Beliefs, religions, worldviews, politics, and cults

Think like sheep peopleIt feels good to believe things. It is nice to not have doubts. The world is so full of doubt. Belief systems take care of so many doubts. They make us feel secure. That said, I’m fairly certain that any type of true security is an illusion. Worldviews are quite close to beliefs in that they are like filters that we see our world through, but unlike beliefs they are theoretically changeable through rational discourse or scientific evidence.

I find it unfortunate that many people make their worldviews into beliefs. The best example is the worldview of an extreme political partisan such as a Democrat, Republican, socialist, or communist. Other examples of worldviews that often turn into beliefs include realism, idealism, conservatism, liberalism, and even atheism.

Even if people reject beliefs we still seem to have a pervasive need to attach some sort of spiritual significance to our lives. Perhaps this need exists in the human psyche because we still have more questions than answers and it makes us feel insecure. I am no exception, which is why I try to keep myself from being a believer by reserving 1% doubt about any idea. A lack of belief in ideas is what I think I need to keep from getting pulled into a cult. This is because I’m rather gullible at times, and I have been in two “cults” before. Specifically, I was a Lutheran and a Democrat. I know calling Lutherans cult members is an extremely unpopular thing to do in a Christian nation, but bear in mind that most Christian denominations consider any sufficiently different variation from their religious beliefs in another Christian group to be enough to make it a cult. For example, the church I was a part of until I was eighteen taught that the Mormon church is a cult. The idea that a political party is a cult is pushing the boundary of the word a bit, but partisanship in America has become so extreme in recent years that it is an accurate description of adherents.

I have also noticed that spirituality, beliefs, and religion have been subtlety inserted into our self-help groups and legal processes. All the chemical dependency and mental illness facilities/groups I have ever heard about encourage, if not require, people to find a religion, spiritual path, or at least a “higher power.” Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are largely voluntary and free examples of such groups. There are other programs and facilities that people are forced to pay for under the law, after getting a drunk driving ticket for example, that require such thinking too. As you might guess, it deeply disturbs me that the state in any way requires or endorses spirituality or religion.

I support everyone’s right to think whatever they want to; yet I encourage people to not believe each other, but rather believe in each other (a subtle difference). Let’s retain the wall of separation between church and state. Let’s erect a new wall between spirituality and the state. Let’s remember what the nature of a cult is. They pull people in with comforting dogma that answers unanswerable questions. They fill people’s heads with silly beliefs like the holy trinity, totally equal distribution of wealth, or trickle down economics. While believers may feel safer, get to drink some tasty Kool Aid, and wear some nice Nike shoes; in the end people usually die because of a lack of rational thought. Political believers are not an exception.