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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 15:06 GMT
Who do you worship?
We discussed what religion and faith means to you in Talking Point on Sunday 29 February.

How does belief in God affect the world in which we live? Does religion create unity or conflict?

A special BBC programme "What the World Thinks of God" examines how much belief there is in the modern world.

Does modern man need to believe in God or do we all now worship at the altar of new gods: Money, fame and celebrity?

In an opinion poll commissioned by the BBC in ten countries, it was the poorer nations which tended to have the highest percentage of believers.

The United States was the exception - there, nine out of ten people expressed faith in God.

Who or what do you worship? And what are the reasons?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your comments:

I am a computer engineer and tend to have to deal with absolute facts. I went through the "formalities" of going to church, feeling it was a little abstract for me, and not really knowing what to believe. Then I encountered the Holy Spirit, and I resisted to test that what I was experiencing was not contrived. It was a very physical experience following the laying on of hands by the clergy, and I am now have no doubt that the Holy Spirit exists, and has power beyond human understanding. Technology and Religion can co-exist. Look at the Astronauts. Many of them felt that their religious beliefs had been extended as a result of their space exploration.
Phil W, UK

I do not believe in anything supernatural - not God, not angels, not afterlife, not ESP, auras or energy fields - nothing. I believe in Life, and I feel immense relief as an atheist, because previously I was depending on something that was not consistent or reliable, and concluded in time that it wasn't there at all. Now there is no conflict - no disappointment. I know that it is in my hands and those around me - i.e. humanity. And it's great!
John Manuel, Oshawa, ON, Canada

People will always argue the case for religion, but anyone who's given it any thought will realise that religion belongs in the past. The only religion worth taking seriously is science.
Trystan Morris-Davies, Aberystwyth, Wales

I worship the Buddha within. Meditation is the only real religion. The rest, in my view, is basically, nonsense...
Techno Tony, Chicago, US

It gives me great values, guidance and a sense of holy existence
Ahmed Said, St. Cloud, MN, USA
I believe in God and I will keep believing in God for the rest of my life. It has become a way of life to me. It gives me great values, guidance and a sense of holy existence. Mmm.. I love it!
Ahmed Said, St. Cloud, MN, USA

I believe that there is a God. It would be too fantastic to believe that this incredible universe (or the simplest living thing for that matter) just happened on its own. As for whether religions cause conflict? If as atheists say, religions are invented by people and cause wars, conflict etc., what makes us think that the any "non-God" belief systems we might invent are going to be any better? The track record is not too hopeful when we consider the death toll from Nazism and Communism and think of a world where there are no constraints on our desires and actions other than our own will or sense of ethics. Even if religion is a primitive invention, what makes us think we need such an invention less now?
John, USA

I think that many who, like me, believe in a Supreme being do not believe the Doctrine of the established religions, probably because much of it is provably invented. It is not possible to prove or disprove the existence of God but certainly both Christianity and Islam, which began as benign religions where God was merciful and beneficent seem to have changed out of all recognition into hierarchical power structures which do not seem to hold any kind of moral high ground and it is not belief in God that causes strife but the authoritarian teachings of religious leaders.
Keith, Rayleigh, England

I have learned that for some, God is a necessity
Travis, Grande Prairie, Canada

I have learned that for some, God is a necessity. I refuse to align myself with any particular denomination of Religion. I believe that Humans should strive to treat each other as they wish to be treated themselves. Don't kill, Don't steal, try not to lie - these are the simple human natural laws that individuals should strive for. If God as any religion states exists, then he will forgive me for not picking the proper denomination and worshipping him so long as I strive for moral decency.
Travis, Grande Prairie, Canada

Whenever I look around I see God's glory & whenever I look at myself, I thank GOD for all the gifts he gave me. God has created human beings because he loves them. He gave man life & a free will to choose either the right path or the wrong one. May all the world live in peace.
Mishmish, Cairo, Egypt

It seems to bring out the nastiness in people, and allows people to justify violence
Marie Ibbotson, Lethbridge, Canada

I do believe in God - but religion scares me. It seems to bring out the nastiness in people, and allows people to justify violence. As far as I am concerned we are all worshipping the same higher power, some of us are just too ignorant to realize it.
Marie Ibbotson, Lethbridge, Canada

I am not a religious man, I do not believe in a single being called God. I believe that what people define is God is in face love, life, and all things around us. We cannot reach God or be separated from God because he/she/it is all things, including us. It is this moment right here, right now that is the heaven, hell or purgatory that people describe.
Richard, UK

Carl Marx was right - religion is the opium of the masses
Elspeth Dowell, Montreal

I am a Humanist. Religion divides people and causes conflict. Carl Marx was right - religion is the opium of the masses - religion was designed by the wealthy and powerful to keep the poor people obedient.
Elspeth Dowell, Montreal, Canada

I'm not a religious person. I cannot even say I am very spiritual. The state of so many organized religions has deviated and evolved from its core beliefs. Greed, politics, control, supremacy have infiltrated into what I still feel is nothing greater than clever financial institution where people invest for the sense of security and well-being.
Bhav, San Antonio, TX, USA

I believe there is only one God. He never had a son. Instead Jesus was one of his prophets like Abraham, Moses, and Mohammad. Each one of these prophets received a holy message from God to teach the people about the creator and how to treat each other well.
Sarah Allen, NY, USA

