Waking Up From Religion

Waking Up from Religion

By Nanice Ellis

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Often our religious beliefs are handed down to us by family and culture, and by the time we are old enough to consciously choose, it’s too late because we are already brainwashed with pre-ordained beliefs that seem to be set in stone.

Ideally, the true purpose of any religion should be to facilitate a direct connection with the “Divine,” and to support spiritual awakening. Unfortunately, few, if any religions, fulfill this purpose. If they did, many more of us would be awake by now, or at least intimately connected to the Source of who we really are. Even with the prevalence of “new age” spiritual practices today, few of us have attained full spiritual awakening and direct Divine connection.

What’s wrong with this picture? Maybe that answer lies in the reasons why humanity seeks out religion, or structured spirituality, in the first place…

Seeking the answers to the unknown can be a scary business – where do we come from, why are we here, and especially, where do we go after departing? The further we travel down the “rabbit hole” in our quest for spiritual truth, the more lonely, confusing and frightening it can become. Religion preys on this fear and confusion; by providing premade answers designed to give us a false sense of security, it offers a reprieve from that inner quest, but in exchange for that spiritual crutch, we must give up spiritual sovereignty and the freedom to choose our own beliefs. We must give up the very thing it saves us from – finding our true selves.

In many ways, my spiritually convoluted childhood was a gift in disguise. Although my mother was raised strict Roman Catholic and my father was raised strictly Jewish, I was baptized Christian, and when it was time to send me to school, I was sent to a very Catholic school run by tyrant nuns. Neither my mom, nor my dad, considered that they were sending me to a Catholic school, where I would stand out like a sore thumb — with a very Jewish last name and a nose to match. I was treated differently by the nuns than the other kids but I was too young to understand why, and by the end of first grade, even the other kids formed an alliance against me. This overt judgment from nuns and peers went on for years, and as result, I did poorly in school, I had no friends, and I believed that there was something very wrong with me.

In fifth grade, the ongoing emotional stress caused me to have a nervous breakdown and, as a result, my parents enrolled me in public school, and also allowed me to figure out this “religion thing” on my own. By the time I was twelve, my immense search for truth was underway.

Up until that time, I had been taught that God was to be feared, and if you sin or break any commandments, you would be punished, and maybe even sent to a fiery hell to repent eternally. It was quite convincing, but something inside me said, it just wasn’t true.

My long and relentless search for spiritual truth delivered me to a sacred space that was, not surprisingly, void of all religion and the imprisoning dogma that keeps one from discovering the truth for oneself.

Why is it that religions often keep us from the very thing they should be doing? Instead of empowering us to a full connection with the Divine and supporting us to Wake Up and remember who we really are, they keep us asleep, buried under piles of disempowering beliefs that they programmed into our vulnerable minds.

If we are fighting to prove that we are worthy of God’s love or we must depend on a “go-between” (priest, rabbi, guru etc…) in order to communicate with God, how can we ever attain a deep spiritual connection with the Divine?

Programming Religion 

Most religions operate through mechanisms of control, but often the dynamic of control is so covert that you cannot recognize it, and if you cannot recognize it, you might easily fall for the religion’s sales pitch. Or if you are a long time follower, leaving the religion can be like extracting yourself from emotional quicksand.

Most religions, and even some spiritual practices, keep people asleep through a program of shame and secrecy. The program includes an ingenious control formula, based on disempowering beliefs, such as unworthiness, powerlessness, judgment and exclusion, all resulting in painful and debilitating emotions that can last a life time.

Installing Beliefs

Most religions install beliefs about “right and wrong,” “good and bad” and “sinful and saintly,” causing followers to believe that their well-being or salvation is dependent on their behavior, and if they disobey, they are judged and punished with the equivalent of karma or an eternal afterlife of unwanted proportions, but that is not even the worst part! The defiance of your religious beliefs automatically invokes feelings of shame, guilt, obligation or regret. These feelings, or the fear of these feelings, can be a more powerful deterrent than even the threat of physical torture.

The deepest part of the control mechanism is through manipulating emotions, so that you actually punish yourself.

For example, if your religion says that it is wrong to have sex outside of marriage, and you have pre-marital sex, you will automatically punish yourself through feelings of deep shame, guilt, regret and unworthiness. In fact, if you even think about going against the religious doctrine, these powerful emotions will induce feelings of impending regret, and make you think twice.

The same goes for things like regular “attendance”, tithing/donations and any other conditions or requirements of your religion. Your fear of feeling guilt or regret controls your behavior and makes you do things that maybe aren’t right for you, or maybe keeps you from expressing your real self. The thing is, if you are emotionally manipulated, how can you even know what is best for you? Only through free-will can you ever be inspired by your own inner being.

Because the control is coming from inside you, in the form of your own beliefs and emotions, you probably don’t even realize that you are being controlled, which is what makes this type of control even more diabolical than if someone threatened you with a knife. When you can identify an external control source, it is clear that you are being controlled, but when you have been willingly programmed with beliefs, and these beliefs are causing painful emotions, it is almost impossible to discern that an external source is in control of your life.

Taking Advantage of the Young and Vulnerable

Most people are programmed with religious beliefs either when they are too young to question those beliefs or at a very vulnerable time in their lives. For example, people seek spiritual answers when they are experiencing emotional pain or confusion. Religions feed off this, and even take advantage of this vulnerability, seducing seekers with the promise of security and comfort, for this life and maybe even the afterlife.

Sacrificing Power in Exchange for Salvation

Most religions ask that you give away your power, and that you trust the religion and its leaders more than you trust yourself. You are taught that in order to connect with the Divine, you must depend on non-physical deities, or religious leaders. If you want a prayer answered or you seek forgiveness, you must use a “go-between” because you are not worthy, or pure enough, for direct communion with the Divine. Worst of all, the message is, “Don’t trust yourself,” and, as long as you don’t trust yourself, you remain powerless to external authority.

Ruled by Conditional Worth

In most religions, there is an unspoken decree of worthiness that all practitioners agree to. Your worth is dependent on how well you follow the rules of your religion – if you do as you are told, according to your religion, or your religious leader, you are deemed worthy, and if you go against, or question the rules or beliefs, you are deemed unworthy. Unworthiness induces deep feelings of shame which leads to secrecy.

Use of Judgment

The fear of being judged, shamed or the subject of gossip is commonly used to keep followers in line, creating secrecy and keeping followers from sharing their “indiscretions” with each other. Because judgment feels like death to the ego, we will do almost anything in order to avoid being judged. As a result, everyone pretends to be a good follower, while secretly hiding any “bad behavior,” and, because no one is sharing openly, it appears that everyone else is saintly, making it impossible for you to speak your truth.

