Finding comfort in religion

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I've noticed a few messages on this forum from people who've said they found some comfort in 'God' and I was curious. I'm asking myself what this could possibly mean. None of what I say is new, by the way. It's just reiterating what a lot of spiritualists believe. Ying and Yang; positive and negative.

As an agnostic, it's not my place to question the existence of a God. I barely understand my own existence let alone be arrogant enough to question the existence of something that apparently created me.

My understanding of religion though, from a purely spiritual perspective, is that in order for one to say they found comfort in 'God' they must first know what the concept of 'God' is.

To my knowledge, I have never seen any proof of the existence of some higher plain beyond life obviously because I'm not dead (and neither are you if you are reading this) so it's virtually impossible for me to say whether or not I've seen, touched, heard, tasted, or smelled 'God'; this benevolent being, sitting on a cloud, giant white beard, with many, many strings attached to 6.8 billion people who are nothing more than fleshy marionettes. If that's 'God', I don't believe in it.

However, religion is full of allegory.

If I were to say, “God is everything that is good and Satan is everything that is bad”, I'd say that if one were to apply that logic to oneself, then God as a concept does exist, and Satan as a concept does exist, because understanding human nature, there is good and bad in everybody – we are our own God and Satan, in effect.

Then what springs into my mind is this concept of Heaven and Hell. By believing in God, we're aiming to reach a place that offers comfort when we die. Similarly, by following Satan, or by committing acts that are considered “bad”, we go to a place of suffering and torment when we die.

I think this is nonsense.

If one were to say to another, “you do good things and follow God so you can get to Heaven when you die”, it begs the question, “well, how do you know what happens when you die?” - which then makes me think, maybe following the concept of 'God' (ie. By doing 'good' things) you reach Heaven whilst you are still alive, and by doing 'Bad' things, all you ever do in life, ultimately, is suffer.

In other words, maybe there isn't an afterlife in the typical Christian sense; maybe your afterlife is your present life, and that doing good or bad things affects your life as it is now.

This, by the way, is not a way of saying “what you believe is nonsense” because ultimately if you follow the concept of a 'God', by definition you are doing good things. The mistake, however, is in assuming that by doing good things, the second you die, you find yourself standing in line at God's own Housing Association waiting for a permanent room in Hotel De Las Heaven. One cannot possibly know if that is likely to happen.

Basically, religion teaches us that by doing good things, we achieve happiness. That's not a bad thing at all, really, but then you don't have to say you're a Christian, Muslim, Judaist, Hindu or Pagan to do it, or read Bibles, Qu'rans, go to churches, mosques or synagogues.

Finding some context within depression, especially, I ask, when was the last time you did something good that made you feel good about yourselves? Because you'll find that if you DO more good things (by following the concept of a 'God'), you will find happiness and peace (the concept of 'Heaven').

Don't find comfort in religion. Find comfort in doing good things.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Boing, It's very brave of you to open a theological debate!

    I think that if anyone finds comfort in anything that they believe in, we shouldn't knock it.  However, I agree with you that finding comfort in doing things is probably better, but then you and I aren't "believers", although there are some good aspects and also some bad in all religions of all types and denominations.  I think that "Do as you would be done by", is probably the best that one can aspire to.

     

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  • Posted

    Hi boing, Is not a question of being good or bad that gets you to heaven, because we are all bad in that we are all sinners, sinning every day. We were born in sin, sin nature was past down to us by first parents (adam and eve) who dissobeyed God by eating of the forbiden  tree. Therefore we all inherited that disobediant nature, We could never be good enough to enter heaven. God told adam, in that day you eat that fruit ,you shall surly die.God did not intend for humans to die. But we die beause we inherited death from our parents adam and eve. The bible says the penalty for sin is death. But then God sent his only begotten son to this world born through a vergin. He came to pay the penalty for sin. He died in our place on a cross over 2000 years ago. Us getting to heaven is not based on us being good enough, its based on you confessing yur sinnfulness and accepting that Jesus paid the penaly for yur sinnfulness. In the Bible read letter of Paul to the romans. (If you confess with your mouth The Lord Jesus  and belive in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.) ?the choice is ours to beleive in our heart . This is not a religion, it leads to a relationship with the liveing God   
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    • Posted

      I think you have greatly misunderstood everything I said in my original post. Nothing you said was relative to it - I'm not interested in hearing Bible scriptures; I'm discussing the psychological implications of doing 'good things'; could be a Muslim, A Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Pagan; irrespective of what religion you are, the point is religion can have a good message if you follow the more positive aspects of it but then really a lot of the more positive aspects are just common sense.

      God, as a benevolent entity, doesn't exist to me. God, as a concept, does. As I say, religion is full of allegory.