I am a catholic married to a Muslim. We don't openly practise either religion (apart from the odd mass on my part). We both love our individual cultures and in some way God has join both together in a way only he can. It's not about what you show it is about what's in your heart.
Claire-Louise Farha, Reading, Berkshire

Religion should have been a unity concept among humans
Jorge Dickerman, Tegucigalpa

Religion should have been a unity concept among humans. Men have destroyed the real concept of God and religion and have made it a barrier among peoples and an instrument of hate and oppression. God is love, when we humans follow his path to love and see all human beings as our brothers no matter what they believe, then this world will be the image of God, that is peace and understanding.
Jorge Dickerman, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

As a Christian, I believe that God does indeed exist. I also believe that we as Christians are to have faith in him and the efficacy of his teachings and actions on our behalf.
Harry Locke, Columbus, USA

Keep life simple. Worship people, and try not to harm any living thing...ever.
Paul, Bangkok, Thailand

I have no strong beliefs one way or the other
Sally, Spalding

I have no strong beliefs one way or the other. I do know though, that when I have had a crisis in my life, I found myself praying. No logic, just, perhaps an instinctive need.
Sally, Spalding

The need to eat, drink, and sleep always come before everything else.
Paul Soden, Rio de Janeiro

I do not worship a god. I find the idea of religion a bit scary - the religious people who do, do good (and I fear they are decreasing in numbers) only do so for their own supposed salvation. What would these people be like if this "goal" was taken from them? Treat people as you would wish to be treated - not for some supposed eternal reward.
Lee, Stevenage, England

The only thing that's important in life is to be a good person and have integrity
David, Poole, UK

I believe 'God' is self-delusion and the church is a mechanism to keep the weak-minded from thinking for themselves. If it helps people to believe in something greater than themselves, this is a good thing. Personally, I think the only thing that's important in life is to be a good person and have integrity, whether you do that through religion or by establishing your own values and rules to live by.
David, Poole, UK

I am an advocate for secular humanism which is a way for all to communicate on social issues without regard to religion or lack of religion. All that is needed is a commitment to reason and knowledge with the goal of advancing the human condition.
Ron Peterson, Madison, WI, USA

I think religion feeds on human insecurity and vulnerability. It abuses our need for answers. A sense of spirituality, however, is different, and is vitally important. I believe that spirituality is all about being AWAKE, being OPEN, being ALERT to ourselves, each other and the world, whilst being content knowing that we may never find the answers we are looking for. Call this a quest for Truth, or for God, perhaps; I like to call it a thirst for life. Religion has a part to play in this lifelong search, but only where it broadens one's view of the world - not where it narrows it.
Jez, Adelaide, Australia

I worship the idea that I have life at all; one rare and precious opportunity for each of us in human form, to make a positive difference in and for the world. Worship? No. I try to act in accordance with the nature and way of things because it is when we are ignorant of this, suffering happens. Worship self first; if you cannot be good to yourself, have self-respect and self-understanding then you cannot hope to understand anything outside of that.
Guy Sunderland, England

The belief I have in God is the most influential thing in my life
Narinderjit Singh, Walsall

I am a practising Sikh and the belief I have in God is the most influential thing in my life. My daily routine which includes having a full-time job, revolves around my aspirations of reaching God. My way of life and the guidelines set out by my religion determine the way I as a person, live my life.
Narinderjit Singh, Walsall, England

If people believe that religion is behind all war, what do they say about Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler? Why do atheist countries (Cuba, China etc) lack human rights? Atheism has given the twentieth century three things - World Wars 1 & 2 and communism.
Ben Searle, Bristol, UK

Personally I believe in the dynamic and potency of life. God is the product of our imagination. We created Him/Her. There was the time He was not. One day He will mutate or vanish. Church and organized religion is irrelevant in my life. Yet it was helpful at an early stage of my development until I was able to accept the finality of my existence.
Kasper Pawlikowski, Ottawa, Canada

God is a control program designed by very bright people to have superstitious people do what they want to do them to do.
Harold Brown, Albany, NY, USA

No one has commented on Satan, Hell, purgatory or Heaven. I believe in their existence and that Satan's greatest trick was to fool the world that he doesn't exist.
Gareth, UK

God's love is for today as well as for all eternity
Stuart Rankin, Livingston, Scotland

I believe that there is only one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That the ethos of God is love, the bible can only be properly understood if read with this in mind. We have two options in life, to be within the fold of God's love or to be outside in the cold lonely world. God's love is for today as well as for all eternity.
Stuart Rankin, Livingston, Scotland

I know exactly why I am a Christian. Bad things happen in the world because human beings are imperfect. Not God. Humans hate, discriminate, demoralize. Not God. I am not perfect, I never profess to be, but I do my best to help others see the good in the world and the goodness of God. He is Love.
Sarah, Castro Valley, USA

What amazes me is this need to "worship" someone. Even if a god existed would he/she/it require this constant grovelling? Get a grip, there is no god, no angels, no heaven or hell, there's only a multitude of fearful animals unworthy of the basic intelligence with which they were born. Hence the easy manner in which they're led to their own destruction at the hands of clever scam artists i.e. priests.
Tom C, California USA

I worship everything that is divine in us and around us
N. Ramanan, Plano, Texas, USA

