Healthy & Unhealthy Religion
One of the pictures of Jesus that emerge from the Gospels is the picture of a man who consider some forms of religion to be unhealthy and unhelpful. Religion is not necessarily a good thing. The following comparison, taken from Richard Bolles’ book, “What Color is Your Parachute,” speaks to this.
1. Is focused on gratitude.
2. Focused on presence of God in the world: sees holiness everywhere.
3. Sees all the world as “us.”
4. Is closely related to mental health with emphasis on repentance or “Most of my ills are self-inflicted.”
5. Unconsciously exhibits humility.
6. Treasures the differences in others.
7. Has a high sense of “all the saints” worshipping God together.
8. Believes in learning from others.
9. Avoids manipulation of others & lets them have their own beliefs.
10. Wants God’s forgiveness toward those who have harmed them; forgives readily.
11. Focuses on what one can give, out of faith.
12. Faith is foremost a matter of actions; words are used only to interpret one’s actions.
13. Is well aware their faith may have some unhealthiness to it.
1. Focuses on guilt.
2. Focuses on presence of evil in the world.
3. Sees world as “us” versus “them.”
4. Is distantly related to mental illness (paranoia) or “Most of my ills stem from what others are doing ‘out there.’”
5. Unconsciously exhibits arrogance.
6. Wants others to be like them.
7. Has a high sense of “the individual (me) alone with his/her God.”
8. Believes in confronting others.
9. Manipulates others into accepting their belief/way of doing things.
10. Wants God’s vengeance toward those who have harmed them; low, long-simmering anger.
11. Focuses on what one gets out of faith; eager to get the benefits.
12. Faith is primarily a matter of words used as tests of orthodoxy.
13. Doesn’t even dream that faith may be unhealthy.