by James R. Watkins
Non-Belief is a horrible place.
I am a rare person. I have been a faithful believer in God since I was about 7. I just knew there was a God and I spoke with him frequently and as casually as I would speak to you if I saw you in person.
I didn’t listen for God to talk back to me because I knew he was probably getting messages from everywhere. I trusted he would hear me but I did not need to hear from him in that moment. It was that trust that saved me from a life of disaster. You hear people say it all of the time, God saved me from myself.
Most people either start out believing because they were raised with religious teachings, or are not raised with religion and convert at some point because of a revelation or event that pushes them towards needing spiritual answers.
Or there are people who just don’t connect with religion for a number of reasons.
And I want to talk to about the people who do not find religion, and the effect it can have on a person’s life, even if they don’t realize it.
I also want to add to all of this what the Urantia Book has taught me about non-belief and the toxic effect it has on a society when religion (or faith) loses its influence.
Is it not true that at our core, most people would like to believe in the following things?:
That there is meaning in life, that life is not just an accident.
That our own life has meaning, that we are here for a purpose.
That there is a higher power who cares about me and I am loved.
Now, perhaps you are the kind of person who doesn’t care about these things. You accept that life is about none of these things and instead, is about what you make it, and the only thing that matters is your legacy, what you leave behind.
On some level this is probably satisfying enough. I know many people who are satisfied with this world view. It is a safe place because it requires no commitment to faith in something that cannot be proven by physical means.
But let me tell you what I have seen, and you tell me if you have seen this also:
People who do not believe in spiritual values, or spirit realities like the afterlife, or Deity, or worship, prayer, submission to a greater higher purpose, are toxically anxious, depressed or bitter, continuously pre-occupied by other people’s business, as many of them have no idea what is missing in their own lives.
Not all non-believers are like this, mind you, but many.
People who are antagonistic about religion or the church (usually because of a bad experience, or for selfish reasons) are among the most hateful, depressed and bitter of people you will meet. Many who are not faithful oftentimes never engage in altruism or service; they have an overriding superior belief that life owes them something.
Someone close to me is coming to the end of their life.
After 50 years of abuse and neglect, bad decisions and no clear purpose in living other than to feel good is dying quickly. Do you know someone like this?
Now, this person is very kind, but also very selfish, has never really contributed anything meaningful in their life, and in fact, grew up with a false sense of overblown self-importance. This same person mocks religion, hates God (she is a lesbian so she thinks all religions are bad because they all hate gay people), and she is one of the most miserable people on the planet. She lacks spiritual faith, has no ambition and no hope.
This person is some ways, represents our current social condition in American society.
Many who turn their backs on religious faith live life without hope. Not the ability to have hope, but rather, the ability live with the hope when in distress, there is always a reason for suffering, and that life is not lived in vain, but that we are here for a purpose. And though we might not always understand the purpose, we have faith there is one. That takes courage, and it is this saving faith that prevents millions of people from giving in to the seemingly futile nature of human life. Hope allowed me to keep my sanity during many dark times of living, it kept me sane.
I fear that as more people lose religious faith and lose hope, societal structure will start to break down., just as the individual starts to break down when he or she loses hope and faith in that greater purpose in living.
I fear that someday, Mental Health Institutes will determine that religion is a disorder and must be treated, when it is in fact, the exact opposite which is the case.
Faith and spiritual conviction most likely PREVENTS or cures many forms of mental illness. The rise in mental illness is most likely a result of, and inversely proportional to, our cultural distancing from the agelong antidotal effect of religious faith.
Meanwhile, there are leaders who want to diminish or marginalize religious institutions, and believe churches must be forced to adopt secular social policies or face legal action. Catholic services are being forced to adhere to secular law when there are spiritual conflicts such as nurses who are Catholic being forced to perform abortions; churches who wish to remain tax-exempt must provide gender neutral bathrooms despite the teachings of those who attend that church; bibles and other religious literature have been removed from public school libraries because some administrators (and atheist parents) hold that Bibles promote “hate-speech,” by not being “inclusive” of LGBTQ lifestyles.
Our Mental Health industry, fueled by enormous profits, disregards the role of faith in mental health care to the tune of billions of dollars a year in mental health “management.”
But isn’t it more likely that the lack of spiritual faith is a precursor to poor mental health? What is depression, anxiety, loneliness and nihilism? these could be signs of a restless human soule who doesn’t know where he fits in life because he or she has been convinced he has no soul, that only the physical world matters, that there are no eternal meanings, only present meanings? Millions of lost souls have been convinced that there is no God, through our education and media, that there is no afterlife, there is no real purpose other than the here and now, and that this world view is the only reasonable worldview; anything that deviates from this world view must be recognized as a disorder.
I feel like I am watching a scene from the 1950’s moving Inasion of the Body snatchers were society becomes soulless and the few remaining people are hunted down and converted to this nihilistic worldview.
The Urantia Book says that secularism supposes that man does not need God, Recently, such attitudes have become more aggressive, almost antagonistic towards Deity. Marxism and communism provide fair examples of the secular world view being embraced on a global scale.
In our education and media we see that religion has become a politically charged word, which means it is one step away from being regulated as hate speech. the word God, may one day be regarded as the G word, a word that causes great stress when uttered to those who are “deity-neutral.”
The Urantia Book also warns that a society without God cannot last, quote, “any more than a solar system could be supported without gravity,” paper 195.
What does a world without God look like?
Mental illness, lax morality, gender confusion, the celebration of vice as virtue, the promotion of fetishism in place of character-building, the pursuits of self in place of service, breakdown of family life, a general debasement of culture, crime, drug use, youth violence, religious persecution and oppression.
Non-belief requires no commitment on the part of the self, no skin in the game, no emotional commitment, no real pursuit of character building. Non belief requires nothing on the part of the believer. Non-belief leads to little or no truth discernment or even the pursuit. of truth itself, except as expressed in physical reality.
Only a belief in a supreme being or external force greater than himself enabled mankind to grasp eternal realities that sustain civilization from one generation to another,” but if this generation no longer values the past truths, or the religious heritage that is the result of thousands of generations of truth seekers who produced vast wealths of knowledge and wisdom, then what happens when that society loses or destroys such wealth of wisdom?
What happens to a society that prioritizes present truth, while disregarding the past, because it is relative only to immediate needs? What happens is we are truly one step away of global tyranny if this trend continues.
It is feasible that there may be yet another religious underground, people who must hide their faith or face persecution, as is already the case for a1.4 billion people.
These are my words, gained from what I have learned from the Urantia Book and from Christian beliefs in general. As a Jesusonian, one who believes in the divinity of Jesus and also follows his teachings, the pocket of believers is getting smaller as the world’s troubles increase.
This is best exhibited in the friend I spoke of earlier.
There comes a point in a person life where they have the make decision as to whether they accept the divine plan of perfection attainment, or as our Christian friends tell us, growing in grace and doing the Father’s will, or reject that plan. And we all know that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can make that decision.
I believe the world has not yet hit rock bottom, and it won’t as long as people still hold on to faith.
Without it, we are lost.
And this is why we do Urantia Radio, to tell people there is something fantastic waiting for them, but it starts with one simple thing. Faith.
Right now the greatest challenge os for people of faith to unite and pushback against social policies that advocate religious persecution. Social Justice warriors will use social advocacy to merit a legal defense against religious institutions. We must push back by calling people out when this happens.
And in our personal lives, don’t be afraid to talk about the value of faith in ones life. People always hear about treatment by medical means,but no one talks about treating mental anguish with a spiritual approach, and that just means pray, get down on your knees and ask for help.