Religion is a good thing, except when it teaches you to think poorly of yourself. It’s okay if a religion teaches you to love and worship the Creator of this incredible universe, but when it starts to tell you how bad and undeserving you are of anything good, run.
I wish I knew the faith traditions outside Christianity better than I do. But I can’t remember reading where the Tao de Ching or Bhagavad Gita teaches anyone to think poorly of themselves. The Bible says you are supposed to love yourself, but how can you love yourself if you think you are a worm?
I don’t doubt that people of old felt pangs of despair and remorse over their inability to do what was good and right. That’s part of the spiritual struggle. However, insisting that one’s lack of development is a universal truth that makes them unworthy of God’s favor seems to demotivate anyone from trying to become more fully developed. Why not just throw yourself at the feet of the Creator and give up trying? In Christianity, you’re supposed to believe what your particular denomination says you should believe, trust the church is right, and then you can feel better about yourself. Does it really work that way?
I think it’s important that one’s religious convictions follow the guidelines of logic. It’s logical that we should love the Creator (God) with all our heart, and mind, and soul. It’s logical that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Love means to be concerned about the well-being of our neighbor in the same way we are concerned about ourselves. If we did that, we would all be working together for the good of each other.
That’s not the world we live in. People don’t love their neighbors as much as they love themselves. Not even close. People don’t respect the creation, as beautiful as it is. This is the proof that we are undeveloped and have a long way to go. But even in our undeveloped state, it doesn’t make us unworthy of loving ourselves. You and I are worthy of loving ourselves. Let me tell you why.
Your body is an incredible, unbelievable creation in itself. Every cell that exists within you is performing thousands of chemical processes that no computer on earth could perform. Something Undefinable is directing those processes and that makes you millions of times more incredible than a rock or a slab of concrete. You have this amazing thing called “life” within you, and it makes you more special than words can describe.
Every one of your cells is grouped into organs and specialized tissues that have their own functions. They live and move under the guidance of some Universal Force in some miraculous way to create your being. That in itself would only make you an animal. But then you have the gift of being able to think logically and more important, to be creative—to make new things that have never been done before. You are one awesome creature, with every single component of you being directed by the most Intelligent of all forces at every level of your being, from the tiniest to the whole. That Intelligence is living within you.
How could you not love yourself? You are awesome!