Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


TRUTH AND MISSING THE MARK WHEN IT COMES TO IT

Truth is real

Belief and what you think you know are nothing compared to the truth. The truth cannot be changed or proven wrong not even by a God but belief and assumptions can be proven wrong. Even if they are right it is because the truth makes them right. Truth is bigger than anything we think of it or believe about it.

The truth is stronger than anything else. No matter how bad things get the truth is you must let whatever good can come come. Why? Because it is true that you can always be open to refusing to let things get worse and because human nature has hidden reserves that can kick in at the most unexpected time during extreme tribulation. That is the most important truth of all. Faith and belief cannot help you now. But the truth will. Truth is always on your side but you have to see that you have to be willing to suffer to conform to it and it will be worth it.

Truth will always set you free. Truth is your friend if you let it be. Always. It cannot change for you but you can see it as an invitation to conform to it. It is a friend but a friend who toughens you up.

Truth is real. The truth is the truth whether we recognise it as such or not. If I believe the sun is a spaceship that does not make it true. If I believe I was right to shoot a burglar for I thought he would kill me that does not mean I was really right.

I need to see that truth is real in order to have proper self-esteem and to be a really good person. If I think truth is not real, then everything is permissible. I contradict myself by saying that it is true that there is no truth! I tell my subconscious mind to programme me as a hypocrite and a self-deceiver and a deceiver to others.

Facts are real. They are not just ideas. Suppose you feel unhappy. Realise that if you state this as fact you feel as if you are recognising a problem in order to deal with it. "I experience this feeling of unhappiness", is merely stating a fact, "To say I am unhappy" is saying that this unhappiness is somehow you. That is failing to see that it is not you. It is only something that happens to you.

Question all you hear and work on your thinking skills. Then you will be armed better for life.

Do not be swept away by anybodyís charm but by their devotion to truth. The charm that can serve truth can serve error just as easily.

When you are right

When I am right, I am viewing others as wrong.

When I am right, I can feel superior to others.

When I am right, I feel that others who do not see this are to be found wanting.

When I am right, I am causing a separation in some way from those who I consider wrong or ignorant.

None of these need be a problem. What I can do is say that such and such is a fact. Do not say, ďI know itís a factĒ. Keep it impersonal. Avoid I and Me.

Love and truth are distinct but inseparable. Love needs truth and to serve truth or it is not love. Genuine love for others means that if you love them you will not fear being shown to be in the wrong. You will be glad for you want to be a light of the truth for them.

You need really good evidence for huge claims

The evidence never lies. Ever. It can be faked or misread but that it not its fault. Evidence that misleads is false evidence.

There are things you can know to be the truth. There are other things that you consider likely to be the truth. That is where belief comes in. Belief is based on evidence - evidence is that what you use to check out a belief to see if it is probably right. The claim that belief must be based on evidence is not a matter of faith. You need evidence to give you the answer or the best possible answer. The answer comes from the evidence not the evidence from the answer. Too many believers only care about what evidence they want to see.

If somebody says they were born in Spain you donít need much evidence for that. It is not a highly unusual claim, it is not hugely important.

If somebody says they are from Venus, you need very good quality evidence and to be able to deftly handle all (yes literally all - you need to think of all the objections and hear them!) evidence that seems to be to the contrary before you can believe and still call yourself a sensible person.

Why does that matter?

It matters for it shows you are committed to the truth even if it is not what you want to hear.

If you accept the personís claim without adequate evidence, you are accepting that others who donít believe are wrong. You are calling them enemies of the truth. Making big accusations without objective and sufficient evidence against others says something about you.

To endorse a huge or supernatural claim you need to facilitate people seeing the truth of the claim for themselves instead of taking your word for it. Never say you have an ancient scripture for example that knows of stuff that was not discovered until recent times by science. Lay out the data and the relevant texts and get people to look at them. The bigger the claim you make the less you should let others take your word for it.

Belief in the supernatural is based on the testimony of others. Testimony however implies, ďOkay I am saying this. I have experienced a miracle or a magical event. I believe there is no supernatural to tamper with my head so that I am wrong to believe I have experienced it.Ē Thus testimony to the supernatural contradicts itself. Testimony is intrinsically naturalistic and presupposes there is only the non-supernatural.

Errors lead to more errors and that makes life harder for everybody.

Opinion

An opinion by definition invites a challenge. Facts matter more than opinions. Nobody has the right to declare their opinions to be fact for facts are facts no matter what you think about them.

People say they have a right to their opinion - they are often not truth-seekers for they want their opinions left alone.

Never try to enlighten somebody without first reminding them that an opinion is a view held in the hope that it is the truth and thus it is open to new light and new evidence. Truth always sets you free - you will never trust yourself or others if you think truth is a bad thing. Without the truth there is no way you can learn the power to adjust to whatever life throws at you. Do you want to have to adjust to lies and errors? No - use your energy to accept the truth and learn to adjust to it.

You must learn how to want to know if your beliefs are wrong. The desire to be right leads to cognitive dissonance. You must encourage others to want to know what the truth is.

Instead of telling somebody that something is your opinion, just ask them if they think something is the case. Word a question where you can word an opinion.

Valuing opinions too much or de-valuing truth leads only to you becoming a slave to opinion and fashion and you will suffer for it.

Opinions are not necessarily harmless. Even good ones risk doing harm for often an opinion seems okay until you see the bad results.