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  • Posted

    boing, I was nswering your comment in paragraph 7. we dont enter heaven by doing what you consider as good, your idea of doing good is totaly false, If we do waht you think is good, its only because we follow instructions that were handed down from our living God, (the ten commandements) without them we wouldnt even know what was good or bad, Our living God is the one who defines what is good. How can you comment or know what is GOOD if you dont beleive in the only one that is Good?(God)

    Allegory is jus ta nice way of saying something doesnt really  exist.

    your problem is that you live in a box of only beleiveing what you can see, taste, smell or feal, Let me ask you something , 

    is there evil in the world?

    where does it come from?

    Does love exist?

    Where does it come from?

    There is a spirittual world also ,

    LOOK OUTSIDE THE BOX

     

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    • Posted

      “Allegory is jus ta nice way of saying something doesnt really  exist. “

      Whereas religion is a way of not being able to answer anything.

      This is essentially the problem with religion, in a nutshell. The logic behind religion is very similar actually (to find some context) to the approach a lot of people have with depression in trying to answer the unanswerable:

      “What is wrong with me?” Oh you have a chemical imbalance.

      “Where do people come from?” Errrrrrrrr... GOD! Yeah God.

      Both questions could then be followed by, “how do you know that?” - we just do.

      It's circular logic.It's unhelpful.

      “we dont enter heaven by doing what you consider as good, your idea of doing good is totaly false”

      Well, again, you've misunderstood my point completely, and it's not false – it's an opinion; this is thinking outside the box. An opinion is either something you agree with or disagree with, but it's wrong to call it false without having some basis of countering it with a differing opinion, which you haven't done; just supplied circular logic. This isn't a discussion any more; this is just you refusing to understand what I say because you aren't thinking outside the religious box.

      When I talk about the concept of “being good to get to Heaven”, I'm discussing the allegory of the afterlife in religion; Buddhism being the most obvious counter-example, and one less allegorical.

      In Buddhism, the process of understanding oneself and finding peace is one of it's central concepts. The ability to throw away all earthly hindrances to be able to reach a spiritual nirvana. It doesn't explain an afterlife because in Buddhism, self-awareness dictates that one cannot possibly know of any kind of afterlife since one is not dead. Instead, it asks how one can find peace on earth - “Heaven on earth” if you like/spiritual nirvana. We find that, in ourselves, by doing good things, and it can help wonders when it comes to understanding and alleviating symptoms of mental illness.

      In context to what we're discussing on this forum, relating to depression particularly - people are living in your Christian Hell right now; there are some going through real physical and psychological torture at the hands of this benevolent mental illness.

      How does one get out of this Hell? Well, one way is to understand oneself, by becoming learned in oneself; by becoming 'aware'. When you are 'aware' of what it is you have, what it is that makes you suffer; that tortures you; you can stand up to it and fight it. The Hell you suffer has a name and that name is depression or anxiety. How does one overcome both? By doing something productive about them.

      One way of doing something productive, for example, is when the Satan (ie. The evil) tells you not to go outside, the God in you (ie. The good) tells you to re-engage with the world. By doing that good act, you are finding your way towards Heaven.

      So what am I saying? We are all batteries and religion tells us that we have positive and negative; how we find peace is by gravitating more towards positive than negative. God doesn't exist as a creator or being of good; it's just a concept that people anchor to as a means of doing good things, and by doing more good things, one finds his way to the concept of “Heaven”.

      Understanding religion is a process of understanding human nature. You ask where does good and evil come from? Well, it comes from within us, and everybody has both. The more good things you do, the better you feel about yourself. When you finally feel satisfied that you have lived a good life, you'll find yourself reaching that state of total peace, or Heaven. That Heaven doesn't exist when we die; it exists when we do good things and find peace inside ourselves whilst we live.

      There is indeed a spiritual world but it is, I'm afraid, not one you and I understand the same. The difference is that I can discuss my understanding of it with simple logic whereas you're unable to, well, "look outside the box", as you say.

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    • Posted

      Ok I'll simplify what I'm saying into this:

      Take a disabled child; one with severe learning disabilities. This child cannot possibly understand the concept of 'God' or 'Satan'; all that child knows is what makes him happy and what makes him sad. The more 'Good' he experiences, the happier he is. The more 'Bad' he experiences, the unhappier he is.

      For that brief moment in time when he is happy, “God” and “Heaven” exists as the smile on his face. God is what caused him to smile – it could be a toy given to him by his mother or father. That toy, for that moment, is God; it is pure joy. Heaven – the psychological state of mind; the emotion – is the happiness he feels; the peace that he feels inside him when he is overcome with the joy.

      Years later, this child will die. He does not fear death because for the while he lived on earth, he experienced happiness and total peace. He experienced Heaven whilst alive, in the form of inner peace. He cannot possibly know or even understand what will happen after he dies. All he knows on his death bed is what he experienced in life.

      All religion does – the Bible - is provide an allegory of that, except in a way people may have understood it 2,000 years ago. What I'm doing with it is applying some real, 21st century understanding developed and evolving through hundreds of years of human enlightenment, and finding some context in it with mental illness, and how by finding inner peace, we can all achieve happiness.

      We don't do that by 'finding God', we do it by learning to find ourselves.

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