Young adults are faced with a world of choices when it comes to selecting a wardrobe, food, education, friends, vehicles, cellphone, e-applications, entertainment and ideology.
What does freedom mean to you? Does it mean the right to do anything you want, or does it go deeper than that? True freedom is that which takes you beyond boundaries you are normally accustomed to. It is to be able to do what you want, and to believe in whatever you want to believe, whether in a God who created the universe or the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The truth is that we are what we believe, but our belief systems are mostly decided by our family, friends or colleagues.
Inheritance of belief
Very often, the die is cast even before we learn to spell religion. By virtue of our birth, we adopt specific religions and belief systems, settling into a mould that should ideally be broken, if we want to free the mind of prejudices and become fully aware. Osho said: "Your freedom is a supreme value. Nothing is higher than that. But your freedom is possible only if you are not 'encaged' in your habits, unconscious patterns of living." Are we really free?
Believer or not?
Faith can help us cope with grief and loss in life. How you recover from a setback depends on what you tell yourself in times of crisis. Most of your life's decisions revolve around your belief systems, irrespective of whether you are a believer or not. Faith heals. There is scientific evidence that prayer can help people handle difficult emotions, but some don't believe in it. They follow an alternative belief system that rejects higher authority and brands everything associated with it as irrational.
It's not enough for parents to free children from their own religious ideology; it's equally important that they let their children decide whether they want to believe in something or not.
Freedom of choice
Sometimes, parents feel that by inculcating strong religious beliefs and rituals from the beginning, the child feels secure, being part of a close-knit community that would offer comfort and solidarity in times of despair.
A family's religious outlook is too often an intrinsic part of its profile. Religion is part of cultural identity; children are named after gods and goddesses. Birth, marriage and death rituals are governed by it. Your faith or the lack of it becomes an integral part of your being.
Is religion a cultural and social convenience for most - to know what to do from the time we are born till the time we die - or do we need it to transcend the physical realm and merge with the Higher Consciousness? Whatever it is, choosing your faith is best done when your mind is free of fear and prejudice.