I remember back when I realized that religion at it’s core was total superstition. One must “believe” and take part in certain rituals to gain an unprovable spot in a glorious eternity with an unseen god. You have to act right, drink a sip of wine and eat a piece of bread that represents the blood and flesh of the savior. Be dunked in a body of water. And so it goes. Now I do appreciate that positive thinking can provide a means of training one’s brain to think of solutions to the challenges of life. The old cliche of the glass being half empty or half full has it’s merits in some very practical ways, but not in any supernatural way.
In some parts of this country snake handling is the ritual to prove one’s faith. Or walking on fire. To some maybe it is tithing. Giving that 10%. Could it investing in a church somehow bring success to one’s life? Or is it the good feeling that one maybe gets from their generosity that lifts their spirit so that they have a more positive outlook that really brings better things to them? Maybe praying is the ritual that one practices. Did the prayers make the headache go away or was it the Tylenol from the drug store that did the trick?
Back in my church going days I told myself that it made me feel good- even pure in some sense, to get dressed up and sing the songs, read the holy book, look to the heavens and feel close to this invisible being we called god, communing with that being. It was really a narcissistic. The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence; differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragileself-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth. That to me defined a good majority of the churched believers I had contact with. And in the mirror I could see that in myself, and simply did not like it. Maybe the feeling of being better was not inherent but it was derived from a belief, and that belief was based on superstition. Superstition that one had to believe in something, based solely on one book (from which come over 30,000 denominations) and emotion. “I know god is real because I FELT his presence” is often a phrase used. Oh yes you can have that feeling too!!! I have something that you dont and I feel sorry for you! Or the oft stated “I will pray for you!” As if their connection to this invisible source was so great that they could sway the thoughts of others through petitions to this source. Now that is hocus pocus. That comes out no different than the wiccan lighting incense or candles to somehow affect the outcome of something. And when the desired outcome is not achieved it is said that “it simply was not god’s will, or god’s time”. We just cannot know the will of god, or better yet the mystery of god.
Jim Jones led almost a hundred followers to their graves based on superstition. Psychologically damaged people are further injured and sometimes even killed based on superstition of a devil or demons. Advancements in medical science has been hindered for hundreds of years due to such superstitions. Yet the superstitions still hold sway over the lives of billions in the 21st century.
to be continued……….