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Whose God is Real Anyway?

Posted By: Randy GageOctober 25, 2011

What a fascinating discussion so far on the underlying programming we can get infected with.  And usually aren’t even aware of.  Last post we looked at the role of parenting.  Today, let’s look at another group of integrated mind viruses:  religious beliefs.

Of course most people get their religious beliefs by age eight.  They are passed onto them by their parents, and whatever religious entity they expose their children two.

Kids born in a cult, grow up believing in it.  Why wouldn’t they?  It’s all they know.  Of course most of the major organized religions are cults as well, so their followers have the same devotion to or veneration of the leaders of their faith.  A charismatic megalomaniac cult leader like Pat Robertson is really no different that a David Koresh or Jim Jones.

So if someone is born in Minnesota, they simply “know” that Lutherans have the truth.  If they are born in Iran, they “know” that the people in Minnesota are infidels.  And if they are born in Tel Aviv, they “know” that both of the other two are wrong.  Yet if the same girl born in Minneapolis had been instead born in Tehran, she would “know” a different truth.

Yet most people are completely oblivious to this reality. They sit in smug condescension, because they know that they alone have the "real" truth.  Many fundamentalists are no better than a washing machine programmed with a rinse cycle.  They might as well be mindless automatons, because someone who doesn't use their rational thought, is no different than a machine which has none.

Even atheists can suffer from the same issue, by the way.  If they are raised in an atheist environment, they generally grow up to become atheists simply because that is the programming they received at an impressionable age.

So what about you?

Are you the same faith as your parents were?  How much critical thought have you really given to your religious beliefs and how you obtained them?  Have you ever done any serious study of other faiths?  And Atheism?

Please give that some real thought and share your insights below.  (Special prize to the first idiot that says they have the real truth because scripture says it's so!)  And next post we will look at your beliefs about money.

-RG

 

84 comments on “Whose God is Real Anyway?”

  1. I haven't commented in a while, but I had to throw my 2 cents into this one.

    This is something that I used to struggle with, and when I say struggle, I mean I went through a 10 year battle with myself over things.

    I was raised Catholic, but ditched that shortly before Confirmation when I was 16. I dropped out of my Catholic high school around the same time and went back to public school. I had grown up believing in the same God of my parents and my entire extended family.

    About the time I got on the internet, back in 1993-1994, when I was around 16-17, I started really looking things up and trying to make up my own mind. This led me to atheism eventually. Along the way, I checked out Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and several other schools of thought.

    I was a hardcore, some would say militant, atheist for the majority of my early twenties. I suspect this was because I was so pissed off that I had been "duped" earlier in my life. I wasn't really kind to Christians in particular on various message boards across the internet. Definitely regret that now.

    I toyed with Christianity over the next few years, as well as atheism. Now, I consider myself spiritual, but definitely agnostic... because I don't really know. None of us do.

    I have no problem with Jesus. I agree with a lot of his teachings, but ultimately I'm pretty sure that he is not the only way. Just like I'm pretty sure that there isn't one "only way".

    I like to quote one of my favorite hip hop artists from time to time, Immortal Technique. In one of his songs he says, "Do you really think God only sent a single messiah?" I think that sums it up pretty well.

    I'm pretty sure there is something beyond this life, and I'm pretty sure I won't be going to hell just because I haven't figured it all out. When I die, if the God of xyz religion is there waiting for me, I'd like to think that he/she/it will be ok with that.

    Thank you for the post Randy. This is something I spent a good portion of my adult life trying to figure out, and I still haven't quite figured it all out. I'm just smart enough now to know that I never really will and I'm ok with that. 🙂

    1. i always asked every .. did any one in world point any of islam's dignity???
      & especially is there any thing against the human in Islamic practices?????
      if doesn't then they all are against it even they didn't even prove wrong its single verse????
      think & research proparly if any obligation then ask me or search topics related toit by MOulana zakir naik...

    2. What a Powerful Truth you. The fear of criticism would prevent most from writing such a post. I applaud you for your courage to challenge humanity to THINK!!

  2. I was raised Christian. However, I converted To Al Islam. I made the decision years ago from introspection and critical thought. Yes I have studied comparative religions. Throughout history believers and non believers have made postive contributions to humanity. I don't believe in forcing my beliefs on other individuals. I have family, friends who are christians, atheists, Jews, Jehova Witnesses, Mormons, catholics and everything in between. I believe it is important that we treat the human family with dignity and respect regardless of their beliefs.

  3. I am born Hindu and have a very rich history of religious and spiritual heritage . However til my Childhood , it was all "our truth" and "our religion" versus the "others" .

    My Initial study of Christianity , Buddhism , Jainism and other religion teaches the same truth about God . However even in most of the scriptures and religious literature , the learning , prayers and even affirmations are infested with " particular Gods" and not a " Universal God ". There are very few books and literature which stresses the Universal God and refrain from a Particular God's name.

    Books on Hinduism says - Only Lord Ram / Lord Krishna can show you the Path of Light and Divine Consciousness.
    Books on Christianity Says - Know that Only Jesus Christ can heal you.
    Books on Islam Says - Only Prophet Mohammed teachings can enlighten your consciousness .

    And so on...!

    I think all Religions have a universal teaching about Peace , Love , kindness and Humanity but somehow the authors/ writers present/ interpret it to the world with a biased or rather limiting view of only their "Real God".

    - Vineet

  4. I appreciate what you say here. I myself, was raised a Christian. There came a point in my life where I began to question my beliefs, not becuase someone asked me to or my beliefs were challenged, but, because I just came to a point in my life where I began to question everything. It became evident to me that everything I believed about God was handed to me and I just bought into it.

    The experience was life changing. I believe that most people who are brought up in religion just conform to the collective beliefs of their environment. That's programming for you. The truth can only be revealed to you from ther inside. You cannot experience the truth from anbybody who says they have it. Whatever God is I know know is from personal experience. This is the only way I know. You cannot experience the truth from someone else's experience.

  5. Randy, I very much like the washing machine programmed mind!! 🙂
    I wrote a book, a novel, in 2010 which is currently being printed and I made an excurse into my religious belief and came up with the most important thing which is: to believe in yourslf.
    I am aware that each religion and each book about it was written by a certain mind-set of someone or some group. Still, Buddhism is build on a logical base, while Christianity hows an analytical base (they set-up the chapters in a certain row so they fit in a line). So I figure, each mind with a more or less extra program (in their brain) created a certain belief of how life functions and wrote it down. That´s why they vary so much!
    To me, it´s the best explanation I could find!
    What´s your opinion about "how" several religions were created?
    Enjoy your great day!
    rita

        1. interesting answer! ... why not?
          In early 1986 in CA. I met the creator (model maker) of the star wars ship! he smoked dope and scribbled the flag ship on a piece of paper before building it - for the star wars movie trailer at Lukas Films. he made a lot of money!! he is/was from the phillipines - still have his ID card 🙂
          but as far as history tells or shows: religion was created in churches, off of the folks life. behind hidden doors in silence. they sure went through quite some experiences to "open their minds" as it was argued or described about drugs for hundreds of years/ages...
          and pink floyd made quite a lot of money with their music in the early 80´s, being pumped with dope or whatever and we all loved it! ...it was different 😉

  6. Great post & comments! Ditto on the self-search & period of questioning everything resembling absolute authority! I have had many debates on this topic, the most prolonged with Christian evangelicals - its always a choice to disagree. Funny this post comes from a world-class marketer. There's evidently much to learn from the "branding" religion is best known for...

  7. Randy: Wow you are brave... I was raised "Chritian" have been to different churches with different Labels, Methodist, Baptist...
    I don't believe in religion, I believe in God.
    In fact I can not recite you a verse from the Bible, I can only tell you my own experience, how I feel inside, and what I believe in my heart. I know there is a "GOD" we have conversed. He has saved my life, literally. Know one can tell me any different. I do not care about Church. I care about what is in my soul. Others may ridicule me, say I am a loon...I don't care. When you are driving down a road and GOD knots on your door and says I love you...who and I to question that?

  8. I've also spent a lot of time on that spiritual journey.. raised sort of Christian, toyed with all sorts of weird & wacky beliefs, spent a lot of time as a bible believing charismatic christian.. and hope that now I have been able to move past all that. I think there is a God. I think there is a call for each of us to embrace our own spirituality - and to appreciate the beliefs of others. That there isn't an ultimate 'truth'. I haven't managed to formulate the theology yet (and I'm not even sure that I need one (or want one!)), but I have a sneaky feeling that we're each one of us right. That maybe we bring our own beliefs and our own truth to this existence we call 'reality'. That we see how they play together. That co-operation and respect is more important than discovering 'the truth'. That maybe this universe is genuinely stranger and more wonderful than our limited ideas of 'heaven' and 'hell' and 'God' could possibly express, and that our personal ideas and beliefs are both more important and less significant than we imagine.

  9. Nice post, I couldn't have summarize it better. It's amazing how so many people believe they have and only know the truth. I always ask is or was there any point in your life you realize you didn't have or know the Truth. Then I explain your current Truth is only based on your. Jeremy level of awareness, perspective and acceptance. Keep searching. It infinity.

  10. Jesus said "I am the Way,the Truth, and the Life." John 14:6...not a way, but the only way to everlasting life. Those who believe in that will have everlating life bottom line. There is no grey area. I am honored and sad at the same time to be first to say this and stand up for the Almighty God (The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Don't be deceived as deception is filling the world we live in. You can object this comment or comment whatever you want after this but it does not change that. You would not let anybody join a whack MLM company or deal so why would you let them worship false gods and go straight to hell.

    1. Don't get me wrong, I'm down with Jesus as far as his teaching go, but at the end of the day you're still taking a 2,000 year old book as an absolute truth, despite the fact that it's riddled with errors and contradictions (two different genealogies for Jesus, for example).

      I say this with all due respect. The bottom line is that nobody knows for sure. You are taking the word of a 2,000 year old book. You were not there, and you have not died yet, so there is no possible way you can tell anyone that you know the absolute truth, despite what that 2,000 year old book says.

      I wouldn't have even commented on your comment if you had started out with, "This is what I believe...", rather than just declare a universal "truth" that basically tells everyone else they are wrong and going to hell for being wrong.

