By Carl S ~
In case you haven’t noticed, people who are abducted by aliens, or have a past life as royals, or have after-death experiences, or have been instructed by their voices to perform certain acts, or know that the FBI and CIA are listening to their phone calls and following them, or are being persecuted for their Holocaust denials, all have one thing in common: they really believe they’re special. If they didn’t, it logically follows, for one thing, those powers wouldn’t care about them. If they join with groups of others with the same “experiences,” they are even more convinced. These people might think of themselves as heroes or daredevils for enduring such trials. But you can’t convince them out of their “knowledge,” as they have reached their conclusions from their experiences. It’s all in their heads.
One of the many reasons individuals are attracted to religions is that of being chosen to receive access to special knowledge of the mysteries of life and the meaning of everything. For many people, this is one huge irresistible magnet. What follows always requires initiations, rituals, and leaving reasoning and questioning behind as impediments to this knowledge. This is why they are always called “mysteries of faith.” In this way, they resemble the (non-religious) practice of Gestalt therapy, which aims to, “let go of your mind and come to your senses.” The difference is that the “spiritual” experiences are entirely feelings. All religions and cults aim to have each person feel convinced what has been “revealed” through the “mysteries” to eventually become indistinguishable from feelings of being special, and that they’re all one needs to know everything. Another attraction: One can become smug in knowing the Truth, and pity those who don’t or are resistant to it.
It’s interesting, this magnet of privileged access to divinity, occult knowledge, the meaning of and explanations for everything, and having the comfort of giving up on rational thinking in exchange for them. There’s something familiar about this. We already know of three major religions with a Garden of Eden myth, where an “explanation” is given for all the misfortunes on Earth: they are the result of humans giving in to the temptation to acquire special knowledge of good and evil available from only one source. Yet, this is exactly what religions use to allure curious seekers into their webs.
One of the many reasons individuals are attracted to religions is that of being chosen to receive access to special knowledge of the mysteries of life and the meaning of everything. Aren’t those who choose to believe just day trippers, taking the easy way out? Suspending judgement or rejecting evidence to the contrary is just the opposite of searching for the truth. It’s saying that because everyone around you says something is true, that automatically makes it so, and you needn’t go any further. So the social feelings determine what’s true or not, what everyone must take for granted.
No one wants to be ordinary; while many need reassurances they aren’t. Those individuals want to believe the thoughts and feelings they have, have always been superior to those of ordinary people, and religions authenticate them in ways they haven’t been able to. This also makes them part of a special group who understand and reinforce those feelings. Having privileged access to any of the Mysteries: of God, Allah, Cybele, Mithras, Gnosticism, the Rosicrucians, fundamentalism, astrology, numerology, etc., etc., is a powerful magnetic draw. Becoming a member of the 144 thousand saved, or inheritor of one’s own planet, means one is “chosen.” All cultish beliefs have been and are comforting to their believers. The deepest faith begins like an introduction to a radio or television set. It’s initially a diversion or entertainment, but then it becomes a necessity, a substitute for dealing with the real world, even an addiction. Fundamentalists are a type of couch potato.
Maybe explanations for religion aren’t hard to understand after all. Research for evidence takes effort. It’s just too easy for most people to believe than to search for the facts. But then, if they did, they’d find out they’re not all that special; only finding the facts is special. Finding the evidence is a magnet of its own.