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CHECKLIST CHALLENGE: Symptoms of Religious Addiction

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posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 11:36 AM
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Good day all,

Over the past few months I've been watching and participating in this forum (and the other two on Religion), and I notice there are waves (per se) of people who come and go.

Some of them arrive with brass knuckles and unbending opinions, which they are all too ready to espouse, sometimes viciously. Some use so much hatred and bullying and out-of-context scripture posting to "prove" they are "right" and everyone else is either "spiritually dead", "wrong", "going to hell", "moron", "fringe looney", "ignorant", "deceived," "lying" that they can only be seen as troubled trouble-makers. No one here really wants to be "preached" to, I don't think, but it happens. Every day.

Others are open-minded, kind, and capable of engaging in civil discourse around the MYSTERIES of God, and the conundrum of humanity in understanding what, if anything, "God" is.

Still others have become so set in their "belief system" that they no longer even consider other styles of thought, and dismiss the gainsayers out of hand as "poor pitiful doomed souls" who need their prayers.

In the interest of denying ignorance, I an submitting this checklist for anyone who wonders if they've gone a bit "round the bend" from being a believer (of whatever 'religion'), and being a difficult, proselytizing fanatic. Asking someone to pray for you is fine. Telling someone you will "pray for them" because they are doomed to burn in hell and you are genuinely concerned about their salvation is something different.

Religion CAN BE an addiction, just as can ANY activity that allows one to escape from the stresses and cares of everyday life. Some examples of addictive behaviors: knitting, drugs, alcohol, sex, websurfing, attending funerals, hand-washing, smoking, basket-weaving, UFOs, movie-stars, jogging, preaching, nail-biting, talking....you name it, someone, somewhere, uses it as an escape from reality. And they CAN'T STOP.

Have a look, ATS, an honest self-searching look, at the following signs of religious addiction, and measure your own grasp of balance:
Is My Thinking Really Healthy?

SYMPTOMS OF RELIGIOUS ADDICTION

© Paschal Baute 1993

Inability to think, doubt, or question religious information and/or authority

Black-and-white, good/bad, either/or simplistic thinking: one way or the other

Shame-based belief that you aren't good enough or you aren't doing it right

Magical thinking that God will fix you/ do it all, without serious work on your part

Scrupulosity: rigid obsessive adherence to rules, codes of ethics, or guidelines

Uncompromising judgmental attitudes: readiness to find fault or evil out there

Compulsive or obsessive praying, going to church or crusades, quoting scripture

Unrealistic financial contributions

Believing that sex is dirty; believing our bodies or physical pleasures are evil

Compulsive overeating and/or excessive fasting

Conflict and argumentation with science, medicine, and education

Progressive detachment from the real work, isolation and breakdown of relationships

Psychosomatic illness: back pains, sleeplessness, headaches, hypertension

Manipulating scripture or texts, feeling specially chosen, claiming to receive special messages from God

Maintaining a religious "high", trance-like state, keeping a happy face (or the belief that one should...)

Attitude of righteousness or superiority: "we versus the world," including the denial of one's human-ness.

Confusion, great doubts, mental, physical or emotional breakdown, cries for help

The ultimate temptation of the believer is to assume that his or her way to God is the best or only way for others. The particular Way to God becomes what is adored, not the ineffable and incomprehensible Mystery to which we give the name of God.

In essence we have become addicted to the certainty, sureness or sense of security that our faith provides. It is no longer a living by faith, with hope and growing in unconditional love.


adapted from When God Becomes a Drug, by Leo Booth
source

(emphasis is mine)
I'm interested to hear how others on this forum feel about these suggestions, and whether or not they can be reasonably objective about their own zeal enough to admit their passion might be....well.....a bit over the edge.

For my part, I'm a "new ager", I suppose. I find that my assessment of some of the hard-core proselytizers varies from humorous, brainwashed, young, needy, pathetic, annoying, or simply delusional, while others are thoughtful and kind but lacking a background in thorough, open-minded research (out of fear?).

Even if no one responds at all, I hope these few descriptive items above will be put to use somewhere, somehow, in each ATS member's heart.

