I don't agree with it and am more than well aware of the abuse of power that existed and still does. But it is a man made institution so it has its dark side but it's also capable of great good. It's neither good nor bad and I accept it for what it is.