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?

 


WHY IT MATTERS IF YOU ARE USING GOD TO INOCULATE YOURSELF AGAINST THE REALITY AND TAKE OTHERS WITH YOU?
 
Devotion to God is a cynical tool with which the believer inoculates herself against the truth of atheism and by implication supports opposition to atheists. Its offensive. And even more so when God by default implies that every action and thought should be dedicated to his honour.
 
If you feel there is a God and that he is right to let so much evil and suffering happen then you are callously condoning the evil. It is different if you really believe there is a God and have solid evidence that he is right. You would consider a person good who believed in his neighbour's innocence in the face of a murder accusation if he had sound reasons for believing. But if he merely feels the person is innocent and that is why he contends that the person is innocent, he is just a side-taker and unfair. He is a do-gooder. It is not a feeling matter. It is too serious for that. You do not have the right to condone the horrors that God seems to have allowed to befall an innocent baby just because of your feelings. That is revolting.
 
At some level one knows that one is inventing his or her perception of God, so that person can turn vicious if religion and God are questioned by atheists and agnostics and humanists. Also, if there is a God, they are in reality his enemies and servants of the Devil. If we have to believe in God through psychological projection then clearly there is unlikely to be a God for he has not given us the tools to find him as he really is. If my motive for belief in God is my self-interest and my fulfilment, then I am not interested in what is true about God but only what works for me. An atheist searching for God would be better off and a better person.
 
People like to worship what they have imagined because then they worship an image of a god or God that they can modify and control if they feel they want to. You do not fear a God you make in your imagination. It is fundamentally dishonest to worship what you have imagined as if it were a real God. It shows no respect for a real God if there is one and its is being dishonest with yourself and by implication others.
 
Do we impoverish ourselves by projecting the best in us or the best we can be unto God? Yes. We do not want to see the best in ourselves if we project the best on to God. What about projecting the best we can be unto God? We make God into an ideal. But we know what the ideal is. So why do we project it on to God? Why not just have the ideal? We want to push the ideal away and tack it on to God for we think we will never be good enough or perhaps we don't want to be ideal people. Neither of those is healthy or decent.
 
People think religion sets up moral boundaries by giving us a moral God. How can that work for long if belief in God is really belief in a fantasy-playmate? The whole point of moral boundaries is that you have to adhere to them no matter if you agree with them or not.
 
Freud argued that as being neurotic too often meant being religious that being religious was an illness and a neurosis. Christians say that if it is true neurotic people are usually religious that does not prove religion was the cause. They say that religion stirs up passion and zeal which is why people with neurosis are drawn to it. But you will find this passion and zeal only in a few Churches and as soon as the service is over that is the end of the passion and zeal. Neurotics have been devoted mostly to dull and boring religion. So the conclusion is unavoidable - being religious and devoted to God is a symptom of mental illness.
 
Some believers build hospitals. They say they do it for God is compassionate and caring. What is the link? Why should God's compassion and concern be a motivation? They must mean they do it for God in his compassion commands it. You should have compassion in your heart and then go and help. Don't help because God says so.
 
The only right reason to be interested in God or to believe is when such belief can make us more compassionate. But if you need this belief to make you compassionate then you are not compassionate by nature but have to manipulate yourself to be compassionate. So clearly belief in God and interest in God are not down to laudable motives. No wonder the good results of the belief are few and far between. A genuinely good doctrine is measured not by its ideals but by the positive effect it has on people. If Catholicism were genuinely holy it would not have as many hypocrites.
 
Religion is idolatry. To honour the God who is the creation of the Catholic Church is really to honour the invention of the Church and to honour the Church. Nearly all religion if not all religion is man-made. Even if it is teaching God's truth, the truth is given not on God's authority but man's. For example, if Mary is the boss and she sends Jane to order to me to do something and I obey, the real authority I am following is Jane's. Not Mary's. Jane's. Jane could be lying or mistaken about the command. She becomes the authority and is sent to me by Mary. I become my authority even if I am in an authoritarian religion. If John gives me information he got from God, I believe John not God when I accept that information. Idolatry means you want to reject God in favour of being your own God or worshipping what you want. It is ultimately proclaiming that you put yourself first. It is making yourself the real determinant of religious authority. It is indirectly proclaiming your own godhood and superiority to the god. Jesus and the apostles were clear. Idolaters are barred from the kingdom of Heaven. To accept baptism or circumcision as an entry into religion is making a pact with Satan to go to Hell if you believe in Satan and Hell.
 
