Religiosness as a Symptom of an Underlying Insecurity
A Universal Need for Security
I am not a mental health provider; and even if I was, I would not fuss over the ways that an insecure person is finding something like a version of inner peace. Whatever works, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone---could be a universal advice given to such folks.
Having said that, I have no intention to mock or in any way belittle religious folks in their quest to find their comfort zone in their belief; but rather, for a few of those with their minds open ajar I will suggest that the true motivation for it might be in their deep-seated insecurity.
While thinking now about people's different ways of attaining that feeling of trust, something possibly relating to religiousness comes to mind. I am not a pet person, although I love all cute- looking animals. So once I asked one of my friends about his obvious affectionate attachment to his big dog. Namely, I wanted to know what exactly he feels about that boxer whose face I would not include in those mentioned cute-looking animals.
He said: "If you don't have a dog, you can't know that feeling when you come home from work, and someone welcomes you with such a pure love which you can't find in people who love you, because of their normal daily moods and stress."
I could understand that. But I didn't really need that to be my first proof that people look for any available means to sedate their existential insecurities, and possibly to fill a void in their heart with an absolute trust.
Nothing to Mock There
Such is probably this religious need that I am about to examine a bit. I am perfectly aware that a religious person could tell me something similar to what my friend said in the first part of his explanation: "If you don't have a dog, you can't know..."
Oh, no, I am not comparing religious faith to that one pertaining to a dog. It is a pure coincidence that the word "dog" spelled in reverse order gives the word "god"; and the only similarity is in man's looking for any means available to ease that lack of certainty missing in this unpredictable, unfriendly and potentially dangerous world.
My writing style may at times be slightly humorous, which is not to be mistaken for anything like satirizing the religious faith. It's only to show that I am taking the whole matter lightly, with nothing of that stern criticism that you may run into at your typical, bona fide atheist.
Actually, let me repeat my refrain from any other of my articles that are touching this topic of religiousness: I do believe in my own version of universal intelligence, but don't follow any of the organized religions.
With a Gypsy Mentality
So many times I hear: "You should believe in something." My instant response is "Why?" I am not talking about that mundane belief system that we all have and which helps us maneuver through the complexities of living in a society---but rather about belief pertaining to that very big picture and involving a deity.
In the course of my modest but life-long juggling with all kinds of theories, doctrines, concepts and other mental challenges, I remember replacing some of them with a nonchalant ease, never allowing any to gain a weight of a belief.
No matter how convincing a system of ideas might have sounded in my eager ears, or even how much enthusiasm I invested into an intellectual delicacy, I could drop it in a heartbeat---as soon as something more convincing showed up.
Some call it an "open mind", and I have no better word for it. It may be a part of my somewhat gypsy mentality of someone who went through two emigrations, some thousand books on human nature, a dozen different techniques of self-betterment, and about two dozen of places that he called his "home".
Not that I never heard from religious folks something like: "I feel sorry for your ever drifting soul never finding a restful place in a strong belief". It was easy for me to see where they were coming from---they needed that anchor of an ultimate trust, something that I felt no affinity for.
So, was I missing anything in my head, I mean a gear or two of sanity, for I just couldn't relate to that need for a celestial protection. I didn't want certainty; on the contrary, I always had this spiritual nostalgia for the future and its mysterious offers of new patterns of experiencing, new challenges of outgrowing myself-of-the-last-year, with many more of those "a-ha" moments.
Voluntarily Stuck in a Belief
To me, it was always about allowing the future-me to come up with something better, not being stuck with anything chiseled in the brain---and that would certainly include a religious belief. I may say it again using some other words, but I am of a neutral positionality when religion is in question. To me it makes no difference what people choose for themselves to believe, and I am the last person on earth that would try to call them wrong.
But then, why wouldn't I share my own views on it, even though they are not on a mission to reform anybody. Like, I really see these symptoms of a deep seated insecurity in many of those religious folks that I met during my relatively long life.
I just can't help seeing them as rotating in circles while gravitating around that one system of ideas which are not even their own, but picked up in a blind trust from other humans. Not from some celestial entities appearing in their living room to replace their big football game event on TV with some prophetic words that would make them instantly fall on their religious knees.
