Religion & The Individual

Religion & The Individual

Religion is functional in the human mind and has been realized in experience prior to its appearance in human consciousness. A child has been in existence about nine months before it experiences birth. The “birth” of religion is not sudden; it is a gradual emergence. Nevertheless, sooner or later there is a “birth day.” You do not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you have been “born again”, born of the Spirit. Many spiritual births are accompanied by much mental anguish and marked psychological perturbations, just as many physical births are characterized by a “stormy labor” and other abnormalities of “delivery.” Other spiritual births are a natural and normal growth of the recognition of supreme values with an enhancement of spiritual experience. No religious development occurs without conscious effort and positive and individual determinations. Religion is never a passive experience nor a negative attitude. What is termed the “birth of religion” is not directly, but may be indirectly, associated with so-called conversion experiences which usually characterize religious episodes occurring later in life as a result of mental conflict, emotional repression and temperamental upheavals.

It Takes Time

Those persons who were reared by parents that created in them the consciousness of being children of a loving heavenly Father should not judge their fellow mortals who could only attain such consciousness of fellowship with God through a psychological crisis or emotional upheaval.

Justice, Fairness, Kindness

The evolutionary soil in the mind of man in which the seed of revealed religion germinates is the moral nature that gave origin to a social consciousness. The first prompting of a child’s moral nature has not to do with sex, guilt, or personal pride, but with impulses of justice, fairness, and urges to kindness, helpful ministry to one’s fellows. When such early moral awakenings are nurtured, there occurs a gradual development of the religious life which is comparatively free from conflicts, upheavals and crises.

Early Conflict

Every human being very early experiences a conflict between his self-seeking and his altruistic impulses. Many times the first experience of God-consciousness may be attained as the result of seeking for superhuman help in the task of resolving such moral conflicts.

Natural Positiveness

The psychology of a child is naturally positive, not negative. So many mortals are negative because they were so trained. When it is said that the child is positive, reference is made to his moral impulses, those powers of mind whose emergence signals the arrival of the Thought Adjuster.

In the presence of correct teaching, the mind of the normal child moves positively, in the emergence of religious consciousness, toward moral righteousness and social ministry, away from sin and guilt. There may be conflict in the development of religious experience, but the inevitable decisions, effort and function of the human will prevail.

Moral Choice

Moral choosing is usually accompanied by moral conflict. This very first conflict in the child mind is between the urges of egoism and the impulses of altruism. The Thought Adjuster does not disregard the personality values of the egoistic motive but does operate to place a slight preference upon the altruistic impulse as leading to the goal of human happiness and to the joys of the kingdom of heaven.

Religious Experience

When a moral being chooses to be unselfish when confronted by the urge to be selfish, that is primitive religious experience. No animal can make such a choice. Such a decision is both human and religious. It embraces the fact of God-consciousness and exhibits the impulse of social service, the basis of the brotherhood of man. When mind chooses a right moral judgment by an act of the free will, such a decision constitutes a religious experience.

Before a child has developed sufficiently to acquire moral capacity and therefore to be able to choose altruistic service, he has already developed a strong and well-unified egoistic nature. This is the self-survival instinct which exists because “God Will Survive.” It is this situation that gives rise to the theory of the struggle between the “higher” and the “lower” natures, between the “old man of sin” and the “new nature” of grace. Very early in life the normal child begins to learn that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.”

Man tends to identify the urge to be self-serving with his ego, himself. In contrast he is inclined to identify the will to be altruistic with some influence outside himself, God. Such a judgment is right, for all such non-self desires do actually have their origin in the leading of the indwelling Thought Adjuster, which is a fragment of God. The impulse of this spirit Monitor is realized in human consciousness as the urge to be altruistic, fellow-creature minded. This is the early and fundamental experience of the child mind. When the growing child fails of personality unification, either the ego or the altruistic drive may become improperly developed and create serious emotional injury to the welfare of the self. A misguided conscience can become responsible for much conflict, worry, sorrow and human unhappiness.

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Religion & The Human Race