Disempowerment is the theme behind most religions and governments these days. As if that were not enough, it is in most of us as well. We are taught that we need to go outside ourselves for happiness and peace. We need money to succeed at life. Someone needs to love us before we can love ourselves.
It is backwards. You are the only person who can truly determine your worth.
So why do we, as a species, let the arbitrary political and religious structures around us decide our worth? A disempowering belief system diminishes the value of its people based on skin deep attributes like gender, race, and age. These things should be considered assets, not flaws.
Do not let other people’s limited beliefs continue to pour negativity into your life. Even the well meaning ones have connotations that effect every aspect of your life without you even realizing it. You may have heard the phrase, “Money does not grow on trees.” The person who said that to you meant to give you a strong work ethic. When you think money is hard to earn, you are always feeling like you are struggling. This phrase causes stress no matter its intent.
Most belief systems have good intentions behind them but are implemented without consideration of the effect they have on the self worth of their followers. Some were put into place with full knowledge of the damaging power they would have. You need to carefully examine every belief before you except it as your own. The following five belief systems do more harm than good and do not lead their people toward understanding. Instead they lead their flock closer to chaos.
In Persia in 521 BC, a man named Darius overthrew his ruler and took the throne. He was a follower of the Indo-Iranian God of Wisdom, Ahura Mazda. His worship was not forced upon his people but a few picked it up anyway. If not for Darius, Zoroastrianism would have faded to history.
It was the soldiers of the Sassinid Dynasty that demanded allegiance to Ahura Mazda. They began claiming more territory for Persia in 224 AD, and in their wake of destruction they left fire temples to their God. It became known that if you did not follow Mazda, your village would be torched. The people had no choice but to convert, to save their homes and their families.
They adopted a religion that oppressed them for centuries after the Sassinid Dynasty died out. They must adhere to rules that keep their heads covered in shame and rituals that profess their inferiority to Mazda. Their religion puts them down.
People are attracted to Scientology because it promises immortality. The theory is that we are immortal beings trapped in human bodies. Other than that, the religion is very secretive. When you join, you are not even told all the beliefs you are to follow. You have to be more experienced to get the details.
By experienced, the folks at the Church of Scientology mean generous. Since they were founded in 1953, they have made it clear that the more money you give, the higher you rise in the ranks.
They judge their people based on their income instead of their faith.
That is not the only way they put you down. Scientology considers your feelings to be a flaw of human nature and discourages the expression of them. This is actually a red flag of emotional abuse.
Maoism is the political theory leeched from the teachings of Chairman Mao Zedong. He wrote the political guide to communism in 1966. He envisioned a world where everyone was truly equal. No more poverty, no more riches. He wanted to combine farmland with urban areas to make the playing field level.
Poor people followed him because they saw a chance to live as comfortably as their neighbors. They wanted to fight back against the bourgeois.
This system works well for the poor people who volunteer to practice it. It is not so great for the people forced into communism. They lose free markets, traditionalism, and many cultural elements. Like the Chinese Folk Religion that they practiced for actual empowerment.
In 325 AD, Roman emperor Constantine held the first Council of Nicea. Before his rule, the religion of Christianity was a cult following with few followers. They had just enough people involved to have a book made of their stories. Constantine got a hold of this book and fell in love with it- so he held the Council of Nicea to discuss the contents.
What the Council did was decide the true interpretations of the book. It contained strict laws and morals that Constantine liked and wanted followed. So he decreed it so. He claimed this was because it would lead to a more peaceful nation but his true reasoning was that of a fanboy.
His people converted because if they did not, Roman soldiers would persecute them with whips and crucifixions. They obeyed despite the fact that their new religion debased them. Scripture taught them that they could not succeed or fail at anything, because God is in control of everything. If you do not have control, you do not have empowerment.
Islam is very similar to Christianity. It’s laws are more harsh, especially toward women, and encompass everything from business matters to daily life.
People follow the Qur’an because in 610 AD, the prophet Muhammad preached its contents alongside promises of racial equality. He inspired the poor and their slaves to strive for higher ambitions. On the outside it sounds like a motivational, empowering religion. The practices do damage that its people do not even realize.
Why do People Continue to Follow These Systems?
Three reasons: The belief was ingrained into their minds during childhood, they fear death, and/or they crave the structure of belief systems. Our beliefs are our responses to situations. Without them, we feel confused and powerless to fix whatever problem has occurred. We as a species cling to any system we can find, because it makes us feel safe.
It only lasts for a little while. True enlightenment and happiness can only come through acknowledgement of the true nature of things. Cravings and fear of change are what makes us suffer. They make us diminish our own self worth.
Do not let negative mantras and limited beliefs bring you down. Be empowered, every day.