Catholic Religion Today – is it a Healthy Option?

Is it healthy to be in a religion today? Or can being in a religion seriously damage our health? I have been exploring these questions with regards to my own relationship with the Catholic religion.

I was ‘recruited’ by the Catholic religion at birth and this was further cemented with my baptism and first holy communion, then by entering a Catholic boarding school at the tender age of six. Even though I made a choice to leave the religion when I was 18 because of the indoctrination I experienced, it has affected me all of my life.

I have lived with a constant feeling of somehow being wrong, never being good enough, filled with guilt, constantly self-sacrificing and full of angst. Worst of all was not knowing who I truly was, or how to love and be loved, which led to my engaging in unloving relationships, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, overeating and partying.

To cap it all, I never learned who or what God truly was/is. I abandoned the Catholic version of God in my late teens and never really found anything that truly made sense to me until 2005 when I met Serge Benhayon, who presented in a different way the truth of who we are and how we relate to God – equally, all of us, not just any one religion.

Since meeting Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, I have learned that who I am is ok, that I am not a sinner, that we are all equal children of God, regardless of our religion or our way of living, and that we can all feel God’s love within us when we live in a way that is healthy, harmonious and loving.

With Universal Medicine we are encouraged to learn and evolve as one brotherhood, with each of us serving our fellow man in a self-loving way, not a self-sacrificing one.

I asked about religion being a healthy option because many religions preach martyrdom for a ‘just cause’ as a ‘good thing’. Is it? And what is a ‘just cause’? Is it when a devout, religious person believes that a fellow human being is wrong and must be tortured till he or she converts and, if not converted, then be executed? Even worse, some people feel they have to sacrifice their own lives in order to kill those same fellow human beings, as in suicide bombers. The promise of rewards in Heaven is coming from pure illusion, geared by those in power to further their own ends. Hence, in the Middle Ages people could pay money for a ‘pardon’ of their sins.

Throughout the centuries, all over the world, thousands have been and are still being killed in the name of God – why?

Could it be that, despite their belief in God, there is no true love felt, just unhappiness and a deep emptiness within? Is it possible that the lack of fulfillment comes from within the religion itself? And then, rather than look at the truth of what’s going on, the religious fanatic blames those outside of the religion who have different beliefs.

Over the last thousand years the Catholic religion has persecuted millions of people living ordinary lives, who dared to speak out against their dogma or who appeared to live in a different way. In Western Europe, women were burned as ‘witches’ (1), in France the Cathars were wiped out (2), in Italy and Greece, scientists and philosophers were tortured and killed (3)(4), in America the native population were deemed ‘savages’ and many were slaughtered (5). As for the Holocaust, Hitler was a Catholic and had close links with the Pope (6). Even now, crimes are still being committed within the Catholic Church, including pedophilia and corruption. Sadly, the genocide continues today, not so much from the Catholic Church, but this time under the banner of a different religion.

This begs the question, is it the religion or the people? In all walks of life there are murderers and extremists – are they naturally that way or is it the religion and the religious leaders who create an atmosphere of separation, intolerance and hate?

My experience has been that the Catholic religion affected me at a very deep level. I was not brought up with a truly loving God and I was not brought up to care deeply for myself. I am learning this now through The Way of The Livingness, as presented by Serge Benhayon.

The Way of The Livingness is a new religion based on ancient principles. It teaches true Brotherhood, that we are all equal, that we do not harm anyone – not for any reason. This religion presents that even judging another could be considered abusive because judgement is not Love. It teaches that there is one loving God for All of Us – we are all his equal children. With The Way of The Livingness we are encouraged to question everything and to feel our own wisdom from within our bodies, not blindly believe any dogma, or depend on outside influences for our opinions. We are encouraged to live in a healthy way, looking after our bodies and nurturing ourselves.

I’m not convinced that the Catholic religion promotes self-worth (7) or even healthy living but, for me, The Way of The Livingness religion of today is definitely a healthy option!