      With all due respect, who are you to tell me that I'm going straight to hell for not believing what a 2,000 year old book says? Does that punishment fit the "crime" of not "knowing" what the hell is beyond this life, when the only "evidence" is a 2,000 year old book? Have you read the Old Testament? Is that the history of an "all-loving" God? Could Moses have been the first recorded dictator that wiped out all of his neighboring tribes, slaughtering women and children along the way because he told his people that God wanted them to? What kind of God would tell people to do that?

      Please do everyone a favor and start your future comments with, "This is what I believe...". 🙂

      P.S. I'm not here to debate. This is something I've spent the majority of my adult life studying and debating. I know the Bible better than most mega-church preachers do, and that's exactly why I lost faith in it as an absolute truth.

      P.P.S. What if you believe the wrong book?

        1. Exactly. You have stated your opinion of the truth, and I have stated that I don't really know what the truth is, and I'm ok with that.

          My issue is with you passing your opinion of the truth off as the absolute truth and if I don't believe it then I'm going to hell?

    2. Thank you Greg. I am a christian and have been raised as a Baptist. I beleive the reason for the situation that the world is in today is because people are trying to take religion into their own hands and make it what they want it to be so that they can rationalize their actions.

    3. Greg- I am curious as to your thoughts on the gospel of Thomas since it is thought that the book of John was written as a direct response to the gospel of Thomas.

      Plus, how do you (not your church) interpret John 14:6, "no man comes to the Father except by me." I read this to mean, "through my example, through my consciousness."

      The core teachings of Jesus are love and forgiveness and he loved and forgave everyone. This is the example, the consciousness, leading to the "Father."

  11. Randy, this is scary subject and it takes a guy like you to open this so freely !
    I am not sure how to put this. I have quickly read the comments above and feel that perhaps I can say what I have in mind about this.
    I have been raised in european protestantism and went to catholic school (supposed to be "better ") and so attended both kind of rituals. When i found the courage to say NO, I told my mum that is was the end of me attending any church. Now I am really not sure how so many people need to have a faith in a particular "God" It is quite obvious to any neutral ( well, perhaps not quite neutral, hum hum !...) observer that they just cannot all be right, which makes me say they are ALL wrong, of course.
    If there is a god, in my humble opinion, it is in each and every one of us, and that is it. I refuse to enter a church to participate in any ritual but I am quite happy to be videographer or photographer for a wedding ! after all they are usually quite nice buildings, made with art and dedication.
    Well, of course I could have left my comment in my outbox, but somehow your post was provocative enough for me to write back. Hope this is fine with your readers ! and if not? you guess what I think...
    take care Randy

  12. Randy, I go to Unity on the Bay so we have something in common. The Truth is within us. If we calm the egoic mind, Truth, Love and Knowledge (God/Christ/Buddha/Krishna) can come forth but only when the mind is quiet. The experience is very personal but Universal in the same instant. Thank you for being that Spiritual Pioneer!

    "Religion is a defense against the experience of God." - Carl Jung

  13. What would happen if it is prohibited for anyone to reveal their religious beliefs? No one cares what anyone believes, only how they behave. What if people were judged on what they do, not on what they preach?
    The great problem arises when someone wants to impose their truth over someone else. This is when humankind gets in trouble. It will all come down to which path you choose. Critical thinking or faith. And that decision is very personal and it shouldn't be criticized by anyone.

  14. Most people believe that scriptures are the source of their religion when the opposite would be more accurate. Religion is the source of scripture, each creating their own to suit their established dogma.

    The major purpose and function of religion is to establish the basis, criteria, and justification for its membership to judge and condemn themselves and others in a misguided attempt to establish a favored position with God and superior position among mankind.

    It was Pascal that said: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when the do it from a religious conviction."

    Personally, I'm more comfortable with not knowing than being certain of something that's not true! To me, being at peace while not knowing is evidence of greater faith the sacrificing one's life to religious dogma and the "good opinions of others."

    The great philosopher Clint Eastwood is credited with saying that "Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one!" The problem with opinions is people's tendency to confuse them with truth. Then they feel they must defend them - to the death. Truth doesn't need defended nor believed in - it will be self evident regardless of lies and dogma. And, when you find it, it will make you free (of ignorance) - but it may piss you off first!

    It's really not our job to change people or convince them. You are free to love without and agenda!

    I fired my old god, and got a new one! LOVE!

  15. Brave post on a controversial subject.

    I homeschooled my kids, and through that, we studied most of the world's major religions from the point of view of the areas of origin, going back to ancient times. I wanted them to have perspective and empathy for others' beliefs, which I hope will give them a better understanding of today.

    Although I'd consider myself an agnostic, I hope that I respect anyone's beliefs. What bother me about many people w/religious beliefs is that they don't afford me the same respect. That's where I have a problem. Also, many who are UberChristian seem to arrive after a life of major sin, but then are quick to condemn those not in the fold, almost as though they now are more "worthy" than someone who has not lived such an immoral life.

    Lastly, I moved to the Bible Belt South 15 years ago. It can be a very scary place 🙂

    Thanks for allowing a discussion. Great topic!

  16. Yes...I agree

    Most people just accept what they are brought up to believe.

    Most people are either "parrots" and just repeat what they hear....or they are "sheep" where they just follow the herd

    Despite that....being brought up that killing is wrong...or that stealing is wrong...keeps the majority in check....

  17. Hi Randy,

    my mother is protestant, my father catholic which led to the circumstance that my mother had problems of truly being accepted by her mother-in-law. Not only because I was baptised protestant.

    My grandmother wouldn't enter a protestant church building only four years after my baptize, when my younger brother was baptised.

    So I would say I grew up in a religiously highly biased environment which led to disrespect towards religious leaders who sell their truth as the only one. When the former pope died and I saw the masses flooding to Rome, I cringed and I was wondering whether Karl Marx and Lenin were right..."Religion is opium for the people."

    And yes, I called myself an atheist for quite a while but I knew it wasn't truly the case because an atheist defines himself through religion or a god - he's only "anti".

    I am not yet sure if all my religious communications are complete, because I still can become angry when I realize what they're selling people on. The guilt trips for example.

    And isn't it interesting that many people pray to God on a daily basis - which I definitely respect - but then tell you that they only believe what they see - when it comes to business, for example.

    With that being said, I believe that there's a creator of this universe, but I don't think we need organized religions and priests, rabbis etc.

    Why talking to the self-proclaimed ground staff when I can communicate directly ?

    Isn't it interesting also that people in Germany who are members of one the two big churches (protestant or catholic) are taxed automatically by law ? The governement (!) notfies the church when you file your income tax. It's 8 or 9 % (depending on the federal state) of the income tax that goes directly to the church. Of course, you can ditch that tax by ditching the church - but who does that ? More and more do but in fact, most people prefer paying church tax. The argument you hear most when questioning that is:"I want a priest or an (official) pastor at my funeral and not some sermonizer." Well, of course, a highly personal argument and not questionable as such.

    Thanks for bringing up that hot topic.

    Be blessed 😉

    Oliver

  18. I've always given religion a pretty critical eye. I don't believe a large percent of what I was taught growing up... and that "critical eye" started when I was probably about 16 or so.

    But then again - I've always questioned nearly everything I've ever been taught in my life 🙂

    Funny thing is, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I believe... but my basic philosophy is that there IS some type of higher power. The name you give it doesn't really make a difference. Whether it's Jesus, Buddha, etc... all the same in my mind.

    I think for most people, the "name" is there simply so people can get past the fact that we're wildly believing in what is essentially "nothing and everything" all at the same time, and giving "it" a name helps people process it a little easier.

  19. Well, I was born into a Christian family. I adopted the faith.I remember the first time I tried reading Power of positive thinking. When I saw Bible quotes at the end of the first chapter, I threw the book away because as far as I was concerned , the Bible was the most impractical book I'd ever read and Christianity was nothing more than a boring religion. Such was my bias due to the way Christianity had been presented with me at that time.
    But a day came when I evaluated my beliefs and finally settled with Christianity out of a sense of conviction and not as a heritage. I now believe it hook line and sinker.
    I can't make people believe as I but if someone says that all religions are different authentic ways of getting to the same God, then that person's got to be high off some Mexican Dust.Cos how can divergent views lead to the same target. It's absurd!

  20. And now we have the cult of the Law of Attraction, the cult of Power of Now, the cult of NLP, even the cult of Prosperity!! Critical Thinking i very important in these day's!!!

  21. Low bow to America, that She has presented to Serafima Rose's world. Nobody has opened for me this theme so deeply and comprehensively, as it. Read its books. Get acquainted with its destiny. This phenomenon of a world scale.

  22. Everyone's GOD is as real to each individual.I am brought up in a family believing in a Taoist tradition so called adopted by my late mother.My late father is an atheist.At a very young age I already started questioning about life .For me through this critical self questioning in my journey in this world when one day in my thirties I was brought home to a Dhamma talk by a buddhist venerable monk and through practices of vipassana meditation did I finally come to appreciate life more meaningfully.All religions teach you to do good only , respect each other , be kind to one another.Finally my conclusion is there is no one religion only in this world.The most important issue is what impact have you left behind that will leave you at peace within.I have friends who have found peace within through other forms of religion other than my belief too and I am so glad for them.It is through living together with each other freely without hate and anger that peace can prevail.Thank you for an opportunity for expressing this .

  23. I hate how politicians use the words god and faith to manipulate the masses. Especially on the can do no wrong Republican side. If they are so for Christianity and what it preaches why are they always itching to occupy other countrys and go to war?

    I feel sorry for the people who nod their head in glee at these false prophets when they promise to keep them safe from the boogie man! I do believe in karma and those souls will be on the other end of their wars in due time.

  24. Ironically Randy, at the same time you are asking us if we have questioned our religious beliefs, you shut out those who think differently than you. When you said you would give a prize to the first idiot who said they had the "real truth" because they read it as part of the scripture, you alienated a whole group of people.

    Fundamentalism is a spiritual stage and it is not even the first. Spirituality is kinda like a journey. But, you are correct, beliefs have to be questioned if one wants to move forward on their journey.

    1. He's not shutting out those that think differently, just those that are arrogant enough to "know" that what they "believe" is the 100% absolute truth and the rest of us are going to some kind of hell for not believing it.

      It's perfectly find to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, if that's what you want to believe in. It's when you start pushing that and start condemning others to hell for not believing it that you cross the line.

      1. Yes, and those who believe they have the absolute truth, should be questioning their beliefs. However being called an idiot may not make one want to think much further. I actually agree with Randy, but I also know it is kind of a way to keep those folks out of the discussion. There are christian fundmentalists who read this blog.