Waking Up from Religion - God Has No Religion

No Room for Doubt or Questions

If you believe that your fellow practitioners will ostracize you, or report you to religious leaders, you will not likely share any feelings of doubt about the religion or its leaders – you will silently keep your questions or uncertainty to yourself, never knowing that your friend, neighbor or family member feels the same way. Judgment, and fear of being judged, supports division. As the saying goes, “Divide and conquer,” and, at all costs, keep those already conquered from coming together in rebellion. Silence and separation allow religious agendas to operate unnoticed.

Exclude Non-Believers

What about the threat of non-believers that are not part of the religion? Often, followers are well-trained in converting non-believers, with programmed answers for any, and all, objections that might come from the one they are trying to convert. Followers are often taught how to prey upon vulnerabilities, with promises of salvation, but, if that doesn’t work, the non-believer is viewed negatively, cast aside as ignorant and excluded. This type of righteousness, where the believer is right and the non-believer is wrong, is just another form of judgment and exclusion in the name of God.

The motto often is: “Either believe and join us or be excluded and judged as sinner.”

I am not saying that you should leave your religion, or even think about it – that is not the point. The point is, if you want to awaken to the truth of who you really are, you must free yourself from disempowerment. This means taking back your power from everyone and everything – including religion.

It might seem easy to blame a religion for keeping you powerless, asleep, or disconnected but religions only exist because we seek answers outside of ourselves. From the deepest perspective, religions are set up to fail you, so that eventually, you will look in the only place where you can ever find the answers you seek. Deep inside.

Religion says, “You are unworthy unless you meet certain conditions.”

Awakening reveals, “You are unconditionally worthy.”

Religion says, “You are powerless to external sources.”

Awakening reveals, “Your power is accessed as you take responsibility for your life.”

Religion separates, judges and excludes.

Awakening and Oneness are synonymous.

In awakening, you remember that who you really are is the Divine, and if you judge yourself, or others, you are really judging God.

How do you know if your religion or spiritual practice supports spiritual empowerment, Divine connection and spiritual awakening?

Most importantly, your religion or spiritual practice should work for you, and only you can decide what that means, but here are some suggestions for you to consider:

  • Your spiritual practice gives you freedom, and space, to find your own answers, even if those answers disagree with the spiritual teachings.
  • You are not judged, punished or excluded for thinking differently, or questioning ideas.
  • Your spiritual practice moves you toward love and oneness, providing the space for you to forgive yourself and others, as you let go of old heavy baggage which no longer serves you.
  • The spiritual teachings uplift you to new heights of awareness, while also inspiring you to express yourself.
  • Spiritual beliefs are offered through lessons of empowerment, and not through fear of karma, punishment or any form of disempowerment, nor should you be manipulated through guilt, obligation, or impending regret.
  • Your spiritual teacher does not encourage dependency on him or her, tell you what to do, how to think or make other spiritual teachings wrong or less than.
  • You are not asked to judge, reject or exclude others in order to remain in the religion, nor are you punished for loving those who don’t obey the rules of your religion.
  • You feel honored and respected by your teacher and peers, and you never feel as if the teacher, or spiritual practice, has power over you, or that your worthiness is in question. .
  • Your practice empowers you to discover who you really are, and supports you in developing an intimate and personal relationship with the Divine, where you experience yourself as unconditionally loved.
  • If your intention is spiritual awakening, your spiritual practice must not only empower you to discover the door of awakening, it must also encourage you to let go so that you can enter. In order to fully awaken, you must be willing to let go of even the sacred practice that got you there.

The bottom line is, does your spiritual practice direct you inward? Does it make you feel closer to the Divine? Does it empower you?

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

If you have left your religion, or you are thinking of leaving, don’t confuse leaving the religion with leaving God. Just as the saying goes, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Don’t throw God out with the religion. God has been tainted by all sorts of disempowering beliefs – from crazy rules to unreasonable nonsense and everything in between. You can leave all that behind and you can find God on your own terms, in a way that feels particularly right for you.

Losing community

Sometimes we stay in a religion well past its expiration date because if we leave, it probably also means that we must leave our community. Tolerating rules and dogma that no longer fit for us might seem like a small price to pay in exchange for the love and support of community, but that price is much higher than it appears. If you are compromising your freedom, hiding your true feelings, or constricting your expression in order to be accepted in a community, sooner or later, you will likely experience deep spiritual wounds that arise from betraying your own true spirit.

Yes, there might be a period of time where you don’t have the support of community, but I promise, your most ideal community is out there waiting for you. A massive wave of people all over the world are waking up, and leaving situations and environments that no longer fit. Just like you, they are looking for that place where they belong. It is time to come together to form empowering paradigms of community where we can all thrive, and be who we came here to be.

Stay tuned for part two of this article, “How to find God on your own terms, with or without religion?”, coming soon to Wake Up World.

Free Spiritual Awakening Series!

Are you on a spiritual path of awakening and developing your life? Are you ready to remember who you really are and master the illusion known as life?

As my gift to you, I invite you to join me for my free 7-part Spiritual Awakening Series on Youtube, available now at www.nanice.com/299/Free-Teleclass-Series-with-Nanice.

Even Gandhi Got Hungry and Buddha Got Mad

A book by author Nanice Ellis

Even Gandhi Got Hungry and Buddha Got Mad - Cover

It’s easy to express your spirituality when life is going the way you want it to, but what happens in the middle of everyday chaos, when your days are not long enough, your car breaks down, and your significant other is driving you crazy?

Nanice Ellis’ book “Even Gandhi Got Hungry and Buddha Got Mad!” is not about Gandhi… or Buddha — it is a book about you and your spiritual journey through the chaos of daily life, the challenge of the modern day seeker. This book will help you to discover the secrets to making every day the spiritual adventure it is meant to be, and what it really means to be a spiritual being having a very human experience…

“Even Gandhi Got Hungry and Buddha Got Mad” is available here on Amazon.com. Or check out Nanice’s full catalogue of books here on Nanice.com

Previous articles by Nanice Ellis:

About the author:

Nanice Ellis main 150x150 Are You More Awake Than Your Family? 12 Ways to Heal Family Relationships for the HolidaysNanice Ellis has been a professional Life Coach for 20 years, successfully coaching women and men from all over the world. She is also an author, Theta Healer and Master Neuro Linguistic Practitioner.

Helping people to make quantum jumps in their lives, Nanice’s very unique coaching style is often referred to as the “Nanice Effect”. By using powerful and proven manifestation techniques, Nanice coaches people to tap into the power of the Universe and live their dreams, bridging the gap from the imagination to the realization of that dream. She works with leaders, coaches, healers and anyone who wants to live life to the fullest. You can learn more about the coaching programs offered at: Coaching Programs with Nanice.

Nanice is the author of several books, including the inspirational The Infinite Power of You! and Even Gandhi Got Hungry and Buddha Got Mad! She is also the host of radio show Chai with Nanice. Her books are available at: Nanice.com/6/Books and here on Amazon.

