Monday, August 29, 2016

About Religion. Well, What About it, Already?

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By Richard Kent Matthews

I think of myself as spiritual rather than religious. I also know some folks take issue with that. So be it.

I found this interesting 'comparison' between good religion and not so good religion in, of all places, a job search book.* The author refers to them as healthy religion and unhealthy religion. Potato, po-TAH-to, right?

(Note: Wherever you see these - [ ] - I, Richard, have added a bit of my own, shall we say, expression.)

Here we go...

Healthy religion

  • Is obsessed with gratitude
  • Focuses  on the presence of God in the world, sees holiness everywhere.
  • Sees all the world as 'us.'
  • Is closely related to mental health with its emphasis on repentance (metanoia), or 'Most of my ills are self-inflicted.'
  • Unconsciously exhibits humility.
  • Treasures the differences in others.
  • Has a high sense of 'all the saints' worshipping God together. 
  • Believes in learning from others.
  • Renounces manipulation of others and lets them have their own beliefs.
  • Wants God's forgiveness toward those who have harmed them or follow other gods; forgives readily.
  • Focuses on what one can give out of faith, anxious to give others benefits.
  • Faith is primarily a matter of actions; words are used only to interpret one's actions.

On the other hand...

Unhealthy religion

  • Is obsessed with guilt.
  • Focuses on the presence of evil in the world; sees contamination everywhere. [!]
  • Sees all the world as 'us vs. them.'
  • Is distantly[?] related to mental illness (paranoia) or "'Most of my ills stem from what others are doing 'out there.'"
  • Unconsciously exhibits arrogance.
  • Wants everyone to be like them. [Or else!]
  • Has a high sense of 'the individual alone with his/her God.'
  • Believes in confronting others.
  • Desires to manipulate others into accepting their every belief.
  • Wants God's vengeance toward those who have harmed them or follow other gods; often has low, long simmering anger masked beneath a smile.
  • Focuses on what one gets out of faith, anxious to get for themselves the benefits. [Prosperity gospel?]
  • Faith is primarily a matter of words used as texts or orthodoxy...
  • Doesn't even dream their faith may be unhealthy.

Did anything touch you or annoy you in a particular way? Any areas in which you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts. We'll discuss...

*Thanks to Richard Nelson Bolles in his magnificent book, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2017 Ed.

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