True Spiritual Security

Correspondence with David Truman


On Friday, August 5, 2011 10:24 AM, M.B. sent an email to Here is their message:

Hello, I'm having some troubles specifically relating to my faith in God and religion. I was raised Catholic so the concept of hell, punishment and eternal damnation was always very prominent in what I learned about God. I remember a childhood friend explaining the book of revelations to me at a very young age and being absolutely terrified. Despite the fact I no longer identify as a Catholic and trying to walk away from a religious affiliation born out of fear, I find it incredibly difficult to extinguish that part of me that is terrified of punishment.

The other day, I got into an argument with an acquaintance of mine. He was questioning why Christians support occult films like Harry Potter. I quickly pointed out not all Christians are the same and he should respect their choices. This led into an argument where he said these people weren't 'true' Christians to act this way, and the argument escalated from there. One of his friends decided to join the argument and they ganged up on me, questioning my faith as to cast doubt on me I assume. I told them that I was Christian and they made fun of me. They told me I wasn't a 'real' Christian because I was different than them who are 'real' Christians. They tried to push videos and books on me to prove they were right, which I politely declined. I was then called uneducated, cowardly, foolish and stupid for not wanting to accept their wise words. Eventually, I guess the only sales pitch they had left to try and get me to their way of thinking was to start spouting scare tactics about how I'm going to hell and I won't get to spend eternity with God because I disobey Him.

As much as I know that they were being really horrible, I worry about what they say. I have no proof that my way is the right way. Of course, they have no proof that theirs is the right way either. Although they have the Bible on their side and I basically have nothing to go on but my conscience. But I'm scared.

I want to believe that God is loving and accepting of everyone. Why would God give us free will and punish us to exercise it? How can an infinitely just and loving God create hell and send His children there? How is it 'just' to punish your creation knowing that they will falter? I can't justify sending any person, no matter how terrible, to an eternity of pain and suffering. How can God justify it? Is infinite suffering a just punishment for a finite crime?

I've often thought that perhaps if I read the Bible front to back I would find answers. But so much of what the Bible teaches I feel is immoral. Although it teaches many good lessons such as 'love thy neighbour' and to accept others unconditionally, it also has many examples and teachings of discrimination, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, rape, murder, sacrifice. I honestly wonder how other people can accept the Bible so willingly.

These people I argued with had such conviction that they were right. I must admit, I am jealous because I am constantly re-examining what I believe and always struggling with what is the 'right' thing to do. They seem secure that they are doing the right thing. I don't know what to do. I'm not a perfect person by any means, but I try to be good. I could obviously do so much more, but it feels foolish to even try.

I don't agree with some of the 'sins' that are preached in the Bible, so is there really anything I can do at all? Unless I surrender my own thoughts and accept scripture, it seems I'm doomed to damnation. I'm just so confused and I'm really scared. I'm scared that I'm wrong and I will be punished and the people I love will be punished. I'm scared that maybe God is a vengeful judge who will punish me for not acting accordingly. Maybe hell does exist and I am simply in denial because the concept is so horrifying. But I feel that following the Bible out of fear is a mistake. But isn't that why so many people follow it? I would prefer to follow a belief that I can accept in good conscience, not something that says I will be punished if I disobey.

I know you can't give me any answers that are proven to be 100% correct, and maybe that is why I find it hard to settle this struggle. But I won't ever know the answers. How can I ever find peace inside myself when I have no way of knowing the truth? I'm sorry for the lengthy message and I know you can't give me any solid factual evidence for either side. I'm just scared and I wish I had some guidance.

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Dear M.B.,

It says in the Bible: "When I was a child, I played with the things of childhood. But when I was a man, I put away the things of childhood."

Conventional religion is a thing of childhood, my friend -- SPIRITUAL childhood, that is. What I mean is, conventional religion is for spiritually young people, who don't have any self-confidence. So they want a black-and-white path. They want everything to be cast in stone. Rigid rules, you know? Religious dogma is a way of insecurity and it is a way of spiritual childhood.