If you'd like, please indicate in responses which of them (if any) fits you, and if you feel you are not "addicted", explain why not. OTOH, if one or more DOES fit you, I'd like to hear how you responded viscerally to the suggested symptoms.

Thanks for reading, ladies and gentlemen, and let's keep it civil, as always!

DISCLAIMER: I am certainly no saint, and not perfect, and do have some "addictive" behaviors from time to time (ATS being one of them! :lol
, but religion is NOT on my list of "possible problem areas." We will all get where we're headed in the end, each in his/her unique way. I believe this with all my heart, and long for the day that peace reigns on earth and the ideological and theological bickering and hatred will be a thing of the past. Whether it happens in this lifetime or not, that is my wish for humanity. Beyond that, the truth is:

That I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT THE TRUTH IS. And I'm fine with that, in a sort of frustrated way.


Namaste,
~wildtimes




posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 11:42 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 




Magical thinking that God will fix you/ do it all, without serious work on your part


Many think this. Father will do for those who help themselves, it's fine to call upon him when you are tapped out, but people go to him expecting him to wash the dishes for them.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 11:48 AM
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reply to post by jhill76
 


Any other thoughts from the list? I'm thinking there is a "continuum" of religious use/abuse. On a scale from 0-17 (using the checklist as a yes/no questionnaire) I'd like to hear how members see themselves in their religious thinking.

Thanks for responding, jhil. You seem to have a direct relationship with the one you call "Father." Your posts are rather esoteric, from my pov. Care to expound on your thoughts in general?

EDIT TO ADD NOTE: I'm going out for a while, but I'll be back later, and look forward to seeing if anyone else cares to discuss this in further depth!

Brightest blessings,
~wildtimes
edit on 7-7-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 12:00 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 




Inability to think, doubt, or question religious information and/or authority


I question Father on many things, some things I should not have questioned him on. In this, I was taken, and brought back because I "understood".



Shame-based belief that you aren't good enough or you aren't doing it right


I can see how man thinks this way, as I have questioned Father on this as well. But, he has his own parameters and measures for each. This is why Paul was given, many couldn't seem to live up to Jesus standards, so they brought in Paul, a common man, to show others how to live from a manly standpoint.



Uncompromising judgmental attitudes: readiness to find fault or evil out there


This is a safety zone. If it is different, or not to the norm, it is considered evil or new age. There are some things that fall under evil and new age, yes, but not everything outside of ones set view is.



Unrealistic financial contributions


This is the fault of the leader. Many have an indirect relationship to God through their pastor, and not a direct one with him. If it was direct, Father would tell you not to do this.



Conflict and argumentation with science, medicine, and education


This is not what Father wants, it's a step back not to want to advance and innovate. The origins of man is what puts many off from taking up science.



Attitude of righteousness or superiority: "we versus the world," including the denial of one's human-ness.


Many should try to help others come home, without the judgmental tones. But, many help in downing or telling you are wrong, instead of trying to help you overcome that wrong.



Thanks for responding, jhil. You seem to have a direct relationship with the one you call "Father." Your posts are rather esoteric, from my pov. Care to expound on your thoughts in general?


I give expanded information on what took place, and what is. But, since I do this, many seem to think I channel, or is something of new age. But, this is simply not the case, I am here to observe, and interject at times, when others have questions. My observations help me understand how many think.
edit on 7-7-2012 by jhill76 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 12:04 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Star for encouraging open-mindedness.

However, I see this preaching from both sides of the fence - both the religious and the secular. Faith certainly plays a part for the views of the God-fearing folks, but surely there is a middle ground somewhere where both sides can reason with each other. A good thread should reflect all sides of the argument (if the posters therein are well-informed) and increase understanding, but in my opinion some people would rather have something to say rather than listen, even if it isn't accurate.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 12:27 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


LOL The problem with the list is that believers will proclaim that their obsessive devotion is only because their thinking is correct, that their devotion is not an obsession but a choice they've made.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:12 PM
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reply to post by jhill76
 



I question Father on many things, some things I should not have questioned him on. In this, I was taken, and brought back because I "understood".

