As a boy I went to a Church of England school and this meant that there were occasions when I would have to go to church. Additionally, my father was a Christian and he was part of the church choir as a boy.
However, I wasn’t forced to read the bible and to go to church every Sunday. This was not something that appealed to me and, as the years passed, I often wondered why anyone would feel the need to belong to particular religion.
I wanted to come to my own conclusions and decide how I would behave; not simply believe what other people had told me and allow these beliefs to define my behaviour. If I was going to join a religion, it would be religion that I had created.
But I thought that this would be limiting and I wouldn’t want anyone else to simply follow what I had come up with. Doing so would stop them from thinking for themselves, causing them to act as though they were just an extension of me.
A Common Experience
When I went shopping around this time I would often see (or should I say hear) someone who was preaching. At first I would try to have conversation with them, but I soon realised that this was a complete waste of time.
Their way of looking at the world was the only way of looking at it and that was all there was to it. What I soon came to think about was that if people like this were so sure of what they believed, why did they need to convert everyone?
I came to the conclusion that the reason they needed to covert other people was because they didn’t actually believe what was coming out of their mouth. This meant that they needed other people to have the same outlook in order to silence the part of themselves that wasn’t on board with what they were saying.
Not being able to have their views challenged was also part of this; if they allowed this to happen, it would have forced them to think about why they believed what they did. Their mind was closed.
A Sensible Outlook
Around this time I listened to an audio recording where Dov Baron went into how someone could only claim to be part of a religion if they had chosen it themselves. Otherwise, they would just be following something because they had been told to follow it.
If they had chosen it themselves, they would have looked into a number of different religions and chosen the one that was in alignment with who they are. I thought that he made a good point and that this was the rational thing to do.
A Recent Experience
While I was at the airport a little while ago, I saw two children who had indentified with a certain region - what they were wearing gave this away. I ended up wondering how these two young children could be religious.
They were at an age where they wouldn’t have had the ability to think for themselves, which would have stopped them from being able to choose a religion that was right for them. It was highly likely that they didn’t have a choice in the matter and that their caregivers forced this religion upon them.
I would say that making a child go along with a religion is another form of abuse; it is what happens when caregivers see their children as an extension of them, as opposed to separate beings. Once someone gets to the age where they the ability to think for themselves they will be ready to choose a religion - that’s if they want to, of course.
As Khalil Gibran once sad when he was talking about children, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.
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