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Religiosness as a Symptom of an Underlying Insecurity

Updated on June 26, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of psycho-philosophy of living, and a devoted practitioner of many techniques enhancing personal evolution.

Built to Look Like a Sanctuary for Our Hurts and Worries
Built to Look Like a Sanctuary for Our Hurts and Worries

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.

Love Is Touchy When so Pure
Love Is Touchy When so Pure

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.

Some of Us Can't Settle for Finding Their Truth in a Single Book---Holy or Not
Some of Us Can't Settle for Finding Their Truth in a Single Book---Holy or Not

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.

It would Be so Much Easier to Just Kneel-and Believe---if Only There Was a Need for It
It would Be so Much Easier to Just Kneel-and Believe---if Only There Was a Need for It

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.

If I Put It in My Garden, Maybe It would Ward Off Some Religious Prowlers
If I Put It in My Garden, Maybe It would Ward Off Some Religious Prowlers

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.

An Experience Reserved for Childhood
An Experience Reserved for Childhood

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.

When Observer of Beauty Can Blend with the Observed---He Doesn't Need a God to Tell Him How
When Observer of Beauty Can Blend with the Observed---He Doesn't Need a God to Tell Him How

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.

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    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Alan---I would say, it's one of those things like explaining the taste of strawberries to someone who never had any---mission impossible. But wait, imagination does help, and I got my five senses pretty much attached to it. Tonight, at my meditation I will go into a trance and mobilize my senses to experience as much of the rain forest as possible.

      If you happen to hear a strange noise nearby, don't be alarmed, it's only me not coming too close to disturb your divine reunion with the nature.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 10 months ago from Tasmania

      Blessings Vlad and everyone.

      The forest was yesterday on Fitzroy Island off Cairns. Do make the effort one day. Better to walk with eyes, ears, nose, touch and taste. Very little tongue even if not alone. So much awe to take into the soul and worship.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Eleanore---You are a wise lady. I know, it should take a wise person to notice it, and I can't make such claims, but to my best observation, you know what you are talking about, and your "seven decades" have taught you many a life lesson.

      There may be one more to learn, but only if it fits somehow into your mindset. Namely, if the TV News are full of crap (I guess that's the philosophical term for it), just switch the channel to something more entertaining.

      When you think of it, one way or another news are always fabricated, sometimes giving you a poor mix of facts and opinions which translated often mean a propaganda of a sort.

      So, who really cares what they have to say. I for one don't. To me it's all a big farce meant to brainwash those sheepish people who never learned to use their own minds and have to be told what life is all about.

      O.K., up there I called it a "lesson" to be learned; why did I say that, you already know it. You know why? Because you are one fine and smart lady, that's why.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Alan---I know you will take it the right way; but, other people's lies never caused me nearly as much problem as my own lying to myself. While we may never graduate from those highest classes in the school of life, being able to spot our self-deceptions puts us in a pretty high class of it.

      I am tempted to boast about having achieved a pretty good level of personal sovereignty where I am emotionally and intellectually detached from the world's deviations from normalcy. At my best moods I honestly don't give a rat's ass about what this world is up to. I can even emotionally afford to love them, crazy as they are, since I have not allowed myself to be in a vulnerable position.

      Everything I see on TV is entertaining fiction, News, political commentaries, interviews...to me it's an old and simple truism that people are very selective at what they reveal about themselves and their opinions. Nothing of it to be taken seriously.

      At this moment, let me tell you something that doesn't carry one bit of a deception: I wish I could share with you that experience of the rain forest, with that inspiration that can only come from a truth-telling, pristine nature.

      Enjoy it my friend; with your love for this planet I know that you are so nicely blending with that ambient of life's simplicity. Write again some time.

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 10 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      TV no longer provides "news" as Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards or Walter Cronkite knew it. It is enfotainment.

      Once a liar, always a liar as the saying goes. But the real problem is that there are layers and layers of lies in religion, government and business that are intended to deceive others for some personal gain.

      Life isn't perfect. Nor should it ever be. People who live life in the belief it is perfection are fooling themselves. Ideals are gifts we can aspire to but rarely attain en masse.

      If I've learned nothing about life in seven decades, it is that there if very little to be truly afraid of. I face life head on, ram through obstacles I know I can obliterate and deal with the manifestations of grandeur of others with aplomb, grace and serenity.

      I and only I know what I can change and what I can't. For me, the trick is to know the difference between the two. More's the pity some never learn there actually is a difference.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 10 months ago from Tasmania

      Interesting dialogue here, Eleanore and Vlad.