To connect with Nanice visit Nanice.com or book a free consultation with Nanice.

 


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  • Wonderful article!!

    Religions are the banality of planet Earth. The God of “all there is” is Love and the realization that we are of the One is freedom. Sadly, ignorance has convinced humans that love is weak and irrelevant to people’s affairs. Churches, synagogues and temples may teach love but conditional love has no power, hence the world has no foundation to change its entropic decent. Unconditional Love, on the other hand, empowers the beholder.

    What will it take to awaken the masses? Individuals adoptingand practicing unconditonal love as their own.

    • Mark Saxby

      It’s the size of it, sooooooo many, when you are awake you can clearly see how good it really could be and actually how easy it would be to achieve

  • Brian DiCarlo

    Thank you Nanice.

  • Daniel Martin

    You speak the case against organized religion quite well. The Catholic Church and many others go against what the Bible really teaches, and use certain scriptures to back up their manipulation. But they take these scriptures out of context, especially when they say you are to look to any man for all your answers. The true Christian has a personal relationship with God, and He gives direction for their lives. If religion is just a list of do’s and don’ts, it is pointless. But when you truly get to know God, He helps you to discover your higher purpose that you came to fulfill during a lifetime on earth. Nothing is sin if your conscience hasn’t been pricked by God’s Holy Spirit, and obeying a list of rules from mankind will never get anyone to Heaven. Only accepting God into your heart will get you there, and then doing as He tells you personally. When you have the love of God in your heart, you will automatically have love for your fellow humans.

    • Timothy Mendoza

      I think the ‘case against organized religion’ is not argued well at all. It is merely one example of a particular church or group part of ‘Christendom’ that does not follow what Jesus in fact taught. If the ‘true christian’ as you refer to him, had a personal relationship with God, he would be living and following what his son Jesus Christ taught us wouldn’t he? What is our higher purpose in life? What should ‘true christians’ be engaged in today that would demonstrate their faith? Does every good person then go to Heaven to be with God? The Bible has these answers, they are not found in human traditions or wisdom which falls far short of God’s own standards in reality. They are found in what Jesus himself referred to when he said, “your Word is Truth” that is the Holy Scriptures. Some have it, but don’t use it properly. They teach what is advantageous to them, merely the babe’s milk of truth, not the meat of it. We should discuss it more when you have time. – Thanks

      • Daniel Martin

        I agree with you, Timothy about the masses that teach merely the milk, or beginning of truth, skimming the surface and glossing over anything that isn’t convenient. That is what the masses of organized religions do, which I was referring to. There are good churches for sure, but the huge mega-churches are mostly merely profit-making businesses that give them all a bad name. The Vatican, for example, is one of the major powers of this earth that has been responsible for much bloodshed, while discouraging it’s members from reading the Bible, and denying that any can have a relationship with God, but must instead pay off the priest to “forgive” their sins, and pray to idols (so-called-saints) instead of God. Many others are so politically correct that they ignore parts of the Bible that don’t make them feel good in whatever lifestyle they have chosen. Any that has a sincere relationship with God will study His Word and will be led into all truth, not just convenient truths.

  • Helen Bangs Weygand taught a class called Mind Psi Biotics. In every class I attended she told her students how in the early 70’s the Catholic Church sent representatives to meet with her and that they had offered her $1 million dollars for her course which included the copyrights to all her material. The upper echelon of that religion didn’t want her teaching it, didn’t want anyone teaching it because they didn’t like the questions that were being asked by the their “flock”, their Nuns and their Priests after they took it. They were going to lock it away in the Vatican. True story.

    • Timothy Mendoza

      They also persecuted and murdered thousands of people during the so-called ‘dark ages’ who either sought to copy the original Bible manuscripts into the common language or to obtain a copy of one to read for themselves to better understand it. The reasons? To prevent the common laity class from learning what they had been taught was actually not in scripture at all and that they were being used. Another true story of verified history. Did you know that Jesus Christ foretold that would happen? I have detailed files…..:)

  • Neenie

    Everyone needs to read this. I was in discussion with my ex-husband once about cults when he said he didn’t know how people got in to them. I replied, “well you’re in one (silence ensued and I continued), you know the catholic religion.” It appeared the penny dropped. There are so many people (the masses) in fact that are following delusions centuries old. I think people inherently do not like to admit they are wrong which leads to stubbornness, and because they sit with millions of people who are also deluded they have the consensus which leads to the few who say they are wrong, appearing wrong. Of course in a court of law the few of us who believe otherwise would not win the battle as majority rules. Additionally but depending on the religion, there is also a penalty for not believing e.g. burning in hell, so to challenge the belief engenders fear.

    • Daddy-o

      Funny. I converted to Catholicism from the “Born Again” false Christianity. I am much happier. I find it furthest from a cult. They teach love and helping others. Most Christ like form of religion in my opinion. Yet I’ve run into people from my old church, and MAN are they brainwashed. Talk about cult…..

  • This would have more credibility if your site wasn’t full of pseudo-science, links to conspiracy theory sites, and wildly speculative new age woo… sigh…

  • Timothy Mendoza

    Some people are badly misinformed when it comes to our Creator and the worship of him; put simply, if he exists, why wouldn’ he have communicated with us to answer life’s big questions? Well, in fact he has….it’s called the Bible folks. Find a religion teaching from it and living by it and you have found the truth. What would make it even easier, was if those doing it were out sharing it with everyone…oh wait, they are! Visit jw.org to find out more about the answers to life’s BIG questions and next time you meet them, engage them in conversation. Trust me from experience, they won’t bite!

    • No doubt that the bible contains a great deal of wisdom, however it is still has limitations to all the wisdom there is. Sadly, there are many that do not believe that, and renders anything not written in the pages of the bible or preached from the pulpit as “worldly” and therefore unacceptable to the “enlightened”. Their leaders warn their flocks to not delve into unapproved material, lest hey be corrupted by the devil. It does not matter if they are Catholic, Baptist, Mormons, JW’s, Moslems. Jewish or many of the thousands of other camps that have erected “spiritual” walls around themselves for protection.

      Each perceive that they are the bastion of hope and safety and that it their duty to reel in lost sheep for salvation. You say “Find a religion teaching from it and living by it and you have found the truth.” They all believe they have “The Truth”, yet they condemn each other for dogmatic reasons. They judge their fellow men to an eternity in their illusory hell and imagine perpetual joy in a place void of individual expression they call heaven.

      The answers people seek are inside but so many deem themselves unworthy for so many reasons. I will say, and not in a disparaging way. that ignorance is the big problem coupled with fear of the unknown. Christ wasn’t a Christian, yet he communicated directly with “God” and latter said that “… they will do even greater things than these…” Today, religions are broken and void so seeking answers there is futile. They may not bite, but they sure want people to!

