by Rod Harvey, Marketing Manager, Gold Coast, Australia
Completely open and free without a care in the world… that’s how I lived when I was a child.
Before I arrived on the scene, Dad served as an infantry soldier in WW II in the Middle East, Greece and New Guinea, followed by an 18 month stint in the RAAF, based in England. When he spoke about the war, we only heard about the camaraderie and the mischief; nothing about atrocities and death. He rarely spoke about those who didn’t survive the war. Only ten percent of his original battalion came home.
No wonder he was an atheist.
Although my parents were irreligious, they encouraged us to find our own direction. I attended Sunday school but didn’t enjoy my brief sojourn. The teachers were too stern. School religion wasn’t much different – it was a drag. But at least there was no homework, apart from being ‘good’ (I didn’t pass).
However I do admit to momentarily wanting to be an altar boy because my mate was and he dressed up in a cool outfit. I think that was about the time I wanted to be a ballet dancer… and that too passed.
By the time I was 18 my openness and sense of wonder had shut down. My interest in God was zero and I had become a skeptical agnostic with strong atheistic tendencies. Life was about sport, the pub, women and work.
I went to a friend’s wedding – a lengthy traditional high mass. It further reinforced the futility of religion to me as I sat through the rituals and Latin liturgies. If God spoke Latin, how the hell (oops) could I communicate with him? I certainly didn’t fancy the idea of kneeling on the ground and bowing my head. Why did they do that? Surely there were better ways to show devotion. To me it felt cold and subservient.
As time went on I saw inconsistencies and bias in religion that cemented my viewpoint. Overall, religions professed to represent love, yet women were generally excluded from ‘holy positions’. One religion tells men not to touch a woman for 12 days after her period starts. Another tells women to cover their bodies with clothing from head to toe.
There’s an imaginary place called ‘hell’ that is used as a form of blackmail to get people to behave as the church wishes. Some religions hint at providing more ‘heavenly’ benefits to chosen followers over outsiders. Many religions persecute people because of ideological differences.
I observed how religions sent their ‘representatives’ throughout the world to change and control the natural way people lived their lives. Wars were started in the name of God. The prevention of the distribution of condoms resulted in thousands of people dying from Aids. I saw monks wandering like beggars being fed by people, then cloistered away to pray, rather than becoming self sufficient and getting out to serve their communities.
I felt that religion was a cop out because you could turn up, pray and then be quite ‘ungodly’ until the next session. To me, this promoted irresponsibility; there appears to be much self indulgence in worship.
No wonder so many people shun God, when there is so much conflicting feedback and controversy about religion.
Does this mean I have something against people who are religious? Not at all; love of people is high on my priorities. I say live and let live. There were times when I was envious of people who were sustained by their faith. I also appreciate the service that is given by people from various religions to their communities, particularly to the disadvantaged.
What I object to is the manipulation and control influenced by those in powerful positions within many faiths, along with extremists and religious scholars: people who often appear to be devoid of love. It is the antithesis to ‘live and let live’. We see similar characteristics with the leaders of some countries.
I reached a point where religion was meaningless and felt it could not be a true unifying force, so why bother? It was futile.
Yet surprisingly, after a few decades of apathy, I now have a different outlook…
142 thoughts on “God & Religion. Why Bother? (Part 1)”
Great, and very wise choice Elizabeth. There is much abuse in the catholic church over the years that is atrocious, yet has been allowed to continue.
Reconnecting to the true meaning of ‘religion’ is to feel the truth of your connection to God within you.
There are many things in this world that we feel are not true but when we walk away in disgust the lie keeps its rein until truth is claimed in its place.
It’s astonishing that we can think we know God, yet feel nothing but disconnection to ourselves and others, and the subsequent coldness. If we don’t feel love, and not the emotional kind, but the love that holds everyone as equal and includes nature, then there can’t be a connection to God. When we separate from the love we are we separate from God.
Another beautiful comment Melinda, if we don’t feel love, ‘the love that holds everyone as equal and includes nature, then there can’t be a connection to God. When we separate from the love we are we separate from God.’
Fading away from the model set by religions as they are set up is simple as they hold no truth as they are all man-made. The Teachers themselves were True but left no written words to deliver the truth. Understanding how religions are delivered when we have all played Chinese whispers, and understanding how corrupted what we share can become just one person out, so this must set the cat amongst the pigeons or ring alarm bells – as you have shared Rod.
