I was born just before the Second World War, and so grew up in hard times. A war, fuelled by delusional beliefs and the need for power and domination, left lives devastated by injury, immediate widespread grief and lifetimes of sorrow. Why and how was it allowed to happen? Why and how is it happening, still, around the world today? Never has there been a time when the world has been without conflict somewhere. What beliefs cause people to rule their own people by suppression or to invade the homelands of others?
Behaviours lead ultimately to beliefs, but it works both ways as beliefs lead to behaviours.
The higher the level of belief, the more power that belief has over any individual. In the sane, ie excluding those with delusional beliefs, there are three prominent belief systems which, in my opinion, cause most of the world’s traumas and which are wrong.
Firstly, that God favours those who have a religion.
Because of this widespread belief, religions, with their dogmas and creeds and traditional expectation of behaviours are very powerful. While religions dictate how and what people should belief, and instill fear in the believers, then this brainwashing continues and denies the right of individual thought. People of a religious faith are told that that their beliefs are the way to go to Heaven after death, but also that theirs is the correct religion, a belief which causes endless strife.
However, it is what individuals do that is important, not their faith or adherence to any religious doctrines. No priest will be with anyone after death. No church provides advocates at the final ‘gate’. Then everyone is alone, no matter their position on earth, and must answer for their actions on earth. In that way, each and every human chooses their own eternal destiny, irrespective of any earthly beliefs.
I accept that religions can give a structure to life and guide many people along the ‘straight and narrow’ path in life, but usually because of the hope or with the promise of eternal life after death. People are responsible for their own behaviours and should understand that it is those behaviours, not their beliefs, which ultimately decide their destination after death. Heaven does not have an open door for everyone, but a place has to be earned and no one who deliberately hurts another or e.g. the perpetrators of war, causes someone else to deliberately hurt another will find a place waiting for them.
The priests who have abused children are one example – do they believe their religious faith and, do they expect this to be sufficient to ignore what they have done or to be forgiven? Do they believe that, because of their religious beliefs, they are favoured by God rather than the children they abuse? If so, they should prepare for justice and a return of the pain which they caused after death not eternal peace, as all must answer for their actions.
Secondly, that money should be treated as a God and worshipped.
In the higher echelons of society, where money and its power lie, greed increases inequality. Many of those with plenty want excess, while those with very little get less. Everyone should be rewarded for effort what they achieve or do and having money to spare is the bonus of hard work and prudence. But increasingly the gap, between what is acceptable and what is obscene, increases. The bankers earn millions but take millions more in bonuses, while others who want to create work through business development cannot gain any funds from the banks. Footballers do a great job entertaining hundreds of thousands of fans, but the wages of those in the top clubs are totally off any sensible scale. Their monetary value is inflated out of all proportion to the amount of effort, time, skill, use or training involved.
The thug/ gang culture becomes stronger as lost, vulnerable youngsters with few possessions and no livelihood develop anger and don't care about the effects on others of their negative actions. They feel, understandably but erroneously, that they have nothing to lose, as they feel no love, have no status and no future. How wrong they are to think that hurting others can compensate in any way for lack in this life. But, what an indictment of today’s society that these young people actually develop these beliefs and behaviours!
There is plenty in this world for all and to spare. There is no need for hunger in any child in the world, and no need for lack of sanitation. However, with money as a God, then selfishness and greed put the funds elsewhere, individually and collectively.
If the billions spent on buying arms and fighting terrorists in Afghanistan had been used, instead, to destroy the poppies and to feed the Afghan people until they could feed themselves, the Taliban would have been defeated.
Thirdly, that people are unequal; hence some people are treated differently from others.
People are discriminated against for many reasons, i.e. race, sex, colour of their skin, age, culture, religion, region of the world.
Every human on the earth, once past childhood, is equal in being responsible for his or her actions.
A mother's role is to guide her child along the path of love and kindness thus giving a strong and lasting learning and belief. Increasingly people pay others to carry out their role, and many other mothers, who would chose to stay with their babies, are having to work to feed their children. Mothers should not have to leave their tiny children with unknown people in unknown places. The anxiety this can cause may well have lasting effects on the child’s emotional development. Parents are in the ‘chosen position’ to care for and guide their child, not teachers, nursery staff, or minders. This should be encouraged by governments and made possible, rather than the opposite.
Many deviate further and further away from the ideal path through life, a path which may require facing difficulties with courage and achieving goals through endeavour?
Change will not happen until 'reap what you sow', the criterion for eternal existence, begins during life on earth rather than after death. Only when those who hurt others, and who are basically cowards, receive the pain back will they change their behaviour.
One day, religions will be seen for what they are – erroneous beliefs created and promoted on earth by men over eras of time to brainwash and to exert and hold power over individuals.
People may not have choice in their race, culture, sex, place of origin but all, other than those whose brains are damaged, can choose how they behave.
But, until these three erroneous beliefs change, the world continues to create an ever increasing dark cloud of pain over its people, which very slowly but gradually and irrevocably will block out the light of love from human lives.
Other articles are collected in the book 'thoughts' of a retired psychiatrist. Book 1 and can be bought from amazon.com and PLP Publishings.com