I worship everything that is divine in us and around us. God in my opinion is not a single person. It is our own existence. All religions and faith lead to one thing. That is our ultimate merging with the eternal truth. Just as in other situations, there are people who misunderstand the basis for religions and faiths. All religions honour truth, sincerity, compassion and a feeling of wonder for what is around us.
N. Ramanan, Plano, Texas, USA

I worship the Christian religion - a better word would be LOVE. I cannot stand MOST politicians and SO-CALLED celebrities (especially the entertainment world where MONEY is the ONLY thing they think about - as well as themselves of course). Both are way-over paid and THINK they are the greatest!
Terence Gaffney, Sunderland, England

My wife is currently going through her first pregnancy - it's hard not to believe in God when you see the beautiful intricacy of child birth. I think the problem occurs when we try to define God to fit our beliefs or selfish needs. Belief in self is dangerous, belief in nature is a 'cop out'. Without belief in God the world would be a sad place - it tends to be people that believe in a greater purpose than self or nature that commit much of their time and money in helping people less fortunate than themselves.
Andrew, USA

Man needs to know his Creator, the reason for his being
Polly Neill, Ealing, London

Man needs to know his Creator, the reason for his being. We search to find our maker and when we find Him we also find our Saviour and Redeemer and eternal hope for the future. When we find Him we continue our search to know him more and to be known by Him.
Polly Neill, Ealing, London

I wholeheartedly believe in, and worship, God. But I am not a great fan of religion. As a Christian I believe that Jesus came to restore man's relationship with God. Life is about knowing God, worshipping our creator, and following his perfect plan for our lives. This is a dynamic path of discovery which can be only too easily cluttered with man-made, 'religious' paraphernalia. People today don't need 'religion': they simply need an encounter with Jesus. That will radically change any persons' life for the better. It certainly has mine!
Jonny Watts, Leicester, UK

Don't look for the existence of the God in an equation or in a logical assumption. You feel the existence of the God everywhere in the simplest things around you.
Yiannis, Athens, Greece

When people ask if I'm religious, I reply, "No, I'm a spiritualist"
C. Moses, USA

When people ask if I'm religious, I reply, "No, I'm a spiritualist" Celebrating the Force that creates and binds all life is different than going to a church or mosque invoking in a ceremony.
C. Moses, USA

Religion provides leverage for those who like to pick at things until they bleed and start fights. God is separate as he/she is apparently in all of us. Acts of God are simply acts of a group of people who share a belief, and are measured by the effect.
Max Richards, England

When someone loves you enough to die in your place, worship is a natural response. That is why I worship a God who went to a human death nailed to a cross so that we did not have to bear the guilt for the way we have treated our fellow human beings and the world that he created.
Chris, Bracknell, UK

The belief in god(s) is a hangover from primitive times. Through modern marketing strategies and negative psychology, religion once again rears its ugly head in politics and society, as it is used by conmen to steal good sense from the meek and weak-minded, and replace their senses with irrational fear and prejudice. Religion doesn't unite, it divides; and divided we fall - conquered by god-bothering power-brokers.
Petra, Hamilton, New Zealand

By nature's law, one needs to have faith in God or religion for the sense of humanity, security, safety, justice and discipline. Where is a society that doesn't need governing principles? For those who think faith in God or religion is unnecessary, I just want to ask them to remember how religions have contributed to human civilization and to imagine the darkness we would still be living otherwise or even chaos, violence and disorder that could occur if all humans were to lose faith in their respective religions today. As long as the true essence of religions, all of which basically teach good things, are not practised man will forever be lost.
Mandalay, Jakarta Indonesia

Religion ought to be a personal thing between an individual, and whosoever he worships so that one does not end up as an instrument in the hands of those who hide under the guise of religion to perpetuate evil. For me, its me and my God, no intermediary whatsoever.
Okupa Ehi, Benin City, Nigeria

There is a super power which conducts all the things in and out of us. We don't have any control on this. We have to just be in that flow. By whatever name one calls it, does not matter; I call it God. I respect to that God.
Sundaram, Bangalore India

I do have a major problem with organised religion
Matthew, UK

I have no doubts about the existence of God, but I do have a major problem with organised religion. Far too much harm has been caused in its name, and I'm firmly of the belief that the closer you get to any religion, the further away you move from God. I think worshipping God is actually very simple. All you need to do is follow the dictates of your heart and conscience, help those you can and do what you believe is right.
Matthew, UK

No matter how much the world changes around us, religion will always be relevant. I admire science and take an interest in it, but there must be a being that started everything. God's existence seems more logical than certain theories about matter. What created the matter that started the universe?
Adrian Howlett, Wrexham, UK

Organised religion is for the weak and timid. Why on earth people need to feel as though there's someone looking after them is beyond me. If only people could accept the fact that there isn't always a reason for a particular event, that some things may never be explained rationally and it is preposterously arrogant to assume that any one being has the monopoly on truth, maybe we could get rid once and for all of these all-pervasive and divisive cultural institutions.
Rustam Roy, England (ex-India)

I don't believe in God, I never have done and never will do.
Jayne, West Midlands

Christianity has great themes of reconciliation, peace and love at its heart so it's not the cause of wars. They are the result of man's sinfulness - greed, jealousy, self interest etc.
Tom Sterling, Chester le Street, County Durham

Religion has no basis other than a desperate need for security
James Shiell, Taupo

Religion offered an explanation when we knew less. We have outgrown it, and every day we learn more about the universe. Religion has no basis other than a desperate need for security, surety and a conviction than the human race is somehow 'special'.
James Shiell, Taupo, New Zealand