  25. Think of it this way: Our higher power has many different paths (religions) to Him. No one path is better than the other. What is important is being spiritually closer to your maker. Yes we are challenged everyday, that is to provide us with opportunities to learn and improve ourselves. We were created to do big things. We are the only creatures in the universe with free will. If you doubt, I ask you: Do you really think this is all an accident?

  26. I became a Christian when I was 14. I was then told by one of my parents that it was the worst decision I'd ever made. I haven't looked back since. It wasn't a decision lightly made, and has had years of impact on the relationship.

  27. I greatly admire Dave Phillips, founder of the Children's Hunger Fund. He is blatantly Christian, but when addressing an international group of some 8,000 people he began this way:

    "I believe that the creator of the universe is a personal God who lovingly answers our prayers....." and he began his talk with a prayer. He wasn't telling anyone what to believe; he was simply SAYING what he believes, and then DOING the thing that works for him: asking for help from God.

    I ask myself, "That's what Dave believes. What do I believe?"

    I choose [CHOOSE!!] to believe that the creator of the universe is a personal & present God who lovingly hears and answers my prayers.

    Christianity is my cultural & family heritage, so if I need a handy label, I call myself a Christian. I am a Pragmatic Christian - I embrace those teachings that make me happy & peaceful. It is a belief-system that has worked really well for a lot of happy, peaceful people. I vote that everybody gets to CHOOSE what they believe.

    If you had a choice - and you do - what would you choose to believe about God? Some cockamamie thing that some other person chose, or ... that God has a loving, personal care for you, regardless of how you have behaved in the past ("As far as east is from west, thus far have I removed your transgressions from you.") and regardless of how you behave in the future. "Let the peace of God rule in your heart."

    Love the Bible, it is just jam-packed with gems of wisdom. There is no other collection quite like it - a unique world treasure.

    Thanks for the opportunity to rant, Randy...

    lovingly submitted, Mrs. H&P

  28. Randy, thanks for the opportunity to share. Here goes. I was born in a Buddhist home in a lovely island in Penang, educated in a Catholic school (Convent) moved to another island, planted and rooted. Married and had children with the inherited Buddhist religion.
    I was confronted with challengess I looked for God who can help me. I started visiting churches, of various denominations (you name it, I've been there as I thought God can be found only in churches). Not true. I went in dry and I came out dry but I learnt beautiful hymns and sacred songs.
    At that point I had turned to alcohol for relief.
    One Sunday in 1982, a friend, Pamela called me very early on a Sunday morning. 'Suzanne want to go to church?' To which I retorted, 'Whey do you call me so early in the morning and what is so wonderful about your church. She said, 'Very good, very good now I cannot play the jack poot machine anymore". Oh I replied ' I need to go because I have some bad habits' so we went but she had warned me 'Please do not be afraid as they pray in a funny language'

    So Pamela fetched me and we attend the first big Charismatic church in town. The minute I went I thought a tornado had hit me. They were all singing and praising the Lord. I broke down and cried non stop. It was a big work of healing the Lord did in my life instantly.
    When I went back, the desire for alcohol left me and I had a big love for the Word of God. I enjoyed and still do reading the Bible as I feel that God is talking to me. THAT WAS A RADICAL CONVERSION. When I received the Holy Spirit, the alcoholic spirit left me .... That was the start of my Christian faith from a small island to a bigger island and to Heaven. and do you know what ? my liitle 4 year old grandson said 3 years ago when I told him my story.. 'Grandma, good, gooder and Goodest!'

    I am eternally grateful!

  29. Hi Randy!
    The topic of Religion has been debated on since ages and in simple words, Religion can be explained as a 'Way of Life'.
    I have a few points to make, and though they are not organized but each has come out after some introspection:
    1) First and foremost, Humans try to find a reason for everything and for those they could not find any reason they attribute to God.
    2) We pray only for ‘luck’ and ‘inner strength’, because, Life is practical. (Luck is something we term as God’s blessings);
    3) Following any religion/God is to make you feel secure, that 24x7 you are being watched and protected by God could be a myth to make you secure. Since, we have been taught since ages that we are weaklings and praying to a 'particular God/s' will solve our problems we do it. Its about ‘inner strength’.
    4) People have been attributing things to their God/Religion, However, I personally feel that Religion can be summed up as a source of STRENGTH (something like believing in your parents/friends etc who make you feel confident.)
    5) And, Prayer is a kind of reflection and God may/may-not listen to you except your mind wherein you re-focus on what you want, i.e. programming yourself(as Randy says).
    6) Festivals are a time to celebrate and forget our problems, renew our relations with friends and family and Strengthen ourselves. God really does not taste our food. We do it and attribute to God.
    7) "Strength is Life and weakness is Death", so, whatever religion or anything is to make you feel strong. And, since we are Humans we need help/strength, so, Religion is required for those who need this strength.
    8) Whether we go to Hell or Heaven, we don’t have a choice. The secret to happiness is to live by the rules of Life which only a few follow.
    9) Happiness is a state of mind and who knows what you do is right or wrong, like ‘your food is someone else’s poison’.
    Finally, All Religions have a common end but different paths, It is like everybody’d parents are the best that does not mean that we must demean someone else’s. Respect and live with it.
    Play the GAME of life

    Alapati

  30. I am glad that I have a personal relationship with God. I have actually felt Gods presence right beside me. I don't claim any label as to my relationship with God. It is so awesome not having to prove anything to anyone. God knows my heart..that's all that matters to me. God bless you all.

  31. RG-
    I have always questioned religion (Christianity coz that's the path i took) because i was perturbed by the division it created. As the saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher will arrive, i found two books that have guided me in understanding Jesus's journey. Discover the power within by Eric Butterworth and the Enoch factor by Steve McSwain. My conclusion after reading these books, i will live life with an open heart! "The destiny of the soul is to see as God sees, to know as God knows, to feel as God feels, to be as God is." M.Eckhart.

  32. Well, as everything that we see, touch, feel, smell or experience is composed of atoms and molecules swirling through space, I have come to realize that there is a "God". I am not powerful enough to designate that some of these whirling particles become a tree or a flower or a person or a rock or water or appear as a cloud.... Thus, accepting that a greater power than myself is easy to do.
    Religion has taught me about Love - and that it is not my place to judge others. That is what Christ taught when you break it down into simplicity...
    And that we are all children in God's eyes.
    The path to God is in an open and loving heart.
    As humans we are quick to judge and to create walls and want superiority, and have been taught that differences are bad.
    We humans have been given our minds, the ability to choose and yes to create.
    What is God, or where is God? Look inside - what are you creating? Is it based in love?

  33. Luving it Randy.

    Open-mindedness. That's it. You can change your beliefs about religion by opening up, observing, practicing non-judgment.

    A keen vehicle to get to this place is meditation. I sit and watch frequently: my judgments, my slant, my views. Religion-wise, I am much more open-minded now, as opposed to when I was a kid. Because as a kid, I received some interesting programming via nuns, priests and teachers concerning other religions.

    God exists. We are proof of that, as we are all God germs, or God kids, or whatever you call God spawn. Any type of label beyond that, is just the creation of man's and woman's mind. I am cool with that. I respect all labels, and I know that 1 label is not better than the other. Just another God germ's perception, that's all.

    Keep Rockin it RG!

    RB

  34. I DO NOT apologise for one moment for having accepted the truth of God into my heart as revealed by his mighty Word. The difference between me and probably most of the other posters here is that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I possess the real truth of God because I have had the incredible experience of the Holy Ghost coming into my sinful heart and mightily transforming my life. I am not shaky or uncertain in my knowledge of the power of God. The Gifts of God that operate in my life prove unquestionably that I am one with the true and living God… and I know that unless you also repent and except the true Gospel of Christ with signs following in your life as the scriptures demand then you will definitely go to hell for your rebellion against God.

    Why would I want to go back to living how most of you live?… not really knowing if there is a God or not. Not really knowing black from white. Back to being outside of God’s love… not part of the true church of God… without having him there to protect me, heal me and bless me. How many of you have really had God’s Spirit illuminating you in the true meaning of his Holy Scriptures and guiding your steps day by day is his will and purpose.

    A person with an experience such as I have had is not at the mercy of most of you here who only have an argument. You too can know the revelation and understanding the Apostle Paul experienced on the way to Damascus. If you would only give your life over to God as I have you would know that what I am saying is true…

    … well that’s how I used to think anyway. Fortunately there came a point in my life where a friend challenged me on the beliefs I had about God, the Bible and my church… and I had the sense to eventually consider what he had to say. Around this time I also met Randy and read some of his material. I say fortunately because since then I believe I have experienced a far deeper sense of Spirituality, freedom and prosperity without the straight jacket of religious text and thought.

    “Beliefs” are incredibly powerful phenomena… which I like to think are a tool given to us from God. Let’s face it… my previous ones wonderfully transformed my life even though they were totally bull shit and had little basis in rational thinking (oh… but we walk by Gods Faith... not in the wishy washy wisdom of man I was told).

    To sum up: I think you can do no greater thing than to choose your “beliefs” very carefully. Consider carefully where they’ve come from and how they affect you. Certainly use others experiences or sources such as the Bible to develop them but vigorously question whether they empower your higher good or if they are instead based on fear or superstition (ie hell – which is the “belief” tool of choice used to control the ignorant masses)

    PS: I am not saying that all “Beliefs” have to necessarily be based on rational thought. If the concept of a Heaven or Angels watching over you empowers and gives you comfort and joy then by all means go ahead… just don’t use your rush of euphoria to go set up a church which preaches if we don’t also believe in heaven then we’ll receive eternal damnation :o) That’s my take anyway.

  35. I was raised by a Catholic and a Protestant, but the Catholic beliefs won out in the end.

    Catholicism worships needless suffering, discriminates against GLBT people, encourages people to sacrifice for the good of the herd instead of building one's self into a strong person who can help others, and views everything enjoyable in life as a sin.

    And the most insidious belief of all:you are born with sin because Adam and Eve disobeyed God.

    I question these beliefs and many others everyday. I honestly feel sorry for the people who believe in beliefs which harm them and others so strongly, often without even thinking or questioning.

    I sometimes have difficulty showing understanding and compassion for people so stuck in their negative ways, that they are apathetic or even downright cruel.

    Any advice?