      Love and Peace…

      • Timothy Mendoza

        The proof of truth is in the fruitage it produces in the lives of those who claim to have it my friend. All the worldly wisdom in the world cant produce even one iota of love or peace for mankind. The group i mentioned specifically, Jehovah’s Witnesses, has always and is now bearing that fruitage in over 235 lands and nations. That is what the wisdom of God can do!

      • Timothy Mendoza

        Have you ever read the Bible yourself personally? How about the teachings of Jesus Christ himself? I’m not fundamental or orthodox in my beliefs, they are all based on the Bible itself and what Jesus taught. I have compared the religions of the east and Christendom’s who claim to follow the Bible over my own lifetime, which is 54 years now, and they fall very short as history testifies as you say. However, one wise man, Ghandi, once said, “If all the religions of the world would just follow what Jesus Christ taught, the world would be at peace, not war. So does the fact that religions claiming to follow what Jesus taught as truth condemn then ALL those trying to do so? Well, I found only one religion in my lifetime journey that actually does follow his teachings. They are not broken or void, they follow the teachings of Jesus and the Bible which Jesus called, “the Word of God” and it is the standard for separating truth from falsehood as they say. They are at peace in every nation of the world with one another and within their congregations locally. Dogma, is man made, not scriptural. You are comparing apples and tomatoes here my friend. The JW’s you mention, are LIVING what they believe and their growth and message clearly demonstrate that. I would invite you to see what they have to say from the Bible sometime before you condemn all religion as dogma or walls to be built to around people who are afraid somehow. I am not afraid, I am courageous because the man who I chose to follow, was killed for his way of life. That puts me at odds with the majority in this world and I’m ok with that because I know what I do is right as Ghandi said. If all we had to do was follow what we have inside ourselves, then we are destined for disaster. All you have to do is look at society today, although many claim to be religeous, very few actually practice what they preach and that is the main problem, not religion itself. There is truth and there is falsehood. Choosing the right path, which is totally up to the individual, is shown in the effect it has on one’s life and his actions, and as Jesus said, “the fruitage it produces.” That is true strength my friend. Take a closer look at what the JW’s “fruitage” is before you pass judgement and throw them in with all the others. Love and Peace to you too.

      • Timothy Mendoza

        You mention that the Bible has ‘limitations to it’s wisdom’ in what way? Is it because so many who possess it claim to follow it and yet don’t? Or is it in fact, just another ‘good book’ to live by that nobody really does? Is the failed wisdom in the book or those who own it? I’d like more clarification on where that perception comes from.

  • Mark Saxby

    Great article, no arguements from anyone on rationalization. Every Religious person that says they are peaceful needs to seriously renounce their Religion, pray in their homes if it makes them feel better but they all have to take responsibility that Religion is not doing our World any favours at all, quite the opposite in fact and this should be the reason why they denounce without any arguement from anybody(it’s not us it’s them is the core of hate in Religion, so try again), I can’t think of a better 1 other than also freeing the mind as in this article, be brave but do it for your better World and allow those around you to work it out for themselves, people appreciate opinion, they don’t appreciate dictators.
    If Religion can’t manage to make a Heaven on Earth and the alternative is the present, then why oh why would you think a God would allow any of us to live with him in his “Perfectly Peaceful World”???

  • Antodav

    The word “my” is misplaced in this sentence. Smart people will know where it actually belongs.

    Of course, a person who converts from one religion to another could phrase it in such a way, but probably never would, and that’s clearly not the intent of the article. The article’s point is to try to make one believe that “God” is whatever one wants him/her/it to be…which is perhaps the world’s most comforting philosophical lie.

    Anyway, the entire thing is told from the perspective of a convert from Catholicism, who assumes that all religions operate in the same way that that one does. They don’t, and thus the article simply demonstrates ignorance masked as enlightenment. All of the author’s criticisms certainly do apply to the Catholic Church…but the followers of numerous other religions, including other forms of Christianity, will wonder what in the hell she is talking about. If, that is, they understand their own doctrines correctly, which admittedly, many if not most religious followers don’t (including even Catholics, though Catholicism in practice is something very different from what it preaches).

    • osm69

      so what is god girl boy space alien a mysteries feeling we have that we mistake as godly point is enjoy yer life stop putting limits on yer self.

    • Antodav, I was actually surprised at the extent to which the author avoids tarring all religions with the same brush.
      First of all she uses the phrase “Most religions” a lot, which indicates to me that she is not grouping them all together. Second, in my experience most of what she says applies to almost
      all religions to a greater or lesser extent.

      I am not anti-religion, I’m a Baha’i, and I find that much of the negative characteristics she describes don’t actually exist in the Baha’i Faith. Especially the parts about the lack of personal autonomy and social control..

  • Antodav

    The word “my” is misplaced in this sentence. Smart people will know where it actually belongs.

    Of course, a person who converts from one religion to another could phrase it in such a way, but probably never would, and that’s clearly not the intent of the article. The article’s point is to try to make one believe that “God” is whatever one wants him/her/it to be…which is perhaps the world’s most comforting philosophical lie.

    Anyway, the entire thing is told from the perspective of a convert from Catholicism, who assumes (as many Catholics, for whatever reason, do) that all religions operate in the same way that that one does. They don’t, and thus the article simply demonstrates ignorance masked as enlightenment. All of the author’s criticisms certainly do apply to the Catholic Church…but the followers of numerous other religions, including other forms of Christianity, will wonder what in the hell she is talking about. If, that is, they understand their own doctrines correctly, which admittedly, many if not most religious followers don’t (including even Catholics, though Catholicism in practice is something very different from what it preaches).

  • samedayrepo

    To create your own God as you want God to be is kind of dangerous, To decide what is sin or holy, right or wrong from your own opinion or what is easiest for you isn’t the best idea either. Neither the Bible or any other well known religion said it’s gonna be easy and stress free doing this thing called life from start to finish. This make a God you are comfortable with stuff is in fact what some cults do to draw people in. This story looks like a perfectly written everything will be fine, feel good, love yourself first more than anyone or anything including God handbook straight out of the Devil’s collection.

  • Hi Nanice, you mirrored my thoughts on “religion”. That’s a bit of a misnomer because I don’t think of religion anymore. The beginning of my awakening was thanks to The Big Book. “A God of my understanding” and everything started to change. Lots of forgiveness since then.

