STEP SIX CONTINUED: Take inventory of ourselves to discover any way in which we have hurt, disappointed, or abused anyone by our religious beliefs.
Instruction: Hold our opinions.
Unless we know something to be the ultimate truth, we would be better off holding our opinions to ourselves. How do we recognize ultimate truth when we hear it? When one religion says one thing and another says something that seems to contradict it, and a third might seem to agree or disagree with the first two, then truth seems to be elusive. Sometimes truth can be neither side’s opinion, and sometimes it seems to be both. We find ourselves on opposite sides of the same issue and, at times, we bounce back and forth looking for the truth. For instance, religious people fought on both sides of the slavery issue. Now, for the most part, most people have come to believe slavery is evil, but still, in some remote areas of the world, there could be tribes or nations who practice a religion that promotes slavery.
Our opinions and beliefs are simply that—opinions and beliefs. We can share those opinions and beliefs when asked, but to try to force those on someone else opens us up to be an abuser. When those opinions and beliefs are religious in nature, as many are, then we can find ourselves abusing people in the name of our religion or our deity. As long as we are abusing others, we will find that we will be abused by others. You can call it karma, or say, what goes around comes around, but the fact is that we receive back the things we give out. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” When we stop pushing our beliefs on others and open to the Universe to guide us through love, acceptance, and understanding, we will be ready to break the cycle of religious abuse, and we will also discover that this can help with other forms of abuse. We know how tempting it is to want to share our new beliefs and religious insights with the world, but unless we are asked, wisdom and common sense suggests that we hold our opinions. After all, tomorrow we might discover “new truth” that seems to contradict “today’s truth.”
Consider times in which you held something to be true and later discovered that it was false. People believed the world was flat. Some believed their Higher Power approved of slavery or that women shouldn’t vote. Can you hold your beliefs with an open mind, just in case you might be mistaken? For today, allow yourself to think about a long-held belief with an open mind that maybe it isn’t true. I’m not saying it is or isn’t. I don’t know what truth you are considering, and even if I did, I still might know if it is an absolute truth. The point is to withhold making a final absolute pronouncement—just in case we don’t know all the facts. That doesn’t weaken us. On the contrary, it shows strength and courage.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.