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?”
I’ve had little issue with accepting The Way of The Livingness as a religion. When compared to the mainstream religions I am surrounded by, it hasn’t anywhere near the backlog of abuse, nor in practice does it support or tolerate any form of self-abuse. The title of this blog is a no brainer really when one reviews the religion’s practices.
A phrase that I remember very clearly from my early life going to church is “I am not worthy”. This is said during the mass, which I attended weekly with my family. The other thing that I recall is that we are born sinners. I began to question this as well as many other things. I also left the church as a teenager at that time to have Saturday evenings with my friends, but there was a deeper reason also in that it no longer felt true for me.
When we consider ourselves sinners do we damn ourselves to hell for the mistakes we have made forevermore – or can we actually learn from the so we can heal and correct them.
‘the indoctrination I experienced, it has affected me all of my life.’ This is a huge statement because often we walk away from a religion but do not realise that the ‘indoctrination’ is still in our bodies and clouding our perspective of life.
I have seen the same, people who no longer follow the catholic religion, yet, they still feel they are a bad person, ‘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.’
The fact that we have so many supposed religions that prophesise a righteous way of living but do not actually foster a living way that is implused from our innate connection to God as such is unifying and harmonious, exposes just how much we have bastardised the meaning of religion and what it truly represents. We are the Sons of God and through our connection to our Soul our relationship with God is at hand in which every breath we can live the power of who we are as such our innate way of being is one that is religious in nature.
Our disconnection with God allows all the religious institutions in our societies to exist and makes the churches filled with people to congregate for the surrogate of the love and the truth they long ago retracted from.
When I was a baby I also was ‘recruited’ being bapthised without considering the option of asking me some years later if I wanted to be part of such a religion. I’ve never been asked in the church, ‘how you feel about of all of that’, it seemed like we had to be there because it was what everyone else was doing it. I grew up very lost, without a sense of who I really was, I just learned to fit in and to don’t question any of the reality I lived. Thankfully years later I came accross Universal Medicine and I could give voice to a inner part of me which was buried and denied for so long. I could understand why my body eneded up numbed after listening the priest or how bored I’ve felt because I couldn’t find my place there to contribute and to express myself. I could realize how full of vitality I was when I was a little girl and how I started to turned off my light as soon as I understood that I had to be ‘good’…
Giving myself permission to listen and feel me again have empowered to decide what feels right for me and what’s not in my day to day, what makes my life more fullfilled than ever, what really supports the beautiful woman I am…It’s my choice walking in this way today because it makes sense and my body says ‘yes’.
Thank you Inma – you could be writing your own blog here! I agree, we were never asked our opinion, or invited to ask questions in a sermon, or invited to contribute our own findings and experiences, we had everything dictated to us from a very early age. When I was married for the first time, we deliberately did not have our children christened or baptised, saying it was completely their choice when they were older. Interestingly neither has chosen any church or religious activity but they are both honest and what we could call ‘Good Citizens of the World’.
As a student of the way of the Livingness I’ve never been told what to do or how I had to behave to be accepted in the ‘flock of God’. In opposite, I’ve always been treated as an equal and felt really held and supported in moments when I needed most. I appreciate having Serge Benhayon in my life, for the inspiration he is, but also for all what his presence reminds me, the fact that the same greatness, harmony and joy is inside me and all of us.
Carmel thank you for exposing with such clarity the crimes committed by the Catholic church along the history. What broughts up to my attention is that such horrifc acts towards people who lived differently never have been denounced enough by the society. It seems that never happened and they could ‘clear’ their hands behind the charitable façade. More awareness about what really happened is needed but also more love, to hate enough any religion that says what’s good and what’s not, that condemns, threat and separates people instead of unifying and encouraging them to live harmoniously, respecting each other for the sons of God we really are.
It is the suppression the religious institution wields that make people hide into secure places. Secure places that will keep people hidden and where they are not allowed to live all of who they are but instead only a reduced version that the hiding place prescribes you to be.
Mentioning just a couple of the criminal, and abhorrent acts of the Catholic Church, was the murder of the Cathars in France, and ‘white witches’, who were basically just healers, both acts of savagery! ‘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’.
A true religion is what invigorates and vitalises us – it’s the relationship at the seat of our very being.
I have found it ironic to learn about cults at school and what defines them and whilst in many ways the religion I was a part of then was not as extreme as the cults I learnt, I have come in later years to be aware of just how harming the religion was on my relationship with myself and life in general. The real evil is not the torture or persecution per se, yes these are abhorrent and totally unacceptable but so is the slow withering impact of it on someone’s true relationship with themselves and the Divine within them.