    It’s been awhile and thanks for all you do Nanice. Your mentor-ship is appreciated. Ceremony #5 this weekend. Love you, David

  • Timothy Mendoza

    So, you believe then that the Creator, author of the Bible, originator of all creation, would not communicate with mankind? That you have a soul, a separate part of you mysteriously tied to some metaphysical methodology that you can tap into with brain waves? How about the existence of other books in history claiming to be a part of the Bible canon? That, the God of all the laws and organization of the highly precise Universe, would not organize people he so chooses and work through them for a specific purpose? You think religion is in “your own heart” or mind? Take a look at the world around you….there are many unbelievers, agnostic, atheists Yogi’s teaching thier own philosophies and even religeous people who don’t practice what they claim to believe, but does that make the knowledge and existence of the Person of God then invalid somehow? Interesting, but it doesn’t make common sense any more than people who break laws would invalidate the system in place to enforce them for our good. Did you know, that the Bible has a central theme that runs through it and this is why we know we have it in it’s entirety today? Did you know that belief that we have a separate and distinct ‘soul’ living within us, is actually a pagan idea that existed along such beliefs as the earth hanging on the hands of Atlas, on the back of a turtle and supported by elephants on each side and that it was flat? Thousands of years ago, the Bible canon, recorded that the “earth hangs upon nothing’ and that is is shaped like a ‘circle’ or sphere in some early languages. You see the Bible is special, it’s not scientific, but in matters of Science, you would expect it to agree with known science if it is truly from our Creator right? As it in fact does. Men have tried many times over the ages to try to prove the Bible invalid using archeology and they have all been frustrated when their efforts to prove it wrong were corrected by what they discovered. Hopefully, you see my point, it’s not intended to belittle, but to get you to really exercise ‘down to earth’ thinking faculties. I challenge you to examine the evidence firsthand from a source that is living what they preach and claim to follow. If you have studied the Bible previously, I invite you to share what you have learned with me personally and put it to the test to see if it has the ring of truth or not. Thank you

    • If you would take the time to read the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi text you would clearly see what I am saying is absolutely correct. Bottom line is simple, we are God and we simply do not know it and we choose to do good or bad. Most are completely unaware of their own soul and their own free will to make these choices. We have all been lied to for millenia and there in lies the problem before us today, a complete lack of understanding and truth !

      • Timothy Mendoza

        We are God? Really? And you base that on what? Did we fasten the Universe in the heavens? Did we set the limits of the oceans so they would not flood our continents? No, your presumption is arrogant and the Bible in it’s present state, foretold many events in history including the times we are living in now and as I said prior, it agrees with known science. The other books you refer to don’t even agree with the 66 books of the Bible canon which are in perfect agreement with one another. You are mistaken and sadly misinformed my friend.

      • Timothy Mendoza

        By the way, in reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls, although found in the same caves, they are not bound together in books as today. They are SEPARATE and distinct. Due to the poor condition of some of the scrolls, not all of them have been identified. Those that have been identified can be divided into three general groups:

        *Some 40% of them are copies of texts from the Hebrew Scriptures,
        approximately another 30% of them are texts from the Second Temple Period which ultimately were not canonized in the Hebrew Bible, like the Book of Enoch, Jubilees, the Book of Tobit, the Wisdom of Sirach, Psalms 152–155, etc.,

        and the remaining roughly 30% of them are sectarian manuscripts of previously unknown documents that shed light on the rules and beliefs of a particular group or groups within greater Judaism, like the Community Rule, the War Scroll, the Pesher on Habakkuk and The Rule of the Blessing.

        If you would like, we can discuss WHY those not included in the Hebrew Scriptures are kept out in greater detail.

  • Timothy Mendoza

    So, you think God does not have the power or ability to preserve his Word, as Jesus referred to it as , down through the ages? Why have so many sought to destroy it? To keep it from the masses so they could not read it? Yet today, it is the world’s most widely distributed book on earth? Why have so many so called ‘experts’ who challenge it’s facts yet could not prove them wrong over the centuries failed? It seems you do not have a clear idea of what the Bible actually is to us today. I would challenge your assertion that what we have today is not pure or originally preserved for our use as our Creator’s own truth. I would also assert that those ‘other’ writings you refer to are in fact the instruments used by those whose purpose is to water down or distort the original writings. Remember, the original writings from our Creator have a central ‘theme’ that runs through all their 66 little books, written by over 40 men of God and yet, harmonize completely. I can prove my points, can you? Thanks

    • Those other writings are the original writings long before the current Bible was agreed upon and censored. Realize there were no books being printed back then, only the high priest had access and then passed it on to the underlings ? So the manipulation factor was strong and present just as it is today in all matters of controlling people, especially governments and religions. God is not some white haired guy floating around in the sky as is widely perceived and the churches are all perverted and polluted by men, not God !

      The writings I mention do prove exactly what I am saying and I have read them as well as other ancient text because I wanted to know the truth of the matters ! .Look for yourself if you have the courage.

      • Timothy Mendoza

        Sorry my friend, you would have to prove that statement and it’s not legitimate!

        • I would be willing to bet I have read the Bible and many other ancient text far more than you have and that is how I came to these realizations. Try it with an open mind and you will likely be amazed at what you discover ? and who God actually is ? The white haired guy floating around in the sky is not my analogy it is what most people seem to think ? I reject that nonsense. There is much more to the entire story than you seem to grasp. I would urge you to read and find out many truths for yourself and also learn how to meditate and pray ! all the answers will be revealed to you if done in honesty.

      • Timothy Mendoza

        So, I can see you have not read the Bible because you describe God as a ‘white-haired guy’ floating around in the sky! You are reflecting what erroneous churches have taught about him. He is a spirit, as his Word the Bible says and he does not have hair, and he occupies a part of heaven that we could never go to as human beings. I agree with you that many mainstream religions have polluted the teachings of the bible about our God and his purpose for the earth and us as his children upon it. However, again, the existence of evil and lies do not preclude the absence of Good and Truth. Like I said before, if you would actually READ the Bible, you would see it for what it is and it is harmonious and has a theme that runs though it’s entirety. The other books you refer to, are not included for good reason, they do not carry the same theme nor do they harmonize. Reading men’s philosophies which many originated with Platoisim, is not going to lead you to truth. The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls shed light on the original Bible canon, the theme that runs through it and the name of the God we worship. Something that the Jews and Christendom have worked hard to hide from people seeking the truth for centuries. So, No, you are incorrect that these so-called ‘older writings’ predate the original Bible canon. I can provide dates as to their publication if you wish. Can you do so to prove they are as old as you claim? I don’t think so. But we can go there if you wish to.

  • gardeauxandrew

    This is indeed man’s government on earth ,not of GOD’S government. Satin sure can fool mankind! Mankind was born innocent in a sinful world, therefore the innocent is corrupted. But there is an outlet to be saved from a sinful government of man by the conditioning of one’s self to ne in a GOD’S government!

    • Daddy-o

      Who’s this Satin you speak of?

  • You are completely wrong. All of the Gospels which are supposedly written by Jesus followers were all written hundreds of years after Jesus death. You have no idea what you are talking about and just repeating the mantra of what you have been spoon fed by the false churches and fake religions of today ? All the history is out there if you really want to know the truth of the matters. The Old testament is far more accurate than the new and why would the Gospels be written so far past Jesus death if they were supposedly the guys that walked with him ? I know why and the reason is very obvious, just as your ignor-ance and blinded view is obvious ?

