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Is Your Religion the Truth?

Posted By: Randy GageAugust 1, 2010

A while back we looked at the difference between a philosophy and a meme complex.  We know that a meme complex is a condition of mutually supporting memes (a/k/a mind viruses) that form a belief system.  

A philosophy is a system of values by which you live your life.  The key word in there is system.  More specifically, it is a system of thought, done by investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.

This requires a critical analysis of your fundamental assumptions or beliefs.  And of course, religion is one of the places where this critical analysis is least likely to take place.  Because religion is a meme complex.

Most people’s religious beliefs are formed during their early formative years, and they are completely incapable of discussing them rationally, or exercising critical thought in this area.

As soon as religion is even mentioned, their brain goes on hold, and their knee-jerk emotional programmed reaction kicks in.

Brilliant people, capable of great mental genius, are often reduced to broken-note automatons, parroting the phrases they learned when they were seven or eight.

Religion is one of the most emotional things people have.  And when emotion goes up, logic and rationale go out the door.  Religion is the perfect tool for mind manipulation.

Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and George Bush were mortal enemies, yet they all used the same types of religious imagery in their manipulative techniques to influence their respective followers.  And the followers of each of them were confident that they alone possessed the real truth.

Just as you probably believe your religion is the real truth.   But how did you come to that belief?

Your immediate knee-jerk reaction is probably to say you got them through critical thinking.  Odds are very good that you believe that, but actually didn’t.  Because religion is one of the most powerful and prevalent meme complexes on earth.  And like all memes, once you’re infected with them, even people who can’t study their beliefs rationally think they do.

So how can you protect against this?  Please share your insights. Then on the next post I’ll give you my ideas.

- RG

57 comments on “Is Your Religion the Truth?”

  1. My religion teaches that all religions are a combination of man and God. Man provides the falsity, God provides the truth. The reason for this is so people always can choose between good and evil. If they go to a religious organization (any one) and are looking to become a better person, they will find what they are looking for. If they go to a religious organization to be a hypocrite, they also will find what they are looking for. People are given choices. What happens depends on which choice they make.

  2. Randy,

    When I read this I realized that my parents took me to the church in the neighborhood, which was the methodist church. When I was 22 I became went to a Baptist Church where I became a born again christian

    3 years ago I joined the Unity Movement which teaches that God is the truth and that all religions temples, mosques have the right to exist. Unity believes that everyone is on there own journey and that we have to have the love and respect them for that.

    I know this is true because I see all kinds of people in our church. Black, White, Catholic, Jewish, Gay, Straight and I am told Republicans and Democrats. When I went to the Baptist Church I saw people of like minds, (KKK) and learned a few new racial jokes.

    I heard it put this way that when someone attends an BAC meeting they are prayed for to give up Judiaism, Catholicism etc. Our church is for people seeking the truth and we don't care if you still go to your temple mosque, catholic, baptist church.

    Thanks,
    Jim Story

  3. I actually believe that religion pushes you further from GOD, not closer. It makes you think you are always right and everyone else who doesn't think like you is irrational. Good post - I love it!

    1. 100% agree buddy. I'd rather worship God in my OWN way instead of trying to "follow" some other dude in a robe telling me his way is better than all of the other 8 thousand different ways to follow God.

      I've always thought it was pretty funny that there are literally hundreds of different religious groups - all 100% POSITIVE that their way is the best and only way to follow whatever God they believe in.

      Does that not make anybody else a bit curious/more open to other ideas?

        1. I agree too. The only problem I had was that I wasn't doing it. i didn't set aside time to spend with God. My mind was difficult for me. The other thing that I felt wasn't happening was that I wasn't in the "mastermind group".

          So I traded in the dude in a robe for a chick in a Christian Dior suit.
          Jim

      1. “I will go to Heaven of course, because I am a good person!” This is the answer I hear the most. This is about “TRUTH”, not opinion (yours or mine) or wishful thinking. There are 6 groups of people that won’t make it to heaven.

        As you will see, Christianity is supported by the only factual evidence as presented by God Himself. If you are non-believer and are willing to explore His truth, then you are open to His saving knowledge. On the other hand if you reject the truth because it does not fit into your lifestyle then the Bible says you have hardened your heart against God. The world might say “A man convinced against his will is still of the same opinion.” The Bible clearly tells us where this person will spend eternity.

        GROUP 1: CLAIMS THERE IS NO GOD.
        Ask an atheist to prove there is no God. He can’t because any theory he espouses is without factual truth. Atheists and evolutionists can not supply any evidence that there is no God. They will attempt to deceive you via smoke and mirrors by claiming that the universe evolved from nothing or was formed from an energy surge with no source (the big bang theory). Scientifically, the odds are 10infinity against it. In the Bible, an atheist is referred to as a fool. Psalm 14:1: and Romans 1:20-22

        The Bible can prove itself to be true. It has over 100+ prophesies fulfilled by Jesus Christ that were predicted about Him 500 to 800 years before He was born. Consider just 14 of them:

        1. His being preceded by John the Baptist Isa 40:3 Mal 3:1 fulfilled in Matthew 3:1,3 and Luke 1:17
        2. He would be born of a virgin: prophesied in Isaiah 7:14; fulfilled in Matthew 1:22, 23.
        3. He would be born in Bethlehem: prophesied in Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Matthew 2: 5-6.
        4. He would be visited by the Magi and presented with gifts: prophesied in Isaiah 60:3, 6, 9; fulfilled in Matthew 2:11.
        5. His birthplace would suffer a massacre of infants: prophesied in Jeremiah 31:5; fulfilled in Matthew 2:17, 18.
        6. He would heal many: prophesied in Isaiah 53:4; Jesus preformed 34 miracles throughout His lifetime, all substantiated by eyewitnesses. See the Gospels. None of these miracles can be reproduced by nonbeliever today.
        7. His friend would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver: prophesied in Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14; Zech. 11: 12, 13; fulfilled in Matthew 26:14-16, 21-25.
        8. This betrayer’s blood-money would be used to buy a potter’s field: prophesied in Jer. 18:1-4; 19:1-3; Zech. 13; fulfilled in Matt 27: 9.
        9. Jesus would be crucified between two thieves: prophesied in Isaiah 53:12 800 years before crucufuction was used as a death sentence; fulfilled in Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27, 28; and Luke 22: 37.
        10. His hands and feet would be pierced: prophesied in Psalms 22:16; Zech. 12:10; fulfilled in Mark 15:25 and John 19: 34, 37; 20: 25-27.
        11. His bones would not be broken: prophesied in Exodus 12:46; Num. 9:12; Psalm. 34:20; fulfilled in John 19:33-36.
        12. He would be buried with the rich: prophesied in Isaiah 59:9; fulfilled in Matthew 27:57-60.
        13. He would be raised from the dead: prophesied in Psalm. 6:10; fulfilled in Matthew 28:2-7.
        14. He would ascend: prophesied in Psalm. 24:7-10; fulfilled in Mark 16:19 and Luke. 24:50.
        Mathematically the probability of all these events coming true by accident is 1 chance out of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000). That is a pretty immense number, especially considering the fact that it represents just 14 of the 100+ prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. To see them all do an online search for "prophecies about Jesus Christ". These fulfilled prophecies, as documented by eye witnesses, not only prove Jesus was God, but also proves that the Bible can be trusted to be the Word of God. God said “Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” (Isaiah 46:10). The Bible trumps world's false teachings every time. You did not evolve from a rock, slime or a monkey and according to the Bible you and I will all be held accountable for the choices we make in this life.