I was in a different religion but I also feel the consciousness was not compatible with what I know inside my body thus causing tension throughout my life. To not feel this tension many have chosen to live under the protection of their community and never venturing truly into the real world. This may work for a while, but it never worked for me. The binding force is strong—almost the feeling of being punished for leaving the best salvation given to me, but honestly this choice to live Truth from my body and not a Truth imposed on me by a man made institution is the most amazing choice in life to return to what is truly love.
I just came to feel the evil of the indoctrination society does on people, be it in the way of a religion or by the way rules and regulations are fabricated. It make us to contract away from the natural divine beings that we are and make us to make choices in life that are abusive like engaging in “unloving relationships, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, overeating and partying”. Behaviours we have accepted as normal and in a way innocent, but they are not as they open us up for allowing even more abuse further on in life.
” Is it healthy to be in a religion today? Or can being in a religion seriously damage our health? ” I never came across such a question before. Religion, in general, is perceived as unquestionable because they are the beholders of our connection with the divine aspect we all feel in us. But there for me lies the crux, divinity cannot behold or put into a doctrine, it is a living way that only can be felt and lived in an individual body in its unique expression. Therefore you can say that being in a religion that is bound by a doctrine is heavily impacting on giving free expression to that divine aspect that lives deep within each and every one of us and therefore brings harm to the core of our being with all the consequences we can see in our societies today.
The Way of the Livingness makes the most sense of any religion I have ever explored and is in line with everything I have felt inside from when I was a child. It is the first religion I have encountered that makes sense and is absolutely inclusive, actually stating that we are all equal, all one, from the same source (love) and that it is united that we realise our true relationship with God and the purpose of life.
“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.” If you seriously consider this sentence and what it would have involved and felt like to someone so young and utterly impressionable – a sponge that was soaking up the world around her; the ceremonies and initiations that were involved and then the indoctrination and highly controlled impositions of what a boarding school would have inflicted upon a 6 year old, then it amazes me that the Catholic Church never gets labelled with the word “cult”
I grew up in the atmosphere of a religious family and I always felt like I was being watched and I was always guilty and feeling small. It may or may not be religion that has emphasized this. Religion in itself is not to be blamed but the lack of self worth in human beings are further solidified with the views of religion and my question would be: what good does it do to humanity to keep ourselves in a state of lack of self-worth? So that have the right to continue to abuse? This is not only seen in the atrocious religious wars of history, it is seen in every day lives in families in schools in public service…religion is insidious this way that anyone who buys our inherent lack of self-worth (original sin) has seeped into every industry in the whole world.
Yes, it is very important to know what the true meaning of the word religion is and thus if the institutions that are described as a religion are truly a religion if we look at this true meaning of the word.
We have to claim back that true meaning of the word religion and when we do so, all that is acting in a bastardised form of the word religion will be naturally exposed.
Unimed living has a great section on the true meaning of religion, https://www.unimedliving.com/unimedpedia/word-index/unimedpedia-religion.html
It is quite interesting – the current pope is attacked by traditionalist Catholics for not doing enough about pedophilia (which is true) but the strange thing is that traditionalists seem to be most responsible for the pedophilia in the church.
The Way of The Livingness is just that, a way to live that has love and Brotherhood at heart.
The Way of the Livingness is the first religion that makes sense to me, that feels true for religion, ‘we can all feel God’s love within us when we live in a way that is healthy, harmonious and loving.’
A church that is godless and loveless cannot teach love to its congregation and priesthood. Ordained priests and ministers are no different to us: If not taught what true love is and learn to embody it in all that they do, they are in no position to offer the same to congregations, families and communities. In other words the Church is forever broken at the core if it does not put true love and brotherhood at the heart of its teaching.
So many of us are brought up not understanding what true love is and people in authority such as priests in the Catholic Church are no different, perhaps more so since they are encouraged to be celibate i.e. they are not allowed to have relationships or children of their own. We learn most about ourselves from our relationships and we develop true love by loving ourselves. Being encouraged to sacrifice ourselves as happens in the Catholic Church where martyrs are celebrated, does not promote self love and therefore love itself becomes impossible, it is just a word used that has no true meaning.
Agree. If they are brought under the umbrella of the CC at such a young age and their sexual evolution and development is done within that consciousness, then they are going to have a very, very bastardised view of true love as well as the joy, glory and transformative power of a truly intimate relationship.
