I despise organised religion.
Organised religion seeks to distance god from men by expounding the fallacy that there exists a select group of men who are the only ones capable of hearing god and conveying his intentions to all other (lesser) men.
Organised religion perpetrates the blasphemy that god is incapable of speaking directly to all men and have them understand him (so much for the concept of ALMIGHTY god, eh?).
Organised religion perpetuates the myth that god... after wielding such great power to create men and give them the gift of the heavens and the earth - suddenly becomes a deaf and mute invalid who has to interact with his creations through a minder / caretaker / guardian?
In fact, all organised religions hinge on the absolutely ridiculous precept that (some) men speak on behalf of god. Well... that might be true but as I've always said - unless you are Mohamed, Jesus, Siddartha Gautama, Lao Tzu or some other person of that very high calibre... all of whom also happen to be very dead - do us all a favour and shut the fuck up.
Anyway, here's a very enlightening viewpoint on religion (as distinct from god) written by a friend of Malaysia-Today. Below is an excerpt of it to start you off.
You ask, how can a good religion make people bad?
To answer this question we have to understand what religion is. Religion is man-made. If we look at the early generations of Muslims, the first two Caliphs for instance, we see a pretty just system. But from there it goes downhill. We have Muslim fighting Muslim, rules and regulations implemented based on frail human understanding and often with less than pious motives, and we see Muslims seeking power rather than Imaan.
Islam is no different from Judaism and Christianity in this respect – they have all lost their way as 'religions'. Faith is one of the most powerful motivators – it can lead men to murder, to corruption and to all sorts of horrific acts, and it is often used by tyrants to accomplish these things. But at the core of it is one human trait that we must always struggle to suppress and that is our desire to be better than others.
We all want notoriety and often 'religion' is used as a way of separating us, as making us think we are better than others, that we somehow are the 'chosen' ones. Look at the division within the Muslim Ummah and the fights over who is the 'saved sect'. Is there a man on earth who really knows for sure how to secure a sacred place in the hereafter?
I don’t think we can look at so-called religions for the answer. And with respect to the Muslims, we have to reject most of what we have been told as the rules and regulations have been handed down by dictators and rulers with their own agenda.
Islam has no Pope. As Muslims, our relationship with Allah is direct. Instead, we look to scholars and leaders as if they have some inside track to God. In Pakistan and Egypt, the Muslims kiss the hands of the Sheikhs, throw money at them and elevate their status. While surely we can gain knowledge from learned men, we need to filter out personal motives and validate so-called 'knowledge'.
Travelling the world as I have, I can tell you that Islam in Malaysia and Turkey, for instance, is drastically different. Look at Saudi Arabia as another example. Women there are not allowed to drive. Yet, in Islam, women are equal and are not restricted from working or achieving skills! Many cultural things have found their way into the 'truth'. How can that be when there is only one truth? I conclude that much 'truth' is man-made!