The world can often seem a very frightening place. We look around and we see the harm that people do each other. There is nowhere on this earth where people are not set against other people. It can often seem completely overwhelming and out of our control.
Is there anything that we can do about it?
Yes, I believe that there is.Unfortunately, it requires an opening of the mind of each individual. Therein lies the problem.
I have often said, because I firmly believe it, that if we get the rearing of our children right we will see most of the ills of this world disappear.
Few children are brought up with unconditional love and few are taught how to think. Rather they are taught that they have to be good enough to be loved and have to believe what they are told to believe in order to be accepted.
This sets the child up to be a guilt ridden adult who is unable to think critically and even if they have doubts about the beliefs they have been given guilt and shame will prevent them from thinking for themselves.
One of the most insipid destroyers of critical thinking is religious teaching. The premise that we are but sinful creatures who have to spend our lives atoning for this fact in the hope that we may please a vengeful and fearful God, set people up or failure and shame. Shame-based people will commit all sorts of foul deeds and cause much misery to themselves and to others. They will also be blind and I’m thinking and will see nothing wrong in passing on their belief system to their children. In fact the most affected will feel very strongly that they must “save” their children by making them think and believe the way they have been taught.
It can be difficult to reconcile today’s modern world with everything that we know about people and about science and about history, and primitive religious beliefs and ritual.
Women who wear wigs so as not to show their real hair, people who do not eat certain foods, people who will not work on a given day, people who believe that saying a few prayers will absolve them of all their mistakes and free them from their affects, people who believe that an unbaptised child will never enter the kingdom of heaven, people who believe that dressing a certain way makes them good and people who believe that other people, just by their nature, are deserved of death, people who believe that to worm, de-flea, de-tick a dog is wrong, who believe that not eating meat is the way to heaven. Yes, these are the ridiculous and damaging beliefs that people hold.Just a few of the beliefs of course. the reason for most people believing such unjust and ridiculous ideas is because they were indoctrinated as children. The powers that be in religion know that in order to retain their power they must control the minds of the people and the best way to do this is by teaching children from the earliest opportunity.This way is the most certain route to having unthinking and obedient adults.
It is very much harder to actually try and be a good person, to act unselfishly, to question one’s own motives, to give freely, to love unencumbered by judgement, to listen, to feel compassion, and help another to realise themselves, then it is to follow ritual and the words of a book by rote.
The only hope that we have is to stop abusing our children, to stop being afraid of them, to stop believing that children are born wicked and wild and must be brought under control by their upbringing.instead we must recognise that what we put into children is what comes out when they are adult. Despite religious teaching to the contrary, bringing a child up with unconditional love and encouraging the child to be the best that they can be rather than what we want them to be, will result in adults who value themselves and value other people and are therefore much less likely to harm others. Such people will not be ready to go to war for any old reason, they will not be ready to condemn other people based on their sex, sexuality, or race and most importantly they will not be susceptible to the control freaks and power mongers of religion. This being so they are hardly likely to succumb to religious brainwashing and therefore cannot pass this virulent wickedness onto their own children.
All one has to do is listen to or read people who have succumbed to religious teaching. It is very obvious that their critical mind has been successfully turned off. They cannot see the evil and irrationality inherent in what they are proposing is the Truth. Strangely, their critical thinking ability does not fail them when demolishing a different religious ideology to their own! They can see the flaws and wickedness inherent in other people’s religious beliefs, but not in their own.
There is a well-known British journalist who is Jewish and a supporter of the state of Israel, who writes about other religions and other ideologies and homosexual people in precisely the same manner that Hitler and the Nazis wrote and spoke about Jews which resulted in the Holocaust. To me this woman and her views are abhorrent yet she is paid to expound upon her views on the BBC and is often on a panel questioning people about ethics! This is the sort of thing that happens when people have been taught to believe in a particular way and when people are afraid to criticise another person just because they belong to a particular group and one is afraid that one’s criticism will be construed as racism or anti-Semitism. (Do a Google search for Melanie Phillips and read some of her articles.)
The hardest work of anybody’s life is self examination and being who we are. We will be opposed every step of the way. There will always be other people trying to prevent you realising yourself, trying to control your thoughts and your actions. The most common way for people to do this is through religion and through the admonishment that ‘It’s a Sin’. This control mechanism is very old and very successful. Yet, there would be far less in in this world if we did not try and control others for our own ends.
It is our personal responsibility to deal with our own fears, our own anger, our own thought processes, our own flaws, our own lives. We are not responsible for what other people, adults do and think, but we are responsible for how we react to them. If we give out condemnation, violence, and rejection to those we disagree with WE are at fault.
I believe that all human beings are worthy of love, respect, and care. This I believe regardless of how the human being behaves or thinks. Of course as a human being I find it impossible to feel and act on this 100% of the time. It is unrealistic for me to expect that of myself or of anybody else. However, it is not unrealistic to expect that I do not deliberately harm another and that I do manage.
We treat other people the way that we are inside not because of the way they are outside. It is always down to us as individuals. Blaming the other is a negation of our personal responsibility.
We must of course not by our behaviour and actions condone unacceptable behaviour. Unacceptable behaviour should always be met with intolerance. This does not mean that it is valid to treat people who behaved unacceptably in a hateful and hurtful manner.
If I could take a magic wand and by waving it alter my world, I would wish that every person on the planet would truly love and accept themselves.