Thank God that Serge Benhayon, and Universal Medicine came along, so we can start to truly love ourselves, and then love other people, ‘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.’
True religion is simple, and yet confusion, hypocrisy and lies reign in the world outside with most people rejecting it outright. In one organisation, almost 33% of people surveyed said they had no religion or belief and I suspect many interpreted religion to mean established or conventional. If given the true meaning of religion, I’m sure many more would be open to it.
So our historical and current interpretations of religion have actually turned us away from true religion… interesting set up?
I’m only just beginning to understand what true brotherhood means from inside out and live it. This understanding didn’t come from any established church. Being a student of The Way of the Livingness presented by Universal Medicine has expanded my awareness of how it is be Godly in 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.’ This sounds very familiar Carmel and as you so accurately have said, I too have been ‘recruited’ by the Catholic religion at birth and baptised did my first holy communion at 7 years old and my confession of faith when I was 12. It took me a long time to find true religion, the Way of The Livingness and let go of the hold the Catholic church had om me.
Many people have been so called ‘recruited’ by the catholic religion before they had a say in the decision. Unfortunately, the energy of this recruitment, and catholicism, does not just disappear when no longer attending church. I suspect that the controlling energy of this establishment affects us for many lives.
The fact that the Catholic religion is always preaching that we are born sinners should be enough to ring alarm bells with everyone. To subscribe to this religion believing this lie, shows how far away we have strayed from the deep connection to God and our divinity.
I have to ask – how can a baby be born a sinner? What sins could a baby have committed since birth when they are completely dependent on others to live?
Totally Anna. What is preached by the catholic religion does not support us to live who we are in truth, or to accept how amazing we actually are.
It is great to look at many aspects of life and see how they actually make us feel and if this is healthy or not. I pondered the other day on the education system and how all the stress and tension that comes with having to achieve actually is not really healthy at all. It is only when we look at these systems as a whole and what their whole output is and not just look at a part that we see the true picture.
There are a lot of systems we have set up that keep us small and under someone’s control
A great point Lieke, we only have to look at the state of children in schools, or those who have recently left school to see how damaging the system actually is.
Like in the package of cigarettes, at the entry of a Catholic Church everyone should be able to read: Coming to this place seriously harms you and others around you.
I had to laugh when I read your comment Eduardo but it is true as it is for a lot of other places in this world.
Haha, love your sharing Eduardo, so true.
“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!” – The Way of The Livingness is a healthy option for me, because it doesn’t preach, promote or encourage any underlying harm, any killing, war, torture, genocide, separation, exclusivity, specialism/favoured or chosen ones, superiority, and many of the things that many religions have as their (historical) badge. TWOL educates and teaches universality, inter-connectedness, inclusivity and equalness – for all, and so anyone and everyone is welcome irrespective of their birth faith or denomination.
Shame, guilt and judgement are poisons that traps us in hurts when we could be accessing insight and deeper understanding. True religion is founded first on the fact that we are all Love.
I have to agree catholicism does not promote self worth … it’s whole premise is based on the idea that people are sinners who need to be saved and as such are considered not worthy … indeed the later is recited in catholic service. Everything is about handing yourself over to a greater higher power to redeem you … so I’d say it’s about being less, being small. Contrast that with the Way of the Livingness, a religion that says you have it all in you, it’s just about letting go any impediments you’ve acquired along the way and expressing the knowing you naturally are and bring … the whole premise is that you are whole, you’ve always been whole, you have an essence in you (we all do) that’s forever knowing and connected to divinity … it’s for us to unpick anything we’re taken on along the way that stops us from expressing that divinity. Having grown up in catholicism and left it in my late teens and now having found the Way of the Livingness, I can only say I’ve never felt so at home with myself, with God and with the world … to me the Way of the Livingness just makes sense – it confirms the knowing I’ve always had in me that there is another way, one which supports and celebrates all to be who they truly are.
‘Contrast that with the Way of the Livingness, a religion that says you have it all in you, it’s just about letting go any impediments you’ve acquired along the way and expressing the knowing you naturally are and bring’ It is so different being told we have it all already within, but initially a struggle to accept it when we have been so poorly conditioned.
We are seeing very publicly in Ireland at present the effect that the Catholic Church has had on communities. People are very clearly seeing through the hypocrisy of the church’s laws, that some do not live by themselves and also even worse, have been protected from the laws of the land. People see through this and ask is this for me? And from there we make our own decisions. In truth the church have done this all to themselves.
Yes, about a century ago it became clear these activities couldn’t be done in the open, so they continued behind closed doors. That postponed the reckoning but part of that reckoning is due now.