        GROUP 2: MOST AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GOD.
        Belief in God, doing good and going to church will not get a person into heaven. The demons believe in God, James 2:19 and they are not saved. Nowhere in the Holy Bible does it say that trying to be good will you get to heaven. Can you think of anything more horrible than living with the constant frustration of not knowing where you will spend eternity? "I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction; but we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.”1 Cor.1:18.

        GROUP 3: DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS GOD
        You fall into this group if you follow the teachings of someone other than the Jesus of the Holy Bible and/or have some other book that you rely on to show you the way to heaven. You are rejecting the eye witnesses’ account of the miracles of Jesus found in the New Testament and the claims he made concerning His deity. The Holy Bible is a collection of 66 books written over a thousand year period by 40 men inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). There are more Bibles in print than any other book in existence today, not because it tickles men’s ears with fables, but gives us saving truth. The life of Jesus Christ, who claimed to be God, is a literal point-by-point fulfillment of the prophecies stated earlier in “Group 1”.

        Deceivers would have you believe that Jesus was not God and did not do an adequate job in bringing salvation to man-kind through His death on the cross. So now additional people and books appear on history’s scene to help finish what Jesus started. Jesus said: "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." Matt. 24:11 & “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6. Know this, that if there is more than one way to heaven then Jesus is either a fraud or died in vain (Galatians 2:21).
        C. S. Lewis was correct when he said that the only option available concerning the Person of Jesus is: He was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. Who you decide He is in your life will determine where you spend eternity when you die.

        GROUP 4: DOES NOT NEED JESUS.
        They are happy where they are. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23. Sin pays fair wages, eternal death. God in love gives what is not earned, eternal life. You must decide whether to be content with your wages or accept God’s free gift. Until you accept God’s gift, you are lost. Those who rejected Jesus do not enjoy hell, but they chose it via self-centeredness; sin instead of repentance. There can be no heaven without self-giving love. What the damned wish for —satisfaction on their selfish terms—is impossible even for God to give. If hell is chosen freely, the problem then becomes not one of reconciling hell with God’s love, but reconciling hell with human sanity.

        GROUP 5: CAN NOT MAKE AN IMMEDIATE DECISIONSON THEIR OWN.
        The followers of the lost: This is not about your friends or your family. On judgment day you will not be standing in groups before the Lord. It will be you and God Almighty. If He should ask you: "What did you do with my Son Jesus? Did you believe in Him? Did you trust Him? Did you at some moment in time open your heart to Him?” How would you answer? Your truthful answer will determine you eternal destiny. Jesus said: “He who is not with me is against me……..Matthew 12:30. There is no middle ground between loving the Lord and being his enemy; between belonging to Christ or to Satan. Why would God want to spend eternity with you if you reject Him in the few short years you have left on earth? In other words to be undecided is to be decided against God.

        GROUP 6: ARE THE "BACKSLIDERS"
        Would you say that: "In the past I have known the Lord but have backslidden? I am not walking with Him now. I am out of fellowship with God. At one time I read the Holy Bible and I had a deep, personal relationship with Jesus but others hurt me and bitterness crept in. I am involved in things that I should not be involved in." Jesus told the story about the prodigal son in Luke 15:11, so you would know that you have a second chance and can come home. Jesus wants you to know that you are not too bad or to far gone that God cannot forgive all your sins.

        SUMMARY OF ALL GROUPS
        Who would freely prefer hell to heaven? Jesus wants you to make the decision that will bring you His peace and make your life full, rich and complete. He did all the work on the cross but He asks that you recognize your need and open your heart to Him.

        “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18. What Jesus is asking is that you come to Him with your sins, hypocrisy, failings, short comings, guilt, problems, heaviness, burdens, depressions and all that you have. The immediate reward of making an intelligent decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the peace of mind that you will spend eternity in heaven with Him. You are not too young, too old or too bad. Jesus is not asking you to clean your act up or get your life together and then come to Him. He is saying, that He will help you clean up your life after you accept Him as your Lord and Savior.

        You may be thinking right now that what you have read makes sense but if you were to make a commitment that you would do it later. If God is calling you, don't wait. Every time you are exposed to the gospel and reject it, you have hardened your heart a little bit more. You may not have the luxury of having a preacher come by your hospital bed when you are dying.

        Hebrews 3:15 says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” How much time do you have on left on earth? God is asking you to make an immediate decision at this very moment. Nothing could be more terrible than to be immune to the power of God.

        SAVED GROUP
        So you found yourself in another Group and you want to change to the “Saved Group”. If God has been speaking to your heart about committing your life to Him and you are sick of the world's ways and its lifestyle, then pray, "I want to follow You Jesus. I am willing to let go of the controls of my heart and my life. I am willing now, to the best of my ability, to surrender my will and follow and love You with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I want to be the person that God always wanted me to be. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior”. If this is your heart’s prayer, then you are SAVED!

        You have made the right decision to follow Jesus and turn your back on the world's false teachings. You should now have a desire to worship with other Bible beliving believers.

  4. I can protect myself by asking to myself about any belief I have. Just to pronounce that belief inside of me and ask why I think so, how could I be infected with that way of thinking, is this the right way moving me to better life of this is just stopping me on my way to success.

    I can discuss those beliefs with beople that I believe have higher consciousness and rague on that topic. Than analyze again the reason why I think that way. Those measures will help me to change my mind about some stuff.

  5. Right on!

    The way to protect us is daily time to exercise our minds with creative thinking, look and question our beliefs and reprogram our minds with new believes.

    Personally, I happen to think that The Truth is my religion.

  6. I remember always reacting to G W Bushs and Saddam Husseins speaches during the war in Iraq. Both said the same sentence "We will winn because God is with us, God is on our side". I does not take a lot of effort to understand that this must be an impossible equation. Unless you are open minded and bright enough to admitt that God, if God do exist, must be one and only regardless of being the God of Saddam Hussein or G W Bush.

      1. Its called the stickman dilemma. Using unprovable or unproven facts (in this case, philosophy's and statements ) to substantiate a claim. Scientific evaluation (science meaning, the ability to measure and substantiate) sheds light on the fragility of all your arguments including randy's. What you find is a string of assumed and manipulated truths validating the next and providing a platform for a very useful system able to approve any philosophy that fits snugly within your comfortable interpretation of truth. That desired truth being no different and no-less emotional an issue than the religious satisfaction of the blatantly ardent needs found in people seeking meaning through religion. (I'm arguing from your point of veiw)

        What I am saying is that in practice your philosophy is equally weak in its attempt to satiate the inherent emotional needs of humans that you recognise as a weakness, And don't recognise in yourself. Yet it is that very weakness in you drives you to challenge religion and scoff at it (though you're wise enough to not admit to that).

        I can write an essay here on what I believe and why but nobody would read it. Lol.

        So I'll say this. I have circulated with the intelligent and the wise. I know people of all religions that have seemingly perfect balance in their lives. (Big money, beautiful happy families, good relationships, culture, health ) yet their philosophies are unappealing and dead. Even when they base it on religion, they base it on a personal interpretation of that truth. Its a dead philosophy, just like yours..

