Let me just preface the following by admitting that my views here are probably wrong and possibly offensive to some folks out there. That and the fact that I am not sure what I really believe any more because of my perception of a world full of contradictions. Really, this article is simply a work through of issues for myself, and maybe you want to come along with me.
Today, the issue is the general requirements of the spiritual realm that the "Religions" of the world set against the realities of the real world and how the confusing messages from these religions serve only to mess with people's psychology, especially when they are indoctrinated from birth by them.
Being raised in the Southern Baptist religious part of Christianity I have a long list of issues that result from that. I remember when I was speaking with a therapist during our sessions when I mentioned that I was raised Southern Baptist she said..."Oh!". Not good oh, but bad oh. Evidently, the Southern Baptist dogma has a history among mental health professionals for many reasons which we did not go into. She simply mentioned that this information framed what I talked about in my sessions.
However, this article is not here to bash Southern Baptists at all. It is to examine the entire realm of religion and their effect on human sanity.
I have been attracted to Buddhism because it addresses mental illness directly, showing us that our thoughts are just thoughts, and not to be trusted but questioned. It is the religion of the here and now, accepting what is, and to respect all life forms as being sacred. But, like all other religions, it has mind sets that I believe are detrimental to the development of a full human being.
The idea that "the world" is a danger to our spiritual health just simply cannot be the truth because we live in the world. Asking people to be poor, celibate, and starve is simply not a good plan because it isn't reality. Having to shave your head, put on robes, bow down all day long, and just generally reject the world to find salvation can't be the way. The idea that you can kill in the name of God is the greatest religious folly of all, no matter what kind of killing it entails. I believe you have the right to defend yourself, and have no problem if that requires killing someone when they attack you, but this massive act of war is just senseless.
Even though I agree with many of the philosophies religions promote like forgiveness, letting go, loving your neighbor, not stealing from others and so on they attach so many other things to damn you with that it forces people underground and the result is that for most of a person's life they hide behind this curtain of shame out of civil conventions projected by religions.
Everyone's childhood is different. Everyone is a victim of their environment. So many messages are imbedded into our subconscious that I doubt that they can ever truly be changed. These hidden barriers can keep otherwise productive people from achieving the life they want for themselves.
We are taught a certain way growing up. Right is doing and living in a way that is in line with those teachings. Wrong is doing and living in a way that isn't in line with those teachings. Of course I realize a lot of what you learn growing up is actually "Right" and "Good" for you, much of it is simply narrow because it was delivered by amateur parents who haven't figured life out themselves. It is the blind leading the blind. They just pass down the same insanities they were raised with. This includes everything from religion to how to cook.
I love animals, because they live according to their nature. A cat is apologetic for nothing. When things aren't like they like it, they leave. No conscience. They are also not offended when you do the same. A dog is open. They show how happy they are to see you in highly expressive ways, while on the other hand they can show their teeth just as well. Two minutes later, they are fine.
One of the things I dislike most about being human is that we carry around the past and we project into the future. None of that has to do with the world, but has to do with the human insanity of trying to make things right for the past, for now, and for the future.
But the thing about religions is that they try to make you inhuman in ways that are not reasonable.
I guess I am just still kind of mad at the way I was brought up because I wasn't told the truth about many things and lived a lot of my life out of fear of these unknowns. Everything from healthy relationships, talking things out, learning about the world of finances, and the importance of making plans for your life. Living with purpose and having an open life of happiness because you aren't trying to hide from things that confuse you.
It seems silly to be talking about these things at the age of 60, but I feel that this same insanity is being passed on today as well.
I feel one reason why people believe conspiracy theories is out of the feeling that they know nothing really to begin with. They need to find someone responsible for withholding information from them all of their lives. They are mad because they don't know what is right or wrong so it is easy to convince them of anything because they will take any bait that they can find that makes them feel justified in their anger.
I just wished religions would stop with the lying and get real with people. I wished parents would 1. learn the truth, 2. seek the real truth, 3. have real conversations with their kids about life with the attitude of discovering it together and not from the top down.
Religions are all into punishment, guilt, being damned to hell forever, and shame when you do something wrong no matter if it is an honest mistake or an attempt to deceive and hurt others.
If there is a country on earth that has double standards it is the USA. So many confusing messages out there. Freedom is a lofty goal, but you have to ask yourself how far does freedom go? Much of the mental illness that exists in the USA is due to it's Puritanical Religious heritage.
What is the answer? I don't know.
To me, Buddhism is as close as you can get to being what spirituality is all about. They mess it up with telling you that you can't experience Nirvana when you have a lot of money, have too much to eat, or have sexual relations.
I guess I am still in fear of doing something wrong, offending someone, or taking advantage of others. Maybe that is good, but it keeps me from being bold and creating things that the world needs. It is as if everything I do is okay as long as I don't make money from it. I still suffer from that brainwashing of my youth and it kind of pisses me off.
A good friend told me that this was just an excuse not to take action. I'm not sure. After all, if someone wants what you have it is their decision to pay for it, not yours. Why not just give it to them for free?
Well, that is simple.
If everyone did everything for free nobody would earn any income and nobody would have anything nor would the things that are good for people would never get done.
At the end of the day, people are hungry for the truth, provable truth. People are tired of being lied to no matter where that comes from.
I don't know how this article helps. It probably doesn't. But the answer for each of us is to find answers for yourself. You can't really leave that to anyone else.