Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

We’d Rather Masturbate To Pictures Of Living Instead Of Actually Living

In Deception, Everything Else, Free Will, Good and Evil, Life on June 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Everyone loves a good success story or sports team or fictional hero. This is because we can identify with the elevation just enough to feel that it could actually be ourselves in that role. We can also conveniently avoid the hard work or suffering it took to achieve that status of success. But the essential reality of it, as far as we’re concerned, only takes place in our genius of a mind.

I think it’s perfectly human to dream and it can be healthy too. My kids used to role play when they were younger and it often involved doing something their undeveloped selves were incapable of yet doing. My daughter would walk around the house pretending to clean it while animatedly talking to a pretend friend with a toy phone. (Kids can be an entertaining reflection of their parents.)

My own daydreams can give me a glimpse into the desires of my deepest soul. They often thankfully point the way to the direction I’d like to go. Gurus teach us to discover those soul dreams and manipulate the mind so that positive actions will naturally follow….

But I’ve also noticed that my hopes and dreams can be entirely misleading.

When we fear failure or taking risks or anything really, we’ve always got the mind to create the dream world we are too shy, or too incapable, to live. And we’ve got all kinds of virtual reality to make it happen. Social networks, World of Warcraft and fantasy sports teams take us a step beyond TV shows and movies with user interaction. But still, behind the safety of a home monitor we can be anything a profit-making producer can help us imagine. Yeah, this might be just a little disturbing.

I first started thinking about this fictitious “mind world” when I realized how often I judge between what I consider good and evil. Even when I’m making my bed in the morning I like to place the “good” pillows on top of the ones that aren’t as pretty. I took a considerable amount of time to pick out bedding that I thought was beautiful even though I am the only one that sees it. [Okay, so I’m not getting any sex.] Designer shams, I hope, are either a reflection of me, or the reflection of me I’d like to see.

I label things good or bad so often that the judgment seems to mostly occur on a subconscious level until I notice them. Here are some more examples:

Sunshine:  Good.

Rain:  Bad.

A grande decaf double almond latte:  Good.

A big brown bear with claws, crossing my bike path:  Bad.

Misunderstanding the project assignment but having to present my project to the rest of the class anyway:  Bad – – Really, really bad.


My kids will inevitably hold a different good/bad opinion from each other on any given object:

What do you think of broccoflower?

Kid#1:  Bad.

Kid#2:  Good.

Kid#3:  Good and bad.

Kid#4:  What kind of a question is that?


Churches are notorious for conforming to the same opinion of good and bad:

Feel-good praise and worship song:  Good.

The Democratic party:  Bad.

Bigger and better church buildings:  Good.

Pastor Rob Bell: The spawn of Satan.


It becomes even more intriguing when I realize how much I change my mind about good and bad (now that I have the freedom to do so.) I’ve run the gamut of opinions when it comes to the Bible. To me, it was once God’s gift from heaven, “the solid rock” on which I stand. Then it was just mere ink and pages written by imperfect human beings. Now I think the Bible is whatever I want to make of it. I hold the power of my own beliefs – just like everyone else.

How do we form our beliefs of good and bad? If we are a kid, they probably have to do with how fast that belief can get us what we want right now. If a female, they might be based on our capricious feelings of the moment. For a guy, maybe they’re all about the world’s shortest answer.

But where do our thoughts and feelings originate? From the moment of birth when we’re wondering what the hell just happened, our newborn senses start taking in information. Then they help us determine just how loud we’d like to cry. In other words, our environment together with our human faculties (among other possible factors) have everything to do with our beliefs. Don’t think about this too much unless you’d like to lose three consecutive nights of sleep before going mentally insane.

I remember when I considered for the first time that I might only be half way in control of my own self. And the half that belonged to me was also in question. Let’s just say that I resisted this idea as quickly as it showed up. I couldn’t have such a threat messing up my life as well as my own created mind world where I could retreat in comfort and safety any time I wanted. I was the queen of my land, and I wanted to keep it that way.

Little do I know, I am not in control but instead, certain ideals of good and bad are controlling me. I do all I can to make sure I have a good day and put in just as much energy to avoid the bad ones. And it’s all done to feed the matrix that confines me. I might no longer be a slave to church, but I am still a slave to my definitions of good and bad. So I create my own little world accordingly. But my world might not be true – it might only be what I think is true, or want to be true.

