So in yesterday’s post we discussed the mind viruses in organized religion. I challenged you and asked what made your religious beliefs “the truth.” And then asked you if you got your beliefs from critical thinking or programming.
The reactions varied from thoughtful and intelligent, to judgmental and condescending….
A perfect example was a message I received on Twitter. The man who sent it told me he was unfollowing me because he could no longer follow my beliefs. Of course that is fascinating, but certainly not surprising. Because most people only want to read and hear from people who have the same beliefs they do.
He’s a well-meaning guy and I’m sure he believes he’s collecting points with Jesus (or whatever he believes is the truth), and by accumulating enough points, he’s ensuring his admission into heaven, the afterlife, or the waiting arms of Allah. That’s the kind of result that happens when you get infected with mind viruses.
Now your immediate knee-jerk reaction is probably to say you got YOUR beliefs through critical thinking. (Just like mine is.) Odds are very good we both believe that, but it’s not the case. Because religion is one of the most powerful and prevalent meme complexes on earth. And like all memes, once you’re infected with them, you can’t rationally analyze your own beliefs.
So how can you protect against this?
The way to protect against this is having critical thinkers around you that you can check things out with. You need people that will tell you the truth, without worrying about being politically correct or pandering to you.
This is the exact opposite of what most people want. They want people to give them permission to stay the way they are.
But we all need people we can check things out with. Ladies, you need someone that will tell you if those pants make your butt look fat. Then you can decide whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. Guys you need someone to tell you that those 42 inch waist size bicycle shorts may not be the best fashion choice for you.
We don’t need friends that criticize or belittle us. But we do need friends that will call us on our stuff. Tell us when we are repeating another negative dysfunctional relationship, falling into addictive behavior, or not respecting and honoring the divinity in those around us. Let us know when we came to a belief rationally, or simply succumbed to programming.
So how are you doing on this? Do you have people around you that challenge you? Tell you the truth? Or have you surrounded yourself with people with beliefs just like your own, who tell you what you want to hear?
As for those people surrounding me, I like to think that they are people who challenge me, tell me the truth and inspire me to do better. I also look for those who have been successful as I remember a comment to the effect that your income is partly determined by those you are surrounded by.
However I realise that it is not always possible to be around such a fantastic group of inspirational people, however I do avoid those who will drag me down or not challenge the status quo.
You are absolutely right, we do need as you say "people who challenge me, tell me the truth and inspire me to do better".
We need to always keep an open mind when it comes to "The Truth".
It is important to listen to new Ideas when it comes to experts in whatever area, to people we trust and love, also important to know the difference between "my truth", "your truth", and "The Truth" and to really understand that we all have our own perception of the world (it is neither good or bad....it just is) we give it form and what we say is simply "our opinion" nothing else and that could change when a better Idea comes along.
Accepting others Opinion and being OK with having a different one it's healthy.
Thank you Randy for a great post.
So nice to grow with you.
Isn`t the concept of God just a meme aswell then?
In fact as soon as we start thinking arnt we just creating memes?
So are you saying think these through and simply choose the ones that are beneficial and discard the ones that arnt?
This has been a challenge for me because I have become one of those people who questions every "truth" especially if it's religious based. I have a lost a few "friends" which really wasn't a bad thing. These people don't like being held accountable for their own stuff. It's amazing the amount of emotion that is charged behind many of these issues and how many people are willing to fight for their limitations.
I recently met a woman who is a preacher for a local Methodist Church. I asked her why she became a Methodist. She was drawn to "helping the poor people" and started to recount all the charity work, money, etc. She is a former nurse. I asked her if she had heard of Catherine Ponder. I share with her about the book the Dynamic Laws of Prosperity and she started to cringe. I decded to push her a little and asked her if she thought helping the poor people by changing their patterns of thought that keeps them poor might be more effective than enabling them with food and money. She had no answer for me. Interesting.
