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Religious Tolerance logo

An essay donated by Susan Gilmore

Personal freedom as a result
of abandoning organized religion

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We all want to be heard, for our words to make a difference. Words can inspire hate, change, blessings or healing.  To feel that what we have to say is worthless to others is defeating and depressing, which can lead to believing that our life is worthless. To put our true beliefs into words can be defeating, and leave an opening for misinterpretation. We keep on, hoping the truth will emerge eventually. 

I have found hypocrisy in the limited amount of belief systems I have encountered. When a person of any system gains a little power, rituals and methods to conform others to his/her belief begins. I have determined that it is beliefs that keep humans separated from one another. I am pursuing the question of “how does one live without beliefs?”

When I decided to try to live without God, god(ess) or any higher power, I had a healing. I was standing the shower saying “Oh, god, oh god”, thinking about a situation I had in my life. I realized I was praying to a deity, when I had chosen to not believe in a deity. At that moment, the belief in the negative reaction the situation was having on me disappeared. In fact, the whole situation disappeared.

I also realized I have to have some beliefs, such as the solidness of a tree, or the need to have shelter and food to sustain my body (sometimes in excess). 

I am also often hit with the weakness I have in my belief in unbelief. It is hard for me to accept that someone who believes in hate and killing has the right to their belief, and even has the right to hate and hurt me.

So, what difference do my words make if they are not listened to, do not change someone else’s thinking and beliefs? Does being quiet and silent change anyone? And why do I want to change someone else?

Here is why. I want to be happy and live peacefully. I want my life to be free of fear. I want my life to be easy.  Words can make the difference.  Words have created beliefs, so words can change or destroy beliefs. So, words are important, and eventually, the truth will be known, even if the truth is that none of this matters anyway.

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