Religion is a farce. It is a carry-over from our less intuitive minds of the past. Now spirituality is a different story, it is something personal, a way of thinking that fits you. There is nothing wrong with spirituality and personal belief, but religion continues to divide us and create meaningless borders of hate. Take God away, and we are left with flesh and blood, maybe it is only there where we will find humanity's peace.
Timothy Dicks, Hillside, USA

I don't base my thoughts on the existence of God on the actions of mankind. The proof lies in the miracle of all and any life in and of the universe. Organized religion is the single greatest divider.
Susan, New York City, USA

Surely the whole idea of a creator god goes back to the days when we did not understand about mountains, rivers, seas, etc and thought everything was controlled by an unseen force. Through our development we know that this is not the case and I am sure in time the remainder of the natural world will be shown to be just that - Natural and not Supernatural!
Paul, Worthing

In the world today there is nothing like religion. You either worship God in truth and in spirit or you serve the devil and your flesh. There is something everyone has to know, true Christianity is not a religion, it is a culture, a way of life. A way of life evident in everything you do .From what you wear to how you talk.
Atsu, Accra, Ghana

I worship God through Jesus Christ seeing as my roots were in Christian Europe and brought here by my father. It is who I am and where I came from.
Dave Medich, Windsor, Canada

God exists as itself and he has nothing to do with religion, for, religion is an invention of humanity.
Stefano Brini, Helsinki, Finland

Interesting the confusion posters here are having between worship and belief. They're not the same thing. Belief in yourself is great, but self-worship? It's these kind of narcissists are so dangerous to be with.
Jessica, Bath, UK

Everybody is God of their own world. Just be careful who you worship, it makes some people crazy.
Mike, USA

If God created us it was for relationship, not ritual
Stuart, New Orleans
If God created us it was for relationship, not ritual. Step out in faith in Christ and you WILL see miracles in your life. You may doubt some teachings for a while but nothing can make you doubt the miracles you have experienced because YOU WERE THERE. This is the beginning of the only journey that gives reason to life. If you want to know why something was made you will get the most complete answer by simply asking the person who made it.
Stuart, New Orleans, USA

If I was a god, I would be disgusted with most of the religions that are set up in my name to "worship me". If there is a god, let us be judged by that god when we die. Richard Davie
Richard Davie, Scotland

I believe there may be a God. Just a shame there are no believable religions.
Richard , South Yorkshire

I have seen more evidence for existence of the Tooth Fairy than of God.
Nigel Rees, Milford, CT, USA

As one who was a young choir member, being a server in a country church, when young, and then in an Abbey, when much older, then a church warden, I think it is all rubbish. Sadly, because all my experiences were really full of happiness, awe and wonder I find it very difficult to face the reality of truth. When all the religions get together and decide the truth I shall be very interested in the results. Until then I marvel at the gullibility of simple man, or woman.
Mistie, UK

I should think God is wringing his hands in despair at the state of modern society. Greed, selfishness and sloth have pervaded his once beautiful planet. You only have to look at the wonder of nature to know that he is there, protecting us and providing for us. If we choose to be destructive then we only have ourselves to blame. Man starts wars. Man causes famine. Man attacks his neighbour. But Man can also be generous, intelligent, thoughtful and kind. Choose the latter. Choose the way God intended.
Maria, London

I do not believe there is a God as such in any religion. I do think there is an after life of some sort or another. I worship no one or anything but believe in treating the planet with humility.
T J Newman, Bournemouth England.

I just do not feel the need for any form of religion. We certainly have our day to day problems but somehow we get by.
Les Woods, Lincoln, Lincs

A lot of postings from the Brits on this page speak of not believing in anything. No wonder you all drink so much!
Paul Serwinski, New Britain, CT, USA

I belong to no religion, but my whole existence is about God
Marty, Milwaukee
For all those who wonder where God is, He is in the sunrise on a pleasant day, He is inside of the laughing children, He is in everyone of us when we commit a random act of kindness. For those of you looking for Him - He's inside of you! I belong to no religion, but my whole existence is about God. I believe that most religions have the basic tenets - it's just that man uses religion for their own political gain.
Marty, Milwaukee

I believe in God and am a practising Catholic. I remember the physics teacher at my Catholic school in England explaining why he, as a scientist, had a strong faith in God. He drew his beliefs from the world around him and the wonders of God's creation. One of the simplest reasons he said was to look at water. The only liquid that supports life is the only one that freezes from the top down thereby allowing that life to survive over the winter.
Jane, Brit in New Jersey

Allah is the centre of my worship, and I feel that even if I die for Him, it would be nothing in response to His blessings. It is not because I was born hearing all this, but this is because I have felt it all. I have felt, am feeling and shall keep on feeling the essence of believing in Allah. It simply is beyond the realm of words!!!!
Sumaira Sultan Minhas, Islamabad, Pakistan

The need to worship "something" is inhered within the human nature. It settles down the fears of the after-life. Whether God really exists or not is not the issue. The whole point we still have many answers that should be answered.
Salah, Cairo, Egypt

I worship God and I think it would be nice if we all spent a year practicing another religion. One year we attend Christian churches, another year we attend Jewish Synagogues, another year Muslim Mosques, another year Buddhist temples. I've heard that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God, so why not? Although I'm not quite sure how we know he's the same God.
John Petersen, Peekskill, NY, USA