We have a history of un-godlike acts being carried out in the name of religion – is it any wonder people turn away from the word God and the word religion?
People being killed in the name of God, what is going on, ‘Throughout the centuries, all over the world, thousands have been and are still being killed in the name of God – why?’
I was not a catholic and was never aware of having anything directly to do with that religion but growing up I was also given the message that I was not good enough and often felt guilty even though there was nothing for me to feel guilty about. Since meeting Serge Benhayon and The Way of The Livingness, I have not only discovered that who I am is ok, I have discovered that who I am is truly awesome, in fact it is Divine and the same applies to everyone.
The greatest wound of lies is not the lie itself but the way it makes us shy to go to the truth. The shame we feel for making a mistake holds us back greater than any false faith that we have.
Every person has a naturally loving way, which has no need for self-sacrifice or angst. This is what I have come to learn, and to hold very dear.
It is nigh impossible to find self-worth in a religion that preaches we are born as sinners and that we need an intermediary to commune with God; a perfect set up for a hierarchical structure with those who or lesser (most) and those who are more, apparently closer to God, a bit or very special or even ‘chosen’.
Reading this I can still feel there is work to be done in what religion means to me, as I can feel I have not fully claimed this and it is still not as clear as it could be within my body. I know within every cell of my being we are all One, we are all equal and in essence we are all the same. There is Hierarchy, there are brothers not on this plane of life who have walked the same path and are by our sides as we walk, there is reincarnation .. life is cyclical and God and beyond all this, is much, much more that we do not either currently know or remember. Ultimately religion to me is coming back to the love and truth of who we are and living in harmony. Universal Medicine presents all I know to be true and much more.
The Way of The Livingness is a way of living that holds everyone as equals and a commitment and responsibility to live all the love that you are in all that you do.
I wonder what our attraction to religion and the church is. Is it about following the leader or is it about being part of a congregation and a community. I get a sense that the community is the most important aspect and that leaving a church or community brings up a fear of losing those connections. Goodness, it is so similar to school, work, sport and family to name a few other communities we feel connected to in a similar way.
I agree Lucy. I also feel it’s about our connection to community. We love being in connection and we love being in community. The question is however, is this way bringing evolution to community? Having grown up in the church and been in one not too long ago for an anniversary, it was very plain to see the effect of the church’s way on the bodies of everyone present. But what stood out the most was when everyone re-connected after the service. It was like watching 2 different groups of people. Quite outstanding.
‘Is it healthy to be in a religion today? Or can being in a religion seriously damage our health?’ Great question Carmel for me it depends if religion is used by way of an excuse or reason to behave in a certain way, or if it is truly used as a way of living that does not judge or preach to the rest of humanity.
When you look at the doctrines of each religion, it is possible to feel aspects of truth, just enough to convince its members that truth is what they read in their holy book, but when you look at any of the religions as a whole, especially how each person lives, it is possible to see the facets that divide men from women, for example, creating a basic inequality right from the start.
We are only just starting to explore and discover the links between our religious, cultural, nationality etc… belief systems and our health and wellbeing so fantastic that there are blogs like this being written to raise our awareness of these links and effects. Our beliefs shape our behaviours and our behaviours affect our health – simple.
To be a part of a religion that supports every individual to be themselves, and redefines again the essence of this word is for me an absolute blessing.
Hear hear Chris, well said and this is my truth too.
When you list the history of the crimes committed under the name of religion it’s black and white what feels true and what does not. Growing up I knew something wasn’t right with what was being fed to me about God. I knew it didn’t make sense that he could only love this group and not that etc. Nothing added up and as a result I rejected it all and wanted nothing to do with it. It was not until I heard Serge Benhayon describe religion in a way that felt true to me that I started to wake up to the idea that perhaps it was possible to live in a way that was true and for everybody. The religion he describes is not about right and wrong, it’s simply accepting yourself and others and treating each other equally. There is no Sin and there is no hell, everything is a learning and it’s as simple as that.
You Elodie, and many more have rejected institutionalised religion because of what it has done over the years, the crimes and the atrocities, ‘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.’
The stain of just one belief can last for a very long time, ill affecting all parts of our lives.
I also abandoned the Catholic version of God in my teens. The whole being a sinner thing and not worthy of God’s love was a ‘bit of a dampener’ to say the least! The Way of The Livingness makes complete sense to me and has filled my gaps of non-understanding. From this, I am living life with far more of me, in greater solidness and true confidence than I ever did previously.