Tag Archives: athiest

Psychology of Utopia

All of us have a different vision of utopia. Why are they different? Well, I like the story of the blind men examining an elephant. Our understanding may be limited to the parts of the “elephant” that we’ve touched.

Let’s say one of those blind men is Ned flanders. Ned Flanders is a Christian. His utopia is called “heaven.” Heaven is all about abundance and freedom from missing the bulls-eye. Let’s bring Lisa Simpson in. She’s a feminist and a vegan. Her utopia is one of gender equality and the ethical treatment of animals. Let’s bring Brian Griffin in. He’s an atheist whose utopian world has no religion or unscientific thinking. And finally, Stewie Griffin. His utopia is one of world domination, where he is the ruler over all people.

When these characters look at the world that they live in, they notice that the actual state of the world falls pretty far below their vision of utopia. They see all the laws, systems, and all kinds of obstacles that hinder the world from reaching their own vision of utopia. No matter who you are, this gap causes an unpleasant feeling. It can even bring up emotions of anger.

So let’s say all these characters are a bit disgruntled because of the gap that they sense. Naturally, you want to get rid of this bad feeling as soon as you can, right? So what many people do, which is actually not the healthiest thing for you to do in the long-run, is to try to immediately close this gap. As I have already explained in my post on perfectionism, this is a mechanism of escape. And the more you escape again and again from this emotion that is a normal part of life, you will forego the opportunity to build up your tolerance for this difficult feeling.

Another thing that you might be doing in attempt to close your own gap is mocking, shaming, and criticizing others who are going against your vision of utopia. While this might work, I assure you that this strategy is not very effective. As a professional motivational speaker, I can say that positivity motivates people much more effectively. Mocking, shaming, and criticizing others only isolates you and hurts others.

So what do you do instead?

Think positively and defer your gratification. Believe that everything will be ok. Let go of control and stop thinking that it’s all on you to make the world a better place.

I do have something to say to some Christians, though. Don’t think so negatively about our values being opposed and redefined. It was never these values on their own that made the biggest change in people’s hearts anyway. It was Jesus’ extravagant love. So give more of that extravagant love instead. And right now is not the time for you to give your input. Ask yourself, “where was I when the gay community felt rejected?” “Was I there to show them love?” If not, and if the gay community is not asking for your input, it’s definitely not the time to share your values in their time of celebration.

Whether you’re a theist or an atheist, whether you’re a feminist or vegan or whatever, don’t be a jerk. Think positively and be nice to others.

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Stephen Fry on God, Suffering, Athiesm

Here’s my video response to Stephen Fry’s recent viral interview about God, suffering, and athiesm.

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Recovery from Negativity Addiction

“You need to start thinking about every thought that is entering your head. When the negative thoughts come, immediately counter them with more positive thoughts. And believe.”

Here’s part 2 of my VLOG lesson on breaking the addiction to negativity. To read in more detail about how negativity causes OCPD, check out my “What is OCPD?” page.

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Resentment and Forgiveness

In my last post titled “OCPD Depression,” I wrote about how people with OCPD can easily become addicted to thinking negatively about life. In much of the same way that this happens, people with OCPD can also become addicted to thinking negatively about other people.

Resentment is another one of the more common addictions that people with OCPD are likely to struggle with.

Resentment

Getting upset by other people is a normal part of life. For people with OCPD, this just happens more frequently and intensely than it does for others because of OCPD high standards and sensitivity. Those who are upset by others can then choose to let their upset mood take its course and move on without making any negative judgments or choose to condemn the people who caused them to get upset. Although many people do end up choosing the latter option, people with OCPD must be very disciplined to not do such a thing because of the way that their mind works.

Judging others is very dangerous for people with OCPD because their obsessive mind runs so extremely fast. In a span of an hour, a thought that arises twice in the mind of a “regular” person might loop 2000 times in the mind of a person with OCPD (the same thing happens with the OCD mind). This repetition creates pathways in the brain that turn passing thoughts into deep-rooted truths.

This would not be such a serious problem if people with OCPD judged accurately. But anyone who thinks in black-and-white is far from judging accurately. All-or-nothing thinking causes people with OCPD to judge others as being all good or all bad (mostly all bad because the majority of the world falls below their high standards). When these all bad judgments become deep-rooted truths, people with OCPD fall into resentment.

