I was asked a question yesterday in my AMA event that I wasn’t able to answer, and decided to address it here. The question had to do with how to dethrone the religious voices in your head that judge, shame, condemn, manipulate, induce fear, and seek to control you.On your new-found path to freedom, here are 3 things you may hear from religious leaders to scare and control you:
1. “Self-realization is idolatry; you’re supposed to be worshiping God and not yourself.”
The truth is that self-realization is why you are here, and every step in your personal evolution brings glory to God. The image, likeness, and being of God is the fundamental. underlying, and unchanging nature and essence of who you are. The point of your human existence is to discover this and bring full expression to it through your humanity or human personhood. This is what Jesus did and was, which is why he said, “I am the truth.” Self-actualization is the most spiritual and sacred endeavor of our human experience. The religious notion that your relationship with yourself and self-actualization is somehow a selfish pursuit and diversion from true godliness is a false notion that is not supported by Jesus or founded in the Bible.
2. “You are deceived. You are following false ideas that sound hopeful and beautiful but they’re darkness masquerading as light.”
You have to get straight in your head and heart that God and fear do not go together… ever. If you hear any religious teaching or idea and induces fear, dismiss it swiftly and entirely. God never stirs feelings of shame or fear to motivate people on the path of truth and freedom. The above condemnation is projection – you are actually exploring and embracing the truth. Meanwhile, the religious views that induce fear and shame are the teachings that are “darkness masquerading as light.” Come on; you’re smarter than that. Of course religious leaders who are intent on perpetuating the system aren’t going to take too kindly to people who challenge it. Freedom is a threat to people who would level the above condemnation. Just expect it. It might even get nasty.
3. “The Bible clearly states that you’re beliefs are wrong, and you are in danger of God’s judgment.”
Geesh! This one drives me crazy. Basically this erroneous view goes like this, “My interpretation of the Bible is the correct one… because I say so… so there!” There’s a saying that goes, “Just because it’s on the Internet, doesn’t mean it’s true.” Well guess what? Just because some religious leader tells you that the Bible means something, doesn’t mean that’s what it means. Just a cursory study of the history of Christianity shows a diversity of views on the most fundamental matters of the Christian faith. The notion that there is one “orthodox” view of Christianity that has persisted through time (and is therefore correct) is simply not true. Stop externalizing authority and repair your relationship with yourself. You already know the truth inside, and you don’t need anyone to tell you.