        I searched for meaning. I have no reason to: I'm successful, better looking than most celebrities, I have a genius iq, a personally and character that draws people to me of all ages. yet I needed to find meaning. And here's the catch: through my mind alone I found nothing. Through arguments and evaluation I found nothing. But one day I met a person with a philosophy that could only be explained as 'living'.
        And I'm sorry to say guys. I cringed the first time I realised this: what I found as the only truth is jesus, not christianity, but a living relationship with jesus. And that will make no sense to most of you. You'll have to pursue it if you want it.

        from an intellectual point of veiw if you really want to answer this question for yourself or if you think jesus is for dummies read- 'more than a carpenter, mcdowell'.

        1. So you believe that Jesus's philosophy is right for you. That's fine. Why Jesus and not Budda, Lao Tzu, Confucious, Mohammed, Spinoza? And what exactly is a living relationship? I think Jesus was an anti meme person too.

  7. "Most people’s religious beliefs are formed during their early formative years, and they are completely incapable of discussing them rationally, or exercising critical thought in this area."

    Powerful and so true! Unfortunately, most people need to hit a severe low point before they realize that the God they believe(d) in is only as powerful as they are. If only we could wipe away the memes as quickly as we accepted them...

    Thank you for stating this in your eloquent way!

    1. Exactly.

      I think the worse thing religion does is to further the "Prince Charming" syndrome, that God or someone else is always going to "take care of you."

      I cringe when certain stories come up in my kindergarten Sunday School class, telling them not to worry about anything because "God's going to take care of you." Am I not, in a sense, lying to them? I realize it's to help them not worry at such a young age, when there's nothing they can do about much of anything, but still ...

      I grew up really believing that, to my very detriment. I worked hard, got wonderful grades, expecting God to take care of me with a decent job. I believed that whatever job I got (not worked for, set goals for, left when it was obviously a bad fit, etc.), was because "I was where God wanted me to be, because he was taking care of me...." I was told that multiple times too.

      So, now I'm in the same boat as other people, discovering that life is closer to "God helps those who help themselves." It is a daily struggle to face this, and so far, I have failed every day.

      I am way past bottom, keeping going, and yet still clinging to this idea.

  8. Reason is my religion.

    It's timeless, unisex and always fashionable. It's durable, cost effective, comes in every color and one size fits all.

    If there is a God, Reason is the most priceless gift Man has ever received from our creator, and those people who claim to be the most devout believers are the ones who habitually squander and misuse this most valuable gift in their obvious attempts to amass money and power to control people. Uh, guys... We're hip to this, but thanks for playing! Now go away.

    Great post Randy... it's nice to see somebody in our industry step up and sensibly address this topic in a thoughtful way.

    1. Very well said, and "I believe if Jesus was here he would agree whole Hearted"
      I also believe he was a life coach and awoke the MASSES ...

  9. We can put into questions belief system (or religion). IMO, nothing wrong in embracing religions, but at the end of the day, we got to stand on belief that will empower us.

  10. How to protect yourself against religious memes. Hmm. The best way to do this is not to have one and to try your best to think for yourself. Man is instinctively a religious creature and likely began worshipping the Sun - and it all went downhill from there. Worshipping the Sun is likely the most useful religion. The Sun gives you everything here on earth so take some time out once in a while to show your gratitude. The Sun won't ask you for money, inspire you to go off to a land of savages, convert them, and then take everything they have. Just don't look at the Sun directly. Be thankful for what it has given, then go about your way. My parents weren't religious and told me, even as a child, religion is nothing but a bunch of fairy tales. Their philosophy in raising children was to tell things like they are. But they did go along with the Santa Claus and Toothfairy bit as not to deprive me of the usual childhood pleasures.

  11. Hi RG,
    I was raised in a Christian home and as a young adult joined the Methodist church. At that time in my life it was the right choice for me. Even during this time I was interested in books by the New Age thinkers, the messages they spoke just made sense to me. Over the years my traditional Christian background just didn’t resonate with what I felt in my heart to be true. I didn’t like being told what to believe, how to pray, who was good, who was bad, who was going to heaven, not going to heaven, that it was a sin to be this way or that way… So for a short time I just stopped going to church. I still believed in God but I just felt more spiritual rather than religious.

    I recently joined the Center of Spiritual Living, formerly Religious Science founded by Ernest Holmes. Holmes was a self-taught philosopher who studied all the world’s spiritual paths for most of his life. One of his most well known books is called The Science of the Mind, which is the foundation of the principles of Religious Science. We honor all paths to God and believe that one must look into one’s own heart for the truth. My church offers workshops on creating vision boards, exploring the metaphysical, creating prosperity in your life. BTW, if you don't have Randy’s prosperity series you should purchase them NOW! It’s only $100 for 8 CDs and its money well spent! Anyway with CSL I feel like I’ve come home. I look forward to Sundays! I love the message, love the music and it’s just makes me feel happy.

  12. The truth? well, humans, since they are free moral agents, can provide there own truths based on what works for them. So I think, to define truth based on what works for one individual would be inadequate, considering the larger picture. But truth is not a set of things or philosophies, but a personality and what it represents. Jesus Christ said "I am the way, the TRUTH and the life" Others say there are many ways, truths and life(s). So you see, Jesus stood on the spot, others are undecided. Christianity is a relationship with the one who said He is the truth and not a religion per se. If the believers of Jesus messed up its not the Truth that messed up. There is The Truth, and, not a truth. Jesus Christ is the TRUTH. look at His life not GWBush's or Pope's.

  13. "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes."

    "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.' ~ Karl Marx

    "We have used the Bible as if it were a mere special constable's hand book, an opium dose for keeping beasts of burden patient while they were being overloaded, a mere book to keep the poor in order." ~ Charles Kingsley

    "You fear the powerful eye of genius, that is why you encourage ignorance. This opium you feed your people, so that, drugged, they do not feel their hurts, inflicted by you." ~ Sade Juliette

    1. I would have to agree with these statements. I look back in history and religion was used as a means of mind control and oppression. I would call it mental oppression. The church was also very powerful throughout the middle ages and even up until the first half of this century. It is amazing how many people they were able to brainwash en masse.

      1. Some factions in the church are still trying to dominate everyone.

        Skim over the Dark Christianity group if you are on Live Journal for examples, they have a wiki, and there are many other examples.

  14. After being brought up in totally non religious environment, I find myself landed in a religious family, surroundings and country, through the man I married... it really is quite remarkable! What a cosmic joke...

    I must say, the problems what Randy sees in the way the religion is used - are there. They really are, and it's sometimes heartbreaking seeing people feeling something different in their heart than what their mind has been trained to think...
    ... and there are people, who have taken the religious ideas and made them sing the same melody with their heart, and they are just a sight to behold. Anyway, same goes for any individual religious or not.

    When I look at myself amongst all that, I realize what a service to myself it has been being amongst them. I need to be really centered and keep watch out for my meme complexes, beliefs, understandings... and really watch that I wouldn't fall into the theme - that I know the 'truth', and 'my way is the best way'! It is tiring sometimes, and annoying and getting no validation for a single soul but myself can be hard... however, the more clear and certain I need to be. And that is a great thing.

    I was just thinking today after listening Marcel Messing, that we all are really looking for the same thing! And even when I watch myself amongst them I feel how 'protective' I've been, how I have separated myself form them - 'them' and 'I', exactly the same thing they are doing! What a realization! Like I need to protect my ways and be sneaky with my thoughts and self-expression. Like they are against me - what a joke. And I considered myself openhearted person 🙂 So here I go, seeing the reflections in them what are the biggest problems in me!

