Most of us need faith. We need to have a belief in a higher being or force to sustain us during times of adversity. Indeed, the greater part of mankind, for whom life is essentially one of insecurity and much suffering, needs to believe that things will, one day, be a little better. A family living at a garbage dump or fill, or adjacent to a filthy river, or in a slum, or on the streets, with no hope of a better life, needs such a faith more than anyone else. They seek God through religion; in most instances, this is institutional religion.
I do not ask whether institutional religions are helping the majority of their followers to achieve a more secure or better life. The answer is obvious; they offer only support for personal faith. Is that enough? The answer is – what else is available?
As an ardent devotee of my faith, involving regular and frequent attendance at my favourite temple, I felt let down when my life-chances boat was scuppered. I lost all faith, so disastrous was my downfall, including faith in myself. Eventually, as I recovered my self-confidence, I accepted logically that there has to be a Creator of all that is in the Cosmos; and that I prefer to communicate directly with my Creator. I believe that I am spiritual rather than religious, leaving others in my life to follow a ritualistic path, if they so desire.
Each tributary of faith has its trajectory on its terrain, on its way to join the river which will end in that great ocean.