Photo copyright: (c) Wilfredo Benitez
Many of us in the postmodern world recognize a yearning for spirituality, a longing for something that gives meaning to life. Perhaps like never before, we live in an age of brilliant psychological insights and openness to spirituality. There is a growing convergence between psychology and spirituality, something I’m convinced is an unavoidable phenomenon when exploring the deeper meaning of human life. Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, the father of analytical psychology, established the foundation for this intersection between psychology and spirituality, and although there remains a lingering distrust of organized religion, the wealth of spirituality and wisdom contained in the world’s great religions, cannot be denied. Book stores are replete with titles on spirituality, and yet most of these have no direct connection to organized religion. There is a yearning out there, a search for deeper meaning; and yet many of those searching have turned away from organized religion. Why?
I few years ago I started a webpage: www.ReligionIsGarbage.com . The webpage was inspired by a Sephardic Jewish car salesman who I once met while looking to buy my next car. When he realized that I was a priest, he told me he had no use for religion; he said: “religion is garbage.” He then shared how he was forced to flee from his native country Iran, for being a Jew. I listened to his story with no intent of contradicting his statement, how could I? I knew myself that too often religion turns into garbage - it becomes destructive, persecutory, it can cause great psychological emotional damage to individuals, suicide bombers sometimes kill in the name of God, and quite frankly, too often religion engages in destructive politics. But, what about when religion is not garbage? What about when religion moves us towards deeper truth, authenticity, and liberation from our false selves? What about when religion moves us towards inclusion and community?