Certainly corrupted, with some priests acting in abhorrent ways, ‘I felt that religion was a cop out because you could turn up, pray and then be quite ‘ungodly’ until the next session.’
I too can relate to feeling envious of people who had such certainty about their faith which I could never fathom as it all felt so false to me. Coming to understand that we all have our own connection to God with no need of the middle men of organised religion has been an amazing revelation and I now feel so sustained by my relationship with God and my true purpose.
I love this blog, it’s so funny – “how the hell (oops)”!
I really enjoyed your perceptive observations about the hypocrisies of organised religions. I could relate to many and the feeling of wanting nothing to do with God or religion if this is how it all looks. Luckily I have realised that it was never God who created religions, only men with their own agendas and interpretations. We should not be kept from our relationship with divinity as it is the essence of who we are.
The lack of truth in organised religions is a turn off for many but with that so many turn their back on God and the expansive relationships on offer when we re-connect to our inner wisdom.
Religion was always so hypocritical from what I saw, hence me distancing myself from it. It is worth remembering that, ‘ it was never God who created religions, only men with their own agendas and interpretations.’
Many people turn their backs on religion for me God would never treat people the way some religions do, however our connection to God comes not through religion but through our connection to our essence and through that we feel the grace of God.
It is great to see what is truly going on and not be blinded by great words when the words are not lived.
The reality of war is harsh and your dad served in many different countries so would have seen a lot. Knowing that ‘only ten percent of his original battalion came home’ also would have weighed heavy on him. Everyone has a history from the steps they have walked which makes them who they are today. When we are aware of this it always enables us to understand another better.
Understanding people is really important, as is not judging another… how do we know what has happened in their life.
Given the way that Religion has behaved in the past, it is no wonder that so many people have avoided and turned away from God. It is one of the saddest things in a world that is so in need of connection and real, true inspiration… when will realise its all available inside all the time?
We have been fooled big time as your blog so clearly shows, religion has become a faith and this has nothing to do with the truth of what religion is and we all are connected to. The truth lives in us and never can a religion determine how we should live, it is indeed about live and let live.
We have lost the true meaning of religion, connect back to its true meaning on Unimed Living, https://www.unimedliving.com/unimedpedia/word-index/unimedpedia-religion.html
Good to hear that you now have a different outlook as many need to see what that outlook may look like.
I nodded in agreement all the way through your astute presentation Rod, as I could relate to all you have shared. The biggie for me in questioning the truth of religion was the fact that so many wars had been and were still being fought in the name of God. This made no sense in any way as even though I was estranged from God back then, I still knew that there was no way he would countenance these senseless and heartless actions.
When it comes to religion, faith is an important word, either you have belonged to a faith, or you have lost faith in God. Yet, in truth religion it’s not about faith, it is about our movements.
Serge Benhayon shares about religion, ‘“If you understand what religion truly is, then everything is religion.”
Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p 46’
What I really don’t like about organized religions is the way we look at those priests and monks as the professionals when it comes to God and religion and regard them as having the ultimate say in right and wrong. And we have definitely participated in reinforcing this formation, even when we turn away from it, by not claiming our own connection with God.
What you describe here Rod as religion, is not religion in the true sense of the word, violence, separation, annihilation, war, all belong to the so called religions you described, when true religion is our returning and reconnecting to the love we truly are, where none of the above exist, only love, equality, joy.
This is what we see in the world, the wars, the greed, the pedophilia, and this is what people associate with religion, so no wonder people are anti-religion.
When we look around us today and observe what has in the past and currently transpires in the name of religion, it is no wonder why a massive resistance and separation exists. To speak of God yet seek to then annihilate, oppress, segregate, dictate to another is not true religion, nor does it represent the unifying truth that holds all equal as Sons of God. True religion represents love, in every way, for all beings to be known and respected in equalness, as from such a point of truth and unity we as a humanity will flourish in true power.
This blog pretty much sums us my relationship with religion as I also got to the point where I thought it was pointless. After searching for many years and attending many different types of religious services, none seemed to catch my attention enough to give it a good go. Now I know that I was looking for a connection to others and to myself and that we are always in a relationship with religion.