      Your Chinese quote can be extended: the lies we are subjected to are like what those birds will do to us if our head is not covered...all the stuff they wish to discard and disown is pushed out of their unsavoury ends for others to deal with.

      I am currently on holiday in far-north Queensland (Australia). Once or twice I have briefly turned on the TV, only to find multiple channels emitting garbage (polite word!) in one form or another: glossy, deceiving advertisements; religious propaganda; world "news;" political "spin;" .... You name it, any and everything that avoids the truth, even to the extend of outright lies. I make the choice to turn it off quickly, the equivalent of covering my head from the birds.

      Now, the enjoyable antidote to that is a walk in the tropical rain forest. Here the birds do the wonderful and useful thing of dropping their craps all over the place where it feeds other organisms with fertiliser. Such a huge diversity of life for me to experience. Lizards, some copper coloured, some spotted, large/medium/tiny/minuscule. Butterflies, exquisite royal blue when flying, leaf-brown and camouflaged when closed up at rest. Leaf litter on the forest floor that cobbles up the crap with relish, recycling valuable nutrients that would otherwise go to waste.

      I have no place in my life for religious fear mongering. We humans are capable of great technical accomplishments and deep understanding when it comes to scientific inquiry. Yet, at the same time we can display the very human failing of dropping our own excreta for everyone else to step in it then have to clean up the mess we have made.

      If we turn our mental deliberations to more discernment, then we can build defence against those lies.

      How about teaching kids to spot them, every time they turn on the TV?

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 10 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      I like that Chinese proverb. Very appropriate. Thank you!

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Eleanore---Yes, we could say, the world is playing strange games, and lying is just another aspect among many others where players don't care much what their audience think. People propagate their views and lying is supposed to make them more convincing.

      Well, luckily, we can always develop a thick skin to all such marvels of culture and civilization. Like that Chinese proverb goes: "We can't prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can prevent them from making a nest in our hair".

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 10 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      I so agree Val. Religion is based on personal belief systems. Often, as you posted, you see that religion has a darker side. I find that this originates in personal perceptions of right and wrong.

      I recently watched an interview that absolutely astounded me. The interviewee was lying so obviously and didn't seem to really care that everyone watching his responses to questions knew he was lying.

      So now, it comes down to wrong is right, right is wrong and those on the side of wrong get the spoils of war.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Eleanore--- It's the people who make a religion either good or bad, by itself it's just a sterile teaching. Someone has to give life to a teaching to make it express its goodness.

      Thus, I am never talking about a teaching itself, but what people make of it. I have seen many people hiding their corrupted and even mean nature behind the impressive tenets of their religion which they were parroting about.

      So, I am not really willing to discuss any religion per se. On the other hand, I will keep repeating my refrain that it doesn't necessarily take any religion for the people to be good human beings.

      I am not what you would call a "religious person", but trust me, I have met many religious individuals in comparison with whom I was a saint.

      I have my values which I didn't pick from any holy book.

      At the same time, I am far from trying to talk anyone out of their faith. In every of my articles which was touching religious belief I clearly stated how I respected everyone's choice to believe what they want.

      So, don't take me wrong, Eleanore, it doesn't mean that we are "clashing" in any way, we are simply different personalities with different views. When I look in the mirror I see myself, not you, and I have to stay loyal to myself.

      I will always welcome your opinion, different or not.

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 10 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Val, all religions have the same basic tenets of faith. Faith is something you cannot see or hear. But, you do feel it and know it is there when you need it.

      It is not reasoning to imagine that every religion of the world recognizes human rights.

      I worked with a Russian engineer who fled Russia before Glasnost around the time Chernobyl became a major Russian disaster. He was born in Minsk and raised with NO religion. But, he did understand human rights.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Gilbert---I am enjoying your comments, you are a wise person giving me more and more reasons to believe it.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Eleanore--- While nothing is wrong about the Ten Commandments, I am just wondering---what guidelines are being used by all those decent people of other religions as well as those who never bothered reading a single holy book?

      So, why don't THEY kill, and steal, and dishonor their parents, etc?

      Even animals have it inherent in their nature to be compassionate, helpful, to love their offspring and to respect the will of their parents (some of them more than humans, I must say). A dog has no clue what's chiseled on those stone tablets, but it will give you love, protection, respect, and loyalty.

      Besides, along with the whole global scientific community I don't believe in the determinism, or"destiny" at all, it's up to me what I make of my life. Even those who are "prone to accidents" can fix that flaw in their personality.