Science

Science is about taking away the need for us to depend on authority for knowledge. It makes discoveries and it constantly probes and tests the evidence with a view to helping us depend on facts and evidence and not on authority.

Science and religion : Never say they are compatible but could be. Two things not contradicting each other is not enough to prove they are compatible. Science is the entity that does the experiments so it is up to it to decide if it can fit a religion or not.

Science and religious faith are incompatible in their methodology for science wants things taken on evidence and religious faith means depending on what authority says about the evidence or on what somebody says. For religious faith, authority is the main thing - this makes it hard for the person of such faith to see if their faith is misplaced. It is why there are so many contradictory religions all thinking the others are wrong. It is the reason why religion often is immune to facts and truth. Some forms of religious faith seek to learn from science better than others. But that is only when faith permits it so faith is still the real authority not science.

Walk hand in hand with science and continually check and revaluate.

Error

Concern for others starts with concern for truth. I do not encourage people to err - ever. I may tolerate error but must never encourage it. If somebody errs I must not pretend to be neutral or to encourage them. I must indicate, at least by facial expression, that I believe or know them to be wrong.

Acceptance of unwelcome truth makes me stronger. But sensitivity is extremely important.

I ask questions that help those who do not see the truth to see it. I cannot tell anybody what the truth is. They have to be helped to see it for themselves. They must decide to open their hearts and let the truth speak to them. Every person educates himself or herself.

Error creates problems if not for those who make them but for those who have to suffer the consequences. If a person thinks an error is the truth, the person is therefore asking for help even if they donít realise it.

To leave error be is to work against the human right to truth.

It implies disbelief in the fact that the truth always defends itself and does not need people to manipulate or force people on its behalf.

Wear your mistakes and imperfections like jewels beyond price

The human person is good not evil. We are born good and we stay good all our lives and the so-called evil we do is the result of mistakes.

If you can be responsible instead of feeling ashamed or blaming yourself and you have only one choice then choose the feeling of responsibility.

You are responsible for how you feel. This teaching is intended to be liberating. If you are the cause of your problems and mistakes that means you can also be the cause of your freedom from them and your ascent into happiness.

You have made a mistake. Is it a failure? Are you a failure? No. A mistake is a sign that you are trying to grow and that you are growing. No mistake is a total disaster and shows you have learned something. You had to learn enough to make the mistake!

If you blame others for your mistakes that is not healthy. It shows that you are disgusted with yourself. To have that attitude will make you feel you are a failure and could undo any good done by the mistake.

Did you think that 2 and 2 were 5? If you did, then you proved your power to think. There is nothing wrong with you or your power to think. You just hit the wrong result. It means you can get it right the next time.

To deny and hide your mistakes is to disbelieve in their redeeming power. No mistake is all negative.

Don't defend your mistakes but admit them to give them the power to heal. This is a great strength.

Try and remember that you may suffer a trauma and that you can get a high when you feel the trauma lifting. That gives you hope.

A good therapist does not necessarily help you solve your problems but gives you a new way of looking at things. Be your own therapist and take baby steps.

What if somebody has "bad" feelings towards you now because of your mistakes. But often they are victims of their feelings. In that case, even if the person hates you they are not your enemy. The way they feel is your enemy.

You are never ever responsible and to blame for how somebody else feels about you. Their feelings are products of the way they are made or they have chosen to bring them into being.

Error has no rights ...

Error does not conform to reality. Thus it has no right to exist. Moreover, it leads to harm and makes life harder. That gives it even less right to exist. Religion is the biggest source of error there is as is proven by the fact that there are so many different religions and all contradicting each other and many of them hate each other.

However, we must never criticise the religions. We are pro-self-esteem not anti-religion. Just because our understanding may differ from a religion does not mean that we oppose that religion.

People need respect - never beliefs

Beliefs are not people and are not entitled to any respect. A log of wood is more entitled to respect. Nobody must ask anybody to respect their beliefs but only their personal dignity as holders of those beliefs. To ask for respect for your beliefs is actually to be unfair to persons who disagree with you. It is bad and bigoted. It translates as, "I equate myself with my belief therefore if you respect me you will not try to change my mind." It is the very stuff of fundamentalism. You might think belief in magic is rubbish. That is disrespecting the belief. But to say it to the person who believes in magic is disrespectful. Instead of criticising the belief, you invite them and encourage them to think about the problems. You encourage them to think for themselves and be open to changing their minds.

Too many people these days order that their beliefs be respected when in fact the critics are not disrespecting the beliefs but the harm that the beliefs cause. These people are so insecure about their beliefs they want to go through life without hearing a contrary opinion.

Your beliefs and ideals are not possessions. If you hate anybody challenging them then you obviously think they are possessions. You want them because they are yours and not because they are true. All that kind of attitude does is stifle truth and debate.

Lies and delusions

A lie seeks to encourage error. A lie however is not as bad as error for at least somebody knows it is not the truth. With error, there is the possibility that it might never be exposed.

Lies lead to more lies and enable error and sanction it. Lies then draw trouble on those who know the truth and on those who are led astray.

Delusions lead to more delusions.

I will not enable error and lies and hurt by telling lies or by failing to expose lies gently.

The best way to expose the lies is not to attack them but to approach the problem by asking for and discussing evidence. Attacking can do more harm than good.