This is one of the few places I have found "my people" ...lol.
Thanks for this post Mr G. It's exactly what I needed to hear tonight to move on from a decision I made today. I would never have gone back to what presented itself but it's nice to know that you're looking over me, even if it's coincidental.
I know, I know..., nothing's coincidental :).
May not exactly follow you on this. Yes, we need friends, but not to tell us what to do. The thinking and the rationalizing is our own doing. The choices that we make, should be our own doing. Our own doing should not be influenced by someone else but yourself.
The friends, though, should be there in case we make a wrong choice. To help us go through our mistakes.
The only way that you are going to find out (or stop doing what you are doing wrong) will be when you notice by yourself what you are doing wrong and applying whatever you should be doing to make it right, by yourself.
Having a friend that tells me that my butt doesn't look big with a certain pair of pants make me only believe that I have a friend that doesn't want someone with them that doesn't look good. And anyone that always asks how they look needs a mirror and some self-confidence.
To challenge me, that is different, when I need it. To tell me the thruth regarding specifics, that is perfect. But making my choices is entirely up to me, and if I make the wrong choice, that should be my problem and my friends are there to comfort me, and they would never be there to tell me "I told you so".
And also, I am not surrounded with people saying thing that I want to hear, I already know that. I want to hear different things that I will be able to pick and choose what I want to keep and try, and making choices.
Thank you Randy for a most excellent post.
I am a Christian. Through critical thinking, I have come to a major realization, Christianity as a religion and the teachings of Christ are two different things. Christ was a critical thinker. He challenged the status quo of his time. Christianity as it exists today tells us, follow, follow, follow...do not question.
I totally agree, religion, is a meme. It enslaves the mind.
Randy (and others)...this is a worthy challenge you have tossed out here today. There are some limits to balance into the discussion. Religious truths and spiritual beliefs and practices almost by definition do not fit nicely into the "critical thinking" bucket. Perhaps not everything of vital value CAN be determined to be true or worthy simply through critical thinking. Now, we can certainly use critical thinking to deal with the ramifications of beliefs. But the verification of them...through the millennia it's been determined that faith is involved. And I think it's actually become a "cool" meme to knee-jerk reject faith in Christianity. Much of that has come about by the excesses or practices of Christians themselves...so a lot of "our" bad press is self-inflicted. But I don't think one can truly embrace a "true" transcendent faith on the key basis of objective and rigorous intellectual examination. Is it still valuable to attempt to do so...I would say yes. But using that as a basis of determining the truth of it, that's not likely to yield a positive outcome.
People can tell you things with love. Our minister frequently tells us things with love and no judgement. I think that is the difference between many of the born again Christians. They feel that they have the only answer. It really is an insult to God.
Having said that I realize many of their teachings are correct. An example is that alcohol is taboo. They are correct that drinking does not make us closer to God. If I am trying to have a daily walk with God will it help me to drink everyday. No.
Now I attend the Unity Church and they say it is OK to have a drink. My point is that by not pushing all these rules on me, I have the choice to drink or not.
I don't know if I am making sense. I chose not to drink 25 years ago because of a different AA.
Many of these rules promote shame. You can't get married in the church because you were married before. You are still married in the eyes of God. Now of course if you were not born again and had been married and then became born again after your divorce than tat would be a whole different thing and you could get married in the church. This crap actually makes sense to people.
After studying most religions I've found Buddhism the one that resonates most with me... you live it's core principles you can live a pretty happy contented life... being attached to things as one example... went to a symphony with a lady who was born with silver spoon in her mouth, she was worried about her coat at intermission, I said I really don't think anyone here wants to steal your coat, besides, don't be attached to things, I guess she didn't think too much of my Buddhist principles, ha ha... our only date... go to Thailand, mostly Buddhist, the people have a beautiful serenity, go to the Caribbean, mostly converted to Christianity, the natives hate your guts for being a rich white person and do little to disguise it....
