Religious Junkies are by nature pretty forceful in their inter-personal relationships, burning folk off with their frequent mentions of the J word or even worse the H word! A hidden agenda of trying to get you saved often lies behind the sweet surface of politeness. Yet, mention that you don’t believe …… and all hell will break lose as you run for cover from the resulting bombardment of Biblical text mortars that will surely come your way.
So what are we to do, especially if the RJ in question is our spouse, parent or child? What antidote exists to keep us safe from the poison of such attacks.
My personal escape from Fundamentalism came through tragedy and the questioning of my own belief system. A new belief system, one that frees us from the all-consuming world view of the RJ is a helpful ally in trying to stay calm in the realm of psychic warfare. We must realize that we can never talk or break the RJ out of their religious mindset but we can certainly protect our own psychic equilibrium in our contact with them. The overarching defense is of course unconditional love, an anathema to the religious mind. Such love though mustn’t be interpreted as being a belief doormat of the RJ but a calm detached force field that protects us from the frequent onslaught that regularly comes our way.
What I will do here is to take each of my previous thoughts on the RJ mindset and slip in a belief antidote.
1) They tend to have a one-track mind.
Life is a multifarious collage of beliefs and experiences. We cannot limit ourselves to tunnel vision in our search for meaning and Truth. Divine Love is a Creator of variety, disguising itself in many forms as we play our game of psychic hide and seek. Love must walk a broad path to protect us from the dangers of obsession.
2) They see the world as black and white
God is a God of color. Love is the hue that permeates all, even the darkest of people and experiences. The only truth is that we are all dysfunctional, religious and non religious alike. Divine Love loves to invade the black as well as the white. Morality is our attempt to control human violence, a band-aid to stem the blood flow of human violence. It is not the Golden Rule.
3) Behind the black they see the Satan.
The Satan or scapegoating system that results from desire conflicts within the human community hangs out in many and diverse places. It loves to hang out in the black-white world of religious community as well as the overtly violent world of communal chaos. The RJ quickly sweeps religious violence under the sacred carpet as a one-off slip up by the saints, rather than the natural outcome of black-white thought.
4) Everyone they meet is a potential convert.
The RJ loves to, indeed feels a strong duty to convert the unbeliever. The antidote here is quite simple. I tell my evangelizing contacts that I’ve already met Divine Love and have a regular communication with the Voice of Spirit Breath. This takes the religious rug from under the feet of the zealous evangelist. Once when young Mormon evangelists knocked on my Irish door, I eventually let them know that I regularly spoke in tongues and prophesied. The look on their faces gave the game away; clearly their programmed answers didn’t include an appropriate response for a crazy Irishman who claimed to hear from and speak for God. Be confident in your own experience of God, the encounters with Other than are real for you. Nobody, not even the Bible wielding RJ can dismiss those.
5) They perceive themselves to be closer to God than the non believer.
This one is quite simple. St. Paul, the hero of all RJs, quoted a Greek pagan poet claiming, ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’. How much closer to God can you get. Even the militant atheist is in God, albeit he doesn’t know it nor believe it.
6) They believe that God is a quality controller.
Divine Love cannot be a quality controller! Why not? Well any quality controllers that I’ve known generally back away from the mess of major dysfunction. They just send down orders! Yahweh, the God of Moses, tended to do this in tablet form. Yet, the RJ believes that Yeshua was God Himself stepping into the mess of our human predicament, allowing Himself to be brutally executed by His own. Not much quality control there but rather the most dramatic manifestation of Divine Love ever. Yeshua’s little story of the Prodigal also reveals the lack of quality control in His God, Abba. A Father just glad to have his son home, ignoring the standard sinners prayer of repentance. Incidentally, your RJ friend will not like this story, but quickly jump onto some seemingly quality control quote from St. Paul.Who denies Scripture now?
7) They believe that being right is of supreme importance.
Not many RJs know the little story of St. Thomas Aquinas, probably one of the most intelligent and gifted theologians ever to have emerged from the last two millennia of Christian belief. One day in December 1273 whilst praying before an icon of Christ the ‘prince of theologians’ was unexpectedly visited by a profound mystical experience. Such was the devastation of this encounter with Divine Love that he never again set pen to theological paper, claiming, “I cannot (write again), because all that I have written seems like straw to me”. Rightness is based on doctrinal beliefs and theological interpretations of the Holy Writings. Divine Love is based on experience. A practical tip in dealing with the verbal inquisition of the RJ is to say ‘Yes, I believe that you are right…….. but then again so am I’. Best delivered with a genuine and loving smile.
8) The RJ believes that they are on a mission for God.
Like the Blues Brothers, the RJ believes that they have been assigned a Divine mission that must be fulfilled at all costs. This often leads to a restlessness that manifests itself as attendance at many religious events. The man or woman on a mission just can’t settle. In reality the only mission is to Love. Such Love comes naturally from the flow of Spirit Breath and is to be gently administered when our inner Voice gives the green light. It is important to know, that we can’t fix anyone and that even if we never showed love to another human being for the remainder of our days, we are still loved by the Divine.
9) The RJ is blind to the psychological and emotional needs of others.
The RJ sees the world as a conflict between flesh and spirit. They tend to live in denial of their and others soul needs. Psychology is seen as the enemy, a tool of the enemy for justifying the waywardness of the evil flesh. We have been created body, soul/psyche and spirit. To love the Psyche and bring its hidden and often repressed needs to the Light is part of the Divine mission. We must not let our RJ friend’s denial of such an important realm to repress our own psychic needs. RJs tend to get scared when we talk openly about our own soul work. We must listen to our sub-personalities and let Divine Love bring its integrative and healing touch to each of them. The result will be a greater level of confidence and empowerment in the presence of RJs and others.
10) The RJ is obsessed with hierarchy.
Yeshua said ‘Call no man rabbi or father’ Sounds good to me and an effective antidote to the power structures that the Rj loves to cling to. When the RJ sees us secure in our own being and observes our non addiction to the Linus blanket of rank, they might just begin to wonder!
11) The RJ can frequently be a narcissist.
The RJ will often see others through the lens of narcissism without realizing it. Here humor is a key to surviving with one who takes themselves so seriously on the God journey. Sarcasm only makes things worse, but genuine humor is a great survival tool. The Divine will orchestrate situations where the RJ has an opportunity to laugh at themselves and get in touch with their essential Self. As we model not taking ourselves too seriously the RJ might just catch a spark of lightness, that will help open their eyes to a new world. A world that’s been there all the time but one in which we play as kids of the Divine.
In my next post I will begin a three-part series on Spiritual Abuse; the elephant in the religious room that no cult, sect or faith community will admit to entertaining.
Dylan’s Author page ~ https://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison