A Religious Guide to Sabotaging Your Life:
1. Begin with the premise that there is something hopelessly and incurably wrong with you.
2. Believe that your humanity is an affront to God, an obstacle to overcome, and an evil to repress or eradicate.
3. Pin your hopes on the afterlife, and don’t get too interested in the herelife.
4. Mistrust what you most deeply feel.
5. Give others the power and authority to determine what your beliefs, values, opinions, goals, desires, and views are.
6. Fear, reject, condemn, and close yourself off from anything that doesn’t fit with what you got from the above.
7. Focus on behavior modification, checklists, do’s and don’ts, obedience, and keeping the rules when it comes to living your life.
8. Give up or kill off all your needs and desires as a sign of spiritual maturity and call it “dying to self.”
9. Make sure everything and everyone in life is assigned a label or put into a box.
10. Label science, psychology, and art as “secular,” “carnal,” or “worldly,” and stay away from it.
11. Consider talk of love, unity, harmony, peace, beauty and oneness as childish, foolish, idealistic, or dangerous.
12. Draw a line between “sacred” and “secular” and divide up the world accordingly.
13. Divide humankind up into “us” and “them,” and stay away from “them” and judge “them” from a distance.
14. Lock up and throw away the key to your sexuality and get busy focusing on something that is holy.
15. Put forth a valiant effort to project and maintain an image that lines up with the expectations of your religious community, and hide the ways you don’t.
16. Don’t ask questions, rock the boat, challenge authority, think for yourself, or listen to that voice inside… just keep doing or believing even if it violates something deep inside of you.
– Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge
(Photo by Darla Winn)