Do you really need a religion in your life?

During the week I see many people giving time to go to mosques, to churches, to other places of prayers and to meetings of religious groups! I wonder: what are they seeking? I am always told that they are seeking God. That’s true. But this is somehow a very spiritual answer. It seems to me that all the believers are seeking happiness! Do they find happiness in their religion? Do they really need a religion to be happy? The famous sentence of Karl Marx, the father of communism comes to my mind: “religion is the opium of people!” Are so many people fooling themselves?

I do not think that believers are dreamers. There is in each one of us a real thirst for happiness. And most of us have come to realize that of the many roads to happiness religion is essential. Religion brings you two important things that I would like to single out: values and a life project.

Have you ever thought of why you never say, “I have Christianity or I have Islam…” you rather say, “I am a Christian or I am a Muslim…” you are a religion. A religion is not something you possess. It is a way of life. Religion fashions your behaviour. Religion gives you values that make your life different from other people. Jews and Christians have the Ten Commandments: ten beautiful values of honour, respect, life, truth, and spirit of community. There are values that make those believers exceptional. Moreover Christians have the beatitudes and the new commandment of love and charity. Islam reaffirms Jewish and Christian values and insisted on goodness, charity, and justice in action. If only we could see in the lives of all of us the precious values we hold and proclaim!

Religion brings a meaning to your life because it gives you a life project. Our life project is the one project of God himself. What it is? It is to give life to people. A great Christian thinker put it in a beautiful sentence: “the glory of God is human being fully alive”. Jesus Christ the founder of Christianity proclaimed, “I have come so that people may have life and life to the full” and the mission he entrusted to his followers was the project of giving life to people: “proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons”. Jews (and also Christians) have this beautiful vision of the dry bones of the prophet Ezekiel. People are like dry bones without life and hope. “Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live”. The project of Islam is in the word itself. Islam comes from the Arabic word “s l m” which gives salaam, peace. Islam means peace. To become Muslim is to enter in peace, a great peace of the soul and of the human community. “As salaam alaykum”! There lies the entire Islamic project, that peace be upon all people!

You need a religion in your life. Watch out for these two elements in your religion. Can I clearly identify values that my church or religion hold and that can transform positively our society? Is the project of my church and religion to give life that builds up a new society of love and peace? Whenever you preach against a church or another religion to convince people of joining your church or religion you are sowing in the hearts seeds of division, fear and despise for others, in forms of negative feelings. Let’s stop it. Those deep feelings lead to hatred and violence. We have to uproot from our hearts the seeds of hatred. We need religions that bring different people together in closeness of heart. We need religions that sow love, peace, and friendship in the heart of people. Announce love denounce hatred. God is love, and nothing else but love. Be like your God!

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