      Of course, I am not calling your reasoning "wrong", it's simply different than mine. It is not to belittle the value of the Ten Commandments, but only raising question about all those fine, honest people who never read them.

      I will always understand the argument of a religious person that "God made us and animals that way---but at that point any discussion is futile, because that may serve as a universal "explanation" for ANYTHING in the world. All logic is useless at the moment we simply say that "it's god's will, and god works in mysterious ways which we are not supposed to question".

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 10 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      If you study several religions, of any diversity, you see that the 10 Commandments are more a guideline for human survival. Your destiny is determined long before you are born. However, what makes all humans so unique is that moment in time when we draw that very first breath as we enter the world we will live in and prove our self worth until death returns us from whence we came.

      Each of the Big 10 are valuable guidelines to protect ourselves and others. Why don't we all kill? Why don't we steal? Why don't we all lie? Why don't we covet what belongs to others or their wives? Why don't we dishonor our mothers and fathers? Why don't we just swear on lies?

      See? It isn't a matter of a set of stones at all. It is a matter of human instinct to look to that which preserves human survival from savagery and inhuman acts against us and the rest of the world.

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 10 months ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Maybe if you placed tablets of the ten commandments chiseled in stone around your front yard, missionaries would avoid you, Val, or maybe they'd feel like talking to you more. Who knows? ( I laughed about that photo) I like living my life with the expectation that many surprises await me around the corner, too. I'd hate to think my destiny is already set in stone. Difficult and complicated as this life is I like to feel I still have a fighting chance. Religion is fascinating but complicated. As you know, not everyone is on the same page.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Dana---I agree. I am honestly happy for you that you have found in your faith all the answers you wanted. There are few other people among hubbers who have shown similar devotion, and it's always a great pleasure to find such examples of beautiful human beings.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 10 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I did agree with what you said. My comment was not to disagree only to give a testimony. I do disagree with the understanding that people use God as a crutch. That's the same as implying that some people don't believe in God because they are too arrogant to believe in something greater than themselves. Whether people feel that someone turned to God based on insecurities, or not turn to Him because the person is too arrogant is also an opinion of the person who is thinking it.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Alan---Not to be understood as "being bothered", by that historical account of events in that part of the world---but it hardly passes as a comment on the theme of my hub.

      I hope no one reading it gets encouraged to write about their culinary passion or about breeding dogs. However, from everything I have said about myself, and from everything you could see in my profile, it's pretty obvious that I am not likely to ever write anything of a historical or ethnical character.

      My "name, my ancestry, Tito's legacy, and Van Heflin's movie" just don't fit here; and if I may, I'd like to suggest that you don't do it on others' hubs, because they may delete it as an irrelevant comment.

      If you feel like chatting about history, sociology, and politics I am sure there are many hubs on such topics. - All the best to you.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 10 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Us Yorkshire folk ('Tykes' to our neighbours across the Pennines) are known for our dark wit. It's sometimes taken for morbidity, but the laughter is within. It is realism of a sort, it's the 'inevitableness' of life that ends in being dug under (like cabbages and turnips), or even 'in't pot'.

      So you're a Croat, like Broz Tito. He didn't suffer the Soviets, told them where to get off, Stalin included - or especially.

      I was born north across the border from Slovenia, where my Dad was with the Royal Engineers of the British Army. Apparently just before 'our lot' crossed the border from Italy, and crunched into the buffers at Klagenfurt, the Yugoslavs had gone across the border from Slovenia to settle old scores. In the 1920s the infant Yugoslav state claimed southern Austria as an old Slavic enclave dating back a thousand years or so, and Klagenfurt had been a Slav settlement by the name of Slodz. They'd had a 'barney' (a fight) with the Austrians, many of whom were of Slovene descent. The Austrian government in Vienna weren't too bothered about losing a big chunk of land in the south and said they should hold a plebiscite, the majority deciding the outcome. The majority opted to stay in Austria and their names went down in the Serbs' 'little black book'. Comes the end of hostilities with Jerry pulling out of Austria, in went the nationalists and did their snatch. The British Army weren't aware, and the government didn't want to rock the boat. These folk were never glimpsed again.

      End of...

      With the right research it would make an interesting fictionalised story.

      I was in Klagenfurt when the US actor/producer Van Heflin directed 'Five Branded Women' with Anna Mangana and others as partisans.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Eleanore--- LOL, I see you like Alan's "realistic" interpretation of "crutches". I hope it doesn't include his, somewhat morbid version of "reality" in his last sentence; because if "reality" of life is to be boiled down to eating, sleeping, pooping, and finally being eaten by worms, then we might as well take an overdose of tranquilizers and get ourselves out of that misery.

