Not something I would chose to write on easily, but lately my thoughts keep circling around this.
I wouldn’t call myself a religious person, no. For me, religion has always been a concept introduced by humans to stay within the lines of morality and as an attempt to bring some sort of order into this chaotic world. That’s how I have always looked at it. But then I am of the view that religion isn’t necessary to stay within those moral boundaries. In fact I have atheist friends who are better human beings than some of my theist ones (this isn’t meant to point at people) or vice versa.
For me God and religion are two completely separate entities. You can say I believe in God, but not in religion. Perhaps, it is because of the way of thinking around which I was brought up. Actually, that is the reason for how my standpoint is today. I was raised by a father who spent nights telling me stories from each and every religion. And that’s what they were to me, stories; stories spun by old men from days past and read out as the only truth over generations. Perhaps that is the reason I believe in God as well, because of the beliefs surrounding my formative years as a child. And that’s what it amounts to in the end; your beliefs are a result of your surroundings, and no one belief can be justified as right or wrong. Be it an atheist, agnostic or a theist, it doesn’t matter. Everyone has a right to their own beliefs and justifications.
Discussions on these have always been tiresome and hardly ever end without at least one of the parties getting offended. Heaven forbid, a person walking out not offended from that particular debate. My views, now that I read through what I just wrote, sound lax and vague. I would be lying if I said I do not get offended by some of these discussions. I do, and hence the general avoidance of the whole matter.
I believe in God, I believe in prayers, I believe that everyone has a right to their own beliefs and I believe that no one faith is greater than the other. Most religions teach us that anyway, it’s just that, some of us in our deep piousness tend to overlook that little fact and interpret the words of holy books in our own way. But then again, there is nothing wrong in that, as long as you do not start denying others their basic rights based on your take on the matter. Live and let live.