  36. I had a very good Christian upbringing. But guess what -- I had an even *better* downbringing. Basically I learnt to think for myself, not the total [email protected] that I was taught at the local Baptist church. Just a bunch of silly rules and regulations designed to control people. If you keep people in fear, in guilt, and in poverty, you totally control them. And the church does *exactly* that. Fear of damnation; guilt about sex or any other pleasure' and frankly, cathedrals and mega-churches don't come cheap.

    I believe in God -- just not the nasty piece of work that most organised religions believe in. THAT God needs therapy. And Prozac. And a good hug, or maybe something harder. Whatever.

    I prefer *disorganised* religions. I can't stand dogma of any description because, frankly, it's all nonsense. You can't prove any of it.

    I stopped living my life to make other people's imaginary friends happy a looooong time ago. Still interested in spirituality, just not willing to close my mind off like a funnymentalist. 🙂

  37. An atheist was seated next to a young girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger." The young girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?" " Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly. "OK," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?" The atheist, visibly surprised by the young girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea." To which the girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death, when you don't know crap? And may the Lord lead you into green pastures; may He lay you down by the still waters; may He restore your soul; and may He lead you into the paths of His righteousness." And then she went back to reading her book.
    --

  38. As someone brought up in Christianity, I appreciated this post. I'm no longer recognizable as a Christian since my mind began to reclaim itself years ago. But this logic, this questioning of what it is we "know" versus what it is we own in the depths of soul-centered living, of experience, of self-honesty, of self-awareness is what catapulted me out of religious oppression. And what motivated me was a potent desire to have integrity and authenticity before God. If you want integrity, purity of authenticity in what you know and in what you claim as personal experience, you won’t settle for inherited knowledge. The younger a person is when immersed in any mindset or cult-ure, the more questionable the authenticity of what s/he "knows." There is an integrity of experience, of knowledge, of faith itself(whether it be faith in a God or faith that there is no God) that is only apprehended by actively seeking and objectively exploring (as much as we subjective humans can do so) opposing views or thoughts and beliefs and by asking how we've arrived at what we know. If we know because we inherited the knowledge from the spoonfuls administered by authority figures early in our lives and have not tested what we "know," then we do not know. If we arrive at conclusions via the motivation to please a perceived higher being or an actual authority figure, we have not arrived anywhere but deeper into dependence on approval where there is no true ownership of faith, or of knowledge or integrity (and by integrity I do NOT mean anything connected to the ridiculous notion of original sin). Such transactions hum of empty submissive hopefulness with no real solid personal experience. So, in realizing that God saw that it was GOOD, I found a crowbar to pull the lid off the coffin of what I "knew." If God saw that it was good when he made all that he made, then my brain is good. And the questions in my brain are also good and not too big for God to handle and if God is love, then love won't let me go when I am no longer capable of believing in...oh. wow. in the belief system that got me to this place, a place that is both place and journey and that now has no name or label recognizable by any culture but brings me home in ways no other road has before. Spirituality is heightened. Confusion is gone. I can trust myself.

  39. It's so nice to see that I am not the only one that struggles with this. I'm 40 something and have pondered this way and that in-depth and in angst for the last 30 years or so on this subject.

  40. Great topic and it is good to see all the replies!

    Being raised in the Southern part of the United States, I have had Christianity preached to me from day one, but it never felt right for me. I respect people of all faiths and respect their right to believe in what they believe as long as it doesn't cause harm to someone else. Sadly, that is not reciprocated as widely by the masses as I would like.

    I have always believed that most people turn to religion because of pride and ego. For some reason, humans believe they are so mighty that there has to be something after our existence on this planet. So, they turn to a religion or belief system that says you will have everlasting life or your soul will go on or whatever. It just isn't enough to live a good and decent existence where you show love and decency to everyone around you for however many years you have on this planet.

    I wish people would preach a message of tolerance from the pulpit instead of ignorance and division. It would make the world a better place.

  41. Hey Randy-
    Every time you write about religion, the same two thoughts go through my head..."I'm not so sure that your premise about "all religions" is accurate, and that you seem to paint "organized religions" with a very broad brush."

    It seems to me that the only faith systems that claim to have "the truth" are Fundamentalists and certain Christians.

    In my experience MOST other religions teach the exact opposite of that. The premise of most religion is to teach practices or disciplines, in a variety of ways, to help a person commune with God, however that individual relates to God. Or to help someone find their own inner spirit and figure out how to live in integrity within our own human nature.

    I actually think it has become trendy to say "I am spiritual but not religious", but that this idea often comes from a place of self righteousness or resentment based on hurtful earlier experiences. Exploring beliefs about "religion" would be some interesting memes to delve into and see how many are accurate, or just fear based.

    Isn't assuming all organized religion is off the mark just another form of ..."sitting in smug condescension,"?

    As for me, you already know the answers to most of your questions. I am "spiritual" and "religious".

    I DID actually grow up in a cult, rejected all religion for many years, have practiced meditation, Native American spirituality and Buddhism and there has been MUCH study and soul searching around God, religion and spirituality.

    It all brought me back to Judaism, by choice and not the religion of my parents. I fall deeply in love with Judaism everyday and of all the religions in the world, I think people who are not Jewish, are simply clueless about how current, fun, uplifting and challenging Jewish teaching is.

    Being Jewish brings joy to my life every single day and I believe that there are millions of other religious people in the world who can say the same thing without thinking that theirs is the "only truth."

    Have a great day,
    Jeanne

    1. I do believe you came to your faith after serious and deliberate critical thinking. I don't share your optimism about the practices of "most" organized religions though.

      -RG

  42. Never understood why religion is so important in people's lives. Religions are made up by people. Those who follow them without thinking are not very wise. Both parents were athiests and I am that way too, not because they were but rather I thought about it myself. My main "belief" would be the universal law of checks and balances. No pun intended here.

  43. Well,dear dear friend Randy...I think I would like to qualify for being the "first idiot" to say Christ is the Truth because the Scripture says so:) The question I would raise is: Does Truth exist? The answer I usually get is "Well, I don't believe there is absolute truth?"
    And my response is "Are you absolutely sure about that?"
    Truth to be truth has to be without error or it isn't truth. It may be "partial truth" - but it isn't Truth. So why would anyone think he or she knew the Truth - the pure truth - unless there was some clear evidence of the Absolute Evidence.
    Jesus Christ came into the world and claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life - God in the flesh - and rose from the dead to prove Who He is. He must have been a lunatic and a liar and not a good teacher if what He said is not the Truth. And I would be the first one to recognize that believing that is a gift of grace, a gift of revelation - and I would never argue about it - just state it as the Truth:)
    Thanks for the invitation to dialogue:)
    Glenna

    1. Sorry but you don't qualify for that prize! I know you have come to your faith with an astounding level of critical thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the discussion.

      -RG

  44. This is what I believe:

    Religion was created by man. It was created for the purpose of implementing order and obedience among the growing population of the world. Just like why we have laws now that exist in every country is to prevent chaos and to be able to manage, discipline, control, manipulate and convince a large number of people and keep the peace of a nation where people are followers of a small group of leaders.

    Basically, religion (laws) = peace and order in the world, no religion (no laws) = chaos and disorder.

    If I were alive thousands of years ago before religion was invented/discovered and the population of the world was growing out of control and people were free to do whatever they want, kill, rape, steal, etc, I'd probably be scrambling for a way to make people follow a way of life, lead them and manage them, and have them follow a code of conduct, a culture, so as to maintain order, peace, and tranquility by creating followers in every individual, in this place we call Earth.

    And so religion is the most incredible solution to this problem because the result is people happily adopt these beliefs by themselves and even preach it willingly to others. And the way it was sold, it is still the best marketing campaign ever to date.

    Who knows maybe thousands of years in the future, humans will be worshipping a god named Steve Jobs and Apple devices would be the way to heaven. And if you hack into someone's computer you would go to hell. The fossils of the first Macintosh would be preserved in the Holy Applestore Temple and people would worship it by walking around it for hours....

  45. Great topic! I was raised in a christian home and never really questioned my faith until I was about 16 years old. I pretty much left the church until I was 25 and have never really shaked my christian background, but do like to blow my mind a fair bit on subjects like Ufology, Quantum Physics, and other philosophies. I spent over an hour today listening to a Jehovah Witness explain is viewpoints to me, it was an interesting discussion and I certainly liked his insight as I do most. Your belief creates the fact...

  46. Forgot to mention that I am no longer affiliated with Religion, but do still attend church from time to time and meet regularly with other like minded people who understand that God is love, God is power, and that God is not divisive. he/she is divine, omnipresent, and really desires a relationship with each and everyone of us. Religion pushes us further from the true one who created the Universe. As Jesus said, "They Honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me". I think that sums up most people I have come across i religious circles.

  47. I agree with you, Randy. Like you, I've spoken out about the washing machine like progamming the majority of the population falls into--and I've had death threats as a result. In all my years of studying organized religion I've discovered very little critical thinking among the so-called leaders or their followers. Otherwise smart people are willing to believe almost anything because they need to believe it; and they willingly close their eyes and cover their ears to any argument of reason. I don't know if God exists, and either does anyone else. But organized religion is the greatest threat to the survival of the species. As you mentioned, bigots like Pat Robertson are leading a cult of people who refuse to think for themselves. It's and dangerous. Let's hope people wake up and stop blindly following these intolerant hate-mongers before they destroy the world.

  48. I am a recovering Catholic.
    I realized that there were 52 sermons each year and they repeated every 52 weeks. Hmmm. The bible is pretty big. What are they not covering? Why is God so vengeful? There seems to be no forgiveness. Even God can't be both ALL loving and so bent on punishment.
    I found a kinder, all loving God at Unity. And that's where I found your books too Randy!
    What I'm going to write combines this blog post with your next topic: Money.
    What I was taught as a child about God has kept me poor. "It's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven." "The love of money is the root of all evil." And my favorite, "Poverty is a virtue." We all want to be virtuous, especially if you're female, therefore we all want to be broke.
    These seeds were planted at a very young age and had a tenacious root system.
    I realized I needed to change my core beliefs but that would require changing my subconscious thoughts. I couldn't just think differently. The roots needed to be killed. I knew the best time to do this was when you first wake up and as you fall asleep. So I created a CD with affirnmations. The music minister from church put some music behind it.
    Let me add here that I am a nurse and had no experience in this at all.
    I addressed the religious aspect by changing scripture into affirmations. It completely changes the energy of it. For example: Whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and believing, you will receive" affirms as "Whatever I ask for in prayer, having faith and believing, I will receive."
    Feel the energy shift?
    Another one is "I know if I ask it will be given to me. If I seek, I will find. If I knock, the door will be opened."
    You get the idea. I'm happy to report that after a couple years of listening, I'm in an entirely new place. I'm grateful that I was able to see what my early teaching had done to me and take steps to change it.