By Carmel Reid, Somerset UK

References:

  1. http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Witches-in-Britain/
  2. http://www.heretication.info/_cathars.html
  3. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/galileo-is-convicted-of-heresy
  4. http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gbh_philosophers.htm
  5. http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/7302
  6. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazi-germany/the-catholic-church-and-nazi-germany/
  7. http://catholicexchange.com/lord-i-am-not-worthy

Further Reading:
Who or What is God?
The Way of The Livingness – It’s My Religion
Life is Religion. What does that Mean?

531 thoughts on “Catholic Religion Today – is it a Healthy Option?

  1. Our ideas and imaginings about heaven can be quite bizarre with no connection to love and reality at all. As you say in relation to the suicide bombers Carmel: ‘The promise of rewards in Heaven is coming from pure illusion’. We have an opportunity to express from heaven while on earth but there are certainly no rewards in heaven for killing yourself and others – this is a momentum that has swept up someone very hurt.

  2. This blog has alerted me to the harm ignorance and arrogance can have on humanity. I was recruited in the Catholic Faith at birth and never questioned this as it had been in many generations of my family and very heavily relied upon as a ‘symbol of ‘Status’ and righteousness – to question this was equal to blasphemy. Through my exposure to The Way of The Livingness and re-connecting to my own heart, I am slowly shifting the heavy cloak of guilt, unhealthy attachment and blinkered lifestyle I have been imprisoned in. Through my observation, many people do not question the life handed down to them along with all of the traditions this life is layered with. I am deeply appreciative of all that Serge Benhayon and the Ancient Wisdom Teachings have brought through supporting each of us to re-connect and claim who we truly are.

  3. I love the way you write Carmel, it comes with a very everyday quality to it that makes it accessible and easy to read yet you present something quite huge for the reader to consider.

  4. With everything happening with the Catholic faith these days I would say in the future more and more people will consider what they follow in the future. I remember when I was younger our family following the Catholic faith believing that it was the best thing for us all. As soon I was old enough to make the decision I didn’t go to any of the Catholic rituals as I never believed them as a child. In fact there was so many questions I had that were constantly asked but never answered and so to me none of it made sense. What articles like this are saying make far more sense to what I feel. There is a true religion at there or in here and you need not pit one against another. At it’s very essence this is far from true religion and each one of us already knows and has a relationship truly with religion and like me we have chosen to walk away from it for our reasons. Time to reconnect with religion truly, The Way of The Livingness.

  5. This is such a brilliant title Carmel. How many people in the world have even yet become aware that what we invest in psychologically and emotionally is just as important as what we invest in financially – and the acts of both will have repercussions on our health and wellbeing?

  6. There is great truth here in this article, by the fact that when we are taught to worship a God that is condemning, judgmental and wrath-full we are left feeling worthless – which can lead to a multitude of behaviours that are self destructive and abusive.

  7. Even though I did not grow up under the constantancy of any religion, I still felt not good enough and full of judgement. How come I ask? I did not have the constant doctrine of a religion, yet in the way of living I was shown growing up the beliefs that stem from religion were held and lived by those around me, so they became mine. That was until I began to choose another way to be in our world. The beliefs I grew up with are fading like a beautiful sunset, letting go of doubts and judgement is now a choice I am grabbing in both hands.

  8. The Way of The Livingness has transformed my life and every day is an opportunity to deepen the connection with my body which is the bridge to connecting with my Soul and living a simple life, taking care of all my needs which supports living in service.

  9. There is one religion that could be considered synonymous with good health, and that is The Way of The Livingness. If one is in The Way of The Livingness, then there is an already established way in life that prepares the body to connect and know divinity. This supports every aspect of health and wellbeing and is called The Livingness. It speaks to the fact of the established Way and health is but a by-product.