      Life is not to be explained by its many technicalities; just like any masterpiece ever put on a canvas is not to be associated with that initial mixing of colors, planning the composition, contrasts, highlights, and general tone of colors.

      Yes, we could play with words, and say that coming to Canada was a "crutch" to me, when compared to my life in Croatia. But then, by the same "logic", we could say that "life means only escaping from sickness and death".

      We could even use Alan's "flattering" expression as to compare my quest for better life conditions to a "littering" in the West by those who escaped the "system" ---"littering" basically alluding to "being a garbage" on the western streets.

      Well, we all have our own ways of seeing things, and mine obviously have nothing to do with depression, morbidity, and a "reality of "worms".

      It actually adds to my happiness to see how much I have advanced myself from a world of sweat, tears, and blood.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Alan---My first name is Slavic, but I didn't come from any of the ex-Soviet republics or any of those influenced by them. My last name is Greek, but my family had no recollection of even migrated from Greece.

      Years back I worked here in Canada with a woman called Juanita, and her ancestors in Nova Scotia had nothing to do with Latinos, except that her father simply liked that name. Likewise, a girl from Chile named Maritza had no Slavic roots whatsoever.

      I was born in Croatia, part of ex-Yugoslavia. Tito was famous for turning his back on Soviets, and his dictatorship was opportunistic---thanks to important strategic position he got bribes from the West to stay away from Kremlin. He lived like a king, and people were generally poor.

      Now, let's not see that ideological situation as my motive for leaving. I couldn't care less for the politics then, just as I don't now. I am a political cynic, and leadership in any country makes no difference to me, as long as I can have a decent life.

      Since I have from ever been an individualist, not a collectivist by nature, I don't generalize about people and I don't live a nation's life, just my own, which I have nicely cultivated into something to my own taste.

      As for the "worms" and other dark realities of life---I don't sabotage my happiness by thinking about them. Death will have to catch me by a surprise, I never think about either sicknesses or dying.

      I don't use anything like "crutches" to make myself feel better, it's all a conscious and intentional mental discipline based on self-reliance.

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 10 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      alancaster149....Spot on! Thank you!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 10 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      ValKaras I understood from the name that you were Eastern European, and by your portrait from the Cold War era. The West is 'littered' with those who got away from the 'system'. In a way Communism supplanted religion, although in Russia at the height of WWII Stalin allowed the churches to be re-opened and all the paraphernalia of pre-Communist 'Mother Russia' brought out to boost morale. Having said that everything changed again after 1945, back the other way. Communism was supposed to be the 'safety net' of the people, but the hierarchy used the safety net as a trampoline to reach what the rest couldn't: wealth and power. No real progress, eh? Not a lot different to the West, where the gulf between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' seems to widen.

      One man's safety net is someone else's crutch. What you can't get in this life may be there for you in the next? All I can say to that is read the lyrics of the West Yorkshire anthem, 'On Ilkley Moor bar t'at'[On Ilkley Moor - north of Bradford - without the hat]. The bottom line is after the worms get you, the ducks get the worms and we shoot up the ducks to put them in the pot, "...Then shall we 'ave etten [eaten] thee..." A more acceptable form of cannibalism, or a warning to wear your hat out on the moor in cold weather. Choose how you interpret it, but in truth it's an analysis of life: Whatever you believe, reality will bring you down to earth.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Dana--Religious belief is not an abstract idea but a personalized experience---regardless of the fact that people use the same holy book, the same conversational lingo about it, and rituals, which would suggest a uniformness in their faith.

      It is an intimate matter, and I would dare to say that no two people are quite "on the same page" even while they share the similar religious views.

      It's the same like no two person experience love or beauty the same way, we all put our intimate signature on everything.

      I did not generalize in my hub as to say how ALL people are using religious belief for a version of stress management, but I have met quite a few of such people who clearly displayed emotional instability and even admitted that religion was their "sedative". So that was the central thought of my hub.

      If you would read again what you said about the "world causing your insecurities, and God being your safety net"---that's exactly my point: people find an emotional sanctuary in religion. So, maybe you agreed with my statement without knowing that you did.

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      Dana Tate 10 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Nice article. I have to say that for me, the bible was the perfect seasoning. I didn't run to God out of any insecurities, God is not a crutch for me. In fact the world was the crutch and caused all my insecurities, God is the safety net. I understand that everyone has their own beliefs and I respect that. But I have to disagree with the statement that religious people believe in God because they needed to believe in something. They wanted to understand something that the world does not know, which is the truth and for that you must go to the source.