  49. My god is real, the birth of any living creature and the changes in seasons and nature. Theese are true miracles.

  50. Excellent analogy of the origins of religious beliefs, I was raised in a religious family in Indiana attending the Presbyterian church but I never quite  believed in a supreme being. I do believe that people believe what they are taught, so what you believe in depends on where they were brought up as stated in Randy's message. I once wrote a limerick that started with this idea. If children were taken a birth to a beautiful place on this Earth where prejudice and pride were just cast aside and each could discover their worth. it continued on but didn't continue to make sense if in fact the first stanza did.

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  • 84 comments on “Whose God is Real Anyway?”

    1. I haven't commented in a while, but I had to throw my 2 cents into this one.

      This is something that I used to struggle with, and when I say struggle, I mean I went through a 10 year battle with myself over things.

      I was raised Catholic, but ditched that shortly before Confirmation when I was 16. I dropped out of my Catholic high school around the same time and went back to public school. I had grown up believing in the same God of my parents and my entire extended family.

      About the time I got on the internet, back in 1993-1994, when I was around 16-17, I started really looking things up and trying to make up my own mind. This led me to atheism eventually. Along the way, I checked out Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and several other schools of thought.

      I was a hardcore, some would say militant, atheist for the majority of my early twenties. I suspect this was because I was so pissed off that I had been "duped" earlier in my life. I wasn't really kind to Christians in particular on various message boards across the internet. Definitely regret that now.

      I toyed with Christianity over the next few years, as well as atheism. Now, I consider myself spiritual, but definitely agnostic... because I don't really know. None of us do.

      I have no problem with Jesus. I agree with a lot of his teachings, but ultimately I'm pretty sure that he is not the only way. Just like I'm pretty sure that there isn't one "only way".

      I like to quote one of my favorite hip hop artists from time to time, Immortal Technique. In one of his songs he says, "Do you really think God only sent a single messiah?" I think that sums it up pretty well.

      I'm pretty sure there is something beyond this life, and I'm pretty sure I won't be going to hell just because I haven't figured it all out. When I die, if the God of xyz religion is there waiting for me, I'd like to think that he/she/it will be ok with that.

      Thank you for the post Randy. This is something I spent a good portion of my adult life trying to figure out, and I still haven't quite figured it all out. I'm just smart enough now to know that I never really will and I'm ok with that. 🙂

      1. i always asked every .. did any one in world point any of islam's dignity???
        & especially is there any thing against the human in Islamic practices?????
        if doesn't then they all are against it even they didn't even prove wrong its single verse????
        think & research proparly if any obligation then ask me or search topics related toit by MOulana zakir naik...

      2. What a Powerful Truth you. The fear of criticism would prevent most from writing such a post. I applaud you for your courage to challenge humanity to THINK!!

    2. I was raised Christian. However, I converted To Al Islam. I made the decision years ago from introspection and critical thought. Yes I have studied comparative religions. Throughout history believers and non believers have made postive contributions to humanity. I don't believe in forcing my beliefs on other individuals. I have family, friends who are christians, atheists, Jews, Jehova Witnesses, Mormons, catholics and everything in between. I believe it is important that we treat the human family with dignity and respect regardless of their beliefs.

    3. I am born Hindu and have a very rich history of religious and spiritual heritage . However til my Childhood , it was all "our truth" and "our religion" versus the "others" .

      My Initial study of Christianity , Buddhism , Jainism and other religion teaches the same truth about God . However even in most of the scriptures and religious literature , the learning , prayers and even affirmations are infested with " particular Gods" and not a " Universal God ". There are very few books and literature which stresses the Universal God and refrain from a Particular God's name.

      Books on Hinduism says - Only Lord Ram / Lord Krishna can show you the Path of Light and Divine Consciousness.
      Books on Christianity Says - Know that Only Jesus Christ can heal you.
      Books on Islam Says - Only Prophet Mohammed teachings can enlighten your consciousness .

      And so on...!

      I think all Religions have a universal teaching about Peace , Love , kindness and Humanity but somehow the authors/ writers present/ interpret it to the world with a biased or rather limiting view of only their "Real God".

      - Vineet

    4. I appreciate what you say here. I myself, was raised a Christian. There came a point in my life where I began to question my beliefs, not becuase someone asked me to or my beliefs were challenged, but, because I just came to a point in my life where I began to question everything. It became evident to me that everything I believed about God was handed to me and I just bought into it.

      The experience was life changing. I believe that most people who are brought up in religion just conform to the collective beliefs of their environment. That's programming for you. The truth can only be revealed to you from ther inside. You cannot experience the truth from anbybody who says they have it. Whatever God is I know know is from personal experience. This is the only way I know. You cannot experience the truth from someone else's experience.

    5. Randy, I very much like the washing machine programmed mind!! 🙂
      I wrote a book, a novel, in 2010 which is currently being printed and I made an excurse into my religious belief and came up with the most important thing which is: to believe in yourslf.
      I am aware that each religion and each book about it was written by a certain mind-set of someone or some group. Still, Buddhism is build on a logical base, while Christianity hows an analytical base (they set-up the chapters in a certain row so they fit in a line). So I figure, each mind with a more or less extra program (in their brain) created a certain belief of how life functions and wrote it down. That´s why they vary so much!
      To me, it´s the best explanation I could find!
      What´s your opinion about "how" several religions were created?
      Enjoy your great day!
      rita

          1. interesting answer! ... why not?
            In early 1986 in CA. I met the creator (model maker) of the star wars ship! he smoked dope and scribbled the flag ship on a piece of paper before building it - for the star wars movie trailer at Lukas Films. he made a lot of money!! he is/was from the phillipines - still have his ID card 🙂
            but as far as history tells or shows: religion was created in churches, off of the folks life. behind hidden doors in silence. they sure went through quite some experiences to "open their minds" as it was argued or described about drugs for hundreds of years/ages...
            and pink floyd made quite a lot of money with their music in the early 80´s, being pumped with dope or whatever and we all loved it! ...it was different 😉

    6. Great post & comments! Ditto on the self-search & period of questioning everything resembling absolute authority! I have had many debates on this topic, the most prolonged with Christian evangelicals - its always a choice to disagree. Funny this post comes from a world-class marketer. There's evidently much to learn from the "branding" religion is best known for...

    7. Randy: Wow you are brave... I was raised "Chritian" have been to different churches with different Labels, Methodist, Baptist...
      I don't believe in religion, I believe in God.
      In fact I can not recite you a verse from the Bible, I can only tell you my own experience, how I feel inside, and what I believe in my heart. I know there is a "GOD" we have conversed. He has saved my life, literally. Know one can tell me any different. I do not care about Church. I care about what is in my soul. Others may ridicule me, say I am a loon...I don't care. When you are driving down a road and GOD knots on your door and says I love you...who and I to question that?

    8. I've also spent a lot of time on that spiritual journey.. raised sort of Christian, toyed with all sorts of weird & wacky beliefs, spent a lot of time as a bible believing charismatic christian.. and hope that now I have been able to move past all that. I think there is a God. I think there is a call for each of us to embrace our own spirituality - and to appreciate the beliefs of others. That there isn't an ultimate 'truth'. I haven't managed to formulate the theology yet (and I'm not even sure that I need one (or want one!)), but I have a sneaky feeling that we're each one of us right. That maybe we bring our own beliefs and our own truth to this existence we call 'reality'. That we see how they play together. That co-operation and respect is more important than discovering 'the truth'. That maybe this universe is genuinely stranger and more wonderful than our limited ideas of 'heaven' and 'hell' and 'God' could possibly express, and that our personal ideas and beliefs are both more important and less significant than we imagine.

    9. Nice post, I couldn't have summarize it better. It's amazing how so many people believe they have and only know the truth. I always ask is or was there any point in your life you realize you didn't have or know the Truth. Then I explain your current Truth is only based on your. Jeremy level of awareness, perspective and acceptance. Keep searching. It infinity.

    10. Jesus said "I am the Way,the Truth, and the Life." John 14:6...not a way, but the only way to everlasting life. Those who believe in that will have everlating life bottom line. There is no grey area. I am honored and sad at the same time to be first to say this and stand up for the Almighty God (The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Don't be deceived as deception is filling the world we live in. You can object this comment or comment whatever you want after this but it does not change that. You would not let anybody join a whack MLM company or deal so why would you let them worship false gods and go straight to hell.

      1. Don't get me wrong, I'm down with Jesus as far as his teaching go, but at the end of the day you're still taking a 2,000 year old book as an absolute truth, despite the fact that it's riddled with errors and contradictions (two different genealogies for Jesus, for example).

        I say this with all due respect. The bottom line is that nobody knows for sure. You are taking the word of a 2,000 year old book. You were not there, and you have not died yet, so there is no possible way you can tell anyone that you know the absolute truth, despite what that 2,000 year old book says.

        I wouldn't have even commented on your comment if you had started out with, "This is what I believe...", rather than just declare a universal "truth" that basically tells everyone else they are wrong and going to hell for being wrong.

        With all due respect, who are you to tell me that I'm going straight to hell for not believing what a 2,000 year old book says? Does that punishment fit the "crime" of not "knowing" what the hell is beyond this life, when the only "evidence" is a 2,000 year old book? Have you read the Old Testament? Is that the history of an "all-loving" God? Could Moses have been the first recorded dictator that wiped out all of his neighboring tribes, slaughtering women and children along the way because he told his people that God wanted them to? What kind of God would tell people to do that?

        Please do everyone a favor and start your future comments with, "This is what I believe...". 🙂

        P.S. I'm not here to debate. This is something I've spent the majority of my adult life studying and debating. I know the Bible better than most mega-church preachers do, and that's exactly why I lost faith in it as an absolute truth.

        P.P.S. What if you believe the wrong book?

          1. Exactly. You have stated your opinion of the truth, and I have stated that I don't really know what the truth is, and I'm ok with that.

            My issue is with you passing your opinion of the truth off as the absolute truth and if I don't believe it then I'm going to hell?

      2. Thank you Greg. I am a christian and have been raised as a Baptist. I beleive the reason for the situation that the world is in today is because people are trying to take religion into their own hands and make it what they want it to be so that they can rationalize their actions.

