Initiation rites are seen as fundamental to human growth and development as well as socialization in many cultures. These rites function by ritually marking the transition of someone to full group membership or adulthood. (1)
These transitions into man or womanhood have a long history, while many include some special task or special knowledge that assists the new adult transition into confident living and acceptance, ie; that life isn’t what you’ve been told, so here’s the deal…
While at first glance it appears we have no launch-pad liturgy in the west to welcome our youth to adulthood—but we do. In Hebrew/Christian/Islamic cultures of the western world there is only one, true rite of passage—it’s called psychotherapy. Either a self administered journey alone, or with a guide (psychologist) in an attempt to undo (often painstakingly) what has been done to you, as part of an age old game of hiding the truth from children. And siphoning out what nature made to operate at maximum efficiency all on its own.
Some however, are so thoroughly steamrolled into this false sense of religion they never swim out of it, perpetually thinking happiness awaits in promises, while holding onto a life of anxiety like it’s the will of god.
Children automatically know the meaning of life, yet immediately we name them, define them, and separate them from nature until they can be trusted to carry on a serious life of contemplation. That they are strangers here on probation, only candidates for the kingdom of god if they can choose the right belief.
This state of never knowing if your saved or damned is a cruel trick. It’s no wonder people are mixed up for years, or even lifetimes trying to undo what has been done with the best of intentions, in a religion that is impossible.
A healthy amount of fear is normal. Skepticism allows us to make our way in the world without being suckered, while religion attempts to alleviate those fears, then ersatz the trivial everyday with existential death anxiety—not terribly afraid to die, but afraid of what will happen after you do—and a fear of separating from loved ones you never knew before life happened.
On advisement we relax and let Jesus take the wheel, then fear is directed at our performance and we’ve taken the bait. We all have fears—which ones, seem to make all the difference finding personal peace.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom“—Luke 12:23 KJV
Have I got a deal for you! Do you want to see my puppy? I have ice cream—any flavor you want—like the taste of hell… Even as a believerthis made me a little squirmy, but few seem to be able resist it.
I was having a conversation the other day and the gentleman said, “we get the most out of religion when we allow our faith to be vulnerable“—in a sense, letting down your guard in belief.
Allowing your faith to be vulnerable is like lowering your expectations to be happier. After all, getting a C- when you were expecting a D can give a lot of hope, but it doesn’t take us anywhere meaningful. I know, I grew up being suckered.
So how does one go about deciding the right amount of vulnerability? It can be comforting to be a part of a flock full of deception you can trust—until you no longer think like they do.
Christianity—Holding on to the past while hoping the future ends—until it’s their future.
Why should I fear death?
If I am, then death is not.
If Death is, then I am not.
Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?”