How can anyone look up at the stars in the sky and the complicated life around us and not believe in God? Proof of the Lord thrives all around us if we're just willing to open our eyes.
Adam, Boston, USA

Just drive through the Aberglaslyn Pass in North Wales and tell me then that God doesn't exist!
Ed, UK

I worship the human race
Marc, Quebec

I worship the human race. I don't doubt the existence of God, but I do doubt the capacity of people abiding to religions to be able to cope with modernity. Clearly, as Samuel Huntington has demonstrated, the rift between secular and religious societies keeps growing. I, for one, believe that religions, particularly the three monotheistic religions, are non-compatible with modernity.
Marc, Quebec, Canada

If God exists, let's hope he's a Democrat!
Peter Wilson, Poland

Many question why God permits (or causes?) such widespread human suffering. The answer is simple. I know no one who presented it better than Kipling. "This was none of the Good Lord's pleasure. The spirit He breathed in Man is free. What comes after is measure for measure, not a God who afflicted thee." Yes, I believe in God. But how I wish people would accept responsibility for the results of their own conduct.
David Arnold, Stirling, Ontario

For me, there is only one God and that is nature itself. It is in turn, kind, cruel, lovely, ugly, creator, destroyer and unstoppable.
Leester, Stockton, UK

I believe in a Creator, however I do not believe in the need for worship.
Graham, UK

Three years ago I asked Jesus Christ into my life and my life completely changed. He is the focus of my love and worship. Worshiping money, fame, celebrities is empty and does not fill the gap that only God can fill - how can it when the purpose of our very existence is to worship and be in relationship with Him?
Julie, Hull, England

The only way to explain why bad things happen to good people is to understand that God is not all-powerful
Jon Jannicola, NYC

I believe there are positive and negative forces all over this universe. The concept of "God" to me is the belief that there is good in this world. The only way to explain why bad things happen to good people is to understand that God is not all-powerful. Unless we believe that benevolence can be a source of power and practice acts of kindness, it is very easy for the negative forces in this universe to govern.
Jon Jannicola, NYC, USA

Why vilify religion as a whole? No religion is responsible for its membership.
Elianna, Boston, US

If you define God as an old white guy in the sky wearing robes and a long white beard, I don't believe. If you believe that the universe is god, then I'm willing to consider the possibility. I guess I'd have to say I'm Buddhist. There is no God separate from you or me; we are all part of each other and everything. It's just a self-centred sense of duality that prevents us from realizing this.
Bennett, Los Angeles

My 'god' is science fact. Anything else is meaningless, pointless, false drivel created by people stuck in the 1st century unable to deal with the reality of humans.
Chris Davies, Chippenham, UK

Looking around me I see signs that re-enforces my belief in the existence of God. As a Muslim I believe that He is compassionate and merciful. It is really frightening to see people in the West moving deeper into materialism and loosing touch with the spiritual side. A lot of answers to our problems can be found there.
Abubakar, Dundee, Scotland

I used to be a devout Roman Catholic; I am now an atheist. I have never seen any proof that any "god" exists and refuse to accept the argument that it is "a matter of faith" because it is too easy to make such comments. If people can simply learn to live in peace and tolerance of each other then we will have a much happier world than the one we have now - segregated in many ways by religious difference and intolerance.
James McEnaney, Glasgow, Scotland

I believe that faith is interwoven into every aspect of life
Georgia, Cambridge

I believe that faith is interwoven into every aspect of life and cannot be separated from the aspects of daily life. Whether or not this faith is merely in another mortal, man needs something to believe in and to look to for inspiration and in turbulent times. For me it is intrinsic, instinctive and I know that I know God because without prompting when I despair the first thing I do is avert my eyes to him and pray.
Georgia, Cambridge, UK

Who do I worship? My wife (or at least the ground she walks on) Happy Valentines day Diane.
Ray, England

I see all religions as divisive and controlling. If you believe in yourself you have no need to hang your hopes on falsehoods and dreams.
Peter, Devon, UK

I am a student of life, a resident of earth and I value all people as important
I think any religion that teaches someone morals is good. However, I take issue with religions that promote intolerance of other religions. I do not consider myself as being of any one religion. I am a student of life, a resident of earth and I value all people as important.

I firmly believe in the existence of God, but religion is a different issue. I think throughout history, religion has done exactly the opposite of what it was supposed to do.
Sony Cheepala, Richmond, VA, USA

I stopped believing in any form of god at the same time as I stopped believing in Santa Claus. To me, any religion is nothing more than a security blanket for its followers.
Jon, Belper, UK

Belief in God was one of the givens of traditional society, yet since the displacement of God from the centre of our lives, we see a world stripped of meaning, devoid of sense and heading towards destruction. The evidence of this is all around us, not least within the deepest recesses of our own souls, where pain and unhappiness have now replaced the deep tranquillity which came from knowing who we were, where we were and what we were here for.
Riyaz, Lancashire, UK

There is far too much order for this to be simple chance
Roger, Wrexham, UK
Yes I believed in God. I am a Christian, but have no problem with any other faith that subscribes to the values of compassion, humility, and caring for your fellow human beings. My reasons are simple, the more I learn from science the more I am certain of a Supreme Being, there is far too much order for this to be simple chance.
Roger, Wrexham, UK

