With power comes responsibility – why beliefs matter

(I wrote this for a competition for radio 2’s thought for the day – I didn’t win!)

Being Good

The other day I went into my eldest daughter’s school to tell stories of the Amazon for their topic. I had learned a few stories of spirits who live in the jungle who punish people if they cause harm to the trees, the animals or other people. I used a storyteller trick of leaving the punishment to the imagination so they actively used their own minds to come up with “The worst punishment you can possibly imagine”.

At the end the children were all gazing at me wide eyed, the energy and power I felt from so many children hanging off my every word made me feel tremendously responsible. They all wanted more detail about the spirits, especially what the punishment was, I reiterated that it was the worst punishment you can possibly imagine and one little girl mouthed “you die”. My next words needed to give them power over their fears. I made it clear that the spirits only punish those who do the wrong thing so we can be glad as that means they are looking out for us to make sure nobody harms us.(I could have scared them into being good by saying they’ll be fine so long as they never do the wrong thing, but I’m not a catholic)

 

From this I realised 2 very important things, firstly it is what we don’t say that has the most power and secondly, the way we feel about being judged depends if we believe ourselves to be good or bad.

 

We all try to be good as we are taught that being good will earn approval, but if those from whom we seek approval are silent, the power of the silence makes us try even harder to please to the detriment of our true self.

 

That is where faith and religion come in. We need to have faith that we are good and worthy of approval from the start, if we believe it, then it is so. Religions give us the rules to live by, if we break the rules we will be told so we can be forgiven and learn. It is our behaviour that we are judged on and it is our behaviour that we can always change to ensure we are always judged to be good.

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Proof of a soul

I haven’t really wanted to go on about what inspired me to write this blog as if I mention mental health a lot of people automatically switch off, but I’ve just had a potentially good meeting.

If I had been listened to when I was initially admitted to a mental hospital in December 2012 it could have saved 4 months of my life being locked away from my eldest 2 daughters.

I won’t go into detail, but sexual discrimination is rife in the UK, I didn’t realise the extent until I wasn’t believed because I am female. Really. Now time has passed and I can prove myself again I actually think I have a fighting chance of getting my complaint upheld. If I can prove I wasn’t mentally ill, I was just being myself and responding to being treated as mentally ill and not believed for telling the truth which sent me into a deep physical depression, then it could prove the existence of the human soul.

Lack of empathy for me as a human being caused me to lose all empathy for myself and my whole body stiffened and every passing moment was painful and devoid of emotion. I was dying from the inside out, a slow involuntary suicide that I had no control over. I didn’t know you could die from depression apart from willfully committing suicide. You can. It used to be called melancholia and was recognised as a natural human response to a broken heart. I now fully understand why people would commit suicide willfully, anything to stop the agony of being alive with no empathy. It lasted 5 weeks until ECT switched my empathy back on and I could be myself again.

We are all prisoners in our own minds and lack of empathy for ourselves and others switches out the light of our humanity, our soul.

Living with the truth while others continue to believe a delusion of me that I just can’t be has stretched me to my limits and shown me what I am capable of. I’m secretly glad of the dreadful ordeal I went through as it has taught me everything I have ever believed is true.

Humans are inherently kind and good, but being brought up with discrimination leads to unkind, bad behaviours that go against nature. All discrimination is wrong. All humans are equal, no matter their race, gender, age or faith. I know these words are easy to say, but they are terrifically hard to live by if you have ever been made to feel inferior or superior to others by virtue of your birth into the “wrong” or “right” family with the “wrong” or “right” gender, or just for being a child or an OAP.

There is light at the end of the tunnel to all who have ever suffered discrimination, you just have to forgive and believe…

In humanity, God, Buddha, Allah, unconditional love, kindness, yourself, your soul, the world, Mother Nature, children, art, culture, stories, whatever you feel you can pin your dreams to and not be let down.

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Belief Vs Science

Believing a God of fairness and reason exists gives humans a reason to be fair and equitable in their affairs.

Scientifically we know there is no such God, but do we have to stop believing just because we know there isn’t a being overseeing our decisions?

I thank our ancestors for their belief which kept them modest in their desires to save resources for their children (us).

How will our descendants judge our current society? Are we using finite resources sparingly for their benefit?

God teaches us to want less and be more. This puts the good of humanity before the selfish whims of the individual.