Karen Armstrong says that if people imagine God has the same feelings and experiences as them they do indeed make a God in their own image but that this is fine as long as it is not an end in itself. Most people would think that creating a perception of God that fills your own needs is fine. They would say that God can use that to show you what he is like. They would say amid all the human ideas and projections about God there is sufficient truth.
 
Her proposition is dangerous for it is too easy then for violent people to view God the way they would like him to be.
 
And if you create a God to fulfil your needs, that is making this idol an end in itself. Armstrong has been a whitewasher for years.
 
Also, in so far as you worship a God made up to fulfil your own needs, you do not worship God at all. The Jewish prophets argued that if you make your own gods they are not gods. You end up deluding yourself that what has no life or feelings as a person who can help you. The idolater runs the risk of losing humanity and sanity if they have not already done so. It is strange to make images and then sacrifice your prayers and maybe yourself to them. You are better than them so it would be more logical to worship yourself. The idolater does not seek mastery over his base desires but seeks the power to manipulate by getting on the good side of his idols and gods.
 
One thing for sure is that it is not right to manipulate people to think they need belief in God when this belief is really a hidden form of belief in themselves. My worship of God is the worship of my belief and therefore of me.
  
Christian Solutions to the Problem of People Worshipping What they want God to be not what he is

 
1 Jesus alone is the image of God and shows us what God is like. The closer we get to him the more we will adore God as he is.
 
2 Prayer for prayer is about God finding us not us finding God.
 
3 Make many sacrifices just for God.
 
4 Know yourself so that you will be less likely to create an image of God based on wish-fulfilment. This means you critically look at how culture, society and psychology help you understand yourself and understand the divine.
 
1-3 the problem is that it is the people who are worshipping the god they want to imagine who are carrying them out. Take the thought that God is to find us and we are not to find God. Believers actually confirm their wish-fulfilment God addiction with that doctrine. The idolater thinks his god of stone and wood finds him too.
 
For Christians, point 1 is the one you have to have if you cannot have them all. Christians then are dealing with the problem of idolatry by encouraging it. Instead of going to God himself you look at Jesus. That is what making a God in the image you want him to have means. Want proof? Anything we know of Jesus is second hand at best. Plus he gave us a useless example in the Bible. He did no good works - he did magic to help people which is not the same thing. Its lazy goodness. There are no stories of him finding beaten up Samaritans and taking care of them until they are better. The teaching is full of hyperbole and hard to interpret. And important matters are completely left out. He had a nasty tongue and was abusive to the religious leaders. If some are to be believed, Jesus was God meaning he was responsible for the murders of gay people and adulterers and idolaters that God commanded in the Old Testament. Jesus was very clear that those writings were God's error-free word. Jesus in fact was so useless that the Catholic Church dealt with the problem by canonising saints as role models. Catholics like to think that they see Jesus at work in the saints. That is just a rationalisation. You could make a role model out of Herod the Great with logic like that.
 
4 is the only one that is any good. However, you can do the research and still not gain self-knowledge. You can still mistake what is in yourself for divine activity. You can still fail to know God.
 
People give you the ideas about God. You never know God in himself for you would be as wise if God if you did. You get your knowledge second-hand. You make the message about God invented by others your own message. It's the same principle as making somebody else's message your own message.  It becomes all yours then.  You might have got it from somebody else but now that you have made the message your own you might as well have created it yourself. Psychologically it is the same.
 
Nobody has the right to order anybody what to worship. See that you honour and worship yourself by worshipping whatever pleases you. It is really yourself you are pleasing and worshipping. It is you, after all, that decides if the god or whatever is worth worshipping in the first place.
 
It is important that you realise you are worshipping yourself. The God concept implies that worshipping anything but him is sinful so devotion to God is an insult to yourself. Then you are worshipping yourself and pretending you don't as if there is something wrong with being your own God!
 