Seeing as in all the years of human history, no evidence for the existence of any higher being has been able to stand up to inspection, I see no reason to take any of it very seriously. I'll stick with what works, thanks: "Rock 'n' Roll is the only religion that will never let you down." - L. Kilminster.
Andy, the Netherlands

I worship my beautiful girlfriend, Charlotte.
Fraser, Brentwood

The problem is not with 'God'. The problem is that too many religious people are intolerant and motivated by hatred rather than love.
Richard Cotton, London, UK

Religion caused most of our wars
Attila, Ottawa, Canada
I believe in my own God. I do not follow any particular religion, since I don't want to be told how to believe in God. Religion caused most of our wars, because of that, I don't see the teaching of peace. It's a way of controlling the mind.
Attila, Ottawa, Canada

I have no religion and no God. I don't harm or preach to anyone and I help when I can. I've worked all my life. I know this life isn't a dress rehearsal so I live life to the full. I'm contented.
Roger, UK

There is no question in my mind that there is an entity out there that is much more powerful than I am. All one has to do is consider the phenomenon of childbirth, the seasons, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc to appreciate that. I think organised belief systems are the way in which humankind has worked to bring this force into something easier to understand, and in doing so somehow our spirituality has become confused under the heading of "religion".
M. Clark, UK/USA

I worship the human race. Why? Because the human race is God. We are god. We created God. We are that entity. We will attempt to spread ourselves and our beliefs as far and as wide as we can until our inevitable demise. Worshiping individuals, books and idols are only miniscule portions of God which is in actual fact the human race.
Bill Lucas, Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Canada

I would love to believe in God and the afterlife
Lou, West Midlands
I would love to believe in God and the afterlife. It would make me happier in my life and not fearful of the future. However I have never seen any evidence of God existing but I do see suffering and torment everyday of my life on TV in the in the world around me. If a god really exists then why is the world the way it is? Why is there famine, murder, rape and hatred all across the world.. If god does exist then what is all this. Is it punishment? I don't know what to believe. I have always thought there was more to life than this world but I guess only time will tell.
Lou, West Midlands

I am a Jain and find that many key concepts in Jainism influence my attitude towards the things around me (believing in non-violence, trying not to be wasteful, recycling, dealing with road rage! and so on), and particularly in terms of accepting situations. I accept that many people do not need religion to do this however at the some time religion for me provides a comfort that only people who have made a 'leap of faith' can appreciate.
S, London, UK

Money is my god, shame s/he doesn't answer my prayers.
Steven, London, UK

God exists! There is such a harmony in the universe that is absolutely crazy to think that these were randomly created. From planets to atoms everything has the same structure and dynamics, a nucleus and electrons or a sun (star) and planets. As far as why God is not doing anything for famine or floods, the answer is very simply: Who is responsible for all this suffering? We are! Is God responsible for Bush when he rejected the Kyoto treaty? If a flood kills thousands in South America due to global warming, is it God's fault? No, we are the ones to blame. Hence we should first criticise ourselves and then God.
Damian, UK

We're all our own gods
Patrick V. Staton, Guildford, UK
We're all our own gods. Within each of us exists the capacity to take control of our lives and our surroundings. For what we achieve we can take credit and for what we mess up we alone must take responsibility. Blaming life, others about us or just simply destiny is the coward's way out.
Patrick V. Staton, Guildford, UK

Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddists, any and all the world's religions. We are all striving for the same thing. Some sort of eternal salvation. The only problem is that we, all of us humans, are too ignorant and too limited in our intellect to realize that we are all attempting to reach the same goal. Perhaps God, Allah, Yahweh, or whatever the 'supreme entity' is called is looking down on us in awe wondering how we can figure out the most delicate scientific methods of life, but we can't figure out that he/she loves us all the same. How sad that we kill one another over our ignorance... how sad.
Brian O'Hare, New York, New York

I worship George Clooney. He is the one true God.
ALJ, Manchester, England

Part of a belief in God requires us to have faith. God allows us to choose to accept him or not. If He made it absolutely evident that He exists, there would be no need for faith and there would certainly be no choice in the matter. As it is now, we can choose to accept him or choose not to accept him and go it alone, so to speak. Personally, I prefer to have God on my side when facing the evils of the world.
Beth, Bristow, VA USA

They can't all be right yet each of them claims to be the only correct one
Hugh Hill, Ayr Ayrshire
Is this going to be another 'holy Joe' programme or a genuine look at all religions. They can't all be right yet each of them claims to be the only correct one. Does it never occur to these people that all religions are wrong? There is no question that the main religions are power systems - the worst example today being Islam. Can we please have a programme that looks at the lunacy of Islam's modern day practices in Islamic countries? Beheadings; limb amputations; stonings; honour killings; repression of women etc. etc. etc. And how about the catholic church's belief in 'transubstantiation'? How daft can people be in this day and age? When can we hope to get a genuine programme that investigates these completely irrational beliefs that are rooted in the dark ages? Some day soon, I hope.
Hugh Hill, Ayr Ayrshire

In the year 2004 it is time that the world accepted that there is no such thing as God. What is the point in gaining knowledge if we not apply it in practice. At no time in the Earth's history has mankind had so much knowledge about how the world formed and our physical place in the universe as we have today. Unlike our pre-historic ancestors we now have the evidence to show that the world was not made by God. Our exploration of the Universe has revealed no evidence of a heavenly after-life in the cosmos. Yet despite all our advances in knowledge over the past 100 years we still live in a world of war and conflict almost exclusively due to the differences in religious beliefs. It is time for the world's population to come together as one and recognise that we have to live and get on with each other. It's all we have.
Kevin C, Aberdeen, Scotland