Science and state currently teach us we can have what we want and never mind the consequences. The more we consume the better for the economy and therefore all of us, but in a capitalist society this just leads to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Parents invest in their children and stockpile wealth to give them an advantage over their peers, but then that leads to a generation of idleness, or children doubting their own abilities as they have never earned for themselves. The poor are unhappy, but so are the rich.

If ever there was a time for the church to step in and sort out what really matters, it is now. Our society is seriously selfish and warped and our education system has lost the plot. Unfortunately our church leaders don’t truly understand God. They are too busy insisting he is real to accept it is the concept of a fair minded forgiving judge that is most important.

It is only with absolute empathy for all humans as exactly equal that any of us can pass judgement on the affairs of others. How do we know if our empathy is absolute or that we don’t hold some deep seated discrimination at the core of our being that stop our judgement from being perfect?

Do we believe truly that we are equal to all other humans?
Or were we brought up to believe we are superior to other humans outside our family? In conflict we assume we are right and others are wrong.
Or were we brought up to put the needs of others before our own to such an extent that we believe our needs to be inferior to those of others? In conflict we automatically look to ourselves to see what we have done wrong.

Do we believe men and women are equal? Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. If we don’t treat boys and girls as equal  we can hardly expect them to grow up believing themselves to be equal. Belief and perception are equally as important as reality when it comes to the human mind.

I only know that believing and faith allow our minds to be open to new experience and new learning from other humans. Closing our minds to an ideal of absolute Godlike empathy leads to us closing our minds to people who behave differently to our experience.

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Why?

I work as a storyteller, but spend most of my time as a Mother answering questions children have asked since the beginning of time. Mainly just one question actually. Why?

I’ve never stopped asking why, but I don’t think any of us really like definitive answers, they sort of ruin the possibilities, or our faith in what we were told when we were children. I was very lucky as a child to have been given common sense answers in a matter of fact manner about the really important questions, but was also taught about fairies and the supernatural and allowed to answer questions with my own imagination – I was told about nature, how systems worked, taxes etc, but most usefully about death (school eventually taught me the other things, but school doesn’t teach how to relate to other people and how to deal with death). My Mother has been preparing me for her death from an early age, but has also shown how to live in a structured, ordered fashion with enjoyment, honesty, integrity and nourishment of human relationships. It means when she does die I know she will be OK about it and that makes me feel OK about it, I’ll feel sad, but I will always have her in my heart, just as I have memories of her Mother in my heart even though she died before I was born. They will live eternally as I tell as much as I can remember to my children and them to theirs – heavenly!

We’ve stopped telling stories to our children from our memories, our faith and imaginations, we live in a literal age when reading stories to children is as much about teaching to read as it is about teaching through stories. We seem to want to give our children all the definitive facts that science has worked out for us and leave little to the imagination. The Bible used to be the book of stories that we retold and explained the wonders of nature and how society works, but now we know God isn’t up in the clouds and a lot of the stories in the Bible contradict the main message of christianity or break my 2 life rules, we dismiss the whole religion and mock anyone who has faith.

But that is just silly! It’s called chucking the baby out with the bathwater.

I was brought up as a christian and managed to listen to stories in church and sunday school relating them to myself and learning from the experiences of the characters in the stories. The faith that is taught in churches that I have been to is much more about being united as humans to be good and kind and less about finding some obscure passage in the Bible that is discriminatory or judgmental. Just because the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope blaspheme and make judgements it is not their place to make, doesn’t mean you should dismiss a whole religion that people have followed for centuries.

I’m not a complete naivete, I worked out when I was about 15 why God was invented. I remember thinking about war and what was going on in the world, Aids and the hole in the ozone. I thought if only there was one person in charge of the whole world who was fair and good so that inequalities between countries were made smaller and all the world did their best to be environmentally friendly and have knowledge of how to prevent the spread of disease. Ah,  that’s why they invented God!

Now I have a better understanding of the human soul through an experience when my soul died and I became a husk of a person, there in body, but not in spirit, I understand even better why God was invented and then reinvented by Jesus.

Humans have 3 parts, their physical self, emotional/spiritual self and the mental self. Belief in God helps us to develop as our true selves with a guilt free emotional/spiritual self which allows us to access the pure logic of a well ordered mental self.

I’ll explain better in a further post, but my point in this post is that we don’t need to know where God is, how he created the world, how he allows disasters to happen etc. We just need to think about why humans since the beginning of time in all cultures have created God.

Necessity.

So why is God a necessity?

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