You were "taken"? How? Where? You make me curious to know your story. "Brought back"?
Thanks for your expanded remarks. I, too, learn from observation. Your thoughts interest me, jhil! The way you speak of "Father" lends a very personalized tone.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:16 PM
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reply to post by DarkKnight21
 


However, I see this preaching from both sides of the fence - both the religious and the secular. Faith certainly plays a part for the views of the God-fearing folks, but surely there is a middle ground somewhere where both sides can reason with each other. A good thread should reflect all sides of the argument (if the posters therein are well-informed) and increase understanding, but in my opinion some people would rather have something to say rather than listen, even if it isn't accurate.

Totally agree with you there. There is a middle ground, I only hope humankind can find it before we self-destruct in a goo of radioactive oblivion....

Thanks for your thoughts! The "reasoning" is what I'm looking for...and to give folks a tiny nudge toward self-reflection and self-inventory. Can never hurt to examine one's beliefs. Having a safe place to do so helps immensely.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by jiggerj
 


LOL The problem with the list is that believers will proclaim that their obsessive devotion is only because their thinking is correct, that their devotion is not an obsession but a choice they've made.

Yup, you're right....until someone can help them see that, like crack or booze, it is causing them problems to be so vehement about such an subjective topic. One of the ones I like is

isolation and breakdown of relationships

Breakdown of relationships is a HUGE red flag in the counseling venue....
if what one is doing, no matter how "right" they feel they are, destroys relationships -- or limits openness to forging new relationships, it's unhealthy. We can all learn from one another, as in the Celestine Prophecy. It is our spiritual job to teach and to learn, in my opinion.

Thanks for posting, jigger!



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:29 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 




You were "taken"? How? Where? You make me curious to know your story. "Brought back"?


I was taken back above, the body did not die, because it was inhabited by another from above, until a decision was made to what will happen next. I was brought back from above, to here to finish tasks. I am only here to complete a task, when task is complete, I am rejoined back above.

Some discount what I speak on, because they do not understand how I am here, and what my task is. It is surely not to be on ATS. I come here to observe how others view Father and all. I am not here to get others to believe what I speak on. I offer what is, it is up to the reader to decide what to do with it.



The way you speak of "Father" lends a very personalized tone.


Yes, I am to be with him at all times, wherever he goes, unless he goes into his chambers.

You may ask, how can that be, but you are on here a lot. This is because you would have to understand, how I am here.

edit on 7-7-2012 by jhill76 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:36 PM
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Originally posted by jhill76
reply to post by wildtimes
 




Magical thinking that God will fix you/ do it all, without serious work on your part


Many think this. Father will do for those who help themselves, it's fine to call upon him when you are tapped out, but people go to him expecting him to wash the dishes for them.


So was David out of line for asking God to create in him a new heart?



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical

Originally posted by jhill76
reply to post by wildtimes
 




Magical thinking that God will fix you/ do it all, without serious work on your part


Many think this. Father will do for those who help themselves, it's fine to call upon him when you are tapped out, but people go to him expecting him to wash the dishes for them.


So was David out of line for asking God to create in him a new heart?


Not at all, I am speaking of today's people, I was giving an example of a problem that many don't want to do anything at all for themselves. That answer was an example of many, not a one size fits all answer.

This is a very good prayer to ask of Father.
edit on 7-7-2012 by jhill76 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:45 PM
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reply to post by jhill76
 


Amen. And I agree.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 06:43 PM
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reply to post by jhill76
 



Not at all, I am speaking of today's people, I was giving an example of a problem that many don't want to do anything at all for themselves. That answer was an example of many, not a one size fits all answer.

This is a very good prayer to ask of Father.


Backpeddling because you got caught preaching bullsh*t? I seem to remember Yeshua saying anything we ask for he would do it, he didn't put any "if you do your part" on it. The doing something for themselves comes in the form of having the FAITH to ASK.