  10. It is impossible to judge another when we are truly connected to God. When I find my myself judging another it is a great marker as to where I am at and whether I am embracing evolution. Judging another focuses my attention on the outside when in truth the answer is within and my connection to myself and therefore to God.

  11. I can so very much relate to this blog Carmel, having being brought up from the day I was born until I had had enough as a teenager. I mean you are literally bombarded that we are all sinners first and have to repent and that we should always put others before ourselves which I felt was mostly an act because people were still selfish, but they just portrayed that they weren’t. Any religion that preaches separation in any form gets no time or respect from me, because I have seen a true way of living and now know the true meaning of religion also thanks to The Way of The Livingness.

  12. Part of me still thinks what happened in the past isn’t real and so when it comes to saying things like the holocaust, Hitler, Cathars etc I still have them disconnected to now. Obviously physically you could say they aren’t real for now but it’s the perception that they are in the past and have happened and won’t happen again or like they were a story of someone else and not real to me. It’s hard to explain and I trust this is making sense but it’s almost like history is a story and I apply very little to what goes on now, like we have moved on from there. When I truly look around though I can see these things still actually playing out, it’s just that they are dressed differently.
    The atrocities of the past were horrific but there are things in our day and age that rival those, if not at times go past those, it’s just that because we are in them we don’t see them. I wonder if this was the same in history, those that were experiencing or living in the world didn’t truly see what was happening until after the fact. I say this all with respect to those who have been hit by these things in history, it’s just that I am starting to bring the perceived 2 worlds into 1 world. In that history does repeat itself and like any behaviour it changes and some, if not all of our past, is here with us now in a different form. I see, with regard to the devastation still caused by the Catholic church as an example, and yet in this day and age they are still getting away with it. Has the past truly passed or has it just dressed itself in another way for us to truly see what is going on?

    1. Hi Ray, yes, history does indeed repeat itself even amongst the major religions – our history of fighting and being intolerant of any other religion/tribe/country has led to an incessant world war situation where brother fights brother. And yes, the repercussions of my early childhood affect me now in terms of how I react to events, what I feel is important, how I learn, what I am afraid of – and perhaps there things are carried through from life to life, for example, I’ve never met a deadly spider face to face and yet I was afraid to be in the same room as even a small one. I’ve grown out of that now, after a year of living abroad with cockroaches in the late 70s, but many of us experience unnecessary fears – like the fear of expressing when we are no longer burned at the stake – but it it in our consciousness somewhere?

  13. Cool piece of writing Carmel, it is liberating to talk about it from a new perspective that feels very true to me. Hence when we express from our truth, unity and brotherhood (the whole world, not just parts or groups) we will always find ourselves in integrity as we respect the whole – even if there are different opinions, experiences or choices. True connection, and so brotherhood, never erupts the love we come from. It can only shake the things up that are not real, no truth and no love.

  14. The Way of The Livingness is the only true religion for me. It is the only religion I have experienced where the person delivering the presentations (sermons) walks his talk. An amazing reflection and role model for us all in Serge Benhayon, where energetic integrity is paramount. It seems sorely lacking in other religions and areas of society, where people say one thing and do another.

    1. Yes, the importance of a presenter walking their talk is huge – without it anything said is totally meaningless. With Serge Benhayon we can feel in every cell of our bodies that what he presents is Truth.

  15. “Catholic Religion Today – is it a Healthy Option? I really like how this question is asked because we often assume that organized religion is good for us and therefore do not question deep enough how religion affects us. We cannot just accept things at face value; we have to see how things impact us on a long-term basis.

  16. I love how you have connected health and religion Carmel. People often think of it as ‘health’ is for the body and religion is for the ‘Soul’. But in fact these two cannot be separated. Only in a world divided from its heart divides religion from the body.

    1. ‘Only in a world divided from its heart divides religion from the body.’ I like this sentence – yes, Religion is a whole body experience, not a mental process of saying ‘I believe’. it is because we feel it.

