Authentic Religion

A few days ago, my cousin was complaining about why restaurants should stop using the word authentic to describe their cuisines. Most of the time, not only they miss the mark, the food taste horrible. Thus, the word authentic do not usually represent the quality it tries to define. There is a mismatch in terms of impression and expectation with what it actually should be.

Followers of the many religions in this world has been struggling with the same situation as well when it comes to expanding their “memberships”. Each trying to outdo the other in being the holiest, purest, most original, and authentic. But all these discourses, debates, and arguments are meaningless, useless, and make no sense when the religion professed is reflected poorly by the people representing it.

The reflection this week is rather confusing for me because as much as we want to celebrate and appreciate diversity, there is just so much in what we do that screams compliance in unison – the rituals and generic prayers we recite on a regular basis. At the same time while we are not “modernizing”, it seemed that we’re changing the means to the end. We are actually revolutionizing the methods but not the underlying principles.

In the end, I ask if anything and everything that we do are in accordance to God’s will. Perhaps we should stop making God or anyone else a scapegoat of our own ideals, (mis)interpretations, expectations, bad decisions and actions.

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. ~ Luke 23:3

Perhaps, nothing has ever been said about how and what we should do. Could it all be derived from what we perceived and interpreted? Faith can be so versatile and dynamic to the extent of being interpreted to fit our every justification. Are we like Pilate, always reading between the lines and coming into our own conclusions?

Does it matter that whoever is purest, holiest, most original, and authentic?

Just this week, someone said to me, “This life is what counts, let the next life worry for itself”. This statement does hit hard and holds a lot of weight. We are often too engrossed with what’s not here (yet) and it takes our focus away from what matters most at the present. I sometimes wonder why are we working so hard adhering to a set of rules set by people both past and present. People react and find solutions to problems the best they know how given the knowledge, exposure, and circumstances at a particular point of time in their lives. I do not think that there are hard and fast rules living life and life cannot be lived going by the books. It is just not that rigid or is it?

One of my children was upset with her sibling the other day. I told her that no one else have control over her emotions except herself. It is totally up to her to stay being upset and ruin her entire day or she can turn that around and have a great time. A few minutes later, she was back to her usual happy self.

What I am really trying to say is that, religion is really something very personal to every individual. You cannot make or force someone else embrace your religion and have them experience the same “miracles” in life as yours. Others may be drawn through curiosity how your desirable action resonates the goodness that is in you.

Instead of looking for the purest, holiest, most original, and authentic, I tend to believe that where we find goodness, there God dwells…



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