Many people have described to me what their personal experience is with religion that iden

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Many people have described to me what their personal experience is with religion that identifies to them it is true. Some LDS friends point to the "burning in the bosom", other Christians have mentioned the "feelings of enlightenment" they receive. Others say they believe because they believe, still others believe because they were "brought up to believe it." This is a curious phenomenon. These feelings of enlightenment appear to people of all faiths. Why? Why would a God confuse people with such feelings if they were involved with the wrong faith? Born-again Christians believe that millions and possible billions of people are going to hell because they don't belong to their faith. Are these feelings nothing more than self-induced euphoria? What distinguishes the euphoria of the Budhists from any other religion? Drug addicts sometimes make claims about "getting close to God" through the use of narcotics or hallucinogenics. Self-induced addictive euphoria accounts for a wide range of other habit-forming behavior including eating, sports, music and, in my opinion, religion. Some people go to incredible lengths to attend church and make unusual efforts to do so even when vacationing. Observe the reactions of people in their religion; the trances, the speaking in tongues, the dances, and the looks of "vacant contentment." Are we witnessing a hypnotic state in action? Have we not frequently seen masses throughout history addicted to groups both good and bad with the same similar characteristics? And more often than not, with a hint that a supreme being is supporting them? Have you ever watched the "revivals" of Amway or Herbal Life? Some become addicted to the meeting and suffer disenchantment when they leave to go out and push the product. How about rock concerts? The feelings of euphoria usually abandon most people when they return to work Monday morning. They can easily be brought back, however, by retelling "inspired" stories. These feelings are also similar in form to the elation received when hearing certain music, expressing love, reading certain novels, or watching certain events. The difference between them is only a matter of degree and is not effectively distinguishable or only "the true" religious body would gather all the members. Tolerance can develop. Some people never get enough of religion and devote most of their lives to it. I submit that anyone in such a state has compromised their objectivity to some degree. To abandon their religion is to abandon their drug and the withdrawal from any euphoria-producing item is painful. Addicts usually rationalize their addiction by masking the truth that they are doing harm to themselves or others. We have many examples of evil masses in our history propelled and consumed into "highs" from what can only be described as evil persons such as the Rev. Jim Jones, Hitler, Rameses, Alexander, Napoleon, etc. Gregory Giles of Connellsville, Pennsylvania cut off his arm and pulled his eye out of its socket with a serrated kitchen knife after reading Matthew 5. Lenier McRay of Richmond, Virginia sawed off his right arm with a hacksaw and hedge clippers after reading the same passage. Rodney Lundberg from Logan, Utah sacrificed his 11-year-old son after National Bible Week was declared in 1981. Now, of course, all these people were insane, but their insanity was undoubtedly programmed into them since birth. In Kentucky and Tennesee "The Holyness Branch of the Church of God" has its members test their faith on the words of Mark 16. (In that sickness is caused by devils). At the height of their ceremony, a box of snakes is produced and they pass them around while dancing and confessing their sins. When someone gets bitten they refuse medical assistance because the Bible says "they will recover." When bitten people die, no doubt the follower's faith masks any doubt they may have. Religion can be harmful and suppressive. There are a great many people whose brain's are scarred from indoctrination in the same way a heroin addict's arms and legs are disfigured. Personal experience of enlightenment cannot be used as adequate demonstration of truth in religion or any other group - it is simply to deceptive. Some forms of religion can induce euphoria, feelings of well being, tolerance, dependence and withdrawal. All the classic effects of a Schedule II narcotic.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank