Children are born in a state of innocence, absent beliefs. It’s our default setting. Learn how to overcome harmful beliefs and boundaries and return to our original condition.
Return to Our Natural State of Innocence
Our original state is absent from any religious or cultural programming. It is a worldview of innocence, purity, and freedom. Our minds are uncluttered and absent of any religious dogma or beliefs. It’s the place where we are happy for no reason at all, and it’s the way we should live.
To be free is to live without unnecessary or harmful controls. So, we are born in a state of freedom. The only programming we have as a child comes from our personality and instincts. These are necessary tools that connect our consciousness to our bodies. They are tools to help us acclimate to this world. They help us to avoid dangers by triggering our fight, flight, or freeze instinct.
Religious freedom starts with being free from mandatory religious beliefs. This default setting provides us with the ultimate platform for living a life of freedom. Nothing taints the window of our consciousness. It is that state in which our Spirit and Soul are boundless and free.
The invention of religion attempts to provide easy answers to the complex issues and questions of life. However, religions substitute mythology and superstition for facts.
“With the radical advent of Christianity, this self-righteous intolerance was borrowed from the Jews, and a new twist was added. The conversion of infidels by any means possible became the newfound calling card of religious fervor, and this new experiment in human culture spread like wildfire.
By its very nature, how could it not have? Islam followed suit, conquering half the world in brutal warfare, and, much like its Christian counterpart, it developed a new and convenient survival characteristic: the destruction of all images and practices attributed to other religions. Muslims destroyed millions of statues and paintings in India and Africa, and forced conversion under pain of death (or by more subtle tricks: like taxing only non-Muslims), while the Catholic Church busily burned books along with pagans, shattering statues and defacing or destroying pagan art – or converting it to Christian use.
Laws against pagan practices and heretics were in full force throughout Europe by the sixth century, and as long as those laws were in place it was impossible for anyone to refuse the tenets of Christianity and expect to keep their property or their life. Similar persecution and harassment continue in Islamic countries even to this day, officially and unofficially.” ― Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism
Are You an Atheist or an Agnostic?
People like to categorize things, and this original mindset is no exception. Some refer to this state of freedom as atheism—this worldview without the shackles of religious belief. There is no need for imaginary friends or enemies. So we think free of the boundaries, known as religious, ethnic, and cultural prejudice and bias.
“That is the idea — that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches, and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.” ― Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
So, Atheism is a preferred default setting. It is the default setting of innocence where everyone and everything has equal value. They call this Agnosticism. An Agnostic acknowledges there isn’t any objective (scientifically verifiable) evidence to support God.
Neither of these positions is a claim of faith for or against any deity or imaginary Beings. Neither of these positions of rational skepticism is a belief system. People who do not have allegiance with imaginary friends or enemies are called freethinkers.
““Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking..”. ― Leo Tolstoy
To return to our natural state of innocence, we must find the programming that distorts our thinking. Then we need to delete it. Overcoming harmful beliefs isn’t easy.
Finding Common Ground
The truth is, we are all agnostics. No one knows with absolute certainty whether a Supreme Being, God, or Goddess exists. Believers don’t know if their God exists. Believers have faith in their particular concept of God or Goddess exists.
An Agnostic is a conclusion based on a lack of knowledge and credible proof. An Atheist is someone absent from the belief in God or Gods. The word atheism originates from the Greek term ἄθεος (atheos), meaning “without gods.”
So, no matter what you believe, we are all atheists in someone’s religion. To believe in one god or set of gods is to deny the others. People use the same philosophical arguments to prove Gods, legends, and other imaginary things exist. They use belief and myth to prove the existence of Santa Claus, unicorns, and fairies. So, if belief equaled fact, all Gods would be real. Common sense and logic do not support this conclusion.
Agnostic Atheism is the position encompassing both atheism and agnosticism. They are atheists because they are “without gods” and do not believe in their existence. And they are also agnostics because imaginary Beings are unknowable and unprovable.
Here we are at our natural state without gods, which also means without religion. Where would you be if you did not believe in God? Simple. Where would a slave be if he had no master? He would be free.
Overcoming Harmful Beliefs
One of the best things about spiritual exploration is that you do not need belief. You follow a process. It’s like baking a cake. You follow the recipe, and you get a wonderful tasty treat. We find some of these processes in the religious traditions of the East. Some ancient traditions act as storehouses, preserving and protecting these processes. Some religions attempt to claim these processes as their own, but you can use logic to sort them out.
These processes can help us return to our natural state of innocence. They help us face and conquer the roadblocks to our essential mindset. It is what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey. It is the call of our desire to seek the unknown. Overcoming harmful beliefs from our cultural narrative is hard inner work.
Inner work is an emotionally challenging process to undertake. Confronting deeply held beliefs is only part of it. One of the best approaches to explore your sacred ground is comparative analysis. It’s a comparative religious study method based on the scientific process and incorporates emotional checks to minimize your bias and keep your emotions in check.
Doing your research into your belief system is often challenging. Religious ideologies integrate deeply into our psyche. The programming dictates the boundaries of personal and business relationships. So, this exposing this sacred ground is scary. It triggers our fight, flight, or freeze response.
“Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems. But there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.” — David G. McAfee
The Hero’s Journey is the path back to our natural state of innocence. Our psyche is pure and free of cultural programming. Enhancing your critical thinking skills is also recommended. We use a suite of three reasoning methods, Logical Reasoning, The Truth-Seekers Axioms, and Tools for Spotting Logical Fallacy. These teach you to question the cultural narrative.
Overcoming harmful beliefs isn’t easy. But if we identify and overcome this programming, we open the door to freedom. We can return to our natural state of innocence. Losing your faith is the best thing that could happen for you and everyone in your circle of influence.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia