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As holidays approach, a few thoughts about spirituality and religion

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Photo: Image from kohl_photographer via Flickr.

As the holiday season is fast approaching, I thought I would put forward my beliefs around religion, spirituality and God.

Many people claim to follow religion and believe in God, so why not discuss and debate these important values and beliefs in our society.

Unfortunately, I believe religion has very little to do with God.  

Some of the key religious figures that many of us believe in, like Jesus, Buddha, Moses or Guru Nanak, all of which just happen to be men, may have had a spiritual experience of some kind. 

Nonetheless, I feel religion is manmade and an instrument of power and social control and ultimately oppression. 

Millions of people have been killed in the name of religion. 

I am sure God would be very disappointed that so many have suffered in his or her name, including gay people.

We are all God’s children and all deserve divine blessings.

Religion has also been a force for good. Ideas such as the golden rule from the Bible, which states that we should treat people how we want to be treated or selfless service, or “seva,” which is a fundamental tenant of Sikhism, are great ideas to ascribe to.

So, what do I believe?

I am convinced that we are essentially walking spirits. We all have spiritual energy within us and we are connected to the spiritual world and the divine.

What is the proof for this?

Well, many people claim to have had a life-after-death experience. They state that they have seen a “light” or a type of spiritual energy. 

Just because science cannot explain these experiences does not mean they are not real or valid.

Furthermore, as part of the human experience, we all know that we have a conscious or experience love. Yet, how can we measure or provide proof that we are experiencing these emotions, feelings and thoughts? Again, science cannot fully explain the full breadth of the human condition.

I fundamentally believe that we are spiritual beings that are going through a human experience. 

We are in the physical form for the time being.

However, we are more than our physical bodies. Our bodies just turn to ash and mix with the Earth when we die. 

Our spirit is immortal and never dies and moves onto its next journey with the Supreme Being or the spiritual world or perhaps even reincarnation into a human form again. I am open to all possibilities. 

I am also awestruck by the miracle of creation all around us in nature and in the universe. Everything is so perfectly designed. If we had slightly more oxygen in the atmosphere, we would all be wiped out. 

There is a famous argument supporting a creator. It goes something like this.

If astronauts landed on a distant planet and found a Lamborghini on the beach, what would they think? Did the Lamborghini evolve naturally or did the Lamborghini have a creator?

We all know the answer. Of course, the Lamborghini had a creator.

Nonetheless, even if evolution plays a role in creation, evolution must have been triggered by something and that something could possibly be God. It’s a plausible explanation.

The question of evil.

Many people ask why is there evil in the world if there is a God? This is an excellent question and I feel only God can answer that. I feel one day all our questions will be answered. Some people believe suffering brings us closer to God or is a test. 

Other people believe there is good and evil within each person, as well as society-at-large and the entire universe. If you feed the evil, then the evil comes out. If you feed the good, then the good comes out. This battle between good and evil is a struggle for everyone and constantly playing out in our world.

Why am I so convinced that there is a God?

I find the explanations in the major world religions trying to explain the awesomeness and majesty of our existence, as well as creation and the infinite universe and galaxies that surround us to be horribly insufficient. 

I think future generations will look back and find our religious texts interesting and entertaining, like we enjoy the stories of the ancient Greco-Roman gods.

So, what is the conclusion? 

There are many benefits for being spiritual and believing in God, as opposed to being an atheist or religious. We are one people and one humanity and should seek what unites us and not divides us as a people. That is a fundamental concept of being a spiritual person. I am convinced it can lead to more caring and compassion and concern for each other.

Most importantly, if you are spiritual and believe in God, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You can go through life feeling that you have hope and are loved and supported by the divine and that you are never alone.  

Alex Sangha is an author, social worker, and human rights activist based in Delta, B.C.  He is the producer of the award-winning documentary My Name Was January. He is the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada.

Photo: kohl_photographer/Flickr

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