The phenomenon of people placing religion in the center stage of their lives, and using it as a tool for a means to any end, is quite unsettling! Religion is the most misused concept in mankind today at the cost of which atrocities are impended at all levels, leave alone meaningless rituals solely performed out of greed and selfishness!
Why was religion created in the first place? Probably for a sense of order, meaning and protection, where an Almighty God served in the role of a super-parent. And then rules where laid out so there would be a set of moral and ethics for the humankind to follow. The holy scriptures were texts of law that instilled in mankind a sense of righteousness that stated the fine ways of living. And at some point of time these beliefs paved way to fear and eventually paranoia to an extent that we are at the throes of extinction as a human race, in the name of religion. The very institution that came into existence through the brilliant minds of great saints and prophets, is mercilessly misinterpreted at the hands of fanatics, the over-doers and the false propagators. The abode of the purest of pure, is now feeding grounds for hoarders of wealth or even worse, weapons of mass destruction.
Most times, the very essence of religion itself is lost when its true meaning is not taught. What we need now are not baseless rituals that claim to take us to glory, not the hypnotizing of human mind with contorted notions and superstitions, but a firm sense of doing for the uplift of lesser beings, a true sense of awareness that spreads light and fill in the darkness, selfless service that paves way to goodwill and prayers for well-being of all things living. Remember, it is man who created God and kept himself enslaved to fear and punishment in the name of religion. Religion, in the first place is not about fear, it is all about faith that stems from pure consciousness. For that to happen, God has to reside within, not without!