  • excellent !

  • Your dating is all completely wrong. And if any were written before the end of the first century that would mean they likely were not written by the supposed Gospel writer of the same name ? But you are convinced of the fraud and I imagine nothing will change that part, not even the truth of the matter ? The New testament was written to coincide with Constantine and the new religion to become the Catholic church , which was the only church accepted at that time. And they were the guys that tortured millions during the inquisition in europe. I trust the OT more than the NT although all of it is just history and little else. If I told you who God actually is you would deny it .

  • osm69

    i have a problem with authority even a spirit. i know who I am I don’t
    need a god to tell me that. That’s was sooo medieval do what the post
    say look in to yer own self don’t depend on a imaginary being did god
    raise you no.do what makes u feel good. we are not here for a end game
    where here for a moment to experience this live and everything it has
    to offer then we move on to the next.

  • Daniel Martin

    A relationship with God will always be valid, and for those that seek Him, He will guide into knowledge and truth and provide the discernment to understand what is true and what has been used to deceive. But each one of us must ask Him, because He is a gentleman and won’t interrupt our day when we don’t first call on Him.

    While many religions are not valid, any individual that is sincere can still develop a personal relationship and then may be led into a better place to worship.

    I have read some of the apocryphal books you mention, and while Enoch sheds much light, I wonder if the book of Mary was written by the earthy catholics that wanted to make her into deity.

  • I don’t have much to say other than “This is good.”

    Hopefully more people will continue to discover it.

    Very nice read.

  • true light

    I feel some good starting points are ~ can you question the Holy Books of your religion.
    Are you free to research their history and validity
    Are you free to question things that don’t feel right in them
    Are you free to accept that which feels right in yours to the exclusion of those things that don’t
    Are you free to put its concepts in your own words, the language of these times.

    Does your religion use fear, guilt or shame to control it’s members.

  • true light

    I agree we need Know Creator
    If we do so then we Understand these things.
    The objection is to someone else’s possibly mistaken views on this
    being made more important than our personal relationship with
    our getting guidance more directly
    Our scriptures tell us we must look within to find this.
    Can we Understand scriptures without Guidance
    in this context from Holy Spirit as Spirit of Truth
    Without that what do we have other than opinion about what it means
    Their are many such on same all saying their way is right
    Some saying other ways are wrong even evil
    Same book being used for all these
    It can be used to argue Trinity or against Trinity
    Some say it is necessary to speak in tongues of unknown language
    Some say that means being able to speak to people in their own language
    Some say speaking in tongues opens us to possession.

    It it possible some people find themselves more lost because of same book.

  • Donna Zajac

    I read your article, Nanice, and I have much to say. Please hear my heart for you, which is the heart of Jesus.

    I have responded below each of your statements:

