Religion is distorting our perception

I enjoyed this, moreso the comments, that for a change, is the majority in agreement and very little mudslinging going on.

http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Religion-is-distorting-our-perception-20111129

The truth shall set you free

I never fitted well into the establishment - since a young age I was branded as a “disturber of the peace”, mostly because I accepted nothing at face value, and questioned everything (personality type or neurological wiring, I am extremely glad for this). With this came an unquenchable thirst for understanding and knowledge, which meant one thing mostly - reading. Luckily for me, my mom was a librarian (ah the joy…) Sometime during my 1000th book, I realised something. Literature is not only a source of knowledge and other little gems, but it is the collective experience of the human race. Then I switched from fiction to non-fiction, and my world changed forever. Each book let me to a new topic or idea and it became a frenzy - I was reading 5 books at time.

As I learned and read about history, cultures, philosophers, ideas, science, religions, wars, ideologies, natural disaster and ancient civilisations, one day a massive realisation came over me. Up until then I was still quasi-religious with serious doubts and questions, even though I think I always knew Christianity made no sense at all - but the fear instilled through years of indoctrination, and the attitude against apostasy still kept me somewhat in check. Even though religion felt illogical at best, my current opinion (then) was still that something keeps everything in order, created the cosmos and at least tries to guide and help us - I mean nature is just so perfect and fantastical, and there is so much that we simply can’t explain! I was also a deeply conflicted and tortured soul - because I was searching for my place in the world, life and in my own psyche. I wrote poetry, tried meditation, studied music and kept journals. I lost myself in myself and tried to understand transcendence and my journey and existence. By then I had read the most influential philosophical opinions but still struggled with the same questions - “why are we here”, “what’s the purpose of life”.

But what I realised one day (probably a Monday) was this:

The universe does not give a damn about us. Not in the very least. It does not care or know about our existence. In fact it tries to kill us most of the time.

This realisation set me free.

The opinion drilled into me every Sunday was that we are at the center of God’s creation - his best work and crown jewel. This is supposed to be a humbling thought - that the whole universe were created with us in mind - how arrogant it now seems.

My consciousness and thinking then switched from the “us” or the “god” or the “world” to the “me”. The problem is that the indoctrination machine of religion works extremely well, and this kind of thinking was taboo. I, for a long time thought, as people still think (and have often told me), that I think “I am god” or “it’s all about me” or “you think you are greater than god”. It dawned on me that they are right. I am only me. I am only my thoughts and my mind and my actions. I am only my knowledge, my perception, and my aspirations. Up until that point, god, his teachings and his endless legions were only clouding the issue.

But the realisation did not stop (it still hasn’t). I realised that only through understanding myself, could I understand others and my world. I realised that I (we) are utterly alone in this world, and only through our own happiness can we create happiness for others. I realised that it is a perpetual machine.

Because I realised that the universe and the world does not give a damn about us, I came to understand that we have to take the responsibility ourselves - for everything - we have to solve our own problems. Up until that stage I could simply place my problems in on god’s altar of salvation, redemption and grace.

I then came to see this same message in most of what I have read - intentional or not. It simply said: stop waiting for a better life, or to be saved, or displacing the responsibility or the blame. Take charge of your life (by taking charge of your mind) and live it. You are what you think you are. Nothing more. So many things and people inspire us, but I realized that overvaluing them is dangerous - as is anything dogmatic.

As I started to realize all these things I started looking around me, and behind me, and it dawned on me that people are utterly lost. The streets were lined with churches, but they were preaching the wrong message. They were aiming at the wrong target. But it’s not easy for people to realize that they’ve wasted their lives.

By now I had long since left god behind, spiritually, emotionally, institutionally and with a somewhat dramatic departure. God (and all his partners) was not only utterly useless to me, but was holding me back.

The universal truths in this world are the most difficult of all to find, but by far the most liberating and rewarding. And these truths are simple and can only be found with introspection (and massive amounts of reading!). It depends on with what you are happy with. What you can comprehend is what your will achieve.

Christianity has been a thorn in my side - not because I yearn for it, or I’m obsessed with it, but because I have been defending myself against its zealots all my life. Religion clouds the issue of who we as exceptional human beings are, and distorts our spirituality and transcendence to the point of perversion.