For several years, I was haunted by a religious woman. She was one of those people that would have you believe she was perfect. She eats only healthy, organic foods. Never smokes or drinks. Exercises frequently. She wears every piece of safety equipment known to man. She has a master's degree. She never uses profanity. To have her tell the story, you'd think God reached out and selected her to be his ambassador.
Back in the day, this gal irritated me. There is just no other way to describe it. Initially I felt inferior, left out. This gal always made a point of letting you know in some passive way, just how put together and perfect she was. I truly don't believe that her unconscious ego was trying to diminish mine- but that always seemed to be the net effect. Maybe we all have a few people like this in our lives. These people tend to make me question things. That type of behavior begs the question. Inherently, I knew there was something wrong with a God that presents himself to one person but not another. Why then did she seemed so convinced that God exists and why was I an agnostic, a skeptic and a non believer?
The answer as it turns out, has nothing to do with God. It has everything to do with who we are- and what our ego demands of us.
Had I continued to live life in my unconscious state, I think my ego would have continued to be irritated by this person. Allowing this person to live rent free in my head would have taken up a lot of energy better spent elsewhere. How then do we resolve these religious crusaders who make us feel inferior?
The key is in understanding how and why people are motivated. We know that people are motivated by fear- mostly irrational fear by unconscious egos- so we begin to see how people who were given hell and heaven belief systems might be motivated by fear. Given the possibility of eternal life or a life of hell and damnation- she selected the eternal life option because she fears the alternative. It is that simple. Whether she intuitively or truly believes in God- is a question for her to ask herself internally.
Fear and love are mutually exclusive concepts. They are water and fire.
Today I have a belief system that says an all loving God does not threaten me with hell. That those who love- do not threaten the people that they purportedly love. I also no longer feel diminished when someone adamantly believes in a concept of God that departs from mine. I accept that other people have differing belief systems. I do not march my concepts out like matters of fact.
I do not point to the Bible and declare it to be 100% true. In fact, I find 100 percent accuracy rather hard to believe, if not impossible, given the fallibility of human writers. Obviously, I don't know.
But most importantly, I am no longer threatened nor do I feel diminished when somebody tells me that I better get religion or else. I understand that they are well intentioned. That the crusaders are simply acting on belief systems and irrational fears, extolling what they believe to be the word of God rather than the words of men. I let people believe what they want to believe. I am in control of my ego and I recognize my fears. I no longer feel diminished by nor do I find it necessary to defend my beliefs with the crusaders who do not share my beliefs.
I have faith. Faith that a loving God does not select just a special few to receive his gifts and ignore the rest of us- nor punish those of us who simply can't grasp spiritual concepts. I don't see any compelling reason or need for those who do grasp spiritual concepts- to flaunt them. It simply doesn't make sense to me.
So I am learning to accept people or crusaders without feeling diminished by them.