    Nanice: Often our religious beliefs are handed down to us by family and culture, and by the time we are old enough to consciously choose, it’s too late because we are already brainwashed with pre-ordained beliefs that seem to be set in stone. Ideally, the true purpose of any religion should be to facilitate a direct connection with the “Divine,” and to support spiritual awakening. Unfortunately, few, if any religions, fulfill this purpose. If they did, many more of us would be awake by now, or at least intimately connected to the Source of who we really are. Even with the prevalence of “new age” spiritual practices today, few of us have attained full spiritual awakening and direct Divine connection.
    Me: Yes, I agree because “religions” do not grant us direct access to God, Jesus does. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Many have not awakened because as the Bible says “They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.” Isaiah 44:18. If one continues to seek truth outside of Jesus Christ, they will never find it. You won’t find it in new age practices, because that is not where you will find Jesus.
    Nanice: What’s wrong with this picture? Maybe that answer lies in the reasons why humanity seeks out religion, or structured spirituality, in the first place…
    Me: We seek God because we are all born with an innate desire to know Him and be known. There is one way to find Him: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
    Nanice: Seeking the answers to the unknown can be a scary business – where do we come from, why are we here, and especially, where do we go after departing? The further we travel down the “rabbit hole” in our quest for spiritual truth, the more lonely, confusing and frightening it can become.
    Me: If you are confused, it is because you have not sought the source of peace. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33
    Nanice: Religion preys on this fear and confusion; by providing premade answers designed to give us a false sense of security, it offers a reprieve from that inner quest, but in exchange for that spiritual crutch, we must give up spiritual sovereignty and the freedom to choose our own beliefs. We must give up the very thing it saves us from – finding our true selves.
    Me: Religion may prey on fear, but Jesus does not. God provides His word, which is truth. He is the original independent thinker, and He made us, so the inner quest is easily satisfied in finding Him. He also gives us the freedom to choose our own beliefs, but when we don’t choose truth, we end up in that aforementioned “rabbit hole”.
    Nanice: In many ways, my spiritually convoluted childhood was a gift in disguise. Although my mother was raised strict Roman Catholic and my father was raised strictly Jewish, I was baptized Christian, and when it was time to send me to school, I was sent to a very Catholic school run by tyrant nuns. Neither my mom, nor my dad, considered that they were sending me to a Catholic school, where I would stand out like a sore thumb — with a very Jewish last name and a nose to match. I was treated differently by the nuns than the other kids but I was too young to understand why, and by the end of first grade, even the other kids formed an alliance against me. This overt judgment from nuns and peers went on for years, and as result, I did poorly in school, I had no friends, and I believed that there was something very wrong with me. In fifth grade, the ongoing emotional stress caused me to have a nervous breakdown and, as a result, my parents enrolled me in public school, and also allowed me to figure out this “religion thing” on my own. By the time I was twelve, my immense search for truth was underway.
    Me: I am in agreement that the Catholic Church has many contrived doctrines that are not Biblically-based, and in fact are squarely in opposition to the Bible. The practice of praying to saints is counter to what God’s word says. “The true worshipers,” said Jesus, “will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for such people to worship him.” (John 4:23) The Bible also states that our Creator requires our “exclusive devotion.”—Deuteronomy 4:24; 6:15.
    Me: Also, using a priest as the go-between for us and God is not doctrinally correct. “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” Matthew 27:51. This is the symbolism that represents the bridging of the great divide, between us and God. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross tore the veil, granting us direct access to God. No go-between required. Not to mention the Catholic practice of doing penance for sins, this is implying that Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins was not enough. We cannot earn our salvation or forgiveness; it was purchased at a great price for us by Christ.
    Me: So, if one is looking to this organized religion, I understand the push-back, I object too!
    Nanice: Up until that time, I had been taught that God was to be feared, and if you sin or break any commandments, you would be punished, and maybe even sent to a fiery hell to repent eternally. It was quite convincing, but something inside me said, it just wasn’t true.
    Me: If you read the New Testament, you will find God is a God of love and peace. He ultimately reached out to us in the most controversial and shocking way possible, by sending His own son to die for us. That is LOVE, my friend. His desire is to save you, not condemn you. He has done everything He can to open the gates of Heaven for you. “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” Deuteronomy 30:19. He so LOVES you! It all comes down to our choice to live for Him or live for ourselves.
    Nanice: My long and relentless search for spiritual truth delivered me to a sacred space that was, not surprisingly, void of all religion and the imprisoning dogma that keeps one from discovering the truth for oneself. Why is it that religions often keep us from the very thing they should be doing? Instead of empowering us to a full connection with the Divine and supporting us to Wake Up and remember who we really are, they keep us asleep, buried under piles of disempowering beliefs that they programmed into our vulnerable minds. If we are fighting to prove that we are worthy of God’s love or we must depend on a “go-between” (priest, rabbi, guru etc…) in order to communicate with God, how can we ever attain a deep spiritual connection with the Divine?
    Me: We are not supposed to, nor are we able to prove that we are worthy of God’s love – because without Jesus we are NOT! He does not require us to prove ourselves as it is impossible. He is HOLY, and we can never measure up (again, without Jesus). “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;” Isaiah 64:6a. It is an undeserved gift that He offers to cleanse us of our unrighteousness through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. He brings us into right standing, removing all of our sin, making us righteous in the eyes of the Father.
    Me: As for the second statement, you are so right! As stated earlier, God provided the go-between in Jesus Christ alone. His desire is for a one-on-one relationship with you.
    Nanice: Programming Religion
    Most religions operate through mechanisms of control, but often the dynamic of control is so covert that you cannot recognize it, and if you cannot recognize it, you might easily fall for the religion’s sales pitch. Or if you are a long time follower, leaving the religion can be like extracting yourself from emotional quicksand. Most religions, and even some spiritual practices, keep people asleep through a program of shame and secrecy. The program includes an ingenious control formula, based on disempowering beliefs, such as unworthiness, powerlessness, judgment and exclusion, all resulting in painful and debilitating emotions that can last a life time.
    Me: God provides healing for shame and every hurt you carry in your heart. God wants us to wake up, turn over our pain and shame to Him, and allow His healing to flow through us, restoring us to the whole being He made us to be. Any religion that tries to keep you in shame and secrecy is not operating by the Word of God. Run from that religion!
    Nanice: Installing Beliefs
    Most religions install beliefs about “right and wrong,” “good and bad” and “sinful and saintly,” causing followers to believe that their well-being or salvation is dependent on their behavior, and if they disobey, they are judged and punished with the equivalent of karma or an eternal afterlife of unwanted proportions, but that is not even the worst part! The defiance of your religious beliefs automatically invokes feelings of shame, guilt, obligation or regret. These feelings, or the fear of these feelings, can be a more powerful deterrent than even the threat of physical torture.
    Me: Our actions are certainly either “right or wrong” “good and bad”. But salvation is NOT dependent upon your behavior as stated. God is not sitting there anxious to debase and condemn you. Jesus died in our place so we might be saved! When you know that and seek Him, you will find the most pure form of love you have ever encountered on this earth. You will fall in love with Jesus. There is a beautiful, deep connection that He offers to us right here, right now.
    Nanice: The deepest part of the control mechanism is through manipulating emotions, so that you actually punish yourself.
    For example, if your religion says that it is wrong to have sex outside of marriage, and you have pre-marital sex, you will automatically punish yourself through feelings of deep shame, guilt, regret and unworthiness. In fact, if you even think about going against the religious doctrine, these powerful emotions will induce feelings of impending regret, and make you think twice.
    Me: You have an innate knowing of “right and wrong” in your being. God put it there. Religion didn’t make up such things as “don’t have sex outside of marriage,” God did. Not to punish or torture us, but for our good. Those powerful feelings are because there is a definite “right and wrong.”
    Nanice: The same goes for things like regular “attendance”, tithing/donations and any other conditions or requirements of your religion. Your fear of feeling guilt or regret controls your behavior and makes you do things that maybe aren’t right for you, or maybe keeps you from expressing your real self. The thing is, if you are emotionally manipulated, how can you even know what is best for you? Only through free-will can you ever be inspired by your own inner being.
    Me: God designed the concept of the church so we would have each other. We support one another, and come together to learn more about God and His promises to us, and also to experience a true healing from the damage we’ve inflicted on ourselves by walking apart from Him. You can know what is best for you by being in communion with the very One who created you. Who could possibly know better?
    Nanice: Because the control is coming from inside you, in the form of your own beliefs and emotions, you probably don’t even realize that you are being controlled, which is what makes this type of control even more diabolical than if someone threatened you with a knife. When you can identify an external control source, it is clear that you are being controlled, but when you have been willingly programmed with beliefs, and these beliefs are causing painful emotions, it is almost impossible to discern that an external source is in control of your life.