  17. What is interesting to note here is the after affects, so to speak, that being feelings of shame and guilt. I was brought up with out any religion being honoured or revered in my life, but I still carried a drive to be perfect and subsequently heavy feelings of shame and guilt. Just how affected are we all by the simple fact that there are religious body’s in our world that promote fear and the need to be perfect/always good?

  18. If we take a stock take of human history, we would have to say Catholicism has caused wars, many murders, division and great hurt. This isn’t about blame or shame but ought we not as a race to simply stop and look at why this is the case? To continue on with words, practices and traditions that have not worked is to me the very definition of madness. Thank you Carmel for your personal sharing.

  19. Well said Carmel. With Catholicism being one of the most followed religions in the world today it certainly has a lot to answer for. How is it that we have religions that have us deemed as sinners even before we are born, or condone abuse of any form, or keep us from feeling the power of knowing that we are the Son’s of God, each and every one of us? Religion is it’s true meaning is a way of living that supports our relationship with our Godliness through our everyday lives and with all of humanity, where the love we are within is at the heart of all we do, through which equalness is naturally lived in honor of all. The Way of The Livingness is a religion that holds these values at its heart, and living in this way, as many are, our Soulfullness then is a reflection of all that we already greatly are within and is here to freely live together.

  20. When we look back at the history of the Catholic Church, all the harm that has been caused in the name of Catholicism, there isn’t any doubt in my mind that this is not a religion I would choose.

    1. I agree entirely. Yet, so many people do – even though they know these facts. It’s a stark reflection of how lost at sea we are that we are prepared to hang on to this most toxic and poisonous of life rafts.

  21. Seeing ourselves as guilty or ‘wrong’ in some way is seriously bad for our health. After all, if you took a beautiful tree, plant or flower and planted it in a toxic bog, how would you, expect it to grow? Are we any different? Don’t the quality of thoughts we allow about others and ourselves, dictate what comes next, right down to the way our cells grow? After all, as you highlight Carmel if we attack ourselves we attack Love, the truth and our true nature.

    1. I love the comparison here to nature, it is so logical that a tree cannot grow to its full potential if it has a virus, so how can we if our virus is a negative poison that tells us we are not worthy.

  22. It has been my experience too Carmel, the Catholic religion affected me at a very deep level and even now at the age of 56 and being a student of The Way of The Livingness things come up I was not even aware of that its origin laid in the Catholic religion I have been brought up with. The very obvious one was that I should first care for others before caring for myself and how men were seen of more value than women and how women should always be obedient to them but of late I discovered how my ‘right and wrong’ and judging myself comes from the same source. Definitely not a healthy source and never from the divine love we all are an equal part off.

  23. “I have lived with a constant feeling of somehow being wrong, never being good enough, filled with guilt, constantly self-sacrificing and full of angst. Worst of all was not knowing who I truly was, or how to love and be loved, which led to my engaging in unloving relationships, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, overeating and partying.” This sounds deeply familiar to me. You have a point here! I can truthfully say that the Catholic Religion proved to be an unhealthy choice for me. I am deeply grateful for my new religion- The Way of The Livingness. Thank you Serge Benhayon.

  24. We are led to believe that if we go to church or live a ‘good’ person, ‘keeping the peace’, giving to charity etc we are closer to God and that God will reward us by sending us to heaven but gosh it really does make me stop and question the empty love there is for ourselves and therefore towards another and the extent of how we are being controlled and manipulated by a force that we do know about but choose to ignore.

  25. the key to understanding religion is to question, observe, and then apply what you observe to your own life and your observation of life around you. In that way, you are not fooled by the tenets of faith and hope and lead you to believe something that simply is not congruent with the way the world truly is.