Since I have no religious beliefs, I am usually the one to mention that this religion stuff is all made up. I say : could it possibly be that a religious institution is just another organization that is out to separate you from your money? They are in the religion business and out to get as many customers as they can like anyone else. I also tell them they ought to allocate their sundays for something more useful - like drinking and gambling. I usually say this in the right tone of voice as not to offend anyone.
Some years ago, I was approached by missionaries of the Church of LDS. I began a study of the Book of Mormon. I was taught that I would know this is right and true by the feeling of a "Burning in my bosom".
I decided to do my own research, checking the internet and going through the Bible. The Bible, essentially said, ignore feeling but rather look critically, think rationally, that you would know a prophet to be false when their prophecies fail to materialize.
Religion, to me, focuses on feeling. It captures men and women with emotion, and when emotion comes into play, rational thought, critical thinking goes out the window.
I believe in a supreme being. I believe in a God who created me to "rule and subdue the Earth". I believe in a God who wants me to love and prosper. I believe in a God who expects me to think rationally and not be enslaved by mental programming, a God who gave me freedom to choose.
I think most people surround themselves with people on different levels of relationships. Some may tell you just what you want to hear, and others that are closer to you (friends and / or family) tell you what you need to hear sometimes. Or at least offer a different point of view. Nothing hits closer to home though than when your daughter comes up and rubs your stomach and says, " I think it's time for us to go for a run tonight dad"!
Randy, have you seen Inception yet? If not, you must! You will love it. It uses the statement that the most powerful and indestructable virus is an idea planted in the mind.
I have heard that, but haven't seen the movie yet.
I have a large circle of people who allow me to be me and frequently disagree with me. One of my least favorite set of rules is how to be nice, to be nice at all costs and never disagree with someone to their face. They do discuss you when you leave the room however. This "nice" virus is thick and pervasive in every culture I have lived in.
I notice my upsets and the source of them are always me and my belief system. The source of most of it was a kid, 2 years old, thinking when I grow up it is going to be different... I grew up but I am still two. I used to believe I couldn't change, fix or alter the rules I adopted, that I could only notice and choose differently. Now, I replace old worn out rules... lately with a blank patch of no code.
I do enjoy at what can be learned by pushing buttons on me and others. Who knows maybe real actual thinking will occur.
This is a very timely post for me! I find myself having to constantly re-read your book to prevent myself from being re-infected with various hero's journey and other negative memes and it has been a bit of a struggle. One book and your blog versus a torrent of lack consciousness from all sorts of media. One question, how do we discern the people who are just being negative from those will are merely pointing out reality for us?
Keep up the good work Randy!
now that I think about it, I have chosen the people that surrounds me, and are very close to me, and the reason why I chose them was because they challenge me and are not afraid to tell me the truth of what they are thinking, see these are the people that really matter, these are the people that really love you and want the best from you. I have pulled away from many people, but I don't regret or miss one of them. 🙂
Even Jesus says you don't get anywhere (and in His case, heaven), unless you really think for yourself.
Jesus spoke in parables because his message was ONLY for those who intently thought about what he was saying. In Matthew 11:25 and Matthew 18:3 Jesus uses the concept of being humble and curious, that the things of God are only revealed to the "childlike," not the "wise and learned."
The bible is a tough book but has anyone ever thought about getting a translation that can be understood? Knowing our bible would be one way to protect ourselves from programming... or just knowing what we're talking about would help.
Again, I like the bible to reflect what I'm thinking. I understand it and I'm knowledgeable about it. However, so that I'm not fooled by my own selfish thinking, I get a 2nd and maybe a 3rd opinion of someone who knows the bible too before meditating on it again and coming to a conclusion.
For example, in Col 2:20-23, it says that rules and traditions religious people make up are made so they can just look smart but are they (the religious) really? Are these so called "rules" keeping us from being self-controlled?