    Me: I can tell you that the more time I spend with Jesus, and the more He reveals his heart to me, the freer I become.
    Nanice: Taking Advantage of the Young and Vulnerable
    Most people are programmed with religious beliefs either when they are too young to question those beliefs or at a very vulnerable time in their lives. For example, people seek spiritual answers when they are experiencing emotional pain or confusion. Religions feed off this, and even take advantage of this vulnerability, seducing seekers with the promise of security and comfort, for this life and maybe even the afterlife.
    Me: Yes, because God does offer all of that! Got pain? He has healing! Confusion? He has clarity. Comfort, yes! Security, yes! For now, and the afterlife! And so much more! You carry a deep resentment against “religion” which I completely understand, but “religion” is not what Jesus comes to offer.
    Nanice: Sacrificing Power in Exchange for Salvation
    Most religions ask that you give away your power, and that you trust the religion and its leaders more than you trust yourself. You are taught that in order to connect with the Divine, you must depend on non-physical deities, or religious leaders. If you want a prayer answered or you seek forgiveness, you must use a “go-between” because you are not worthy, or pure enough, for direct communion with the Divine. Worst of all, the message is, “Don’t trust yourself,” and, as long as you don’t trust yourself, you remain powerless to external authority.
    Me: Don’t trust leaders, religions, or organizations. In order to connect to connect to God, you need one thing, and that is Jesus Christ. Direct connection through Jesus.
    Nanice: Ruled by Conditional Worth
    In most religions, there is an unspoken decree of worthiness that all practitioners agree to. Your worth is dependent on how well you follow the rules of your religion – if you do as you are told, according to your religion, or your religious leader, you are deemed worthy, and if you go against, or question the rules or beliefs, you are deemed unworthy. Unworthiness induces deep feelings of shame which leads to secrecy.
    Me: Forget worthiness! We don’t have it without Jesus! But through accepting that He died to make you worthy in God’s eyes, we are pure and spotless as if we had never sinned. No shame! “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1
    Nanice: Use of Judgment
    The fear of being judged, shamed or the subject of gossip is commonly used to keep followers in line, creating secrecy and keeping followers from sharing their “indiscretions” with each other. Because judgment feels like death to the ego, we will do almost anything in order to avoid being judged. As a result, everyone pretends to be a good follower, while secretly hiding any “bad behavior,” and, because no one is sharing openly, it appears that everyone else is saintly, making it impossible for you to speak your truth.
    Me: I don’t know if this is how the Catholic Church operates, but my experiences are the opposite of this. We are encouraged to “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16. You are so right that we are only “as sick as our secrets” and if we are locked in shame and regret, we can never heal and become who God intended us to be. No one is saintly. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. BUT, He is ready and able to restore us!
    Nanice: Waking Up from Religion – God Has No Religion
    No Room for Doubt or Questions
    If you believe that your fellow practitioners will ostracize you, or report you to religious leaders, you will not likely share any feelings of doubt about the religion or its leaders – you will silently keep your questions or uncertainty to yourself, never knowing that your friend, neighbor or family member feels the same way. Judgment, and fear of being judged, supports division. As the saying goes, “Divide and conquer,” and, at all costs, keep those already conquered from coming together in rebellion. Silence and separation allow religious agendas to operate unnoticed.
    Me: I see such deep wounding here that I’m assuming was perpetrated by the Catholic Church, and I am so sorry that has been your experience. Please do not reject Jesus just because a religion hurt you. He offers so much more than what you’ve been told. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20
    Nanice: Exclude Non-Believers
    What about the threat of non-believers that are not part of the religion? Often, followers are well-trained in converting non-believers, with programmed answers for any, and all, objections that might come from the one they are trying to convert. Followers are often taught how to prey upon vulnerabilities, with promises of salvation, but, if that doesn’t work, the non-believer is viewed negatively, cast aside as ignorant and excluded. This type of righteousness, where the believer is right and the non-believer is wrong, is just another form of judgment and exclusion in the name of God.
    Me: God’s word is the final authority on all such matters. I’ve not had any “training” or “programming,” just private time with Jesus. You don’t have to accept my truth, but you might at least consider going to Jesus yourself. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He will not disappoint.
    Nanice: The motto often is: “Either believe and join us or be excluded and judged as sinner.”
    Me: We are all sinners, both inside and outside the church.
    Nanice: I am not saying that you should leave your religion, or even think about it – that is not the point. The point is, if you want to awaken to the truth of who you really are, you must free yourself from disempowerment. This means taking back your power from everyone and everything – including religion.
    Me: I agree with that.
    Nanice: It might seem easy to blame a religion for keeping you powerless, asleep, or disconnected but religions only exist because we seek answers outside of ourselves. From the deepest perspective, religions are set up to fail you, so that eventually, you will look in the only place where you can ever find the answers you seek. Deep inside.
    Me: And to the person of Jesus Christ.
    Nanice: Religion says, “You are unworthy unless you meet certain conditions.”
    Awakening reveals, “You are unconditionally worthy.”
    Religion says, “You are powerless to external sources.”
    Awakening reveals, “Your power is accessed as you take responsibility for your life.”
    Religion separates, judges and excludes.
    Awakening and Oneness are synonymous.
    In awakening, you remember that who you really are is the Divine, and if you judge yourself, or others, you are really judging God.
    Me: We are not the Divine. We are not God. But we were made in His image.
    Nanice: How do you know if your religion or spiritual practice supports spiritual empowerment, Divine connection and spiritual awakening?
    Most importantly, your religion or spiritual practice should work for you, and only you can decide what that means, but here are some suggestions for you to consider:
    Your spiritual practice gives you freedom, and space, to find your own answers, even if those answers disagree with the spiritual teachings.
    You are not judged, punished or excluded for thinking differently, or questioning ideas.
    Your spiritual practice moves you toward love and oneness, providing the space for you to forgive yourself and others, as you let go of old heavy baggage which no longer serves you.
    Me: Yes, yes, yes! Forgive yourself and others! Let go of the baggage!
    Nanice: The spiritual teachings uplift you to new heights of awareness, while also inspiring you to express yourself.
    Me: Yes some more!
    Nanice: Spiritual beliefs are offered through lessons of empowerment, and not through fear of karma, punishment or any form of disempowerment, nor should you be manipulated through guilt, obligation, or impending regret.
    Your spiritual teacher does not encourage dependency on him or her, tell you what to do, how to think or make other spiritual teachings wrong or less than.
    Me: Right!
    Nanice: You are not asked to judge, reject or exclude others in order to remain in the religion, nor are you punished for loving those who don’t obey the rules of your religion.
    Me: Yes!
    Nanice: You feel honored and respected by your teacher and peers, and you never feel as if the teacher, or spiritual practice, has power over you, or that your worthiness is in question.
    Me: Yes!
    Nanice: Your practice empowers you to discover who you really are, and supports you in developing an intimate and personal relationship with the Divine, where you experience yourself as unconditionally loved.
    Me: YES! Absolutely! Through Christ you are unconditionally loved!
    Nanice: If your intention is spiritual awakening, your spiritual practice must not only empower you to discover the door of awakening, it must also encourage you to let go so that you can enter. In order to fully awaken, you must be willing to let go of even the sacred practice that got you there.
    The bottom line is, does your spiritual practice direct you inward? Does it make you feel closer to the Divine? Does it empower you?
    Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
    If you have left your religion, or you are thinking of leaving, don’t confuse leaving the religion with leaving God. Just as the saying goes, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Don’t throw God out with the religion. God has been tainted by all sorts of disempowering beliefs – from crazy rules to unreasonable nonsense and everything in between. You can leave all that behind and you can find God on your own terms, in a way that feels particularly right for you.
    Losing community
    Sometimes we stay in a religion well past its expiration date because if we leave, it probably also means that we must leave our community. Tolerating rules and dogma that no longer fit for us might seem like a small price to pay in exchange for the love and support of community, but that price is much higher than it appears. If you are compromising your freedom, hiding your true feelings, or constricting your expression in order to be accepted in a community, sooner or later, you will likely experience deep spiritual wounds that arise from betraying your own true spirit.
    Yes, there might be a period of time where you don’t have the support of community, but I promise, your most ideal community is out there waiting for you. A massive wave of people all over the world are waking up, and leaving situations and environments that no longer fit. Just like you, they are looking for that place where they belong. It is time to come together to form empowering paradigms of community where we can all thrive, and be who we came here to be.
    Me: I pray for you today, Nanice. I pray that you will open your heart to Jesus Christ, who is not religion, but our blessed Saviour and friend. I pray you will allow Him to show you the truth of who He is. Be blessed, you are so loved!