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Are You Really Living Your Life?

Posted By: Randy GageFebruary 21, 2020

I get asked frequently why I’m so hard on organized religion.  Most who ask believe I’m on a crusade to convert the world to atheism.  In actuality, that’s the last thing I want to do.  There are many people whose faith nourishes their souls and lives in wondrous ways, and that’s a beautiful thing to behold. 

I don’t have the slightest idea whether god exists.  No one does.  It's an issue I think about a lot because it meets some of my criteria for favorite questions: It’s about questioning a premise. I can’t readily deduce the answer. It makes my brain hurt.  And the question leads to a never-ending series of additional questions.

Years ago, I was attending a Christmas Eve service at Unity on the Bay in Miami.  The lights were off, with the only illumination provided by the candles 800 of us were holding, while singing Silent Night.  I remember thinking at that moment that if religion was just some crazy shit made up by humans – it’s was some pretty good shit.

The rational, logical, analytical, compulsive, addictive, controlling aspects of me rebel against the idea of giving away your power.  I fiercely protect and defend the power to choose my thoughts and create my future.  But truth is, there are moments for each of us, when we desperately need to give away our power...

Often I have felt that I would be a much happier person if I could cry more often. My decades of anxiety, insecurity, and fear ingrained such a deep defense mechanism in me that it can sometimes prevent me from accessing the deeper levels of my humanity.

Who is really more arrogant, the believer who is oblivious to science, or the atheist cynical of faith?  It’s undoubtedly a tie.

Many former addicts point to the moment they recognized a power greater than themselves as the turning point in their recovery.  At some point, all of us need to choose powerlessness – to voluntarily surrender our power and break down sobbing in the arms of another, allowing them to be powerful for us.  For many people, religion provides this outlet.

Tragically, I have more than a few friends who have buried their children.  Most of them are strengthened by a belief that when their loved one left the earth, heaven got another angel.  If that belief gives them the sustenance to move forward with their lives, why not celebrate the beauty in that?

My fight is not with god, but organized religion.  The fight is driven by my desire to combat the two most destructive and dangerous beliefs religions propagate:

  • That you are not worthy to be healthy, happy, and prosperous.
  • That your real life hasn’t begun yet, and if you patiently slog your way through the warmup, you’ll be rewarded your true life (and happiness) later.

It’s like your mom promising you dessert if you eat your broccoli, and after you choke down the green stuff, it turns out there is no ice cream at the end of the tunnel.  There are millions of people unconsciously rushing through what they believe is a prologue to their life –  but is actually a prologue to their death. And there aren’t many situations more tragic than a life not lived.

Make sure you live, really live, your life – the one you’re in right now. 

Peace,

- RG

4 comments on “Are You Really Living Your Life?”

  1. Dear Randy, I have been a catholic all my life, but those priests have not taught me a damn thing, apart from the obvious guilt trip.. you are a BLESSING for now and future generations,and if you reflect on life , all events of your life will have conspired to where you are now.. I never knew about tithing.. now I tithe to Ponder, my life was limited but now it is transforming... in this transformation period my dilemma is how do I pray? Should I pray? my solution is I stick to my basic prayers ie the our father, recite my affirmations to myself, but mostly to listen to the inner guidance...
    I only know through personal experience the spirit or what ever it is is alive and well... for instance... many years ago I was riding a bike in the hills of penang (malaysia).. going up a steep hill, a wild black dog foaming at the mouth suddenly appeared, I had two options, get off the bike and give it a kick, or peddle like mad, either way I was fairly fucked...... now as this dog ran across the road to start it's attack, four cars came out of no where, as these cars over took me this dog was spun underneath a car and got chucked back to where it came from.. considering I had barely seen a car all day and then suddenly for turn out of the blue is what I would call a fuckin miracle..
    Much love as always Graham UK