Our minds are constantly on the move as our thoughts flip and change according to desires and emotions. Everything we know is cognised by our mind even the concept of god. As a religious person I believe there is One Source from where all proceed. You, me, religions, world systems, minerals, vegetation, animals and all the laws known and unknown, seen and unseen have that single origin. Some may choose to call that unnameable absolute source God. Reference where the bible was unable to use a name and instead reads 'I Am That I Am'.
Michael, Tel Aviv

I don't believe that money, fame and celebrity are 'new gods.' They are old idols
Christopher Eyte, Worthing, Sussex
Belief in God is central to my life. I don't believe that money, fame and celebrity are 'new gods.' They are old idols. There was one night in particular that I remember saying to Jesus Christ,' I want to know you are alive.' And then a comforting breath flowed over me and I was knocked down onto the floor with an amazing feeling of warmth going around my body, particularly my throat. My relationship with God is a bigger story than that, but that night will always stay with me. Modern man needs to believe in God because He is the living embodiment of what is good about life. Without Him, the choice is naturally those things which are anti-God, which will hurt us eventually.
Christopher Eyte, Worthing, Sussex

All religions point to some truth beyond themselves. It's like pointing with your finger at the moon. The problem is that too many people are obsessed with the finger itself and never see the moon it points at. The truth is not in any religion. It's somewhere else. I think we'd all be better off to just stop talking about god and to quietly open ourselves to the world and people around us.
Tom, Canadian in Cholula, Mexico

Having a belief in God can save your life. Survivors of extended catastrophes such as Auschwitz or shipwrecks will testify that those without spiritual beliefs were more likely to succumb to despair at their hopeless situation and give up on life. The irrational belief in a God that reason tells me cannot exist nevertheless gives victims strength and resourcefulness to survive. It seems very likely that our spirituality is an evolved trait which aids both in survival and in making oneself attractive to a mate.
Marc Brett, Richmond, UK

Many of the attacks I made on religion as an atheist were based on a misunderstanding
L. Brown, London
After many years as a fierce atheist, I converted to Catholicism three years ago at age 26. I can't explain exactly how or why I realised there was a God; I only remember resisting the idea for several months, and being overwhelmed by love when I finally gave in. I can now see that many of the attacks I made on religion as an atheist were based on a misunderstanding of the nature of faith. It isn't about a passive belief in 'pie-in-the-sky,' but about being part of a living relationship. I would say that my faith is the most important influence in my life, and I try to follow the example of Christians like St Francis and Dorothy Day in working for justice and peace. I'm also studying for a degree in theology and biblical exegesis. I think believers should be as well educated as possible about their religion so that they don't fall into the traps of fundamentalism, superstition and bigotry.
L. Brown, London

Surely there is no point in worshipping God unless he wants to be worshipped? And if God is so insecure that he needs to be worshipped surely he isn't as omnipotent as he is cracked up to be? In which case you're wasting your time.
Ralph, London

I am a Muslim. However I truly believe that religion doesn't cause conflict, instead it is the people who misunderstand it that cause it. Most religions embrace unity, love and teach to treat others equally. I also strongly believe that Allah (God) is always around, however he left the living and surviving part to us, because of that we keep blaming everything onto him instead of blaming ourselves. People disbelieve this because they feel confused and I don't blame them only because the World is confusing.
Momade Faizal, London UK

Modern man must find ways to return to the belief in the Divine. We have clearly lost our way and are in great danger of losing it altogether. It is easily said that money and fame bring happiness but since time waits for no one, the happiness gained by accumulating wealth mostly coexists with the fear of losing it. We are natural beings who exist because of natural laws in a natural world and nature has its origin in the Divine.
Michael, Israel

I believe in God, and I suspect most people do too
Mike Daly, Hackettstown, NJ - USA
I believe in God, and I suspect most people do too. We are all influenced by God and/or religion. Society's laws are based upon religious ideals. I think religion is a good thing. However it is exploited by people all the time. From preachers looking for donations on the TV to fundamentalists flying planes into buildings. Just as God/religion has existed since man, so has greed, want of power and selfishness at the same time.
Mike Daly, Hackettstown, NJ - USA

As a Christian I certainly worship God - and not just some generic god who happily fits into whatever scheme of things you choose. I specifically worship Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Father of Jesus Christ. We have an inbuilt need to worship and everyone worships something - even if they won't always acknowledge it. And of course belief in God is the most important influence in my life - if anything else were the most important influence, that thing would have taken His place as the object of my worship. Sadly, Western society has moved most towards a worship of humanity itself - OUR rights, OUR understanding, what WE can achieve. It has fallen hook, line and sinker for the oldest lie in the book - 'you will become just like God' - and we all know who said that.
Andrew, Lancaster, UK

I was brought up a Christian, was an ardent atheist for several years for the usual reasons: a) if God exists why is there so much suffering? and b) religion and modern science are incompatible, and for the last 10 years I've been a committed Muslim. I have found that Islam offers a much better, more useful and more complete view of life, but western prejudice against Islam is so great, and runs so deep, that it's virtually impossible for most westerners to give Islam a fair hearing.
Julian, Brighton, UK

