I am reading a very nice book about Zen by Taisen Deshimaru. It starts with this story:
Someone wrote on a wall of a US university of positive sciences: "God is dead - Nietzsche".
And after some time, somebody added below: "Nietzsche is dead - God".
I liked it very much because in addition to be funny it summarizes very well some recent thoughts I had regarding religion. More specifically, I think that there is an interesting misunderstanding related to the notion of God. Many people see God as the answer to the existential question of "who created the universe?" or "What happens after we die?", etc. And they could even argue in favor of one or another God. For me it is obvious that God is not the answer but a question. I will try to explain.
The question is not easy to formulate. It has to do with the fact (?) that people can communicate from a distance through some sort of electro-magnetic waves. Participating in online communities the last 3 years has convinced me about this :-). I conjecture that for communication to take place the two (or more) people have to synchronize in the same "frequency" (of course, like for radio, different frequencies exist). I tend to believe that prayer is one of the most effective ways to achieve this synchronization. Mathematics, art, or meditation are probably alternative ones.
People that practice any religion can relatively easily get in touch with this "miracle", that they perhaps interpret as the proof that the God of the corresponding religion actually exists. And thus there lies the answer to all their questions about life. Or perhaps they get trapped into a frequency "controlled" by malicious spirits (their God) that do not let them think and act freely. Or even they get addicted to this "synchronized" state of mind. I cannot be sure of course. But we must always make some assumptions since a theory that explains everything doesn't yet exist! The above is not too hard to believe and could explain many strange things that have caused eternal debates and misunderstandings.
If this assumption holds, the "God" is actually what happens when people pray. It doesn't provide any answer to any of our existential questions. On the contrary. It adds a new question. It is just an extra mystery of human nature. And I strongly believe that the existence of this "phenomenon" is independent of any religion. Of course, science is not yet capable of explaining its source but probably someday it will. It could be just a physical phenomenon that we don't have the means to analyze. In the past it was the sun, the rain, the fire, and so on, some of the strange phenomenons that were attributed to "God". In any case, it is a pity for people that think rationally (including me) to lose this experience just because there are billions others that are victims of a few who perhaps use this capability of humans as a means to control and exercise their power. By the way, falling in love is another similar experience, which probably is related to the same phenomenon, that very rational people risk to miss before they leave from this world :-).
Then, I propose that we should let ourselves connect to existing "flows" or create our own independently of religions. At least this is what I indend to do :-). We should find our own "communication channel" and get in contact with people that share the same values and dreams for a better world. And the more we do the more we will understand the essence of religion, why it is not at all unique, and why "official" religions should be avoided! You could see this process as Religion 2.0 :-)
The subtlety here is that we cannot feel this phenomenon, "God", with logic and conscious thinking. The same happens with love. Most of the times it appears when we have completely taken it out of our mind. This is actually from my point of view the role of meditation and prayer. They are just ways to let our unconscious get free and connect to intergalactic frequencies that transcend time and space. And similarly with the methods used by physical scientists to capture molecules that existed since the first seconds of the big-bang, but still make part of our current world, they help us get in contact with the parts of our spirit that are made out of the source of the universe.
So, one should believe (without researching as religion urges us to do) not that God is the answer, but that the question does hold. That there are phenomena that exist but we cannot explain, at least for the moment, and which we could call God (or whatever). Many rational people by realizing that there is no answer fail to see the "extra" question. Many religious people that have been in contact with this question consider the religions' God representations (Jesus, Buddha, etc.) as the actual truth, the answer. And this is why there is this enormous misunderstanding :-)