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