As I have stated in other works I believe that Religion is a destructive force that has been controlling, binding, and blinding the masses for centuries. Jesus fought it, as we do today by choosing life and relationship. In this short essay, I am going to focus on Micro Religions and their sinister rolls in all our lives.
As human beings part of the human experience, we are all made up of circumstances, decisions, and experiences. Some circumstances are of our doing and some are not, just as some decisions that we suffer are made by us and some by other people. Nevertheless, who we are is greatly affected by these events. There are other categories that also need to be noted, for instance, family, church, childhood friends, teachers, and the media, just to name a few. Just as a side note, as we grow older and gain better understanding, we choose which influences we allow to continue to feed into our psyche. But, that is a completely different topic. Right now, I want to focus on how all these things combine to create Micro Religions.
So why do you bow your head when you pray? Why do you finish your plate at dinner? Why do you take off your hat during the National Anthem? Why do you fear the dark? You follow these subconscious actions and reactions because you have determined that in your mind one thing is right, and another wrong. How did you come to this decision? Did your parents make you finish your plate? Did your childhood church teach that in order to speak to God you must bow your head? I am not saying these things are wrong and you should not do them. I am simply trying to get you to look at what makes up your Micro Religion.
In your mind, you have decided what is right and what is wrong. You have made decisions on every subject, and you continually make decisions on new subjects in a moment’s notice as they arise. What rule of measurement are you using to determine this right and wrong? A lot of it comes from Religion and what you have been taught is right and wrong. Most of it is an unquestioned reaction formulated through your experiences, and teaching. Here is a small example: Paul is walking through a grocery store and he sees a man pick up a box of Advil and put it in his pocket. Immediately Paul formulates in his mind that this is wrong, and then continues in a decision to react or not. Paul never questions to himself why he thinks it is wrong. He just knows it is. It never crosses his mind that high amounts of theft cause the store to raise prices to help absorb the lost revenue ultimately affecting his wallet, or that those pills might be used to make drugs, which cause addicts, which causes the welfare class to grow ultimately affecting the economy. He just knows it wrong. Yes, this is an extreme case, but look at the hundreds of decisions you make every day on what is right and wrong. Ask yourself how you determined that, or if someone else determined that for you.
What Micro Religion does is it makes us inflexible and unable to see past the trivial decisions of right and wrong. God simply asks us to love our neighbor, not to decide his level of faith or righteousness, but simply to love him. Micro Religion steps in the way when you determine through your ideals of right and wrong that this person has done wrong so you deny them your love, your respect, or even the Christ within you. As God is forever moving forward, so we need to be movable and flexible. Let us say for instance your brother comes to the family and says he is Gay, and he lives with another man. Your father denies your brother his love; your mother denies your brother her relationship. What do you do? If you are flexible then that line is not so rigid for you. You decide to disagree with your brothers’ decision, but to love and respect him regardless.
More often than not, our subconscious ideals of right and wrong stand in the way of what God wants to do in certain situations. We have to stop and decide for ourselves what will bring life. Changing subconscious, engrained, and life long ways of thought is hard. We find ourselves standing strong on beliefs that we ourselves cannot explain why we believe them, yet we fight tooth and nail destroying relationship after relationship to prove we are right. How is this God? Sometimes it is not Religion itself that is the enemy, but it is the Religion we create within ourselves by ourselves that has the most destructive power.
Just as Gods character is immovable so shall our character be strong and ever growing toward that image. As we do so, we have to learn how to look into ourselves and rearrange our thoughts and beliefs to continue our growth in Christ. God never asked us to be right, he asked us to love.