My Religious Beliefs

(this has been largely influenced by ESR's Neo-Pagan FAQ)

I must say before hand that I consider religion a very personal matter. And is, hence, against discussing it in public. However, lot of people have asked me about my religious beliefs - since I sound both an Hindu extremist and a firm atheist in the same breath - hence this article.

I call myself an agnostic Hindu. This means I do not believe in God or miracles.  There are no Gods. (Or rather no Gods we can contemplate). Jesus and Mohammad and Buddha were men. They lived, they died. End of story. But then I was born and raised a Hindu and hence I identify myself with a certain set of  Hindu system of beliefs. However, I am very relaxed about it.

My religion has no place for God rather my Hinduism is a religion of practice, pragmatism and immediate experience.  Instead of making me believe in "God", wild cosmological forces or finding final answers to "big" questions; my religion helps me as a human being relate to other human beings and the world as we experience it. I refuse to accept conventional ideas of religious authority, "divine revelation" and the like. I believe in building my religion (and indeed my entire way of thinking) on actual experiences rather than beliefs I have been conditioned to accept.

There are two ideologies in Hinduism that I believe strongly in:

However, there are parts of Hinduism (or for that matter most religions) that I strongly reject. I do not believe in gathering authority or building organizations in the name of religion. I refuse to accept the concept of giving donations, building temples or funding a full-time priest. I consider religion is a matter of personal opinion and no one should be urged to accept someone else' authority on it. For the same reasons I am against public religious conversions. In fact, I very strongly believe that all kinds of organized conversions should be banned by law. When people are ready for something they will find it without somebody else coaxing them into it.

Finally, I have a sense of humor about my religion. I believe, it is more dangerous to take our religions too seriously than too lightly. (Also, we should not confuse solemnity with gloom). I feel that any religion that cannot stand to have fun poked at it is in as sad shape as the corresponding kind of person.