    So after this little self exposure, I say again, yes the way religious has been used, has done great damage. So many people out there, not knowing why life's so hard without realization it's their programming, that is actually really anti-life if they start contemplating over it... and contemplating is the one thing scared most by those who we let manipulate us. We would really figure it out - common life's simple 🙂 not easy, but simple...

    So thanks Randy for this space for contemplation and critical thinking...

  15. How do you protect against memes? Well, firstly by shutting of the source of many of them - TV, newspapers and negative friends. Although avoiding family might not be so practical, I'd like to suggest that a lot of the memes that we have that fly under the radar more than likely come from our family, so be ultra vigilant about the communication that occurs with them. I've found that spending time away from family is a great way to gain perspective. When you next return to visit, you might cop a mental smack in the face - the stuff that seemed 'normal' before suddenly looks different, strange or even twisted.

    After that, I'd suggest giving critical thought to new ideas that come your way rather than just accepting what's fed to you. That would mean a little bit of reflection and possibly even some intelligent debate.

    Randy, if you could also add in a section in your next post about the best ways of identifying existing memes, that would be great.

  16. wow ... lots and lots of debate here! simply put, religion is man-made ... institutional and has NOTHING to do with spirituality ... whether you attend church or not, practice a "religion" or not, you ARE spirit ... your physical body would not exist without it ... to become more, you must grow your spirit through connections and relationships with other spirits - if your religion keeps you in "competition" with others of different religious beliefs, then how can you "connect" to form spiritual relationships that grow the both of you?

  17. In a way it is a "crime" that children of young age are indoctrinated with the memes of religion (or other groups or individuals).

    We should realise that what we teach children arent facts, but opinions, that are often based on memes instead of critical thinking. And we (parents, teachers, adults) should always let children know that what we teach them is an opinion that they (can and should) research and discuss, instead of just accepting it as the truth.

    How much a better world would we be in when children would be discussing memes and opinions in class more than learning "skills". There should be a "critical thinking" class in every school.

    Eric Janssen
    The Netherlands

  18. I was raised to believe a certain religious system, and then as an adult I chose a different one. One of the principles of my chosen religion is, each individual has the right to a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

    Our minister has even stood in front of the congregation and said, "you know, in the end, we might be 'wrong'", ie we don't know if our beliefs are "truth".

    If I choose to state a personal belief in a discussion at church, my fellow and sister members have the right to respectfully challenge me on my stance.

    It works for me.

  19. hey Randy,

    I think that's a good way of viewing the majority of religions and religious people. The funny thing is 99% of religious people would respond the same and say 'Oh, but that's not me!' but it is...

    It's only when you're willing to say 'Yes, that is me', take a truly critical look at yourself, what you believe, and why you believe you it; that you no longer are that person and then rationally know why and can justify, logically, why you believe a certain way.

    I identify as Christian but asked myself that question years ago - I then studied the Koran, Torah, etc., openly and see the commonalities throughout religion and what sets Christ apart as a historical figure. I can discuss this as dispassionately as I can why the sky is blue.

    I just usually wait for people to ask me why I believe the way I do, rather than cramming it down anyone's throat.

    Good discussion point!!! 🙂

    Jim P

  20. Interesting post Randy. There is much to say on this but rather than be long winded I will just leave you a poem I once wrote entitled:

    "A POEM FOR THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS"

    When someone asks you,
    Why is the sky blue?
    You say,
    “Because in the beginning (dot, dot, dot)”
    When someone asks you,
    Why is the sky blue today?
    You say,
    “Because it’s not raining.”
    Why do you change the answer,
    for your own purposes?
    When the real answer was there,
    the whole time.

  21. Believing and thinking are collapsed into each other for many people. I believe... is a 'sacred' saying and I seldom say it. Thinking and having thoughts are also two different phenomenons. Thinking is actual work that produces a real result and humans exist immersed in thought and notice it as much as a bird notices the air or fish water. Having thoughts is sort of like puffs of tissue blown from a box of tissues from the back of your head operating at pure random intervals and some people actually 'believe' who they are is doing it. Having thoughts is not thinking.

    You only experience the truth. Believing the truth turns it into a lie. One does not ever need to know the truth to live out a life on this planet or in this plane of existence. I suspect most people fall into that category as large morass of meme virus propagating like algae.

    Besides occurring as an experience the truth lives independent of our sense of time. There is no truth that is ours, mine or yours. “It” exists independent of and from without regard to me or you. Anyone may experience her who is willing to let the experience shape them for his ‘enjoyment.’ [his and her are interchangeable and are for language purposes only.]

    I can no more say anything about your experience than you may of mine. [It would be a lie.] For those who have been touched the experience leaves marks that are apparent to others with the same marks. Birds of feather do not always flock together.

    Don’t believe anything I say. You may try it on like you would a shirt or a pair of shoes, however. If it doesn’t fit put it back on the shelf for someone else who may find it does fit them.

  22. Good question Randy.
    The problem is not the religion itself but we "must" prove that our religion is the only one that is right. Then we use condemnation to push against others, and finally make them our enemies

  23. Actually "Religion" will not get you prosperity. Only spirituality will. There are many religious people in the world, but they are miserable and without any true calling in life.

  24. Whew! I'd be jumping into the ring of fire on this one. I'm a Mormon and Randy, you're all too familiar with Mormon beliefs. ha ha

    One thing I DO know...is one day we will ALL know what the truth really is. There won't be any "discussion."

    But we gotta die first. 🙂

    David

    P.S. Here's my truth --> http://www.BigTomMovie.com

  25. Hi Randy

    Nice and challenging post.

    I am a 25 years old muslim girl,I am aware that because of bin Ladan or Sadam activities we are not well-known in the world,I 've heard some of their activities and they were very painful but I don't wanna talk about them because I live in a country(Iran) that it's leaders are not anything better that bin Ladan or Sadam so I talk about what I myself experienced and feel . . .my country is called "Islamic Republic of Iran" you know, this is so funny because they just carry the words Islamic and Republic , we see no sign of these words in here.Sometimes I tell to myself if they call their religion Islam so I have to name mine something else because My Islam has nothing to do with theirs. . .for decades we 've heard (and sometimes see) lots of thing about how cruel and hard-line they are and we really were sick of them,But last year was totally different , it was the presidential election and we wanted to make a change,we were all so happy and hopeful about future it was like we finally found a light in total darkness so we have voted to our chosen candidate,some people voted for the first time since the revolution because we all wanted to make a big change. . . you know what happened ? our votes didn't get counted,people came to the streets to ask for their votes but they were get shot,arrested,tortured to death,raped . . .they were shooting to unarmed people,to their own people ,we were shocked,you'll never know what we went through, even right now that I write these it brought tears to my eyes . . .for more than 20 years leaders of Iran have been making us feel that we live in hell,you have no idea how talented Iranian are but all that talents go nowhere,if you are lucky you can immigrate otherwise you have to live life miserable and be a dead soul . . .they did all these to us in the name of Allah,they take themselves as they are so holy and have every right to treat people like this . As religion that you talked about I don't take my beliefs from them and I don't even call them human beings let alone being muslim, they just use name of Islam for their own good and I think if we get to know religions well we'll find out that religions talk about peace,kindness,helping each other and all other nice things .Don't judge religions by some idiots acts. . .I can talk for hours to you about my religion and thoughts,but it's kind of hard to tell them in english and actually you don't have enough time to read them. . . the bottom line,I think we,with an open mind,should find out what truly religions are about to say ,the real truth is nice but finding that is sooo hard . . .sorry, for the sake of my safety I can't use my original name .

