Religion never satisfied me, and often infuriated me. Though I was raised to be a Jew, I thought of myself first and foremost as a human being and never viewed myself as wiser, luckier, or happier because my parents were Jewish or I adhered to the accepted truths of their religious tradition. To my mind, I would be progressing intellectually and spiritually only by understanding what was universally right and natural in life, why these things were right and natural, and how to live accordingly.
After years of attending Hebrew school, I rebelled against the dogma I had been taught there. In college I focused instead on subjects requiring the use of logic that appealed to my scientific mind-physics, mathematics, engineering. However, I eventually found that while the material sciences could answer some questions concerning how the world worked, they could not explain why, nor could they offer spiritual direction or prescribe an ethical way to live.
Searching further, I investigated mystical techniques. I began practicing concentration exercises, breath regulation, and more sophisticated methods of pranayama (sense introversion), eventually entering a monastic order. There, I implemented an inner science to address the concerns unresolved by my earlier scientific studies. While practicing pranayama over the next decade, I came to realize God as a spiritually expansive substance extending throughout the cosmos-a much more universal presence than that proposed by many organized religions. God, I found, was everything, and being godlike meant identifying with, and not merely tolerating, more and more people. Understanding that the idea of God signified absolute unity, I concluded that anyone advocating unquestioning loyalty to a restrictive group such as a faith, ethnicity, or nation was in fact promoting the fall of humanity by advancing its division.
Following these realizations, I knew I could play a part in introducing the expansive idea of God to people who had given up on God out of either disillusionment with organized religion or lack of spiritual direction. I knew, too, that before sharing my discoveries with others I had to learn more: I needed to comprehend why people cling to their religions; to assess various religions from a historical perspective; and to understand them in the contexts of psychology, sociology, physiology, mythology, cosmology, theology, and ontology. Consequently, in addition to earning my bachelor's and master's degrees in religion, philosophy, Hebrew, and Sanskrit, I spent six years studying the larger implications of organized religion's accepted truths.
In the process, I learned that religions were never intended to support the search for an expansive God and are actually antithetical to it. Probing further, I discovered that human beings aspired to know God long before religions were established, suggesting that the real worship of God could outlive the forms of worship currently in existence. Simultaneously, I found an unholy trinity of political, economic, and religious forces fostering and perpetuating massive greed, poverty, and ignorance. I then began to work with people seeking a more unifying understanding of God.
God Without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths was written to encourage a redefinition of the idea of God; to reveal how organized religion has been destructive to individual societies and humanity as a whole; and to inspire a more inclusive embrace of spirituality. This book questions the goals and divisive beliefs that religion espouses, religious interpretations of historical events, the perilous rift between scientific and spiritual inquiry, and the intellectual honesty of many New Age spiritual movements. It is aimed at the countless scientists, philosophers, academicians, and other professionals who, while signing off on institutionalized forms of worship, threw out the baby of God along with the bathwater of organized religion. It is also for Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Mormons, Jains, and Taoists who realize violence is provoked by ideologies that, in championing exclusivity, promote contentiousness and bigotry. Ultimately this book is for people who want to see an end to the destructive influence of organized religion and New Age movements alike, and who seek a more fulfilling understanding of God through approaches that place their awareness of God in their own hands, making them more self-reliant. It is my hope that by encouraging an inner search for God based on timeless techniques beneficial to spiritual freedom, this book contributes to a broadening of perspectives around the world, culminating in the eventual unification of humanity.