You smell more and more like new age everytime i catch you preaching baloney.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 06:48 PM
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reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 




Backpeddling because you got caught preaching bullsh*t? I seem to remember Yeshua saying anything we ask for he would do it, he didn't put any "if you do your part" on it. The doing something for themselves comes in the form of having the FAITH to ASK.


How is that back peddling? Ok, anyone reading this put this to the test. Sit at home, don't go to work, and ask God to pay your rent. Let's see the results, and post your experiences back on this thread. You can't just pray for anything and Father will grant. It does not work like that, and you know it.



You smell more and more like new age everytime i catch you preaching baloney.


I will not entertain this.

Since you are a person of scripture: (Let's look at having faith to ask)



Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.




I seem to remember Yeshua saying anything we ask for he would do it, he didn't put any "if you do your part" on it.


Not accurate, he said Father, Father is the one who does the granting of prayer, not Jesus.



In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

edit on 7-7-2012 by jhill76 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 07:15 PM
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reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 


If you would like the words of Jesus on doing your part then receiving take this verse:


But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


You must first seek it (do your part), then it will be given (receiving it)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 10:40 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

Still others have become so set in their "belief system" that they no longer even consider other styles of thought, and dismiss the gainsayers out of hand as "poor pitiful doomed souls" who need their prayers.

I think the 'Valley of the Shadow of Death' thread is a good case in point.
Someone has their own unique vision of what the word, God is to them, and I noticed a lot of corrections by maybe people who could not resist the urge.
I find it difficult to imagine the OP of that thread had not heard of the regular religious version of God. If they wanted to, they could, I'm sure.
The preferable thing might be to start their own thread like, Why My God Allows Me Not to Fear Death.
edit on 7-7-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 08:55 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


Do you have a link to that thread? Interesting.
I'm fascinated by how the guys have derailed the thread already without addressing the OP points at all.

Oh well!

@NuT and lonewolf: did you see anything in the list that gave you pause to introspect?



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 09:08 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

Do you have a link to that thread? Interesting.

www.abovetopsecret.com...
The real title is: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for You are with me;
I thought somehow your thread was a response to that one so did not give the link earlier, but like I said it seems like the perfect case in point, where a lot of detractors failed to address or properly understand the original post and just launched into evangelism speak or just hostile language.



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 09:26 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


Thanks for the linky.

Nope, this thread is not in "response" to any thread in particular...I don't play that game. I put up the OP as an attempt to instill the idea of taking a self-inventory... in those who seem to believe they know EVERYTHING about what is what, and what is God, and what God "wants".

It astounds me, really, how closed-minded people can be, especially people with the entire world at their fingertips (first world problem -- so much information, so little time!). No curiosity at all, no sense of adventure. I know of a young woman who, at age 22, had maintained an excruciatingly limited menu from which to choose meals. She had never tasted bacon. Ever.

And this was not anything at all to do with religion (so might not be a good example for the purposes of this thread -- I can just see the "no-pork" believers rubbing their hands together getting ready to assault me for that one).....No, this was a typical American girl from a typical family. She had grown up on standard pot-luck fare, like mac-n-cheese, and had NO yearning to explore further. The first time she was served bacon by a roommate, she loved it...but why did she not try it sooner?

With something as nebulous as religion, with 10s of thousands of different "recorded" methods for approaching it, and myriad DIY ways to see it....and FREE....not something people want to "explore"? One can feel "righteous" and "holy" and STILL learn what others think and believe. It doesn't hurt. It doesn't cost. It's essential to bringing humanity to a point of empathetic coexistence.

Why get all hostile about it? It's easy to say: "what do you think"? For me, it's just as easy to really LISTEN to the answer. But many, many people don't know how to LISTEN -- or simply WON'T. They're too busy thinking of what they're going to say next, or calling up reasons to shoot down the others' perspective. Not good. Not Christ-like, or Buddha-like, or Krishna-like.

To me, wisdom is becoming aware that one doesn't know everything, can not possibly know everything in one lifetime, and being able to say "I don't know," without feeling bad about it. When one realizes just how much they don't know -- and can openly admit it, and begin looking around for information, it's very liberating.



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