Religion is the opiate of the people
Trees of life
Not self medication but self preservation.
Opiates are not bad in themselves. Religion is not bad in the abstract. Both are used to help us through hard times and rough patches. Both opiates and religion can be administered in such a way as to bring peace and well being. And yes both opiates and religion can be abused and misused to such an extreme as to cause death.
At first sight that sounds like how it was first used, derogatorily. But after a lengthy illness where opiates were used to dull the pain I was suffering, I have a new perspective. Clearly opiates taken under the advice and supervision and prescription are good things. Of course what makes the news is addiction and harm coming from wrongful abuse of opiates. And if you think about it, what generally makes the news on religion is some type of abhorrent behavior of a zealot or a profoundly sick individual.
Same tree different season
Much good for many people
What we too often skip over are the masses. The masses that are made well or kept from illness because of a spiritualism that comes from a religion. If we call that the opiate of the people so be it. Inoculation and vaccination are not bad concepts. They have saved untold millions. As have religions.
In other words, both have amazingly similar attributes. Both can be addictive. And for sure both can do great good.
Now assume that we all have some malady. Assume that we all have some spiritual insufficiency at the least. Clearly relieving the pain caused by lack of a moral and spiritual life is a good thing. So we can apply the salve to it. It just happens that the best cure for most spiritual illness is religion. Of course it is not the religion itself but the path we find when we apply religion to our broken bodies. Like any good antibiotic it is not the antibiotic that cures the body, it just helps us fight the disease.
Religion is like that, it does not cure the ills of the world but it helps to put us in a place wherein the Spirit and body can heal themselves. As for me, I like just a little of that old time religion to help me get well.
Listen to yourself not the drug or religion
Think of a large glass of organic only type of red grape wine.
This is a very good thing for you to have with or around a healthy meal. However two glasses is pushing it and 3 is not so good for you. Think of a religion that preaches love and understanding and a devotion to the spiritual. That is for sure good for you once a week. And it should have a healthy influence on your body and soul. Now assume you miss work to go to a religious service and you do it so often you lose your job and eventually your home. That would not be good.
Are you addicted?
Are you in real control?
Bad names for good ideas
No good scam artist ever operates on total lies. That is just stupid and does not work well. He weaves in the truth and he makes the hook tasty enough that you bite in and get hooked. Sorry to say the same is true of the wine, the opiates and religion.
However this holds true without the scam artist also. Another way to say that is if you get hooked on something good and have a good fisherman hooking you, he will just reel you in and remove the hook and set you free again. (we call this catch and release in fishing). The same is true for a good preacher, doctor and bartender. They will hook you just enough and then set you free to go back on your own.
A Happy balance is reached when:
We keep ourselves intact. We use the notion of losing yourself to God or of losing yourself in your medication. And that is a good thing I suppose, I know I like to do it frequently. But I keep myself also. If we let a drug or medication or religion take us completely we lose tough with our selves and then we are mere leaves blowing in the wind without anchor.
Notice above I used lost in “medication” and “God”. There is a huge difference between these two words and “obliteration and religion”. I hope that that concept is now evident.
We are all blessed to have the freedom to take both religions and opiates. But like any good thing it generally takes a good and true administer of such things to make them remain positive and not destructive. It really takes two good leaders. It takes another and it takes you leading yourself where you want to be and who you want to be. Never give up that leader within you and these things will work out well.