Faking Religion

At one time or another everyone who is true to their thoughts doubt religious beliefs. I found it surprising to see that even Mother Theresa doubted on a regular basis that God even existed.  The more I studied religious documents including the Bible the more doubt I had as to the beliefs of the variety of religion that I was then a member of.

2018-03-10_10-38-19…according to a recent study in the journal, Society and Mental Health, individuals who consider leaving a faith, but do not, tend to experience more depression than those who decide to leave…

There are good reasons to not underestimate the instability of doubt, says Lack.

“Doubt is often framed in religious communities as showing that you aren’t a ‘good’ Christian or that the devil is tempting you and you are too weak to resist,” Lack explains. “Given that, many people who have doubts either get shamed by their communities when they express doubt or feel shame at their ‘weakness.’”

Source: Does Faking Religion Lead to Depression?

I am just not a person who allows others to think for me.  If you say “Take it or leave it” I will most assuredly leave.  But, at the same time, I can relate to the quote above. For many if not most Christians, their church is also their country club. It is where most if not all of their social life happens.  In that regard, many are willing to just look past things that they really don’t believe in order to stay on good grounds with the club rules.

Ignore the “belief” stuff has a name in Catholicism, it is called “Cafeteria Catholic”.  For them, one of the toppers is birth control.  They say that the vast majority of Catholics in the US practice birth control and just ignore the edict from the church that it is a sin.  But Catholics are by no stretch of the imagination the only cafeteria Christians.

Most Christian churches have a creed that you have to swear allegiance to in order to be a member of that tribe. I’m sure the leaders of the churches take those pledges very seriously but I don’t think most of the member really even think about what they are pledging. To them, the allegiance ceremony is just the right of passage into the clubhouse and its social advantages.

But of course, there are others like me who know they are really not aligned with what they pledge but do it anyway. That fake belief does cause depression until it is finally voiced.  Although I had seriously considered it, I did not leave my church voluntarily. It was only after asking too many questions and voicing “forbidden” thoughts that I was stripped of membership by a very fundamentalist pastor. I would have left myself but I knew the damage it would do and did to my wife.

When I finally was able to come out of the closet with the fact that I had serious doubts about what some Christian beliefs, I felt the tension and depression with that false allegiance wither away.  I no longer had to hide things like being convinced that the earth is millions, or maybe billions, of years old instead of the 6,000 or so as my church demanded I believe.

4 thoughts on “Faking Religion

  • Very timely. I am going through a period of doubt at the moment, primarily about what the Bible really is and the radical difference between the God portrayed in the Old and New Testaments. I am reading about secular humanism, as well as working through my own feelings about the place of organized religion and spirituality in my life (I thing they are different animals). We will see where all this leads me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you know where I stand on this Bob, but each of us has to come to their own conclusion. For me, I am a follower of Jesus but don’t put much faith in the Old Testament being more than a flawed history book. Was Jesus the actual son of some higher deity? Maybe, maybe not, but that doesn’t matter a lot to me, I follow his words and commands. That is something that I have come to believe is pretty rare in today’s churches.

      Humanism I am learning got a bad rap from too my Christians, For the most part, some humanist just might follow the words of Jesus even more closely than many of their accusers. I am just getting started in my study so will probably learn more as that progresses.

      Yeah, to me religion and spirituality are very different animals.

      Good luck with your personal journey my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the reference Mary. It was very moving. The main difference I have is that I put the image of God strictly on man. I still believe that there was an omnipotent being that set the universe in motion in the beginning of time but I, like the reference article, don’t buy into much of the myths found in the Christian bible. I treat that document more as a history book containing stories, fables, and myth.

      Liked by 1 person

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