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
Who or What is God?
The Way of The Livingness – It’s My Religion
Life is Religion. What does that Mean?
622 thoughts on “Catholic Religion Today – is it a Healthy Option?”
‘Could it be that, despite their belief in God, there is no true love felt, just unhappiness and a deep emptiness within?’ I feel you have hit on something very poignant here. We are always in search of something outside of ourselves to love when we could start right here right now with caring for ourselves just a little bit more and let that caring show us what love we have been missing.
‘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.’ These are all forms of abuse Carmel and as a society we ought to view them as such. They may not be punches in the face but nonetheless leave lasting stains on us that actually affect our whole way of living.
Although not raised as a Catholic I too ” not brought up with a truly loving God and I was not brought up to care deeply for myself.” it would seem many of the major religions tried to control the masses through indoctrination – man-made at that – so we would not find our true essence- which is love. As true sons of God we would not stand for such deceptions.
We are all born the equal Sons of God and never does this fact change, as such we are eternally in a relationship with God. Therefore, true religion is our natural way of being reflecting our intimate relationship with love, truth and God through every part of our living day, guided by the body we are born into. True religion is where equalness is lived knowing that anything less that this is an abuse to who we truly are in essence.
I am in a Catholic country now and I can feel the deep sadness of this place. I went to a square one day and expressed joy and afterwards was approached on all sides, the pressure was huge, unseen, but all truly felt. Everything wants me to be like them, to be sad, to be exhausted, and to not be myself. I am feeling challenged but chose to be very gentle with myself even though some reactive choices were made.
The catholic religion has been a deterrent for many as their purported images of God do not accord with all we know deep inside – God is not vengeful, God did not send His only son, God does not demand sacrifices, God does not forgive, God does not ask for repentance, etc,. etc.; the list is endless.
I didn’t grow up with strong religious beliefs however I still was not brought up knowing how to love and care for myself, somehow I still got the message that I was wrong in some way and worthy of a less than loving life. Nor was I aware of having a relationship with God. We get taught to disregard ourselves from every single angle of life and yet Religion has a flavour of disconnection that has a very distinct stain when we apply our ability to feel energy.
That is interesting Leigh, no religious upbringing yet still a sense that caring for yourself is selfish. I am starting to see more and more, the problem is not religion, it is us needing something and then manipulating so many aspects of life to fit our picture and expectations.
Yes… imagine the difference being brought up in a way that we kept our ability to feel and truly know energy.
No I do not feel the Catholic religion is healthy, or ever has been. It is steeped in rules, requirements and making you feel less then God, Priest and the Church itself. This isn’t the God that i know and love, there just isn’t an openness and love, it is fire, brimstone and condemnation.
There are many options available that would work to disguise our hidden agenda of not wanting to live as a Son of God.
It is interesting how the Catholic Religion is always confirming that we are all sinners, and never allowing you for one minute to believe that you may be a son of God – this is evil in my books and shows the enormous control and manipulation that religion has been allowed to hold over others for centuries.
It is interesting how the catholic religion calls its followers sinners, yet fail to do anything about the large number of priests who are pedophiles within their establishment, in fact allowing these pedophiles to continue their abhorrent acts by just moving them around the country to a different location.
The idea that we can adopt some aspects of a religion and not others is pure illusion. Large numbers of people have asked for religions that do not require a commitment to energetic responsibility and so we have a number of false religions that allow and support evil to flourish. The Way of The Livingness is the only religion I’ve ever been able to choose from my heart knowing it is exactly in line with everything I’ve ever felt to be true.
The Way of The Livingness predefined set for humanity the essence of religion… A living truth where the words the actions and the thoughts all align in the service for everyone with no exceptions
Any organisation that turns a blind eye to child abuse as the catholic church has is not a healthy option, in fact it is a blight on society.
An organization that does not honor its inherent worth is not going to be able to truly honor others and the result will simply be abuse. It is no rocket science and is not shocking but should be expected in fact.
Could it be that religion could be either a healing or a harming option for us depending on our choice? This is a question worth pondering on.
The guilt that is predominant in the Catholic religion does not seem to me to be a Godly emotion, in that it does not feel like it brings me closer to His love for me.
Definitely Catholic religion hasn’t been healthy for me either. I was baptised (obviously without my consent) and received a catholic education that filled me with ideas of inadequacy, guilt and a sense of being the cause of other’s problems. This kind of thoughts are very self-destructive when are taught and ingrained from a very early age. It requires a steady choice to not identify myself with all of those external burdens and a consistent revision of its effects in my life. The good thing is that this process has allowed to me to discern what is true religion and what is simply manipulation, and at this point I can say now that the called Catholic religion in my experience is not a loving one.
“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.”
Now this is my religion.
Amazing how teaching with tenderness can be so transforming, imagine if this became the role model for teaching everywhere
Oh my gosh… what is known as religion today can actually be bad for your health… No surprise really! Considering what the true meaning of the word feels like and how humanity knows this not.
“…Is it healthy to be in a religion today?…” This hinges on one’s definition of religion. Is it a religion that re-turns you inwardly to Soul, to love, to harmony, to joy, to stillness, or one that does not? As the qualities of harmony, joy, stillness and love certainly would be a healthy option.
I love that there were people who dared speak up and who dared question it all. It is sad that their lives were taken, but aren’t we lucky that people did speak up instead of just turn a blind eye, live a lie and stay quiet.
Awesome blog Carmel! Love it. It is shocking what has happened in the past in the name of religion. I really don’t know understand it all and it is so sad to read the facts. It disturbs me in fact. And to think that you can buy a pardon. Yeah right!
Learning that we are not sinners and that not a single one of us on earth is considered a bad or evil person by God, and that we are all equal, equally loved by him, is one of the greatest gifts Serge Benhayon has shared during his life of presenting and writing.
I love the question of is religion healthy? It’s not just our food and drink and exercise and sleep that contributes to our health but every aspect of every choice and every little part of our lives. Does what we choose to believe, think and espouse contribute to our health and well-being or the deterioration of it? It’s a great question to ask…
Religion creates all those things that you have described Carmel, the fact that there are so many religions provides separation in itself, and judgment about being in the right one. I was brought up a Catholic and even though i left it in my thirties the effects of their indoctrination I am still dealing with today fifty years later. The Way of The Livingness brought to me a knowing that I am love and beloved, that is bringing healing to my body and the lies that I once accepted.
What has happened in the past is quite shocking but the different more hidden forms are still going on today, so I suppose we have to bring things back to our own reflection of what we put out to the world in order to inspire true change everywhere.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Catholic Religion Today – is it a Healthy Option? A very clear no from me Carmel, no way.
God who truly, deeply loves us could not and would not EVER judge us. This one truth alone rips the rug out from underneath the catholic religion.
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.
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…
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.
Great point Monica. The Catholic Church upholds extreme rules that demonstrate a complete disregard of the body and the soul.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
I agree Irena, thanks goodness for Serge Benhayon and The Way of The Livingness it has been a powerful addition to my life in every way and allowed me to feel a beautiful connection with God and the joy of being a part of a true Religion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
‘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.
“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.