In our exhaustive metaphysical exploration and studies over the last 25 years, we’ve never exclusively adhered to one system, religion or approach. Instead, we’ve objectively considered and sampled multiple alternatives, then applied diligence, reason, and strong intuition to discern what was of the most value, and discarded what wasn’t.
One of our favorite spiritual tools is past life regression. If you experience regression enough times, you’ll find that you (your soul, not your personality) have lived many lifetimes and experienced various religions, races, economic conditions, and multitudes of other human circumstances. You’ll also better understand your life today and why you experienced what you did then.
Past life and life between life research has also shown us that there is no religion on the other side. Once your physical body dies, you enter a spiritual realm of complete love, understanding, acceptance, and awareness, void of ego and judgment. This means that religious constructs are man-made and they only exist on Earth.
Organized religion can be very beneficial. It gives people hope, peace of mind, and it can help reinforce order and morality, benefiting society. However, religion can also be harmful when taken to an extreme, as with the following seven examples.
1. Strict marriage rules tend to cause a lot of pain. Certain religions mandate that their followers must marry only people of the same faith, which has caused great sorrow and even harmful consequences. Also, many religions prohibit divorce. Can you imagine having your marriage arranged at a very young age, then having no way out, for the rest of your life, once you realize your spouse is abusive or not at all compatible?
2. Intolerance of other faiths isn’t spiritual. Contrary to what some religious leaders teach, no one religion has a monopoly on God or whatever other name you want to give to a higher power. Such bigotry has caused much war, violence, and terrorism.
3. Intolerance of select groups of people isn’t spiritual either. Religions declaring that homosexuality is wrong only encourages, at the least, homophobia and self-hatred, and worst case, suicide and violence. Fortunately, we have found zero evidence of anyone being punished in the afterlife for being gay, but plenty of instances of past life homophobes paying a karmic price in future lifetimes.
4. Lack of personal responsibility is fostered by some organized religion’s tenets. Most people instinctively know what is right and wrong and behave accordingly. But others lack this awareness and blindly follow their religion’s strict rules. Even worse, they’re instructed that as long as they go to confession, for example, their bad deeds will be cleared. This just excuses and encourages bad behavior. On the other hand, when one understands the concepts of karma and reincarnation, you know that everything you do, say, and intend will come back to you. There’s no get out of jail free card.
5. Unfortunately, many religions foster excessive conformity. There are so many rules that encourage people to obey instead of thinking for themselves that they develop a sheep-herd mentality and fail to cultivate their unique individuality.
6. Select organized religions advocate irresponsible rules about sex. Some religious leaders preach that condoms are immoral while HIV, other STDs, and unwanted pregnancies continue to be a massive problem. Some of these same leaders have even protected pedophiles from prosecution and instead blamed gays and the secularization of society.
7. Malnutrition from a “spiritual diet” is an unfortunate byproduct of some belief systems. While New Agers tend to be spiritual, not religious, some of their views and practices can do more harm than good, like the myth that you must be a life-long vegan to avoid creating negative karma. A long-term, strict vegetarian diet can be beneficial for some body types, but according to experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola, few people benefit from strict, long-term vegetarianism.
If your religion enriches your life, then by all means continue with it. But it’s our belief that one doesn’t need to be religious to be a good person, help others, and do the right thing in all situations. Our findings show that you won’t be punished in the afterlife if you follow the truly virtuous tenets in your religion and drop the rest.
Copyright © 2012 Stephen Petullo, Scott Petullo