Religion to the Rescue

life buoyA month or so back, a local couple, after spending time on the Oregon coast and becoming engaged, were on their way home when they were involved in a car accident.  Tragically, the accident took the life of the newly-engaged young woman. Her new husband-to-be suffered neck and brain injuries and was nearly paralyzed. He has now recovered enough that he’s been able to return to work (finance manager), but has several surgeries still in store for him.

In a follow-up article about the incident, a news reporter from the local paper interviewed the young man. He is unable to remember driving home or anything about the accident. The reports are that he entered the center turn lane, apparently to pull into a small community located off the highway, and crashed head-on into an oncoming car. Some people who happened upon the crash pulled the couple out of the burning vehicle and reported each reached out and grabbed the other’s hand as they lay on the ground. Both were transported to the closest hospital, where the young lady was pronounced dead.

In the interview, the fellow reported that although he’s getting better physically, it’s been much harder to mend emotionally.

And then he commented (and this is the point of my post) that while growing up, life for him was very matter of fact and logical. He felt no need for religion or faith. However, after the accident, he said he felt faith was his only real option. Rather than find comfort in, say, alcoholism or drugs, he chose to find strength and comfort from God.

Such a transition in worldview is not unusual because this is how the religious world paints the portrait of “God” – the helper, the comforter, the one who takes away the pain of life. What most fail to recognize is the power to heal (emotionally and physically) is within ourselves. We don’t need some supernatural power to step in and make it all better (besides, in reality, it can’t).

Certainly, circumstances often make this life a very rough road to travel, but as many, many others have proven (my mind goes to Zoe, Victoria, and Ruth), it can be done. I just find it sad that so many fail to recognize this.

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30 thoughts on “Religion to the Rescue

  1. Good point. But still, I think it’s more natural for us to lean to something like religion for support, and I fully understand why people do it. I often think when I go slightly demented I’ll probably return to religion. It’ll just take a few key braincells to be rearranged. The force is strong!

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      • Because it’s what humans have always done, and it’s what we’d do again in an information vacuum. For me particularly, I guess because I was brought up with it and my neural pathways could easily stray back. I can certainly still understand the pull when I’m stressed or sleep deprived. I don’t begrudge people whatever comfort they get from religion, I think it could so easily still be me if I’d lacked just a few key influences.

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        • Yes, I guess it is sad. There are many things about being human that are less than ideal. But it’s one of the reasons it’s taking so long to get rid of religion in spite of all the seemingly obvious evidence to the contrary.

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    • My braincells have been so thoroughly rearranged I’m not even sure that some of them are even in the right head, and yet I still feel no such inclination.

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    • Violet, I agree there is something inside us that grasps onto the concept of a divine helper. It is like a physiological comfort blanket to ease the pressures of dealing with this life’s challenges on our own.

      The question is whether this psychological response points to a greater reality of some sort of divine helper? I am not qualified to answer that question.

      What I do know is that one of the hardest battles I faced since my faith has crumbled is how to respond of challenges of life. In the past I would seek the support of my divine helper. That did not stop my worrying about things, but it provided a degree of comfort that somehow everything would be OK in the end.

      Without that psychological help line I have found that I have been tending to a somewhat somber view of life and the future. Perhaps it will pass. But at present I miss, almost mourn, the loss of that psychological comfort factor.

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      • In the past I would seek the support of my divine helper.” – For once, Peter, pay CLOSE attention to the man behind the curtain, when the Wizard of Oz tells each of his supplicants that they had what they needed within themselves all along.

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      • Peter, you may have turned to something outside of yourself (the “divine helper”) in moments of stress and pressure, but can you honestly say that doing so made everything work out? Or did it just give you a momentary sense of relief and/or peace?

        Arch is right … If it’s to be, it’s up to me. You need to begin believing in yourself because there is NOTHING “out there” that’s going to make your life any easier/different. The only thing that’s going to get you through the tough times is YOU.

        It’s not going to happen overnight, but the more you trust in your own sense of worth and strength, you’ll begin to see how powerful you really are.

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        • Nan, I tend to be a worrier by nature. So most issues work out better than the scenarios I develop in my head. Thus the physiological comfort tided me over in the interim.

          Part of the problem is that I have pulled out of all my church activities but have not yet been able to really talk with the people about why. They thought I just needed a bit of a break. So I have become quite socially isolated as a result, that does not help.

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        • Peter, I honestly sympathize with you. No one would want to find themselves in the situation you currently find yourself in.
          You seem quite level headed and so I am confident you will navigate through it

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      • “Without that psychological help line I have found that I have been tending to a somewhat somber view of life and the future. Perhaps it will pass. But at present I miss, almost mourn, the loss of that psychological comfort factor.”

        I think many of us go through that phase, I certainly did for several years. I still like the idea of the comfort blanket and for all I can’t stand religion now, I would never want to deny someone access to it at a difficult time in their life. Anyway, no ‘perhaps it will pass’ – of course it will pass.

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        • Part of the reason I have been reluctant to tell people I formerly ministered to about my loss of faith is the possible damage it will do to their own faith. I mainly ministered to the older folks in the Church and local nursing homes. Given many have not many years left I don’t see a lot of benefit in telling them their faith is misguided. Rather in some cases it would be quite cruel.

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  2. “Rather than find comfort in, say, alcoholism or drugs, he chose to find strength and comfort from God.” There’s a difference? I don’t see it. Perhaps, too, if there was power in faith and a big ole invisible guy in the sky, the accident wouldn’t have happened, and/or the guy’s bride would still be alive? Oh, wait. I forgot. The invisible all loving guy in the sky causes us horrid pain and suffering to make us better people. It’s out of love he killed this man’s wife. I always forget that part. My bad.

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  3. I’ll just say good luck to him if he’s using God as a support. If he is indeed serious about it, he’ll eventually reach a point where he ask God – “Why only me? Why didn’t you save my fiancee as well?”.

    Then he’ll get depressed all over again. Perhaps he may end up like Job, or perhaps not.

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  4. I don’t know how many people would knowing their neighbour would have stopped something bad from happening to them and didn’t would still love said neighbour. This is why I can’t wrap myself around why people still believe god is all great and loving when such things happen to them

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  5. “You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs.”
    ~~ Bertrand Russell ~~

    — from a fascinating essay by Bertrand Russell, at Why I Am Not a Christian.

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    • Unfortunately it is all too true. Religion tends only to be tolerant when it is weak. That is why Islam in the west is ‘tolerant’, but where it has power it is intolerant.

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