      3. Greg- I am curious as to your thoughts on the gospel of Thomas since it is thought that the book of John was written as a direct response to the gospel of Thomas.

        Plus, how do you (not your church) interpret John 14:6, "no man comes to the Father except by me." I read this to mean, "through my example, through my consciousness."

        The core teachings of Jesus are love and forgiveness and he loved and forgave everyone. This is the example, the consciousness, leading to the "Father."

    11. Randy, this is scary subject and it takes a guy like you to open this so freely !
      I am not sure how to put this. I have quickly read the comments above and feel that perhaps I can say what I have in mind about this.
      I have been raised in european protestantism and went to catholic school (supposed to be "better ") and so attended both kind of rituals. When i found the courage to say NO, I told my mum that is was the end of me attending any church. Now I am really not sure how so many people need to have a faith in a particular "God" It is quite obvious to any neutral ( well, perhaps not quite neutral, hum hum !...) observer that they just cannot all be right, which makes me say they are ALL wrong, of course.
      If there is a god, in my humble opinion, it is in each and every one of us, and that is it. I refuse to enter a church to participate in any ritual but I am quite happy to be videographer or photographer for a wedding ! after all they are usually quite nice buildings, made with art and dedication.
      Well, of course I could have left my comment in my outbox, but somehow your post was provocative enough for me to write back. Hope this is fine with your readers ! and if not? you guess what I think...
      take care Randy

    12. Randy, I go to Unity on the Bay so we have something in common. The Truth is within us. If we calm the egoic mind, Truth, Love and Knowledge (God/Christ/Buddha/Krishna) can come forth but only when the mind is quiet. The experience is very personal but Universal in the same instant. Thank you for being that Spiritual Pioneer!

      "Religion is a defense against the experience of God." - Carl Jung

    13. What would happen if it is prohibited for anyone to reveal their religious beliefs? No one cares what anyone believes, only how they behave. What if people were judged on what they do, not on what they preach?
      The great problem arises when someone wants to impose their truth over someone else. This is when humankind gets in trouble. It will all come down to which path you choose. Critical thinking or faith. And that decision is very personal and it shouldn't be criticized by anyone.

    14. Most people believe that scriptures are the source of their religion when the opposite would be more accurate. Religion is the source of scripture, each creating their own to suit their established dogma.

      The major purpose and function of religion is to establish the basis, criteria, and justification for its membership to judge and condemn themselves and others in a misguided attempt to establish a favored position with God and superior position among mankind.

      It was Pascal that said: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when the do it from a religious conviction."

      Personally, I'm more comfortable with not knowing than being certain of something that's not true! To me, being at peace while not knowing is evidence of greater faith the sacrificing one's life to religious dogma and the "good opinions of others."

      The great philosopher Clint Eastwood is credited with saying that "Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one!" The problem with opinions is people's tendency to confuse them with truth. Then they feel they must defend them - to the death. Truth doesn't need defended nor believed in - it will be self evident regardless of lies and dogma. And, when you find it, it will make you free (of ignorance) - but it may piss you off first!

      It's really not our job to change people or convince them. You are free to love without and agenda!

      I fired my old god, and got a new one! LOVE!

    15. Brave post on a controversial subject.

      I homeschooled my kids, and through that, we studied most of the world's major religions from the point of view of the areas of origin, going back to ancient times. I wanted them to have perspective and empathy for others' beliefs, which I hope will give them a better understanding of today.

      Although I'd consider myself an agnostic, I hope that I respect anyone's beliefs. What bother me about many people w/religious beliefs is that they don't afford me the same respect. That's where I have a problem. Also, many who are UberChristian seem to arrive after a life of major sin, but then are quick to condemn those not in the fold, almost as though they now are more "worthy" than someone who has not lived such an immoral life.

      Lastly, I moved to the Bible Belt South 15 years ago. It can be a very scary place 🙂

      Thanks for allowing a discussion. Great topic!

    16. Yes...I agree

      Most people just accept what they are brought up to believe.

      Most people are either "parrots" and just repeat what they hear....or they are "sheep" where they just follow the herd

      Despite that....being brought up that killing is wrong...or that stealing is wrong...keeps the majority in check....

    17. Hi Randy,

      my mother is protestant, my father catholic which led to the circumstance that my mother had problems of truly being accepted by her mother-in-law. Not only because I was baptised protestant.

      My grandmother wouldn't enter a protestant church building only four years after my baptize, when my younger brother was baptised.

      So I would say I grew up in a religiously highly biased environment which led to disrespect towards religious leaders who sell their truth as the only one. When the former pope died and I saw the masses flooding to Rome, I cringed and I was wondering whether Karl Marx and Lenin were right..."Religion is opium for the people."

      And yes, I called myself an atheist for quite a while but I knew it wasn't truly the case because an atheist defines himself through religion or a god - he's only "anti".

      I am not yet sure if all my religious communications are complete, because I still can become angry when I realize what they're selling people on. The guilt trips for example.

      And isn't it interesting that many people pray to God on a daily basis - which I definitely respect - but then tell you that they only believe what they see - when it comes to business, for example.

      With that being said, I believe that there's a creator of this universe, but I don't think we need organized religions and priests, rabbis etc.

      Why talking to the self-proclaimed ground staff when I can communicate directly ?

      Isn't it interesting also that people in Germany who are members of one the two big churches (protestant or catholic) are taxed automatically by law ? The governement (!) notfies the church when you file your income tax. It's 8 or 9 % (depending on the federal state) of the income tax that goes directly to the church. Of course, you can ditch that tax by ditching the church - but who does that ? More and more do but in fact, most people prefer paying church tax. The argument you hear most when questioning that is:"I want a priest or an (official) pastor at my funeral and not some sermonizer." Well, of course, a highly personal argument and not questionable as such.

      Thanks for bringing up that hot topic.

      Be blessed 😉

      Oliver

    18. I've always given religion a pretty critical eye. I don't believe a large percent of what I was taught growing up... and that "critical eye" started when I was probably about 16 or so.

      But then again - I've always questioned nearly everything I've ever been taught in my life 🙂

      Funny thing is, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I believe... but my basic philosophy is that there IS some type of higher power. The name you give it doesn't really make a difference. Whether it's Jesus, Buddha, etc... all the same in my mind.

      I think for most people, the "name" is there simply so people can get past the fact that we're wildly believing in what is essentially "nothing and everything" all at the same time, and giving "it" a name helps people process it a little easier.

    19. Well, I was born into a Christian family. I adopted the faith.I remember the first time I tried reading Power of positive thinking. When I saw Bible quotes at the end of the first chapter, I threw the book away because as far as I was concerned , the Bible was the most impractical book I'd ever read and Christianity was nothing more than a boring religion. Such was my bias due to the way Christianity had been presented with me at that time.
      But a day came when I evaluated my beliefs and finally settled with Christianity out of a sense of conviction and not as a heritage. I now believe it hook line and sinker.
      I can't make people believe as I but if someone says that all religions are different authentic ways of getting to the same God, then that person's got to be high off some Mexican Dust.Cos how can divergent views lead to the same target. It's absurd!

    20. And now we have the cult of the Law of Attraction, the cult of Power of Now, the cult of NLP, even the cult of Prosperity!! Critical Thinking i very important in these day's!!!

    21. Low bow to America, that She has presented to Serafima Rose's world. Nobody has opened for me this theme so deeply and comprehensively, as it. Read its books. Get acquainted with its destiny. This phenomenon of a world scale.

    22. Everyone's GOD is as real to each individual.I am brought up in a family believing in a Taoist tradition so called adopted by my late mother.My late father is an atheist.At a very young age I already started questioning about life .For me through this critical self questioning in my journey in this world when one day in my thirties I was brought home to a Dhamma talk by a buddhist venerable monk and through practices of vipassana meditation did I finally come to appreciate life more meaningfully.All religions teach you to do good only , respect each other , be kind to one another.Finally my conclusion is there is no one religion only in this world.The most important issue is what impact have you left behind that will leave you at peace within.I have friends who have found peace within through other forms of religion other than my belief too and I am so glad for them.It is through living together with each other freely without hate and anger that peace can prevail.Thank you for an opportunity for expressing this .

    23. I hate how politicians use the words god and faith to manipulate the masses. Especially on the can do no wrong Republican side. If they are so for Christianity and what it preaches why are they always itching to occupy other countrys and go to war?

      I feel sorry for the people who nod their head in glee at these false prophets when they promise to keep them safe from the boogie man! I do believe in karma and those souls will be on the other end of their wars in due time.

    24. Ironically Randy, at the same time you are asking us if we have questioned our religious beliefs, you shut out those who think differently than you. When you said you would give a prize to the first idiot who said they had the "real truth" because they read it as part of the scripture, you alienated a whole group of people.

      Fundamentalism is a spiritual stage and it is not even the first. Spirituality is kinda like a journey. But, you are correct, beliefs have to be questioned if one wants to move forward on their journey.

      1. He's not shutting out those that think differently, just those that are arrogant enough to "know" that what they "believe" is the 100% absolute truth and the rest of us are going to some kind of hell for not believing it.

        It's perfectly find to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, if that's what you want to believe in. It's when you start pushing that and start condemning others to hell for not believing it that you cross the line.

        1. Yes, and those who believe they have the absolute truth, should be questioning their beliefs. However being called an idiot may not make one want to think much further. I actually agree with Randy, but I also know it is kind of a way to keep those folks out of the discussion. There are christian fundmentalists who read this blog.

    25. Think of it this way: Our higher power has many different paths (religions) to Him. No one path is better than the other. What is important is being spiritually closer to your maker. Yes we are challenged everyday, that is to provide us with opportunities to learn and improve ourselves. We were created to do big things. We are the only creatures in the universe with free will. If you doubt, I ask you: Do you really think this is all an accident?

    26. I became a Christian when I was 14. I was then told by one of my parents that it was the worst decision I'd ever made. I haven't looked back since. It wasn't a decision lightly made, and has had years of impact on the relationship.

    27. I greatly admire Dave Phillips, founder of the Children's Hunger Fund. He is blatantly Christian, but when addressing an international group of some 8,000 people he began this way:

      "I believe that the creator of the universe is a personal God who lovingly answers our prayers....." and he began his talk with a prayer. He wasn't telling anyone what to believe; he was simply SAYING what he believes, and then DOING the thing that works for him: asking for help from God.