    Have a great time and thanks for your nice post
    In university we talk about these stuff a lot and it was nice sharing it with you,I love discussing things 😉

  26. Religion:  rules made by man to serve man.  Faith: trusting by nature of examination of facts and personal encounters with the Holy Spirit that what I have heard and read and experienced on my own is true. An abiding peace within me that assures me that I am never left alone, I am unconditonally loved and filled with Joy for where I am going.

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  • 57 comments on “Is Your Religion the Truth?”

    1. My religion teaches that all religions are a combination of man and God. Man provides the falsity, God provides the truth. The reason for this is so people always can choose between good and evil. If they go to a religious organization (any one) and are looking to become a better person, they will find what they are looking for. If they go to a religious organization to be a hypocrite, they also will find what they are looking for. People are given choices. What happens depends on which choice they make.

    2. Randy,

      When I read this I realized that my parents took me to the church in the neighborhood, which was the methodist church. When I was 22 I became went to a Baptist Church where I became a born again christian

      3 years ago I joined the Unity Movement which teaches that God is the truth and that all religions temples, mosques have the right to exist. Unity believes that everyone is on there own journey and that we have to have the love and respect them for that.

      I know this is true because I see all kinds of people in our church. Black, White, Catholic, Jewish, Gay, Straight and I am told Republicans and Democrats. When I went to the Baptist Church I saw people of like minds, (KKK) and learned a few new racial jokes.

      I heard it put this way that when someone attends an BAC meeting they are prayed for to give up Judiaism, Catholicism etc. Our church is for people seeking the truth and we don't care if you still go to your temple mosque, catholic, baptist church.

      Thanks,
      Jim Story

    3. I actually believe that religion pushes you further from GOD, not closer. It makes you think you are always right and everyone else who doesn't think like you is irrational. Good post - I love it!

      1. 100% agree buddy. I'd rather worship God in my OWN way instead of trying to "follow" some other dude in a robe telling me his way is better than all of the other 8 thousand different ways to follow God.

        I've always thought it was pretty funny that there are literally hundreds of different religious groups - all 100% POSITIVE that their way is the best and only way to follow whatever God they believe in.

        Does that not make anybody else a bit curious/more open to other ideas?

          1. I agree too. The only problem I had was that I wasn't doing it. i didn't set aside time to spend with God. My mind was difficult for me. The other thing that I felt wasn't happening was that I wasn't in the "mastermind group".

            So I traded in the dude in a robe for a chick in a Christian Dior suit.
            Jim

        1. “I will go to Heaven of course, because I am a good person!” This is the answer I hear the most. This is about “TRUTH”, not opinion (yours or mine) or wishful thinking. There are 6 groups of people that won’t make it to heaven.

          As you will see, Christianity is supported by the only factual evidence as presented by God Himself. If you are non-believer and are willing to explore His truth, then you are open to His saving knowledge. On the other hand if you reject the truth because it does not fit into your lifestyle then the Bible says you have hardened your heart against God. The world might say “A man convinced against his will is still of the same opinion.” The Bible clearly tells us where this person will spend eternity.

          GROUP 1: CLAIMS THERE IS NO GOD.
          Ask an atheist to prove there is no God. He can’t because any theory he espouses is without factual truth. Atheists and evolutionists can not supply any evidence that there is no God. They will attempt to deceive you via smoke and mirrors by claiming that the universe evolved from nothing or was formed from an energy surge with no source (the big bang theory). Scientifically, the odds are 10infinity against it. In the Bible, an atheist is referred to as a fool. Psalm 14:1: and Romans 1:20-22

          The Bible can prove itself to be true. It has over 100+ prophesies fulfilled by Jesus Christ that were predicted about Him 500 to 800 years before He was born. Consider just 14 of them:

          1. His being preceded by John the Baptist Isa 40:3 Mal 3:1 fulfilled in Matthew 3:1,3 and Luke 1:17
          2. He would be born of a virgin: prophesied in Isaiah 7:14; fulfilled in Matthew 1:22, 23.
          3. He would be born in Bethlehem: prophesied in Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Matthew 2: 5-6.
          4. He would be visited by the Magi and presented with gifts: prophesied in Isaiah 60:3, 6, 9; fulfilled in Matthew 2:11.
          5. His birthplace would suffer a massacre of infants: prophesied in Jeremiah 31:5; fulfilled in Matthew 2:17, 18.
          6. He would heal many: prophesied in Isaiah 53:4; Jesus preformed 34 miracles throughout His lifetime, all substantiated by eyewitnesses. See the Gospels. None of these miracles can be reproduced by nonbeliever today.
          7. His friend would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver: prophesied in Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14; Zech. 11: 12, 13; fulfilled in Matthew 26:14-16, 21-25.
          8. This betrayer’s blood-money would be used to buy a potter’s field: prophesied in Jer. 18:1-4; 19:1-3; Zech. 13; fulfilled in Matt 27: 9.
          9. Jesus would be crucified between two thieves: prophesied in Isaiah 53:12 800 years before crucufuction was used as a death sentence; fulfilled in Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27, 28; and Luke 22: 37.
          10. His hands and feet would be pierced: prophesied in Psalms 22:16; Zech. 12:10; fulfilled in Mark 15:25 and John 19: 34, 37; 20: 25-27.
          11. His bones would not be broken: prophesied in Exodus 12:46; Num. 9:12; Psalm. 34:20; fulfilled in John 19:33-36.
          12. He would be buried with the rich: prophesied in Isaiah 59:9; fulfilled in Matthew 27:57-60.
          13. He would be raised from the dead: prophesied in Psalm. 6:10; fulfilled in Matthew 28:2-7.
          14. He would ascend: prophesied in Psalm. 24:7-10; fulfilled in Mark 16:19 and Luke. 24:50.
          Mathematically the probability of all these events coming true by accident is 1 chance out of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000). That is a pretty immense number, especially considering the fact that it represents just 14 of the 100+ prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. To see them all do an online search for "prophecies about Jesus Christ". These fulfilled prophecies, as documented by eye witnesses, not only prove Jesus was God, but also proves that the Bible can be trusted to be the Word of God. God said “Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” (Isaiah 46:10). The Bible trumps world's false teachings every time. You did not evolve from a rock, slime or a monkey and according to the Bible you and I will all be held accountable for the choices we make in this life.

          GROUP 2: MOST AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GOD.
          Belief in God, doing good and going to church will not get a person into heaven. The demons believe in God, James 2:19 and they are not saved. Nowhere in the Holy Bible does it say that trying to be good will you get to heaven. Can you think of anything more horrible than living with the constant frustration of not knowing where you will spend eternity? "I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction; but we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.”1 Cor.1:18.