Belief in invisible gods ruins the world
Andrew M, Walsall, UK
Belief in invisible gods ruins the world. It really is rubbish, I saw through it all at a very early age. I'm a well-balanced and caring individual now.
Andrew M, Walsall, UK

I believe in love. As Elton John said, 'it's the only God.' If we all loved one another, there would be no wars in the world, and then we would all go on to heaven or the next world when we died.
Kevin Calhoun, Glasgow

It is just so hard to believe in any one religion. There are so many relevant ones. I am borderline atheist / belief that there is a God and that is all. Organized religion has probably caused more harm than done good in this world. How many wars have been fought and how many people have died because of religion???
Greg, Akron, OH, USA

Faith in God is a personal issue
Elizabeth, Pittsburgh, PA USA

Faith in God is a personal issue. One's personal beliefs should be kept private and should not be forced on others. I am a Christian who believes that actions speak louder than any words ever could. I am highly suspicious of people who feel the need to put on outward displays of their faith by shouting about how their religion is superior or by wearing certain clothing. I do not believe God cares about such things. God cares about how we treat our fellow human beings and our commitment to following His will.
Elizabeth, Pittsburgh, PA USA

Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world. The world is full of violence and anger, while Jesus was not. That is why I continue always to love him immensely, and hopefully for all time.
P. Farreras, Trinidad

When asked what he believed in, King George V reportedly replied: "God, The British Empire and the Royal Navy". Put me down for the last two, thanks very much.
Peter C. Kohler, Washington DC USA

"God" is an unnecessary assumption
Robert, Zürich, Switzerland

I am a convinced atheist. "God" is an unnecessary assumption - it explains nothing. It is a vague, imprecise concept that people manipulate to suit their own prejudice. The sooner the notion is consigned to the dustbin of history the better.
Robert, Zürich, Switzerland

I am confused. When a man can renounce money, fame and celebrity, and walk along the hard path of principled life, does not he have the so-believed Godly qualities? Where is the need for 'man' to believe in God? Rituals, sacrifices, prayers, mantras all are sham. They serve no purpose.
Balaji, Chennai, India

I worship God in the 3 persons of Father, Christ and Holy Spirit. I see no evidence in the world to suggest that God does not exist, and plenty to suggest that he does. The problem with religion is that it is a human endeavour, and is therefore imperfect. That is to be expected, but is not an excuse to stop seeking and responding to God. In fact, the disaster that we make of religion is just what Jesus Christ expected of us. He will forgive us for getting it wrong in His name, but not for ignoring Him altogether.
Dave Brown, London, England

I worship myself
Nami Umali, Montreal, Canada

I worship myself. I believe in what I do and I'm a nice guy - so why believe in something or someone that doesn't exist.
Nami Umali, Montreal, Canada

I believe in God, and am an active Christian. However, I am dismayed at how often politics and religion are intertwined, and I resent that the so-called "Christian right" claims to represent the beliefs of Christians. They most certainly do not (or at least not this one)!
Jessica, Chicago, Il

I worship myself. When you're this good, it's hard not to.
Matt, USA

I do not believe that we are made in God's image
Liz, Cardiff

I do not believe that we are made in God's image. My god is the power of nature and anything that can't be explained (and doesn't really need to be). Religion to me is separate to this, different religions should be seen as 'one' way to live rather than 'the' way to live.
Liz, Cardiff

With all the wars and hatred that go on around this beautiful planet, it's hard to believe in a God but, I do have faith. However, as someone once said: there's a 50-50 chance that when you die, you either enter a new world, or the lights are out forever.
Sue Hudson, London, UK

I only believe in myself!
Franziska, UK

I do not worship a God. But if I had to make a choice between worshipping God or money, fame and celebrity, then God would win. Whilst fame and celebrity entertain us, and money means power, they do nothing to improve the way we treat each other. Religion is supposed to do this, but like many things, it is often warped in its interpretation.
JS, Norwich, UK

I think Erica Jong was spot on when she said: "There's no such thing as an atheist on a turbulent aircraft".
Louise, London, UK

There's an ever-growing divide between believing in God and following a religion
Alex, Edinburgh

After seeing a number of debates on sexuality, pro-life and genetics, I think there's an ever-growing divide between believing in God and following a religion. For example, evolution doesn't mean God doesn't exist; it may just be God's way of creation. Many religious doctrines have their origins in a period when we didn't understand as much of the world around us as we do today (still not a great deal). Deep down, I think many people still feel there's something to belief but they're often put off by religion.
Alex, Edinburgh

I think the idea of God is nice, but I've seen no evidence for it in my lifetime. So I'm not a believer. If everyone followed the same religion the world would be peaceful, but so many different religions with opposing views has created much conflict.
Stuart W, UK

What the world thinks of God. What God? With all today's suffering with famines and illnesses and global terror groups. I think religion only creates conflict. If there is a God watching over the world he's sure not doing a good job.
Alan, Manchester, UK

I'm a Buddhist. I was brought up a Christian but never really believed it and found myself feeling constantly guilty - which is not a healthy way to live. I love Buddhism - it is such a peaceful and relaxing way of life, without any pressure or guilt, and I find that by following its teachings I have become a better person and can handle tough situations in a much calmer manner than I could have done before.
Chloe, Halifax

Who or what is most influential in your life?
Your partner / family
Tolerance / Compassion
16101 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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