I know this is a touchy subject for some, but I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't post some of my thoughts on religion. This is my soapbox so feel free to disagree with me. Do not try and preach at me, however. You will be ignored.
Let me start out by saying that I started out my life in one of the Christian religions. To be precise, the LDS faith. I was weaned on the stories from the Book of Mormon. I was taught church history and how our view of the world was the "one true way". I grew up believing it. Then a defining event happened that made me realize just how corrupt the LDS church really was. I was excommunicated at 21 for having a girlfriend. I haven't looked back.
I've attended a few other purely Christian denominational services. I've come to realize that I do NOT believe in the Christian concept of god as based on the bible. Everyone is taught that god is a good and loving god, that he is merciful and kind. He's nothing of the sort. He's a vengeful, jealous, murderous bastard. Just read the bible and you see that.
I neither believe in heaven or hell in the common concept of those. I believe that our lives can be heaven or hell here on Earth, depending on how we live and what we do with those lives.There are things that are bad in this world, things I would class as purely evil, but people have that freedom of choice. We may not like the choices some people make. We're not required to. But everyone has free will and has the right to exercise that will. They just have to be ready to face the consequences of their actions. Their punishment will come at the hands of other people, not some faceless god.
Now, interestingly enough, I believe that Jesus existed. Not that he was the son of god, but that he was a wise and gentle teacher who taught such radical thinking that the high priests had to get rid of him before he screwed up their gig. I believe he was crucified for his beliefs. That was a common enough occurrence in those days. I don't believe he came back from the dead. I also believe his teachings stuck around and that's where we get the early vestiges of the Christian faith.
What do I believe in? Well, that's a good question.
I believe that a person's spirituality is largely a matter of personal study and experiences. I believe that everyone has a choice in their lives. I believe that everyone should be allowed to face the consequences of their choices. I believe that suffering in some way is inevitable, but how we deal with that pain is entirely up to us. We can let it destroy us or we can let it make us stronger. I believe that when we die we don't go to a predetermined place of rest. I believe our energy is recycled into this world and goes on in one form or another.