          GROUP 3: DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS GOD
          You fall into this group if you follow the teachings of someone other than the Jesus of the Holy Bible and/or have some other book that you rely on to show you the way to heaven. You are rejecting the eye witnesses’ account of the miracles of Jesus found in the New Testament and the claims he made concerning His deity. The Holy Bible is a collection of 66 books written over a thousand year period by 40 men inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). There are more Bibles in print than any other book in existence today, not because it tickles men’s ears with fables, but gives us saving truth. The life of Jesus Christ, who claimed to be God, is a literal point-by-point fulfillment of the prophecies stated earlier in “Group 1”.

          Deceivers would have you believe that Jesus was not God and did not do an adequate job in bringing salvation to man-kind through His death on the cross. So now additional people and books appear on history’s scene to help finish what Jesus started. Jesus said: "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." Matt. 24:11 & “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6. Know this, that if there is more than one way to heaven then Jesus is either a fraud or died in vain (Galatians 2:21).
          C. S. Lewis was correct when he said that the only option available concerning the Person of Jesus is: He was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. Who you decide He is in your life will determine where you spend eternity when you die.

          GROUP 4: DOES NOT NEED JESUS.
          They are happy where they are. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23. Sin pays fair wages, eternal death. God in love gives what is not earned, eternal life. You must decide whether to be content with your wages or accept God’s free gift. Until you accept God’s gift, you are lost. Those who rejected Jesus do not enjoy hell, but they chose it via self-centeredness; sin instead of repentance. There can be no heaven without self-giving love. What the damned wish for —satisfaction on their selfish terms—is impossible even for God to give. If hell is chosen freely, the problem then becomes not one of reconciling hell with God’s love, but reconciling hell with human sanity.

          GROUP 5: CAN NOT MAKE AN IMMEDIATE DECISIONSON THEIR OWN.
          The followers of the lost: This is not about your friends or your family. On judgment day you will not be standing in groups before the Lord. It will be you and God Almighty. If He should ask you: "What did you do with my Son Jesus? Did you believe in Him? Did you trust Him? Did you at some moment in time open your heart to Him?” How would you answer? Your truthful answer will determine you eternal destiny. Jesus said: “He who is not with me is against me……..Matthew 12:30. There is no middle ground between loving the Lord and being his enemy; between belonging to Christ or to Satan. Why would God want to spend eternity with you if you reject Him in the few short years you have left on earth? In other words to be undecided is to be decided against God.

          GROUP 6: ARE THE "BACKSLIDERS"
          Would you say that: "In the past I have known the Lord but have backslidden? I am not walking with Him now. I am out of fellowship with God. At one time I read the Holy Bible and I had a deep, personal relationship with Jesus but others hurt me and bitterness crept in. I am involved in things that I should not be involved in." Jesus told the story about the prodigal son in Luke 15:11, so you would know that you have a second chance and can come home. Jesus wants you to know that you are not too bad or to far gone that God cannot forgive all your sins.

          SUMMARY OF ALL GROUPS
          Who would freely prefer hell to heaven? Jesus wants you to make the decision that will bring you His peace and make your life full, rich and complete. He did all the work on the cross but He asks that you recognize your need and open your heart to Him.

          “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18. What Jesus is asking is that you come to Him with your sins, hypocrisy, failings, short comings, guilt, problems, heaviness, burdens, depressions and all that you have. The immediate reward of making an intelligent decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the peace of mind that you will spend eternity in heaven with Him. You are not too young, too old or too bad. Jesus is not asking you to clean your act up or get your life together and then come to Him. He is saying, that He will help you clean up your life after you accept Him as your Lord and Savior.

          You may be thinking right now that what you have read makes sense but if you were to make a commitment that you would do it later. If God is calling you, don't wait. Every time you are exposed to the gospel and reject it, you have hardened your heart a little bit more. You may not have the luxury of having a preacher come by your hospital bed when you are dying.

          Hebrews 3:15 says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” How much time do you have on left on earth? God is asking you to make an immediate decision at this very moment. Nothing could be more terrible than to be immune to the power of God.

          SAVED GROUP
          So you found yourself in another Group and you want to change to the “Saved Group”. If God has been speaking to your heart about committing your life to Him and you are sick of the world's ways and its lifestyle, then pray, "I want to follow You Jesus. I am willing to let go of the controls of my heart and my life. I am willing now, to the best of my ability, to surrender my will and follow and love You with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I want to be the person that God always wanted me to be. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior”. If this is your heart’s prayer, then you are SAVED!

          You have made the right decision to follow Jesus and turn your back on the world's false teachings. You should now have a desire to worship with other Bible beliving believers.

    4. I can protect myself by asking to myself about any belief I have. Just to pronounce that belief inside of me and ask why I think so, how could I be infected with that way of thinking, is this the right way moving me to better life of this is just stopping me on my way to success.

      I can discuss those beliefs with beople that I believe have higher consciousness and rague on that topic. Than analyze again the reason why I think that way. Those measures will help me to change my mind about some stuff.

    5. Right on!

      The way to protect us is daily time to exercise our minds with creative thinking, look and question our beliefs and reprogram our minds with new believes.

      Personally, I happen to think that The Truth is my religion.

    6. I remember always reacting to G W Bushs and Saddam Husseins speaches during the war in Iraq. Both said the same sentence "We will winn because God is with us, God is on our side". I does not take a lot of effort to understand that this must be an impossible equation. Unless you are open minded and bright enough to admitt that God, if God do exist, must be one and only regardless of being the God of Saddam Hussein or G W Bush.

        1. Its called the stickman dilemma. Using unprovable or unproven facts (in this case, philosophy's and statements ) to substantiate a claim. Scientific evaluation (science meaning, the ability to measure and substantiate) sheds light on the fragility of all your arguments including randy's. What you find is a string of assumed and manipulated truths validating the next and providing a platform for a very useful system able to approve any philosophy that fits snugly within your comfortable interpretation of truth. That desired truth being no different and no-less emotional an issue than the religious satisfaction of the blatantly ardent needs found in people seeking meaning through religion. (I'm arguing from your point of veiw)

          What I am saying is that in practice your philosophy is equally weak in its attempt to satiate the inherent emotional needs of humans that you recognise as a weakness, And don't recognise in yourself. Yet it is that very weakness in you drives you to challenge religion and scoff at it (though you're wise enough to not admit to that).

          I can write an essay here on what I believe and why but nobody would read it. Lol.

          So I'll say this. I have circulated with the intelligent and the wise. I know people of all religions that have seemingly perfect balance in their lives. (Big money, beautiful happy families, good relationships, culture, health ) yet their philosophies are unappealing and dead. Even when they base it on religion, they base it on a personal interpretation of that truth. Its a dead philosophy, just like yours..

          I searched for meaning. I have no reason to: I'm successful, better looking than most celebrities, I have a genius iq, a personally and character that draws people to me of all ages. yet I needed to find meaning. And here's the catch: through my mind alone I found nothing. Through arguments and evaluation I found nothing. But one day I met a person with a philosophy that could only be explained as 'living'.
          And I'm sorry to say guys. I cringed the first time I realised this: what I found as the only truth is jesus, not christianity, but a living relationship with jesus. And that will make no sense to most of you. You'll have to pursue it if you want it.

          from an intellectual point of veiw if you really want to answer this question for yourself or if you think jesus is for dummies read- 'more than a carpenter, mcdowell'.

          1. So you believe that Jesus's philosophy is right for you. That's fine. Why Jesus and not Budda, Lao Tzu, Confucious, Mohammed, Spinoza? And what exactly is a living relationship? I think Jesus was an anti meme person too.