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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Larry-- Thanks.

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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Alan---You are a better man than I. I grew up in a communist regime and ALL apples were only those that I stole from a nearby farmer. I never had a chance to thank him, because I was too busy running for my life.

      But don't let that "communist" word give you any wrong ideas---I ran away from it as soon as I finished my army service, which made me eligible for a passport. So, my not attending a church on Sunday has nothing to do with that regime. I am a free-thinking dude and if I had ever chosen to kneel, that would have been the end of it.

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      Larry Rankin 10 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting perspective.

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      Alan R Lancaster 10 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      ValKaras, 'them that believes has no worries'. A bit of homespun Northern philosophy for you to mull over. It's what it's all about, a crutch to lean on in times of stress if you've got that far. Or else it keeps the stress at bay.

      I was Christened by an Army chaplain in an evangelical church (for want of a Church of England establishment) in a far-off place not long after WWII. I grew up steeped in CofE mores, ten commandments, CofE scout troop and all that.

      The brakes came on suddenly one day when I went 'scrumping' (filching apples) in the vicarage orchard one day. We came face-to-face with the vicar, who threatened us both with the cops and I thought, 'Ey, I know all about this stealing business in the commandments, but what about 'turning the other cheek'? Between us, my mate and me, we had a half-dozen apples and I had space for no more in my pockets, and here was the vicar threatening. Another turn of phrase might have been, 'I know it's a bit of fun lads, you're not exactly starving. Take what you've got and don't do it again. Right?'

      To which one of us might have - charitably - advised him about the gap in his fence that a herd of wild pigs could have stormed through. 'Sod him', thought I. 'We'll come back when you're busy writing your sermon about loving your fellow man'. As it was he didn't and nor did we. We had enough on our plates, what with one thing or another.

      I wear a casting of a miniature 'Mjollnir' (Thor's Hammer) these days. No 'crutch' needed.

      I don't go around 'sinning', and give to charity. Somebody needs my small change more than I do, whoever they might be, cancer patient, molested children, the blind...

      When my Dad's ancestors came to England they were farmers, craftsmen, warriors in the Great Heathen Army. They didn't spout cant. That's a philosophy to stand by.

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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Eleanore--Those documents have to be in agreement with the Bible, otherwise they would be hiding something, right? As a matter of act, the renowned Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci hinted long time ago that, if those documents could become public, the Catholic Church would be in trouble.

      It's not up to me to say how true or false those teachings are; and I am only writing about what people are making of them, which are two different things.

      Without paraphrasing my hub too much, I am simply stating that some folks are using religion as a sort of tranquilizer for their insecurities. That was the theme of it; not how believable Christianism is.

      There are scholars who are debunking it altogether as a myth used by the church to manipulate masses. And then again, there are scholars who stick to its value.

      I am not a scholar, just a writer of hubs, which allows me to express my observations about those many believers that I have personally met, and who were using their religious faith for a sort of stress management.

      Beyond that, I don't know what I don't know, and I am not missing it at all.

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      Audrey Hunt 10 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      I'll be returning here again just to read the comments and your replies to those comments. Should be interesting. Enough said. :)

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      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 10 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      If everything about religion is a fake, do tell us why those vaults in the crypts under the Dome of the Vatican contain thousand year old documents so valuable that only the highest ordained and most highly expert religious are allowed to use them as references?

      It is a well known fact the the UK also has these ancient documents in their royal vaults. Why are they so valuable if they are useless?

      Since no human is infallible and many tend to operate solely on ego, it is to the benefit of a unified society that a belief system at its most primitive be a guide to right and wrong. Or are we now all believing there is no such thing as right or wrong, good or bad, innocent or guilty or saintly or evil?

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      Alan 10 months ago from Tasmania

      Hahaha! Touché !

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      Vladimir Karas 10 months ago from Canada

      Alan---That boring looking door is made of metal to keep out all those boring people who might intrude to offer you a knowledge of some pamphlets that they are handing out.

      There is also an invisible "back door" that leads exactly where you want to go after you have read many of those books. It is not made of metal, and it's purposely invisible so that it doesn't look boring.

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      Alan 10 months ago from Tasmania

      Once again, a very telling picture. All those books, semi-sorted, stuffed into shelves and probably containing all the information I'll ever need to know....but.....mmmm...the plain, boring door, right in the middle. What's behind it? I've just GOT to find out. That's the road for me....