Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Why Do They Believe Part 5: Emotional Emptiness

Dear Internet Diary,
I felt there was something missing in my life. I had a void that needed to be filled.

She found her favorite music.
But I felt there was something missing in my life and was not particularly happy.

She changed her gender.
We've been married for nearly 24 years, but recently I reached the point where I felt there was something missing in my relationship with my husband.

She found Tantric sex.
I initially started researching this area because I felt there was something missing in my life.

He found Buddhism.
For as long as I could remember, I felt empty. I don't know how it got there, but it was there. I felt there was something missing in my life. Because of this, I looked for something to fill that void.

He "found" Jesus Christ.

There's nothing mystical or magical about these statements. That feeling comes from boredom, frustration, depression. Being unfulfilled. Naturally, people want to feel good. Unfortunately, some people think they have to fulfill some kind of cosmic duty. The Oprahs will tell you that's why people drink, smoke, have too much sex, overeat even why some people have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They have a hole in their lives, and they have a pressing need to fill it. I don't know if this kind of self-help book answer is entirely accurate, but perhaps we can agree that it is a problem when you feel "there is something missing in my life."

Try typing that phrase into Google. There are almost 50 pages with that exact phrase.

Anyway, the cult recruiters and Christians say they have The answer to this problem. All holes in all lives are God-shaped. It brings to mind a queer picture. What shape is God? Is it like when Bugs Bunny runs through the wall and leaves a Bugs Bunny-shaped hole? Like that?
Another question: if God is omnipresent, the all-powerful creator, how can God be absent from any life, atheist or otherwise? How could one escape a guy like that?

The first claim is that religion, christianity, is The Answer to all emotional problems. Same goes with cults. They are really good at "proving it" to you. When a newbie enters the kind of group that really, really wants members, they practice "love-bombing" This is an effective cult technique where the newbie gets overwhelming positive attention from the other cult members, he experiences physical chemical euphoria. He becomes "drunk with love." Doubt? What doubt? He falls in love with the group before he knew what hit him. All his problems seem to disappear--and they do, temporarily. Maybe some do permanently. Lifestyles change when lifestyles change, if you know what I mean.

Does religion solve all problems? Like any hobby, it can distract a person from practicing destructive behaviors, and being watched, or "fellowshipped" by a new community can pressure someone into keeping "clean" as it were. But religious believing tends to be less constructive than most hobbies. Sure, a religious person can channel energies into charities--charities that come with strings attached, much like the love in love-bombing. Making blankets and giving them to poor people without handing them a tract or sermon is much more altruistic.

Now we come to the silliest claim. Since the person was hurting, and becoming enamoured of Jesus made him feel better, it must be a miracle. Hence, God exists, and you should become a chritsian also. But, as I pointed out in the beginning of this article, holes in lives can be filled with many things. The funny thing is, people rarely report "I have a hole in my life. They always say "I HAD a hole in my life, but now I'm all better because of X or Y or Z." 20/20 hindsight? Are you sure you felt unfulfilled before you found your new passion? Could it just be that you're so crushed out on your new bag, that you can't imagine living without it? I don't know. Maybe people do know when they are unfulfilled. Just don't say it in public if you're gullible. There are plenty of opportunists out there who would salivate upon hearing those words. "unfulfilled, eh? Let me talk to you about what Amway/Echankar/Mary Kaye/Krishna consciousness/a macrobiotic diet/Jesus/the Barbie pink motorhome playset/official Red Rider carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle can do for you!"

Thanks for listening, diary.


Aaron Kinney said...

I totally agree. Religion employs a marketing strategy identical to that of an infomercial.

First the entity convinces the consumer that they have a problem or a need. Then the present their product as the solution to that need.

In essence, the religion attempts to mask its superfluousness (indeed, worhtlessness) by providing both a problem and a solution to the consumer.

Imagine if I got you hooked on heroin, then I turned around and sold you the methodone to get you off the heroin!

breakerslion said...

Yeah, that's about it. How do the sales numbers look this quarter and what's the net revenue? Nice graphic, by the way, I'm still chuckling!

breakerslion said...

BTW, Aaron, I'm betting the infomercial people got the formula from the religious "masters".

Rev. Barky said...

OOOOh! I am so sick of hearing people whine about their emptiness - get over it folks, its a normal human emotion.

Aaron, you just made a reference to one of my favorite sayings:

"Religion is not just an opiate, it's more like heroin"


"I'd rather be wierd than boring"



"If I believed in a god I would pray for you."

Aaron Kinney said...

LOL nice one Rev!

Kalanchoe542 said...

If folks turn to religion because they feel empty, they might want to consider trying a bottle of Fleet's Phosphosoda. Then they can feel truly empty!!

Hellbound Alleee said...

It`s just the thing for junkies and drunks! A way to be even MORE annoying!

vjack said...

All this crap about "finding Jesus" makes me want to puke! What exactly does it mean to "find" some dude who has been dead for thousands of years (if he ever lived at all)? Where did you "find" him, and can you show him to me? Is he a mummy, a fossil, what?