Maybe it goes without saying (and you know I’m going to say it anyway), my prior belief in the traditional Christian doctrine of hell required a fair amount of detachment from reality, in my opinion. How else could we embrace the idea of people, possibly including our own loved ones, being tortured?

Christians in general might have the opposite view:  To reject hell is to reject harsh reality.  I actually think this is a good point, especially if we each believe what we want to believe.

But the fact remains. We believe what we want to believe. How do we know we are not creating a fictitious world with our beliefs? Do we think that the more people who believe our truth, the more true it will become? Is it possible that our beliefs are only true as much as we believe them? What if there is a more ultimate truth?

Subjectivity has a funny way of disguising itself as objectivity. We can’t disrupt our perfect dream of heaven in which our good self is rewarded with a jeweled crown; meanwhile, all of the people who threaten to destroy that dream are being tortured.

This hasn’t only been true for me as a Christian, but I still carry a subconscious escape world with me without even realizing it. In my world, I’ve got everything categorized and labeled with good, bad and any other adjective at my service. In my insecurity, I make sure that everyone else can see my good while I attempt to keep my bad as far away from me as possible. This way, everything looks a lot different than what it really is….

More importantly than what we believe might be how in tune we are with what we believe. Ghandi said,

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

It is so frustrating to try to live in a feigned world, or to attempt to become someone that I’m not. Reality and real life experience becomes a threat and I have to work hard to “prove” them wrong. Being stressed out or trying to convince myself of certain “facts” are sure signs that my ideals and actuality are not matching up. What is actuality? Personally, I think it is the real self, in all of its subjective glory.

Daring to live out of my inner soul is where I long to be. Fear is quite an obstacle, however. This is why I suspect that judging outwardly between good, bad or other discriminatory judgments puts a face on my timidity, and can keep me from that inner alchemy. Of course, even my human fear is a necessary part of the process toward attaining peace deep within. Only I’d like to conquer it.

So often when I get to the end of a blog post I’ve written, I’m tempted to delete it and have done so. Posting my thoughts (especially as they are becoming more honest) to the world wide web brings out plenty of hidden insecurities in me. During those moments, and others where I’d like to hide under a rock for about fifty years, I just have to shrug that heavy weight off of my shoulders.

To put this in other words, I’d like to appreciate all things as some form of good, understanding that everything has a good purpose. I don’t have to try so hard to avoid or shun the “bad” or those things that make me feel really uncomfortable. It is also my hope, whether beneficial or damaging, that I have the courage to accept my real beliefs, which are my real desires. I think this would be truly living life, or simply being awakened to what I already possess within and all around me.

When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way. ” ~ Paulo Coelho, Brida

  1. Very honest and insightful. A Great read and thought provoker (is that a word?) Anyway, keep up the good writing…Hugs

  2. I love the post. Your writing is making me think and move forward in my current journey. One thing though – I don’t understand how this post’s title matches the content. Oh well. It was excellent, nonetheless.

  3. With the title, I was basically trying to portray how the reality of our mind can be a different reality than the one in which we actually live… and how that creates turmoil for ourselves, while being true to ourselves creates an inner harmony. Artificiality vs. Reality.

  4. I liked the general theme that was brought out in the first few paragraphs concerning living life more through our own experiences and less so vicariously. Then, when the belief that everything is relative came up, I lost interest. SOME things are black and white and SOME things are grey. SOME things are subjective and others are objective in scope. For example, the amount of money you have in your wallet at this time is NOT a relative/subjective amount. Your favorite flavor of ice cream is an objective preference. Hell/heaven either exists or it doesn’t. Christians can’t create it and non Christians can’t destroy it.

    • Hi Clyde. I used to argue for absolute truth but now I think that trying to live under that regime will kill the spirit in a person mighty quick.

      We like to think there are absolutes in order to help us feel like we’ve got some sort of grasp on things outside of our control. but I think that only gives us a false sense of security. As long as our world is constantly moving and and therefore changing, how can anything be absolute?

      Quantum explains how even a book sitting on a table is made up of numerous atoms that are continually in motion. Newton’s law of motion and Einstein’s relativity show how nothing is static and even if it was, we can only view it from a relative position. There is no absolute frame of reference.

      Money in your pocket might seem absolute but its value can only be determined by relative or changing factors such as inflation, stock value or comparison to other world currencies. Even the name currency is a reference to time, and it isn’t always what it claims to be anyway – uhhh, especially if it’s American money right now.

  5. I love the title and ‘got it’ right away.

    It stands to reason that the mind and the overly embellished and exaggerated scenarios (thought streams) it creates for us ARE absolute fallacies. I know this and I practice awareness when circumstances or events that I don’t like (deem negative) happen to me. The awareness helps me overcome the subsequent thought fallacy and move on.

    But what I don’t get is that when enough people start believing and living within those fallacies does it then spread and become an actual reality? One that is superimposed on neighboring people with their own fallacies generating and even larger reality for all of us? Its a dilemma that I think I know the answer too but it still bothers me that I have to go about my day sidestepping delusional thinking (coming from everywhere) and jockeying for a realistic position in order to get to what I want.

    I know that self-fulfilling prophesy is not a gimmick as it can be useful at times, but its scary and disconcerting that so many of us ignorantly continue to live under the thumbprint of a delusion or an alternate state of consciousness therefore allowing our real realities to be so awkwardly shaped that over time we forget or we’ve forgotten that ‘were’ and still ‘are’ ultimately in control. Every passing second is another opportunity to turn it all around.

    I’ve found that when I approach circumstances and events as non-dualistic I embody a more centered and more tolerant attitude towards those around me. I don’t do this every time tho. There are a lot of scenarios when faced with confrontation, jealousy, insecurity, etc…that the asshole (delusional thinking) in me will shirk the non-duality approach and gets by with a slightly more immature stance of which always leaves a little hole in my heart and a sense of emptiness.

    Not sure if I’m making sense as I have a ton of thought on ‘the mind’ and dualistic thinking but with that said, screw masturbating, I’d rather have sex. 😉 Thanks for the post and I love your choice of Ghandi quote!

    • Thanks for getting my post, Jeremy.

      So yeah, I’m wondering if delusions actually are the real reality or at least an integral part of it? It seems like I’ve always assumed that there’s some final perfect utopia out there somewhere. And this can keep me stuck in a dream where I’m trying to go beyond myself to get to it – until I realize that even if i do, I always need a new dream to keep me happy…. I think we’d all feel really empty and lifeless if we arrived at some destination and it was all over (obviously.)

      Basically there can’t be a finality either in dreams or reality. Life can never be resolved; if it did then it would cease to exist. So unless it does cease to exist, we always need a different scenario in which to express ourselves, a new challenge to face …or some kind of delusion to escape.

      In that sense, maybe we need the delusions to know the realities, but it’s all part of the same thing. Maybe we can even be deluded in thinking delusions are somehow outside of the way things are supposed to be. Not that we’d try to be deceived, but that the things I resist or label as “bad” can still control me.

      If true, then we don’t have to sidestep any delusions (either our own or others’) but we can relax and accept it all as an imperative part of living and learning, trusting that eyes are in the process of being opened even when we’re blind. At least that’s my theory anyway.

      Great comment. I like the way you think.

  6. Brilliant, Elizabeth … don’t delete. Not ever. 😉

    You spoke out MY reality here … bravo/bingo!!!

  7. I was contemplating this very thing a few days ago. How do we live being our “authentic” selves every moment when everyone seems to be walking around with various masks on their faces (believe me i have many masks too). As much as we want to destroy our own masks it seems we cannot, because to do so would make us vulnerable – walking targets for all those “falsies” out there. So we hide our true faces in the matrix in order to blend in and “fit the flow”. To find an authentic person who is being their authentic selves 100% of the time is “virtually impossible”. To use myself as an example – i’m in the business of dealing face to face with clients every day. Selling a product and servicing the public – i put on a different mask for each client – in order to “fit their mindset and meet their need”. Spiritually, it’s a killer! I hate having to do this to please another person in order to keep them as a client. I hate not being able to be my authentic self day in and day out. Then I remember Paul who said “I have become all things to all people in order to win them for Christ”.

    • You’re so cute, Louise. I would think that being the real you would be the most attractive way to win clients. They’d buy anything you’re selling. 🙂

  8. oooooo, girlfriend!! Yes yes yes!!

    I SO totally hear what you are saying… was just talking this out with my hub last week… we are designed to draw life from those things that ARE real! And I had the same picture of that… the whole porn versus real picture came to my mind as well. Great insights, lovie!

    Big hugs.. A

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