Religion is a structure of co-dependence whereby people are taught they cannot live without it. To be sure, religion cannot survive without its members. Like an alcoholic or drug addict, the religious people “need their fix.” And like an alcoholic or drug addict, the churches need a cash flow to keep functioning — somewhat. Why would I theorize about religion in this manner?
Sunday go to meetin’ and are lifted up, told you are a sinner in need of redemption. You need Jesus, but more importantly, you need the approval of the minister to say, “you’re okay.”
The natural question arises: Don’t people automatically “know” they are okay? Apparently not, they are taught to believe that without the redemption they are nobodies. They are the walking dead. They are going to hell or will surely die at Armageddon. Zero state. Tell me: is there such a religion in existence that doesn’t teach a hellfire or Armageddon doctrine from which its members need to be saved or rescued? Ah, but isn’t a “rescue” a sign of dis-respect, based on the Karpman Drama Triangle principles?
True, according to Karpman, as taught by one of my many therapists, all relational situations can fit into one of two triangles of dynamics:
As seen in the diagram above, the Triangle of Respect contains the following relationship dynamics:
- Vulnerable: awareness to identify feeings without judgment
- Assertive: taking care of the Self by taking healthy action
- Caring: feeling compassion without doing someone else’s “work”
The Triangle of Disrespect contains the following relationship dynamics:
- Persecutor: blaming or finding fault
- Rescuer: wanting to fix; even if it interferes with someone’s “free will” or choice
- Victim: “poor me”
How does Religion Measure Up?
So, let’s check and see how religion fits into either of these two triangles. Religion teaches that Eve, the mother of all humans, has made us all victims. Ever since she tricked Adam with a little help from a talking serpent in the Garden of Eden, we are ALL in need of a rescue. Jesus, the Son of God became the assigned Rescuer; but not unless he was first a Victim, dying on a torture stake/cross, persecuted and killed by unbelievers. Carrying the torture/persecution idea further, all Christians were to anticipate and expect the same disrespectful treatment. Persecution at the hands of unbelievers was prompted by the big unseen enemy, Satan the Devil, the ruler of hell and the entire world. But the BIGGEST Rescuer and BIGGEST Persecutor was none other than God, since he could not find it in his heart to just forgive the newbies in Eden.
Quite frankly, besides the entire “Garden of Eden” story sounding far-fetched, it is truly disrespectful. Furthermore, in the religion of my family of origin, the patriarchal Jehovah’s Witnesses society currently promotes belief in such a convoluted scenario that a woman must be in subjection to her husband, no matter how oppressive he behaves. Only husbands had that special knowledge that no one else in the family had. Only they could offer salvation to their wives. What a shallow and narcissistic belief! What if the wife decided she wanted to leave the faith? In those situations, she could be beaten or otherwise abused by her husband. For example, my father would literally beat my mother when she somehow disobeyed or embarrassed him. And the elders would likely have patted him on the back for attempting to keep his wife in line. She was not allowed to own and exercise her own free will. She was property of her husband. Sadly, there is a hierarchal order that goes all the way from the family where the man is the head, and into the congregations where the elders are in charge. Then to the top of the Watch Tower pyramid where the governing body is in charge and makes all policies that no one is allowed to question — only OBEY.
Where is our “free will” to believe or dis-believe? Church elders quickly label the unbelievers, the doubters, and even the questioners as apostates, and quickly punished by being disfellowshipped.
So, again I ask the question: In which of the two triangles does religion find itself? For me, it was obvious: the Triangle of Disrespect — hands down. Naturally, the realization of which triangle religion fit into led me to believe that the god of the holy books and the devil are both equally evil. Perhaps they are even one and the same being.
Why don’t we simply honor one another’s spiritual nature and choices — and leave all divisive religious theologies out of the mix? That would put us individually into the Triangle of Respect. Dr. Kat helped me understand this concept and the triangles made sense.
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