And then staying there apparently unable to cut loose from that umbilical cord tying them to something for which they will never see any evidence other than one constructed in their lively imagination. No, I am not trying to offend here, I am simply puzzled, as I am trying to find that strong emotional motivation for all that.
Scholars of some impressive credentials must have been looking for a connection before me, so I am far from playing a smart-ass here; just expressing my own curiosity in the matter. I am not even sure how religious folks are succeeding to find some security and certainty in their religious teachings.
Becoming Emotional Crutches
For, when observed from my perspective of logicalness, nothing is certain and secure about that belief, as it keeps bouncing off the imperfect humanness, and basically losing in that game. No wonder that folks have to continue reading their Good Book. Imagine, if they went to school and it took them so many readings to learn the material, they would be pronounced "students with special needs".
That material is not of an intellectual character as much as each reading is providing a new dose of its sedating effect. Even that aroma in churches is coming from the burnt oil of frankincense which is known to be a mild tranquilizer.
That basic question remains: how much of the religious belief is something "believable", and how much is merely an emotional crutch and a "divine version" of a stress management. Thus, when someone would approach to me with intention to convert me into a believer---which has happened a number of times---what do they have in mind: my feeling better, or a doctrine to live by?
Well, that's where such attempts, no matter how noble or not couldn't result with my falling for it. Namely, I know many ways of making myself feel better, and none of them even comes from a bottle, or a pack, or a tiny plastic bag, and not even from the fridge.
As for that doctrine to live by, my mind is pregnant with ideas of all kinds that serve me just fine in keeping me a decent human being. Like, I don't really need a book to tell me not to kill, not to steal, not to mess with my friend's wife---not even with my enemy's wife for a purpose of revenge or something. All the way down to the tenth of those fine commandments, I got them covered by not having to look into a book.
In Hope That Daddy Cares
Here I go with another reminder about my not caring what people choose to believe. Considering how many times they are reading their Book, I assume they won't mind my reminding them how I have nothing against their faith.
I don't care if they don't allow their kids to get a blood transfusion; I don't care if they don't use any contraceptives, or let their wives drag those heavy bags out of grocery store, while they walk proudly in front of them with empty hands---showing who is the man. I don't even care if half the globe away some god-loving folks use their kids as shelters while shooting over their shoulders.
Well, I let those hard core atheists care and call it all kinds of names, I am too busy being a happy camper and not trying to live everyone else's life. To me it's all about their basic motive to resort to religion. At this point maybe a little apology is in order, but at times I do get a little entertained with all that, you know.
In my humor-loving mind, I tend to compare that religious counting on the mercy of their celestial fatherly figure to protect them in the similar way that I see the voters' counting on their political fatherly figure to give them a protection.
You know, in my playful mind I am envisioning both as sharing a symptom of a need for a protective father after childhood is gone and they get hit by becoming something like "orphans of adulthood".
So each is hoping for fatherly intervention in their insecurities, placing their faith into the merciful hands of their respective daddies. Neither seems to be getting it how those daddies don't really have their petty insecurities as a part of their agendas.
Imagine that unfathomable universal intelligence that created, and still is probably creating innumerable macrocosms and microcosms---as being bothered by something that we should have taken care of ourselves, like feeling insecure in the ever threatening world.
And then, imagine those political hopefuls finally getting the taste of power as really caring for anything other than their careerism. So, each side of followers is thinking: "Our daddy loves us---because we love him". Both are believing that their love automatically goes both ways, and that makes them feel more protected. Well, if it does, who am I to argue.
A Different Source of Peace
Now, for a moment thinking about my somewhat turbulent childhood and my teenage years, I would be a perfect candidate to even apply for a cleaner's job in a church, just to spend as much time as possible in that soul-calming environment.
But, why can I feel this love, this calm, and harmony, and tolerance...and why do I feel so "at home" in this world torn by animalistic antagonisms of all sorts? I don't know for sure, but it might have something to do with that resolve long time ago to "row my own boat, and not allow anyone to rock it".
When I look inside, I see that deep sense of my own responsibility for my emotional states, for my wellbeing, my harmonious relating to myself and to my world. And nothing is missing there to be found in a church, a temple, a synagogue, or a mosque.
And even if there is a god somewhere up there, he must be smiling at this one of his kids who can stand on his own feet, not seeking his lap from which the world would look less of a threat.