      I ask myself, "That's what Dave believes. What do I believe?"

      I choose [CHOOSE!!] to believe that the creator of the universe is a personal & present God who lovingly hears and answers my prayers.

      Christianity is my cultural & family heritage, so if I need a handy label, I call myself a Christian. I am a Pragmatic Christian - I embrace those teachings that make me happy & peaceful. It is a belief-system that has worked really well for a lot of happy, peaceful people. I vote that everybody gets to CHOOSE what they believe.

      If you had a choice - and you do - what would you choose to believe about God? Some cockamamie thing that some other person chose, or ... that God has a loving, personal care for you, regardless of how you have behaved in the past ("As far as east is from west, thus far have I removed your transgressions from you.") and regardless of how you behave in the future. "Let the peace of God rule in your heart."

      Love the Bible, it is just jam-packed with gems of wisdom. There is no other collection quite like it - a unique world treasure.

      Thanks for the opportunity to rant, Randy...

      lovingly submitted, Mrs. H&P

    28. Randy, thanks for the opportunity to share. Here goes. I was born in a Buddhist home in a lovely island in Penang, educated in a Catholic school (Convent) moved to another island, planted and rooted. Married and had children with the inherited Buddhist religion.
      I was confronted with challengess I looked for God who can help me. I started visiting churches, of various denominations (you name it, I've been there as I thought God can be found only in churches). Not true. I went in dry and I came out dry but I learnt beautiful hymns and sacred songs.
      At that point I had turned to alcohol for relief.
      One Sunday in 1982, a friend, Pamela called me very early on a Sunday morning. 'Suzanne want to go to church?' To which I retorted, 'Whey do you call me so early in the morning and what is so wonderful about your church. She said, 'Very good, very good now I cannot play the jack poot machine anymore". Oh I replied ' I need to go because I have some bad habits' so we went but she had warned me 'Please do not be afraid as they pray in a funny language'

      So Pamela fetched me and we attend the first big Charismatic church in town. The minute I went I thought a tornado had hit me. They were all singing and praising the Lord. I broke down and cried non stop. It was a big work of healing the Lord did in my life instantly.
      When I went back, the desire for alcohol left me and I had a big love for the Word of God. I enjoyed and still do reading the Bible as I feel that God is talking to me. THAT WAS A RADICAL CONVERSION. When I received the Holy Spirit, the alcoholic spirit left me .... That was the start of my Christian faith from a small island to a bigger island and to Heaven. and do you know what ? my liitle 4 year old grandson said 3 years ago when I told him my story.. 'Grandma, good, gooder and Goodest!'

      I am eternally grateful!

    29. Hi Randy!
      The topic of Religion has been debated on since ages and in simple words, Religion can be explained as a 'Way of Life'.
      I have a few points to make, and though they are not organized but each has come out after some introspection:
      1) First and foremost, Humans try to find a reason for everything and for those they could not find any reason they attribute to God.
      2) We pray only for ‘luck’ and ‘inner strength’, because, Life is practical. (Luck is something we term as God’s blessings);
      3) Following any religion/God is to make you feel secure, that 24x7 you are being watched and protected by God could be a myth to make you secure. Since, we have been taught since ages that we are weaklings and praying to a 'particular God/s' will solve our problems we do it. Its about ‘inner strength’.
      4) People have been attributing things to their God/Religion, However, I personally feel that Religion can be summed up as a source of STRENGTH (something like believing in your parents/friends etc who make you feel confident.)
      5) And, Prayer is a kind of reflection and God may/may-not listen to you except your mind wherein you re-focus on what you want, i.e. programming yourself(as Randy says).
      6) Festivals are a time to celebrate and forget our problems, renew our relations with friends and family and Strengthen ourselves. God really does not taste our food. We do it and attribute to God.
      7) "Strength is Life and weakness is Death", so, whatever religion or anything is to make you feel strong. And, since we are Humans we need help/strength, so, Religion is required for those who need this strength.
      8) Whether we go to Hell or Heaven, we don’t have a choice. The secret to happiness is to live by the rules of Life which only a few follow.
      9) Happiness is a state of mind and who knows what you do is right or wrong, like ‘your food is someone else’s poison’.
      Finally, All Religions have a common end but different paths, It is like everybody’d parents are the best that does not mean that we must demean someone else’s. Respect and live with it.
      Play the GAME of life

      Alapati

    30. I am glad that I have a personal relationship with God. I have actually felt Gods presence right beside me. I don't claim any label as to my relationship with God. It is so awesome not having to prove anything to anyone. God knows my heart..that's all that matters to me. God bless you all.

    31. RG-
      I have always questioned religion (Christianity coz that's the path i took) because i was perturbed by the division it created. As the saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher will arrive, i found two books that have guided me in understanding Jesus's journey. Discover the power within by Eric Butterworth and the Enoch factor by Steve McSwain. My conclusion after reading these books, i will live life with an open heart! "The destiny of the soul is to see as God sees, to know as God knows, to feel as God feels, to be as God is." M.Eckhart.

    32. Well, as everything that we see, touch, feel, smell or experience is composed of atoms and molecules swirling through space, I have come to realize that there is a "God". I am not powerful enough to designate that some of these whirling particles become a tree or a flower or a person or a rock or water or appear as a cloud.... Thus, accepting that a greater power than myself is easy to do.
      Religion has taught me about Love - and that it is not my place to judge others. That is what Christ taught when you break it down into simplicity...
      And that we are all children in God's eyes.
      The path to God is in an open and loving heart.
      As humans we are quick to judge and to create walls and want superiority, and have been taught that differences are bad.
      We humans have been given our minds, the ability to choose and yes to create.
      What is God, or where is God? Look inside - what are you creating? Is it based in love?

    33. Luving it Randy.

      Open-mindedness. That's it. You can change your beliefs about religion by opening up, observing, practicing non-judgment.

      A keen vehicle to get to this place is meditation. I sit and watch frequently: my judgments, my slant, my views. Religion-wise, I am much more open-minded now, as opposed to when I was a kid. Because as a kid, I received some interesting programming via nuns, priests and teachers concerning other religions.

      God exists. We are proof of that, as we are all God germs, or God kids, or whatever you call God spawn. Any type of label beyond that, is just the creation of man's and woman's mind. I am cool with that. I respect all labels, and I know that 1 label is not better than the other. Just another God germ's perception, that's all.

      Keep Rockin it RG!

      RB

    34. I DO NOT apologise for one moment for having accepted the truth of God into my heart as revealed by his mighty Word. The difference between me and probably most of the other posters here is that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I possess the real truth of God because I have had the incredible experience of the Holy Ghost coming into my sinful heart and mightily transforming my life. I am not shaky or uncertain in my knowledge of the power of God. The Gifts of God that operate in my life prove unquestionably that I am one with the true and living God… and I know that unless you also repent and except the true Gospel of Christ with signs following in your life as the scriptures demand then you will definitely go to hell for your rebellion against God.

      Why would I want to go back to living how most of you live?… not really knowing if there is a God or not. Not really knowing black from white. Back to being outside of God’s love… not part of the true church of God… without having him there to protect me, heal me and bless me. How many of you have really had God’s Spirit illuminating you in the true meaning of his Holy Scriptures and guiding your steps day by day is his will and purpose.

      A person with an experience such as I have had is not at the mercy of most of you here who only have an argument. You too can know the revelation and understanding the Apostle Paul experienced on the way to Damascus. If you would only give your life over to God as I have you would know that what I am saying is true…

      … well that’s how I used to think anyway. Fortunately there came a point in my life where a friend challenged me on the beliefs I had about God, the Bible and my church… and I had the sense to eventually consider what he had to say. Around this time I also met Randy and read some of his material. I say fortunately because since then I believe I have experienced a far deeper sense of Spirituality, freedom and prosperity without the straight jacket of religious text and thought.

      “Beliefs” are incredibly powerful phenomena… which I like to think are a tool given to us from God. Let’s face it… my previous ones wonderfully transformed my life even though they were totally bull shit and had little basis in rational thinking (oh… but we walk by Gods Faith... not in the wishy washy wisdom of man I was told).

      To sum up: I think you can do no greater thing than to choose your “beliefs” very carefully. Consider carefully where they’ve come from and how they affect you. Certainly use others experiences or sources such as the Bible to develop them but vigorously question whether they empower your higher good or if they are instead based on fear or superstition (ie hell – which is the “belief” tool of choice used to control the ignorant masses)

      PS: I am not saying that all “Beliefs” have to necessarily be based on rational thought. If the concept of a Heaven or Angels watching over you empowers and gives you comfort and joy then by all means go ahead… just don’t use your rush of euphoria to go set up a church which preaches if we don’t also believe in heaven then we’ll receive eternal damnation :o) That’s my take anyway.

    35. I was raised by a Catholic and a Protestant, but the Catholic beliefs won out in the end.

      Catholicism worships needless suffering, discriminates against GLBT people, encourages people to sacrifice for the good of the herd instead of building one's self into a strong person who can help others, and views everything enjoyable in life as a sin.

      And the most insidious belief of all:you are born with sin because Adam and Eve disobeyed God.

      I question these beliefs and many others everyday. I honestly feel sorry for the people who believe in beliefs which harm them and others so strongly, often without even thinking or questioning.

      I sometimes have difficulty showing understanding and compassion for people so stuck in their negative ways, that they are apathetic or even downright cruel.

      Any advice?

    36. I had a very good Christian upbringing. But guess what -- I had an even *better* downbringing. Basically I learnt to think for myself, not the total [email protected] that I was taught at the local Baptist church. Just a bunch of silly rules and regulations designed to control people. If you keep people in fear, in guilt, and in poverty, you totally control them. And the church does *exactly* that. Fear of damnation; guilt about sex or any other pleasure' and frankly, cathedrals and mega-churches don't come cheap.

      I believe in God -- just not the nasty piece of work that most organised religions believe in. THAT God needs therapy. And Prozac. And a good hug, or maybe something harder. Whatever.

      I prefer *disorganised* religions. I can't stand dogma of any description because, frankly, it's all nonsense. You can't prove any of it.

