If your religion helps you manage your addictions; if it creates a safer home environment for you and your loved ones; if it enables you to treat others with respect and worth; if it guides you into responsible life choices; if it enriches your inner self and leads you into a deeper understanding of the human condition; if it nurtures your sense of compassion and causes you to lift up the fallen and the hurting and the damaged and the left out; if it encourages you to embrace all people whatever their race, beliefs, social status, or sexual orientation; if it celebrates the earth and asks you to take care of it; if it ultimately provides you a healthier human spirit, then your religious beliefs and practices serve a useful purpose.
But if your religion gives you permission to hate or mistreat other people; if it makes you feel superior to all other religious beliefs; if it says you will always be better than those who don’t believe; if it promises you rewards at no cost to you at all; if it dismisses the suffering of this world and only points you to some paradise in eternity far removed from here; if it tells you a book however supposedly holy is more important than actual human beings; if it encourages you to judge and condemn others for behavior you disapprove of and know nothing about; if it is all absolutes and leaves no room for serious questioning; if it is only about having found the truth but is nothing about the search for truth; if it leaves you righteous but not loving, then your religious beliefs and practices serve no useful purpose whatsoever.
Psychologist and author, Marlene Winell, has said, “Religion is supposed to be good for you. Yet people get hurt in religious systems, sometimes seriously.”
That deserves some thought when considering the religion you have chosen to follow.
© 2014 Timothy Moody