Have you ever felt like a one-eyed man at a 3D movie? Like you are living in the same life as everyone else, but you are missing part of the experience? If so, you are among friends. Today’s world can feel rather underwhelming. You have been doing what everyone expects, and yet you are not fulfilled. You work hard, are in debt up to your eyeballs, are raising a family, attend church every Sunday, put your money in the plate so all your neighbors see you give, pretend to love all the right things and to hate all the wrong things. So why are you not actually happy? Could it be that you have been sold a load of crap!
The issue lies with organized religion and its relationship to a truly joyful and fulfilled individual. That relationship is very similar to that of a pharmaceutical company and a sick patient. Organized religion is BIG business. The last study of the revenue generated by the “faith industry” was in 2016. In 2016, organized religion was profiting $1.2 trillion within the United States alone. Not worldwide! $1.2 trillion per year in the U.S. alone! And that business depends on individuals continuing to seek its service, not on individuals who it has healed. Just as maintenance medications and not cures are what keep pharmaceutical companies generating revenue, it is a maintained individual and not a healthy community that keeps the religious coffers full. This is true of brick and mortar “churches”; online religious communities; religious authors and everyone who feeds the machine. No organized religion can safely claim that they are exempt from this narrative. The Catholic Church; the Christian churches and its multitude of splinter groups; Wicca; Judaism; Hinduism; Scientology; Buddhism; Satanism – all of these organizations generate huge amounts of money. But at what cost to the product they sell? The underlying message of every organized religion is, “You are not good enough. But we hold the key to being good enough and we will give it to you…for a price.” So…you buy in. You give what they tell you to give. You do what they tell you to do. You internalize what they tell you to internalize and you lock your logical questions behind a wall of “belief”. And you wait to be handed your happiness and fulfillment. But that is the secret folks. Your “product” never arrives. Your “good enough” is always just out of reach – one more pot luck away; one more ritual away; one more fasting away. And in the meantime, remember to keep giving. It is not financially responsible or advantageous in any way for an organized religion to give its adherents the keys to true happiness; joy; fulfillment and acceptance. Once an individual is at peace, they no longer have a need for the organization. Once an individual is at peace, they no longer have a need to keep emptying their pockets into the coffers. Once an individual finds truth, they no longer have a need to keep paying to be told the truth is coming.
Organized religion is a business based on taxing the seekers of truth for a product/service that they have no intention of actually providing. That is not to say that all of the teachings found in organized religion are faulty or untrue. There are parts of every organized religion that are absolutely wonderful and can be used to reach a fully realized and joyful state. And that is why each religion will tell you that ONLY their teachings are to be studied or believed. But lets save that discussion for another post.
In conclusion, do not allow organized religion to sell you a promise that they will, intentionally, never fulfill. They are businesses pure and simple, to the tune of $1.2 trillion annually. The truth is out there to be found and together we will discover it, if we are willing to listen and be brave.