      I stopped living my life to make other people's imaginary friends happy a looooong time ago. Still interested in spirituality, just not willing to close my mind off like a funnymentalist. 🙂

    37. An atheist was seated next to a young girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger." The young girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?" " Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly. "OK," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?" The atheist, visibly surprised by the young girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea." To which the girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death, when you don't know crap? And may the Lord lead you into green pastures; may He lay you down by the still waters; may He restore your soul; and may He lead you into the paths of His righteousness." And then she went back to reading her book.
      --

    38. As someone brought up in Christianity, I appreciated this post. I'm no longer recognizable as a Christian since my mind began to reclaim itself years ago. But this logic, this questioning of what it is we "know" versus what it is we own in the depths of soul-centered living, of experience, of self-honesty, of self-awareness is what catapulted me out of religious oppression. And what motivated me was a potent desire to have integrity and authenticity before God. If you want integrity, purity of authenticity in what you know and in what you claim as personal experience, you won’t settle for inherited knowledge. The younger a person is when immersed in any mindset or cult-ure, the more questionable the authenticity of what s/he "knows." There is an integrity of experience, of knowledge, of faith itself(whether it be faith in a God or faith that there is no God) that is only apprehended by actively seeking and objectively exploring (as much as we subjective humans can do so) opposing views or thoughts and beliefs and by asking how we've arrived at what we know. If we know because we inherited the knowledge from the spoonfuls administered by authority figures early in our lives and have not tested what we "know," then we do not know. If we arrive at conclusions via the motivation to please a perceived higher being or an actual authority figure, we have not arrived anywhere but deeper into dependence on approval where there is no true ownership of faith, or of knowledge or integrity (and by integrity I do NOT mean anything connected to the ridiculous notion of original sin). Such transactions hum of empty submissive hopefulness with no real solid personal experience. So, in realizing that God saw that it was GOOD, I found a crowbar to pull the lid off the coffin of what I "knew." If God saw that it was good when he made all that he made, then my brain is good. And the questions in my brain are also good and not too big for God to handle and if God is love, then love won't let me go when I am no longer capable of believing in...oh. wow. in the belief system that got me to this place, a place that is both place and journey and that now has no name or label recognizable by any culture but brings me home in ways no other road has before. Spirituality is heightened. Confusion is gone. I can trust myself.

    39. It's so nice to see that I am not the only one that struggles with this. I'm 40 something and have pondered this way and that in-depth and in angst for the last 30 years or so on this subject.

    40. Great topic and it is good to see all the replies!

      Being raised in the Southern part of the United States, I have had Christianity preached to me from day one, but it never felt right for me. I respect people of all faiths and respect their right to believe in what they believe as long as it doesn't cause harm to someone else. Sadly, that is not reciprocated as widely by the masses as I would like.

      I have always believed that most people turn to religion because of pride and ego. For some reason, humans believe they are so mighty that there has to be something after our existence on this planet. So, they turn to a religion or belief system that says you will have everlasting life or your soul will go on or whatever. It just isn't enough to live a good and decent existence where you show love and decency to everyone around you for however many years you have on this planet.

      I wish people would preach a message of tolerance from the pulpit instead of ignorance and division. It would make the world a better place.

    41. Hey Randy-
      Every time you write about religion, the same two thoughts go through my head..."I'm not so sure that your premise about "all religions" is accurate, and that you seem to paint "organized religions" with a very broad brush."

      It seems to me that the only faith systems that claim to have "the truth" are Fundamentalists and certain Christians.

      In my experience MOST other religions teach the exact opposite of that. The premise of most religion is to teach practices or disciplines, in a variety of ways, to help a person commune with God, however that individual relates to God. Or to help someone find their own inner spirit and figure out how to live in integrity within our own human nature.

      I actually think it has become trendy to say "I am spiritual but not religious", but that this idea often comes from a place of self righteousness or resentment based on hurtful earlier experiences. Exploring beliefs about "religion" would be some interesting memes to delve into and see how many are accurate, or just fear based.

      Isn't assuming all organized religion is off the mark just another form of ..."sitting in smug condescension,"?

      As for me, you already know the answers to most of your questions. I am "spiritual" and "religious".

      I DID actually grow up in a cult, rejected all religion for many years, have practiced meditation, Native American spirituality and Buddhism and there has been MUCH study and soul searching around God, religion and spirituality.

      It all brought me back to Judaism, by choice and not the religion of my parents. I fall deeply in love with Judaism everyday and of all the religions in the world, I think people who are not Jewish, are simply clueless about how current, fun, uplifting and challenging Jewish teaching is.

      Being Jewish brings joy to my life every single day and I believe that there are millions of other religious people in the world who can say the same thing without thinking that theirs is the "only truth."

      Have a great day,
      Jeanne

      1. I do believe you came to your faith after serious and deliberate critical thinking. I don't share your optimism about the practices of "most" organized religions though.

        -RG

    42. Never understood why religion is so important in people's lives. Religions are made up by people. Those who follow them without thinking are not very wise. Both parents were athiests and I am that way too, not because they were but rather I thought about it myself. My main "belief" would be the universal law of checks and balances. No pun intended here.

    43. Well,dear dear friend Randy...I think I would like to qualify for being the "first idiot" to say Christ is the Truth because the Scripture says so:) The question I would raise is: Does Truth exist? The answer I usually get is "Well, I don't believe there is absolute truth?"
      And my response is "Are you absolutely sure about that?"
      Truth to be truth has to be without error or it isn't truth. It may be "partial truth" - but it isn't Truth. So why would anyone think he or she knew the Truth - the pure truth - unless there was some clear evidence of the Absolute Evidence.
      Jesus Christ came into the world and claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life - God in the flesh - and rose from the dead to prove Who He is. He must have been a lunatic and a liar and not a good teacher if what He said is not the Truth. And I would be the first one to recognize that believing that is a gift of grace, a gift of revelation - and I would never argue about it - just state it as the Truth:)
      Thanks for the invitation to dialogue:)
      Glenna

      1. Sorry but you don't qualify for that prize! I know you have come to your faith with an astounding level of critical thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the discussion.

        -RG

    44. This is what I believe:

      Religion was created by man. It was created for the purpose of implementing order and obedience among the growing population of the world. Just like why we have laws now that exist in every country is to prevent chaos and to be able to manage, discipline, control, manipulate and convince a large number of people and keep the peace of a nation where people are followers of a small group of leaders.

      Basically, religion (laws) = peace and order in the world, no religion (no laws) = chaos and disorder.

      If I were alive thousands of years ago before religion was invented/discovered and the population of the world was growing out of control and people were free to do whatever they want, kill, rape, steal, etc, I'd probably be scrambling for a way to make people follow a way of life, lead them and manage them, and have them follow a code of conduct, a culture, so as to maintain order, peace, and tranquility by creating followers in every individual, in this place we call Earth.

      And so religion is the most incredible solution to this problem because the result is people happily adopt these beliefs by themselves and even preach it willingly to others. And the way it was sold, it is still the best marketing campaign ever to date.

      Who knows maybe thousands of years in the future, humans will be worshipping a god named Steve Jobs and Apple devices would be the way to heaven. And if you hack into someone's computer you would go to hell. The fossils of the first Macintosh would be preserved in the Holy Applestore Temple and people would worship it by walking around it for hours....

    45. Great topic! I was raised in a christian home and never really questioned my faith until I was about 16 years old. I pretty much left the church until I was 25 and have never really shaked my christian background, but do like to blow my mind a fair bit on subjects like Ufology, Quantum Physics, and other philosophies. I spent over an hour today listening to a Jehovah Witness explain is viewpoints to me, it was an interesting discussion and I certainly liked his insight as I do most. Your belief creates the fact...

    46. Forgot to mention that I am no longer affiliated with Religion, but do still attend church from time to time and meet regularly with other like minded people who understand that God is love, God is power, and that God is not divisive. he/she is divine, omnipresent, and really desires a relationship with each and everyone of us. Religion pushes us further from the true one who created the Universe. As Jesus said, "They Honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me". I think that sums up most people I have come across i religious circles.

    47. I agree with you, Randy. Like you, I've spoken out about the washing machine like progamming the majority of the population falls into--and I've had death threats as a result. In all my years of studying organized religion I've discovered very little critical thinking among the so-called leaders or their followers. Otherwise smart people are willing to believe almost anything because they need to believe it; and they willingly close their eyes and cover their ears to any argument of reason. I don't know if God exists, and either does anyone else. But organized religion is the greatest threat to the survival of the species. As you mentioned, bigots like Pat Robertson are leading a cult of people who refuse to think for themselves. It's and dangerous. Let's hope people wake up and stop blindly following these intolerant hate-mongers before they destroy the world.

    48. I am a recovering Catholic.
      I realized that there were 52 sermons each year and they repeated every 52 weeks. Hmmm. The bible is pretty big. What are they not covering? Why is God so vengeful? There seems to be no forgiveness. Even God can't be both ALL loving and so bent on punishment.
      I found a kinder, all loving God at Unity. And that's where I found your books too Randy!
      What I'm going to write combines this blog post with your next topic: Money.
      What I was taught as a child about God has kept me poor. "It's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven." "The love of money is the root of all evil." And my favorite, "Poverty is a virtue." We all want to be virtuous, especially if you're female, therefore we all want to be broke.
      These seeds were planted at a very young age and had a tenacious root system.
      I realized I needed to change my core beliefs but that would require changing my subconscious thoughts. I couldn't just think differently. The roots needed to be killed. I knew the best time to do this was when you first wake up and as you fall asleep. So I created a CD with affirnmations. The music minister from church put some music behind it.
      Let me add here that I am a nurse and had no experience in this at all.
      I addressed the religious aspect by changing scripture into affirmations. It completely changes the energy of it. For example: Whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and believing, you will receive" affirms as "Whatever I ask for in prayer, having faith and believing, I will receive."
      Feel the energy shift?
      Another one is "I know if I ask it will be given to me. If I seek, I will find. If I knock, the door will be opened."
      You get the idea. I'm happy to report that after a couple years of listening, I'm in an entirely new place. I'm grateful that I was able to see what my early teaching had done to me and take steps to change it.

    49. My god is real, the birth of any living creature and the changes in seasons and nature. Theese are true miracles.

    50. Excellent analogy of the origins of religious beliefs, I was raised in a religious family in Indiana attending the Presbyterian church but I never quite  believed in a supreme being. I do believe that people believe what they are taught, so what you believe in depends on where they were brought up as stated in Randy's message. I once wrote a limerick that started with this idea. If children were taken a birth to a beautiful place on this Earth where prejudice and pride were just cast aside and each could discover their worth. it continued on but didn't continue to make sense if in fact the first stanza did.

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