By its very nature, religion is of course deeply personal. I respect alternative ones, not only keeping an open mind to them, but also incorporating bits and pieces from several views into my own. While I'm obviously a deeply-spiritual woman, I've never thought of myself as exactly being religious. So, when it comes to my own personal religion, it's not really structured like a religion.
This religion-that's-not-a-religion doesn't commit to one above all others as its basis to be followed; it quite literally is open to every possible source. This is because I absolutely love the symbolism, message, and INTENT of most religions, with how their words are MEANT, all their metaphors and such, but they're akin to powerful literature: touching on the fundamental drives and struggles humanity faces, with the near-universal belief in something greater than ourselves.
As a consequence, I can't follow them completely, not in their entirety with all their rituals, with all their literal words, with all their structures. No, mine is more loose, open-ended, and embraces the option of being interpreted. So, I respect them and take from them the parts that are personally meaningful to me, and admire their composition as works of art which have masterful narration, in the same sense any good movie/book/game/etc. would.
A huge part of my personal religion, my meism, is my belief based on an uncertain dream: something we trust, hope, and WISH to be true, but can't prove. We simply hold faith in its existence, wanting it to so badly be real. And, by that system, the mind may actually make it real. The power of belief is an actual POWER. That belief doesn't have to be divine in nature; mine isn't, not in the strictest sense anyway. But actually holding belief in something can in turn make that something.
And for me, God is tied to this, that power of belief itself. I believe in a higher power, yet He is not necessarily the creator of all, so much as He is...everything we could possibly create. (I use He, because that is the term the majority of the human population uses to refer to God with a capital G. Even a lot of atheists when addressing the subject of God will say, "I don't believe in Him", so that's why I use He, even though, strictly speaking, God is genderless at the base level.)
You can devote your life to studying religion, be it in general or to a specific one, and never thoroughly have analyzed it in its entirety. But one thing I think is almost universal in religion is...hope. People always hold hope. They want something more. They want something to happen. They pray for their life to go in a particular direction, even if they don't necessarily know what direction that is. And while hopes getting crushed are devastating, hope is an awfully big thing. It's the best of the world and the worst of the world in one package.
There's always the chance of things going the way desired. There's always the chance of them going better than desired. There's also the reality, but not inevitability, that they will not do as well as desired. Every action can fail...but most actions can also succeed, making them worth trying, and attitude makes the difference as well. The power of perception comes in, so Yoda's lesson is actually valid: there is "do" or "do not". If you set out to do something, you will either do it, or not do it. If you have in mind you will not do it, you won't do it; if you have in mind you will do it, no guarantee you will but it's the only chance you have that it will be done.
So, it's always worth the attempt, it's always worth it to say "this is something I will do". Because belief, perception, observation, all come into play here, and tie to the tree. All of this hope, all of these dreams, are part of our growing multiverse. Everything we conceptualize, whether we do it or not, can become true, in some form or another. So, I believe that God, that tree, that choice, must always be around even when we haven't been. The tree started somewhere, and it pretty much requires a higher power to get us to where we are now. That higher power may be influenced by us. That higher power might be the collective us. That higher power might be something true to one person and not true to another, but in the grander scheme of the multiverse, we have an intimate bond with this greater power.
I think it's a requirement for the universe as we know it to have a higher power create us, because guiding the infinite possibilities such as they are to create us is something that just makes sense. Humanity has been struggling since the dawn of our existence to try and figure out how we came to be. Scientists these days have a fairly good idea of the chain of events, but even then, there are gaps. There are things we don't know about, there are things we cannot fathom how they happened, great mysteries of the universe unsolved. Our knowledge of how our universe works is imperfect; our knowledge of how we came to be is imperfect. And where the religion of science fails...I fill faith in. Because when you think about it...the odds of the universe turning out as it did...our galaxy as it is...our solar system forming the way we know it...our planet turning out as it is, supporting life as we know it...life SOMEHOW forming from a lack of life...evolution...us going from beast to human...us continuing to exist despite endless disasters which could have wiped us out...
