Παρασκευή, 7 Νοεμβρίου 2014

3 Lessons I Learned from Denouncing My Religion

By Sean Suddes on November 6, 2014 


The spiritual quest is not some added benefit to our life, something you embark on if you have the time and inclination. We are spiritual beings on an earthly journey. Our spirituality makes up our beingness. -John Bradshaw 

For nearly 17 years of my life I went to Catholic Church every Sunday with my family, and growing up I attended Catholic school for 6 years. 

Catholicism was literally in my blood. The summers of my childhood were spent visiting 2 great aunts that were Catholic nuns and a great uncle who was a Catholic priest. Sadly all three have now passed away, but I always loved my visits with them. 

As you can probably imagine, it wasn't an easy decision to denounce my religion. 

Before I continue, please understand this article is NOT intended to persuade anyone to leave their religion. I don't think all religion is bad or good, it is your choice to believe and follow what you wish, and I respect that decision. 

With that said, here are 3 life lessons I learned from denouncing my religion: 

1) I am not my religion. 

Labels can define who you are, or who you aren't, with just a simple word. Growing up, I wore the badge of being a 'Catholic' proudly. I was part of a community of people who all believed in similar ideals, and this made me feel accepted. 

With all the acceptance I felt, came limitations. I started to feel like a fraud sitting in church, because I didn't believe in everything being said. I also didn't believe everything I was saying, nor did I really understand it. 

Whenever I began to question my own beliefs, there was a curious feeling of stress and anxiety that came over me. "You aren't going to be loved by God, if you question what you are told from these 'holy' people standing on the altar," I thought. 

My open-mindness started taking over and the questions wouldn't cease..."What are you really doing here? If God is all loving, why can't I just live with love in my heart and leave the church behind? Why do I feel more connected to 'source/god' sitting in a forest, than I do sitting in church?" 

These were just some of the questions that plagued me, until I realized that Jesus never said we need be part of a religion. He never claimed Christianity or Catholicism to be the way, only that we should live with love and help others. Understanding this, made it much easier to leave my limited label behind. 

2) My family and friends still love me. 

One of my greatest fears of leaving my religion was that my family would look down on me. I remember my father asking me, why I didn't believe in God anymore, but what he didn't understand was that you don't need religion to be with God. The word God itself is very a very challenging word. 

Eckhart Tolle explains: 

"The word God has become a closed concept. The moment the word is uttered, a mental image is created, no longer, perhaps, of an old man with a white beard, but still a mental representation of someone or something outside you, and, yes, almost inevitably a male someone or something. The word Being explains nothing, but nor does God. Being, however, has the advantage that it is an open concept. It does not reduce the infinite invisible to a finite entity. It is impossible to form a mental image of it. Nobody can claim exclusive possession of Being." 

As I explained to my father, I don't know whether there is a greater Being or not, but it doesn't matter to me. Whether there is or isn't, make no difference, as to how I want to live my life. Living with love and helping others should not be constrained by the idea of attaining heaven, peace, or pleasing some higher Being, because if you live with love in your heart, you already attain heaven on earth. 

My family, and most of my friends, know that I no longer follow a religion, but they do know that I live for a higher purpose beyond my Self. It took many conversations to understand this, but ultimately those who truly loved me for me found a way to look past the fact that I no longer follow what they follow. 

3) My spiritual connection with the earth has increased. 

I wish people cared as much about the earth, as they do about who they believe created it.
-Unknown 


There are many different religions in the world, close 5,000 to be exact. Between most of the well known religions there never seems to be a big emphasis on honoring that which we all know to provide life for us, Earth. 

Most religions, that I am aware of and have studied, very rarely if ever preach to honor our earth and all of its beings. The exception to this rule seems to be the ancient teachings of the Native Americans and indigenous. There are a number of indigenous communities around the world that live in nature and regard nature as the most important being to honor and preserve. 

Too many people are worried about honoring that which THEY believe to have created this world, instead of honoring the world itself. Logically, this makes little sense to me. No one knows 100% who created this world, they have only beliefs, but we ALL know that earth is the only reason we all exist. 

Perhaps it's time to stop arguing over who created this gift, and honor the gift itself. In honoring the earth, does that not also mean that we honor the being which created it? It is my strong feeling that in fact this is the best way to live, honor that which we know gives us life and by default we honor that which we believe to have created it (if you believe there is a being that created it). 

Since I denounced my religion, I have grown more and more fond of spending time in nature, connecting my energy with the energy of our life force. No matter what is going on in my life, I know for certain that being outside will bring me peace and tranquility in my life. 


After thought 

Whether you are an atheist, believe in god, etc. there is one notion we all have in common, and that is we are humans. Nothing on this earth should divide us from realizing that we are all connected. We all need food, clothes, warmth, water, love and our main concerns should not be in honoring a power greater than ourselves, but it should be to honor ourselves and others. Nearly every great spiritual/religious leader has said the same thing for eons...in order to understand the greatest of the world, we must first start with ourselves. 

Although this article talks about how I denounced my religion, perhaps it would be more accurate to say, I have transferred religions. I have transferred from a religion that was imposed on me to a religion I created for myself. What is this religion? To honor and love my fellow brothers and sisters, the earth, and all beings I come in contact with. 

Much love. 


About the Author: SeanSuddes created Expanded Consciousness in hopes of collectively raising the consciousness of others as he continues to work to raise his own. He has been studying consciousness for over 5 years, he writes, photographs, and works to promote conscious writers through this website.  Check out his photography SuddesPhotography.com

Read more at http://expandedconsciousness.com/2014/11/06/3-lessons-i-learned-from-denouncing-my-religion/#9MssVejIuPrf8vr4.99

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