A quick thought on religion/god/spirituality/philosophy: I am not a believer. I was never a believer, and I am never gonna be, because I don't think god exists. I think the concept was invented to act as a torch of optimism when the going is not good. I am not one of those who are jubilant rationalists and sneer at anything that doesn't fit the definition of rationality. I used to think, those who don't believe, shouldn't believe; and should allow those who want to believe, and as long as this freedom exists across the fence, everyone could peacefully indulge in their own ideology.
However, my dominant thought these days is: believing in god or in anything else that's not yours but used by you as a guiding principle for your life is not as benign and harmless as it sounds. I think (very humbly and politely, though there's this danger that it may not sound so), influences coming from someone/somewhere outside us are nothing but impersonations of that someone's beliefs and definitely hamper our growth. Especially beliefs wrapped in sermons that are told by someone we love, we respect, we look upto. Someone telling you how to lead your life in terms of actions or thoughts or beliefs makes you less evolved, and also less aware about your capability to evolve. You may say, people who are aware of this problem will steer clear of it and not necessarily turn into blind followers. Well, blind or aware, it is in human nature, that answers provided by someone else will mask your own process of thinking, questioning and exploring. Like those readymade Navneet-Vikas guidebooks in school days where the answers were clear, precise, made-to-order, ready-to-fetch marks, but zero on allowing the individual to think about their own answers, or for that matter their own questions.
If we don't have anyone preaching us or telling us what to do, we might lead lives that are not as cleansed, ordered and convenient as today, we might become blinded by our own doubts, there might be anarchy and chaos, lot of depressed souls, and a lot of time will be spent in figuring out solutions for problems which have already been figured by someone else. That's the cost. But there's also this possibility of coming up with original and maybe, more powerful and effective solutions for the problems in our personal and social lives, then that chance is worth taking. And imagine original unadulterated thinking from 6 billion people. That's something to aspire for. If for nothing else, only to realise the full potential of each one of us as individuals, and a collective.
This may seem impossible. We can't escape some of the impressions and influences. Some of these happen pretty early, some of these happen subconsciously and many times unavoidable. What I am saying is that getting influenced is default anyway, so we need to rise above it if we wanna discover who we truly are. I don't know about you, but the biggest aspiration of my life is to realise my potential as a human being...my whole, complete potential. To discover who I am. What am I capable of? What are my limits? How can I push those limits? What happens to me when I undergo these transformations? That is what the word divine means to me. Anything that hinders this realisation, or even directs, redirects it in any way is a dangerous sect not worth practising.