This a short guide for those interested in learning how to let religion sabotage your life. Deception is everywhere, and sadly the church is no exception. It really hurts me so to see so many people “playing church” and working so hard to feed their desire to be accepted by those they think represent God. I don’t know why we humans love works so much and why it is so hard for humans to trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is always grace PLUS something for many. Lord, have Mercy on your people!
The test of the validity of what you believe is not how well you can repeat the rhetoric you get from the pulpit Sunday after Sunday but whether or not it actually works for you when you need it. People who spend hours sending pictures of their beautiful buildings, praise teams, and filled stadiums on Facebook usually end up calling non-church friends and family when the going gets tough. Were they deceived? No, not anymore than they wanted to be.
The show must go on inside the four walls, but outside it is a totally different story. Here is a short list of some of the peculiar beliefs of those who love to sabotage their own lives with religion.
My friend Jim Palmer @ http://jimpalmerblog.com/ said it best. He called it “A Religious Guide to Sabotaging Your Life” and his notes became the seed for this post.
How to let Religion Sabotage Your Life
1. Begin with the premise that there is something hopelessly and incurably wrong with you.
2. Believe that your humanity is an affront to God, an obstacle to overcome, and an evil to repress or eradicate.
3. Pin your hopes on the afterlife, and don’t get too interested in the herelife.
4. Mistrust what you most deeply feel.
5. Give others the power and authority to determine what your beliefs, values, opinions, goals, desires, and views are.
6. Fear, reject, condemn, and close yourself off from anything that doesn’t fit with what you got from the above.
7. Focus on behavior modification, checklists, do’s and don’ts, obedience, and keeping the rules when it comes to living your life.
8. Give up or kill off all your needs and desires as a sign of spiritual maturity and call it “dying to self.”
9. Make sure everything and everyone in life is assigned a label or put into a box.
10. Label science, psychology, and art as “secular,” “carnal,” or “worldly,” and stay away from it.
11. Consider talk of love, unity, harmony, peace, beauty and oneness as childish, foolish, idealistic, or dangerous.
12. Draw a line between “sacred” and “secular” and divide up the world accordingly.
13. Divide humankind up into “us” and “them,” and stay away from “them” and judge “them” from a distance.
14. Lock up and throw away the key to your sexuality and get busy focusing on something that is holy.
15. Put forth a valiant effort to project and maintain an image that lines up with the expectations of your religious community, and hide the ways you don’t.
16. Don’t ask questions, rock the boat, challenge authority, think for yourself, or listen to that voice inside… just keep doing or believing even if it violates something deep inside of you.
– Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge
Being real, transparent, and sincere are not just buzz words they need to be the code by which we live our lives. The Bible has it right in Galatians 5. It is simply impossible to produce Godly results without a Spirit-filled life. Religion can never produce life. As an elder brother use to say to me “Only God can produce God.” Pay close attention to what you read here and run a self-scan on your heart. The truth is you fool only yourself if you allow such thinking to run your life. May these words draw you closer to Him.
More from Jim below;
5 things that may happen on your spiritual journey that you don’t need to feel guilty about:
1. You may discontinue your active involvement in a church or religious organization. This doesn’t necessarily have to be some sort of judgment or condemnation against the church or organization you were part of, but a choice you make because your involvement no longer relates to or supports where you are on the journey, or may be an obstacle and hindrance to it.
2. You may grow weary of incessant God talk. It’s possible there will be times when you grow sick of the constant theological discussion and debate, and the never-ending wheel of new and improved concepts, beliefs, understandings, teachings, etc. At some point it all might sound like, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…” You might fall dead to the need to be constantly figuring out things with your mind or in your head. One day you might wake up and say, “Okay, I’m done!” Don’t feel bad about this. It actually may be a very important milestone in your spiritual journey. In my view, theology is not even the best way by which God and spiritual truth is known. It may be that subject of “God” as a whole feels a bit overdone and boring, but this is only because you were taught to equate God with all that blah blah blah stuff.
3. You may find that the very people your religion judged and condemned are the people you find the most interesting and enjoyable. Once you come out from under the judgmental labels, views and stereotypes you learned through religion, you start realizing how much you truly like and enjoy the people you were taught to hate. This is a good and liberating aspect of shedding religion. For too long you were shut yourself off from a lot of beautiful and extraordinary people in this world to enjoy and learn from.
4. You may find and express a rebellious or defiant part of you that has been dormant. Don’t feel bad about this. Too often religion turns people into nice, complaint, repressed, timid, inhibited, mannerly, obedient, fearful, amiable, submissive people. By the way, I would not use any of these words to describe Jesus. Here’s the deal, you can be a loving, compassionate, respectful and kind person AND be a rebellious, defiant, passionate, disobedient, subversive, nonconformist, mischievous, self-willed, fully expressed, freethinker, heretic, and free spirit human being.
5. You may find less fulfillment in religious things, and more satisfaction in human things. It’s okay and good to be human, and to enjoy each moment of your human journey. Religion caused many people to create a false division between “sacred” things and “secular” things. There is no such line. All of life is sacred, spiritual, and divine. There’s no need to defend, theologize, or spiritualize your human experience. Just live it! That is enough. Life is made complete by you living each moment. There’s no need to maintain a running commentary about how God is part of it. God IS part of it. Life and God are inseparable. End of story. It’s okay to enjoy life, experience delight and pleasure, do the things you enjoy doing, and that breathe life into you, whatever those things may be.