    7. "Most people’s religious beliefs are formed during their early formative years, and they are completely incapable of discussing them rationally, or exercising critical thought in this area."

      Powerful and so true! Unfortunately, most people need to hit a severe low point before they realize that the God they believe(d) in is only as powerful as they are. If only we could wipe away the memes as quickly as we accepted them...

      Thank you for stating this in your eloquent way!

      1. Exactly.

        I think the worse thing religion does is to further the "Prince Charming" syndrome, that God or someone else is always going to "take care of you."

        I cringe when certain stories come up in my kindergarten Sunday School class, telling them not to worry about anything because "God's going to take care of you." Am I not, in a sense, lying to them? I realize it's to help them not worry at such a young age, when there's nothing they can do about much of anything, but still ...

        I grew up really believing that, to my very detriment. I worked hard, got wonderful grades, expecting God to take care of me with a decent job. I believed that whatever job I got (not worked for, set goals for, left when it was obviously a bad fit, etc.), was because "I was where God wanted me to be, because he was taking care of me...." I was told that multiple times too.

        So, now I'm in the same boat as other people, discovering that life is closer to "God helps those who help themselves." It is a daily struggle to face this, and so far, I have failed every day.

        I am way past bottom, keeping going, and yet still clinging to this idea.

    8. Reason is my religion.

      It's timeless, unisex and always fashionable. It's durable, cost effective, comes in every color and one size fits all.

      If there is a God, Reason is the most priceless gift Man has ever received from our creator, and those people who claim to be the most devout believers are the ones who habitually squander and misuse this most valuable gift in their obvious attempts to amass money and power to control people. Uh, guys... We're hip to this, but thanks for playing! Now go away.

      Great post Randy... it's nice to see somebody in our industry step up and sensibly address this topic in a thoughtful way.

      1. Very well said, and "I believe if Jesus was here he would agree whole Hearted"
        I also believe he was a life coach and awoke the MASSES ...

    9. We can put into questions belief system (or religion). IMO, nothing wrong in embracing religions, but at the end of the day, we got to stand on belief that will empower us.

    10. How to protect yourself against religious memes. Hmm. The best way to do this is not to have one and to try your best to think for yourself. Man is instinctively a religious creature and likely began worshipping the Sun - and it all went downhill from there. Worshipping the Sun is likely the most useful religion. The Sun gives you everything here on earth so take some time out once in a while to show your gratitude. The Sun won't ask you for money, inspire you to go off to a land of savages, convert them, and then take everything they have. Just don't look at the Sun directly. Be thankful for what it has given, then go about your way. My parents weren't religious and told me, even as a child, religion is nothing but a bunch of fairy tales. Their philosophy in raising children was to tell things like they are. But they did go along with the Santa Claus and Toothfairy bit as not to deprive me of the usual childhood pleasures.

    11. Hi RG,
      I was raised in a Christian home and as a young adult joined the Methodist church. At that time in my life it was the right choice for me. Even during this time I was interested in books by the New Age thinkers, the messages they spoke just made sense to me. Over the years my traditional Christian background just didn’t resonate with what I felt in my heart to be true. I didn’t like being told what to believe, how to pray, who was good, who was bad, who was going to heaven, not going to heaven, that it was a sin to be this way or that way… So for a short time I just stopped going to church. I still believed in God but I just felt more spiritual rather than religious.

      I recently joined the Center of Spiritual Living, formerly Religious Science founded by Ernest Holmes. Holmes was a self-taught philosopher who studied all the world’s spiritual paths for most of his life. One of his most well known books is called The Science of the Mind, which is the foundation of the principles of Religious Science. We honor all paths to God and believe that one must look into one’s own heart for the truth. My church offers workshops on creating vision boards, exploring the metaphysical, creating prosperity in your life. BTW, if you don't have Randy’s prosperity series you should purchase them NOW! It’s only $100 for 8 CDs and its money well spent! Anyway with CSL I feel like I’ve come home. I look forward to Sundays! I love the message, love the music and it’s just makes me feel happy.

    12. The truth? well, humans, since they are free moral agents, can provide there own truths based on what works for them. So I think, to define truth based on what works for one individual would be inadequate, considering the larger picture. But truth is not a set of things or philosophies, but a personality and what it represents. Jesus Christ said "I am the way, the TRUTH and the life" Others say there are many ways, truths and life(s). So you see, Jesus stood on the spot, others are undecided. Christianity is a relationship with the one who said He is the truth and not a religion per se. If the believers of Jesus messed up its not the Truth that messed up. There is The Truth, and, not a truth. Jesus Christ is the TRUTH. look at His life not GWBush's or Pope's.

    13. "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes."

      "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.' ~ Karl Marx

      "We have used the Bible as if it were a mere special constable's hand book, an opium dose for keeping beasts of burden patient while they were being overloaded, a mere book to keep the poor in order." ~ Charles Kingsley

      "You fear the powerful eye of genius, that is why you encourage ignorance. This opium you feed your people, so that, drugged, they do not feel their hurts, inflicted by you." ~ Sade Juliette

      1. I would have to agree with these statements. I look back in history and religion was used as a means of mind control and oppression. I would call it mental oppression. The church was also very powerful throughout the middle ages and even up until the first half of this century. It is amazing how many people they were able to brainwash en masse.

        1. Some factions in the church are still trying to dominate everyone.

          Skim over the Dark Christianity group if you are on Live Journal for examples, they have a wiki, and there are many other examples.

    14. After being brought up in totally non religious environment, I find myself landed in a religious family, surroundings and country, through the man I married... it really is quite remarkable! What a cosmic joke...

      I must say, the problems what Randy sees in the way the religion is used - are there. They really are, and it's sometimes heartbreaking seeing people feeling something different in their heart than what their mind has been trained to think...
      ... and there are people, who have taken the religious ideas and made them sing the same melody with their heart, and they are just a sight to behold. Anyway, same goes for any individual religious or not.

      When I look at myself amongst all that, I realize what a service to myself it has been being amongst them. I need to be really centered and keep watch out for my meme complexes, beliefs, understandings... and really watch that I wouldn't fall into the theme - that I know the 'truth', and 'my way is the best way'! It is tiring sometimes, and annoying and getting no validation for a single soul but myself can be hard... however, the more clear and certain I need to be. And that is a great thing.

      I was just thinking today after listening Marcel Messing, that we all are really looking for the same thing! And even when I watch myself amongst them I feel how 'protective' I've been, how I have separated myself form them - 'them' and 'I', exactly the same thing they are doing! What a realization! Like I need to protect my ways and be sneaky with my thoughts and self-expression. Like they are against me - what a joke. And I considered myself openhearted person 🙂 So here I go, seeing the reflections in them what are the biggest problems in me!

      So after this little self exposure, I say again, yes the way religious has been used, has done great damage. So many people out there, not knowing why life's so hard without realization it's their programming, that is actually really anti-life if they start contemplating over it... and contemplating is the one thing scared most by those who we let manipulate us. We would really figure it out - common life's simple 🙂 not easy, but simple...

      So thanks Randy for this space for contemplation and critical thinking...

    15. How do you protect against memes? Well, firstly by shutting of the source of many of them - TV, newspapers and negative friends. Although avoiding family might not be so practical, I'd like to suggest that a lot of the memes that we have that fly under the radar more than likely come from our family, so be ultra vigilant about the communication that occurs with them. I've found that spending time away from family is a great way to gain perspective. When you next return to visit, you might cop a mental smack in the face - the stuff that seemed 'normal' before suddenly looks different, strange or even twisted.

