"Spiritual Leftovers" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
This is not a judgment against Christians. We all need to open and expand our minds. That's my life long project. So, this can apply to anyone, not just Christians. But, since I am interested in how we change our beliefs, this is my present focus.
One of the most effective ways to keep your mind closed and narrow is to never go outside your assigned box‚ self-assigned or imposed. You've got your same Christian friends, your same church, your same Bible, your same Christian books, your same devotions, your same theology. Nothing changes, including you. Frankly, you are basically living like a cult member, but you're allowed to work and go home for the night. Every aspect of your life is controlled.
Especially your thinking.
I know all about it because I was there. The strange thing is I was happy. But now that I've broken free, I can look back and see that my happiness was severely limited. I was pretty happy‚ for a slave.
I'm convinced that if you want to start changing your mind, all it takes is exposure. You've already made it past the first hurdle‚ the desire. Once you desire change, then exposure will launch you into the next phase of prying open your locked-down mind.
The challenge is, though, that we can live forever in what is called cognitive dissonance, which is‚
" In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values." " (Wikipedia)
That is, no matter what new ideas, experiences, or beliefs come our way, we can still hold onto our narrow beliefs in another quadrant of our brain where it can still control our lives and liberties. But, I suspect that if you're even reading this, you have the desire to change. As I've said, I believe this desire will eventually overthrow the cognitive dissonance.
So, if you want to change your mind, break free from the narrow confines, get outside of the box, and stop eating Christian mental leftovers for the rest of your life, here are some suggestions. Try these:
- Read books from other religions, philosophies, sciences, physics, etc.
- Study depth psychology and see a non-Christian therapist.
- Stop reading the Bible.
- Trust your intellect and brutally honestly analyze your beliefs.
- Take a sabbatical from church.
- Go to different church‚ or a temple, or mosque, or‚
- Take a college or university or community or online course.
- Make and learn to love non-Christian friends.
- Travel to a foreign land and experience it.
- Appreciate the arts‚ museums, galleries, dance, music, etc‚
This isn't to predict that you will stop being a Christian. Try not to think about that. It might make you too afraid and you'll unconsciously restrict your experiment. Instead, just try new things‚ people, books, ideas, arts, etcetera. For too long you've been restricted." Just try it and see what happens. Like an experiment. I bet you'll surprise yourself. I know I did.
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