"When I was a man, I put away the things of childhood." As I grew in spiritual maturity, religious dogma is one of the things I put away. As I grew in maturity, I came to realize that my intuition was my most infallible guide available. And that if I couldn't trust in that and go with that, I was still in the realm of childhood, which would always be insecure and dogmatic. There is no true security in dogmatism.

For example, these people that were so harsh and dogmatic to you are harsh because they themselves are trying to compensate for their own insecurities. No person who was truly mature spiritually acts as a dogmatist or tries to motivate people with dogmatic fear -- fear of fire and brimstone, and eternal damnation, and so forth.

So again, these are the things of childhood. And you put them away when you come to realize that your heart and soul have always been giving you intuitive messages that were more solid and truly satisfying and appropriate than anything that you could get out of rigid religious observances or dogmatism.

But it's a hard-won battle to cut the apron strings to the black-and-white way, and to move into the higher levels in which you actually have to trust your intuition, you have to think a little bit, you have to be basically an adult.

So a lot of people cling to the things of childhood, because they don't want to take that difficult step. Just in the same way as so many people are afraid to leave home when they're 18, and they may cling onto the apron strings, because they don't want to face the responsibilities and challenges of the real world. The responsibilities and challenges of real spiritual life are equally daunting, and so a lot of people get stuck in a kind of childishness in which they're never really allowing themselves to rely on their own internal sensibilities or upon the inner guidance of the still small voice. They just hear the messages of the dogmatists, which say, "You can't rely on yourself, and you can't believe that you've heard the Still Small Voice rightly. And you can't trust in anything, you have to just walk this black-and-white path. And that's the only way."

But a mature person knows better than that in his soul, and knows that that is not the true way at all; that a person of real maturity inevitably has to embrace a much higher and more conscientious path -- or remain stuck in the childhood of man.

So eventually this difficult transition -- like moving out of home, getting your own apartment and so forth -- has to take place in spiritual terms. You stop relying on black-and-white dogma, you start relying on the Still Small Voice, the voice of God within, and on your own basic intelligence and your spiritual intuition, without attacking those things with the terrible kinds of doubt that dogmatists use to dissuade people from ever growing up spiritually.

This IS a difficult transition. And many people just get stuck in a kind of limbo state in which they're unable to truly accept the dogmatic ways of the childhood of man anymore, but not yet willing to accept the more mature ways of the spiritual adulthood. So they really are caught in the transition mode, sometimes for a long, long time.

They don't dare to truly move away from what used to be their home, but which proved to be insufficient for their continued growth. But they must move if they want to continue to grow. Just like a hermit crab will outgrow its shell and must go out and find another shell. In order to do that, it has to risk walking around without a shell for a minute, so it can find the new shell that would allow it further growth. And in the same way, you see, you're moving into bigger and bigger spaces, and bigger and bigger homes in the heart, for the soul. But you have to dare the vulnerability and the uncertainty of change in order to get there. And if not, you're stuck in a tiny little box and that's it.

If you make that step, you will find the security you now think is impossible to have on the basis of facts or proof. But the true type of spiritual security can't exist in the ways of childhood, as is proven by the insecure attitudes and actions of the people who just attacked you in that conversation, and by your own uncertainty and chronic self-doubt. It's kind of like, you know right away from that, you've got to move on. Right? You cannot live in this. You cannot. There's no home for the soul either in limbo or in the ways of childhood.

True spiritual security will depend on the bold and brave adventure of him who will step forth based on his own intuitive knowing and sensibilities and reason -- like your intuition that God is not in fact a vengeful God, for example. Or your feeling that no God worth of worship would be such a God. That kind of thing.

But you see, when you know these things and yet you are too cowardly or insecure to rely on that knowledge, that's when you get caught in limbo or worse, stuck in the ways of childhood, both of which are fundamentally insecure. Although it's not obvious when you see a fanatic, how insecure he is and how his insecurity is actually producing his black-and-white fanatic, dogmatic thinking. But it is, and that's something that any rational person and any feeling person can easily know. But whether he's willing to put his faith and confidence in that knowing, that's up to him.

You have all kinds of knowing; it's on you whether or not you're going to put your faith and confidence in that, or in things that have already let you down, and which you have already intuitively realized are essentially false and inadequate.

I think that answers your questions for now. Feel free to write me if you have any more questions.