Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 23, 2006


A colleague recently asked me if I felt religion was a positive or destructive force, arguing how that many conflicts in the world appear to have a religious base.
Religion is an established set of beliefs often accompanied with rituals and an ethical plan that codifies how we should look at the world around us and our interactions with others. In some sense, every person, even those without a belief in a deity, could be said to hold to a 'religion'. The issue is how organized and dogmatic this particular religion may be. Whether religion is a positive or destructive force is dependent on the means by which we choose to use it. If this defining of beliefs seeks to provide meaning and guides us in fulfilling relationships, it can be said to be positive. If it is used to merely control the conduct of others or force them to alter their nature, it can become oppressive. Religion then can be a means when there is equanimity and shared values and meaning, a positive force which does help to guide human interactions. If the religion is based merely on fear and intimidation to guide human interactions, it becomes destructive. I have often argued that in today's society, psychiatry has become a religion and is now the 'standard' by which to codify human nature and behavior and to intimidate those who would be deviants. Those who are considered 'mentally ill' are the heretics of this religion. Then there is also those who seek to differentiate between religion and spirituality. "I am not religious, but spiritual." Good heavens, what does this mean? It often appears that individuals try to seek something outside of nature to find meaning. But what exactly is wrong with nature? Why it is that man seeks to somehow 'improve' upon nature? Why can we not accept the majesty and also the mystery of the natural world around us? It often appears that those that cannot find delight in the nature of children want to label them, drug them, or somehow alter their nature to fit into a defined way of how they feel children should behave. But this does not only apply to children. Therefore, when we define 'spiritual', we must carefully understand this term? Are we referring to our own nature and its potential or are we directing this search to something outside of us, something that must be altered? Spiritual should refer to the mind. The mind is not the brain, it is our conscience, our experiences, our nature, and utlimately who we are. To use the term 'spiritual' as recognizing our own potential for benevolence, then this is a positive use of this term.

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