  26. Carmel, this article resonates with my own experience.
    I invested a lot of effort in being a ‘good Catholic girl’ however it has been at the expense of myself and irresponsibly in disregard of my body. Even sitting on hard wooden bench seats in a cold church in the middle of winter was a form of ‘self-sacrifice’ that I had erroneously come to believe was required to be loved by God. What trickery, when now, through The Way of The Livingness and thus an evolving commitment to the care of my physical body I can feel the warmth and pulse of God from within.
    I remember that I was often confused as a child by how teachers of the Catholic faith often did not live what they spoke of, and the abuse and illness that I observed to be occurring amongst the Catholic community I grew up in. The free will to choose was also not there – I remember around holy communion when I was about 9 years old feeling like I wanted to say ‘I don’t want to do this, it does not feel right for me’ but struggled to do so because I believed I would be a sinner or outcast if I did, and that I would be punished badly even possibly violently if I did. What rot to have allowed, and how gorgeous to now feel that step by step by building self-loving foundations and awareness that I can feel and see and begin to express more openly what is true and not true, and know that those who speak the lies have simply sold out to something as I once did and that it was others presenting truth that has enabled me to claim what I feel more deeply within and the responsibility that now rests for me to simply be me without shying away or going into any judgement or critique.

  27. To grow up overwhelmed and lost in the thoughts that we are sinners instead of all being equal children of God caps our potential immediately.

  28. Great expose Carmel. I too was raised in Catholicism and left and since I’ve been unpicking it’s impact the biggest of which is how I treat my body. I stopped reading this line today ‘ we can all feel God’s love within us when we live in a way that is healthy, harmonious and loving.’ and it gives me a deeper insight into why we can abuse our bodies and what I saw in Catholicism was an absolute disregard for the body, and of course this is deliberate as the body is our greatest marker of truth so if we abuse it we can’t feel the truth. Everything matters.

  29. Our beliefs or perception of life, as shaped by things such as ‘religious’ doctrine or dogma, has an intrinsic connection with our wellbeing and physical health – we cannot just say that beliefs are only contained in the mind for the activity of our mind impacts our whole body…

  30. It’s evil enough for a religion to pull us away from the truth of God, but a whole other level of evil when that religion, even if we walk away from it, renders us almost incapable of having a relationship with God, such are the beliefs, doctrines, emotions and ideals that the religion deeply seeds in us.

  31. Self-judgment is a killer, and is a stain that often remains long after a person has stopped going to church etc. The ongoing ill affect on a person’s life that insidiously affects their every movement, often without them even realising it, is the greater abuse…

  32. Wow Carmel – I had no idea Hitler was a Catholic and close to the pope but it’s not a huge surprise either as the nazi energy feels very similar to Catholic energy to me. It is important to consider what we are really saying yes to when we choose a religion – we can’t cherry pick the ‘good’ or ‘ true’ parts without swallowing the whole thing.

  33. It just makes common sense, every so often take a step back and take an honest look at our lives: what works, what does not, what harms, what inspires. When you look at the history of the Catholic Church it’s hard to miss the incidences of conflict, wars, hatred and sexual abuse. It doesn’t inspire me to take this route, but to return to question again what does my understanding of Love and of God feel like today? Thanks to people like you Carmel I am inspired to live my way and not follow rules in any form.

  34. Being truly religious is a way of life. It is how we move, how we nourish ourselves and how we connect with the world around us, that shows a completely different way to what past religions have been perceived and or worshipped. For many religion is about self sacrifice and devoting one self to the cause but when we choose to live in a way that not only supports us to grow, learn and inspire others we are making choices that show purpose for all and not just for self. When we seek God from outside sources we are inevitably leaving behind our connection to the divine that is housed within and that is a real shame for all.

  35. More and more the Catholic Church is being exposed for covering up for their priests who do horrendous things to children and yet there are still those that are willing to let them go as if they are above prosecution -has nothing changed since the dark ages?

  36. The responsibility we live with The Way of The Livingness offers a level of service that encourages a responsible approach to service. No self-serving martyrdom, more a dedication to consistency and a reflection of a simpler way of living that does not harm another.

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