There are infinite universes, sure. So the number of universes where any one of these things went differently and we don't exist is, again, going to be infinite. But it again comes to both the numbers, and the tree. The multiverse is infinite, yet here we are in existence when by all rights we shouldn't be. Our very existence is as if the universe as it was had numbers between 1 and 2, then suddenly decided to spontaneously jump to and create 3. Improbability exists on a cosmic level; we literally could not exist if the most probable actions were applied over the grand course of history. It took freak occurrence after freak occurrence after freak occurrence to orchestrate our lives. Something existing to make us that way just makes a lot of sense, with a tree that is actively nourishing, cultivating, certain things.
In short: be it our own observations or something grander, the sheer impossibility of us existing yet our very undeniable existence shows that some faith is necessary to have us be. I don't think we're the highest form of life possible. (That would be arrogance, not to mention, depressing: as bad as a world where God allows such terrible things to happen may be, a world without Him is much, MUCH worse.) Our ability to observe things can make them real, yes, but this ability is not something inherently ours. It's everything. All life has it. All life has that ability, and it originates from somewhere else. This somewhere else is directly tied to the tree in my beliefs. There's so much good in the world that people take for granted. There's so much in the world which if we actually focused on, would be worth believing in.
And I guess this is why I both believe we are gods, yet aren't gods. We live in a mortal realm. We die. We are frail, fragile things that break easily, both physically and mentally. Yet at the same time...well, at one time, I thought it was just our ability to create worlds. All artists, all writers, do this. In the physical world, we might just be humans, but in our mental domain, we control everything, dictating what ultimately happens. We see the characters, we create people, and to them, we are god, influencing them, subtly directing them with our plot. The characters we make may have the power of choice, one which is theirs and theirs alone, their own fate to select, but we already know which one they WILL choose, their final destiny.
Yet now...I think it's not just in stories this happens. Not unless you take the viewpoint we ARE in a story (or a game if you prefer). Because it happens in our daily lives. We might lack the ultimate knowledge of what will, 100%, for sure, absolutely happen...but that's because the tree we are on is infinite, ever-expanding. And even then, we have a fairly good idea how our own personal tree will end, because WE are the ones observing it. WE are the ones seeing it, living it, believing in it. The fundamentals are things we can't suddenly go, "oh, I don't believe in gravity, so now I can fly". It works on a more deep, fundamental, primal level than that. The rules of the multiverse are flexible, but still follow a general pattern, one which is what we observe, and what we can do is help to create the exact direction things go.
So in short...our free will, our ability to choose, to observe, is what makes our world, yet at the same time, is something which is not entirely ours. The expanding branches continue no matter what. Ergo, there's a higher power. We're part of it. We have a symbiotic relationship with it. Maybe on SOME level we are it, but in our entirety we are not its entirety. The future we want is the future we can get, if we control our narrative, if we control our universe, well enough.
This "always is, always isn't, but choose the is anyway" faith is where the majority of my belief comes in. God can be considered our collective hopes and dreams, our collective power of choice, our ability to see and choose the branches, with a slight benevolence leaning towards generally more kinder outcomes, while not breaking the multiverse. Our collective will can guide things as we set them, doing things as we wish. He, It, is a concept, one we are a part of, intangible yet able to answer prayers.
I more or less covered quite a bit of this in my December 2014 blog post (wasn't too terribly hard to track down; look to the sixteenth), but this is an updated, more in-depth version. It might seem contradictory to you. (Hey, it's religion! You can expect nothing less!) But at least to me, there's the internal consistency, of the dual nature within our world, how we cannot have life without death, good without evil, creation without destruction. All are diverging paths on the tree. The choice to do one thing and commit to one branch is severing your ties ("killing") a separate branch. It still will exist, in some other universe, because of the infinite multiverse, but you have chosen to deliberately distance yourself from it, thereby making the gap between you and it all the wider.
So, yeah. My meism, my personal religion, is ridiculously complicated and philosophical, but I like to think I have some good ideas in here. Perhaps not perfect, perhaps flawed, but having an interesting foundation all the same.
I hope you enjoyed.