  2. The good thing about this life is that we all are free to believe what we want. In particular, some choose to believe that ther's a God, while some choose to believe that there isn't such a being.
    In defence of those who chose to believe in God - many, probably most, of those have something to confirm their faith - more than just thouths/ideas/reasoning. And religion doesn't contradict the science. It would be silly to go against science in places where it has a sure ground. But our (mankind's) knowledge of the Universe, or even about our own planet, is so far from perfect, that it leaves more than enough room for religion to coexist. That is, the science can't prove there's no God. To be scientific, one needs to come up with a theory, conduct observations/investigations/experiments, analyse the results, and then get some conclusion on whether smth true or false. And I really doubt any such a study was ever successfully performed about religious matters.
    It grieves me to see that the author's experience with religion brought him to the conclusions about all organized religions. Well, there quite may be some that preach the things he intends to fight against. But there's another religios opinion (I'll quote from teachings of one very well organized christian church):
    1. We're here to be happy. The scripture teaches us that 'Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.'. So yes - while difficulties/hard times may happen in everyone's lifes, God loves us and wants us to be happy (and provides a way). Here and now. Moreover - to be happy regardless of the surrounding circumstances.
    2. Our life has begun long 'before the world was'. Our existence doesn't start with our birth, neither does it end with our death. Again - we can be happy here. And yes - those, who 'keep the commandments', will get into a much better state afterward. Nothing wrong with this approach - we get more (both opportunities and responsibilities) as we grow. As an analogy, it is quite reasonable to learn to ride bicycle before going over to motorcycle.
    Some people see that 'commandmants' are restrictions that don't allow us to be free. (Actually, what does it mean to be free and how far does it go? Who is there to decide where that personal freedom should end?). And at a first glance that appears to be true. But the deeper you go into what religion and life is all about, the clearer it becomes that these 'restrictions' actually provide greater freedom and flexibility in choosing ones path through this life. Just as trafic rules, they frame a way for everyone to be safer and happier.

  3. Armand Nicholi, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School as well as the editor and co-author of the Harvard Guide to Psychiatry, has taught an honors course for Harvard College and Harvard Medical School that’s focused on Freud and the great Christian writer C.S. Lewis. Based upon that course, he has published a fascinating book:

    The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life. It’s a fascinating study!

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  • 4 comments on “Are You Really Living Your Life?”

    1. Dear Randy, I have been a catholic all my life, but those priests have not taught me a damn thing, apart from the obvious guilt trip.. you are a BLESSING for now and future generations,and if you reflect on life , all events of your life will have conspired to where you are now.. I never knew about tithing.. now I tithe to Ponder, my life was limited but now it is transforming... in this transformation period my dilemma is how do I pray? Should I pray? my solution is I stick to my basic prayers ie the our father, recite my affirmations to myself, but mostly to listen to the inner guidance...
      I only know through personal experience the spirit or what ever it is is alive and well... for instance... many years ago I was riding a bike in the hills of penang (malaysia).. going up a steep hill, a wild black dog foaming at the mouth suddenly appeared, I had two options, get off the bike and give it a kick, or peddle like mad, either way I was fairly fucked...... now as this dog ran across the road to start it's attack, four cars came out of no where, as these cars over took me this dog was spun underneath a car and got chucked back to where it came from.. considering I had barely seen a car all day and then suddenly for turn out of the blue is what I would call a fuckin miracle..
      Much love as always Graham UK

    2. The good thing about this life is that we all are free to believe what we want. In particular, some choose to believe that ther's a God, while some choose to believe that there isn't such a being.
      In defence of those who chose to believe in God - many, probably most, of those have something to confirm their faith - more than just thouths/ideas/reasoning. And religion doesn't contradict the science. It would be silly to go against science in places where it has a sure ground. But our (mankind's) knowledge of the Universe, or even about our own planet, is so far from perfect, that it leaves more than enough room for religion to coexist. That is, the science can't prove there's no God. To be scientific, one needs to come up with a theory, conduct observations/investigations/experiments, analyse the results, and then get some conclusion on whether smth true or false. And I really doubt any such a study was ever successfully performed about religious matters.
      It grieves me to see that the author's experience with religion brought him to the conclusions about all organized religions. Well, there quite may be some that preach the things he intends to fight against. But there's another religios opinion (I'll quote from teachings of one very well organized christian church):
      1. We're here to be happy. The scripture teaches us that 'Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.'. So yes - while difficulties/hard times may happen in everyone's lifes, God loves us and wants us to be happy (and provides a way). Here and now. Moreover - to be happy regardless of the surrounding circumstances.
      2. Our life has begun long 'before the world was'. Our existence doesn't start with our birth, neither does it end with our death. Again - we can be happy here. And yes - those, who 'keep the commandments', will get into a much better state afterward. Nothing wrong with this approach - we get more (both opportunities and responsibilities) as we grow. As an analogy, it is quite reasonable to learn to ride bicycle before going over to motorcycle.
      Some people see that 'commandmants' are restrictions that don't allow us to be free. (Actually, what does it mean to be free and how far does it go? Who is there to decide where that personal freedom should end?). And at a first glance that appears to be true. But the deeper you go into what religion and life is all about, the clearer it becomes that these 'restrictions' actually provide greater freedom and flexibility in choosing ones path through this life. Just as trafic rules, they frame a way for everyone to be safer and happier.

    3. Armand Nicholi, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School as well as the editor and co-author of the Harvard Guide to Psychiatry, has taught an honors course for Harvard College and Harvard Medical School that’s focused on Freud and the great Christian writer C.S. Lewis. Based upon that course, he has published a fascinating book:

      The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life. It’s a fascinating study!

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