When most people think of major religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam come to mind. Then there is what westerners term the eastern religions and mysticism. In this short article I want to discuss 5 myths about religion in general that people tend to believe with a rather large broad brush to cover them all. This will make this approach unique in that I will not discuss any of religion in particular.
Myth Number One
Believing that not everyone has Religious Beliefs
The myth that some people have religious beliefs and some people do not have religious beliefs! This stems from the opinion that religion is tied to a belief in the supernatural, a Supreme Being or supreme consciousness. However, Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary gives the definition of religion as “A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith”. Now with that definition I will make a bold statement. Every conscious person with cognition holds to a religious belief. It does not matter if it is Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Eastern Mysticism, atheism, capitalism, socialism or any other “ism” you wish to believe. If the lens through which you see the world causes you to hold unto it with arduous faith and conviction then that is your major religion. This dispels the notion that religion has to do with God, afterlife or mysticism.
Myth Number Two
Preconceived Ideas are correct
The second myth that people have are that their preconceived religious beliefs are correct, which by default makes any belief that is not in sync with these preconceived ideas wrong. The problem here has to do with the word “preconceived”. Oxford Dictionary of English online states that preconceived are an idea or opinion formed before having the evidence for its truth or usefulness. This falls into the definition of religion above. It is true for all religions. Most people come by their religious beliefs as a result of the environmental and societal influence of their upbringing or early adulthood without getting all the facts. They may change from one religion to another, such as believing in God to not believing in God because their preconceived desires pushed them in that direction. It gave them a reason to change, not because the facts warranted the change necessarily. The question to ask is if your change in beliefs came by honestly.
Myth Number Three
Doubting is Dangerous
The third myth about religion that people have is that doubting is dangerous. This is tied to the above. The act of questioning ones religious beliefs is something that most people think is demonstrating a lack of faith in their religious belief system. The very thought that just maybe they could have been wrong about their preconceived religious beliefs unnerves most people. This myth does not allow people to truly think through their preconceived religious beliefs resulting in a lack of creative and objective thinking. It is in the very act of doubting ones preconceived religious beliefs that promotes finding the truth. It is not a logical position to not question ones beliefs constantly. The question that should be continually asked is at what point in your life do you want to discover the truth?
Myth Number Four
Religious Beliefs are not Limiting Beliefs
The fourth myth about religion is that people never stop to consider if their religious beliefs are creating huge limitation factors in their lives. They never take the time to even think if their preconceived, never doubt beliefs are exactly what is holding them back from achieving the success in life that they desire or want. An example would be ones relationship to money and wealth. Does your religious belief affect your attitude towards making money? Does your religious belief about humility affect you taking charge or moving forward in your life? Does your religious view, no matter what it is as defined above, hold you back from achieving one’s purpose in life? Only you can answer that for yourself. It is however, something to consider.
Myth Number Five
Religious Beliefs are not Judgmental
The last myth that people hold is never considering that their religious beliefs are a form of judging and creating divides. We are not saying that people should not hold to certain religious beliefs, as it helps them navigate life. What we are saying is that religious beliefs create the problem of “sameness”. I can only relate to people who share my religious beliefs. This is the mantra. As we look through the world view of our religious beliefs, we tend to judge others by them instead of just observe. It can be stated that judging is a form of ignorance while just observing is the act of a creative mind. Maybe we should be observing more in life than judging as we work through our own religious beliefs.
So you may agree with these or you may not. It does not matter. I am only asking you to consider them, as I may be wrong. However, please do not get over zealous on either agreeing or disagreeing, as that may very well be too religious.