Many people with OCPD carry resentment against the people that they spend the majority of their time with. Sadly, these people are also usually the ones who care for them the most. This is tragically unfair. People with OCPD need to be more wary of their thoughts and not let the addiction to resentment destroy their most important relationships. I personally believe the marriage vows of people with OCPD and OCD should include the additional lines, “I promise to protect and honour our relationship through my thoughts. I will be vigilant in guarding my mind from making any negative judgments against you.”

It is also not so uncommon for people with OCPD to carry resentment against entire people groups, countries, and God. This usually happens as a result of continued use of generalizations in their reasoning.

Like all other addictions, resentment is very difficult to break. Neither distance nor death frees people from this addiction. Even though I had cut off all of our ties, even though I had traveled all over the world and lived in different countries, even though I had met other women who treated me so much better than she ever did, even after seven years had passed since our break-up, I had so much difficulty letting go of my resentment against one of my ex-girlfriends who hurt me so deeply. Justification (“it is understandable you did what you did to me because insert reason here“) also does not break the addiction of resentment. It is, however, a favourite psychological strategy used by people with OCPD to temporarily alleviate their negativity and kid themselves that they have forgiven those who have wronged them. Justification is like putting a bandage over a spreading wound.

Forgiveness is what breaks the addiction to resentment. Unlike justification, forgiveness does not try to make excuses for the wrongdoer. Forgiveness says, “You wronged me so bad. I did not deserve it. But I will choose to let go of my urge to condemn you for it.” In order to prevent relapse, resentment addicts must then work very hard at not letting a single resentful thought (against people) to grow in their mind. This is similar to how recovered alcoholics refrain from even having a sip of beer. Many people with OCPD struggle so much with forgiveness because they keep on taking “sips” of resentful thoughts.

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OCPD and Religion

The “meaning of life” is one of the many questions that a lot of sensitive people think about. This contemplation often leads these people to explore different religions. But among these sensitive thinkers, there is a smaller group whose personality makes them more likely to miss the point of those religions that are centered around a personal God.

People with OCPD are more likely to miss the point of religions that are centered around a personal God.

Having lived all their life using their exceptional logical reasoning skills to figure out the answers to their many questions, many people with OCPD develop the idea that all things can be figured out by the power of their mind, including God. This idea, however, comes from their all-or-nothing tendency to generalize: “I have figured out A and B with logical reasoning. Therefore, I can figure out C with logical reasoning.” As a result of this generalization, many people with OCPD ignore descriptions of God as an entity that is beyond human reasoning. They will then continue their ineffective pursuit of trying to figure out the validity of this God.

People with OCPD like rules and routines. They feel good and in control when they are able to follow them perfectly. When they break them, however, people with OCPD feel guilty and out of control.

This is no different when people with OCPD misuse religion. Much like the previous example, people with OCPD are likely to feel either good or guilty by their ability or inability to follow the rules and routines of religion perfectly. The only difference is, people with OCPD are likely to confuse these feelings as spiritual experiences when they occur in the context of religion.

As discussed in my earlier post titled “Discernment and Judgment,” people with OCPD can be quite judgmental when their gift for discernment is poisoned by all-or-nothing thinking. This can lead people with OCPD to judge themselves and others harshly when anything less than religious perfection is achieved. But rather than recognizing that these judgments are rooted from their own OCPD, many people with OCPD will falsely claim that it is the God of their religion who makes those merciless judgments. In the end, these false claims contribute to the misrepresentation of different religions and their God.

What people with OCPD will eventually find with this kind of empty relationship with religion is that it does not fulfill them. They may then hastily conclude that religion does not work, even though they may have never pursued it properly to begin with.

Some of the world’s religions believe in a personal, all-powerful God who is on the side of humankind. If this is true, it would make sense for all humankind to hand over their control of their lives to this God. However, since letting go of control happens to be the most difficult thing for people with OCPD to do, many of them hardly ever find out whether or not this belief is true.

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO PURSUE RELIGION WITHOUT USING IT AS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR OCPD (OCPD):
Assume that your inner voice that makes extreme judgments is wrong. Does God really speak like that? Or is that just you? Familiarize yourself more with who this God is and what kind of relationship He has with humankind so that you will be able to differentiate between your own voice and His. Ask yourself if the purpose of this religion is to gain more control over your life or lose it. If the purpose is to lose it, then you are probably missing the point if you feel in control through your perfect ability to follow all the rules and routines. Does the God in question promise that He will take care of you if you let go of control and place your trust in Him? If so, let go of control. Anxiety and stress will probably follow as you have been using control all your life to protect yourself. That is normal. But be comforted in knowing that, if this God really exists and keeps His promises, He will probably keep this one too.

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