I have been delving into a sort of synthesis of science, philosophy, and spirituality as of late. I find this to be the closest thing to what people perceive "religion" to be. I do this from time to time because it keeps me grounded.
I do not believe in the religion I was raised in (Catholicism) nor do I believe in any other organized religions. The only "religions" I sympathize with are the ones that stimulate self-realization and enlightenment. I do not typically consider these religions, but states of mind.
I spent a great deal of time as a child and teenager wavering between complacency with and resistance towards Catholicism. My biggest complaint has to deal with the denial of the self that many religions directly or indirectly promote. This has proven an insurmountable complaint and to this day, I have rejected my birth-faith.
In Catholicism, and many other religions, there is a supreme being usually referred to as "God". The religion dictates that it is our goal to exert ourselves for the appeasement of God in order to receive the benevolent gift of eternal paradise. God is described as incomprehensible to the human mind, yet there are suggestions that we can follow to assure favor with God.
My problem is that dealing with a supreme being that holds absolute dominion over us removes responsibility from the self. I do not deny the existence of God. I consider God to be a higher truth that acts as a reflection of the self. To rank God relative to the self in any capacity is irresponsible, because the two are incomparable and mutually dependent.
I've been reading "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene, and a recurring concept that I've found in and out of this book is the power of observation. There are forms of energy that, prior to observation, exhibit an infinite arrangement of possibilities. The act of observation brings one possibility into reality. I then apply this concept on a larger, philosophical scale. I suggest that we exist on a canvas of infinite possibility. The responsibility falls on us to paint possibility into reality. The reality around us does not exist until we realize it with our minds. I will even be so bold as to suggest that nothing can possibly exist without the intervention of consciousness.
A movie called "What The Bleep Do We Know?" which I have seen several times, includes this notion and further details many other ideas. For example, the movie talks about reality as a function of our mind because it cannot be experienced directly, rather, only through the senses. Since reality is experienced by the mind, the act of controlling our reality is as simple as controlling how are minds react to certain stimulus.
Now, I'm not trying to suggest that we can fly if we think hard enough. I do however believe that we can control our path to paradise by applying ourselves. Modern-day organized religions promote blindly following doctrine, self-sacrifice, and the restriction of free will to achieve eternal reward. To me, the harder one tries to accomplish these aims, the further from paradise they become.
I believe that through meditation, the pursuit of knowledge, and human connection, we have the power to change the very face of our existence, realizing paradise out of possibility.