Where is the world awake? In the senses. People want to eat and drink and have children, and then they die a dog's death. ... They are
always awake for the senses. Even their religion is just for that. They invent a God to help them, to give them more women, more money, more children — never a God to help them become more godlike!
Swami Vivekananda

In the current Coronavirus situation, many people turn to their rituals to help them. At the weekend it's going to be Easter weekend and currently, most religions seem to be ready to conduct their rituals online, in some virtual form. Maybe it will help the Christians, I don't know.

What I really don't know, is how a ritual is supposed to be helpful.

All religions seem to claim that their rituals are both a reminder of the truth contained in their belief and a way of consolidating the belief by bringing a large number of people together to conduct the rituals as a group. The rituals I have seen and even participated in, demonstrate to me that the rituals and the outward appearance are far more important than any content that they may have had originally.

Easter is a particularly disgusting ritual to me. On Good Friday, Christians "celebrate" the death of their Master Jesus. On Sunday they celebrate the "Arisen Christ". How about celebrating the Life of Christ? After all, it's what he preached that's important, isn't it? The death of a person is never as important as the life. 

Personally - just to say it - I find the idea of life after death the most absurd thing to speculate about. Christians like to cite the Bible stories of how one person spoke to the gardner and later believed that person to be Jesus. Hmm. How would such a person telling such a tale be viewed today? And the other proof cited, is a known opponent called Saul, who claimed to have bumped into Jesus on the road in the middle of nowhere, unfortunately, while he was all alone. And suddenly he's in charge, running a club and building the rituals. I'm sorry, but please look at these books with today's eyes, not those of ignorant people from 2000 years ago. If it's not directly applicable today, then what use is it?

I build habits. Some good, some bad, just like anyone else. For example, I had built up the habit of going to the gym Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings for a 2 hour workout. This kind of habit, becomes a ritual and serves the purpose of ensuring that I actually do something rather than find an excuse not to do it. I also meditate for an hour every morning, which helps me to focus, especially inwardly. These habits or rituals help me to develop what's good in me and to look after my physical and mental health.

The kinds of rituals I see in religion, seem to me to be designed for showing off. Opportunities to show how godly one is in front of the neighbours. It's about the external show. I'm sure there are exceptions which prove this particular rule. As a child I remember having to go to Church and Sunday School, where I was indoctrinated with the local version of whatever religious place I was taken/sent. I was very good and even won some Bible reading contests. I also read the whole Bible and found it utterly contradictory and - for every day life - pretty useless. After all, this was the 20th century, not ancient history.

So, my recommendation is: build good habits. Habits which remind one that kindness and empathy are the best way of living in this world; Habits which allow the love inside oneself to manifest itself towards the external world; Habits which help one grow in clarity. And for that, nobody needs religious rituals. Be who you are and you are as all others. Enjoy life and help others enjoy life.

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