GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


September 23, 2008

Religion

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:19 am

I don’t know where I heard the expression first, but the wisdom of it has remained with me – “If your religion is not working for you, find a new religion.”

Religion in this context is a pretty broad based term. It can mean any belief system. For example, if you live anywhere in the southern United States, NASCAR is a religion. High School football in Texas is a religion. Eating cheesesteaks in Philadelphia is a religion. Giving directions on the back of your hand in Michigan is a religion.

Ways of thinking and behaving have become religions. What we often fail to notice is the lackluster performance of this way of thinking or doing. It’s much like hiring a friend to work for your company. You will bend over backwards to ignore their shortcomings in spite of overwhelming evidence.

What does it take to get you to notice a belief that you own isn’t working? Sadly, for some, it takes a lifetime.

The difficulty as I see it is we have associated who we are with what we believe. That’s like saying a football stadium is made up of fans. The stadium is a structure. It doesn’t care who or what occupies the seats. A belief is a structure and any facts can fill it. The attendees can be there for anything from a soccer game to an “Up with People” concert. The structure doesn’t care.

We have somehow associated our self worth with the content of our structured belief. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that the reason something didn’t happen was because the person believed they didn’t pray hard enough. I wonder if they ever considered that the answer to the prayer was “No”? Logical human beings routinely suspend logic when their beliefs are not working.

It’s not so amusing to watch politicians of all stripes defend their ideology in spite of an avalanche of evidence to the contrary. It seems to be more important to defend the belief than to fix the problem.

Are you hanging on to something that isn’t working? The clues will be in your defense. What are you defending that isn’t working? Are you arguing for your limitations?

Take a look at what you are saying and imagine that a person whom you have little respect for is saying the same things. How believable is it now?

Taking a little liberty with a teaching from Socrates, “An unexamined belief is not worth living.”

Maybe it’s time to get a little religion and start believing that your beliefs aren’t working.

Do you have the intestinal fortitude to divorce your beliefs from your self worth and judge them on their own merits? Your answer to that question will either have you praying harder or auditioning a new clergyman.

All the best,

John

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