Thursday, September 19, 2013

Toxic Religions

by Russell Heiland
          A friend of mine posted a comment on his Facebook about a church sermon the preacher gave about Toxic Religions. This is something I think about a lot as I am so often perplexed by how any faith can become toxic in someone's life. Especially since the purpose of a religion is to help bring enlightenment and better the people, not poison it with hate and intolerance. I tried finding a definitive answer to 'how do you define toxic religions' but found that there is not one. From what I did find and messed with my own view I come up with this: toxic religion is a dogmatic, closed minded approach to faith that leaves little room or individual experiences and beliefs. Most of what I found of course was centered on Christianity, though it is by no means limited to that one faith.

          The way I see it is that if your religion teaches absolutes, teaches strict dogmatic practices, teaches prejudices, teaches inequality, or teaches self shame about self respect then you have yourself a toxic religion. Religion is meant to pick us up. It is meant to help us become better than we are today. When a religion teaches these absolutes, prejudices, inequality, and self shame all the religion is capable of bring is a degradation of humanity. It breeds superiority which leads to hatred and conflict.

          Each and everyone of us should stop to examine our religious beliefs. We need to take responsibility back from those leading so that we begin to choose for ourselves what is right and proper for ourselves. Not a single person on this planet it qualified to tell anyone how she or he should find their way to the divine. Clergy in whatever form it takes is there to guide us on a journey that is our own. They are there to help us to find our own understanding of the divine. If you remember nothing else remember this: Reality is what you perceive it to be. Each of us has our own perceptive on life. No one perceptive is right. So the ones teaching these toxic beliefs are just forcing their perceptive upon.


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