Dr. Molly Barrow

The Official Dr. Molly Barrow Blog offers educational self help advice about relationships, business, dating, marriage, parenting, teenagers and children, self-esteem, love and romance. Dr. Molly Barrow holds a Ph.D in psychology and is the author of Matchlines for Singles and the self-esteem adventure series, Malia and Teacup Awesome African Adventure and Malia and Teacup Out on a Limb. Dr. Molly is a relationship and psychology expert host on progressiveradionnetwork.com and television guest.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Only Your Religion? Relationship expert Dr. Molly Barrow

What defines a place of worship? Can a field of bright yellow flowers provide a spiritual connection as easily as a building made by man? I have attended many churches and temples, celebrated with Muslim friends in their homes and was awe struck at a Hindu wedding where the groom rode up on a gloriously painted elephant silhouetted by the setting sun, one of my favorite visual memories. In an open garden, I have sent prayers out to the universe hoping for a miracle to spare a loved one's life. As a little child I stood in the rain on Easter Sunday to be blessed by Papa Giovanni on Easter Sunday, my hand held tightly by my father in the cheering throng beneath the elaborate Vatican balcony. When I was a teenager I was scolded loudly in Italian by a Vatican Cardinal as I gazed at The Pieta by Michelangelo. Apparently, he felt my skirt was too short even though I had properly covered my head with a scarf. Are these religious experiences or spiritual experiences? Do we need someone else to tell us how to worship? What is the purpose of religion?

Priceless treasures for thousands of years continue to accumulate in the building basements of religious leaders workplaces. Millions of dollars pass through religious hands. Yet, the poverty of most of the world remains breathtakingly horrible. Is religion a business and intended to grow financial or should each year the coffers be emptied to help the downtrodden and sick.

Today the Pope of the Catholic Church reiterated his stance that only his church was a real church thus alienating millions of devout God worshipers. I have heard the advertisement that only Coca Cola is the real thing, too. God's word is the justification for many ills that have erupted in our history. Can sane people step away from an alter long enough to see that "religion" has many elements of big business like separatism and competition for followers. Where is the holy vision that has been replaced by a philosophy of "us against them." Isn't that war? How can there be so many people who believe their God is the only real version and proudly justify killing those people who disagree? Who's version of God is that? Not mine.

We have ancient tablets, scrolls and stories that were written by early men that dictate the correct behavior for their society. Modern times requires a clarifying look at behavior in ourselves that promotes prejudice or superiority over the next guy as we mentally create a personification of our personal definition of God. Blind allegience to words written by people you do not know, many of whom lead strange lives of machochism or duplicity presenting themselves as pious, while using their power to inflict harm on others.

When does a house of worship become big business and treat devotees like club members? I asked a church I was attending to help a pregnant homeless girl and was asked "Is she a member of our church?" Because the girl was not, there was little the woman said could be done. The church put a new addition on their building that year and I never went back.

When you gather together to worship, perhaps it is best to force no one to go with you and be prepared to make room for anyone who does, accepting that your version of God is unique to you and for you.


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