“There have been many rebels who have chosen to defy their gods. Without this option, there can be no true devotion to a holy concept. For devotion is only valuable when a conscious decision is made to follow that course, even in acknowledgement of the difficulties ahead. Choosing to be a devout person is good. Choosing to defy the gods is also good, for it reaffirms the basic ability of human beings to make choices. We cannot support religions which say there are no choices.
Metaphysical totalitarianism of any kind stifles the freedom we have as human beings. It is not acceptable to have a religion where the alternative to faith is punishment––that is how you train dogs, not develop people. Spirituality is only great when it allows that utmost freedom to follow it. If we suffer from difficulties, that is not holy retribution, and we should not allow it to create debilitating questions.
If you endure a crisis in your life, it may well challenge your faith. Perhaps you will even respond bitterly to your gods and cry out: How could anything holy permit this atrocity to happen to me? But gods are not our parents or protectors. They are there only to inspire us to be better people. They symbolize the inherent choice of this existence, It is secondary whether we choose belief of defiance. What is precious is that we are always able to choose.”
~Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Daily Meditations