Religious

Mental Models

Mental Models are conceptual frameworks consisting of generalizations and assumptions from which we understand the world and take action in it.  

We might not even know that these mental models exist or how they are affecting us.



You and I: the Religious Model


Somewhere along the way, the religions that have most influenced our existence developed the notion of original sin.


If we look at the history of human experience we will see that for the most part, civilization has been an endless desert of suffering, sparsely dotted with an occasional oasis of relative peace, freedom, and happiness.


The reality is that most of the people who have lived have had to struggle with disease, famine, oppression, deprivation, and endless fear, punctuated with periods of terror.  In short, the quality of life has not been filled with love, kindness, joy, and happiness.


It is a human addiction to require an explanation for way things are,  With regard to the quality of human life, original sin is an enormously convenient explanation for the fact that life does not work.  The rationale goes something like this: Your life is full of suffering as a consequence of your heritage of evil thoughts and deeds.  It is suggested that in previous incarnations you and your people did terrible things and you are now suffering the consequences,  If you suffer with grace, patience, and dignity you will live happily ever after you die.


The model of you and me as original sinners leaves us with the belief that suffering is our natural state.  It is the nature of beliefs to be self-fulling prophecies.  If you believe that you have done terrible things in the past and must suffer in consequences, then suffer you will.  It makes no difference whether you are conscious of holding this belief or not; if you have the belief it will be fulfilled.


If enough people in a society hold the belief, then the belief becomes the conscious or unconscious social reality, and the society will suffer.


If our life and relationships are going to work, we will have to accept that while we may not be certain of the purpose of our existence, we are not in this life to suffer.  Be clear that I am not saying that there will be no suffering, or that suffering is either damaging or beneficial. 

I am saying that suffering is not the purpose of our existence.  

Just because we were born in suffering does not mean we were born to suffer.




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