Every religion started out somewhere as a spiritual possibility. Slowly, as the number of people increased and generations of people passed on, it became more organised and more distorted. What used to be a spiritual process became a set of codes and modes to follow, a set of beliefs to believe in, and slowly it lost all its original significance.
This is bound to happen to anything in the world. Any method, teaching or possibility, however beautiful it is today, over a period of time, gets distorted. How long you can retain it as an effective tool simply depends on how cleverly you devised the tool and how little room you allowed for distortion. But everything does get distorted. How soon or how much later it happens is the only question.
So, to a large extent, most of the world religions today are run either on guilt, fear or greed. ‘Dear God forgive me, save me or give me this or that.’ This is what it’s been reduced to, unfortunately. Today if you take the five major religions of the world and make a list of all the things that they label as sin, you will see just to be alive is a sin. Just to breathe and exist is a sin. It has been distorted like this because this is the only way to keep you going to these places and to keep the organised stuff running all the time.
If you are scared, then you go and visit religious places; or if you’re greedy and you think you will get something, you do the same; or you feel so guilty about the very life process that you are living, you go there for forgiveness. Anything that grows out of fear, greed or guilt cannot lead to human well-being. These are not wonderful things within you; these are the ugliest parts of you, these are what make life’s experience ugly. Only when you’re happy, loving and generous, your life is beautiful.