Would I get the opinion of an atheist? Probably not. Someone with the same standard but maybe a different viewpoint? Sure.
Where are we getting our philosophy? I hope it's not from own rationalization because honestly, would stuff we just make up establish us as a critical thinker or just someone looking for someone else's program? I would think the later.
Good stuff Randy.
When I honestly answer this question - no. There isn't one soul around who would tell me those pants are not good on you, without their own agenda. What would be making me 'decent'... they are religious people... one even told me I'll burn in hell for wearing pants, that didn't cover my ankles.
Then I have people, with whom I just float while talking, we see the world same way, and enjoy sharing our experiences, and I'm usually the person telling them about their 'pants'. Usually in a from of story... sometimes, they make remarks about stuff in me - but very rarely...
Then I have the most fantastic crowd online, couple people, whom I trust, people of integrity, who induce us to ask questions ourselves. Mr. Randy here is definitely one of them.
There has been created fabulous marketing tool lately, called teleseminars, organized by someone, who interviews people, who have achieved remarkable things in their own field, who are thriving, happy and abundant. They share their ideas in 1 to 1,5 hour interview and then from there you learn if this would be area or person you would like to investigate further. They sell their products, programs and what not, usually put together for this specific teleseminar at great rates....
Subjects are abundance, health, creativity etc... and I must say, it makes one ask lots of questions about oneself.
Those peoples approaches are from very different angles, it has worked so well for me - it's important to be open to that, and in many cases I disagree also, and there the questions arise...
So I consider myself covered - and I do take downtime to contemplate over stuff and ideas. I look at my life and when there's discordance anywhere, well - better start to ask some questions about my beliefs in that area.
To be honest, I think finding person, who don't have their own agenda attached to their advise is really complicated.
I don't take any advise before I go looking for it myself, then I'm open to receive... it seems to be like that for most of the people...
But it would be great to mingle around people like that - passionate, integrated, abundant, sincere etc. So if there's shortage in my life of such a people - gotta look at those beliefs again huh?
All right, I'll start contemplating over this right now, and make couple of them appear - how about that!
Hey Randy, I don't have enough people around me in my day-to-day life like that, but just for the record, I'm quite happy for you to call me on my stuff.
When I was young, I read bible and pamphlets of different religion so that I thought before I am blessed through this...until I encountered some drastic change. I was in love to the girl who mired with belief of different religion. The girl wish to change my religion into their religion..so that We can continue our relationship. I tried but never succeed..because I was afraid to their belief that their minister are angels who reach pinnacle of enlightenment..I am right because they have the right to choose their wife..and one of them chosen my girlfriend to be wife.( Of course I am member of their religions and We love each other) .What a love story I have?
of course it is the saddest thing in my life..
Most of them teach us emotionally to control us in order to believe. Most of them guilt us from asking a questions like my love story and back me up an answer based on bible small phrases but incomplete story..but in real truth, it does not work. It does not bring to happiness. I am graduate from the thought that religion is the only way to salvation, and now I am feeling happy in myself I am free. I don't care..I am not guilty..:)
Randy, I think religion is not really a virus has much as it is links like ones you would click online some links have harmful stuff that infect your computer and cause it not to work at its highest levels or stop working all together, but you may click a link that informs you and gives you the tools to be a better person. I think it goes well with who is surrounding you and the message being given. Whether it is a Church, on the job, a friend, or a mentor you always have to watch out from getting someone's virus from a bad program they are running. We are all given a bullshit meter at birth and some of us refine the meter and others just shut it off. Critical thinking is required to determine to truth of information. I love to surround myself with people who have different believes and opinions then myself. There is always food for thought with them.
I got a question about programming. The question can seem ridiculous but anyway. I'd like to know if gloomy music (such as doom metal for instance) and scary books (not neccessarily only the horror ones) and horror movies are examples of negative programming or not and why. I messed up with this subject a little bit. Thanks