There are any number of "beliefs" that people have, and indeed rely on. Some are big beliefs, like God or religion or patriotism, and others are more personal, such as the belief that a person can achieve a desired goal. And while many people often use one to help them with the other, there is a difference between the two that is important to understand. Why? Because although some people prefer to link these two different kinds of beliefs together, others feel one is better exercised without a necessary dependence on the other.
Is it better to believe in oneself without having to believe in God or religion? That depends on the person. God may be "real" or he may be simply a placebo of the mind that we happen to prefer to believe exists. It is not necessarily dangerous for a given individual to choose to believe in a personal god, or that they are being watched over by guardian angels, or even that they will see their loved ones after they die. Nor does it matter if a person needs to believe in god to make sense of the world around them or believe in them self.
Such beliefs help people make sense of the world, and provide people with a perspective that makes the insanity of our condition bearable. But this preference for choosing to believe in god in order to believe in oneself is not something everyone prefers. Indeed, for a growing number of people, needing to believe in god in order to believe in oneself is only proof of a deep insecurity.
Why, in other words, would someone need to believe that God can help them achieve a goal, for example, as opposed to simply believing in them self to accomplish it?
In truth, the answer to this question may be interesting to consider, but it doesn't really matter. The real problem is not whether someone wants or needs to believe in a religion or God in order to believe in them self, but the mistaken belief that EVERYONE needs to believe in God in order to believe in them self. Because the truth is, not everyone does.
Worse, however, is when someone takes their belief in God or religion, which they may use to help them believe in their ability to achieve their goals, and tries to convince others that they must accept the same belief in order to believe in them self as well. That some people work better with a belief in god or religion, is not proof that everyone does, and everyone should therefore except the existence of God or the validity of a particular religion. Such beliefs may help some people, but they may be just as harmful (if not more so) to others.
Yet, to suggest that everyone can only be free or be able to trust themselves fully by first accepting Jesus or believing in God or a religion, is not to help people believe in their own abilities to overcome obstacles. It is only to create a dependence on a larger system of beliefs in order to trust in oneself. This, in a very real way, is simply "gas lighting."
But like any drug, those who peddle this opiate of beliefs to believers, only take credit for the high it gives them by indulging in it, and never take responsibility for the low they suffer, when they come back down to a reality that is as indifferent as the grave. And like that song from Easy Rider, "god damn the pusher man."
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