172 Belief Systems Are So Confusing

Every religion has a belief system. How do we reconcile our rational minds to these beliefs? why is it that we claim to believe some rather obnoxious or rather unbelievable sets of teachings that we hold as our sacred beliefs?
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  1  2 172 Belief Systems are so Confusing Dear Friends, Assalamu Alaikum, We live in a wonderful world. An infinite number of amazing systems and processes working all around us, and all of them so well synchronized and productively working in concert. We live in a world or a universe so wonderful that even if we were to spend thousands of unending lives on this earth it would just not be possible to work out even a fraction of what is going on around us or for that matter, even within us. In our quest to learn as to how this universe functions, we have even organized our seeking of knowledge in to so many never ending fields of study such as Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Cosmology, Botany, and Zoology; oh I could go on and on. Then what about the study of what is within us? Just looking at the many fields of Medicine alone would give us an idea of how much more there is to study about just what is within us. There appears to be specialists for almost every organ in our body and more! The human mind is a very inquisitive mind and we are all so curious about how these work, how all these came about and also trying to predict future developments. There is, what we could refer to as a scientific view, and that is that this world and all its amazing systems and process ‘ sort of just evolved ’ . The forces, the energies, and all matter sort of arranged itself in a manner, you could say ‘ sort of balancing itself  ’  and you may even refer to the whole cosmos and everything within it as an infinite number of systems in a super dynamic equilibrium. That is actually a very very very very very simple explanation to the massive powers, and the balance of these powers that we observe. There is also another view. It is commonly referred to as the ‘creationist’ view  This view is that everything around us is too well designed, organized and synchronized to be described as evolved. It is a view that I too share, that there has to be a very wise very powerful and very magnanimous being, whom we refer to as God who has designed and created this universe and that God is also managing and sustaining everything whether in this universe or even  beyond this universe.  Now to me this view that there is a God who designed and created this Universe and is also managing and sustaining everything is actually the more interesting or I should say the more exciting view. Why do I say it is more exciting, because if I were to follow the theory that there is no God then my curiosity would only be directed at ‘how’ or in other words ‘h ow does the world along with all its systems and processes function?’  But then when I introduce this concept about God or the better wording would be this belief in God, then my viewing as well as my questioning takes on a new paradigm, I am asking not only the question ‘how’ but , what would now be capturing my thinking processes would include two other types of questions too , namely ‘why’ and also ‘what for’    3 The ‘ why ’  and the ‘ what for  ’  may sound similar questions, but they actually cover two areas, ‘ why ’   could refer to the past and ‘what for’ are the questions seeking purpose, objectivity and a God purpose look in to the future  –    ‘What is going to happen?’   or ‘What is God’s plan?’  So when we view the world with the view of there being a creator then we enter those wonderfully stimulating arenas of ‘ questioning & seeking ’  that we refer to as the fundamental questions of life. What are these fundamental questions of life? There are 100s of them. Let me list out a few; Who am I? Is there a God? Who is God? What are His attributes? How do I seek or recognize God? How did life begin? What am I doing on Earth? Why am I alive? What is the purpose of my life? Why do I have this thing called consciousness? What was I or where was I before I was born? What happens when I die? And so on and so on. There are 100’s of such questions and each question leads on to so many other questions.   Now these fundamental questions or rather the seeking of the answers to the fundamental questions of life is also referred to as the seeking of the truth. Well you could ask ‘ what truth? ’  It is actually seeking out the answers to all those questions, so in this search we also have to learn to recognize, identify and then not get distracted by those things that divert us or deceive us from seeking out the elusive answers. These distractions are so deceptive that the seeker recognizes them as false and misleading and thus realizes that screening out the falsehoods has to reveal the ‘truth’  This journey to ‘ seek the truth ’   has often been described as ‘the purpose of life’.  In other words to those who believe that there is an all wise, all powerful, all magnanimous creator, designer, manager and sustainer; then seeking out that power, or that Being, and seeking out the objectives for all this creation which we call ‘the truth’ itself, becomes the purpose of life. Amazing isn’t it?  So to seek out this truth or to seek out these truths of life how do we start or from where do we  begin? We could begin with a blank slate. That is, we begin our seeking from scratch. However there seems to be another way, a sort of a way where we could get a sort of a jump start.  Now what is that way? I would describe it as the way of the religions!  4 Wonderful isn’t it?  Generally speaking all religions have a founder leader. For example the founder leader of Buddhism would be Lord Buddha. Similarly Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad could be described as the founder leaders of Christianity and Islam respectively. I do not know who could be described as the founder leader of Hinduism.  Now all these founder leaders of these religions actually described or showed the way to discovering or seeking these truths. It is the power or the effects of their words and actions that drove people to try to follow their  paths thus establishing ‘ their way ’  as a religion. So we find that Lord Buddha had a large following in and around India or we could even say spreading to Asia, Jesus Christ had his following in West Asia spreading to Europe and Prophet Muhammad had his following in the Arab lands and the Middle East spreading to Northern Africa, Southern Spain and Central Asia. So if we are sincere in searching for these truths should we not first seek through the paths of these religions? Well, that is a relief, because through a religion we have a well established or a well described  path. But then, here comes the perplexing question. Which religion should I follow? I am sure the Buddhist would say, ‘If you want to find the truth, then Buddhism is the way’  I am also sure that the Hindu, the Christian and the Muslim, all of them, would also say that if we want to seek the truth then we should follow the path of their respective religion. What is even more perplexing is that each adherent of each religion would also tell us that if we were to follow the paths of the other religions then we would find ourselves going against the truth. Perplexing isn’t it?  So I wish to seek the truth, the answers to all those fundamental questions. So which religion should I follow? I want to know about God. I want to be able to recognize God. I want to realize the objectives with which God created this Universe. I want to know why God created me. I want to know about life after death. And most importantly, I want to know how I could ensure that my life after death is going to be more pleasant than my life in this world. The mere thought of death, and the uncertainty of what would happen after death frightens me. It is a terrifying thought. This is what people refer to as ‘the fear of the unknown’  So I do not want it to be unknown. I want to find out. I want to know. How do I?
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