      After that, I'd suggest giving critical thought to new ideas that come your way rather than just accepting what's fed to you. That would mean a little bit of reflection and possibly even some intelligent debate.

      Randy, if you could also add in a section in your next post about the best ways of identifying existing memes, that would be great.

    16. wow ... lots and lots of debate here! simply put, religion is man-made ... institutional and has NOTHING to do with spirituality ... whether you attend church or not, practice a "religion" or not, you ARE spirit ... your physical body would not exist without it ... to become more, you must grow your spirit through connections and relationships with other spirits - if your religion keeps you in "competition" with others of different religious beliefs, then how can you "connect" to form spiritual relationships that grow the both of you?

    17. In a way it is a "crime" that children of young age are indoctrinated with the memes of religion (or other groups or individuals).

      We should realise that what we teach children arent facts, but opinions, that are often based on memes instead of critical thinking. And we (parents, teachers, adults) should always let children know that what we teach them is an opinion that they (can and should) research and discuss, instead of just accepting it as the truth.

      How much a better world would we be in when children would be discussing memes and opinions in class more than learning "skills". There should be a "critical thinking" class in every school.

      Eric Janssen
      The Netherlands

    18. I was raised to believe a certain religious system, and then as an adult I chose a different one. One of the principles of my chosen religion is, each individual has the right to a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

      Our minister has even stood in front of the congregation and said, "you know, in the end, we might be 'wrong'", ie we don't know if our beliefs are "truth".

      If I choose to state a personal belief in a discussion at church, my fellow and sister members have the right to respectfully challenge me on my stance.

      It works for me.

    19. hey Randy,

      I think that's a good way of viewing the majority of religions and religious people. The funny thing is 99% of religious people would respond the same and say 'Oh, but that's not me!' but it is...

      It's only when you're willing to say 'Yes, that is me', take a truly critical look at yourself, what you believe, and why you believe you it; that you no longer are that person and then rationally know why and can justify, logically, why you believe a certain way.

      I identify as Christian but asked myself that question years ago - I then studied the Koran, Torah, etc., openly and see the commonalities throughout religion and what sets Christ apart as a historical figure. I can discuss this as dispassionately as I can why the sky is blue.

      I just usually wait for people to ask me why I believe the way I do, rather than cramming it down anyone's throat.

      Good discussion point!!! 🙂

      Jim P

    20. Interesting post Randy. There is much to say on this but rather than be long winded I will just leave you a poem I once wrote entitled:

      "A POEM FOR THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS"

      When someone asks you,
      Why is the sky blue?
      You say,
      “Because in the beginning (dot, dot, dot)”
      When someone asks you,
      Why is the sky blue today?
      You say,
      “Because it’s not raining.”
      Why do you change the answer,
      for your own purposes?
      When the real answer was there,
      the whole time.

    21. Believing and thinking are collapsed into each other for many people. I believe... is a 'sacred' saying and I seldom say it. Thinking and having thoughts are also two different phenomenons. Thinking is actual work that produces a real result and humans exist immersed in thought and notice it as much as a bird notices the air or fish water. Having thoughts is sort of like puffs of tissue blown from a box of tissues from the back of your head operating at pure random intervals and some people actually 'believe' who they are is doing it. Having thoughts is not thinking.

      You only experience the truth. Believing the truth turns it into a lie. One does not ever need to know the truth to live out a life on this planet or in this plane of existence. I suspect most people fall into that category as large morass of meme virus propagating like algae.

      Besides occurring as an experience the truth lives independent of our sense of time. There is no truth that is ours, mine or yours. “It” exists independent of and from without regard to me or you. Anyone may experience her who is willing to let the experience shape them for his ‘enjoyment.’ [his and her are interchangeable and are for language purposes only.]

      I can no more say anything about your experience than you may of mine. [It would be a lie.] For those who have been touched the experience leaves marks that are apparent to others with the same marks. Birds of feather do not always flock together.

      Don’t believe anything I say. You may try it on like you would a shirt or a pair of shoes, however. If it doesn’t fit put it back on the shelf for someone else who may find it does fit them.

    22. Good question Randy.
      The problem is not the religion itself but we "must" prove that our religion is the only one that is right. Then we use condemnation to push against others, and finally make them our enemies

    23. Actually "Religion" will not get you prosperity. Only spirituality will. There are many religious people in the world, but they are miserable and without any true calling in life.

    24. Whew! I'd be jumping into the ring of fire on this one. I'm a Mormon and Randy, you're all too familiar with Mormon beliefs. ha ha

      One thing I DO know...is one day we will ALL know what the truth really is. There won't be any "discussion."

      But we gotta die first. 🙂

      David

      P.S. Here's my truth --> http://www.BigTomMovie.com

    25. Hi Randy

      Nice and challenging post.

      I am a 25 years old muslim girl,I am aware that because of bin Ladan or Sadam activities we are not well-known in the world,I 've heard some of their activities and they were very painful but I don't wanna talk about them because I live in a country(Iran) that it's leaders are not anything better that bin Ladan or Sadam so I talk about what I myself experienced and feel . . .my country is called "Islamic Republic of Iran" you know, this is so funny because they just carry the words Islamic and Republic , we see no sign of these words in here.Sometimes I tell to myself if they call their religion Islam so I have to name mine something else because My Islam has nothing to do with theirs. . .for decades we 've heard (and sometimes see) lots of thing about how cruel and hard-line they are and we really were sick of them,But last year was totally different , it was the presidential election and we wanted to make a change,we were all so happy and hopeful about future it was like we finally found a light in total darkness so we have voted to our chosen candidate,some people voted for the first time since the revolution because we all wanted to make a big change. . . you know what happened ? our votes didn't get counted,people came to the streets to ask for their votes but they were get shot,arrested,tortured to death,raped . . .they were shooting to unarmed people,to their own people ,we were shocked,you'll never know what we went through, even right now that I write these it brought tears to my eyes . . .for more than 20 years leaders of Iran have been making us feel that we live in hell,you have no idea how talented Iranian are but all that talents go nowhere,if you are lucky you can immigrate otherwise you have to live life miserable and be a dead soul . . .they did all these to us in the name of Allah,they take themselves as they are so holy and have every right to treat people like this . As religion that you talked about I don't take my beliefs from them and I don't even call them human beings let alone being muslim, they just use name of Islam for their own good and I think if we get to know religions well we'll find out that religions talk about peace,kindness,helping each other and all other nice things .Don't judge religions by some idiots acts. . .I can talk for hours to you about my religion and thoughts,but it's kind of hard to tell them in english and actually you don't have enough time to read them. . . the bottom line,I think we,with an open mind,should find out what truly religions are about to say ,the real truth is nice but finding that is sooo hard . . .sorry, for the sake of my safety I can't use my original name .

      Have a great time and thanks for your nice post
      In university we talk about these stuff a lot and it was nice sharing it with you,I love discussing things 😉

    26. Religion:  rules made by man to serve man.  Faith: trusting by nature of examination of facts and personal encounters with the Holy Spirit that what I have heard and read and experienced on my own is true. An abiding peace within me that assures me that I am never left alone, I am unconditonally loved and filled with Joy for where I am going.

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