If you create a God and create your faith in God, do you not realise that you are the real God all along? You worship what you create anyway so worship yourself. If I make a god of gold and silver, am I not worshipping myself indirectly? Yes for I worship the work of my hands. I worship what I want and need. If I make my own God and/or if I make my faith in my God, then it is plain that I must be greater than this God. I must be for they depend on me. Religion says that to adore God is to adore a real being and not something I invent for myself. But even if God is real, that does not mean that what I worship is real. I could be adoring my perception of God - a perception that happens to be right - but this is not adoring God.
 
The danger is that you are denying your own value by indirectly worshipping yourself. If you are confident and value yourself properly you won't need to hide your devotion to yourself. Lying to yourself about it is a sign that you fear self-esteem as if it were something bad. It is poor self-esteem.
 
When I praise God, I do it because it is the strongest desire I am aware of that moment. I do it to gratify myself so I am not doing it for God at all. Even if I give away every penny I have to help the poor and give my right arm to save lives, I am doing it to satisfy a desire in me. I wouldn’t be doing it unless I wanted to fulfil my desire to do so. It is the fulfilling of desire I am doing it for – I am doing it for me after all. Accordingly, the praise I give to God cannot go to God for it is not his to take. I am doing it for myself. Religion is a den of thieves for it wants God to steal from you and eggs him on. We know that desire is fundamentally and entirely selfish for you like the desire better than the desired and what is desired is only what you have feelings for and feelings want to be gratified. Therefore the person who claims to love God is carrying the following attitude: “My desire for God is more important than God who is the infinite good and the infinite majesty therefore I am better than God. God means nothing to me though I am but an insignificant worm in this big vast universe unlike him. But only fulfilling my feelings matters. Therefore I am more important than God and God has no importance.” If people do not like the selfishness that ethical egoists and objectivists and Humanists practice they should chew on that for a while. Belief in God does not promote selflessness and humility at all but egotism which even those who practice egoism recognise as a serious defect and something to be challenged. Better to be an Humanist or ethical egoist or an objectivist than a believer.
 
You are not yourself if you are controlled by your anger or hatred or if you do things that cause others to become your enemies. You are not truly selfish when you are controlled by theses forces inside you. You need to be free from them to be yourself - to be a true egoist. It is simply false that you need to have hate and anger and a desire to trample on others to be selfish. The opposite is the truth. If religious people live what we call good lives that is all the more reason to suspect that they idolatrously pretend that they worship God. They worship themselves.
 
Trying to and wanting to feel good is always selfish. It is taking the risk that you will put your happiness in front of the happiness of others or another. Believers want to feel good and that is what they want the idea of God for. When you wilfully do wrong to another, the reason is because you want to find happiness in doing the wrong. If you do good for another in order to feel good that is selfish. It is not the helping you care about but about how it makes you feel.
 
Rather than waste time indirectly adoring yourself in the form of God why not drop God and adore yourself directly? You will be hated if you have the honesty to admit that you do that. People don't like threats to their own self-glorification. Their egos are fulfilled when they get people to adore the idol they have created to hide the fact that their devotion is all about themselves. I hope you clearly see why believers want others to believe in their God and religion? It is for their own self-aggrandizement.

This danger only happens if you don't let yourself see that if you give thanks to gods, goddess, spirits and angels that you are thanking what you have created in your own mind. You see and hear these friends in your imagination. Your imagination makes your gods. They are mental idols. To communicate with them is to communicate with a tool created by your subconscious mind. It is to communicate with the deepest recesses of your own personhood. You are splitting your personality to have a two way relationship. These are possibly the beings that spiritual mediums commune with.
 
No idol is right for everybody. It seems that if worshipping an idol makes you a better person and a happier person then by all means do it if there is no other way. This is indirect self-worship. We all agree that to worship money or our beauty is to worship ourselves though we are not money and we are not beauty. We are called selfish if we do these things. We should be called that for adoring God too!
 
Start with the self-knowledge that when you worship anything that it is yourself you worship..
 
Trust yourself as the only divinity that you can have in your life and you will find that many of life's fears and worries will vanish.